Friday 25 May 2012

Under the Weather

Dave is sick with smoke inhalation damage to his throat and lungs from trying to light a fire in our fireplace. We knew it hadn't been used recently, but Dave took a gamble because a crackling fire is so pleasant, and the weather has been so cold and miserable. Luckily Indigo and I were in bed, because it's made him really ill, and I feel terribly for him. I wish there was something more I could do to help. If good intentions and cups of tea made it better, he'd be better by now.

Indigo started teething on tooth number nine yesterday too, which meant she slept for hours during the day, and has been unsettled all night, hence the 2am post. Co-sleeping is definitely the way to go with a sick baby, I can't imagine getting out of bed as many times as Indy has woken up tonight. She's needed constant breastfeeding at a time where I was trying to start supplementing with bottles in the hope that I can get my period back soon so we can start trying for another kidlet, which has left me feeling frustrated and worn out.

Sick too, it seems. My throat feels raw and sore, my ears are blocked and itchy, so I know it's coming. I guess all I can do is drink orange and mango juice (yum!), take my multivitamin, be nice to myself, and hope that I can get some sleep to kill this bug. Or maybe it's inevitable, and I should prepare for a few days of solid mooching around the house until we all get better.

What do you do when you fall sick - or when the whole family gets sick? 

I usually try to soldier on if I'm sick, but stop the presses if it's anyone else. I should probably work on that -  being sick is inconvenient and uncomfortable, but it's natural not to be well 100% of the time, so I should be teaching this to Indigo. Luckily for all concerned she has never actually been seriously ill in her almost 12 months on the earth - just gunky eyes after travelling on a billion planes to go to Dave's sister's wedding, and a blocked nose a few weeks ago. She just sailed through it, because she's awesome.

We'll be just fine. I'll keep going because I know we'll come out the other side.

Tuesday 15 May 2012

Gourmet Garden Blog-Off/Cook-Off!

A few weeks ago, I found out about Gourmet Garden's Blog-off/Cook-off, and signed up straight away. I half forgot about it until I received a couriered package of delicious herb and spicy goodness on Friday!

I spent a while dreaming up recipes - my parameters were that I wanted to make something unexpected, and I wanted to make something affordable because let's face it, none of us has as much money as we'd like, or time. 

 I decided to use the Thai Seasoning as a marinade for thai chicken skewers, in combination with a few of the other herbs I was given to use.

This recipe makes approximately 14 kebabs, if you leave a decent hand-hold at the bottom of your skewer!

3 teaspoons Gourmet Garden Thai Seasoning [contains shallots, chilli, ginger and lemongrass]
1 teaspoon Gourmet Garden Coriander
1 teaspoon Gourmet Garden Hot Chilli Don't use if you don't like the heat, they mean hot chilli!
1/2 teaspoon Gourmet Garden Basil
1/2 teaspoon Gourmet Garden Garlic
2 tablepoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
500g chicken breast/thigh (I used breast), cut into 2cm cubes or thereabouts 
1 large red capsicum, cut into chunks
1 large brown onion, cut into chunks
1 bunch baby pak choy
1 bunch broccolini

First, soak your skewers in cold water so they don't burn! I was very pleased with myself for actually remembering this tip for the first time upon making these! Leave them soaking while you chop up your ingredients, and they'll be ready by the time you're finished!

This is how much 'handle' I left on the kebabs - this way they are easier to turn and eat! [pre-cooked stage]

Next, marinate your chicken: add all the Gourmet Garden herbs and spices and a tablespoon of sesame oil to a bowl with your chicken pieces, and mush it all around with your hand. So messy, but so fun! Cover and refrigerate - now is a good time to chop up your vegies, because the chicken marinates so quickly! I'm not sure what it is about the Gourmet Garden Thai Seasoning, but it seems to penetrate the chicken fairly well, and will be done in 20 minutes to half an hour.

Next, poke all of your ingredients onto your skewers in an artful fashion. These are mine. I left about 10cms of blank-skewer at the end so that they are easier to handle.

Cook them under the grill set to medium on a piece of aluminium foil - turn them every 3 - 4 minutes until cooked - this will probably be three to four turns!

While the last of your kebabs are cooking, get out your steamer, and steam your broccolini and baby choy sum in two batches - otherwise they won't stay as crisp and green and amazing. 

Keep the kebabs warm under a low grill while toasting your sesame seeds in a dry pan, then add steamed greens and about 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, to taste. Toss until coated with warm sesame oil and toasty seeds. 

Et voila!

 Next time I make these, I will add sesame seeds to the kebabs while they cook for extra crunch!

These were a big hit in our house - there were no leftovers from fourteen skewers for three people, one of whom is under a year old! The greens worked really well with the flavours, nice and fresh and subtle, tying in some delicious sesame flavours.

Indigo loved sliding the pieces off the (blunt!) end of the skewers, and loved the taste - I would have loved to add more chilli, however those of you with non-chilli-eating kiddies, or who can't handle the heat, I'd suggest leaving it out altogether - the other spices are more than flavoursome enough, I just cannot resist!

Wednesday 9 May 2012

Attachment Parents Get Frustrated Too

I've been wondering recently if a lot of people aren't turned-off attachment parenting due to the image of the "perfect" attachment parents. They never get cranky at something minor, grump around the house, eat all the chocolate and snap at everyone. They never complain noisily in the night about being woken up abruptly multiple times to full-bladder kicks from a climbing baby who wants to be breastfed and comforted back to sleep. 

In short, I do all of these things, on occasion. I'm still an attachment parent!

I know I'm not perfect even though I'd love to be (and try to be, at my own expense on many occasions), all I can do is apologise for my mistakes, move on, and learn something. 

Making mistakes and not "following all the rules" does not disqualify you from attachment parenting. Many attachment parents don't start out that way - it's not a from-the-start-or-not-at-all sort of deal - you can begin at any time, and it doesn't require perfection - just a willingness to admit to mistakes, and learn from them.

A lot of parents, my little parenting unit included, don't like the idea of following any particular parenting doctrine, but call ourselves attachment parents nonetheless, as the ideas fit most closely with our own, without being too specific. There are so many little niche parenting styles, I just like to think that we've all got the same ideas at heart - fostering strong connections between parents and children, to help them grow into strong, emotionally intelligent adults. 

I know we all want the best for our kids, and if you think attachment parenting might be what's best for your family, go for it! We all make "mistakes" when we parent, but it's only truly a mistake if you didn't learn something from it. 

I left Indigo to "cry it out" once, because I was so stressed and tired that I couldn't physically lift her or emotionally handle her constant crying. Putting her in her cot made it worse, but I NEEDED five minutes to calm down. After I calmed down, I went back to her, picked her up, and was capable of looking after her again. It took forever to help her settle down, but I'll bet a million bucks that she hasn't been scarred by the experience, even if I have chosen to parent her in an entirely different way! 

I think a lot of people also feel angry about attachment parenting, because we might seem like a smug lot. Yeah, our kids are parented differently to yours, but that doesn't mean I'm judging you as a parent and finding you lacking. It's just like religious and non-religious families: parenting differently with similar goals in mind. Neither is more legitimate. Some attachment parents want ALL parents to follow attachment parenting principles, but I think that's pretty narrow-minded - almost everyone thinks that they are parenting in a way which will benefit their children, one way or the other. 

Most parents adopt some attachment parenting practices into their parenting style, using a sling or baby carrier as opposed to a pram, for instance. Hell, Beyonce even breastfed and carries little Blue Ivy around all over the place - no pram in sight!

So I guess my point is something about not judging people, because we all make some similar parenting decisions, and most of us do some form of attachment parenting. We all just need to be a bit kinder to each other, and a little less judgemental - the parent you're judging is just doing what works for them, just like you!

I love all these old photos of Indigo, so thought I'd include some to lighten up a heavy post!!

Tuesday 1 May 2012

Nice Things to Start the Month With

I've had a rough week. Indigo has been teething, and keeping Dave and I up all night. She's been doing lots of parent-climbing in the middle of the night, even asleep! It's made the week full of stress feel even more stressful, but we're coming out the other side, I hope. 

Image via Etsy - weepereas
I'm feeling determined to take things as they come now, and not resort to frustration or depression (my sure-fire sign that I'm stretching myself too thin, and expecting too much of myself). It's back to basics: good food; clean home; lots of exercise; make things; read books; write; talk to people. I know this combination is pretty much designed to make me feel like a human being again, so it's worth giving it my all.

Image via Etsy - ButterflyLove1

It's May, and just over a month until Indigo's first birthday, and my twenty fifth, five days later. I'm hoping to have an amazing combined birthday shindig, so I hope I can plan it all without costing the earth, and pull it off without too much drama! I'm thinking planning and preparing for this party will help pull me out of my slump! I love deco
rating, designing menus, making fact, pretty much everything that comes along with parties. I can't wait to get started! Follow my party board on Pinterest to see my inspiration. In fact, take a look at all my boards! Go on!

One wonderful thing happened this week: we got our rabbit back!

Pepper has been our rabbit for almost three years, and has lived with Dave's mum and sister for almost 11 months. We missed him so much, but couldn't have him at our last rental property. Here however, we have a huge yard which won't be ruined by the addition of a rabbit hutch, so here he is!

Pepper and I, back when I was fighting a losing battle against white-blonde hair

Indigo loves him, but needs to learn a thing or two about soft patting! It's so nice to watch how excited she gets with a new animal to watch and play with. Next stop, convince landlord for those chickens I want...