Month: November 2012

Keep Calm and Carry On

There’s a lot to be said for a kind and calm voice in times of turmoil.

I’ve been tired and cranky. 2 small kidlets and not much sleep is enough to manage just by itself, but the other elements of life don’t stop…if we let it, it can really get on top of us. And I had let it. I am an advocate for deliberate parenting, not reactionary parenting, but I realised my fuse was short, I was raising my voice at my 2yr old, who at times can be very difficult, and hard to negotiate with. Getting cross might be justified, but that is not the mum I want to be.

So I started reading some blogs and information about parenting, I have to say, there are some pretty condemning musings around. Most mums will know there is sometimes a voice whispering in your ear that tells you “You’re not a very good mum, you shouldn’t do things that way”. And it’s so easy to be swayed into thinking that. But the truth is, that you and your little cherub are an original combo. There has never been a parent/child combination like you before. So your parenting is YOUR decision. No one else’s. What works for someone might not work for others, so  I chose to brush that nasty voice aside, and make a decision about how I wanted to overcome this little hurdle.

The very simple conclusion I came to was this.

Its very hard to argue, rebel against, or raise your voice to someone who is being calm and kind.

So for a day, (one step at a time) I made a really focussed effort to be calm and kind to both my girls. No raising my voice, getting down close to give requests and instructions, giving space in times of frustration, and all the while in my head “Calm, calm, calm”.

Wow, just in one day I noticed a world of difference. For a start I had changed the atmosphere of our home by not allowing that condemning voice to bug me, or rise to the frustration it was causing, and I had taken back the reins and started being deliberate and not reactionary. My 2yr old responded so well, it took a few less asks before instructions were fulfilled, and we had more giggles and less tears.

It has now been a week, and I’ve discovered a more compliant daughter and a more content mum. Which ultimately leads to a happier home, and better relationships. I think this principle can be applied in any situation where conflict is arising. A soft word makes a much better platform for negotiation. I’ve found it easier to remain calm now that I’ve made the decision in my heart. And although sometimes I want to let out frustration in the form of a raised tone, most of the time I can control it. But it has only been a week.. 🙂

Xmas Present No.1 – Tangy Blueberry Vanilla Jam

This is a great thrifty present idea, delightful, delicious, and much easier than you think. It’s a bit more effort than a voucher but people love home made gifts.

TANGY BLUEBERRY VANILLA JAM

10 cups frozen blueberries (I get them from Aldi, they’re great and cheap)

1 cup sugar

juice of 1 lemon

Pinch of salt

Vanilla essence

Put everything in a pot, mash the blueberries up a bit with a potato masher, and cook for about 35 minutes, or until thick.

Here’s a trick to tell if the jam will set:

Put a plate in the freezer, drop some jam on it, put it back in the freezer for 1 minute, and if it forms a skin it should set fine!

This recipe yields about this much:

Phantom crying and other things that keep us awake – 10 Hints for sleeping better

I’ve spent a good part of the last 3 years in a bit of a zombie state. Having small children leads to inevitable periods of sleep deprivation, unless you’re one of those lucky people to have a live in nanny and the kids at the other end of the house.

The thing I find a bit annoying is when people say “Well you should just sleep when the kids are sleeping”. I don’t know about others, but this is actually very difficult for me.

For one, if they sleep in the day, you usually have to carry on with other normal life tasks like eating, going to the toilet, or maybe even housework. For two, its not actually that easy to instantly fall asleep. I lie there, day or night, with racing thoughts about which child is going to wake soon, or the things I need to do, or just stupid things like what I said to so & so last week. And then there’s the phantom crying… any little noise that resembles the pitch of one of my babies cry, alerts me out of slumber right away. And sometimes, I even hear them crying when they aren’t. This is a great hinderance for restful nights.

I’ve discovered a few tricks that help me get to sleep quicker, they are no substitute for a full unbroken nights sleep, but I think it helps:

1. Himalayan Salt – A few granules under the tongue. Apparently its the minerals in the salt that help relax you.

2. Magnesium – A glass of magnesium drink will relax your muscles and nervous system.

3. Do more exercise. It’s really true that it helps you sleep better.

4. Actually counting sheep – I just count backwards from 100. Sometimes I get a bit distracted with other thoughts, but if you can focus, it usually works.

5. Having a bath or a shower generally does help. You feel refreshed after the day’s activities, and its nicer sleeping without old sweat all over you. (A common Brisbane state of being)

6. Maca! Having a cup of hot cacao and maca before bed is just delightful. Its soothing and delicious, and has loads of health benefits.

7. Hanky Panky… thats all I’ll say about that

8. Fresh clean lovely sheets!

9. A pretty far out suggestion, and not very common, NEVER have children! I couldn’t do this, and its too late anyway.

10. Sleep Rescue Remedy. Its great. Get it from the chemist.

Feel free to share your ways into the land of Nod, I think lots of people have this same trouble. And with that.. goodnight.

Super Easy Mushroom & Green Bits Risotto

This is the easiest risotto ever, and the things I love about it are, is that it doesn’t turn out all gluggy, because its baked in the oven, and its so quick! No standing around spooning ladles of stock into the pan.

Please note. If you start following my recipes, they are often “around about”. I’m a creative type of cook for the most part, and often don’t measure. I go by feeling. I am however attempting to document what I do.

So heres the recipe:

SUPER EASY MUSHROOM & GREEN BITS RISOTTO


375g chopped mushrooms

3 cups beef  stock (or whatever stock you like)

100ml white wine

Butter

2-3 sticks celery

2-3 spring onions

2 cups arborio rice

handful fresh oregano

Condiments: (I love extra bits to put in your food. Particularly lemon. You can add things to your taste, and its just delicious fun.

fresh chopped chives

parmesan

lemon wedges

chilli infused olive oil

To make this especially easy, use a pan that you can use on the stove and then put straight in the oven.

Heat the oven at 180 degrees.

Cook mushrooms in butter in the pan on the stove. Put them in a bowl, set aside.

Cook chopped celery and spring onion in the pan. Put mushrooms back in. Add rice, add a bit more butter if you like, then add the stock. The liquid should just cover the contents.  Mix in the handful of fresh oregano, some salt and pepper, put the lid on and put it in the oven. Bake for 25mins or until the rice is cooked. Serve with the list of condiments. Mmm enjoy!