Monday, 27 May 2013

Pregnancy photos

I had a lovely visit from Georgia three weeks ago. While she was here she took some photos for me. 

Apart from the great photos, it was such a wonderful day because I really missed her. We're living two hours away from Numurkah now, and it's hard not seeing my friends each day. But on this day, we laughed and chatted like always, and I was glad for it. Being on maternity leave can get boring!

So three weeks after these photos were taken, I am approaching the final days of pregnancy. Tomorrow is my due date. It's all a bit crazy! It's difficult to believe that any day now, I will be holding a little baby!

I'm spending these days reading, doing some quilting and gardening. I don't consider myself a green thumb. I wish I was, but I probably need some more practice. Today I repotted an overgrown Aloe Vera plant. It was looking sad, because the lambs ate it down while the were here. They are not dying though, so I decided to separate all the little baby Aloe Veras off the main plant. There were about ten pots in the end!

This might be my last post for a while! Let's hope!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Organising the Nursery

Well, the baby could come any day now, so I am pleased that the nursery is ready for all the action.

I didn't take any 'before' snaps, but this room was really just a junk room from the time we moved in until now. When we first looked at the house (unaware that I was pregnant) I had planned to use it as a sewing room/study. I still have the bookcase in there, but most of the study items now live in the spare bedroom (I'll save that one for a later date because that room is not ready for the internet's viewing pleasure!)

I bought the cot on eBay, complete with bite marks. I contemplated painting it, but it meant sanding back the whole side. Apart from being lazy, I figure my child will do the exact same thing. Ah well!

The gorgeous mint crocheted blanket was made by my older sister when she had one of her children. I love the colour. As you can see, there is a bit of pink hanging out in this room. In between wiggles, the 20 week scan showed what looked like a girl. I've prepared for the possibility of a boy though. Either way, I will be a happy Mama.

My husband added the extra shelf to these drawers for me so we could use it as a change table. I bought the drawers from the recovery yard (my Dad likes to call it 'Eaglehawk K-Mart', but it's just the recovery yard before the rubbish tip.) We get a lot of bargains there. My Dad loves the place. If I was handier, I think I would spend lots of time there too, finding different items for DIY projects.

The rocking chair was from my sister as well. She has been really sweet, giving me all her old baby things. It's saved us a bunch of cash and for that I am grateful. But also, I don't think I would even know where to begin with the kinds of furniture you need for baby otherwise. I certainly wouldn't have thought about getting a rocking chair if she hadn't given it to me. I sit in the room to read often. I love this chair, except for when I push it just that little bit too far back. I know I can't fall, but I freak out either way!

 Now all we need is a little one to bring home from the hospital. I can hardly wait!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

One Chook and Two Sad Roosters

I realised I haven't written much about having moved house. We bought a house on 20 acres of land in November last year. There are some things we absolutely love about the house, such as the space, the front veranda (perfect for breakfasts and barbeques) and the fact that we are on tank water with a wood heater.

Then there are some things that bother us, or that we will hopefully change in the future. Some earlier work done to the house is a wee bit sloppy, and we have some major work to do on the gardens outside. All in good time though.

For now, we are happy getting little projects done. My husband is preparing some vegetable garden beds for me, altering our wardrobes and we are reshuffling the kitchen a bit.

One of the things we love about rural life is being able to have animals. We took care of some of my parent's sheep up until a few weeks ago. They will come back when the grass has had a chance to grow back. We also like having chooks.

We have had these three since they were chickens. As fate would have it, only one of them is a hen, while the other two are roosters. They have been practising their crows lately and my goodness, the sound is awful! They can't quite get it, so it sounds like they are constantly in pain. haha.

The hen has been clucky for the last few weeks too, so at the moment they're a pretty sad bunch. They make me laugh/panic when they follow me around the yard though. They look hilarious, running and shifting their weight from one foot to the other. They are surprisingly loud too. It sounds like you're about to be trampled by a hoard of elephants. Well, maybe I exaggerate...

Unfortunately, these chookies have had a bad weekend. Our friend's dog managed to get inside their pen, and it has made a mess of the two roosters. Thankfully, they didn't die of fright, and we seemed to have gotten to them in time to save them from any fatal damage. These photos were taken today, and they seem to be getting better at the moment. Poor chookies!

Monday, 13 May 2013

Organising the Bedroom

We have only made minimal changes to our bedroom so far, but I feel like it has made a world of difference already!

These shots are from when we moved in. We put our bed in and tried to make the most of the space. Unfortunately, there weren't enough shelves in the wardrobe, so I was living out of suitcases and the pile at the end of the bed for what felt like ages. Our wardrobe doors opened out, rather than being sliding doors, so that was a pain. It meant you lost so much space! My husband took the doors off in the end. Down the track we will add the sliding doors.

We also inherited these pea green curtains, complete with moth holes and funky smell. Pretty awesome, right?

These photos are more recent. I have been able to put my clothes away in the wardrobe (winning!) and have put up some new curtains. I went with a neutral brown/grey because I really wanted our paintings to stand out.

They were a gift from our darling friend Alex, who lived in the Northern Territory over the last three years. These are bush medicine paintings, done by a local Aboriginal woman where he was living. I absolutely adore them, and wanted them to be a real feature in the room.

I know people who post photos of their houses online usually have them looking squeaky clean and matching, but I don't really care that much. One example is this alarm clock belonging to my husband. He loves Star Wars, and he also loves Lego. You can move the arms and legs, and when you push down on the head, it lights up the screen blue. I quite like it, and I don't mind that it doesn't match the other decor.

We have a little Moses basket at the end of the bed ready for our little one when they arrive. It's a hand-me-down from my sister, and I love it. She crocheted the handles when she had her first child nine years ago. I am pretty impressed that it looks like it was done recently.

Soon I will show you our's all ready to go now!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Making Baby Wipes

Next in my crusade to make baby products from scratch was making baby wipes.

I had read some ideas on Pinterest that involved chopping a roll of paper towel in half and adding liquid, but I was concerned that the paper would deteriorate easily. Also, some paper towels are treated with bleaches and other harsh chemicals that I was not interested in putting on my baby.

I went for another of Wendyl Nissen's recipes, which uses only three ingredients; water, witch hazel and rosewater. This way, the wipes are antibacterial and antiseptic, but not harmful.

Instead of paper towel, I bought a big roll of Chux cloth. You can get big rolls from hardware stores, but they are also online (try eBay) if you can't find them elsewhere.

The Chux were a little big, so I cut each square into four.

The mixture smells lovely, and it was so easy to make them. Even as a time-poor mum, I'm sure I will be able to find time to throw those three ingredients together. I was also thinking that if I get really slack, I can just put the mixture into a spray bottle and have the Chux on hand.

So now I have made bath wash and baby wipes. Next up, I want to try to make an aloe vera cream. That one should be interesting!

Hope you're having a great week!

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Stockpiling Food for Later

Over the past few weeks (and months, really) I have had a fair bit of time around the house. Apart from unpacking boxes, cleaning and doing those annoying day-to-day jobs, I have been a little restless. It's been difficult going from full-time work to casual, then to maternity leave. Instead of watching too much television, I've preferred to busy myself with sewing projects, reorganising rooms, keeping my brain busy (I love FreeCell at the moment!) and making food to freeze for when baby comes.

I assume I won't want to be cooking every night after baby's arrival, but I also don't want to settle for bad takeaway or MSG-ridden pre-packed things. The Thermomix will be really handy to whip up meals later on, so I have tried to make some meals that I don't use the Thermomix for.

The slow-cooker (crock pot) has been amazingly helpful. I can make large quantities, I can do it early in the morning when I have the most energy and we get a feed for dinner as well. I generally have made dinner plus three extra serves for two.

So far, this is what I have made:

  • Minestrone soup
  • Lamb and vegetable soup
  • Chicken, leek and mushroom meal base (I'll just serve with rice)
  • Vegetable and beef pies
  • Chorizo, kale and other vegetable soup
  • Pumpkin soup
  • Lasagne (with eggplant and zucchini etc.)
  • Cranberry and currant cookies (these are frozen in logs)
  • Choc chip cookies (these were frozen in an ice tray)
I realise there is a lot of soup, but that is mostly because we are going into Winter soon, and it is just so easy to reheat soup and add some bread!

I am feeling rather productive. Slowing down was necessary, however, as we have begun to run out of room in our chest freezer! I've filled it with too many meals!

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Op Shop Maternity Style

I mentioned in an earlier maternity style post that I have been wearing a lot of my usual clothes throughout pregnancy. Some tops and dresses are easy to translate because I love wearing A-line dresses, and t-shirt material stretches to compensate. Pants and shorts are not so simple, so I have been wearing a lot of maternity pants. Still, I haven't spent much on the clothing! Rather than cross over into the world of drab and dull maternity wear, I have been popping into the Op Shops to add a bit of fun to my wardrobe.

You'll have to forgive me for cutting out my face from the pictures. I just wasn't having a photogenic day!

I've been seeking some maternity style inspiration over on Pinterest, and really loved the blazer trick (Miranda Kerr did it well!) This blazer I bought from the Op Shop last year. The jeans are maternity ones from Big W ($25) and the top is Free Fusion from Target (I think it was $8 on special.) I have a few different colours of this top because they are amazing for going underneath everything. I've been wearing them since I was about 14 weeks I think. They're just so long and comfy!

Would you believe that this shirt cost me $1? I was in Echuca with my sister for the day and we went a little nuts on the $1 rack! I'm still wearing those jeans and the long top.

Yes, I'm still wearing the jeans and white top (Hey, we're not reinventing the wheel!) This came from the Op Shop for $3.50. As baby is coming at the end of Autumn/start of Winter, I didn't mind having it sit in my wardrobe since January. It was handy when we went to Hobart for our anniversary too.

This dress was 'meant to be.' I originally saw it in Big W, but the only one in my size had a hole in it. Months later, I spotted it in an Op Shop in Numurkah. It's gotten me through two winters already and is perfect for layering.

I have worn it quite a few times during pregnancy. It was great at the end of summer because it kept me just that little bit warmer than a thin cotton dress. Now it's great because I can wear it with tights and a cardigan (mustard is my favourite colour to go with this.)

Some things I've tried to keep in mind when selecting tops in particular are:

  1. How long will I be able to wear this for? Am I going to grow out of it soon? (I am a lover of the 'how many dollars per wear' philosophy!)
  2. Will this be practical when I want to breastfeed? I need easy access!
  3. Will this look flattering later on when I am trying to lose my baby belly? Or, will I be horrified when old ladies in the supermarket ask 'When are you due, love?'

 All of these photos were taken at 35 weeks. Not long to go now!

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Pregnancy foods: Quinoa and Chia Porridge

During pregnancy you have to avoid lots of different foods. Some are easy enough to give up (not really a fan of flake anyway...), while others are a little more difficult (camembert cheese! I miss you dearly!)

Instead of focusing on the 'do not's of pregnancy, I have tried to consider the 'do's. I've increased my intake of fruit, yoghurt, nuts and have tried to pack as many vegetables into meals as possible. And you can really tell when you've eaten well compared to when you haven't! Some days I will have a feeling as though I can't decide whether I am hungry, or whether I have eaten too much. After considering my diet on these days, I have realised that I am probably full, but not getting the nutrients I need. Even though I take daily pregnancy multi-vitamins and probiotics, I clearly need more. The baby needs more.

I have done some reading on the subject and have tried to find foods that are rich in minerals such as magnesium, calcium, zinc and iron. Then I saw this Quinoa and Chia Porridge recipe on the Quirky Cooking Thermomix blog, and decided that it was worth a shot!

Because this recipe uses quinoa, it is also high in protein. The mesquite powder and chia add all of the aforementioned minerals too.

Haven't heard of these foods before? Quinoa, mesquite and chia are all considered ancient 'superfoods' from Central and South America. You can buy them in supermarkets these days, in the gluten free/health food aisle. Otherwise try your local health food store.

So the results were pretty great. I substituted a few things. I didn't have almonds, so I used rice milk. I also opted not to add so many toppings. I tried banana and maple syrup to begin with. I added some currants, which were lovely, but probably tipped me over the sugar edge. When I made it again, I put less honey in, then taste tested before adding maple syrup. Otherwise it was too sweet.

On the days I eat this porridge, I feel great about looking after myself and my baby. I think this recipe is going to be a regular throughout autumn and winter!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Making Baby Bath Wash

As I mentioned in my book review post, I have decided to try and make some of my own baby products. At first, I was going to purchase organic products, but I was pretty horrified when I read the labels on them.

I was fortunate to have read Wendyl Nissen's 'Mother's Little Helper' where she outlined recipes for products you can make yourself. I love this idea as they don't seem too hard to make, I know exactly what is going into them and I've found that making your own is pretty darn inexpensive (especially compared to anything with 'organic' in the title!)

What I love about Wendyl is that she clearly cares more about helping people than book sales. If you go to her website, you'll find the exact recipes from the book, completely free.

Last week I decided to try the baby bath wash. It was surprisingly quick and easy to make.

I am a little excited to use it now. It smells like the rose water, but is still quite subtle. I hate overpowering smells, so this one seems to be perfect for my taste.

Do you have any experience making your own baby or beauty products? What have you found?

Monday, 22 April 2013

Baby Sock Cupcakes

I love cute presents. I think the packaging is just as important as the present (All you have to do is take a peek at my Pinterest account...I seriously have a gift wrapping obsession!)

A couple of years ago I purchased a cute little baby present that looked like a sundae. It was made out of a baby's singlet and came with a little ice cream bowl and spoon. There was even a little fake cherry on top. I was in love with it.

I went back to the same store intending to buy a similar gift and was appalled by the high price of them. I'm not sure whether the price went up or I became more stingy...Either way, I decided to have a crack at making my own.

Off I went to K-Mart, where I bought a pack of silicone patty pans and a 3-pack of white baby socks. All up, I think it cost me $5 all up. I only used half of the patty pans too (it was a 6-pack) so I can make more for less again!

Now, I'd like to get all technical and explain how I did this, but I think it would be too hard. It involved folding the socks in and out to create the frosted look. It took some teasing, but I was happy in the end.

I was glad I used the thicker socks rather than the thinner Bonds socks I had seen, as the thinner ones wouldn't have filled the patty pan. These ones were just right.

Maybe you could try making some confectionery items using baby clothes? I might just try to tackle something else next time...perhaps a sundae of my own? Or some lollypops? A tiered cake? Who knows?!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Maternity Style Snippets

I have been a little slack in photographing my outfits lately. My trusty sidekick is two hours away so she can't take too many photos of me at the moment!

I've tried to get away with wearing my usual clothes for a long time. I'm still able to wear some, but most days now I wear newly purchased clothing. These items aren't necessarily maternity. I will probably write about them later in an Op Shop Style post.

Here's just a quick shot or two of things I have worn lately. These two outfits were from about a month ago.

This dress I wore to a friend's engagement party. I got this dress from the Op Shop a long time ago, and I was so excited that it still fitted me.

This is just a home life shot. I was cooking dinner and harassing my husband for not taking more photos. I was halfway through talking to him when he just whipped out his phone and started taking photos. Serves me right, I guess!

I have become a huge fan of those tank tops some teenage girls wear as dresses. They go with everything. The shirt I bought from K-Mart a couple of years ago now. It has T-shirt ribbing in the sides, so it stretches. Pretty exciting when you're constantly expanding! These pants are maternity ones I got from Big W. They fit well and are really comfy.

I'll be back soon enough with a bit more on maternity style.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Funky Shoe Love

A couple of years ago I decided to buy white canvas shoes and put my own design on them. I started with black marker and went nuts making designs for myself and friends. Then I spotted some coloured permanent markers and decided to give them a go. (Prior to this, I had used a fabric marker but had found that it still wore off after wearing the shoes regularly.)

I drew on a pair of shoes for my younger sister, Mim and I did one for myself. Fast forward a few years and my older sister called me up. She wanted some pretty Converse All Stars for her daughter, but the only ones in her size were plain white. So I had a new project!


Doing these kids ones made me go hunting for the other two pairs. Mim still wears hers, and so do I. We get so many comments about them and it makes me beam :)
My shoes are a bit more worn and grubby!

Mim's shoes are my favourite. I did them after a bit of practice.

Each pair probably took me about three hours to do in the end. It was something enjoyable to do while the TV was on (I get super bored of TV.)

Hope you're having a great weekend!