The Most Surprising Moments

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Most surprising are those moments in mothering,
When you’ve done nothing but shout all day
and you’ve wished yourself far away,
To somewhere quiet, somewhere clean,
Somewhere where white linen is more than a silly idea.

When being a mother is swallowing you like a prescription pill,
and you’re breathless with quiet rage.
Frozen in the face of anxiety and expectation,
And guilt and judgement
And paperwork.

When the tedium of washing and cleaning
and questions and cooking and washing and feeding
and fighting,
is equal to the weight you now carry on your stay at home mum belly…
And everybody is asking you “what’s for dinner?”

There will be a sparkling little moment,
A tiny shiny jewel,
Worth far more than the ring that brought you here.
Perhaps more precious and bewildering
than even conception itself.

Your little boy with his enormous heart,
And eyes like your own,
will for no reason other
than the fact that you are his mother,
Say to his brother, “let’s go and pick mum some flowers!”

And his brother will say “yes, good idea!
But not too many.
Because flowers are nature
and without nature,
we can’t breathe.”

In those most surprising moments,
I’m so thankful I am here.
And I smile at my babies
Who noticed the pretty daisies
Long before their mother.

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Getting the good stuff in. Ren’s top 5 tips…

A friend popped in briefly today and said “your recipes and posts look amazing! I feel like such a bad mum ’cause I think, yeah I should do that – and then I go, oh, who’s got time for that? Here kids, have a vegemite sandwich!”
Well, I reminded her firstly that little R will not and never has eaten sandwiches. Anything bread like for that matter. He turns his face away in disgust like I’m trying to feed him poison. (Does he know more than we do?) He used to occasionally munch on a bit of toast when he was very small but only really to suck the butter off. So sandwiches were never an option for me with him. J, 4yrs, loves sandwiches but depending on the bread, they don’t always love him. Although generally more expensive, I’ve found spelt or kamut flour breads or mountain bread wraps are the best option on the digestive front with no hidden nasties. (My local food works supermarket has a great range called “Ancient Grains.”) Or of course, you can bake your own.
The other factor to note is that with two busy boys, my house looks like a bomb has hit it most days. I’m busy failing in all sorts of other areas too! Different people, different priorities 🙂
But she’s not the first frazzled mum to ask me “how?” or “when?” so these are my top 5 tips for getting the good stuff into you and your family:

1. Keep a container of veggie sticks in the fridge (carrot, capsicums, cucumber, celery, fresh green beans)

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Chop up enough to last the week on a Sunday night while you’re watching 60 minutes and then when you or your munchkins are sniffing around for a snack, plop them on a plate with some dip and some plain rice crackers if you need to ease them into the veggie idea. (the Sakata ones are the only brand not covered in artificial junk) The dip pictured above is my ‘best of a bad bunch choice’ for when I haven’t made my own, as its list of ingredients is actually recognisable foods and it’s preservative free. Making your own dips however, is a much better option. (I will post some recipes soon but in the meantime, feel free to share your favourites with the rest of us!)

2. Make veggie soup.

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Now, you’ve already got a whole lot of veggies out that you’ve been busy chopping up for snacks, so why not roughly chop some more and throw them in the slow cooker with a diced onion, a couple of cloves of garlic, some dried herbs, a tin of tomatoes (try to find a brand that don’t line their cans with BPA. Alternatively, use a jar/bottle of passata.) and a litre or three of nourishing homemade stock. (Depending on how many veggies you’ve cut up.) Cook on low overnight and ladle into jars in the morning. (It will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days or for at least 3 months in the freezer. Then simply heat and serve for an easy winter lunch or snack. If your kids won’t eat it chunky like this, purée in the blender first and give it to them in a mug. I like to serve this with something protein based to keep them full. For example: hard boiled eggs, some leftover meat from dinner the night before or J’s favourite: a ham roll up – a slice of Istra Ham (ethically farmed, preservative free) rolled up in a slice of buttered mountain bread.

3. If dinner includes bones, make stock

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Check out my post here about how to create a rich, nourishing homemade broth/stock.

4.Keep your juicer/blender on the bench otherwise you’ll never use them. And pre-prepare fruit and veggies

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These days I buy two bags of delicious oranges a week -in season, fresh, juicy and perfect for boosting your vitamin C during winter. One bag i keep for whole fruit snacks and one to peel and store in the fridge for juice/smoothies. (It’s the hospitality training in me!) Celery is a pain to store in the fridge anyway so before you put it away with your groceries, rinse it and chop lengths into halves. Bananas going brown? Peel them, slice and freeze for smoothies and ice cream. You get the idea.

5. Always make more than you need

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I always make our smoothies the night before when the kids are in bed and sanity is returning. When little people aren’t pestering you, EVERYTHING is easier to prepare. And I ALWAYS make enough for two days unless it is quite acidic. (With lemons/oranges)
The https://renlikesred.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/breakfast-moothie/ keeps really well for two days but no longer. Always make double batches of casseroles, stews and soups, roast extra veggies for lunch the next day, cook extra chicken drumsticks to shred for tomorrow etc… And make sure you use everything up!

So there you have it, these are some of the ways I try to stay as organised as possible so I always have something nourishing to feed my hungry little monsters.
Would love to hear some of your tips!

The Chocolate Monster

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Little R, almost two, is also affectionately known as the chocolate monster. If he sees it, smells it, thinks its coming, he does a little happy dance singing “chocolate! Chocolate! Pease mummy, chocolate!” On the other hand, if chocolate doesn’t arrive fast enough… enter the chocolate monster!
Fortunately, I usually have a batch of these tasty treats in the fridge or freezer (they keep well in both) but if not, it takes merely minutes to whip some up. Sometimes I roll the mixture into balls, coat them in coconut and call them yes, chocolate balls. Either way, its an easy chocolatey treat full of wholesome goodness!

CHOCOLATE SLICE in a hurry

3 cups of nuts (I like to use 1 cup each of almonds, cashews and walnuts but you can vary this if you like.)

1 cup of firmly packed medjool dates, chopped and pitted

3/4 cup desiccated coconut (I use preservative free)

3 heaped tablespoons cacao (not cocoa)

2 tablespoons coconut oil

3 tablespoons raw local or organic honey or rice malt syrup (you can find this in the health food aisle of most supermarkets)

Put the nuts and dates in a food processor and combine well.

Add the cacao and coconut and continue to process.

Add the honey/rice malt syrup and coconut oil and process until the mixture comes together.

Press into a slice tin lined with baking paper and refrigerate until set. Cut into slices and store in the fridge or freezer.

Wrestle your children for a slice and enjoy with a nice hot cuppa while they’re watching peppa pig
🙂

Beginnings

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I’m Ren, a wife and stay at home mum of two boys: J, aged 4 and R, almost 2. Before nappies, mess and tickles I was a singer in a blues band, a cabaret performer, a waitress, a student and a high school art teacher.
More recently, I’ve become quite passionate about health and wellness. As a chain smoking 20 something, good health was never really a huge priority in my life but when I decided I’d like to grow a baby or two and stick around long enough to see them enjoy a richly nourished life, my focus shifted.
This continued when J was born as he was a very unsettled little bub, suffering badly from reflux and it took us three years of puzzling his problems (rashes, sleep disturbances, reflux) before we realised how sensitive he is to artificial additives in food.
My husband C has suffered life long chronic migraines and I have struggled with excess weight, depression, iron issues and sinus allergies for longer than I can remember.
So we started with food. We cut out heavily processed, packaged “foods,” refined sugars and carbohydrates, we planted a garden and began eating predominantly whole foods: loads of fresh fruit and veggies, ethically raised, good quality meats, healthy fats, nuts, seeds and smaller amounts of quality whole grains. And what a difference it makes! J was able to come off his reflux medication, C’s migraines have lessened in frequency and intensity, my sinus issues have improved immensely and we are now painfully aware if any artificial nasties have crept into the kids’ diet. That’s when the rashes come back and the tantrums turn up.
We’re so far from having “arrived” anywhere really and stumble and trip all the time but we all know the good stuff of life is embedded in the journey!
So all of these things have brought me here, to this blog. I love music, art, good food, education, my garden and happy children. I want to do better, I want wellness, balance, joy and contentment for myself, for my family and for you if you’re keen. Colourful days to come 🙂