A wife of noble character who can find?...She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue...Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. Proverbs 31:10, 26 & 28

Monday, December 12, 2011

Announcing Our New Baby Girl

Grace Ellen Lillian was born at 8:32pm on the 30th November. She came naturally, narrowly avoiding an induction and is such a peaceful little girl. She weighed 3870g and was 51cm long.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Breastfeeding: The Nitty Gritty (or: why I think I have never had mastitis)

I've decided to keep the breastfeeding theme going. If you're a guy reading this I'll probably get a little personal so you might want to stop reading this post now.

Either I've got really good genes or was given some great advice when I was new to breastfeeding. I think it was more the advice so I thought I'd share that advice here.

Firstly I'd like to say that I am NOT a lactation consultant and if you really need advice and are having problems you NEED to talk to one. In Australia we have the Australian Breastfeeding Association that you can ring. I'm only passing on the information that I've learned on my breastfeeding journey.

Of course it hasn't always been a smooth road but really the only times I've had trouble while breastfeeding is when I've been too tired to pay too much attention to how well the baby has latched on. The first thing that you need to learn is how to latch the baby on to your breast properly. Don't be afraid to ask the nurses in hospital to help you until you feel you've got it down to a fine art. You're only in there with their experience for a short amount of time. With my second child I would call someone in every time I felt he needed a feed and get the nurse to help me get him to latch on. With my newborn I make sure I'm sitting up nice and straight and comfortable, the baby is normally resting on a pillow on my lap. This allows me to use both my hands to position the baby's head and my breast. I'll normally hold the baby's head in one hand and my breast in the other, then I tickle their mouth with the nipple and when their mouth is wide open pretty much shove them on (very descriptive, I know). Make sure their bottom lip is near the edge of your areola, this should mean that your nipple is in far enough.

More often than not even if you don't get cracked nipples, or mastitis, you may still get grazes or just be sore. I don't really recommend using anything except breast milk on your nipples as the idea is to keep them as dry as possible in between feeds and most products out there have harmful ingredients in them. When I first started having children the big thing was putting lanolin on your nipples to moisturise them and yes it might have been 'natural' but the sheep the lanolin came from were dipped in chemicals so there was every chance that these chemicals were in the lanolin. Anyway I think if you keep them dry enough in between feeds, changing your nursing pads when they get wet from leakage, you can do without these moisturisers. Plus do you really want your baby swallowing these with their feed? There's even no need to wash your nipples with anything special, just water will do. This will keep them as natural as possible for your baby.

So you think you've gotten the whole breastfeeding thing down pat and then your milk 'comes in'. What joy! (only kidding). It can be quite a shock when you're new to this, and these days they send you home from hospital before your milk comes in and if you do not have a good support system with good advice in place you may be at a loss. This is where most new mums get into trouble, they're milk supply is in excess of their baby's needs and the breasts aren't getting drained enough. There are a few things that you can do to help with this until things settle down, that won't affect your milk supply.

I've mentioned in a previous post that I have never used a breast pump. I'm not against them, I just never needed to, but I have hand expressed. When you're full to bursting and you're baby is already satisfied and it's no good trying to make them drink more hand expressing will give you some relief. Position your thumb above your nipple, on you areola and two fingers under and gently press. You won't get anything squeezing your nipple, it needs to be the areola. You can express into a sterilized container and keep it for baby or into a cloth nappy or rag, I've even heard of someone expressing straight into the bath to be washed away.

Change baby's position when you feed him or her. Where the baby's chin is is where your breast gets drained the most so it's useful getting comfortable with other feeding positions such as the football hold and laying down. Just make sure that the baby's chin is towards the sore part of your breast. Also as you feed gently rub your breast towards the nipple. This will help dislodge any blockages that might be building up and help with the release of milk from that part of your breast.

I don't hear this technique very often and it can be misused and start to dry up your milk but it can be useful for really engorged breasts if you use it the right way. That is cabbage leaves. You only need to use a part of a clean leaf tucked into your bra against the sore part of your breast. Don't leave it there for long and don't use this too often as you don't want it to affect your milk supply. This is more for if the other techniques just aren't doing their job and I would suggest that you get more professional advice than mine before trying this technique. I don't know the science behind this, though I am sure that you could find out if you googled it, but it does work.

When your milk first comes in it may feel like it will stay that way forever but it will soon sort itself out as your body comes to learn how much milk your baby needs.

Make sure that each breast is drained before moving onto the next one. I remember being told to feed 10 mins on one side and then 10 mins on the other. This is BAD advice! I only feed on one side per feed and if the baby falls asleep before I think he or she has finished and wants more a 1/2 hour later I'll offer the same breast back. This will make sure that the baby has had the more filling hind milk and not just the fore milk and will make sure that your breast is drained, leaving less of an opportunity for blocked ducts. If you have a problem remembering which breast you fed the baby on last, which is a reality for a sleep deprived new mum, I keep a clean tissue in the bra cup that I did not feed the baby on. This tissue is not replacing the nursing pad but just tucked in as a reminder that I did not feed the baby on that side. On the other hand if you think that baby has drained that particular breast but is still looking for more then do change sides (this especially happens when baby is having a growth spurt or you haven't rested enough or drunk enough water), don't forget to offer the second breast first for the next feed.

I've probably left a lot of other information out but the Australian Breastfeeding Association has a great informative website and if that doesn't have the information you're after I highly recommend that you ring one of their Lactation Consultants.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Tips for Successful Breastfeeding

My last post ended up being so long that I decided to split it in two.

My tips on successfully breastfeeding:
  • don't worry about doing everything. You need to rest to build up a healthy milk supply and the housework will always be there but time with your newborn or young baby slips away so fast and before you know it they're a toddler and don't have as much time for you.
  • drink plenty of water. Lay off the tea and coffee for a while, or at least cut it down. Water is the best thing for a breastfeeding mum and baby.
  • listen to your baby. I know this can sound a bit trite but you and your baby need to get to know each other and your baby will let you know how they're going. Whether it's throwing up from too much feeding or needing extra feeds because they're going through a growth spurt there'll be some indication of what needs to be done.
  • don't be afraid to ask for help. Once more I'll post the link to the Australian BreastfeedingAssociation for those who live in Australia. Christian was my 5th child and I still needed their experience to help me through a rough patch.
  • Find positive, supportive people who will encourage you to continue when you're feeling like giving up. This doesn't mean people who'll just tell you to 'suck it up, Princess' but people with helpful advice.
  • This may fly in the face of some public opinion but I don't recommend supplementary feeding. Your body is able to cope with your baby's demands. If you think they are extra hungry feed them more and soon enough you'll be supplying more milk. I personally think that supplementary feeding interferes with a mum's milk supply too much but also feeds the doubts that are there in the back of your mind. That's not to say that the occasional bottle doesn't come in handy. I have to confess that even after having seven cherubs I've never expressed milk using a machine, only hand expressed for some relief, and so when I've had to leave my baby with someone I've left a bottle, but I prefer to leave them only between feeds anyway so the bottle is just a back up.
  • get a sling or a wrap to wear your baby at times when they're needing comfort, not a feed. I can't believe that I waited until my 6th child to get a sling but it is the best investment ever! I don't mean the usual clip on pouches that are found in most baby shops, that hurt your back, neck and shoulders, but something like a ring sling or a Moby Wrap. I bought my ring sling off Ebay, you can just search 'ring sling' and I made my own wrap, it's so simple and no sewing. There are plenty of instructions on baby wearing on the internet to find out how to use the sling and wrap. I was able to go to the beach with 4 children on my own. I had the baby in the sling and was holding the toddlers hand at the edge of the water while the other two paddled in front of me. It was so liberating. I've also been able to feed while walking around the shops, with no-one the wiser, something I never thought I would do.
  • Research, research, research! If you want to be successful at something put the effort into the research. You won't regret it.
I'm sure there are plenty more tips I can tell you but I believe these are the best ones.

Don't Give Up On Breastfeeding

It's less than two weeks now until bub is due and I've been doing a little extra reading just to get my head in the right place. A great blog I've found is The Mule. She has some great informative and inspirational blogs about birth and breastfeeding which has inspired me to blog about my breastfeeding experiences. I say experiences because every child is different and your body is also different after every baby so just because you think you failed the first time doesn't mean it'll happen again, but also just because you've succeeded before doesn't mean that for a subsequent child you won't be incredibly challenged and feel like giving up.

When I was younger I worked in Child Care. I had an Associate Diploma in Child Services and thought I knew everything. I'd also grown up with two younger sisters, I was 13 and 15 when they were born and loved looking after them. Then I go and have my own baby and everything that I knew went out the window. My little sisters were bottle-fed so breastfeeding was new ground for me, I was also the first of my friends to have a baby so I didn't have their experiences to go on. I started off feeding well. Josiah latched on well, the nurses in the hospital were very helpful so I didn't end up with mastitis or cracked nipples, it was a great start to breastfeeding. But around the 6 week mark Josiah started crying all the time and wanting to suck. He had a dummy but as an inexperienced parent I thought he was hungry so I kept feeding him and he kept throwing it up. I didn't understand what was going on. How could we have it all sorted out so easily and then this? It wasn't until it was too late that I realised that he had severe reflux and that was his problem, I thought it was me and my milk. I was feeding him every hour and he was throwing most of the feed up and still crying and still wanting to nurse. I don't remember anyone encouraging me to continue breastfeeding but that doesn't mean it never happened, I never have a good memory after a baby is born (or before). I went to a Maternal Health Drop In Centre but still felt discouraged and incompetent and decided that the best thing for both of us was to put him on the bottle. Because I had grown up with bottle-fed babies it was very easy for me to listen to my inner doubts and wean him onto the bottle, I thought that at least that way I knew how much he was getting and in that respect I was right. He still threw up a lot, though. We nick-named him Cyclone Chuck because he'd get into a room and destroy it whilst throwing up everywhere.

After realising that it was reflux and not me that was the problem I regretted putting him on the bottle so hastily and was determined with child number 2 that I would breastfeed as long as possible. So Elijah came along and while I was in hospital I would call the nurse in every time I needed to feed him so that he latched on properly. I think they got sick of me needing so much attention but I figured that's what they were there for. Once more at around the 6-7 week mark I had a crying baby who couldn't seem to get enough from me. Only this one didn't throw up as much. Just in case I decided to space his feeds a little further apart than I thought he wanted. He was a big boy, 9lb7oz when born, so wasn't about to waste away. This worked for me and within a week or two we were back to a normal routine. I put his fussiness down to a growth spurt and all my children have gone through this period of fussiness between 6 and 8 weeks of age.

Kahlia was very different. We didn't have any latching problems but she cried and cried and wouldn't be put down. She needed more feeding than the boys, it could be because I had 3 little ones so was a lot busier and not resting enough or drinking enough water for good healthy milk production, but making her wait for too long between feeds was not the way to go with her. I fed her more often and when this was still going on at 3 months started feeding her solids early. This helped settle her greatly and didn't interfere with my breastfeeding her. I managed to feed her until she was 13 months old.

I fed Daniel until he was 7 months old and regretted putting him on the bottle, even though I was classed as successfully breastfeeding him we had so many problems once he started being bottle-fed. Once he was on the bottle we noticed he had an allergy to lactose and to gluten, we hadn't noticed it before then. So we had to find formula's without either, which in 2000 and 2001 was very hard, they'd just started bringing in food that was without one or the other but not both. Thankfully he grew out of it between 2 and 3 years of age and he probably would've had these problems eventually if I had fed him for longer but I think that breastfeeding negated the effects of his allergies and we wouldn't have had to face them so early. If you're wondering why I stopped breastfeeding him so early it was because I had 4 little ones with only 18 mths between Elijah and Kahlia and 22 mths between Kahlia and Daniel. I was overwhelmed with life and didn't think I could cope with anymore children and was so stressed with the thought of getting pregnant again I just wanted to go on the pill. Look at me now, having baby no. 8.

So far I'd been very blessed and hadn't had to experienced cracked nipples or mastitis, but with Christian I made the mistake of buying cheap nursing pads with plastic on them and accidentally put one in my bra with the plastic side on my skin. This kept my nipple from drying out between feeds and sure enough next feed cracked nipple. It was extremely painful and after a couple of days I noticed puss coming out, ewwww! I hadn't experienced that before and wasn't sure if I should still be feeding on that side so I rang the Australian Breastfeeding Association for some information and was told that it was still fine to feed him on that side especially as I didn't want my milk supply to slow down. I decided though that that side needed a bit of a rest so I'd feed twice on the good side and once on the sore side and then when it was healed went back to feeding normally. I fed Christian until he was 14 months old.

With Rose I had a completely different experience. I didn't feel my milk come in like usual and I rarely felt the 'let down' that I usually felt when I fed my babies, yet we had no feeding issues with her and I fed her until she was 18 months old. I loved the experience of feeding her at that age but once again I was pregnant and she weaned herself off me.

And Emily, child no.7, she was even worse than Kahlia. Because I had issues with her quick birth and it took the nurses so long to figure out that I was in a lot of pain and I had a separation of the stomach muscles I was put on strong painkillers. That was okay while I was on them, Emily slept a lot and seemed like the perfect baby. But once I came off them, which I did as soon as possible, she was another child altogether. It seemed like she was always attached to me, and when she wasn't she was crying and crying. She wasn't too chucky so I think it was coming off the painkillers that affected her so badly and thankfully I had a sling and a wrap so I could carry her with me and also older children who could hold my fussy little girl.

So seven children and 7 completely different experiences. I've been so blessed to not have had any attachment issues, or mastitis. My advice is to read as much possible on the positive experiences of breastfeeding and get good counselling from people who are going to encourage you. It is easy, when you're new at this, to just go and get some formula but I know that if you get the right advice and persevere you can get past that stage.

I guess people might be wondering why I stopped feeding my children when I did and the most common reason was that I was pregnant again. I know about tandem feeding but I get so sick and tired and my body doesn't do well being pregnant and breastfeeding at the same time so for the sake of the new little one I normally stop when I'm a couple of months pregnant.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Update on Yoghurt

It's been a couple of days now and I've been making yoghurt day and night. The kids LOVE it! Since the first batch I've been taking out 3 tablespoons of the new yoghurt to make the next batch before I put it in the fridge, and adding different flavours to it. I've used honey in one and, because Tim is diabetic I used vanilla and stevia powder in another and they've set fine. So once you've got your first batch of yoghurt made here's what you do:

Take 3 tablespoons of yoghurt and put into the yoghurt maker container, plus 1 and 1/3 cups powdered milk. Add sweetener or other (the one I have setting at the moment is cinnamon and honey) and fill 1/2 way with cold water (I just use water from the tap). Shake well and then fill all the way up and shake again. Fill the yoghurt maker up to the baffle with boiling water and sit the yoghurt container in there. Leave it as long as you would normally, when making yoghurt from the packet.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Making Yoghurt With Powdered Milk

I just wanted to let you know about a new recipe I recently found out about. We love yoghurt in this house but with so many kids it goes so quickly and even making it yourself with an Easiyo Yoghurt Maker it is still expensive. I was googling yoghurt making and found a blog that was really interesting so I tried it out. Here's the recipe:

3 Tablespoons yoghurt maker culture
1 1/3 cups powdered milk
Make like you would in the yoghurt maker (fill 1/2 way with water, put the lid on and shake, then fill all the way with water and shake again then fill the yoghurt maker with boiling water to the baffle)

We've always got powdered milk in the cupboard for emergencies and a bag of powdered milk from Aldi is so much cheaper than several sachets of yoghurt culture.

I made it this way for the first time last night and it set even better than usual. I like the fact that it is less sweetened than other yoghurts and you can add your own fruit to it.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Homeschooling While Pregnant

I don't often blog about our homeschooling life, let me correct that, lately I haven't been blogging much at all! I often wonder how other families do it. Sometimes it's so hard to fit schooling in with just life in general, especially a large family. The logistics of running a household sometimes leave little time for anything else except taking a well earned break. Since starting our homeschooling journey I've had 2 babies and am about to have another, which will mean eight children in our family, and one thing I've learned is that there is no correct way to go about it, it's what works for you and your family.

So what do we do when I'm pregnant? We relax. I don't know that I actually plan the 12 months out (9mths of being pregnant and the first few months with a new bub) but at the very beginning, when I'm really sick, I only really insist on the basics: maths and reading. Of course they're learning all the time and there are a lot of home duties in the older kid's day so it's not like they're playing games, computer or watching TV all day. Then when I'm feeling a bit better and have more energy we add more subjects to their week. Towards the end of the pregnancy we tend to get even more involved in book work, knowing that once the baby is here we'll probably relax our homeschooling routine again for a few months.

What are we doing right now? I'm about 36 weeks pregnant now and have been in this house for a month and a half. We've also just started a new school term at the beginning of last week. It's the perfect time to re-evaluate what we're doing in our homeschooling. Earlier on in the year I made a Routine Chart for the family which included time allotted for school work, chores and breaks. I've made a few adjustments over the course of time but it is still working for us.

8:30am Have breakfast, showers, dressed, washing on
9:00am Morning Jobs
9:30am 1st Subject
10:30am Clean loungeroom
10:45am Have morning tea
11:00am 2nd Subject
12:00pm LUNCH
1:00pm Clean family room
Second load of washing
1:30pm Lunch jobs
1:45pm 3rd Subject
2:45pm 4th Subject
3:30pm Clean room for 5 mins

This is by no means a strict routine. I would probably have a breakdown if I felt I had to stick to it like glue. But it's a great guide and I find that having this poster up on the wall for the kids to see, rather than a laminated piece of paper that I used to have, gets them more involved.

On the chart it says 4 subjects during the course of the day but in reality they only do 3 as each of the 3 older children take a turn at occupying the little children to allow the older children to study in relative peace. They have large blocks of subjects as this chart is for the older children who are aged 11, 13 and 14 years. I would not expect the younger ones to sit still at a subject for this length of time when they start their formal learning. I also didn't mention that we only do school work 4 days a week. Our eldest son is studying at TAFE and has been having one day a week off so we make that our day off too. It gives us time to just chill but also to get things like folding up and intense cleaning of rooms done.

For their jobs I used to have a roster system but found that it wasn't really working for us so now they have their set chores that they do day in and day out. That doesn't mean they do them without me telling them,though (I wish).

Well that's how we homeschool while I'm pregnant and maybe by the next post we'll have our new precious little one.

Friday, September 16, 2011

So Many Things Happening

I can't believe it's halfway through September already. It's been so mad here in this household. I'm finally over the morning sickness, but still have bouts of it occasionally. We had to be out of our house by the 8th of October so once our tax return came back I pretty much had a full time job looking for a new house. It took 3 months to get accepted for a house 3 years ago with I don't know how many applications I put in. This time I was only looking for a week and a half. I put in a dozen applications on the Monday and before lunch time on Tuesday we had been accepted for one of our favourite houses. We picked up the keys for the new house on the 2nd of September and handed in the keys for our old house on the 12th.

Being nearly 30 weeks pregnant we decided that it would be best to hire cleaners for the old house, thinking they would be able to do a much better job than I or the kids could do, plus they did the yard and the steam cleaning, but we've had nothing but dramas with them. The real estate agent recommended them but also suggested that they needed 2 days to do the cleaning. We think that because they had the 2 days they may have backed off in the urgency and therefore not done a thorough job. On Saturday morning I called the boss and said that it wasn't good enough, which is so unlike me, but we were paying an exorbitant amount of money and I felt in my condition I shouldn't have to go and clean after they'd been there (I did however go and buy 2 bottles of spot cleaner and spot clean the carpets after the steam clean, the carpets looked 100% better). She was very apologetic and sent someone out on Monday morning but he still didn't do a good enough job in the 3 hours he was there so I met the real estate agent at the house on Tuesday morning to explain that I still wasn't happy with the job. She hadn't even walked into the house and was pointing out everything they had missed and once she went through the house rang the boss of the cleaning company who promptly apologised again and said she would personally come out and get the house up to scratch the next day.

So it's the 16th of September now and I've barely started unpacking in the new house. The kids are so whingy because their mum hasn't been around and their toys are still packed. I've been falling asleep right after I get the kids into bed and sleeping right through until they wake up (which beats last week where every day we were up before 6 to get to the old house as soon as possible.).

I've also found out that I'm severely lacking in several important vitamins and minerals. I'm lacking in iron, vitamin D and protein, and I'm also borderline gestational diabetic. So I'm really watching what I eat at the moment, taking extra iron and vitamin D tablets, drinking a protein drink that doesn't have too much sugar and is suitable for pregnant women and not eating sugary things. It's a good thing we don't have many birthdays at the moment, so I'm not making birthday cakes.

My plans at the moment are to get the house in order so that in 3 weeks, when school holidays end, the kids are ready to get going with school work, to get my body up to scratch to deliver a healthy baby and to finally prepare for the baby, which is no easy thing when I have to tackle Mt. Washmore and Mt. Foldmore. I've also been inspired lately to practice decorating cupcakes and to come up with my own cupcake designs, but I won't be eating them :)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Mushroom Risotto

This is one our staples at the moment. I used to hate mushrooms but when I was pregnant with Rose (no.6) I had a craving for them cooked in cream. Now I don't mind them, preferably not raw though.

As I make this off the top of my head some of the measurements may be a little off.

As a general rule I use 1 litre of stock per cup of rice.

For a while I was too scared to make risotto as all the recipes had Arborio rice but once I started making it I realised you can use any rice. We make it fairly often with Basmati Rice.

To give you an idea of how much to make for my large family I use 3-3 1/2 cups of rice, I actually add 1 cup of cheese as well.


  • Butter
  • Rice
  • Chicken or Vegetable stock (I use stock powder mixed with boiling water)
  • Sliced Mushrooms
  • Grana Padano Cheese (you can use parmesan but I like grana padano better)
  • Cream
  • Salt and Pepper.

  1. Melt a few tablespoons of butter in a large non-stick frying pan.
  2. Add rice to frying pan and cook for a couple of mins until grains start to look opaque.
  3. Add boiling chicken or vegetable stock to the rice and stir. Cook for 10-15 mins on medium high stirring occasionally so the rice doesn't stick. If you find that the rice is getting too dry add some more boiling stock.
  4. While the rice is cooking saute some sliced mushrooms in a few tablespoons of butter until soft.
  5. When the rice is ready turn off the heat and stir through mushrooms.
  6. Add around 1/2 cup of grated grana padano cheese and 1/2 cup of cream.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

My Little Girls Birthday Cakes

My youngest girls turned 3 and 1 earlier this year. I had so much fun making their cakes.

On life and stuff

I haven't blogged much over the last couple of years, I know, but life just gets in the way sometimes. Almost from conception Emily was a handful, with the worst morning sickness for a while and then being so tired and breathless from lack of iron. Normally it's a relief when a baby is finally born but not in Emily's case. I had a separation of the stomach muscles and a herniated belly button and was in agony only a few hours after her birth. Nobody picked up on it until I figured out what the problem was. I was in more pain that child birth and in the middle of her first night she was crying and I was in so much pain I got stuck halfway between sitting up and laying down. I couldn't even reach the buzzer to get a nurse, not that they came when I buzzed them anyway. I finally figured out that if I pushed my belly button in and held it I was in a lot less pain. After I finally got the attention of a nurse we figured out what the problem might be and in the morning I had a visit from the hospital physiotherapist and given a band to wear around my waist. I had to go home that morning, they wouldn't keep me in any longer, it's not their policy to keep women in longer than 2 nights and because she was born a few minutes before midnight that counted as the first night for them. They drugged me up with panadeine forte and Tramadol and made an appointment for me to see the hospital physiotherapist in 6 weeks.

I was not supposed to do any heavy lifting for those 6 weeks but you know what it's like being a mum and 2 days later I was in extreme agony again, feeling like I was going to die. My bowel had gotten caught in the muscles. I took some Tramadol and my husband called the ambulance. They were all busy and were going to take half an hour to get there so Tim drove me to the hospital. By that time the Tramadol was working and I wasn't in as much pain. So the doctor gave me endone, a morphine drug, knowing that I was breastfeeding, I decided to go to my own doctor before I got the script filled and he agreed that if I didn't need it not to get it filled I still had some Tramadol, which was bad enough.

We also had a house inspection coming up when Emily was only 2 weeks old. I knew I didn't want to be in that much pain again so I got the kids working to get the place ready. The owner of the house was also coming to take a look with the agent. We'd already put the inspection off once and couldn't do it again. I thought the place looked great, especially considering that the kids did most of the work, but the owner of the house was not happy, noticing some little rings of dirt around the jets of the spa bath. I'm glad we're moving out of here in October, though I'm worried he's going to try and get some of our bond money.

So on top of all that Emily had reflux and didn't sleep well. She would wake up within 5 minutes of being put down, so we had to hold her most of the time and while that wasn't so bad when she was really little nothing changed as she grew older. She wasn't settling until nearly midnight and even then she was really restless. She needed to be rocked and sung to and the only ones who could settle her were myself and Elijah (13) for the most part. This dragged on and on for months with her starting to pinch me and drawing blood as she was being cuddled, she was also starting to play with a mole I have on my neck, which I couldn't allow her to do. I was hating holding her and giving her a cuddle. I didn't want to get close to my little girl as she just hurt me.

I knew I was in a bad place when she was about 10 months old, when I was getting so frustrated and tired that as I was cuddling her I would squeeze her and yell at her to go to sleep. Don't get me wrong I never hurt her and when I say yell....well....that is comparatively as no-one else in the house heard me. It wasn't just me it was affecting. The other little one's weren't going to bed at a decent time as there was no point, Emily would wake them up with her crying and I was too tired to fight with them to get them to stay in bed. So they were falling asleep in front of the TV at who knows what time. The big kids weren't going to bed at a decent time either because Christian and Rose would wake them up with their noise. I had to do something drastic. I was going to just have to let her cry herself to sleep before something bad did happen.

So I googled 'control crying techniques' and read as much as I could to back myself up. I found out that it would only take about 3 days for things to get better and if after a week there was no change to go and seek medical advice. It was much easier to contemplate doing this knowing that there was a time limit. Her cot was already set up in the girls room, it just hadn't been used as she slept in bed with me. For the first day she cried for 2 hours before she fell asleep. I only went in a couple of times as I felt that I made things worse going in and trying to settle her. The second day she cried for 20 mins before falling asleep and the third day she only cried for 5 mins.

She's now 14 months old and things are a lot better. We still have issues with her sleep. We're slowly getting her to go to bed earlier but she still isn't settling until 9:30pm if I'm lucky. We're putting our foot down with the other littlies and working on getting their bedtime to the same as Emily's although they're so used to sleeping in front of the TV that we're having tantrums, especially our strong-willed Rose. The bigger kids have always been good with going to bed when they're told and so it's just a matter of Tim and I sending them to bed at a decent time, at the moment that time is 9:30, the same as the others, for Kahlia and Daniel, 10:30 for Elijah and well Josiah's nearly 18 so he stays up a little later.

Some of you might be asking where Tim was during all this but if you know me at all you know that don't like to delegate what I feel I should be able to do. Tim would try and take Emily for me but the way she cried just broke my heart and I couldn't bear it (although I look back now and think I should have let him have his way). He really did try to help but I wouldn't let him in, yes I am a little bit of a control freak. Emily was baby no. 7 and this was the first time I had had this issue. It shows that no matter how many children you have each one is different and you handle each one differently. I thank God that we made it through those 12 months with our family intact and our faith intact.

Emily is a gorgeous, intelligent little girl who started walking at 10 months. She loves running up to me and giving me cuddles and I love giving her cuddles. She gives the cutest sloppy open mouthed kisses and dances to any music that comes on. She loves her big brothers and sisters and follows Rose around like her shadow.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Homeschool and the Matrix

I've been thinking about this analogy a lot lately and thought I'd share it.

School is like the matrix. It's not a real world, it's a world made up by adults to keep children conformed, to make them good little robots that follow the system, oh and to get an education. Most kids will survive in the system but a percentage don't. Most parents have been in the system too and can't see anything else but the system, even to the point where their children are killing themselves. Few aren't entrenched in it and are able to take the red pill, to walk a different path, to 'follow the rabbit hole'.

I'm so glad I was one of the few, that my son did not become one of the ones who felt there was no way out except to take his own life, and that I'm teaching my children a different way of looking at the world.

Over the last 6 or seven years I've been on a journey into the rabbit hole (or maybe it's been my whole life as I've never really conformed and still believed in God the Creator and his Son Jesus who died on the cross for my sins) and I've found out so many untruths that this world has told us, not just about education but our health as well as many other things.

So what are you going to do? Take the blue pill and continue to let society dictate what you should believe and how you should live your life? Or take the red pill and step out of the box and, here's another cliche, take of the rose coloured glasses that were put on your eyes when you were a child.

Some great websites that have helped me over the years are:

If you're in Australia and want some more info on homeschooling Rainbow Divas has a secure online chat room with guest speaker Beverley Paine, who has been homeschooling for 20 years, this afternoon and next Monday afternoon.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Some changes coming up

One thing I hate about the New Year is that our rent inspection is usually in the second week. In 2010 I was very pregnant and managed to put it off for a few weeks but this year I didn't have that excuse and it was yesterday. We were only offered a 6 month renewal of our lease last year and since then I've feared that the owner was going to turf us out and I was right. We've been given our 90 day notice to vacate the premises. I'm taking it better than I expected but I suspected this was coming. The real estate agent is very happy with us as tenants and is quite happy to have us rent through them again, except that they don't have any properties out this way so she will give us a glowing reference.

So over the next 3 months I'm going to be a bit distracted with looking for a place to live, packing and moving. Hopefully with our glowing reference it won't be as hard to find a place to live as it was before, even though we have another child. To get the house we're in now we offered extra bond but that hasn't turned out so well and we won't be doing it again.

I have 2 little girls birthdays coming up in the next couple of weeks and I can't wait to make their birthday cakes and post some pics.

9/4/2011: I just realised that I haven't updated on the fact that the owners of our house offered us one more six month lease so we're here until the beginning of October now. This will be our last lease and even if the owners decided that they wanted us to stay we would not.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Christmas Baking 3

Cheeky Little Boy

Christmas Baking 2

I also made Caramel Fudge this Christmas. I use the ingredients list from one recipe but the method from another but I'll put them together in this blog.


2 x 395g cans sweetened condensed milk
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
250g butter, chopped
1/3 cup liquid glucose
1/4 cup golden syrup
400g good-quality white cooking chocolate, chopped.


Line a 28cm x 18cm x 3cm pan with foil or baking paper. Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add brown sugar, golden syrup and condensed milk; stir over a medium heat until boiling. Lower heat and cook, stirring for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add chocolate; stir until smooth. The fudge will start to set quite quickly, so immediately pour into prepared pan, then spread evenly with the back of a spoon. Allow to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, then refrigerate until firm. Cut into small pieces.

Christmas Baking

I know these posts are a bit late but I was madly baking for Christmas. I had a very good year baking and everything turned out perfect. The first thing I made was marshmallows. The recipe I use is from my very favourite cookbook The Commonsense Cookery Book.


3 tablespoons gelatine Vanilla or lemon essence to taste
1 cup cold water Icing sugar
4 cups sugar Cornflour
1 1/2 cups hot water

  1. Soak gelatine in cold water.
  2. Bring sugar and hot water to boiling point.
  3. Add soaked gelatine.
  4. Boil gently 20 minutes.
  5. Pour into a large mixing bowl. Cool and add essence.
  6. Beat until thick.
  7. Pour into a swiss roll tin lined with baking paper.
  8. When cold, cut into squares and toss in a mixture of icing sugar and cornflour (I have used only cornflour when I've run out of icing sugar and it was still fantastic).
This time I coloured half the mixture pink and I wrapped them up in cellophane.

I Love Sunday

I love my baths and I usually take a cup of tea, a glass of water, something to eat and a book and stay in there for hours. Unfortunately I've only had 2 since Emily was born but I plan to rectify that situation.