Monthly Archives: July 2012

Hopper Tots Blog London. Five Things + One More

Hopper Tots  is a beautiful London-based collective Children’s Blog which features “new products, cool brands and great buys for babies and toddlers”. This week, excitingly Hopper Tots reached out to me asking what the 5 baby/toddler related items I could not have lived without being a new Mummy. (Note – update Feb 2014. This blog has now ceased)

Hmmm…. I had to think about it for a while? It seems that when you have a baby/toddler it is kind of crazy how many products you acquire, especially if it is your first child!

What I have below are the 5 items that were mentioned on the Willy B Mum Hopper Tots posting, as well as 1 other which I added for this article – Bonus edition!!

Ergo Organic Green Baby Carrier
I love my organic Ergo carrier, and with Miles Storm at 22 months of age I am still using it. Although I do not use it anywhere near as much as I did when he was a year old, it is still such a help for those moments when it is just me and him and I have to jump out of the car in a hurry to run an errand. With the Ergo a baby cannot face outwards which I was okay with as there is a lot of bad press out there about the first carrier I had, the Baby Bjorn which does face out. I have heard that having a baby under six months of age, in the Baby Bjorn, can impact hip development? The Ergo does not do this. And, being a holistic Mom I love that it is made from 100% organic cotton and colored with organic dyes. One other thing, the carrier I have is green, my husband wanted to get a black one but I was like “Green is the new Black, babe”!

Ipad
Yes, I admit it, although it is not very holistic my Son has his own Ipad with many apps, music, photographs and movies on it. It is mainly used for the long car rides we take each week going between upstate NY and our apartment in the city, or when we are out eating at restaurants. I mean, I really do not know how we could survive without it, and not just for us as parents, it really is helpful for him when he is antsy and constrained to a high chair or car seat. Besides that, Miles Storm has learned so much from the educational applications he uses. I always do a lot of research on an application before I download it, with animals and nature making up most of his collection. There is also the ability to view a slide show of the hundreds of photos we have of us all as a young family, my Son especially likes to see photos of his Dad when he is away on business or at work. The video conferencing Facetime program is something we used daily when we were in Australia and my husband was in New York recently. We were away for 3 weeks and Miles missed his Dad a lot, so it was really helpful for him to be able to see and talk to him for a little while each morning.
The Ipad is a wonderful invention, and I think if used properly it is a wealth of knowledge and comfort for a Little One.

My Orange Bugaboo Cameleon
I mean, what an amazing pram the Bugaboo Cameleon is, I am seriously in love with mine. I really like that just because somebody else has the same Bugaboo it doesn’t mean theirs is going to look the same – there are endless color, function and accessory combinations. You really can design the Bugaboo to your liking and that rules.
At the moment, as we are about to take a month long trip to Europe my husband is trying to convince me to start using a foldable umbrella stroller, but I am not having it – no Siree! Back away from my Bugaboo Babes! I see no reason for a change, sure it may be a little bit easier to travel with an umbrella stroller but will Miles Storm really be as comfortable and will we look as cool? I am going to be so sad when he is too big for it, I may have to seek separation anxiety counseling…. seriously.

White Learning Tower
The Learning Tower is an amazing device that encourages creativity which can be used from 18 months to around 5 years of age. Basically, it is an adjustable height platform which elevates children to a place where they can help out at home or take part in activities like cooking, washing dishes, drawing, reading or simply observing Mum and Dad.
Miles Storm is going through a phase where he is not-so-into his high chair so he stands in his Learning Tower and eats his meals that way. He also likes to help us preparing food in the kitchen, playing with play dough and just to climb in and out of it like a jungle gym.
One thing I will say, if you are going to buy one I would recommend against the color white. Ours is so dirty and removing all the stains is challenging.

Beaba BabyCook
If you know Willy B Mum, you know that for sure my husband and I were cooking nearly all Miles Storm’s food for him when he was a baby. It really is scary with GMO’s, additives and chemicals being added to our foods and the effects they are having on our bodies, so we try to minimize the exposure as much as we can. By making our own baby food we had a lot more control and knowledge as to what was going into his body.
The Beaba baby food cooker steams, blends, warms and defrosts food – yes it really can and it is easy to use too. I actually still use ours in the kitchen for small blending jobs when cooking, so it is definitely something that you can get a lot of use from.

Thudguard Crawling Helmet
This infant soft-shelled helmet was a godsend when Miles Storm was starting to pull himself up from a crawl and learning how to walk (which seems so long ago now)! In our house upstate NY we have very hard tiled floors, and he was having some bad falls. I actually wrote a posting about it here. When he was wearing his Thudguard I had great peace of mind as I knew if he fell, for the most park, besides maybe being shocked that he was going to be okay. And, I did not have to continually be behind him when he was trying to walk which gave him more independence and me more free time.
He wore it continually day in, day out for around 4 months. He really liked it. The only thing I will say is that his head he did get really sweaty in it at times.

So there you have it, my top 6 choices for must have items for a new Baby. Feel free to add your thoughts, and let me know of any other helpful items that are good to have around, hopefully soon another Little One will be on the way and I can try your suggestions out.

Growing up I always loved my Mum’s home-made stew, so today let’s make a vegetable quinoa one!

When I was growing up one of my favorite dishes my Mum made for our family was a slow simmered hearty stew. Of course, it was made with minced beef, but I am sure back then there were no near as many hormones and chemicals in the cows most people eat today. I always enjoyed the taste of beef, but when I was around the age of 15 I stopped eating all animals, because I have such a love for them. It never made any sense to me to eat them.

Now that I am a mother myself and Miles Storm is moving out of the baby food realm, I have found that my husband and I are taking cooking to a whole new level – we are constantly cooking new and interesting vegetarian meals for him. This is noteworthy because, back up a few years ago, and we rarely cooked at home. We ate-out or ordered-in nearly all of our meals.

This morning my husband mentioned that we had a lot of quinoa in the pantry and I should make something for Miles with it. Having a think about it I came up with the idea of making a vegetable stew. I compiled the following recipe from memories I have of when I was younger and by doing a little research. I am so proud of myself, as I started from scratch, it was my first stew ever and it turned out really yummy.

WHAT IS QUINOA!
Quinoa is a seed that is grown on a grain like crop which is a healthy alternative to pasta or rice which are packed with weight gaining carbohydrates. To put it into perspective – one cup serving of quinoa has 220 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein. It also has all the amino acids needed for health being a complete protein in a plant-based food!  The World Health Organization says that the quality of protein in quinoa is equal to that found in dehydrated whole milk. It is an amazing source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It is also very easy and quick to make.

Vegetable and Quinoa Stew

WHAT I USED FOR MY STEW

  • Half a cup of olive oil
  • One whole purple onion, diced into small pieces
  • One whole garlic head, peeled and cut in half
  • 6 small capsicums various colors – yellow, red and orange, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 6 stalks of celery, sliced into small pieces
  • 6 small sweet potatoes, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 6 small carrots, chopped into small slices
  • 1 packet of imitation beef mince protein mix, I used this one here
  • Half a small purple cabbage, shredded into small slices
  • Enough liquid vegetable stock to cover all the vegetables, I used 5 cups
  • 1 teaspoon or turmeric
  • 2 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • Rosemary to garnish
  • Salt and Pepper to flavor
  • 1 cup of quinoa

Read More Willy B Mum

The Blueprint Cleanse, oh how I love you!

A few months ago, while Miles Storm and I were out and about in Williamsburg Brooklyn I stumbled upon a bottle of Blue Print Cleanse’s freshly pressed organic Cashew Nut, Agave, Vanilla and Cinnamon drink (AKA known as White Juice). It was amazing and we both fought over the last drop…. seriously! I took a photo of that moment and put it up through the Willy B Mum twitter feed tagging Blue Print Cleanse on it.

What happened next was really cool, with social media at it’s finest I was approached by the company and asked if I would like to be a BLOG contributor on their site & do their 3 day cleanse for FREE. I mean, how amazing is that. I was so excited, especially as over the July 4th period my husband and I had a 10 day holiday, drinking way too much wine! I was feeling a bit bloated and lazy, so a good kick in the bum not being able to eat for 3 days was a God Send.

WHY CLEANSES ARE GOOD FOR YOUR BODY

Going along with the idea that The Best Medicine is no Medicine, giving your body a break from not having to digest foods can do wonders. Other benefits of doing a cleanse include giving you clarity of mind, giving your liver a break, helping to stimulate your metabolism, ridding your body of unwanted pounds, increasing energy and vitality, kick starting your metabolism and helping to eliminate body stress (among other things).

Read More Willy B Mum

Roasted Sweet Potato & Garlic Hummus

We eat a lot of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) in our house. We bake them, put them in salads, make soup and create the traditional yummy Middle Eastern dish – hummus. Hummus is basically a concoction of olive oil, lemon, chickpeas, sesame tahini and garlic, and is supposedly one of the oldest dishes dating back to Egypt 7000 years ago!

Once you have the basic recipe together you can really get creative with it. I made some this past weekend with roasted sweet potato and it was delicious. It is very healthy dish, which I like to serve with raw vegetables like cucumbers, carrots and capsicum. It is also perfect for little hands! Miles Storm loves his hummus.

Chickpeas are a great source of protein, manganese, iron, tryptophan and fiber, they also contain an extremely high amount of molybdenum which is an antioxidant that apparently can prevent cancers by protecting cells from free radicals. Additionally, sweet potatoes contain high levels of Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Vitamin B6.

Good times all around! You just cannot go wrong with some home cooked hummus.

When I make any chickpeas dish I prefer using organic hard chickpeas compared to the canned variety which have sat in salted water for who knows how long! This makes the process a lot longer but the taste of the chickpeas is a lot better.

Home Made Sweet Potato Hummus

WHAT YOU NEED

  • 20 cloves of organic garlic.
  • 1 large sweet potato cut into small pieces
  • Sprigs of rosemary
  • Half a cup of olive oil
  • 6 cups of organic chickpeas (which you can buy at a health food store)
  • Quarter of a cup of tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 1 small organic lemon

PREPARATION

  • First soak the chickpeas overnight in cold water, for a minimum of 10 hours.

Read More Willy B Mum

A Farmers Markets is a wealth of knowledge for Little Ones

My family really enjoy our Sunday trips to the Rhinebeck Farmers Market, upstate NY, where we spend every weekend. Miles Storm especially loves the experience, having visited the market with us since he was born, it is something he gets very excited about.  This past weekend he particularly enjoyed tasting some of the produce. First he tried zucchini, then he tried apples and lastly he tried carrots. It was hilarious to watch, people were in stitches laughing at his antics.

Children can learn a lot from a Farmers Market, it is abound with endless knowledge, it is also a super-fun outing and a wonderful learning opportunity. Here’s why.

Identifying Different Foods

Attending a fun outdoor market and pointing out different foods to your children can lead to further discussion about all kinds of wonderful things like what meals you can make with that food, what color the food is, how to spell the name of the food, what time of the year the food grows, the health benefits of eating the food etc. Knowledge is power, and a child being familiar with the natural foods around them can only encourage healthy eating habits.

Different Seasons Produce Different Foods

Tomatoes in April, Blueberries in November – I do not think so. Different seasons and weather patterns produce different foods, and a Farmers Market is an exact reflection of this. Children who make regular visits will learn about the natural availability of foods, compared to what is purchasable in the supermarket all year around. Learning about this at a young age can help to establish the important practice of buying local seasonal food when possible, thus ensuring that there will continue to be farms in our communities providing future generations with nourishing, flavorful, and abundant goods.

Meet Your Local Farmer Read More Willy B Mum

Miles Storm unexpected first day at a USA beach

Today, as it was so hot, I decided to go and visit my girlfriend and her 4-year-old where they live in the gorgeous seaside town of Rowayton, Connecticut. Rowayton is around 45 miles from New York City on the Long Island Sound. It is a sleepy aquatic sailing town which is one of the most expensive communities in the United States to live.

My girlfriend took me and Miles Storm to the local Bayley Beach, which is private that only residents of the town can visit. There is security at the entrance to the car park, and if you do not have a town issued sticker on your car you are not allowed in. The beach is really gorgeous. The water was clear, the sand was nice, there is a well-kept playground for the children to play in, volley ball court, basketball court, tennis courts, a band-stand area with picnic tables and a really nice café.

I would love to live in a place with such a beautiful beach available for my family to use at any time. That is one of the many things I miss about not being home in Australia, we never get to the beach living in New York and my Son will not experience that True-Blue Aussie vibe of being in the Ocean a lot!

Everything was going wonderfully, until as I was walking over to the café following Miles, 2 workers at the beach (who were around 15 years old) called out to me. When I acknowledged them, I was told that I had to put bathers on Miles which was really surprising to me? I had forgotten to take bathers for him, but either way we have him naked in the water a lot so it was not a big deal to me.

I have always heard that, generally speaking, Americans are weird about Little Ones being naked at the beach but I was still shocked to be experiencing it first-hand. Coming from laid-back Australia, as far as I remember, it is considered normal and okay for Little Ones to be naked as long as they have a hat and sunscreen on of course; it is a pure positive and beautiful thing! Not to mention, Europe where women sunbake topless! So why does the good old USA have such a problem with it? You tell me.

I was quite taken aback at the situation, so calling their bluff I said that it not the law that my Son had to be in bathers and there was nothing that they could do about it. Which they quickly responded that it is not the law, I was right, but they had a weird guy hanging around the beach. A weird guy? Okay, well it is a private beach and everybody who enters has to have a town registered sticker on their car so you must know who this person is, right? Personally, I feel that they were not expecting me to challenge them about it, and that the story about the strange guy was made up right there and then to cover their tracks when they saw how I responded. My girlfriend, who is European, said that the beach employees always give her a hard time if her Little One is not wearing bathers.

I mean, do we assume our children are going to get hurt or do we send positive vibes and know that they are going to be okay. Personally, I prefer not to be paranoid and enjoy the beauty of Miles Storm being able to go naked at the beach, especially if I am standing right next to him to protect him. I do not think that everybody out there is someone who may harm my child. On the other hand, why do people even care to interfere? Or find it offensive in any way? If it bothers you that much just look elsewhere.

Miles Storm first day at the beach ever in Rowayton Connecticut

Apple, Coconut, Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Ever since starting this Blog 6 months ago, I have become a domestic goddess with an emphasis on cooking (as my girlfriend Yfat put it). It is in part that now being a mother I want the very best for my Son. It is important to my husband and I that he eats good, healthy, mainly organic clean foods. Secondly, I also need material to write this blog!!

As I have written before, Miles Storm is a vegetarian (eating a small amount of fish sometimes at his father’s request not mine) who cannot eat any cow products or any products with gluten. I have also been a vegetarian for 22 years. In my opinion it is a healthier way to live. With that said, it means that we are always coming up with new awesome things to make, my family is in a stage of exploration, oh yes we are.

At the moment, Miles Storm is going through a phase where he likes to dip his pasta in tomato pasta sauces. He will say “Dip, Dip, Pasta, Pasta”. Today, I thought I would try something different for lunch and came up with my take on a soup in one of my Vegan cookbooks.

I also must admit that this is the first soup I have ever made! Yes, you heard me right. It was so easy to make and I am so happy with it, and the most important thing is Miles Storm loved it too! Can’t wait to make it for Thanksgiving dinner this year!

My version of the Apple, Coconut, Roasted Butternut Squash soup topped with sautéed kale, onion and jalapeno!

WHAT YOU NEED FOR SOUP

  • 1 organic apple of your choice (I used a granny smith), peeled and diced
  • I large organic butternut squash, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 cups of light coconut milk (I used So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk Beverage)
  • 1 large white onion, chopped in small pieces
  • 2 cups of organic low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 3 teaspoons of curry powder
  • 3 teaspoons of ginger
  • Tiny bit of nutmeg
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Read More Willy B Mum

Yes, I am one of those “Attachment Parenting” Mums.

I never thought that I would still be breastfeeding my 22 month old Son, but I am. Years ago, I actually thought that I would never breastfeed at all as I worried about what it would do to my body, selfish yes I know. It was easy to say then as I really had no idea of the differences in cow milk formula and breast milk. I am not a big fan of cow’s milk, and my Son actually cannot drink or eat cow products as he breaks out in the skin condition eczema.

Miles Storm was born a month early, (which was very considerate of him as I did not have to go through the last month in the heat here in NY), and weighed 5+ pounds – he was so tiny.  I remember being in the hospital having a nurse show me what to do, I mean it was so surreal, I did not even think that the milk would come, but it did. Then came blurred months on end of sleepless nights getting up every 3 hours to feed him, I cannot say I miss that part at all!

Three months ago I visited my home town in Melbourne Australia by myself with my Son. Flying to Melbourne from the United States is one of the longest plane trips ever, we were in the air for 21 hours total each way, and that did not include the 3 hour stopover In LA and getting to and from the airports.

I was so nervous flying all that 9000 miles+ by myself with my super-active-toddler sitting in such a small place. My husband planned to come but it was an important time within his industry and he could not make it, and that is totally okay in my book!

Planning the trip 6 months earlier, I did know that if I could just keep breastfeeding till our departure date it would be easier on both of us…… and it was! The flight, both ways, was smooth sailing, and on both flights when departing the plane other passengers came up to me and said that Miles Storm was the best baby they had flown with. I credit breastfeeding almost entirely to this. I mean, I saw some of their faces when I was settling into my seat at the beginning of the flights, they just thought they were sitting near a soon-to-be out of control screaming baby. Fair enough I would have thought the same thing back in the day!

I had full intentions to stop nursing when I arrived back in New York but it did not happen, my Little Boy just loves his milk so much. And, I mean is it right for me to stop because I want too, shouldn’t it be all about him? I have definitely changed my tune; we are also heading off on a summer holiday to Croatia in 2 months and I know it will be great to have up my sleeve as a party trick again while flying.

Nursing a little one on a plane helps to comfort them in strange surroundings, keeps them occupied in a small limited space, and  helps with take-off and landing because as they are constantly swallowing they do not get the popping ear feeling. It also keeps them quiet which means other passengers aren’t going to be giving you dirty looks! Love that.

Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond. World Health Organization.

My new plan of attack is that I am just going to let him stop nursing when he is ready, and hopefully that is sometime soonish? My husband makes jokes that I am still going to be breastfeeding Miles Storm when he is 6 years old, I always respond “Jokes are meant to be funny babe”.

I know that some people think it is extreme to still breastfeed at this age, but being a stay-at-home Mummy and being able to do so I think that it is fine. I realize that every Mum has to do what works for her and her child. For example, my sister has 5 children and she chose not to breastfeed any of them. Do I judge her, of course not as that is her journey and experience, and she is entitled to it.

Let’s be honest, it is not going to last forever and soon enough it will be just a memory. Let’s not rush it shall we!

Still breastfeeding at 22 months of age

Strawberry, Spinach, Toasted Cashew Nut & Avocado Salad Yummy!

We always have so much produce in our refrigerator at home, and although my family eats an abundance of fruits and vegetables it is, at times, challenging to eat everything before it goes bad.

This afternoon for lunch I decided to take the ingredients we had available and turn it in to an awesome healthy salad. The strawberry puree dressing was something I have never done before, and I am really happy with the way my experiment turned out.

It is another quick, easy, healthy vegan meal. And, I love that!

YOU WILL NEED

  • 1 ripe organic avocado
  • 2 cups of organic hulled and cut-in-half organic strawberries
  • 6 ounces of organic spinach
  • Half a cup of raw organic cashew nuts toasted
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
  • Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

RECIPE

  • First start by making the dressing by blending in food processor sea salt, pepper, olive oil, red vine vinegar and half a cup of strawberries
  • Combine avocado, remaining strawberries, spinach, toasted cashew nuts in a bowl and pour in dressing. Toss, and mix thoroughly.
  • Enjoy!

Read More Willy B Mum

Amazing Vegetable Soup, perfect for a Little One with an ear-ache

A few days ago we realized Miles Storm was not feeling well, and when we checked his temperature it was just over 102 (poor little guy). We took him straight to the ER at the local Northern Dutchess Hospital where we were for 3 hours waiting to see what was wrong with him. He just laid there on the bed as limp as limp, which was so heart breaking to see. It ended up, that he had a bad ear infection which we assume he developed because he had been in the pool the day before. My Son participates in swimming lessons at an amazing school in Brooklyn called Aqua Beba. He is already swimming under water so he had spent most of the time in the pool with his head submerged.

When we were at the hospital my mother-in-law offered to make some soup for him, which is perfect when you are not feeling very well – a yummy home-made soup.

Miles Storm and I are predominately vegetarians who occasionally eat some seafood. We do not eat animals and we cannot eat any cow milk products or gluten because if we do we both develop skin conditions.  We prefer only to serve organic foods as the whole vibe of eating pesticides and chemicals on your food is very frightening. Unfortunately, organic foods are not always available but we do our very best. I think this is the reason so many more people are getting sick in the world and wholeheartedly believe in “You are what you eat”.

This soup is really healthy and very quick and simple to make. You can also freeze it, and it keeps well in the fridge for up to 5 days.

YOU WILL NEED

  • A quarter a cup of Olive Oil
  • 2 organic carrots
  • Half a cup of organic peas
  • 1 organic sweet potato
  • 3 organic Italian Plum tomatoes
  • Half an organic cauliflower
  • Organic corn from 2 cobs
  • 1 organic zucchini
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • Amore Pesto Paste (this paste has no cheese in it)
  • Amore Tomato Paste
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Read More Willy B Mum