Thursday, 19 September 2013

food: quick easy healthy vegan chia breakfast

Chia Seeds by Stacy Spensley

I have finally found a healthy and quick family breakfast that we are all loving. I found the recipe at Inhabitots. It's such a great site for all kinds of cool eco friendly products etc for children.

I love that most of the dish can be prepared the night before.  Our mornings are always a rush so breakfasts that take time to prepare are out.

I have changed the recipe slightly as chia seeds are very expensive here, as is almond milk.  So I have cut down on the amount of chia seeds and use a rice/hazelnut/almond milk instead of almond milk. This is our adjusted recipe for feeding the three of us:

2 bananas
4 dessert spoons of chia seeds
3/4 cup rice/hazelnut/almond milk
3 dessert spoons almonds heaped
3 dessert spoons dried fruit ( I love sour cherries)

Night before: Mash bananas then mix together with chia seeds and milk.  Soak almonds in filtered water.  Leave overnight. 

Morning:  divvy up the chia/banana mix and top with drained chopped almonds and dried fruit.  


Saturday, 7 September 2013

learn: my classroom

The reading nook.
Welcome to our classroom.

A place to be busy or just 'be'.

The art corner.

We know what we are doing today.

accomodation: sydney australia, goldsbrough apartments

For stays of more than a few days, we have found that it can be more economical and 'liveable' to stay in hotel apartments.   We had a 3 night stay in Sydney staying at the Oaks Goldbrough Apartments in Darling Harbour.  We loved it!  Everything seemed to be close by or an easy commute.
The building from the light rail station.
Harbourside Shopping Centre just behind us.
We stayed in a two bedroom apartment that was fully self-contained including linen.  The rate at the time of our stay was around the same as an average hotel in a similar area. The apartment was on two levels. Not so good perhaps with a baby or toddler, but brilliant for children old enough to negotiate stairs.  There is a heated swimming pool and spa for year round use.  The building is joined to a covered walkway which takes you to the metro and light rail (3 mins walk max). Another few minutes of walking and you are at the Harbourside Shopping Complex (loads of restaurants) and Maritime Museum (great for kids).  Within (child) walking distance is parks, an Imax Cinema (with the worlds largest screen) and a ferry stop (every 15mins) that takes you under the Harbour Bridge, past Lunar Park, to the Opera House.
The kitchen was a decent size.
All you would need to cook for a family.
Comfy (according to our 7yo) single beds.
Loads of storage.
We appreciated being able to do laundry.
Who would have thought!
Spacious bathrooms (compared to hotels).
Not spottlesly clean and starting to age a bit,
but certainly very useable.
Two bathrooms upstairs and 1 downstairs.
The master bedroom.
Such a shame I waited until leaving to take photos!  
I think at least one of these was a sofa bed.  
Getting there:  We took a taxi from the airport as with a family of three it was only marginally more ($45AUD) than the train.   However, it is very straightforward to get a light train from central station and as mentioned only a few minutes to the apartments.

Extra costs: WiFi could be purchased as could movies.  Free to air tv plus some free Fox channels.  Breakfast obviously is not included.

online safety

                                                    Picture source:
My daughter (Lilli) and her friend decided to create a webpage, and it is almost as bad as it can get despite the talks we have had re online safety.  Among other concerns she has her email address on it and there is an 'Agony Aunt' page where followers are requested to share their secrets *sigh*.  I have sat them down to discuss my concerns and of course the instruction to remove their email addresses. Her friend listened politely and Lilli rolled her eyes and sighed.

Following my 'talk' in which I discussed identity safety, paedophile grooming (a soft version), copyright laws etc, I immediately looked for info on the web I could share with them to reinforce what had been discussed.  I was a bit disappointed.  Most info aimed at tweens was naff, and presented by adults.  What I need is some edgy videos by teenagers for tweens and teens explaining internet safety and the real reasons behind parents concerns (paedophilia/id theft/bullying).  I haven't found much online.  The best I have found so far comes from Planet Nutshell but they do not really address the peadophile issue strongly enough - I am sure my daughter would think she could manage someone who made her feel "uncomfortable".  I would love if anyone reading this blog could share great resources. 

Saturday, 10 August 2013

body: 'munch and move' exercise and nutrition resources for children

NSW Department of Health
I am enjoying using the music from the 'Munch and Move' (NSW Dept of Health, Australia initiative) at school.  The songs are short and make nice little gap fillers.  The lyrics are simple and the children can quickly learn the song.  They also make for great discussion.  My 4-5 year olds particularly like doing the 'Warm Up' song, followed by 'Twist, Balance, Shake, Run'.  They were fascinated to discover that their heart did indeed pump harder after exercise.

Posted in happy little sprout - body

Friday, 9 August 2013

body: 'Beautiful Girl' by Christiane Northrup (book review)

I have been a huge fan of Christiane Northrop for some time. Northrup's books and talks on women's health are wonderful - well researched, detailed, informative and empowering. So, I was pretty excited to discover that she had written a book for young girls. 'Beautiful Girl: Celebrating the Wonders of Your Body', has been written for little girls aged 2-5. This is not a 'where-do-I-come-from' book, it is a book about developing a positive attitude towards being a girl and having a girls body. The book is filled with opportunity for all sorts of discussion with your little girl. 

A garden is filled with delicate plants and tiny creatures. As you walk among them, you are careful with them. You should be just as careful with your own body. Treat it gently and make sure that others treat it gently too(Beautiful Girl, Northrup. C, 2012 Illustration by Aurelie Blanz )

Aurelie Blanz created the illustrations in the book, and they are simply gorgeous! A stand alone reason for purchase. I shared the book with Lilli (9) and we ooohed and ahhhed over the illustrations together. With the text, she was a little bit "yes I know all that" (I would have loved to have had this book when she was younger), but even still, certain parts of the book gave me the opportunity to open up lines of discussion that were new to us. Lilli gave the book 4/5 (she is a little bit older than the age group it is aimed at and not old enough to appreciate it from an adults perspective). I gave it 5/5.

Posted in happy little sprout - body

travel: travelling on budget airlines with families

We find that international flights consume a big chunk of our holiday budget, so, for the first time recently, my husband *pointing the finger firmly* purchased 'budget' airline tickets.  It was one of the worst flight experiences I have had over many, many years of travelling.

Part of the problem was our fault, we made assumptions based on years of combined travel and didn't read the fine print. Big mistake.  There are added costs for just about everything that you need as a travelling family.   On this particular flight the added costs were for:
  • reserving your seats so that as a family we could ensure that we sat together
  • purchasing a seat with extra leg room
  • check-in baggage to be purchased in 20kg lots
  • entertainment
  • food
We were expecting the entertainment and food to be extra but didn't mind as it was a midnight flight.  We didn't expect our child's seat to be discounted as not all airlines offer this.  We did however, expect to be seated beside or near each other, so that for us was a compulsory extra charge as was purchasing check-in luggage allowance.  When you add these cost both ways, the 'cheap' fare starts to look a lot more like finding a good deal on a non-budget airline.  

We expected the seats to be a bit more cramped - they were.  The biggest problem for us as a family was the isle.  It was so narrow, people could not pass each other.  Everyone had at least 7kgs of carry on luggage +++ and so there was a huge delay in getting people seated and then of course not enough space so ours had to be put under our seats or in another area.  During the flight, many people were standing in the isle as the seating was cramped, or to chat to friends that they didn't get to sit next to.  And of course we have a child that doesn't need to go to the toilet until it's 'desperate'!  She got to the loo in time but it was stressful.  One of the passengers lit up a cigarette for a few puffs but because of the isle congestion the cabin crew were not able to get to the area and locate the exact offender, just the lingering smell of smoke!

Soooo, based on our only experience ('Fly Dubai'), it seems that budget flights are a better deal for solo travellers than for families.  After adding up the extras, we also felt that the saving was minimal and not worth the small difference in cost.  It would be interesting to hear the perspective of others travelling with families - are budget flights (as opposed to discounted regular tickets) worth looking at?

Posted in happy little sprout - travel

Thursday, 25 July 2013

food: juicing tip

We have just finished a two week Spring break. I felt so noble, getting up each day to prepare my family a lovely nourishing breakfast complete with fresh juice. Fast forward to this week, and we are back to school/work and an extra 15-20 mins in bed in the wee hours of the morn instead of juicing is so tempting.  So, I have cut the juicing down to 5 min by preparing all the night before, ready to just throw in the juicer.  I know it seems obvious, but it never really occurred to me to do that before, and consequently never had fresh juices on a school day.

Posted in happy little sprout - food