Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My Breakky Heaven

I don’t cook so much these days, however breakfast has become the one meal I do make an effort - just for me! 

I kept hearing about steel cut oats online - Oprah is a big fan, therefore the word is out! I finally tracked them down in the health food shop. Instead of rolled oats, these are whole oats chopped up by steel cutters and they taste so great! 

I now have a daily ritual before bed of deciding how my brekky oats will be. I load all the ingredients into the rice cooker and then in the morning I turn it on and go back to bed while it cooks for 30 mins. I know when it is ready because it smells so good. 

I now have a cupboard of ingredients just for my oats. The base is one measure of oats and one of water, plus a generous scoop of brown sugar. Then I add dried/fresh/frozen fruits, nuts and spices as I fancy. Here are some of my faves: 

Dried apple and frozen berries 

Dried apple and walnuts 

Fresh banana and walnuts 

Dried apricot and slivered almonds 

Dried strawberries and hazelnuts 

Prunes and almonds 

Dried apple and dates with walnuts 

Fresh apple instead of dried apple 

Sometimes I serve with a dollop of yoghurt but mostly I just spoon it all into a bowl and eat it while I check my emails/FB/Twitter/Google Reader/news alerts!!!! 

Did I mention they are cheap and good for me? And stop me wanting to snack because they are so satisfying? And addictive? 

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Another "last"

Motherhood is a lifetime of Firsts - from the First knowing of the First pregancy, on through a series of endless milestones. As a scrapbooker, I dilegently record these Firsts for each of my children.

Increasingly these days, I am also noticing all the Lasts.

It comes with the Last baby, who not only marks their own Firsts in their journey through life, but also draw lines beneath each life-stage. The Last-born is the Last to start school and the Last to leave childhood behind.

Today, I have just scrapbooked my Last child's Last school photos and have drawn a line in red ink beneath this chapter of my life. There will be other school photos for me to record, as future grandchildren wend their own paths through the school years, but as a mother, this is a Last.

The First term of the Last year ended two weeks ago and on Monday, the Last term of the Last First semester will commence...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Yvette's Favourite Things

Like Oprah, I enjoy discovering lovely new things.

Unlike Oprah, I can't suprise you all with " you are all taking these home!" but I can at least share the secrets!

So here are some of my new treasures and where you can get your own!

Pouchee - tracked down and finally found someone who would ship to Australia, I am so thrilled with my new Pouchee, I want to shout it to the world! It does what it says it will do and has simplified my compulsive bag swapping!

Yogitoes Skidless - tackling downward facing dog and other standing poses in yoga class can be a bit tricky in a hot, Aussie summer as it is, but I get sweaty palms and feet just thinking about it sometimes! So this is going to make life a lot safer for me and those yogis around me! And thankfully, there is an Aussie distributor :) (Mine is orange, of course!)

Home delivery of fresh foods - meat, fruit/veg and bread & milk - has freed up our time and improved our menu and food intake! I am glad we took the step of giving Aussie Farmers Direct a go as they are excellent!!!

Blackberry Bold - I am 100% sold that this was the right choice for me - I LOVE it! And so far it has done all the things I wanted of it: email access wherever I go is great and having Facebook and Twitter at my fingertips is a bonus! And it fits perfectly into my Pouchee!!!!

That's it for now!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

1980s - The Golden Era for Stay-at-Home-Mums?

I am feeling quite dinosaur-ish as I write this, but I remember when mothers  were under no pressure to return to the paid workforce. Yes, hard as may be to believe in this current climate, but those of us who raised Generation Y in the post-feminist era took for granted the right to step out of the income-generating role to focus on the people-generating one.

When I ran head-long into motherhood in 1984, aged 20 and ready to embrace my new career, I was officially unemployed:a product of the "recession we had to have". Motherhood became my Occupation and I proudly stated thus on every form I filled in. Having started this journey, any thoughts of "paid work" for a proper salary were shelved until some time in the future. Paying hobbies were acceptable and some women might take on part-time jobs as their children entered pre-school or school, but the focus was very much on "Mothering: a job worth doing".

Sometime after my third child was born in 1991, I must have taken my eye off the ball because the change happened without me noticing. All I know is, within a few short years, maternity leave became a description of a finite time away from the workforce, usually commencing six weeks before the baby's due date and ending weeks, months or years after the birth, depending on some sort of occupation lottery. What began as a trickle became a flood within the next ten years and suddenly all choice in the matter seemed removed from the individual and the transition was complete.

Mothers were filling the workforce in numbers too large to ignore. Corporate carerose up and consumed much of the community child care services unable to meet the demand for extended hours. With grandmothers likely themselves to be in paid work, family care became endangered.

Whoa! There a minute!! hey - who said this is what we want? What the hell is this, some sort of social experiment?

The glowing vision of a women in the prime of her fertility, nesting at home in the weeks before the big day has been replaced with a frantic pace of childbirth classes, baby showers, sandwiched in among the meetings, sales trips and other corporate  requirements that need completion before the worker takes her token maternity leave.

After the amazing experience of birthing your living child, surmounting the challenges and achieving moderately successful breastfeeding, a mother is finally at a point where she can begin to enjoy inter-acting with her child as he learns about life outside the womb.

Then the crunch hits. A date is looming. Mortgage payments rear their ugly heads. Play time is over and Mother needs to go back to the real world and earn her keep as she aids the struggling Australian economy by feeding the bulk of her pay into the childcare coffers.

Time to rejoin the real world, where people have real jobs and some of those jobs are caring for the children of caring mothers who have real jobs in the real world.

(Whisper to any of these mothers the question "would you rather be a stay-at-home-mum" and tears may fill their eyes: of course, but the mortgage, the lifestyle are beyond the means of a one income family)

Now we are seeing the detrimental impact of this experiment as it strikes directly at the health of mothers and babies by hostile support of breastfeeding-friendly workplaces and practices. We are seeing paid maternity leave slide off the agenda again, along with the hopes of our daughters and their babies yet to be.

Where will it all end?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Results just in ...

Remember the neuropsychological assessment I had last week? I have just been given the results and (sort of) reassuringly they confirm my own observations.

Having been blessed my whole life with a wonderful memory, it is a relief to know my storage of information is rock solid :) But as I have noted, learning/acquiring new information/skills/processes is not as easy as I am used to and has become a complex task I have to give my full attention to. Once I get it in, it will stick like glue, but I can't do it as automatically as I am used to. Egad, I shall have to start taking notes!

Retrieval is also altered - I am not imagining the poor little librarian in charge of my mind sometimes has trouble finding where she has filed things. Those of you who work with me face to face have probably encountered the new vague look I get while the librarian races from shelf to shelf looking. Bear with us - she gets there in the end, especially if I have left really good clues for her!!!

So, on a day to day working basis, this all confirms that if you have only told me, then you haven't told me and you are best to put it in writing, even if I try to assure you it is fine! If I am in an environment where there is lots going on, I am least efficient at processing the information, so if it can wait til a quieter time, you have more hope I will retain it!

My symptoms of what is formally referred to as cognitive deficient are related to the MS, are mild and will not necessarily progress beyond the irritating. I have been encouraged to keep using the systems I have in place to help - basically, doctor's orders to keep exploring organisation tools!!! Maybe I will need to work out the voice recorder on the BlackBerry - um, message for Yvette: "you parked in the third level carpark, not the second!"

Better finish my scrapbooking backlog... just in case I .... um... give me a moment ... I know this! grr!