31 January 2012

What's for dinner?

This week, meal planning was easy, for some reason. I'm looking forward to every one of these meals!

Grilled chermoula prawns w/ salad and crunchy bread
Felafel w/ tahina, homous, salad and pita
Nasi goreng
Pork & veal meatballs in tomatoa sauce w/pearl cous cous
Chicken burgers w/ salad on Turkish bread
Morrocan lamb skewers w/ corn and salad
Baked fish and home made chips w/ salad

What are you eating this week?

30 January 2012

No sugar, baby



For the last few weeks, I have cut down on sugar. All types of sugar, including fructose. That's right - no fruit. I've been reading Sweet Poison and following Sarah Wilson's ebook - I Quit Sugar. I spoke about it here.

I had a couple of slip ups, including three pieces of 70% dark chocolate and a couple of mini muffins. The mini muffins didn't feel good, they were just there and I was so hungry. The chocolate, I felt restrained and I enjoyed each piece.

It has been interesting to really think about and analyze just how much sugar has been present in my diet. My cravings are still there, they sure are. Just last night I was visualising a huge slice of chocolate cake... Mmmm. Instead, I had a bowl of Jalna Biodynamic yoghurt mixed with raw oats and chia seeds. I was still hungry, so I quickly tossed a few slices of haloumi in a pan and snacked on them. Cravings satisfied, and no sugar in sight.

Breakfast -  I've been eating eggs, bacon, mushrooms, avocados, porridge with milk and chia seeds (not all together, obviously!). I've been drinking in green tea with jasmin petals and my new absolute favourite, green tea with roasted rice.


My new favourite crunchy snacks are coconut flakes and raw cashew nuts. I'm loving coconut water - but you have to read the labels! I was caught out with one in a green bottle which was actually only 50% coconut water and the rest was some other crap.

I'm still searching for good recipes to satisfy my intense cravings. I'm imagining some kind of bliss ball incorporating coconut and raw cacao, but almost all the recipes I've been able to source have included dried fruit or dates - high in fructose. Any ideas?

Without realising the whole high fructose/date thing, I made a raw cacao brownie, recipe supplied by a beautiful  cyber friend, Jodi. It was odd, but satisfying at the same time!

Have you thought about how much sugar you eat? A lot? A little? It's a very interesting subject.

29 January 2012

Dreaming of a summer holiday {via Pinterest}

The rain has been relentless here and it hasn't really felt like summer. I miss the beach! We're still lounging around in singlets and shorts, it's humid, but it's very, very wet. The beaches are frothy and brown from the flood run off, the river mouths are full of debris - even if we wanted to swim in the rain, we can't.

I'm still dreaming of a holiday (see my last holiday dream via Pinterest) , this time a gorgeous summer holiday. Azure water, clear skies, white sand and just bliss. So again, I'm dreaming of this summer holiday, via Pinterest.


El Nido Coast, Palawan - Philippines


Galapagos Islands


Stand up paddleboarding


Tropical Alila Villas Uluwatu in Bali



Shompole Nguruman Escarpment, Kenya

I'm joining in with Tina Gray {dot} me, who is Piquing her Pinterest today. What are you dreaming of today?



27 January 2012

On the third day of school...

It flooded! That's right, my girl was absent on her third day of school because it rained, it poured and it flooded.

Her first two days at big school were great. She loves it. And you know what? I love it too.. You all asked how I was doing, and to be truthful, I feel great about my girl heading off to school. I didn't cry. I was a little nervous and anxious for her, but I tried so hard to be bright and positive for her. I was a little worried she'd hype right up and it would all just end up all over here, as in... a vomit. She's done it before! I packed for that emergency. But she was so great, and she is just thrilled to be there.

Now on the fourth day of school, she almost didn't go. The rain returned and the creeks and drains flooded again. However, the school sent two texts this morning (love that!) to let us know the school was open so off we went. The class was small but again, she loved it. The teacher also spoke to me about incorporating some of our Israeli culture and heritage in to the classroom, whcih we're excited about.

So, school is great! She looks so grown up in her uniform and I am just so proud that my girl is enjoying this new journey in her life.



24 January 2012

What's for dinner?

So, back to menu planning. Are you eating anything delecious and new these days? We need some new ideas!

Prawns w/ a lemon, chilli, capers and butter sauce on spaghetti
Lasagne w/ ricotta & fetta instead of bechemel sauce
Rice paper rolls w/ chicken and prawn & pork wontons
Lamb burger on Turkish bread w/ kumera chips
Bacon & eggs w/ vegies
Pasta marinara
Kangaroo steak, corn and salad

23 January 2012

School girl


Today was her day. The very first day of big school! She woke a few times through the night and was up just after 5am. She was quite calm, but at the same time you could feel her nervous energy. I was slightly worried that this would bubble over and become intense, but she remained quite collected.

On the other hand my darling little boy was very sad. "I wan go big school. I wan go big school." and loads of tears. He was super upset that he didn't get to follow his big sister on this advenutre. I think he understands it a little better now, after a few chats, he's saying "when I five, go to big school!" and holding up ten fingers. Cute. Also cute was instead of saying hello this afternoon when I picked him up from Kindy, he said "I notsy" and pointed to his nose. Meaning, I'm snotsy.

Back to the girl. She was rather quiet on the drive and particularly as we walked through the school gates. She didn't want to stop for a photo there, which is OK, we needed to do what felt right for her. We headed up to her classroom and looked for her name on the name tags. This whole process of finding her name tag, finding where to put her bag, her pillow, her library bag and her water bottle really seemed to help her settle. We went in to her room and met her teachers, then sat down on the mat and read a couple of books. This moved the focus of her energy and soothed her. Next was a trip to the toilet, helping her find her way then asking her to lead us back to her classroom.

She sat on the mat with the other kids, we gave her a few last kisses and then the bell rang. School was on! We waved and said goodbye and she happily sat and looked around, not looking for us but rather taking in her new environment. And that was it. Our girl began school.

I picked her up this afternoon and she was happy. She loves big school and she had a great day! I loved listening to her little tales and stories, the rules she learned and the activities she enjoyed. Here's to tomorrow, hoping her school days are just as sweet.

22 January 2012

Fitness inspiration {via Pinterest}

Oh, the gym. I haven't been to the gym for two weeks, and prior to that, just once a week. What happened to my consistency? My four classes a week? No alcohol? I did feel results, I was feeling better in my skin and I was actually kind of enjoying it. I need to get back in to it. And so, today's Pinterest pins are following this theme. Get out of bed and just do it!


This is so, so ridiculously true. I never regret doing it. I do feel huge regret when I don't.


And this - something to hold on to, while I'm in pain, doubting myself,
wondering if it truly is all worth it.


So why is it so damn hard?


This works for me. mornings work. Get it done. No excuses.


Seriously, I know this must be true. But if I can't make 21 days, how will I ever do 12 weeks?
I must change this.


Oh yeah! I have this voice. She's a bitch. She tells me it hurts too much and that I can't do it.
Shut up, pathetic inner voice. I can do it!


20 January 2012

No comment

Firstly, thank you to everyone who takes the moments of their time and thoughts to leave me a comment, I so appreciate them, I really do!

I'm having a bit of a problem with my comments at the moment, so while I can read them (via a roundabout method!) I can't actually make any comments myself. So please know I read every comment, I just can't respond to them at the moment. xx

19 January 2012

I immersed myself in my girl for the day

Late last week, I had to break the news to her. Her last “big” friend at kindy was finishing up that day. She would be the only remaining big girl for the remainder of that week and this week, the last before school begins. She was heartbroken, and I have to admit, so was I. I stopped outside the kindy gates and my tears fell. The guilt – how was it that every.single.other.child was able to be cared for, outside daycare? All but mine? I was so upset. I cried, mummy tears of guilt.

I made phone calls. I arranged for her to have a special week off before kindy, with different activities and carers each day. Monday, she spent the day with a little girlfriend, her first playdate, a long one. She loved it and from reports, she behaved beautifully. It was the first time I have ever dropped her off for a playdate (I know, I think we’re a bit behind the times!) and it was a good feeling.

Tuesday, I took a day off work and indulged my girl with some very special treats. First, the movies. Alvin and those squeaky little chipmunks. She only cried for about ten minutes of the movie, major improvement! The off to her favourite restaurant for lunch. We followed up with a visit to a craft centre, where she chose a wooden castle and set about painting, glueing and glittering. Then a dolphin for . She was in heaven. So much paint, ribbon, glitter and she could use any of it! She was bursting with happiness!

I immersed myself in her, I watched her and just enjoyed moments with her, concentrated time. During the day, she turned to me, numerous times and told me “I love you, Mum.” She was so thankful to be just the two of us, enjoying experiences that I had planned with just her in mind. Nothing else. At the beginning of our little adventures, I told her I’d love to take lots of photos. In the end, I only took a few, because I was so busy just being with her. She is such a girl now, so wise and so deliberate in her choices.

In just a few days, she begins school. I’m a little anxious. She’s said she’s becoming nervous. That’s OK – I know most of the other kids will be nervous too. I’m pretty sure many other mums are a little anxious too! So it was beautiful to just be with her. My girl.






16 January 2012

point + shoot {weekend la la}

What did we get up to this weekend?

:: beach
:: climbing over rocks, checking out rockpools
:: learning to jump waves, hold our breath and watching the waves, never turning our back
:: a little bit of learning to surf for O
:: camping in the backyard
:: Sunday drive to the rainforest, so close to our house
:: finding rainforest treasures
:: a little bit of house dreaming
:: Itay and I made a trade, half an hour of scalp and back massage for Itay and an hour of sleep in the afternoon for me. Ahh, nana naps!







What did you get up to this weekend? I'm joining in with point+shoot over at Lou's.

ps. Neglected to mention lunch at the pub on Sunday. Which ended in O throwing up his entire lunch. All over his plate, the high chair, his shoes, clothes, legs, the table, the carpet, my shoes (ugh! I had thongs on!), my legs. The pub was full of people eating their lunch. And I had left the wipes and spare clothes in the car. Fun times!

Simplify life :: values

As part of the 52 weeks to simplify your life process, Deb challeged us to identify our core values. I have to admit, this process was difficult for me. I avoided it. I found it really ... yuk. Uncomfortable. All the more reason to dig deeper, right? So here's part of the process I went through, with prompts as given in this post.

What do you like to do? – The things you find yourself immersed in fully and happily.

I love to read. I become so completely immersed in reading that I can tune out the world. This can be both a good and a bad trait, as my family can sometimes feel that I am ignoring them. I love reading because I love to sink myself in another world, I love to learn about new ideas, opinions, ways of looking at, experiencing and living life. I love fiction, non-fiction. I love to read.

Who and what inspires you? – Go deeper and think about why. What speaks to you when you think about those things and people?

Generally, the people who inspire me are creative. Or they run their own business. They're people who do, who actually jump in and create their dream or their life. I admire their passion. Creativity. Energy. Intent.

What do you feel strongly about in life? – What things would you defend fully in an argument with other people?

I feel strongly about acceptance of all opinions and ways of life. I try not to be judgmental.

I feel strongly about women being accepted as complete, whole and equivalent members of society. I acknowledge the differences but I strongly feel that women hold a place in our world which is of equal importance and value to men.

I feel strongly about providing children with a solid foundation to life. Health in utero, natural birth if possible, breastfeeding if possible, calm and positive experiences, healthy food, nourishing children mentally, physically and emotionally.

When you close your eyes and visualise the person you want to be (free from anyone else’s influence) what stands out to you? How does that “future you” act? What do they believe in?

I see myself as a deliberate, playful parent. I see myself as financially comfortable (that is, not necessarily "rich" but comfortable, worry free and able to move ahead). Loving myself. Feeling confident and creative. Believing in myself. Doing my dreams.

What are you dead set against in life? Identifying your anti-values can reveal something you are passionate about that you can define in positive value terms. (example: knowing you are 100% against war and conflict brings you to a possible value of peaceful or pacifist or non-violence)

I am against violence. I am against judging people based on their beliefs, religion and race.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From these prompts, I identified several value words that stand out for me.
Growth. Learning. Dream. Open mindedness. Family.
Self development. Acceptance. Sensitivity. Fairness. Integrity.
I am finding it extremely difficult to pin down words that suit me and my values. I really am not sure what my values are. I feel uncomfortable writing about my self, so very, very self concious. This is going through my head - what if I choose a word and someone reads it and thinks, no, I really cannot see that in Blythe? It's difficult to peel these layers away and to be truthful about myself. However, in her post, Deb says "This is where it is time to get to the core of who you are as an individual". This is about me. This blog is all about my life, my loves and all the stuff along the way, just as it says right up the top there, under my banner.
So, my top five.
Growth
Dream
Family
Learning
Sensitivity

What are your values? Do they come to mind straight away? Or are you challeneged when you have to peel back, dig down to find your self?

15 January 2012

Dreaming of daybeds {via Pinterest}

I've dreamed of a daybed for quite a few years now. A comfortable space to laze upon, to sip tea or somethinga  little stronger, to read books or to flip through magazines. A few scattered cusions, a throw for cooler days. A place to watch the kids play. A place to hide away.

As I pinned these pictures, the day was hot and I dreamed of languidly munching and iceblock and snoozing in the shade. Today, as I write this, it's drizzling outside. I can imagine curling up with a book, watching the rain from my daybed. Oh, dreaming of a daybed.













Linking up with Tina Gray {dot} me today!

14 January 2012

A trip to the pool

It's summer, finally. Ahhh. It's up and down, but we've had a handful of very hot days recently. We had planned to hang out at the rockpools on the Broadwater with friends last week, but they were closed, so we headed off to the actual pool. What's a summer without a visit to the pool?


We've been quite lazy with swimming lessons for the kids. We stopped lessons a long time ago (hmm, over a year ago actually) as O was constantly sick. To be honest, we were also a bit sick of swimming lessons. However, I've really noticed that M is not as confident or skilled in the water as her little friends. She loves the water, but she's lost that water confidence and actual swimming skills. We spend so much time in the water that she needs those skills, as does O. So we've booked back in, this time at a different pool. That's where you'll find us on weekend mornings now!


O sitting in the shade at the pool, snacking and  "smiling". That kid is just too funny.

Have you been hanging out at the pool this summer?

13 January 2012

She's all about the glitter





These polystyrene balls were supposed to be a craft activity for Christmas, but they stayed hidden in the cupboard. The girl found them and the glitter was soon flying. She's a glitter girl.

10 January 2012

Munchy crunchy lunch

We’ve been packing lunch boxes since M started day care about four years ago. We’d created a little routine which had worked well. The kids ate leftovers, sandwiches (not so often) or curries and spaghetti bolognaise which we cooked up in huge batches and froze.

Then day care surprised us – as of January 2nd, they began to supply food for the kids. Everything. We just need to pack a water bottle. It’s just too easy now. No effort. Yes, it does cost more money (not too much though!) and it saves us so much time. We are loving it! However M begins school in less than 2 just a few shorts weeks oh my gosh it’s just 11 days. Lunch box must be packed! And there will be no fridge to store her food in and no microwave to heat her food in. So back to basics it is.

I’m thinking that sandwiches will be the main deal at lunch. I’d like to mix it up a little and hopefully keep it interesting for her.

I’ll use cutters to make sandwich shapes

Pita with homous, salad and meat

Wraps

Fried rice

Cold pasta salad

Mini pizzas

Borekas and boiled eggs

Sushi rolls

Home made sausage & hidden vegetable rolls w/ tomato sauce

Soup in a thermos for winter


Now, snacks.

Yoghurt covered rice puffs

Soy snacks

Home made muffins. Hmm, must look in to savoury muffin recipes

Home made muesli bars

Crackers, cheese slices, olives and cherry tomatoes

Yoghurts, frozen

Chopped fruit

Pikelets

Fruit on skewers (paddle pop sticks)

Coconut & fruit juice balls


What works for your child’s lunchbox? Do you have any tips or ideas for me?

9 January 2012

Simplify life

I didn't write any intentions or make any resolutions for 2012. I didn't reflect on the year that had passed, as I have done in previous years. I felt I wanted to honour the year passing in some way, and I also wanted to look forward with intent and deliberate thinking. I came across this beautifully inspiring post about simplifying your life. There, that is what I needed to do!

What energised me?

Moving back in to my old job, which I love, with people I enjoy working with. Working four days, giving me more time with my children.

Getting to the gym regularly. I attended classes at 5.30am many days of 2011 and I saw and felt results. It felt good. I even felt really good some days!

Not drinking alcohol for three months. I was so proud of myself and the fact I felt clear headed and slept more soundly.

What made me feel happy?

Watching my children blossom.

Travel. Mini holidays.

My 20 year high school  reunion. So much fun, such positive and joyful energy!

Beach mornings.

What positive people lifted me up?

My husband is the one person who supports me. He lifts me up.

My amazing friend L invigorates me, supports my parenting style and inspires me with her own parenting style and approach to living a  natural life.

Mothers Group friends. They are always there to share, support, laugh and talk.

What worked to bring your family together?

Travelling together and working as a family team to enjoy our trip. Huge, long long haul flights, fast transfers and jet lag could have made us miserable but we made the absolute best of it and we relied on each other. We laughed.

What are you grateful for?

I’m grateful for my healthy little family. Their unconditional love, their morning cuddles and their laughter. I’m grateful that I have been given the privilege of having children.

I'm looking forward to this year and all it brings.

8 January 2012

Dreaming of a home {via Pinterest}

Sometimes I feel that we don't have a particular style that we surround ourselves with in our home. I'm so busy feeling that I'm not artistic or stylish. Then I look around, I flick through magazines and I know that what I do love is beachy, coastal and relaxed. Dreaming of a beautiful home. Ahh, thank you Pinterest!

















6 January 2012

Reading right now

This is the pile of books I borrowed before the Christmas long, long weekend. You've probably noticed, I read very fast. Super fast, actually. I adore reading. I'm sure I have mentioned that before!


Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - Jonathon Safran Foer. I sought out this book after I saw the short for the movie. The central character and main narrator is a boy who lost his father in the September 11 attacks. It was quite a complex story, presented by several narrators, with letters, conversations and unusual typography. I didn't really enjoy this one and it didn't make me want to go and see the movie.

The Bronze Horseman - Paullina Simons. This books has been mentioned to me a few times by friends and blog readers. I'll be honest, I haven't read this one yet. I'll report back in!

The History of the World According to Facebook - Wylie Overstreet. A parody, of course. Pretty funny.

Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant send An Idiot Abroad - The travel diaries of Karl Pilkington (Diclaimer: I don't know where I am supposed to italicize there.) I flicked through this one. While it is funny, as is the TV show, I also find it frustrating. Really? Is he just like that or is it an act?

Decorate - Becker & Copestick. I love Holly's blog, decor8. This book wasn't what I expected, but having said that - I'm not sure what I expected! Lovely to flick through and envy. So much style out there!

So... Not such a successful pile here. Now, there could be another reason for that... And there is. Instead of actually enjoying this pile, instead I became addicted to The Vampire Academy series! Written by Richelle Mead, I loved this series of six books. Light reading, but fun. Perfect holiday reading!

5 January 2012

Sugar, baby

Before pregnancy did strange things to my body, I lived without chocolate. Truly, I didn’t eat much chocolate. I never really bought chocolate. The odd Cherry Ripe bar would fall in to the shopping trolley, the occasional slice of chocolate cake for dessert at a restaurant. I was really a savoury girl. As in, I could eat a box of Pizza Shapes in one sitting.

Then pregnancy hit. My body (or my mind?) said GIVE ME JUNK FOOD. So I did. A Cherry Ripe a day. Oops. I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes in both my full term pregnancies and I although I’ve been given the all clear for the moment, I have a very high chance of getting Type 2 diabetes down the track.

Which is a pity, as my body (or my mind?) continues to crave chocolate. Sweet foods. I turned to baking. Cookies. Cakes. Brownies. Whole blocks of dark chocolate in a day. I CRAVE sweet. Oh, I know it is not good. I’m so, so terrible that I’ll sneak a piece row few rows of dark chocolate before an afternoon nap on the weekend. I’ll wake and eventually look at myself in the mirror. Chocolate on my face. In the sheets. I sound like an addict, right?

Time to turn it around. I’ve been noticing the sugar “thing” around. A girlfriend has spoken about it quite a bit. I read Sweet Poison by David Gillespie early last year. Then I found Sarah Wilson’s blog. I’ve written about her previously and there it was again. Sugar. In my face. Timely. And time to experiment. Cut back, pare down on what I’m really eating. I bought Sarah’s ebook and I borrowed Sweet Poison again from the library.

At the same time, I’ve had a little think about numbers. The numbers that we find in so much of our processed food. Scary numbers that truly, we should avoid if we can. I’ve printed out this list of food additives, colours and preservatives. I’ve rifled through our pantry and I feel a little bit sick. Even our olive spread (margarine) has a scary colour in it, annatto.

Time to look at our choices and our health. Reduce sugar intake and actually look at the food we’re eating.

3 January 2012

She is going to school

Not only is it exciting, scary and amazing that she is going to school in less than a month, I have realised I have to get quite a few bits and pieces organised. (Um, now freaking out because I started this post quite a while ago and now there are only 20 days to go.)

I have sorted through her name labels and have ordered some new stick on labels. Pink, of course. I have enough iron on labels for uniforms. (OK, I still haven't used the packet I bought three years ago when she started Kindy!)

Wash uniforms and iron on those labels!

Buy school shoes, socks, bag and drink bottles. Maybe a new lunch box.

Buy hair bands and clips in school colours.

Pay fees and resource costs.

Find a really good non-greasy sunscreen, preferrably roll on or stick variety for her school bag.

Label everything I haven't already labelled. Bag tag.

Try to arrange a catch up with her dear friends from Kindy who have finished up.

Confirm after school care arrangements.

Note down important school dates in calender.

Anything I have forgotten? Do you have any tips for me? For her? I found some great ideas via The Organised Housewife for back to school organisation. She has an excellent checklist here.

2 January 2012

The last eve of 2011

Happy New Year! 2012 has arrived. We were so happy to visit friends on New Year's Eve and share food, drinks, conversations and love with them. As much as I love taking photos, I always seem to be in the moment when I'm spending time with friends and family - so I have very few photos of special days such as Christmas and New Year. That is good though, it's just being caught up in the beauty of those moments.

I did take some quick photos of the kids with their glow sticks and sparklers. Totally out of focus, fuzzy but very fun!