Baby food…DIY or buy?

With my first son I did make his baby food for a while, but it did not last. All that effort! boiling, blending, sterilising, freezing, heating back up ect. With my second son, I have made baby food once, that’s when I remembered how much effort it required. So I decided store brought was what was best for us. And you can get some great variety’s that have no added anything in them, they are just what they say they are!! We started weening our first son Timmy at 4 months, milk just would not do anymore. Back then pouches were the new thing, and they were just great! We would use what ever would be on special, or what was cheapest. It was the same this time around, with our second son Elijah we started with whatever was on special. Now I find we keep going back to the same brand,  Rafferty’s Garden They have great variety and are always reasonably priced! Elijah is a bit funny with other brand fruit pouches, I think they may be too sweet for him, however he gobbles up the Rafferty’s Garden brand. He is almost 8 months and now one pouch does not fill him up, I need to give him 2! I heat them up by standing them in hot water for a few minutes, give them a good shake then pour them into a sterilised container or bowl and he just loves it!! I love how convenient they are when we are out and about, if i can not heat them up, he loves them as is and sucks the contents straight from the pouch! So whenever we go out I put a couple in my bag and I know we are fine for food!

We went away for a week recently, and the breakfast pouches were perfect for the duration of our stay! I did not need to take his boxed dry cereal with us that I need to mix with milk, I could take this pouch and he eats it as is from the pouch, no mess and no fuss! For a little variety we will tend to buy the store brand, Coles or Woolies as they are also cheap and have a different range of flavors to choose from. But over the course of 3 1/2 years and 2 children later, Raffertys Garden is still our go to brand for baby food and breakfast cereal.

Do you have a favorite brand you always tend to go with or do you prefer to make your own?

xx Candice xx

*Please note this post has not been endorsed, paid or otherwise. This is my honest review of a product we use and love. 

Being a SAHM.

Since becoming a mum I seem to be in a ‘Stuck’ phase. I am not who I was before children, yet I am not completely not that person either. Confused? Good, so am I! I have always wanted to be a mum and am so grateful I have been blessed with 2 healthy lovely boys. Personally though since becoming a mum I have struggled to find ‘Me’. Before kids, I had dreams, goals, I was driven and would go for what I wanted. I only had me to think about. It’s a freedom I look back on and see I took for granted. I would be lying if sometimes I longed for those long gone never to be seen again days, of waking up when ever I wanted to, not needing to think of anyone else but me, being able to do as I wanted when I wanted, not a nappy bag or pram in sight. Go shopping for me for clothes that I like and not have to worry about boob access, or to cover my mum tum and not to have to worry about baby sick or food staining and ruining it! However, I wouldn’t change my current life for anything. I’m 3 1/2 years into this mum life, yet I am still adjusting! I wonder if I will ever figure it out, or if it will always be a constant adjustment? Ive wanted to be a mum ever since i could remember, I am living the life ive always wanted yet why do I struggle personally? shouldn’t I be able to handle this with ease, love every moment, not let stress bother me and get me down. nope, life just doesn’t work that way!

I seem to have lost that personal drive I once had. After Timmy was born I struggled for a good 2 1/2 years to figure out which career path I would take when I eventually went back to work. I have always worked since I was 15, I love working. Since becoming a mum, this is the first time I do not have a paid job and rely soley on my partners income, however I definitely work, being a mum is the hardest job ive ever had! There are no days off, no sick leave and it is a 24/7 job! So when I go back to paid work I could go the path I know and have years of experience in and can do with my eyes closed, Reception/Admin. Or I could go the avenue which I have thought about loads but just not done as it requires more studying, and I would be starting over right from the beginning -Childcare. After we moved to Oz, Carl couldn’t work for the first 3 months, I did some temping casual reception work and was bored and hated it. I enjoyed the adult conversation and the break it gave me from being a “mummy” for a few hours, but I hated the mind numbing role. Sometimes the phone did not ring for hours, I sat there bored out of my brains and knew this was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I decided childcare it was! So after Elijah was born I enrolled in a Diploma in childcare. It has since sparked an excitement in me I had not experienced in a while for my personal goals and future. I enjoy studying and it feels good to be doing something for me. I have been struggling with the stay at home mum role, don’t get me wrong I love being apart of my children’s early years. I don’t miss out on anything, and im proud as punch watching my boys grow, learn and develop, but I do struggle as one day rolls into the next and into the next and weeks go by and I wonder where the days have gone? what did I achieve? Nothing gets done day-to-day and I have no idea what I’m doing every day! I wake up every morning with  “ill do this and this and sort this” attitude and by the end of the day I am lucky if any of my lists gets done. Staying at home each and every day gives me very little motivation and inspiration, by the end of each day I feel very disappointed in myself for not filling my days as how I intended at the beginning. Most days are filled with washing clothes, washing dishes, repeat about 6 or 7 times through the day, it’s never ending and drives me mad! Then there is the 3 year olds mess, he is a tornado! I seriously can not keep up with him.  From one room to the next, books off the shelf, play dough on the front step, and the back…how and when did that happen? Trains everywhere, Puzzle pieces in different boxes, Lego everywhere plus clothes he has mixed up…my fault…shouldn’t leave clean clothes lying on the floor with the dirty clothes for a toddler to get into and mix up! At any given time one or more….ok so all our rooms look like they have been burgled, it’s just so easy to shut the door and “deal with it later” yep…that door never opens! I want to be that mum that’s got all her shit together, that can cook and have a clean kitchen after, that does all the washing and puts it straight away instead of leaving it for days…ok sometimes weeks until we run out of clothes and search the basket! I wish I always had clean floors and that there wasn’t some sort of crunchy cereal I step on daily that my son dropped on the floor and that I step in daily…hmm, yep, probably should have cleaned that up by now. Every day I set myself up to fail in the house department, I just don’t have the motivation and get up and go to spend all day every day cleaning, sorting, repeat. Seriously, how on earth did mums manage 50 years ago with less appliances, more children, times were harder. Here I am struggling and compared ive got it a whole lot easier! I guess there are a lot more distractions these days, computers, social media, tv ect, more toys and stuff kids have to make more mess (my fault, i keep buying stuff!) I do hate that Carl comes home and is faced with the chaotic messy house and a girlfriend with messy hair, hairy legs and vomit and/ or baby food all over her clothes. It’s not fair on him, but to his credit he rarely complains, in fact he never complains, he only ever sometimes drops the slightest hint when he runs out of socks or underwear or when he feels its necessary I guess. Its sad, ive let my pride in my appearance go beyond acceptable. I desperately need waxing done, hair cut, new clothes and my weight has gone stupidly out of balance. I know im stuck in this rut, and need to get out of it. I have joined a gym, I love doing gym classes, there my time. Something I do just for me, its nice! I just need to get stricter with my eating. I eat mostly out of boredom, it’s a terrible habit!

I’m sure there are many mums out there who can relate. I would love to hear any advice or feedback you have! I love being a mum, but I am struggling to find ‘me’ in my role. I thought I was finding my self after Timmy we had a great routine and I felt on top of it. but once I had Elijah, our routine completely disappeared, and Timmy entered the terrible threenanger stage which threw me a new curve ball I wasnt ready for and then I had a bad spell of postnatal depression which sometimes I still find creeps in. Im blessed to be a stay at home mum, yet I struggle to find the ‘me’ amongst the chaos of daily life. I feel im constantly letting everyone down every day, not enough attention to Timmy and even to carl. He mentioned the other night he misses cuddles -which is all my fault, Im always too tired and just fall into bed exhausted too tired to stay up, chat, cuddle. Ive dropped the ball everywhere. I would be a hopeless juggler as this balancing act is hard work! Through the postnatal depression I fought hard to dig myself out of that hole, but it’s not completely gone, some days are great, others not so much but I’m dealing with it by talking to people, seeking professional help and writing about it along with reading self-help books.

I just wish I could feel comfortable and confident in this role as stay at home mum. Most days I feel like a fraud, like I’m going through my days dazing through trying be something i’m not and failing at it. My mum guilt on a daily basis is ridiculous, I constantly feel guilty over everything. How much time Timmy spends infront of the TV or on my phone playing games, or when he gets himself into a tantrum how I could have handled it better, or I didnt feed him a proper dinner… spagetti tonight kiddo? The only thing I can be sure of is I love my little family so damn much, my boys are my life and my world! They bring me purpose and a love only I can get from them. Their stressful, tiring and exhausting but I wouldn’t trade a minute of it for anything. I guess the rest of the chaos and mess will just sort itself out. well I hope it does! I guess we can’t have it all. I want to be a great mum, I wont sacrifice that to be a great housewife also. I read somewhere once that when your kids are grown, they wont remember the messy house or dishes in the sink, but they will remember the memories and laughter you create together. lets hope that’s true!

lots of love to all you mummas who feel a little lost and overwhelmed, you’re not alone! XXX

Our Family Trip to Queensland

We were lucky enough to be able to go to QLD for a week for a family holiday! Carl got a week off work, and I desperately wanted to go visit my granny again, as she had not yet met Elijah. So we decided if we are going all the way to Grafton to visit granny, lets go the extra 3 hours and visit Surfers Paradise while we are there.

Now Grafton is north from where we live and its a good 10 hours drive. I know what you are thinking, 10 hours in a car with a 3 year old and a 4 month old are we mad?! Well, I can honestly say our kiddies were made to travel! They did amazing, although I was not worried about Timmy at all. He has done more travelling in his short 3 years life time then most have done and he has always done well, never complains and just takes it all in his stride! He has actually done this long Grafton journey 2x before. However I was not so sure how Elijah would cope as we have not yet traveled with him before and he does not like being kept in his car seat for long periods of time. He was amazing! He got a good 9 hours in before he decided enough was enough and had a good cry. Honestly, we got lucky with our boys and their ability to travel well.

We set out at 5am in the morning, so we could get through Sydney before peak hour traffic started. We got through, no worries at all we even had a couple of stops for breakfast and feeding baby. We even stopped at the Iconic Big Banana where Timmy had to eat a frozen banana dipped in chocolate and some much needed coffee for us Adults! We made it to Grafton at 4pm and checked into our accommodation. We normally stay in hotels, but this time around we thought we would give self serviced apartments a try. I can honestly say it was the best decision we made and in future when travelling with kids, I will always go this way. No more hotels for us! We had a bedroom for the kiddies, and a bedroom for us. Kitchen, bathrooms and our own space. Its nice to be able to relax after such a long journey in a separate room from the kids and with a nice glass of wine. If it wasn’t so cold, we would have made use of the balcony!

We cofvisited Granny, it was so lovely to see her with her great grand-kids. I love we were able to travel and take the kids to see her. She has met Timmy twice before, but this was her first time meeting Elijah.  So after a short but sweet visit with Granny, we went back to the apartment, bathed the kiddies put them to bed and we sat down with a takeaway Chinese and wine for dinner before crashing ourselves as we were up early again and heading further north to QLD! Once there, we checked into our apartment, this time with an Ocean view, a very large balcony and a spa bath! Talk about feeling spoiled! The Atrium apartments complex also had a roof top pool and a heated spa. Was such a beautiful place. Once we checked in we decided we wanted to extend our stay, we originally booked on for 2 nights, but we decided 3 nights would be better! we came all this way, lets make the most of it. It had been a while since we had a proper family holiday. So we unloaded the car, and headed straight out to Movie World.

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Timmy with daddy on his favorite ride the merry go round!

I was so excited to take Timmy and see all the characters and just watch his little brain take in everything he was seeing. I love watching him experience the rides and everything all for the first time. I remember going there for the first time when I was younger, it was such a magical place for me, so to see Timmy experience that was incredible. Timmy absolutely loved the Dodgem cars with Daddy, but his favorite was the merry go round! After a very busy day, we headed to Woolies and stocked up on groceries for the next few days and headed back to the apartment where we relaxed and fell asleep exhausted.
The following day we woke and headed for Sea world. This place was absolutely Timmy’s favorite place. Carl loved it too! We watched the Dolphin show, Seals, polar bears, stingrays and Timmy really enjoyed the under water world.

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There were sharks, fish…he found Nemo and Dory! Timmy loved all the rides, they were a lot more catered to his age. He loved the Flying Banana and the submarine. I even managed to get him on a small roller coaster, but there was no way he was going on that a second time! So that night back at the apartment, we all sat down and decided were should we go on our third day? We could go back to Movie World or Sea world or we could try some of the other parks. Timmy was sure he wanted to go back to Sea world. As we all loved it so much, a second day at sea world it was!! But as it was a Saturday, it was a lot busier then it had been the day before so we had to Que a lot for rides and wait a lot longer for everything. But even when it was time to leave Timmy did not want to go! He got to meet Dora and watch Dora’s show. He had such a great time!

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Then on our last day, we woke went for a walk along the beach and found a lovely place to have some breakfast. Then we headed into Surfers Paradise, sat on the beach and let Timmy have a little play, had some lunch before going back to our apartment. Timmy had a swim in the heated spa which I joined them with Elijah. Was lovely and exactly what we all needed!

Then we headed back to Grafton to visit granny for the day on the way home. We stayed in another serviced apartment, this time a little closer to where Granny lives. We went to dinner and then the following day up and on the road by 5am again. We made it back home by 4pm. I honestly did not want to come home and back to normal life. I could have happily stayed another week at least! This trip was exactly what we needed! I can’t wait to do another holiday.

IMG_20170812_170722.jpg CHEERS TO GREAT FAMILY HOLIDAYS!