Breastfeeding

I find myself bombarded everyday with images of women breastfeeding. On social media, on the TV. Women claiming that they have the right to feed in public, that its the most wonderful thing in the world. That those who dont breastfeed are disadvantaging their children. Well folks. I wanted to tell you my own story. Because breastfeeding is the best thing for your child but frankly not everyone is able to feed and we shouldnt be made to feel inferior for it.

When Rue was born he went straight to the nursery due to a low temp and low blood sugar. I didnt get to see him for a full day. When i did he had been fitted with a nasal feeding tube because his nose had been compressed in the womb and he wasnt able to breath through it. This was a temporary problem that would right it self in a few days. Until then they had to start him on formula. Due to a traumatic labour i was bed bound for the first two days. Rue was brought to me on the evening of the first day and i tried to breastfeed him but he couldnt breathe and feed so wouldnt latch. I expressed into a syringe a few times a day which the nurses gave him before his formula.

On the third day i was aloud out of bed in a wheel chair so could only go and see him when my partner was in the hospital which was about 3 times a day. They gave me the use of their breastpump but i could only use it when i was in the nursery. I expressed about 10ml of colustrum each time. It was not much as due to my haemorrhage my body was busy trying to make blood rather than milk. The nurses said it was a really good effort to get that much in my condition. On the forth day he got his tube out and i tried him on the boob again. He could latch but wouldnt suck and quickly pulled away. On the sixth day we went home. I continued pumping with my home pump and got about 20-40mls each time in about an hour of pumping, It was time consuming and exhausting for my body which was still trying to heal. I tried to breastfeed him everyday but he now wouldnt latch and would scream every time i tried. After 2 weeks my supply had gone down to 20ml a day. I knew i couldnt keep it up. At three and a half weeks i packed the pump away. I felt terrible. I felt like i had failed my little man. Im nearly in tears now thinking about it. At one month i made one last effort and bought nipple shields thinking he might think it was his bottle. Nope. Hated them. So that was that.

My baby was happy, gaining weight and healthy. I had to accept that. Alot of women are in the same position as me. I have friends who were in tears daily because they couldnt breastfeed. They tried everything.  Some went to clinics for weeks to try get their babies to feed. They ate special diets, lactation cookies, went on medication to increase supply. They battle masatitis and thrush. All because we have it drilled into us that we have to breastfeed. Well you know what. I think thats a horrible thing to do to new mothers. Its hard enough without laying that much pressure on us. Sure breast is best but if you cant, if its affecting your mental or physical health then we need to be accepting of formula. As mothers we should not pressure other mothers to breastfeed. We should be 100% accepting of formula feeding babies. Dont shove breast is best campaigns in our faces. Dont look pityingly at us when we tell you we formula feed. Dont tell me that statistically my child will be dumber than breastfed babies, dont tell me that he will be sickly because he didnt get my immunities. My baby is healthy and happy and there is NO benefit to making us feel like crap about a decision that we did for the health of our selves and our babies. The decision is hard enough without shoving breastfeeding guilt trips in our face everyday. I guess you could say that breast is best campaigns have actually gone one step too far. In trying to get us all to breastfeed they have alienated those who cant. Much like the feminist movement that gave us so many options but now its considered a controversial decision to be a stay at home mum. We have to justify a decision that used to be the norm.

So stop and think before judging. Even if you didnt mean it your words and actions can cut. And dont worry if you read this and think im talking about you, none of my friends do this, its mostly a side affect to being a member of mothers groups where there are alot of opinions floating around.

Quilt in a week

I actually could have finished this in a day but, well, i have a 4month old baby lol This is for my step brother who became a father on the weekend. I meant to make it a few weeks ago but never got around to it. I went for simple. Squares, polyester batting which i already had and some backing leftover from Rues quilt. Im sorry to say that when i was quilting it the fabric bunched on the back. Not sure if i will give it to them now…I also ran into a few hurdles. When i was sewing the rows together i realised that some rows were one square short. I couldnt work out why until i realised that when i was laying them out on the floor the dogs were jumping on them so i was piling them up to one side, but the later rows i was piling up next to the other piles and forgot that that meant i was one square down because the piles were piled on their last square…does that make sense? Then when i was quilting it the needle bent and snapped! I went slower after that and avoided the edges which were thicker from excess batting. Not my best work but still a cute play mat.

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Frozen Ciabatta garlic bread

My fave pizza place does the best garlic bread because its on ciabatta bread which is yum by itself but great with garlic and butter! Sadly BD got food poisoning last time we had it and refuses to go there again. So i thought i would try whip up a batch myself. How hard can it be?

Ciabatta Garlic Bread

What is different to Ciabatta and regular bread is that this has a sponge. Combine one cup flour with 1/8 tsp yeast and 1/2 cup room temp water. Mix and cover with glad wrap then set aside for 8-24hrs. Best to do this the night before.

Next day: Add 2 cups flour, 1.5 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp yeast, 3/4 cup water and half a cup milk both at room temp to the sponge mix. The recipe actually calls for rapid rise yeast but as i havent been able to find it i assume its an american product. Mix it all together with the paddle attachment on your mixer (or by hand) on low until combined then on med for 3-4mins. Then change to the dough hook and kneed for 10mins on med (or kneed on bench). Dough will be sticky.

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Cover with gladwrap and leave to rise for an hour. Spray a scraper (or spatula) with cooking spray. Insert it into the edge of the bowl and pull the side of the dough up and over being careful not to deflate the dough. Turn the bowl 90deg and repeat. Do this a total of 8 times so the whole dough has been stretched and turned. Replace gladwrap and leave for 30 mins. Repeat this step once more, leaving to rise for 30mins again. Turn it out onto a well floured sheet of baking paper being careful not to knock the air out of it.

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Cut it in two and place each piece cut side up on the baking sheet. Flour the top of each well. Poke the dough down until each piece is about 12×4 (or loaf shapped). Fold each short side over like you would fold a letter in thirds. Turn so the seam side is down. Flour well and cover with glad wrap then leave for 30mins.

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Poke them out again until they are 12×4 again. Spray with water and bake at 230c for 5mins spraying with water twice more during this 5mins. Bake for a further 20-30mins until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool for atleast 1hr. Slice nearly all the way through, leaving the base intact, then spread a mix of 2tsp butter with 1tsp garlic into slits. Wrap with a double layer of gladwrap then a layer of tinfoil and freeze. Will freeze well for up to a month. To reheat remove plastic and place in oven at 180c until heated through. About 10-15mins. OR 6-8mins if thawed.

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This smells incredible during all stages. I love that yeasty smell. Mine didn’t get the big bubbles like the recipe said which may have been because i didn’t use the fast rise yeast. Still looks and tastes great though!

Photoshop

Photoshop has received a bad name over recent years. I personally love it but i dont use it to change how people look, i use it to turn happy snaps into framed photos. I remove powerlines, drink bottles, pimples. Little things that distract from the main subject. All of my pictures of Rue are taken on my phone as happy snaps, not posed. This means that they often have odd backgrounds, he isnt wearing neutral clothes and there are things in the frame that i would rather weren’t. So i thought i would take you through how i changed this happy snap to one of my favourite pictures of Rue and BD.

This is the original image from my phone. You will notice the background is the TV with credits from the Simpsons rolling.

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The first thing i did was use the clone tool on the black and using it to swipe over the credits so that it looks like the background is solid black. I didnt use the paint tool for this because its not actually true black and it can make the people look odd when you change the background color too much.

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Next i wasnt sure what to do with his clothes. I knew i wanted to keep this image in color because the contrast of BDs skin against Rues pale skin and the black background looked really good. First I tried to use the clone tool again to take out the cars on his onesie but it wasnt working well. Then i used the paint tool on 75% opacity to paint over it. This sort of worked but it took out the wrinkles and shaddow which made it look fake. I tried using the sharpening tool to make the edges more solid and not glow but it took out some of the detail.

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I strongly suggest saving each stage as a separate image so you can go back if you dont like your changes. So i closed this image and opened the file with just the background changed. Next i tried a different tact. I used the lasso tool to select his onesie then the wand to add and subtract selected parts until i only had his onesie selected. Then i used the color and saturation to remove the color. I love the effect. The grey cars are now more of a background then a feature. They work well against BDs tattoo too, (which are 2 of his 6 nieces names, not ex girlfriends).

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And vola, the final image. I think its a new favourite. Its not perfect but it meets my needs :)

Christmas quilt

Im in the planning stage of christmas gifts. One person is getting a quilt. My original idea was print squares broken up by white strips.

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However i found a better idea. The issue is that the fabrics i bought for the one above wont work for the new idea. This one is dark.

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Where as the new idea is pale and neutral with free motion embroidery as the key feature.

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I drew up a plan then quickly realised that unless i wanted to buy all new fabric i would have to work with the fabric in my stash, none of which matched the dimensions of my plan.

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So, new plan. Measure what i have and draw as i go. I will still have to buy more fabric but hopefully not as much. Its really putting my math skills to the test trying to draw to scale and converting everything from inches to centimetres and back again. My drawing is 10in = 1cm (my quilt batting is 84x100in) but im measuring in cm so i have to divide it by 2.54 to get inches then divide by 10 to get cm to draw the scale pic. I have ignored seam allowance and will just accept that the quilt will be smaller as i intend for it to be a snuggle on the lounge blanket rather than a bed cover. My brain hurts!

New feature!

You may notice a new section on the right of my page. This is a gift for you all. If you are tired of roaming the internet looking for deals and sales i have made it easier for you. I will update this section when ever i find a sale or great deal i think you should all know about. Some of the links will stay up as they are links to companies sale pages. The rest I will try and update as soon as i find a deal. Sound good? I do ask that if you find a great deal that you let me know and send me a link so that i can share the love :)

The current links are to some of my favourite sites. Mumgo which always has great deals. Bambooty which is my preferred MCN and currently has a sale on their basics range. Then we have Bonnibuns which is another MCN company who often have great deals on limited edition patterns. My baby warehouse currently have a huge sale and i recommend you check it out.

I will mention that none of these sites pay me to advertise, i just think that raising a child is expensive enough, we need to help each other out :)

Home hunting

We were home hunting this week. Well sort of. We were hunting on Allhomes as we dont actually have any money. The idea was to see what was out there and what it will cost. We both think that Canberra houseing prices are was over inflated ($400,000 for a two bedroom shoebox) and i have always dreamt of living in the country. BD is open to this as it means he has plenty of space for his projects (of the car kind) and can hoon around on a quad bike. For me the appeal is open fire places, no neighbours, chickens, the view, vegie garden. Just room to breathe basically.

So our criteria is: Under $300,000, big shed, large block, fireplace, 3 bedrooms, good bones. We dont mind renovating and i would actually love to renovate so the house just has to be stable and practical. The one i loved and was backed up by my mum is this one:

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Isnt it charming. Its $230,000 so well within our budget. It has 3 beds and 2000ac of land so almost two big blocks. There are fire places in the lounge room and two of the bedrooms (we wouldnt use the bedroom ones but they look charming).

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Carpet clearly needs to be ripped out lol the rest of the place is floorboards which would need to be refinished. Kitchen is functional if a little small and outdated so it would need to eventually be replaced and the bathroom, well i have no idea whats going on there.

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This house has inspired a pinterest board of my renovation dreams :)

Kitchen

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Bathroom

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Paint scheme

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Fireplace

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Garden

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So, time to get saving i think! Do you do this? Pick a run down house and use pinterest to renovate it?

Home cooking

I always try and cook to BD’s tastes. I even got the recipe for his mums chicken and corn soup but he still prefers his mums. I asked if he wanted me to get the recipe for her curried sausages and he said no because he knew that when his mum makes it it will taste the same every time…im not sure what this says about my cooking. So instead i try and find new recipes that he will like. He is really picky! He hates rice, and mince (90% of my recipes have mince), isnt a fan of curries or chinese food although he loves chinese takeaway. He has banned spaghetti bolognaise (my favourite dinner) He also seems to not like cakes, muffins, or deserts…he isnt making this easy. What he will eat is getting a bit repetitive, deviled sausages, savoury mince (on toast not rice), burritos, steak, schnitzel, buffalo wings, ribs, toasted ham and cheese sandwiches. Man food :P

Something i am quite proud of though is my potato salad. I tried to make it like his dads which is incredible but i made it my own as i have accepted that i cant match his parents cooking.

Potato salad:

Cut potatoes into 4 and boil with plenty of salt. No need to peel. Cut into 5 if they are large, they should be large bite sized. Cool them in the fridge when they are soft but not falling apart. Dice bacon and one onion and cook until onion is soft. Add to potatoes. Soft boil two eggs and chill then peel and dice. Add to the potatoes. Mix mayonnaise and a dash of lemon juice and pour over, then season with a tsp of seeded mustard and pepper. Stir it all together.

You notice that i havent added many quantities. Well basically its how ever much you have. I generally find 6 potatoes and 2 eggs with 3 rashers of bacon work well. Maybe a tbls mayo.

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I can eat it by the bowl full (and had a bowl before i took a picture) but it works well if the bacon and onion is still warm when you put it in, gives that comforting warmth when you eat it and coats the whole thing in bacon grease mmmm. I actually over boiled the eggs for this one so had to throw them out. I could have bounced them across the kitchen they were that rubbery.