Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Thursday Cooking Adventure Club

If you'd told me a year ago that I'd spend my Thursday afternoon baking ANZAC biscuits and then blogging about it - I'd have laughed at you ... then I would have hurried off to see what was burning in the kitchen.

I'm definitely not the 'baking' type. Don't get me wrong, I love to eat the 'baking' and I don't even mind 'baking' the baking ... my downfall has always been 'remembering' the baking.

Once, as a 19-year-old, I enthusiastically popped a roast dinner into the oven to surprise my flatmates. I then, with equal enthusiasm, accepted the offer of a last-minute shift at the video store where I worked. Three hours into my shift I received a phonecall from my flatmate - she was MOST surprised. Surprised to find a rock-hard, unidentifiable lump of what could be meat, smoking away in the oven. Not so surprised to hear that it was my fault though ...

I surprised other flatmates with my cooking amnesia over the years. You should have seen the surprised look on the face of one of them when she saw her expensive, new saucepan blackened by the popcorn I forgot about ... not that I got a good look at her face. I was too busy cleaning oil off EVERY SINGLE THING in the kitchen, even the things inside the cupboards (how did that happen?).

Anyway, even though I'm now older and wiser it is still with some trepidation (and an alarm on my phone) that I embark on any cooking adventure. Especially with The Toddler around as an added distraction.

And still, I've spent this afternoon baking a batch of ANZAC biscuits from a recipe my Nan gave me. And I've only burnt the first batch (a little), so far ...

Here's the recipe ... plus recipes for My Mum's Easy Chocolate Cake and Simple Pancake Mix.

My Nan's ANZAC biscuits (makes 12-15 depending on size)

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup coconut
1 cup brown sugar (although I used half white sugar today)
1 cup SR flour
3 tablespoons golden syrup
125g butter
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.

Melt the butter with the golden syrup

Mix the bicarb with 2 tablespoons of boiling water, then add to the melted butter/syrup mix

The butter/syrup mix should froth when the bicard is added. Pour all of this into the bowl of the dry ingredients and combine.

Roll into balls and place on a greased baking tray. Squish the balls with the back of the fork (not sure why, just doing what Nan told me to).

Bake in moderate (350F/180C) oven for about 15 minutes.

Biscuits will harden when cooled. Yummo!!

My Mum's Easy Chocolate Cake

3 tablespoons butter
1 cup SR flour
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs

Melt butter.

Combine the rest of the ingredients into a large bowl and pour melted butter on top.

Beat hard for 3 minutes

Pour mixture into greased cake tin and bake in moderate (350F/180C) oven for 45-60 mins.

Easy Pancake Batter (makes 10-12)

2 cups SR flour
2 eggs
Milk (added slowly until mixture is the consistency of cream)

Beat eggs, add flour.

Stir while slowly adding milk. You want it runny, like cream.

TIP: Cook them on a sandwich press! Wipe the sandwich press with butter, pour the mix on, wait for bubbles to appear, then close the lid! No flipping required!!

All the best!!!

BH Editor

TELL US!! What is your favourite Pancake topping????

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The forum is down: Your Survival Guide

The Bub Hub forum needs upgrading and will be down for four hours in the morning!! But there is no need for you to panic! And there is certainly no need to do any housework!!
I've thought of a few things you could do without resorting to that ...

1. Like The Bub Hub on Facebook

We are still around ... in fact we are extra busy because of this upgrade thingy (can you tell I'm not the technical one in the office?). Chat to us or among yourselves on our Facebook page.

2. Do an early Spring clean!

Bor-ring!! Cleaning the house is something you do (or avoid doing) every day so why should you do it today? We've been over this already ...

But ... what I'm suggesting is a type of cleaning that you would actually LIKE to do but never get around to ... I'd love to sort through my clothes. I'd get a bag to give to a charity as well as hopefully rediscover some long lost gems! Hopefully I'd make enough room to justify a shopping trip for some new clothes as well!!

Rearrange your furniture!

3. Get in touch with an IRL friend

Does your grandmother live in another town? Why don't you sit down and write her a letter and send her some recent photos! It will be just like the olden days! And she'd love it!!

Or, if you're like me, there is one or two long emails from a friend in your inbox that you just haven't gotten around to replying to! It feels like you have to write an equally long email to do justice to their original email. Now you have the time to ...

4. Pamper yourself!

If you're pregnant or a mum already you are probably sleep-deprived! Why not have a nap!

I'd love to have a nice long hot bath. Although now I'm preggers, I'm not supposed to have super hot baths and once I got in there I'm not sure I'd be able to get out!! But don't let that stop the rest of you!

Make a body scrub from kitchen ingredients: Try this one ... Mix 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 4 tablespoons of sugar. If you've got some essential oils like lavender or something similar add that too! It will make you smell like a day spa, not a biscuit!

5. Play with the kids!

Build a fort. Drape an old sheet over the kitchen table or the couches and have morning tea in the 'house'!

Find a cool park nearby and take a picnic down there.

Make play dough: Mix 2 cups plain flour and 1 cup salt. Add 1 tablespoon of cooking oil, 1/2 to 1 cup cold water and 2 drops of food colouring. Combine until it is play dough-ey! Add more flour if it is too watery!

Pretend to be a horse!

6. Do the thing you're supposed to be doing!!

Are you moving house this weekend but haven't started packing ? Maybe do that then ;) Are you normally on Bub Hub while you're working. Maybe do some work (just for today though ... )

7. Hire a DVD!

Then write a review for it on the Bub Hub film reviews page

8. Bake a cake

Here's My Mum's recipe ... It's easy peasy!

My Mum's Chocolate Cake

3 tablespoons butter
1 cup SR flour
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs

Melt butter.

Combine the rest of the ingredients into a large bowl and pour melted butter on top.

Beat hard for 3 minutes

Pour mixture into greased cake tin and bake in moderate (350F/180C) oven for 45-60 mins.

Do you have any other suggestions on what to do while the Bub Hub forum is down??

BH Editor

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Toddler picks up his act ... just in time!!

Here we go again!!! Too lazy to write about my first pregnancy
and too
tired to write about the second ... until now!!!

Isn't it funny how sometimes things just fall into place?

It doesn't happen often ... not in my household anyway. Don't get me wrong ... a lot of things FALL in my household ... I have clumsy pregnant fingers and The Toddler, well he is just clumsy (he *obviously* gets that from his father).

And lately as I enter the Third Trimester I have lost the ability to pick up the things that fall.

I'm speaking literally here ... this isn't a metaphor for life ... if I drop something on the floor I usually just wait for The Toddler's Father to come home from work and ask him to pick it up.

This can get gross obviously (yesterday The Toddler ate some Floor Lunch Toast as his dinner entree) ... but normally, in these circumstances I psych myself up for a few minutes then crouch down to pick it up. I don't waste the opportunity either ... once I'm down I may as well stay down and clean the entire bottom half of the house.

Anyway ... I've gone slightly off-topic.

Things have fallen into place ... just as I lose the ability to bend over, The Toddler gains the ability to pick things up when I ask!

Finally, I can say "pick that up and give it to Mummy" and off he toddles and does as his told! Yay!! He even wipes up spilled water with a teatowel (he usually spills the water so it is only fair) and he surprised me the other day by heading to the kitchen unprompted to get the teatowel himself. Wow.

Obviously this is just the first step. There are many more things I won't be able to do as my belly expands ...

Here are a few things I need The Toddler to learn to do in the next 12 weeks:

  1. Cut my toenails.
  2. Lift heavy things - a problem when the heaviest thing I frequently lift is in fact, him.
  3. Climb into the car seat. And, just as an added extra, do up the harness too ... those twisty straps give me a headache.
  4. Speak ... and recognise numbers ... just enough to read the scales when I stand on them. The belly is already in the way and the numbers change when I lean forward to look.
  5. Cook dinner ... this isn't really pregnancy-related... I just can't be assed anymore.

Am I asking too much of The Toddler?

What did your toddler surprise you by doing before the next baby came along?

BH Editor

More useful links:

Read articles about Toddlers

Sign up to our Baby & Toddler Development emails

Chat about General Parenting Topics on our forum

Win an awesome prize on our competition page

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The AWA helps prevent window falls

I just wanted to follow up on an article we ran recently on Child Window and Balcony Safety.

The article was based on research that showed at least 12 children were admitted to The Children's Hospital at Westmead (CHW) after a balcony or window fall each year.

The CHW report also outlined strategies for addressing this issue. As part of this, The Bub Hub published the article to help make parents aware of the dangers in their own home.

Now, the Australian Window Association has also come on board - releasing a fall prevention label designed to attach to the frame of most standard fly screens where the mesh is held in place within the frame using flexible rubber or PVC splines into a rebate.

This is what the label looks like:

This is what the AWA says:

"The message we must get across as an industry is that the mesh and plastic clips holding the screen to the window frame are not designed to withstand loads such as a child pressing or falling against them. Their precise functional purpose is to keep insects outside."

For more information on the labels and how to order them visit the AWA website

More useful links:

Look for safety products on our directory

Read articles on child safety

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

SMS support improves breastfeeding rates ... is there anything a mobile phone can't do??

I love my phone ... in fact I spent the majority of my drive to work this morning justifying my love for it to DP, who believes it is an unnecessary luxury (not so much the 'phone' , but the 'i' in front of it).

So when I finally arrived at work I was more than happy to find this email in my inbox ... a new study has found that SMS support improves breastfeeding rates!

Excellent, now I've got another item to add to my "reasons why phones are important" list, which I am compiling for the drive home.

Anyway, according to this world-first study by Queensland University of Technology (QUT), new mums are four times more likely to stop breastfeeding after eight weeks, than mothers who have received text message support.

The eight week project involved 130 mums across Australia who were given breastfeeding support via SMS

The SMS was also linked to the counselling service offered by the Australian Breastfeeding Association, which offers free telephone assistance about breastfeeding for new mothers.

Professor Rebekah Russell-Bennett, who led the study with Dr Danielle Gallegos, said at the beginning of the study 83 per cent of women taking part fully breastfed their newborns, compared with the national average of 62 per cent.

"The SMS service aimed to increase breastfeeding rates among new mums by providing a direct link with women and offering support, encouragement and advice when needed," Professor Russell-Bennett said.

"The messages were considerate of women's feelings. They weren't judgemental, they avoided guilt, stereotyping and acting as if breastfeeding was easy and natural."

"After completing the eight week program, there was only a four per cent decrease in women who were fully breastfeeding. This compares with a decline in the national average of 16 per cent (down to 46 per cent)."

Professor Russell-Bennett said the SMS program proved successful in encouraging women to continue breastfeeding, resulting in significantly improved breastfeeding rates.

"Women who participated in the study said they felt reassured by the text messages received," she said.

"Many women said they looked forward to receiving the messages as it made them feel like they were part of a group.

"They also said the messages offered information 'that told me things were normal'.

"Many women who find they are struggling with breastfeeding feel like they are failing, but by receiving the text messages they get the support they need."

Dr Gallegos said while the study sought to increase breastfeeding rates, it also aimed to empower women to make the "right" feeding choice for their child.

"Ultimately if women choose not to fully breastfeed, that is OK. But what we want to happen is to see women make the right decision for the right reasons, without feeling guilty," Dr Gallegos said.

Chat about breastfeeding on the Bub Hub forum

Find out more about the Australian Breastfeeding Association

Read articles on breastfeeding and feeding your baby

Find shops selling breastfeeding books and accessories

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Ins and Outs of Pregnancy Part 2

Here we go again!!! Too lazy to write about my first pregnancy and too
to write about the second ... until now!!!

So here I am. UTD again. How did this happen? I'm blaming a combination of Christmas cheer (ok, wine), the Queensland floods, and me not paying enough attention in Year 11 science when we studied the female menstrual cycle (or in any other class to be honest, but that particular one seems rather important right now).

Anyway a lot of you probably already know this, but things are sure different the second time ... not worse necessarily, just different.

I would never go as far to say that being pregnant was easy the first time around. But I don't think many would disagree that having a toddler to care for adds a whole extra path to the pregnancy journey.

For example, early in Pregnancy Part 1 I was tired and exhausted so at 5pm I would be snug in bed watching TV shows for tweens on ABC.

Early in Pregnancy Part 2: This Time it's Personal I was also tired and exhausted but at 5pm I would be dishing up some pumpkin-based mush to an unwilling 11-month-old (let's call him Outside Baby) while trying not to dry retch at the mere smell/thought of it.

And by 5.30pm I'd be on my hands and knees scraping 90 per cent of it off the kitchen floor.

And I've only got one Outside Baby to look after - massive kudos to all my fellow preggos with two or more little ones at their (swollen) feet!

The other difference is that in Pregnancy Part 1 I had ample time to read up about my 'condition' - dutifully checking to see which fruit/vegetable my unborn child resembled each week. Now I barely remember how many weeks pregnant I am. Sometimes, usually while reaching for the brie, I forget that I am pregnant at all.

But just because I'm not reading up on every aspect of my UTDness, doesn't mean I know it all! There are plenty of new things I've learned second time around ...

These include, but aren't limited to, the following:
  1. If you're making your toddler a peanut butter sandwich and it slips off the bench don't attempt to catch it using your growing stomach.

  2. It is really cute when your toddler lifts up your shirt to press on your now-deformed navel. It is significantly less funny when he does it while you're at the check-out paying for the groceries.

  3. It is hard to pee 50 times a day without waking your toddler who is asleep on the opposite side of the wall to the toilet.

  4. It doesn't hurt when your unborn baby kicks you in the middle of the night. But it does hurt when your co-sleeping toddler does it as well - especially if he gets you in the jugular.
And, I'm sure there are plenty more examples ... but I want to know what did you learn during your second pregnancy?


BH Editor

Oh - and for the sake of this blog - I just checked and at 22 weeks, 2 days (yikes already?), Inside Baby is now as big as a Papaya (20.32cm, 540g). Cute ... except paw-paw gives me indigestion (coincidence? I don't think so!)

Now where did I hide those Fruit Tingles ... ?

Useful links:

Acupuncture during pregnancy

17 natural remedies for morning sickness

Bub Hub 40-week pregnancy calendar

Choosing baby names - baby name finder

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mothers are doing it for themselves!!!

If your Facebook newsfeed looks anything like mine, every third post will be from a friend-turned-WAHM, aka working-at-home mum, showing off their latest creative venture.

Gorgeous children's clothing, beautifully designed cards and invitations, handmade cookies/confectionery and the cutest MCNs you'll ever see ... all making me feel especially lazy/useless on the days I struggle to brush my hair (OK ... teeth).

It appears that many stay-at-home mums, aka SAHMs, just need a great idea plus the motivation to make it happen before they can officially swap acronyms.

And they are apparently the majority!

According to a recent survey, 70 per cent of Aussie women have thought about pursuing a business idea since becoming a mother.

I'm clearly part of the remaining 30 per cent as most of my thoughts, post-birth, have revolved around sleep and how I can have more of it.

Anyway ... enough about me.

If you're in the 70 per cent but lack the money to get your idea off the ground then check out the Huggies MumInspired Grant Program.

The program will award five mums with $20,000 each to act on their child-related business idea!!

There is also a People’s Choice element to the program - which means you can vote for your favourite MumInspired grant recipient to receive an additional $10,000.

More useful links:

10 steps for mums Starting their own home business

8 top tips for mums on running a successful business

Jobs and careers articles on The Bub Hub

Discuss working from home on the Bub Hub forum

How to be a Mumpreneur: Tips for starting your own business