Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Bon voyage or should I say αντίο!


Twinkle in the Eye is on holiday...in Greece!

Image source

Blogging from Greece might present some challenges so I won't be posting but I will be writing, ready to present a series of posts on the madness of taking a ten-month old to Greece on my return.


In the mean time, if you would like to receive updates on our journey, follow along on Facebook.

Wordless Wednesday and Flash Blog Friday will be back in three weeks time.
 I look forward to seeing you then!

αντίο!

Wordless Wednesday: Baby in Greece - Packing


We leave for Greece tomorrow! 

The trip to the airport will take 4 hours, we'll arrive 2 hours before our flight and then fly 23 hours to our destination. I'm not going to add those numbers up, that way madness lay...but so does Santorini!


So here's what goes into packing for a big trip with a ten month old baby...












Link up your Wordless Wednesday below

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Our Wedding Anniversary

It's our second wedding anniversary today and unfortunately my lovely husband is spending it at a training event. So I thought I'd reflect on our day with some photos and our wedding prayer which was also read at my parents wedding 43 years ago.

Our Father, Creator of all things, we come before You today in an attitude of prayer to uphold Peter and Bree for Your blessing.

We ask You, who created marriage for the welfare and happiness of mankind, to assist them with their choices, protect them in their journey through life and always be there beside them.

Protect Peter, may his strength be her protection, his character her boast and pride.

Bless Bree, give her love and tenderness, wisdom and understanding to provide happiness in their lives.

Help them not to expect perfection in each other and to mimimise each other's weaknesses.

May they always see each other through lovers eyes.

Give them enough tears to keep them tender - enough hurts to keep them humane - enough failure to keep their hands tighlty clenched to each other - and enough insight and perception to see You all around them.

May they not take each other for granted and in breathless wonder remember "out of the world you have chosen me".

 We ask that you assist their families to be a source of love and support

as they leave here today

as Peter and Bree Katsamangos

We ask all this in the name of Jesus Christ

 Amen


Happy anniversary baby!

Monday, 7 May 2012

ActionAid - Empowering Women to Make Change

Twinkle in the Eye presents a guest post from Alex Smith, a freelance writer and women's activist who lends her skills to ActionAid in a bid to make a difference to women's rights around the world.

All over the world, women are denied their basic rights – a right to an education, food, health care and safety. Women are the most powerful force for change, and approaches to address this imbalance need to ensure that women are part of the solution.

The harsh reality
70% of the 1.3 billion people living in poverty are women and girls, and they are denied access to the even basic services such as education, healthcare and sanitation because of economic, political or cultural reasons.

14 yr old Khaleda from Bangladesh
Girls in Bangladesh face the fear that they will become victims of early marriage and with it, all the dangers of being married early – domestic violence, poor health, early child-birth, the lack of education to the dowry that must be saved by the family.

Many women in South America, Africa and Asia work in fields to plant and grow potatoes, maze and rice, but they do not own the field that they work on. That means that many do not have access to subsidised credit or membership of cooperatives or farmers unions.

According to figures from the United Nations, two in three adults that are illiterate are women – that’s around 517 million women around the world. Being able to read is a basic requirement of receiving an education, but many girls are not receiving an education because their families do not see it as a worthy investment (because they will be married into someone’s family), or they simply cannot afford it.

What ActionAid is doing
Partnering with local organisations, ActionAid has been making changes on the ground, empowering women as agents for change. Community groups such as Reflect circles in Bangladesh allow a group of women to identify and resolve problems collectively. This raises awareness of issues such as the importance of education for girls, family planning to avoid early marriages and population growth.

Improving the quality of education is another area ActionAid has been working on. Many families in developing countries refuse to send their daughters to school because they feel that they will not receive a quality education worthwhile for the money they are paying. ActionAid works with the parent community to become more involved with their daughters’ schools and to ensure their children are educated by quality teachers. ActionAid’s sponsor-a-child program is also helping many girls receive an education, with sponsorship funds being funnelled into improvements to the education available in the sponsored child’s community.

ActionAid is also working towards improving women’s social status in developing countries so that women have more rights to own, inherit and control property in their own right and not only through a male relative. This also means that they – along with their children – will enjoy better food security.

Changing the situation on behalf of women around the world will only solve their problems in the short-term. ActionAid helps women to become part of the solution, so that they will have the power to stand up for their rights in the long run.

Get involved by visiting their website and making a donation – even small donations make a huge difference.

Author bio: Alex Smith is a freelance writer and women’s rights activist who believes that everyone can make a difference to women’s rights around the world – whether they sponsor a child or make a small one-off donation.


Thank you Alex

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Guest Post: From the Mummy Trenches

Why screen time may (or may not) ruin your child forever
Which is worse: A half-hour of Dora, or the certifiably-wrecked home you won't be able to clean without her? Here’s my take on the screen time wars.

Source: Uploaded by user via April on Pinterest
Growing up, my family only had one rule regarding screen time: Don't sit too close to the television unless your piggy bank can fund a good pair of glasses (something my sons' pediatrician assures me is nonsense, by the way). Of course, there was rarely anything on our 13 channels that appealed to me beyond the usual Saturday morning cartoons. Gosh, I feel old. When did that happen?

As a new-ish parent, I can safely say that the screen time issue is much more complicated today thanks to a seemingly infinite supply of child-focused programming and the expansion of screen options (iPhone, anyone?). Then, of course, are the mixed messages parents receive, either through battling research studies or the hand-me-down advice of well-meaning friends. Log your three-year-old onto an online learning program designed for preschoolers, one advises -- they are education. Besides, kids will need to learn how to use a mouse early if they are going to make it in our digital age. (To think I could have gone my whole life without learning the phrase "app gap"). Watching too much will interfere with important social development, warns another, not to mention make your child obese.

While the truth likely falls somewhere in the middle, there is no denying that too much screen time can be a problem. In 2010, a study published by the University of Bristol found that two or more hours of television or video games a day could increase your child's risk of developing psychological and social problems by a whopping 60 percent. Another study published last year found that watching SpongeBob made preschoolers slower thinkers and cultivated or exacerbated ADHD-like symptoms. Yikes. Maybe this is why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends severely limiting, if not eliminating screen time for your child, especially before the age of two. Sorry, Backyardigans.

With all of this research at hand, you would think the issue would be clearer cut. Not so, my friend. In my pre-baby, fondly-naïve days I swore that no child of mine would waste away in front of a television. Then came Ashton, my lovable, but spirited now-preschool-aged son. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. I quickly learned that an episode of Dora could earn me some laundry folding time, a speedy shower or even a moment to clear my sleep-deprived head. I told myself it was educational – every toddler needs to know how to say "jump" in Spanish – and it kept him from climbing the walls. It was really almost a safety measure. Did I feel guilty? You bet. But I was clean, better focused and my husband had pants to wear to work.

So, what am I really trying to say? First, never underestimate the importance of a good shower, especially in those early years of parenting. Second, being a mother is complicated. Period. That doesn't mean you have to rush off and earn an early childhood education degree to be a good parent (though it certainly couldn't hurt, if you are so inclined). My advice? Keep things simple by adopting an "all things in moderation" approach to parenting matters, from sugar intake to the dreaded screen time issue. Just be sensible and choose shows or apps that are suitable for your child's age and promote important social or educational skills. Save the smut for nap time -- you'll need it.

About the Author: Aimee Hosler is a mummified journalist specialising in online schooling topics. She earned her journalism degree from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo and her mummy stripes in the Lego-strewn trenches.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Flash Blog Friday! Linky Party



<a href=http://www.twinkleintheeyeblog.com/><img src=" http://i1059.photobucket.com/albums/t434/hbbcustom/twinkleintheye/breeflashbutton.jpg" /></a>


Welcome to Flash Blog Friday!
In the spirit of flash mobs, this is a flash blog.
You're invited to flash your favourite post for the week.

Your Guide to Flashing

1.  Follow Twinkle in the Eye on Google Friend Connect, Networked Blogs, Facebook, Twitter or Google +
2.  Grab the Flash Blog Friday button and display it on your post or sidebar so others can flash too.
3.  Choose your favourite post for the week and flash by clicking on the link below. Make sure you use the URL for the post, not your primary blog address.
4.  Check out your fellow flashers and maybe spread some comment love.

On a happy note - Flash Blog Friday will be taking a break for the next three weeks as we're off to Greece! 
We'll be flashin' again soon. Hope to see you then.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Wordless Wednesday: The moments I will miss


I have been on maternity leave for the past 10 months and I am due to go back to work soon.
This is the little face I am going to miss.
He has never known anything but my constant presence. He is content and happy because his base is solid and his source of comfort is never far.
He is like an extra limb to me. When the day comes I have to leave, I expect my heart to break just a little and my days to be long in his absence. Who wouldn't miss a face like that?


Link up your Wordless Wednesday here:

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

First formula - Mixed feelings


After 10 months of successful breastfeeding, I gave my baby formula for the first time today. He has become a restless sleeper returning to a third hourly feeding routine and I think it's because I'm not making enough milk. He happily drank 100 mls from a 'test' bottle and I plan to give him a full one tonight.

I have mixed feelings about this. I am the first to advocate for what works - for some breast is best, for others formula.

My constant view

For me breast has been best and I have had an easy run. Good supply, no pain, no problems - except for the recent spate of biting, then there be pain!

I suspect he's scared my boobs into submission.

To date, I have been reluctant to consider the idea of formula. Why would I when things have gone so well? Having felt that reluctance I thought I would be upset about having to introduce formula, but I'm ok with it.

I am ok because we have successfully fed for 10 months. I am ok because he eats beautifully and has a broad diet. I am ok because I will continue to breast feed and complement with formula, but mostly I am ok because it is now what is best for him.

In the long run it will probably be a good thing, it will help us let go of this special time, which we have both enjoyed immensely.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Pearl Barley and Vegetable Soup




Ingredients

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon of crushed garlic
1 onion finely sliced
2 sticks of celery finely sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 medium parsnip, peeled and diced
5 mushrooms, sliced
1 zucchini, sliced
2 bay leaves
2 stalks of thyme
100g pearl barley
1.5 litres of salt reduced vegetable stock
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 tablespoons of chopped flat leaf parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

1. Heat a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add oil and onion and cook until soft.
2. Add celery, carrots, parsnip and cook over a medium heat for 5 mins or until vegetables soften.
3. Add tomato paste, stock, bay leaves, thyme and pearl barley. Bring to simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
4. Add zucchini and mushrooms and cook for a further 15 minutes or until vegetables and barley are tender.
5. Remove bay leaves and thyme stalks and stir in parsley, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Today I'm linking up with Veggie Mama for Meatless Mondays


Sunday, 29 April 2012

Carotenosis or Carrot Anemia - The incredible orange baby


I have the best little veggie eater that ever was. He eats them all and in good quantities, potato, sweet potato, carrot, pumpkin, leek, turnip, celery, parsnip, beetroot, beans, spinach, brocolli, you name it he eats it, twice a day, with gusto. It makes his mummy proud and satisfied to know that he is getting the very best.

But my proud mummy moment was interrupted when family and friends began commenting on the Squishy's little nose: "He has an orange nose", they would say. The hubby and I had noticed this and assumed we weren't cleaning his face well enough, so we vigorously scrubbed his face each night with a washer. It didn't come off.

Then one day, out talking to the neighbours, our neighbour made a comment: "What has he been playing in?", referring to an orange tinge on his palms. I just laughed and said "Oh, he gets into everything". This was the first time I had noticed his hands adopting the familiar orange hue. Needless to say, the washer didn't get his hands clean either.

Right: Carrot, sweet potato & apple. All high in carotene
When the bottoms of his feet began to turn the same shade, it finally occurred to me. Most of the vegetable purees I made had a base of orange vegetables e.g. pumpkin, sweet potato and carrot, which I recalled could turn skin a shade of orange. We had given our baby what they call Carrot Anaemia or Carotenosis.

According to Dr Wikipedia, Carotenosis or Carotenaemia is the presence in the blood of the orange pigment carotene and it is caused by the excessive intake of carrots or other vegetables containing the pigment. It makes the palms of the hands, soles of the feet and yes, those little noses turn a shade of orange. Thankfully, it is a benign condition.

So the Squishy's intake of vegetables has been halved. He now gets one serve a day. Lunch is now a rye bread sandwich and the vegetable bases I make now include a wider variety of white and green vegetables, although a lot of these also contain high levels of carotene.

The orange hue is gradually fading and the Squishy no longer gets curious stares. A shame really, we could have farmed him out to the circus. We might have made a fortune showing off the incredible orange baby...

I'm linking up with Singular Insanity and With Some Grace


Friday, 27 April 2012

Flash Blog Friday Linky Party


<a href=http://www.twinkleintheeyeblog.com/><img src=" http://i1059.photobucket.com/albums/t434/hbbcustom/twinkleintheye/breeflashbutton.jpg" /></a>


Welcome to Flash Blog Friday!
In the spirit of flash mobs, this is a flash blog.
You're invited to flash your favourite post for the week.

Your Guide to Flashing

1.  Follow Twinkle in the Eye on Google Friend Connect, Networked Blogs, Facebook, Twitter or Google +
2.  Grab the Flash Blog Friday button and display it on your post or sidebar so others can flash too.
3.  Choose your favourite post for the week and flash by clicking on the link below. Make sure you use the URL for the post, not your primary blog address.
4.  Check out your fellow flashers and maybe spread some comment love.
5.  Come back next Friday and do it all again!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Thankful Thursday: Post Baby Body - 10 Months On


Disney's Flubber
Flubber. Everything wobbles like a bowl full of...flubber.

I'm only 2kg heavier than my pre-baby weight but everything has changed, nothing feels taught or flat - except my arse, it now looks like a pancake. My thighs look like a crumpet and my boobs...well, they're intact - for now. Once I stop breastfeeding, whose to say how low they can go.

My tummy, what can I say about my tummy. My mother, who had five babies including twins used to say she had stretch marks on her tummy that looked like a West Australian Waratah. I couldn't imagine what that would look like, turns out I didn't have to - it's genetic! I am now tattooed with an Australian national emblem - how patriotic of me.

Image source
When I lay on the bed with my baby boy he likes to pull my shirt up and play the drums on my tummy. He likes the sound of flubber drums. He likes the feel too. He pushes his little hand in. So far it hasn't got stuck.

I am by no means obese. I am about 10 kgs overweight. I'm also expert at making excuses when it comes to watching what I eat and exercise, so my flubbery existence is likely to continue. I could go to the gym and get those rock hard abs I never had back, but I'll likely get knocked up again and resume my flubbery state - so what's the point?

I'm in good humour about my body and its current state. Sure I'd like to feel taught, trim and terrific but my happiness doesn't depend on it. I am more than my body. My body bears the scars of motherhood (and the awesome Key Lime Pie I just ate), but the people I love most in this world, love me regardless. For that I'm thankful...and happy.

Today I'm linking up with Kate Says Stuff for Thankful Thursday

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Key Lime Pie



Ingredients

4 egg yolks
400ml condensed milk
6 tablespoons of fresh lime juice (5-6 limes)
200ml thickened cream

Crust

12 digestive or wheat biscuits
135g melted butter

Method

1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees celsius
2. Lightly grease a 22cm glass pie dish
3. Blend digestive biscuits and melted butter to a breadcrumb consistency
4. Firmly press mixture across the base and sides of the pie dish
5. Place in the oven for approximately 10 minutes or until base is slightly brown. Remove from the oven and cool.
6. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks and combine with condensed milk. Gradually stir in lime juice, one tablespoon at a time.
7. Pour mixture into the pie base and level with the back of a spoon. Bake for 15 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool before refrigerating overnight.
8. To serve, whip cream until it forms stiff peaks. Smooth evenly over pie. Garnish with fresh lime zest if desired.

Divine!

Link up your Wordless Wednesday by clicking on the link below:

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Would you like a side of placenta with that?

It would seem there are a lot of women out there eating their own placenta. Check out this YouTube video of a young mother who defrosts her placenta, seasons it and then has her husband BBQ grill it before serving it to friends - *shudder*.



I Googled it - 'placenta eating' otherwise known as 'Placentophagia'.

Placentophagia is said to have a number of health benefits for women including the prevention of post-partum depression, the promotion of milk production and the shrinking or 'çleaning' of the uterus. Sites refer to unnamed studies that provide evidence of the benefits, yet critics say there is no conclusive evidence to date. In all honesty, I don't care. If eating a placenta meant I could sprout wings and fly - I ain't doin' it!


If watching this video didn't gross me out enough, reading recipes for placenta certainly did. Fancy a placenta smoothie to wash down your placenta lasagne, spaghetti, pizza or stew? Oh yes, this is happening people and I suspect those for which it is happening will not like the tone of this post. I am thinking of the Las Vegas woman, Anne Swanson, who after a month of giving birth was battling the Sunrise Hospital for the return of her placenta. Ms Swanson went so far as to stage a protest outside the hospital with placards reading "Free the placenta". Do you really want a month old placenta back?!


I am the first to be in awe of this marvellous endocrine organ. It is life giving. I even thanked mine when they took it away. Seriously, I did. I remember doing it in my post delivery euphoria and morphine haze. But eating it? It's all one step too far for me, even if you can dehydrate and encapsulate it for easy consumption.


It might be nutrient rich, but so is a glass of vegetable juice - and I'm sure it tastes better.


So back to that placenta smoothie...


Placenta smoothie featured on babble.com
 Bottom's up peeps!

Friday, 20 April 2012

Flash Blog Friday Linky Party




<a href=http://www.twinkleintheeyeblog.com/><img src=" http://i1059.photobucket.com/albums/t434/hbbcustom/twinkleintheye/breeflashbutton.jpg" /></a>


Welcome to Flash Blog Friday!
In the spirit of flash mobs, this is a flash blog.
You're invited to flash your favourite post for the week.

Your Guide to Flashing

1.  Follow Twinkle in the Eye on Google Friend Connect, Networked Blogs, Facebook, Twitter or Google +
2.  Grab the Flash Blog Friday button and display it on your post or sidebar so others can flash too.
3.  Choose your favourite post for the week and flash by clicking on the link below. Make sure you use the URL for the post, not your primary blog address.
4.  Check out your fellow flashers and maybe spread some comment love.
5.  Come back next Friday and do it all again!

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