Friday, May 29, 2009

Getting crafty - my first sewing project

A couple of weeks ago I attempted my very first sewing project - an apron. I purchased an "Apron in an Hour" kit from Made by Miffy at the Stitches and Craft show. I was skeptical about the 'hour' but managed completion in 1.5 hours - not bad for a first attempt at sewing!

I enjoyed the experience so much I am now making my 2nd apron. After browsing some great books and with the prompting of my Mum, a sewer from way back, I've decided to make this one a bit differently, rounding the corners and adding a frill. I hope it works and will post you a photo when it's done!

I love sewing! I fought it for so long, believing my "stinkin' thinkin' " that I would be really bad at it and now that I've started (nearlySuperDad bought me a sewing machine for my 30th late last year) I'm not sure why I waited so long.

It is great for me to exercise my patience and go a bit slower to end up with a good quality end product. Also hubby is delighted that my machine is seeing the light of day. I guess he feels it was worth purchasing! Next I'll want (need) an overlocker...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The look - achieving great outfits

Anytime I have a big occasion to go to, I like to think ahead about what I will wear. Actually, it's more like I go into a panic attack until I think I have the perfect outfit sorted. A comment made by a friend got me thinking about this conundrum again recently. She described an outfit she had planned to wear to lead worship at our church on Sunday, but when the day rolled around, she turned up in something altogether different. I questioned her about the original outfit and she said "It seemed like it would work in my head but when I put it on, it looked all wrong!"

So many times when I'm outfit planning, I run into the same situation. I think about the event and feel I'd like to try and pull off a particular look, then I try to assemble said look from the pieces of my wardrobe. Sometimes it works, fairly often I'm left at the last minute with a pile of discarded clothes and a different outfit on me.

Recent outfit attempts (preferably with a nod to at least one of this season's fashion trends):
*Timelessly graceful (a wedding outfit)
*Thrown together but actually super well dressed ("this old thing? I just threw it on")
*Sporty yummy mummy (lots of days)
*Classy but understated (this look requires clothes with a great fit and cut)
*Girls night out (maybe a bit more girly than usual)

My most successful outfits are definitely those that I've preplanned and tried on before the event, complete with accessories, shoes, etc. to make sure the whole thing works. I advocate having a few pieces (more if you can afford it) of well cut classic clothing that works any time you need it! That way you can be confident you look good, even if you're not completely on trend.

Some Wardrobe Essentials
*Black trousers - correct length, flattering shape
*White blouse - perfect with jeans, trousers, skirts, under dresses, vests etc
*Dark jeans - whatever cut suits your body shape - bootlegs for me!
*Knee high boots - essential winter wear, great under skirts, dresses, winter shorts
*Tights - opaque in matching shoe colours for optimum leg length
*Fitted jacket - whatever style is flattering for your figure, dresses up jeans and down trousers
*Accessories - the easiest and cheapest way to be on trend

It goes without saying that items of clothing I've worn and had good comments about go into higher rotation, and those items that annoy me or are not quite right are less likely to see the light of day again, at least until I forget about last time! If you have a wardrobe of clothes you really love wearing, I think your life is made easier. Flattering clothes that make you feel good are the best starting point for fabulous outfits!

A great reminder is to photograph an outfit once you're really happy with it (I tend to forget what went so well with those pants last time!). I've never actually photographed an outfit but I'm willing to give it a shot the next time I put together a winner.

My favourite style is boho chic - lots of layers, flowing and pretty, the more on the merrier (to a point!)... A boho chic outfit on me looks like a knee length flowy skirt in cord or similar, a long-sleeved tee under a vest then a jacket, scarf and hat, also tights and knee-length slouchy boots. I'm also quite partial to sporty chic although pulling this off well requires a few key label items to show your sporty 'credentials' (understated cool shoes - think Converse, add a little Lorna Jane tee and mix with Esprit cargos).

I'd love to hear about your outfit triumphs and flops!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Fashion steal of the week!

Well I haven't done a Fashion steal of the week for a few weeks, mostly because I've done very little shopping lately and been quite busy. On this Sunday just gone I drove into north Brisbane to the Baby and Kids Market held at Nudgee College every couple of months. It has become a hugely popular market with heaps of stall holders selling mostly preloved babies and children's clothes, shoes, toys and other equipment. I queued about 20 minutes then paid my $3 entry fee and gently elbowed my way through the massive crowds. I picked up a booster high chair seat ($20) and a playdoh table and some great clothes and shoes for Master 1.

Gently worn baby clothes and shoes: $1 - $2.50 per item - Baby and Kids Market

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Dairy Allergy - Food Allergy Week

I enjoy making most of my son's food - all mains, most desserts and some other snacks and finger foods. As he has a dairy allergy I've had to modify quite a few recipes to come up with suitable alternatives. The most obvious substitutions I do are based on soy milk and soy margarine. I also need to check the ingredients panel on all bought foods and ingredients I use in cooking for him to ensure there are no milk products listed. I feel very blessed to live in this day and age where most labels in Australia clearly list milk products and have allergy warnings - I can't imagine how hard it was to try and work around allergies before mandatory labelling!

NearlySuperBaby had an allergic reaction to a cow's milk based formula at 6.5 months (he is still breastfed at 1). I had started him on Farex (rice cereal) 2 weeks prior which he ate with gusto. After speaking with some friends and family, I decided to bulk out his cereal with formula rather than the boiled water I had been using. On a Sunday morning I made up 60mL of formula and poured about 30mL on his cereal and started feeding him. He sounded kind of wheezy and choked up as I fed him and proceeded to get the cereal all over his face. After about half the cereal he seemed done, so I decided to give him the rest of the formula from the bottle. He coughed and spluttered and wheezed so I gave up and wiped his face. Underneath the cereal was a mess of bright red blotches and welts, all around his mouth and chin. I phoned my ER doctor brother-in-law and he advised we take our son to the hospital as he was having an allergic reaction. The welts moved down his neck and onto his upper back and chest before disappearing around an hour later.

At the hospital's advice, I booked nearlySuperBaby in with an allergist and had him tested. The allergist confirmed he has a cow's milk allergy which he should grow out of. I'll take him back for more testing in a few months (at least 6 months after the first lot of testing at 9 months). In the meantime we are on a strict No Dairy diet.

I'm very aware and cautious about what nearlySuperBaby eats and I have noticed a few incidents of small amounts of welts to the side of his mouth in the past few months. Recently when I added whole egg to his diet he had some welts, so I've gone back to using yolks only. Also last week he had welts after eating half a dried apricot. On checking the label I noticed Preservative 220 listed, so now I'm also checking all labels for preservatives. I'm not keen on him eating any more of those than absolutely necessary, but it sure is difficult to find preservative-free dried fruit apart from sultanas!

My sister put me onto a great website about allergies and she has removed all preservatives from her 3 kids' diets with vast improvements in their behaviour.

I'm going to post some of my successful baby and toddler recipes here - rated by nearlySuperBaby, of course - for you to use! I'll add to them as often as I try out new things, which I'm aiming to do weekly with the help of a few books I'm working through.

Here's the first recipe:

Eggy Bread

1 egg yolk
2 tbsp soy milk
1 piece bread
1 tbsp soy margarine

Beat egg yolk and soy milk.
Soak bread in egg mix, making sure both sides are well coated.
Heat margarine in a frypan until sizzling.
Fry coated bread until golden on both sides.
Serve cut into bite-sized pieces and cooled.

Do you have an allergy story to share? Or how about sharing your baby or toddler's favourite home-cooked food?

Monday, May 11, 2009

All New: First Birthday, Dedication and Mother's Day!

Wow, we have had a busy few weeks in the nearlySuper household!! We were hard at work preparing for SuperBaby's first birthday and dedication. We held it in a local park with shelters and play equipment, and it was a lovely afternoon.

In previous churches we've attended, the baby dedications were held in the service and we naturally assumed the same would be true at our current church. Not so - dedications are done en mass on Mother's Day and Father's Day, or individually by arrangement after a service in the church cafe or at a private party. As we didn't want our first child dedicated en mass and none of our family or close friends goes to our church or even lives nearby, we opted to dedicate our son at his first birthday party. This worked out pretty well as most of our nearest and dearest were there to celebrate both special occasions with us.

party menu
*mini sandwiches
*savoury zucchini slice mini muffins
*mini chocolate crackles
*mini iced cupcakes
*chips and lollies
*soft drinks, water, cordial

I planned a fairly simple party menu and a friend shared the catering with me. Another friend arrived on the morning of the party armed with cake decorations and proceeded to guide and assist me so I ended up with a fabulous birthday cake of which I was really proud! She also stayed on and alongside my Mum finished the last minute catering for me. Down at the park, we hung a few decorations around the shelter and tied a helium "1" balloon to fly up above the roof. The kids played on the nearby play equipment while the adults chatted and ate. Our pastor did a lovely dedication and prayed for us and then we sung Happy Birthday and blew out the candle. Then I opened the presents while my sister-in-law put overtired Mr 1 to sleep in his pram.

I found the park venue really easy to manage with lots of kids and it meant my own home was neat and tidy and if we felt up to it we could invite folks back, or just go home... As it turned out, almost my entire family and one set of dear friends came back and we got Indian for dinner. It was a lot of fun but the nearlySuper family was exhausted by the time the last party goers left at around 9.45pm!

The next morning (yesterday) was my first Mother's Day. Last year I missed out by only 2 days and I was feeling very large and uncomfortable on the day, not to mention emotional! This year I enjoyed the day immensely as nearlySuperDad made sure I was truly spoilt! I had a sleep in while my boys jumped in the car and picked up fresh flowers and Mcbreakfast which they brought me in bed. Then they gave me gifts - a cloud-soft pink fluffy gown from my son and 2 CDs and a DVD that I'd been hankering for from hubby - what a haul! There was also a touching Mother's Day service at my church so it was a great day. We even had a recovery sleep in the afternoon - aaah, bliss.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Fashion steal of the week!

This week has been a lean shopping week - which always keeps nearlySuperDad happy! I ducked out to a Vinnies just off the highway near me, in a semi-rural area, hoping to stumble on some fabulous vintage piece that everyone would "ooh" and "aah" about. I wasn't quite so successful, but I did manage to pick up a pair of Billabong cords, a new pair of purple low-heeled ballet slippers, a cream cord skirt and a chocolate and pink dip-dyed skirt, all for the grand sum of $12! Score!

Billabong caramel cord jeans: $2 - Vinnies boutique, Blacksoil

Sleeping baby equals sane Mum

My son is about to turn 1! I can't believe how fast this year has gone, and the absolutely amazing developmental changes my son has undergone. From a helpless newborn to a talking scooting little person who knows his mind, my son is so much fun.

Lately we've been fighting him about his sleep. He has been struggling to sleep in the day at all and has slept no longer than 45 minutes at a time, sometimes only 20 minutes. I've found this very tiring, and the hours of frustration when he refuses to sleep and I go back and forwards to the cot have worn me down a bit. I've noticed Mr Tired and Cranky loses physical tone and is much more accident prone and harder to console. At night he's been difficult too, crying long and hard, sometimes until he vomits, and waking during the night and crying, sometimes for up to an hour! This is quite concerning for us: he's always been such a good night sleeper, sleeping through from just 7 weeks, and we hate him vomiting, he's already so skinny.

This morning he was once again yawning his head off and whinging so I put him in his bed with his latest favourite soft toy, a blue and white dog. I don't normally let him have a toy in the cot but I figured I had nothing to lose as he hasn't slept in the morning all week. He murmured a while and I peeped in after some time of quiet and found him sitting quietly with the dog. I wasn't prepared to give up so kept on with my housework. After I while I checked again and found him asleep with the dog, leaning over from the sitting position. I guess he wasn't ready to lie down and give in but his tiredness overcame him. I think that dog might be my new sleep-time friend... it's worth a try!

NearlySuperDad and I are about to attend the third installment in the parenting program we have been using, from Growing Families Australia (also published for the secular world, minus the biblical content, as Babywise, Toddlerwise, etc). We did a course for newborn and another for 5 to 12 months and this latest course is for pre-toddler, 12 to 18 months. I'm very keen to hear their suggestions for handling the behaviour of my independent and able boy. We have had great results using the information and guidelines from the previous 2 courses so we plan to keep on going.