Sunday, June 24, 2012

Trying new things: Going low-gluten

In the last few months I’ve done everything I possibly can to try to help Koby with his tummy troubles. Wind drops, tummy massage, cycling his legs, gripe water, sugar water, regular chiropractic, homeopathic drops, Baby-Gaviscon, elevating the end of the bed, eliminating foods from my diet… you name it, we’ve tried it.

One thing that does seem to help, is for ME to stop eating wheat-based products. He seems to vomit a LOT less when I don’t have gluten/wheat.  I am not totally gluten-free though, I still have a few little things like gravy, or a little bit of lasagne if I feel like it, I'm just avoiding the obvious big things.

Anyway once I realised this, I bought a whole heap of store-bought gluten free foods, and wasn't particularly impressed with either the taste, or the price!  So I got stuck in to finding some gluten-free recipes so that I could actually eat something that didn’t taste like rubber (store bought gluten-free bread? Ick… no thanks)

The biggest bonus (apart from having a happier baby) is that I’ve lost the final couple of kgs, and am now back to my pre-pregnancy weight. Not being able to eat regular cakes, biscuits, breads and pasta means that I don’t eat a lot of rubbish.  I eat a lot more natural foods.  Plus, without gluten, I’m not bloated, and have no wind/gas at all – yay!

I’ll admit that its actually been quite challenging to find things that I CAN eat. Some days its been quite difficult, I mean, I love food – and being so restricted has been frustrating to say the least. Its so easy to have a toasted sandwich for lunch, and now I cant. Its so easy to have toast for breakfast, and unless I have the gluten-free stuff (as abovementioned – ick) then its not an option at the moment.   Some days its gets to lunch time and I scratch my head as to what to have...  At playgroup every week, I’ve had to pass on the morning tea cakes and cookies… yes annoying, but again, probably a good thing in the long run.

Here's a few things I've made recently:

Strawberry and Almond Friands.  I couldn't get any fresh strawberries at the time, so I used a dollop of strawberry jam on top instead of strawberry slices - still delicious!

I make these dense little  almond cakes regularly (although not normally gluten-free) but I use a muffin tin rather than a proper friand pan.

Recipe is from the Womans Weekly cookbook:

6 egg whites
185g melted butter
1 cup almond meal
1.5 cups sifted icing sugar
1/2 cup plain flour  (I used gluten free plain flour)
Strawberry jam (for dolloping) - the original recipe calls for 100g of sliced strawberries

Preheat oven to 200 deg C (or 180  fan forced). 
Whisk egg whites with a fork until just combined.  Add butter, almond meal, icing sugar and flour, mix with wooden spoon until just combined.
Divide mixture into muffin tins, top each with a dollop of jam (or strawberry slices).  Bake uncovered for approx 25mins.  Stand for 5 mins before turning onto a wire rack to cool.

Super easy gluten-free cookies, and one extremely hopeful puppy!

Recipe is:

180g of softened butter
1/3 cup of sugar
125mls of sweetened condensed milk (I used the lite version)
1.5 cups of gluten-free self raising flour
handful of raisins
handful of white choc bits

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.  Cream the butter and sugar.  Stir in the condensed milk and flour.  Mix in the raisins and choc bits.

Place spoonfulls on baking trays and cook for 15 minutes.  So easy and yummy!

Toasted corn tortillas with scrambled egg and cheese.

I kinda just made this up on the spot - a nice change for breakfast.  Cook the scrambled eggs as normal, place the egg mixture onto a corn tortilla, sprinkle cheese on top, then fold and cook in the toatsed sandwich maker.  Next time I might add some chopped ham, tomato or avocado too.

Buckwheat pancakes, from a pre-mixed gluten-free packet!

I'm not sure how long I will continue eating a low gluten diet.  I'm hoping that it wont be long before Koby's digestive system starts to mature and he's able to handle me eating gluten again.  I'm really crossing my fingers and toes that he doesn't end up being gluten intolerant himself, but time will tell.  He has such a sensitive tummy that even plain old rice cereal and pears seem to upset him.  I am told that this is common too and that in time he should be ok.  Fingers crossed.

But I will persevere for a while longer, it seems to be doing both of us some good!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Celebrating new arrivals

My best friend and I have known each other since we were 18, where we both worked at her dads company. I sort of became like an adopted daughter to the boss, and D and I, although world apart in terms of temperament and personality, became firm friends.

She was a party girl, while I was more sedate. She has traveled the world a lot, while I’ve only been overseas once. She has had tumultuous, crazy relationships with guys, while I tended to settle down. She always appeared wealthy and wore expensive clothes, while I wore Target and Kmart, and drove an economical car.

We have been through so much together over the years… from the tragic death of her little brother, car accidents, relationship breakups, moving interstate or overseas, to her being by my side on my beautiful wedding day – we’ve been there for each other.

She is my most beloved, beautiful, amazing best friend. She is the only girlfriend who I actually say “I love you” to, on a regular basis.

Despite these differences, there was one thing we were both decided on, and certain of. We were both NEVER having kids.

We know how that all ended up with me… I laugh at myself sometimes when I remember how adamant I was that I was never going to go down that path. My favourite catch-cry was “I’m too selfish to have kids!” The thought of having kids made me shudder. The thought of going 9 months without alcohol was too much to contemplate too!

I have friends that have ALWAYS wanted to be mamas. They were born to do it, and it fits them as naturally as can be.

I was on a slow burn from about age 30. It took 2 years to go from “never having kids” to full-blown “I WANNA HAVE A BABY!! NOWWWWW”. And then it took from age 32 to 34 to actually have one, because of fertility issues.

But D, she never really faltered. Even when her friends all had bubs around her, she still didn’t really seem interested.

Then 2 years ago, she met a new man, and then it all changed. Suddenly she wanted to have a baby, and she wanted to cuddle and kiss my babies til their cheeks were red. It was like suddenly this maternal switch had been flicked, and she was already a mama, just one without a child yet.

Seeing her with her baby bump was so precious.

And I got to meet the new lil bubba last week. And I’m so happy she finally got to join this most beautiful and amazing “club” of motherhood. It’s a whole new world. You laugh, love and cry like never before.

For two "selfish" girls who were never having kids -- we're doing alright.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012


We've been struggling, this last month.

Put it this way - the other night I had 2.5 straight hours sleep, and I actually thought to myself when I woke up "wow - I feel refreshed"

Ability to cope - all time low.

Silent reflux has invaded our house... again. It feels like groundhog day, because we went through these same dramas with Skye, at around this same age.  So we're ticking things off our TRY THIS list, and see how we go.

The sad thing is, amongst all the not sleeping, the baby in pain, the constant questioning what I'm doing (and the accompanying "what am I doing wrong?" question that goes with it), I'm painfullly aware that I'm neglecting my firstborn, I'm snapping at her simply because she's an exuberant toddler.  I'm getting frustrated and irritated simply because she wants my attention.  I know this reflux thing will get easier as time goes by, but it doesn't stop me from feeling like I'm failing Skye on a very basic level.

Despite my resolution every day to be a better mama, exhaustion takes over and I'm frustrated and cranky all over again.

I’ve been saying “no” a lot these days…

“Mummy, can we go play outside?”
- “No bubba, mummys tired

“Mummy, can we go play in the sandpit?”
- “not right now sweetheart, I'm busy

 “Mummy, can we do some drawings?
- ”No Skye, mummy has to go get Koby

Lately I’m finding it all too easy to let excuses get in the way. I’m. just. so. tired. I’m knackered actually. And I’m not in the mood, feeling a bit flat.

But you know what? She doesn’t understand that, and she deserves better.

I read a timely article the other day about not letting this precious toddler time escape us. About MAKING the time to play with our little ones, because its going to flash past us all too quick, and before you know it, you’ll have a school-kid on your hands. A kid who’s past that magical toddler stage, and on the way to becoming a big kid.  A big kid, who wants to do their own thing, and not necessarily play with YOU.

Right now, Skye thinks that daddy can do magic, and that’s pretty cool. She thinks that when mummy flips her hair over her face and makes growly noises, that’s hilarious. She thinks that mummy can fix everything, and I sure as hell dont want to throw that away.

So my goal in the coming weeks is to put some time aside for her every day.  I need to make a more conscious effort to get involved. To actually follow her lead and PLAY. To get down on the floor and be silly… pretending to be dinosaurs, crawling around like puppies, playing hide and seek, wearing silly hats and laughing together.

My house looks like a bomb went off, and the washing is piling up in every room – but you know what? Those things are no where near as important as having fun and bonding with my little girl.

No matter how sleep deprived and exhausted I feel, somebody always has a worse deal than we do.  So, Hil, time to suck it up and get on with it, and not waste the joy of her toddler years.