Archive for May, 2014

Playdough: Ingredients

  • quarter cup salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 4 table spoons of cream of tartar
  • 2 table spoons oil


  1. Mix the salt and water together on a stove on medium heat in a heavy bottom pot.
  2. Take off the stove when it reaches boiling point and mix in the 2 cups of flour and cream of tartar.
  3. Mix well till it forms a ball in the centre of the hot pot, then throw it out on the table and knead with you hands.
  4. You can split into smaller balls and colour separately with a few drops of food colouring (essence optional).
  5. Cool and wrap in cling wrap and store in fridge.

Have fun!

How many times have you stood staring into your fridge or pantry cupboard wondering what to give your babies or young toddlers to snack on or eat as finger foods that is healthy but also won’t make them choke? My twins had the chewing motion mastered quite well by 10 months, but didn’t start sprouting their molars until they were 18 months. And so, I had to get creative… Where to find it? From around 11 to 12 months, babies tend to start refusing to be spoon fed and want to feed themselves finger foods. So you need to make sure that they get in all the nutrition they need in foods they love, that they are able to gnaw on with their “grandpa gums”. Now, Sally-Ann Creed (Clinical Nutritionist) recommends that you keep dairy and wheat out of your child’s diet until 12 months so that their guts can mature before being exposed to these high-risk allergens. But everywhere you look in the shops, they keep offering baby finger food products that are full of, not only wheat and dairy, but colouring, flavouring, sugar and other additives. So what do we do? IPfpiQM Here is a list of the tasty and nutritious finger foods my molarless munchkins loved (keeping in mind that anything with dairy or wheat was only given after 12 months): • Rice cakes • Bean sprouts • Seeds: sunflower, hemp, chia, sesame • Pumpkin seeds broken into 2 – 3 pieces each • Crushed or slivered nuts (from 12 months): almonds, pecans, cashews, macadamia, brazil nuts etc (No peanuts until 24 months) • Chick peas • Shredded chicken from a home made roast • Popcorn (home made, with Himalayan Salt) • Peas, corn (made from frozen) • Roasted veggies (everything under the sun) • Home made meatballs or fish cakes (see Raising Happy, Healthy Children book for recipes) • Carrot/baby marrow/butternut/red or yellow pepper etc fried in coconut oil or steamed • Kale “chips” (wash well, cut out white stalk, chop finally, toss with a bit of olive oil and Himalayan salt, bake on 180° for 10 min, stir and bake for another 5 – 10min until crispy) – I know what you are thinking, but it is surprisingly DELICIOUS and super morish) • Corn pasta (with extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil and Himalayan salt) • Rice pasta (with extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil and Himalayan salt) • Whole wheat pasta – from 12 months (As above) • Sliced olives • Goji berries • Dried cranberries (in SA, Nature’s Choice makes a Sulphur Dioxide and sugar free one with pineapple juice instead) • Corn on the cob • Full or double cream Greek yoghurt after 12 months (A small tub of flavoured yoghurt has 4 – 7 teaspoons of sugar, colouring and flavouring in it!) – serve plain, or with home-made natural flavouring (apple/pear/strawberry/blueberry puree, cinnamon, raw honey, organic cacao, vanilla extract etc) • Moist biltong slices chopped (MSG free and low salt) • Cracker Bread, Corn Thins, Rice Thins • Fresh rye bread “fingers” • Scrambled egg – from 12 months • Grated or cubed Cheese (Like Mozzerella) • Kiri Cheese (Not processed cheese blocks!) • Grated apple • Grated carrot • Sautéd mushrooms Grand finale! And here’s the grand finale – the absolute favourite of all 3 of my children: • Banana flapjacks – from 12 months (1 small banana, 1 egg, 1 heaped Tbl gluten-free flour, dash of cinnamon – blend and fry flapjacks in coconut oil or real butter. No toppings needed.) Great for breakfast, and the left-overs (if any) can be eaten cold as a snack later. Delicious! IMG_9252-web Whenever I take my young twin toddlers to the shop with me, people always complement me on what angels they are – sitting so calm and content in the top row of the trolley. Here’s my secret: I bring with a bowl of homemade popcorn (made in coconut oil) for each, with a backup refill container and a bottle of water in my bag. It’s healthy and delicious, and takes a long time to eat. Perfect. Remember that what you feed your children, not only effects their immediate health and brain functioning, but also effects their long term health and tendencies towards major diseases like diabetes, cancer, heart disease etc. So, because you love them so much, destroy the junk food in the house, and get them hooked on healthy foods from the very beginning.  
I was 32 weeks pregnant and everything was going smoothly. I just loved being pregnant. As usual I woke up at 3am to go to the loo. I noticed that my underwear was a bit wet, but in my half asleep state I just cursed the incontinence that I had been warned may come with pregnancy. After all, I had been doing my Kegels religiously! I went back to bed and woke to my alarm clock at 5:30am. More trickles… Oh dear. The next thing I knew, I was in the hospital, monitors were beeping madly, and the nurses looked panicked as the doctors literally ran to push my gurney into theatre. My dreams of a drug-free natural birth to a voluptuous Anne Geddes baby was crushed as the doctors quickly ripped out a tiny, skinny grey thing that they called my daughter. In a flash, she was wisped away to NICU. What on earth just happened?!
  • Having your baby prematurely is not something you would expect, and certainly not something you would have ever been able to prepare yourself for. The world just goes on around you as if nothing has happened! “Don’t they know! Don’t they realise the trauma that I have just been through? That my baby is still going through? Don’t they realise what is happening? My world is falling apart and you just walk down the street like everything is fine!!!”
  • You hear moms of full term babies complain about seemingly feeble things like how their baby has had to go up another nappy size, while you are hanging on to every 15 grams your tiny angel gains. “Don’t you know how lucky you are” is all I could think.
  • Well, I understand. I know the fears, the feelings of failure, the anxiety. But I also know that having a premmie is actually a very special privilege. Yes, a privilege! Because with our premmies, there are so many more opportunities to celebrate. Every gram gained, every time another tube, pipe or wire is removed, every movement towards a less intensive care section of the NICU, every breath, every suck, every smile, every milestone achieved. Our precious angels are just so extra special. Nothing is taken for granted. Every little step, every little achievement – each one is worth celebrating.
  • There is such excitement when it is time to bring your angel home, but taking care of a premmie often comes with its challenges. You just can’t seem to relate to the baby books and may feel so very isolated.
I am an Occupational Therapist, a Munchkins Parenting Coach, and a mother of 3 premmies (singleton born at 32 weeks and twins born at 30 weeks). I understand. I’ve been there! I am using my experience, my specialised training, and my heart for parents of young babies – especially premmies, to make a difference – to support, guide and educate; and above all, to empower. There is light at the end of the tunnel. A bright and incredibly beautiful light. And I just love helping parents to find it. BIG LESSONS IN LITTLE THINGS The biggest lessons of my journey with my babies were in humility – learning to admit that I need help – and empathy! I realised that you cannot compare your challenges to those of others, and you can never judge others until you’ve walked in their shoes. Things don’t always work out “by the book” because our precious babies aren’t robots. But there are very helpful tools that can help us to get through the challenges with confidence and a smile.
Every person has a parenting style that is influenced partly by their personality and partly by the parenting (or lack of parenting) they experienced. Most people either decide to parent the way they were parented or to adapt the exact opposite. Their frame of reference is from what they have experienced and neither styles are necessarily correct.
People will attend courses for many aspects in life they want to perfect, but seem to expect parenting to come naturally.
Here are the 5 parenting styles necessary to survive parenthood: