Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Feeling a little bleh...

Well it would seem that 2013 is not our year so far. What started as a bit of a break from work has unfrotunately turned into a longer break and a reduction in hours for this year. Things are not going swimmingly for the business i work for and as a result the only current expense, me, had to be juggled about. :-(
So, to say we are stressed here at the moment would be an understatement of epic proportions. I hate feeling like we cant get on top and are sinking slowly... But trying to stay on the bright side and not let my old friend depression take over too much. Its bloody hard!
But, i realise too that i am very blessed to have a husband who is doing his very best to be encouraging and positive, we have a roof over our heads and a son who I completely adore who now has the benefit of my undivided attention during the day.
So as you can imagine my focus for the last week has been how to bring in some extra $$. I am going to give Avon a go, along with Flaschengeist which looks quite exciting. So fingers and toes are crossed that they will fill the void in the bank account.

On a happier note, this time off has given me extra time to do some of the things i enjoy doing, like designing! Check out my Etsy store if you get a chance to see some great customisable party invitations. When i was planning H's 2nd birthday i couldnt find any Very Hungry Caterpillar invitations that i liked, so in typical Jess style i decided to design my own :-) They are all a little special way to help celebrate special occasions like birthdays and baby showers.
If you have any feedback i would love to hear from you.

Hopefully next post will have some positive news to report.

Until next time...


Sunday, 9 September 2012


Today i am cranky, no make that FUMING!

Little man has been doing swimming lessons since he was about 3 months old, he loved the water and i really wanted to encourage water safety and respect. Somewhere along the line though, he sort of stopped liking it.... but i was ok with that, i was willing for him to be less than happy for 20 mins a week for the sake of him being safer around water, and for me to be confident that should the worst happen, he would know what to do.

But then at the start of this term, the school changed his teacher. Gone was our tough but kind teacher, who followed each thing that made little man unhappy with a big hug. In came another teacher.... this one doesnt seem to know how to deal with unhappy or scared kids! Happy kids, not a problem, but one cry and she doesnt have a clue.

We are very much attachment parents in this family, we have worked hard to build respect and trust with our little boy so when the teacher asks me to leave the pool area and threatens H that if he doesnt stop crying Mummy wont be coming back in, it really goes against the grain of what i have always strived to teach him.

Top that off with telling another child not to give H a toy, because he is being naughty, and i damn near had to stop by Dad from decking her :-) He isnt being naughty lady, he is a scared little 2 year old, being pushed around by a grown woman! Perhaps if you tried explaining what you are doing and what you want him to do rather than forcing him you might have more luck! The "is he used to getting what he wants all the time" comment when he wouldnt do what he asked had ME wanting to deck her. NO lady, he certainly doesnt get what he wants all the time, but when it comes to his own body, i have the respect to ask him if it is ok to do something and if he asks me to stop doing something we do. Simple! Would you be thrilled at having someone 3 times your size hold your head under the water! I think not. I think you might be just a little upset yourself....

But today was the end of the line, this woman, whilst holding H in the middle of the pool to work on rolling onto his back to float if he falls in head first, says to a frightened 2 year old, "If you dont roll over, i am going to let go and walk away" Way to go lady, scare the crap out of an already scared little kid. Way to make him feel safe in the water. Do what i say or i will leave you to drown.

So as i said, i am fuming! Unfortunately the director of the school is very hard core herself so i honestly dont think saying something would make any difference at all. We have requested to be moved back to the old teacher from next week and wont be returning to the school next term. It is just not worth watching a normally very laid back, give anything a go kind of kid, clinging to me for dear life when we walk into the pool. That is not what we signed up for and i cant imagine any parent, attachment or not thinking that kind of behaviour is ok. It breaks my heart to see him like that, so enough is enough.

Fingers crossed the new school we try next term will be better. At least they allow me in the pool with him, so we can start to rebuild his confidence and trust.

Ok, rant over :-)

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

"Real" Food

 After stumbling across some fantastic blogs of late I have become a convert to the "real" food way of life. People like Carrie at Deliciously Organic and Lisa at 100 days of real food have inpired me to rethink how i feed myself and my family.

I have always tried to make healthy food, but i think like most people i get so caught up in the low fat, calorie counting, not too much sugar, watch what you eat mentality that after a while it all just seems to hard to follow and i get exhausted. I figure i have enough on my plate with work, study and family without having to be the food police, but then of course the guilt kicks in when i see H eat a biscuit :-(

Anyhoo, i think that is why the Real Food idea speaks to me so much, its just so simple. At first glance most people would think that there is just too much too it, but for me, i like the simple guidelines that Real Food offer. Eat fresh, real food and dont eat anything highly processed. Simple!

We have been eating "real" for about a week now and it is finally a way of life i can see myself sticking too indefinately. Even my Mr Skeptical husband was impressed with my dinner of wholemeal tortillas, slow cooked refried beans and marinated chicken, (all homemade, from scratch) the other night!

The best bit is, with a bit of prep and organisation it really wasnt a whole lot more time cooking than normal and i have the benefit of knowing exactly what is going into what we eat.

For some reason, i dont seem to mind spending a little extra time in the kitchen when the results are so good and my conscious feels clear.

So in the hope of inspiring you to give the "real" food idea a go i thought i would share tonights Taco Salad dinner with you. Yummo!

Before adding the salads. (please ignore the shoddy photography!)

Taco Salad
Made enough for 2 adults and a toddler plus lunch for all the next day.

Taco Meat (recipe below)
Refried beans (recipe below)
1 avocado, cut into cubes
4 tomatoes, thickly diced
Sour cream, to serve
Grated cheese, to serve
Cooked brown rice, 3/4 cup per person
Lettuce, to serve

Cook up the Taco Meat and Refried Beans as per the recipes below. Use as much or little chilli as you like for your families taste.
To serve, add the rice to the plate, top with some of the chicken, a good dollop of the refried beans and sprinkle with grated cheese while everuthing is still nice and hot.
Top with the avocado, tomato and lettuce (or whatever salad you like really) and drizzle with sour cream. Enjoy

1 tbs coconut oil
500g chicken thighs (preferably local, organic), thinly sliced
1 tbs garlic
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp paprika powder
1 tsp chilli powder
Splash of lime juice

Heat the coconut oil in a large frypan over medium heat, add chicken and garlic, then sprinkle spices over the top. Cook until browned all over and cooked through. Splash the lime juice over right at the end.

Refried Beans in the slow cooker (adapted from the 100 days recipe)
1 small onion, cut into large chunks
1 cup dry pinto beans, rinsed
½ tsp chilli powder (we like it quite milk, but feel free to add extra to taste)

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp corriander powder
3 cups water
Fresh corriander, finely chopped

 Add all ingredients to the bowl of a slow cooker and cook for 8 hours on low. When beans are lovely and soft, drain the beans, reserving the liquid and blitz in a food processor (or mash with a potato masher if you dont have one), adding as much or little of the reserved liquid as you like to get a nice consistancy. Stir through the fresh corriander just before serving.

I would love to hear any adaptions you make and what you think of this salad.

Until next time...

Friday, 27 April 2012

Toddler Tasting Plate

I must admit, i feel very blessed to have a toddler who will eat just about anything we put in front of him. Unfortunately he is a little like his mother and has a short attention span which results in him getting bored with a meal after a couple of mouthfuls. Seperating the components of a meal will only get me so far so i came across the idea of a tasting plate and oh boy was it a hit!

Back when H first started solids we bought some of these awesome freezer trays to freeze up his meals in neat little portions and because they came with a lid i never had to worry about freezer burn. Anyway, they are also the perfect way to serve up a toddler tasting plate but you could just as easily use a muffin tin or ice cube tray.

In the morning i just get assemble the tray and it is good to go for him all day. It comes out at morning and afternoon tea time and gives him a good variety of healthy snacks to nibble on which makes me worry a little less if he isnt keen on eating more than a bite or two at lunch time.

Here is the one we did for Easter. I included great little animal picks to make it fun.

Imagination really is the limit to what you can put in each little compartment, just make it small enough that little hands dont have to fiddle, but big enough not to be a choking hazard (you know your child and what they can cope with best). You can keep it simple or go the whole hog of cutting food into shapes and decorating. I do a little of both, depending on my mood and the craziness of the day.

Some suggestions:
  • Capsicum
  • Chickpeas
  • Banana Bread
  • Broccoli (steamed or raw)
  • Cheese Cubes
  • Carrots (steamed)
  • Dip (hommus, cream cheese, sweet chilli, chutney, tzasiki, corn relish etc)
  • Peas
  • Green beans
  • Chopped fruit
  • Beans (canned)
  • Diced meatloaf
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Sultanas
  • Cooked pasta
  • Diced avocado
  • Blueberries
  • Corn
  • Meatballs
  • Baked beans
  • Sweet Potato Chips
  • Mini pancakes
The list could go on forever, but hopefully gives you a few ideas to get you started.

Have fun coming up with your plates. I would love to hear how they go.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

I can paint that!

I have a new obsession that is taking over! I have always found nail art to be very impressive, albeit not really my cup of tea, because lets face it, I barely have time to cut my nails let alone painstakingly decorate them. That is until i came across Crackle by Sally Hansen. This stuff is awesome!

A few of the colours in the Crackle range

I sit at the computer a for several hours a day and I tell you what, it is great to be able to look down at my hands and smile at how spunky they look. Not to mention buying myself a good 5 minutes of peace and quiet in the supermarket while H checked them out and played with my fingers :-)

Crackle comes in a great range of colours and I am a little ashamed to admit that in a moment of obsession I bought most of them the other day. Black Ink would have to be my favourite though, it looks fab over a yellow or pale pink base coat, I have a mint green base at the moment at it is pretty spesh.

Xtreme Wear in Mint Sorbet and Crackle in Black Ink
My favourite thing about this new nail art craze is how simple it is. Just put on your base colour and leave until completely dry then add a thick or thin (depending on the look you want, just play around to see what you like) coat of the crackle and watch it work its magic. Within a minute or so you are sufficiently cracked and ready for a quick top coat.

The result
Wha La! Pretty simple hey!

Sally Hansen Crackle is on special at the moment at Priceline so is about the $6-$7 mark which isnt bad. If you want an eye catching manicure without the hard work its definitely worth a try.

Until next time...

*all opinions in this blog are my own. I paid for the products myself and am not representing Sally Hansen products in any way. I'm just a fan :-)

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Sick Days are a challenge

Having a sick 1 year old is tough, being sick with a 1 year old is tough, having both at the same time, well... you get the picture.
H has been fighting a viral infection for the last couple of days and has been absolutely miserable, i feel so sorry for the little man, nothing seems to be making him happy at the moment, except breastfeeding that is, which he has decided to start doing every 3-4 hours again, its seriously like having a newborn all over again! I am blessed enough to be able to work from home as a freelance PA, and even more so that my current employer is awesomely understanding when it comes to sick kids, being a mum herself. The downside of this is though, if i dont work, i dont get paid, so despite feeling awful and very much like a lactation machine at the moment, work must go on if we want to pay the bills.
Its days like today that the slow cooker becomes a lifesaver! Chuck in some drumbsticks, apricot nectar, onion and soup mix, turn it on and leave it for the day, then come dinner time, yummy apricot chicken that i serve with potato mash (the frozen stuff from woolies/aldi is awesome!)
These are also the days when the trackies come out, the phone is taken off the hook and the DVD gets turned on if H is particularly grizzly in the afternoon. Granted it only usually entertains him for 15 mins, but it really is incredible how much you can achieve in 15 mins if you put your mind to it and know its all you have. So that is my tip of the day and my challenge for the week. Set the timer and do something, with gusto for 15 mins, clean, exercise, declutter, garden, cook or reorganise.
Would love to hear how you go...
As for me, H has just gone to sleep and i think i have earned a hot chocolate and a cuddle on the couch with my hubby!
Until next time...

For my little man

Before i start blogging about my life in the days ahead let me start with this quote.
That pretty much sums up how much i love my little man H.
I am always on the lookout for great quotes that make my heart sing. Pinterest, i must admit has done nothing to help me stop with this small addiction! More on my Pinterest in the days to come.
Hope you like this one...