Monday, November 28, 2011

Energised And Motivated

Today I am feeling energised. My weekend was a lovely one- I was able to pop to Spotlight for a little browse, got lots of washing done, made chocolate brownies (packet ones) and painted with Grace, had afternoon tea with some visitors and yesterday, the four of us had a little picnic lunch at a park. Grace was well behaved – obliging, helpful and happy. As for Sophie, apart from the usual unsettled periods in the evenings, she slept fairly well and was easier to resettle when needed. She even gave me the luxury of a few longer blocks of sleep which I appreciated.

Perhaps it’s the made up sleep which has put me in such a good mood and got me all enthusiastic or perhaps it’s the warmer weather Perth has been experiencing but I’m really eager to do things. I have lots of blog posts I want to write. I want to try some new healthy recipes using seasonal fruit and vegetables. I’m itching to start decorating the nursery and to sort through all the lovely clothes and other gifts we’ve received for Sophie. I’m keen to get out in the garden (Paul will laugh at that one as he jokes it’s been nine months since I’ve done any gardening). I want to go on picnics and enjoy the sunshine. I want to start getting organised for Christmas.

What do you feel more keen to do when the warmer weather hits or when you’re in a more upbeat mood than usual?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Cookies You Have To Try…

Thanks to some wonderful friends and family members and thanks to all the meals I made and froze at the end of my pregnancy, I haven’t had to do a lot of cooking lately. This has been extremely helpful as Sophie’s most unsettled time is usually in the evening when dinner needs to be sorted out. I have rather missed cooking though and while I’ll have to work out how best to organise and prepare meals with a newborn in the house, I am eager to get back into the kitchen.

Last week, keen for something sweet to have with my afternoon cuppa, I made a batch of biscuits from a new recipe I’d seen a while back on A Spoonful Of Sugar which I’d been wanting to try. It took me all afternoon to make them in between feeding Sophie and keeping Grace occupied, but it was worth it as they were delicious. Do yourself a favour and buy a jar of Nutella this weekend and make a batch. Be sure to enjoy several while they’re still warm too. Here’s the recipe I followed from A Spoonful Of Sugar

Nutella and Oat Cookies

½ cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup Nutella
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup plain flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350°F). Line a cookie sheet (or two) with parchment paper. Cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar together with an electric mixer. Add the egg, vanilla, and Nutella and mix until well incorporated. Add the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt and mix until combined. Roll into balls, flatten with a fork, and bake for 7 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on wire rack.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mosquito Free Outdoor Dining

Photography by Steven Randazzo for Country Living
found via Pinterest

With the weather over here in Perth starting to heat up (we have 37°C forecast for tomorrow), here in our little household we’re eager to spend more evenings playing in the backyard and eating dinner outdoors. There’s just one problem. Mosquitoes. If there’s one around, you can be sure Grace or I will be bitten alive. Grace’s bites often turn into lumps and I have to end up giving her an antihistamine.

I don’t want to spend the next six months indoors once dusk comes so I’m searching for a solution to keep the mozzies away. I find the green mosquito coils we place around at barbecues quite effective and the tropical strength insect repellent is fairly good too but I’d like to find something that is a bit more natural to use on a more regular basis. I already use citronella candles but I was keen to see if there were any more natural solutions that exist.

In one of my Shannon Lush books, she recommends using lavender oil as an insect repellent. Her suggestion is to wipe doors with it or to make a spray of 500ml of water and 2.5ml of lavender oil to spritz over yourself and your clothes. Another of her ideas is to place a lavender or pelagonium plant near your doors to keep mosquitoes at bay (apparently there’s a pink-flowering geranium colloquially called the mosquito plant because of its repellent properties).

What have you found works best against those nasty mozzies? Has anyone tried the lavender oil suggestion?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Filling You All In...

I’m back!! Boy have I missed you all and this little corner of blogland of mine. A month on after having Sophie, I finally feel like things are a bit more manageable and I’m getting back into the swing of things. I started this blog just over two years ago when Grace was a baby and I found myself craving some ‘me’ time. Once again, as much as I’m enjoying simple days at home with my girls, I’m missing the online community I’ve become a part of and so the time feels right to start posting again. I may not be able to write as often as I’d like but I am eager to share so much with you all, to slowly catch up on everyone’s latest news and to be inspired as always by all of your lovely blogs (stay tuned for a little giveaway I have planned too). So here’s a little update on what’s been happening in the Homely One household …

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your comments and good wishes on Sophie’s arrival. They truly warmed my heart. Sophie’s birth went really well. After being induced, I was in labour for six hours and I wouldn’t change a thing about the experience. Our hospital stay was great and I enjoyed the early days of getting to know our precious little baby girl. We had a few people drop by on the Sunday to meet Sophie, but I soon declined requests to visit as I was exhausted and preferred to spend the days with just Paul and Grace. We stuck to a little routine during my hospital stay which I think helped Grace cope as well as she did being away from me. We did have occasional tears though and Grace’s plea of ‘please you come home Mummy, pleeeease!’ broke my heart one afternoon. However, by the last day, she was so excited to be heading to ‘Nan’s house’ for tea that I didn’t even get a kiss goodbye.

When I returned home, I found the initial few days very overwhelming. The baby blues definitely kicked in and together with the sleep deprivation, I found myself constantly teary. Thank goodness I had Paul home and my Mum had taken a few weeks off work to help us out. I became a bit of a hermit as I didn’t feel up to visitors at all and found just getting through each day extremely tiring. Sophie was also quite unsettled as I had an oversupply of milk. The fast flow was causing her to get tummy pains and the frequent feeding just seemed to be adding to the problem (if anyone has any advice in regards to this breastfeeding issue please let me know!!)

Slowly, as the days went on and I caught up on sleep, things became more manageable and I felt better able to cope. These days, Sophie is feeding every three or four hours and I’m managing to get around six hours of sleep (broken up by feeds) each night. However, I try and time things so the two girls are both napping after lunch and I attempt to and catch up on sleep here myself. I find it so hard keeping my eyes open in the middle of the night as I sit propped up in bed breastfeeding, but I do treasure these quiet times alone with my bub.

Grace is rather smitten by our newest family member and wearing her ‘big sister’ badge with pride. She is eager to help with baths and nappy changes and yesterday I caught her trying to console Sophie by patting her lovingly and saying, “Don’t worry, I’m here.”

Gradually, I’m finding little strategies that help make my days with two little ones more manageable and I’m feeling more confident in my new role as a Mummy to two. And while I’m cherishing these precious newborn days as we don’t plan on having any more children, I’m definitely looking forward to having a bit more routine to our days, for breastfeeding to become a more peaceful experience once my milk settles down and for the night when I wake up after a block of solid sleep. In the meantime, I’m soaking up every little precious moment with our little bub Sophie…