Saturday, October 30, 2010


"If you try to teach your children
all the fact and answers
you think they need to know,
they will end up knowing nothing.
If instead you help them look
deep within themselves,
you will have led them to the source,
from where all answers flow."
~William Martin, The Parent's Tao Te Ching

Friday, October 29, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A {single} photo - no words- capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.-soulemama


Thursday, October 28, 2010

wholewheat banana maple syrup, sesame and sunflower seed muffins

What a mouthful.

It's been 8 days since I last baked. It felt like an eternity. Seriously, I hadn't realized how addicted I've become to baking over the past couple of years. It's so cathartic for me. I haven't been able to offer healthy muffins, crackers or biscuits in days- major essentials for a breastfeeding mama and growing toddler. And so, here is the product of whatever was in this new home of ours- a few overripe bananas, some seeds of sorts and maple syrup. Canadian maple syrup. I baked these up last night with my apron on, a glass of wine in one hand and the ipod playing a genius reggae inspired mix. It felt good.

2 cups wholewheat flour
1 tsp bi-carb soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 cup raw sesame seeds
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raw cane sugar
4 tbs maple syrup
1 cup soy milk
1 free range egg
3 tbs sunflower oil
3 mashed bananas
large dash of cinnamon
small dash of ground cloves

Mash the bananas, then throw the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and mix.
Line and/or grease the muffin pans.
Cook at 180˚C for 20-25 minutes until golden on top

Made 8 mini muffins, and 10 adult sized.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

the rhythm of a toddler and newborn

Truth be told we just moved to Sydney from Melbourne yesterday so there has been very little rhythm to the past couple of days. More like urgent and frantic unpacking in order to settle in as soon as possible. I hate having my little ones living in a space that is the pure opposite of calm and peace. But, before the absolute chaos began our days went something like this:

6am North wakes up, gets dressed with Dada and has a bowl of porridge and fruit for breakfast

7am Indi wakes up and has a feed

8:45am settle Indi to sleep with a breast or a baby carrier and go out for an activity with North (park, library, playground, beach, playgroup...)

10am Indi wakes up and has a feed, North has a packed snack

11:15am Indi has another sleep

12pm return home for North's lunch,

12:30pm Indi is usually awake and looking around

1pm story and naptime for North, Indi enjoys a book with us

1:15pm "play" with Indi (talk, coo, gurgle, sing and rhyme)

1:45pm feed Indi to sleep on our bed

2pm mama has a cup of tea, a piece of chocolate and takes a deep breath

2:15-2:30pm North's up and plays in our yard or with his toys while I prepare dinner or bake or do some housework or we go on an after noon outing to run errands or have a playdate

3pm a little snack of fruit and cheese

4:45/5pm Indi has a feed

5:15pm North's dinner

5:45pm bathtime for both little ones

6:15pm storytime

6:30pm North's bedtime

6:30-7pm feed Indi to sleep

1:30am Indi wakes for a feed

4:30am Indi wakes for a feed

5:30am Indi wakes for a top up

This is not a routine that is set in stone, but it's approximately what we've fallen into and like all rhythms it will naturally change over time. Every day is a little different. Indi's feeds are what are most variable at the moment. Some days it feels like I must offer my breast 50 times or more and others she is content 3-4 hourly.

How did/do all of you balance life with a toddler and newborn? Any tips or suggestions?

By the end of the week I should be settled in and able to inject some more enthusiasm into this space. Looking forward to it and to visiting all of you. Now back to the boxes...


Also make sure to enter the wonderful giveaway from ecoMILF sponsor Playing Fair to win a gift certificate to this ethical and fashionable kids clothing store.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

tomatoes and thyme

Thyme is one of my favourite fresh herbs from the garden. It has such a rich flavour and adds a real mouth-watering punch to tofu, grains and vegetables. My most recent weekend lunches usually consist of a variety of soups, a side salad and a homemade bread roll. As the tomato season has just begun, I've been concocting soups inspired by this lovely red fruit, perfectly paired with thyme.

Roast Tomato, red capsicum and red lentil soup:
Blanch tomatoes in order to eel the skins off easily. Roast 4 tomatoes, and 1 red capsicum in the oven with thyme sprigs. When they're ready saute some garlic or red onion in a pan, add the veggies (removing the thyme leaves), and 1/2 cup of red lentils and add water until the ingredients are just covered. Add 1/2 veggie stock cube or more simply, some salt and pepper and a dash of sugar. Bring to a boil and then simmer for around 30 minutes. Blend in a processor and strain. Serve topped with feta cheese.

What's your favourite herb from the garden and what do you like using it for?


Saturday, October 23, 2010


At Mother's Breast- photographing the beauty and normalcy of breastfeeding by Katrina Anderson the tandem breastfeeding mom of two, step-mom of 3, former news producer, and photographer.
Check out the site for more beautiful photos.


Friday, October 22, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A {single} photo - no words- capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.-soulemama


Thursday, October 21, 2010

beautiful play

When I became a mother I was immediately inundated with plastic- toys, baths, plates, cups, cutlery... but as I look around our little home I can finally let out a sigh of relief because I have almost eliminated and avoided all and anymore of the plastic junk. (Rest assure anything we did have went to those who needed it).

North uses thrifted dessert spoons and forks, glasses, plates and bowls for his meals.

Almost all of our toys are thrifted and handmade- wooden blocks and animals, and old matchbox cars and trucks.

North's little kitchen contains thrifted stainless steel cups and bowls, wooden spoons and wood food.

We have a nature table with handmade gnomes, felted pod babies and this weeks freshly picked flora.

He has a basket filled with colourful paper scraps and an array of beeswax crayons to choose from. Even his playdough is a beautiful off-white- why bother with colouring when the colour of the flour is so pleasing?

In North's world pancakes are made from seashells and are baked in the oven; princesses ride diggers; pasta is served at tea parties; knights work in car garages and rhinos play hide and seek with pigs. Simple toys foster creativity, joy, adventure and endless possibilities.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

green cleaning- white walls

Wall wash

2 cups warm water
1⁄4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons castille liquid soap
a soft rag
Dust the walls prior to cleaning
Mix ingredients in a bucket.
Wash walls, beginning from the base and working upward to avoid streaking
Rinse with warm water
Use a soft cloth to dry

For oily stains

Make a paste of 1⁄4 cup bi-carb soda with 2 tbs water
Pat the stain with a damp sponge, let it dry and brush away with a soft dry cloth


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

orange poppy seed muffins


    2 tbs poppy seeds

    3/4 cup soy milk

    2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

    1 1/2 tbs baking powder

    2 tsp salt

    3/4 cup cane sugar

    125g butter, melted

    2 eggs

    the juice and rind from 2 oranges


    Preheat oven to 190°C.

    Line and grease muffin pans

    Combine the poppy seeds and a small amount of the soy milk in a small bowl and put aside

    Combine the flour and sugar and then add the poppy seeds, remaining soy milk, butter, eggs, orange rind and juice and stir

    Spoon the batter into muffin pans and bake for around 25 minutes


Sunday, October 17, 2010

from melbourne to sydney...

They must often change, who would be constant in happiness or wisdom. ~Confucius

A few weeks ago as I was just beginning to emerge from the newborn fog, my husband came home with the news that we would have to move to Sydney (from Melbourne) as soon as possible. For the past 4 weeks, he has been living in Sydney Monday to Friday working and looking for places, while I have been living the life of a single stay-at-home mama. The past month has been challenging to say the least. Although we are leaving family and friends, I am eager to move and to be in the same city as my hubby as a family. We finally found a quaint little house in an area we are familiar with. The movers arrive Wednesday, and we will be sleeping in our new home Saturday night.

This has been a lovely first home for us and we will miss it dearly. I will also feel lost without my beloved mother's group, supportive parents-in-law and dear friends. I am heart-broken for North, who has made many friends here in Melbourne and who will now be missing both sets of grandparents. The move is not permanent but we will most likely be there for a year or two. I will keep my head high, look forward to nesting in a new space and take comfort in the fact that when one door shuts, another door opens.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

idle parenting

I fell in love with the idle parenting manifesto months ago and wanted to have it up as a daily reminder of the manner in which we'd like to raise our children.

You can read it here.

Words to live by.


Friday, October 15, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A {single} photo - no words- capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.-soulemama


Thursday, October 14, 2010

vegetarian family resources

I get a lot of emails asking about vegetarian resources, especially where I find my recipes. The following books and websites have inspired and influenced my heart and our dinner table. If you are interested in becoming vegetarian or at the very least leaning towards a more vegetarian lifestyle I urge you to pick up a vegetarian cookbook of your choice, visit animals australia and read Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals by Matthew Scully.
our vegetarian family reading resources

Fresh at Home, Ruth Tal Brown
The Vegetarian 5-ingredient Gourmet- Nava Atlas
The Vegetarian Family Cookbook- Nava Atlas
How It All Vegan!: Irresistible Recipes for an Animal-Free Diet Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer

**ethics and beliefs**
Dominion: The Power of Man, The Suffering of Animals- Matthew Scully
Vegan- The New Ethics of Eating, Erik Marcus
Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer
Diet for a New America, John Robbins
The China Study, T. Colin Campbell
Yoga and Vegetarianism, Sharon Gannon
Animal Liberation, Peter Singer
**the vegetarian child**
Raising Vegetarian Children: A Guide to Good, Joanne Stepaniak
That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals, Ruby Roth
Herb the Vegetarian Dragon, Jules Bass and Debbie Harter
Baa Humbug- A Sheep with a Mind of His Own, Mike Jolley and Deborah Allwright
Charlotte’s Web, E.B White

For more about our journey as a vegetarian family and raising vegetarian children please see these past entries.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

crackers and dip

There is a speciality foodstore near our house that has the most divine coriander (cilantro) pesto. You can use it on pastas or as a decadent dip for before dinner nibbles. I decided to try to make our own version, which turned out almost as good. The only difference is the quality of our everyday olive oil versus the beautiful one they put in theirs. Next time I'll use a good bottle of locally made nuttier olive oil.

Coriander Pesto

juice from 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup quality olive oil (or less- add gradually until you get the consistency you want)
1 bunch of coriander (cilantro) leaves - separated from stems
3 tbs dry roast pine nuts
1 tbs parmasean cheese finely grated

Combine ingredients and blend in food processor or with ah and blender
store in fridge

This was also the first time I made crackers using a recipe from 101cookbooks I topped them with salt, sesame seeds and herbs de provence. Simple to make and delicious! Another store bought, over-packaged item I can cross off the list.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

avoiding the dummy

Pacifier. Soother. Dummy.

None of these names are particularly attractive, but they are certainly revealing. I call them 'peace plugs' because as harsh as it sounds, they put a plug on it and allow you a bit of peace, quiet and time. Having a toddler shadowing my every move and not depending on the tv as a babysitter (see tv-free childhood) has also made quiet moments hard to come by the past few weeks. And so, the dummy has been a tempting idea. After an excruciating episode in the car (picture baby wailing, a traffic jam, and a mother-turned-wild-animal sobbing her eyes out, begging and screaming at husband to let her pick screaming baby up and place her on breast while driving), I do keep an emergency dummy on hand for when my breast is absolutely not available, but the rest of the time I have been trying my hardest to allow my nipple to be the "pacifier". Dr. Sears recommends avoiding pacifiers, especially the first few months of life for the following reasons: they can cause nipple confusion- as they require a completely different suck than a nipple does; they interrupt the baby's natural way of increasing and maintaining a mother's milk supply- the more you allow your baby to suck, (even when you feel you have not a drop left) the more milk your body will produce; studies have shown that babies who are offered dummies, especially in the early days, tend to be weaned earlier by their mothers.

Most health practitioners say you should "feed" your child no more than 3-hourly, but I am trying not to look at the clock or to time feeds. I am of the firm belief that breastfeeding is so much more complex than a meal. It provides comfort, security, and confidence and is a strong survival instinct that shouldn't be ignored. Offering my breast allows my baby to experience the interconnectedness between us- something we've felt the past nine months together.

You may think I am being dramatic, but offering a dummy feels like a betrayal. As if I am saying to this brand new, desperately needy little soul, "Sorry, I don't have time for you right now. Take this instead."

And so, you can find me on the bench at the supermarket with a baby on my breast having a comfort suck and a toddler in the pram, or on the footpath around the corner breast out, offering a little snack, or walking around half naked in my home with a little one latched on while I am preparing lunch, or in more tender moments, lying side-by-side in bed.

Sometimes I'd like to put a plug in it, especially when feeding feels like it's interfering with my relationship with North. But then I think that perhaps he'll remember not that I wasn't there, but that I was a supportive mama to his sister, just as I was to him. I hope I am teaching him what it is to be present and showing him that my children's voices are always heard and respected.


ADDED NOTE: As with all my posts, this is not meant to be a judgement on the many mothers who choose to offer a dummy to their children. I do understand that sometimes a dummy can be a very comforting thing for a very sucky baby/toddler, especially if their mother is unable to breastfeed for a multitude of reasons. As with everything to do with parenting, it is a personal choice, and I truly believe every mother offers the very best she can give to her children.

Oh and make sure to enter the superb giveaway from mamma4earth!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

chocolate beetroot cake


2-3 small beetroot bulbs peeled

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 cup hot water

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup whole milk

1/4 cup sunflower oil

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 cup spelt flour

1/2 cup white flour

1 tbs baking powder

2 tsp salt


Preheat oven to 180°C and grease a oaf pan

Finely grate the beetroot

Mix cocoa and hot water in a bowl, add the sugar and egg and beat with spoon until smooth.

Add the beetroot, milk, oil and vanilla essence

Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl, then fold into the wet ingredients

Pour into the pan and bake for 55-60 minutes

Let cool before cutting


Friday, October 8, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A {single} photo - no words- capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.-soulemama


Thursday, October 7, 2010

removing water stains from wood furniture... naturally

There are a number of home remedies out there claiming to remove water stains from wood. Although the ones I tried didn't work miracles, I was quite surprised at how effective they were.

1. rub non-gel (just plain white variety) toothpaste over the affected area, then gently wash it off

2. rub mayonnaise over the affected area and let it sit overnight, he next day wipe it off with a clean cloth

You can also try pastes made of bi-carb and water, or of salt and vegetable oil. I didn't give these a shot, but anything's worth a try if you can just whip the ingredients out of your pantry.
The mayonnaise was the most effective in this house.

Good luck!


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

bed sharing- learning to trust my inner mama

When North was born he slept in a Moses basket beside our bed for the first 6 months of his life. Sometimes I would fall asleep with him nuzzled next to me in bed during a night time feed but this always made me a bit nervous, especially when he was younger. After 6 months of practice with North, co-sleeping with Indigo has become completely natural and normal. I trust myself and my instincts not to squash her, and I feel completely at ease with her in our bed. I can honestly say I am getting more sleep because she is in our bed more often. If I feel like stretching out during the night, or sleeping on my back, I simply move her to the basket beside my bed. I have noticed she actually sleeps much longer stretches when she is cozied up next to me, probably because she feels secure that all of her needs can be met, and she feels she is never alone- a very daunting feeling for a baby who has just come out having been attached to you for nine months straight. There is mounting evidence that co-sleeping, when done safely actually decreases the chances of SIDS. Studies have shown that when a baby and mother sleep face-to-face (a co-sleeping mother and baby will naturally sleep on their sides facing one another), the mother’s exhale (carbon dioxide) gently blows into the baby’s face which causes the baby to take a big breath in to fill herself with oxygen. Therefore, co-sleeping babies tend to hold their breath less often and for a shorter amount of time. Mothers and babies sleep in similar sleep cycles and a mother often goes into a lighter sleep a few minutes before the baby does, instinctively drawing the baby closer to her breast so the baby is able to latch on without even stirring.

Although some people worry that co-sleeping can cause nighttime problems for the future, this depends on a parent’s interpretation of the so-called “problems”. If you do not want your child to sleep in your bed by a certain age then you can gently transfer them to a new environment. I found North to be very adaptable until he was just over one, after that he became much more attached to his bedtime routine. As long as I kept a secure and comfortable bedtime routine in place, where he slept wasn’t much of an issue.

Even if you don’t want to make co-sleeping a habit, try it at least for the first couple weeks your baby is born. It will allow you to get some much needed rest after your delivery, it could help to establish a wonderful breastfeeding relationship (because the baby is able to suck for as long as possible, stimulating your milk supply), and it is a great introduction to your baby and her little personality, bodily cues and temperment. Finally, it has taught me to trust myself as a Mother and to do what I instinctively feel is right, instead of listening to old school western thoughts about how parenting should be done. Since Indigo was born I haven’t had to step out of my warm bed once during the night to answer a cry. And if she needs a change? I simply poke Brad on the shoulder and ask him to get up for a little bum bum bonding time. I mean, he needs to be involved too, right? Heaven.
(For guidelines to safe co-sleeping see here.)