Personal

Post Natal Depression Awareness Week

During the week I went on the radio to talk about my experience with post-natal depression, and how social media possibly contributes to this problem. It was a good experience, and I wanted to follow it up with some more thoughts to re-iterate what I’d said there, and also add some additional information.

For those that don’t know, I suffered post-natal depression after the birth of my first son. His birth was hard, and he suffered a dairy intolerance as a baby.  I was helpless, and hurting that my baby was hurting. I yelled and cried, and when I told the health nurse, or the GP at mine or his checkups I was repeatedly told that he was fine – he didn’t have the right symptoms for ANY sort of problem, and it was just colic. Oh, and that I was probably exaggerating things. 

// Having people not believe you because you are a first time mum is very hurtful, and certainly contributes to higher PND in first time mums //

// Find a good GP! If your GP doesn’t take your concerns seriously, or doesn’t believe you, just find a new one. Seriously. There are actually heaps of GREAT GPs out there, you just have to find them (and probably wait for an appointment!) //

After a few months of this, my thyroid totally spun out, although I didn’t know that was the problem at the time. By this stage I had discovered Lior’s dairy intolerance, and we had things mostly under control, but the damage was done. I suffered in silence for many many months after that, and at 13 months postpartum I went to a new doctor and was diagnosed with post-natal depression. Even that part of the story did go smoothly, and I was screwed over by the mental health services at the local hospital. I gave up, and Luke, Lior & I put everything we owned into storage and hung out in Israel for a while, where I found myself not only cured, healthy, happy and at peace, but also after not too long a time, pregnant again. Ha!

// Definitely not saying everyone should just pack up and move to Israel, but also… it’s a miraculous land… // 

// Holidays are great – don’t underestimate the power of changing your routine and lifestyle for a period of time //

I re-wrote the above story of my first year of motherhood, it made it sound horrific, and terrible every day, but in reality it wasn’t. I had lots of really great days, and in general I soldiered on, making the most of my life, and appreciating what a gift it was to be a mother, and to have my darling little boy. He was adorable, and lovely, and I loved spending time with him. And I think lots of people would attest to this being their reality when they experience  post-natal depression. Little things being fine, and yes to fun things, yes to laughing, yes to generally “coping”, but having a bit of a cloud hanging over you. To have the running theme of your life somehow being hardship and sadness, even though rationally you know that this is not so much the case.

// PND is different for everyone – having someone to regularly talk to is a great way to keep things in check and notice when that cloud just won’t go away. I’m sorry to tell you that this person is almost definitely not your husband, or your mum. //

As I said on the radio, if you’re a mum (new or “old”!), then finding the right tribe on social media is so important, and during my second pregnancy I found that. Finding people who’s parenting style you resonate with, and who are honest about the ups and downs of motherhood. No one wants to watch people sad and moping online, but also it’s not helpful only seeing the highlight reel.

// You might find that by being honest you actually help other people. If you’re someone who is open about their own realities, then you might make people feel safe enough to ask you for help should they need it. //

My personal manifesto for using social media is to keep things real, and being mostly positive. Sometimes, times are tough, and life is just not positive. It’s about a year ago that I got some hard core burnout from over-commiting myself, and that was actually pretty hard to share online, but I’m glad I did. I hope it helps someone else not over-commit themselves. Sharing the tired days when my baby didn’t sleep, and I am desperate for coffee – this is real life, and I share this too. Sharing the joy my kids bring me, and things they do that make me proud – this is also super important, and part of what makes a strong online community. We’re about to embark on a three week trip with 3 small children and a 20 hour transit, so if you’re keen to see the fun and also the hard of travelling with kids, definitely head over to my instagram. 🙂

// Be honest! Be vulnerable! But this is partly why having that right tribe is important. If you’re surrounded by people who like to give tons of advice when you didn’t ask for it, or judge you for give them the ol’ heave ho, and block them. Aint nobody got time for that. //

// On one of our trips both our kids weed and pood in their clothes whilst sleeping on a 12 hour flight. That was incredibly fun. Not. Hopefully nothing like that will happen on this flight!! //

I just wanted to lastly add that if you’re a husband, keep an eye on your wife. Don’t let things get so bad. If you’re a wife, even if you may have PND yourself, don’t forget your husband! I think men actually get PND in a different way, but quite frequently, it’s just not diagnosed (and they can get through it a bit easier, because they don’t have the hormonal interference. But still, a psychologist can really help. If you’re in Australia, just go talk to your GP about it, and you can most likely get a bunch of free session to see if it’s going to help you!

// Post-natal depression is not a women only issue. Men can also suffer post-natal depression. //

// Post-natal depression not only affects you, but also your spouse, baby, and other children. Seeking help is the best thin you can do, if not for yourself, then for the people you live with who are affected. //

Photo by S S on Unsplash

Homeschooling

Homeschooling – Term 3 Culmination (Part 1)

If you missed part 1, you can read/watch it here.

In the first video I shared what we did the day before our culmination day – how we got prepared at home, and how we incorporated this theme into our homeschooling. So this next video is of the actual Carnival day!

The kids really loved being involved in this day, and while we perhaps didn’t contribute at the same level as some of the other kids, I think we did a pretty good job considering their ages, and the fact that this was really our first term being involved in something like this.

Homeschooling

Homeschooling – Term 3 Culmination (Part 1)

Better late than never sharing this video! It was fun to make, and I look forward to doing more summary videos of our homeschooling as we finish various topics. In Queensland, Australia where we live, term 3 was from the 10th of July to the 15th of September. Our homeschool group – PB Learners focused on a carnival as our term play based learning topic, and so we went along with this on our home days as well.

Over the course of the term the children worked on their own individual and group projects which they could contribute to our end of term culmination day – a PB Learners carnival!

I have made the video below showing how we prepared for the carnival at home the day before. And later in the week I will share with you the finished culmination day! Enjoy. 🙂

Personal

Finding Flow – prayer, the beach and painting.

We love our beach days. Apart from family and friends, the beach is definitely the number one thing I miss about living on the coast. Actually probably the only other thing. And miss it I certainly do. Last weekend, as I lay on the sand watching the kids make sand castles and memories I felt so sure that this was my happy place.

I listened to a podcast about “flow” the other day. I tried to think about how that fit into my life as a mother with small children, as a homeschooling mother, as an artist, and how I could achieve it. Definitely with meditation and prayer – which go hand in hand for me, and something I do most day. Saying the Amidah in the mornings. Art journaling and painting – specifically the abstract intuitive pages. But also, the beach. The rhythm of the waves coming in and going out. The connection with nature (I am a lover of earthing), and the feeling of my skin soaking up Vitamin D. A happy place for sure, but also definitely a “flow” place, and a place of inspiration and rejuvenation. A holy place in many ways I guess!

finding your flow at the beach / family playing joyfully at the beach finding your flow at the beach / seaweed at Maroochydore finding your flow at the beach / boy playing joyfully at the beach finding your flow at the beach / boy playing joyfully at the beach finding your flow at the beach / family playing joyfully at the beach finding your flow at the beach / Mother and son finding your flow at the beach / family playing joyfully at the beach finding your flow at the beach / boy playing joyfully at the beach finding your flow at the beach / boy playing joyfully at the beach finding your flow at the beach / boy playing joyfully at the beach finding your flow at the beach / boy playing joyfully at the beach

USA 2017

Feeling Alive

On Friday I spent a lot of money, and I booked a bunch of flights for out family of 5 to go to America at the end of the month. We’ll be gone for 3 weeks, and Luke of course will spend most of the time working. We have to be in Nashville for WordCamp US, as that’s the work stuff Luke has on, and will do a road trip from there to see a few things around the area.

Ahava (21 months), has never been overseas before. We did a long weekend trip to Sydney earlier in the year, which was great, but that’s the only travel we’ve done with 3 kids. So I’m excited! I feel alive, for sure. Not just because I spent a whole lot of money (Luke usually books the flights and things), but because we’re travelling! I love that it’s kinda late notice (we have less than 3 weeks till we leave), and that we don’t have a solid plan. It feels very “us”, and I like that.

When Ahava was born I totally came to peace with the idea that our family holidays probably didn’t involve months in Israel, or months of  travel hoping across the globe, and that was totally fine. I loved my growing family, and was happy to compromise travel for a season while our kids grew. Part of the reason Luke & I decided to have children “young” is so that when they’re all grown up we’ll have plenty of time to travel again before we feel too old. So it’s a long season without much travel, but still, a season.

This year I planned a few Australian based holidays. We did the Sydney trip, which was great, and I had planned a few trips for 2018 that we could drive to. Really, Queensland is a beautiful state, and there is so much to see and do that we haven’t taken advantage of. It’s great. But when I booked this flight – oh man, I’m on a high! I’m so keen for this, and so grateful we have the opportunity to watch Luke do some amazing stuff while he works as well.

I guess all I wanted to say, was that I didn’t realise how much I missed international travel (never missing the flights though – ugh), until I booked something in. Also, I’m inspired to write – so it must be good for me. 🙂


Photo from Deathtostockphoto.com

Homeschooling

Homeschool Spring Fair

Homeschool Brisbane Spring Fair: Choosing items Homeschool Brisbane Spring Fair: DIY bracelets Homeschool Brisbane Spring Fair: Fresh produce Homeschool Brisbane Spring Fair Homeschool Brisbane Spring Fair: Fairy Doors Homeschool Brisbane Spring Fair Homeschool Brisbane Spring Fair: Cupcake stall Homeschool Brisbane Spring Fair: Facepainting Homeschool Brisbane Spring Fair:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Homeschool Brisbane Spring Fair: tiger facepainting Homeschool Brisbane Spring Fair: tiger facepainting Homeschool Brisbane Spring Fair: DIY braceletsLast term, on the first day of spring, some local homeschoolers organised a spring fair. We went along just as “buyers” as we’re still settling in to our new place, and I thought it was best if the kids experienced the fair first before having their own stall. It was a great morning, and we stayed much longer than I thought we would! I let the boys take their wallets and spend as much of their own money as they wanted. Mostly because if we’re too stingy about these things it’s not so fun, and also if they spent all their money then they could learn a lesson in earning it all back! 

The kids stalls were priced no higher than $1 per item/service, and this made it really easy and affordable. Of course, kids still needed to offer change, or make up the money using silver coins, but the price limit meant that my kids weren’t going to get ripped off, either. Parent stalls were priced at whatever the value was, but I personally think people were selling their things super cheap! I wish I’d brought more of my own money to spend!

Lucky for my boys, Ahave fell asleep on the way and continued to sleep in the pram for most of the morning, so they had my undivided attention for that time, which was lovely.

Huge shout out to my eldest child who thoughtfully chose a necklace and earrings for me. He even secretly bought the earrings as a surprise. I’d had a hard fortnight feeing disappointed with their ungratefulness and whinging, and then this happened! Gave me hope that all is not bad! And I can’t leave out my second baby who also wanted to buy me a necklace (but one is enough, you know?).

Once Ahava was awake she was totally into it too, and had her hair sprayed, and convinced her brothers to buy her things. How she does this with no words is beyond me, but she charms them for sure.

Some of our favourite stalls were:

  • DIY beaded bracelets
  • Cupcake stall
  • Lucky dip (had toys in the kids had obviously donated – was such a great idea)
  • Hair spray station
  • The tiger shop (obviously this family had been learning about or had an interest in Sumarian tigers, and everything in their shop was themed this way. They’d made little books, had made tiger tails out of wool, and had a bunch of other stuff too)
Recipes

Beef Hummus Bowl Recipe

Serious. Delicious. The first time I experienced a hummus bowl was when we were in Israel the second time, and at that point I felt like a BOWL of hummus was an outrageous thing I probably didn’t need, and probably couldn’t finish. BUT, once I ate some I realised that actually this was amazing. So here I am re-creating my own version with bought hummus (because when you find great kosher hummus… why not?!), and really delicious mix of spices in the beef. As far as I’m aware caramelised onions aren’t traditional, but seriously – you need this in your life. I think caramelised onions are my number 1 food.

Another variation of this would be to use leftover beef from a roast. Pull it apart thinly, and then fry it up with the spices to give it flavour and make it hot. 🙂

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Serves 5.

Ingredients

Hummus (500g – 600g) – either pre-bought, or homemade

500g beef mince

2 tsp cumin

2 tsp sumac

1 tsp paprika

1-2 tsp garlic powder

1 beef stock cube

1 tbs chopped chilli (optional)

carmalised onions (1-2 onions worth)

parsley

zatar

beef hommus bowl

Process

  1. First step is to caramelise your onions if you haven’t already done so. These are best done in a big batch, and then kept in a jar in the fridge so that you can use them whenever you want. 
  2. Fry up your bed mince in batches, and then return it all the the frying pan (I actually use a wok because it is so much larger, and easy to push the already cooked mince up the side. Add in the cumin, sumac, garlic powder, paprika, and stock cube (crushed up). If you’re using chilli you can add this in now also. Fry it up so that you get some nice caramelised crispy bits on your beef!
  3. Finely dice your parsley ready for serving.
  4. To serve:  Fill your bowl with hummus – whatever amount your desire. I would say I put about 4 heaping spoonfuls into each bowl. Add your hot beef mince, a spoonful of caramelised onions, and sprinkle over some parsley and zatar. Now, you can eat!

Notes

I love to make this on a yom tov for lunch. I usually have the caramelised onions already made, and fry up the mince before hand and leave it in the fridge. Then on the yom tov all I have to do is re-heat the mince, and assemble the bowl. Easy!

Recipes, Sukkot

Sukkot Menu Plan (part 1)

I love to, no, I NEED to menu plan. It is the only way I survive the holiday season, and really the only way I can stick to my food budget from week to week. I don’t have heaps of desserts and sweets planned, though I will probably add a few more to that list (see: Sukkoth Snacks) as we go through. I love rummaging around a fridge full of leftovers to make sandwiches and salads the next day, and I think this menu will allow for lots of that! I’m also just going to buy all my challah this year (shock! horror!). I just have to admit to myself that this is already a lot of cooking, and a lot of prep, and this is something I can easily do to make my life just a little bit easier.

In case you’re wondering why I’ve only included half a week, it is for a very simple reason – I only menu plan one week at a time. 😛 Also, I want to get a good idea of how much food we did and didn’t eat in this first week, and make good use of any leftovers in the second week – recreating them into beautiful dishes on their own. For example, I can see us turning the leftover roast beef from Sunday night into tacos the next day, and maybe even a shepherd’s pie later in the week, depending how much is left over…

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Days before Sukkot:

Mon – leftovers

Tuesday – Vegetarian pizza

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Sukkot snacks:

Baklava

Cookies

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Sukkot I (Wed nigh, Thursday)

Dinner: Shul dinner

Breakfast: Pancake breakfast in the sukkah

Lunch: Antipasti

Sukkot II (Thursday night, Friday)

Dinner: Potato kugel, MEDITERRANEAN SWEET AND SOUR CHICKEN

Breakfast: Regular breakfast

Lunch: Funeral – eat there.

Sukkot III (Sabbath. Friday night, Saturday)

Dinner: Slow cooker lemon garlic chicken with veg . Orange Cardamom Malabi with Drunken Figs (this recipe)

Breakfast: Regular breakfast (weet-bix etc.)

Lunch: hummus bowls (spiced beef and caramelised onions)

Sukkot IV (Saturday night, Sunday)

Dinner: Eggs on toast / leftovers

Breakfast: Regular breakfast

Lunch: Shul BBQ (check what we need to bring…)

Sukkot V (Family dinner – Sunday night)

Dinner: Roast beef. Beetroot salad. Lemon pie & fruit for dessert (maybe this recipe). + Things others bring.


 

Rosh Hashanah

Stuffed Papers for Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah is tonight, and our house is looking beautiful and festive thanks to these stuffed papers we made. No tutorial necessary, as these are SO incredibly simple to make. I tried to use the symbolise foods for Rosh Hashanah as as well as a shofar, because… well, duh, it’s Rosh Hashanah. Shofars are it!

I just googled the pictures for each, and saved them and printed them out so that they took up half a page. The boys set to work painting them with watercolours, and then we cute them out. We used the scraps of paper that were cut off to stuff inside the shapes once we’d stapled them! So it turned into a pretty clean and nifty craft!

stuffed papers for Rosh Hashanah

stuffed papers for Rosh Hashanah stuffed papers for Rosh Hashanah

Personal

My baby aint a baby anymore

My baby, my sweet little girl is 21 months old tomorrow. When her eldest brother was this old I was nearly ready to pop with her second brother. When her second brother was this old, I was more than half way through my pregnancy with her. 

This week I realised she’s not a baby anymore. She’s big. She has long legs, and tells big stories with her hands. She is sneaky and cheeky, and can follow almost any instruction you give her. She has a cute little bob haircut and her clothes are size 2. TWO! Geeze. She is not a baby anymore. When her brothers got this big I was relieved and excited for the next stage of toddlerhood, especially because I was also looking forward to the arrival of a new little squish. But this time it’s different.

I do plan to have another child. Heck, I might even go crazy and have two more children. But not now. Her brothers didn’t scream this loud or high pitched, they weren’t as emotional, and they didn’t still feed 3+ times during the night and at any possible chance (even asking when I’m on the toilet!) during the day. I know my body needs a little rest from the stress and pressure of pregnancy, birth, and the first year after, but knowing this rationally does not stop me being a little sentimental, and a little sad, that I definitely don’t have a baby in my house anymore.

Of course I don’t want to be all down about her growing up – it is after all a great blessing and a really joy to see her and her brothers grow and mature each day. Luke and I are often commenting to each other saying “Wow, don’t you think Eli is so grown up with his words?!” or “Do you remember when Lior couldn’t read ANYTHING, and now he can sounds stuff out so good!”, “I love that Ahava is so great at helping and sharing now.” etc. So in honour of that gift, here are some things that make me grateful to have a full blown toddler daughter instead of a baby one.

  1. She’s fun. She loves to read and play peek-a-boo and do games and things like this. She has a lovely smile.
  2. She is a good helper. She can go fetch things, and follow instructions. She likes to be in on the action, which I usually get frustrated with, but am making a conscious effort to be grateful for and to try and include her more rather than just giving her a different task.
  3. I absolutely 100% love the way she stares and copies. Sometimes it’s me she copies (cue cute games we can play!), but often it is her brothers. She simple HAS to be the same as them and have her own little crown if we’re making crowns (lovely Rosh Hashanah craft), or if the boys are playing dressing ups she also wants to to play dress ups. 
  4. She is able to really show love in a tangible way. We all know babies love us, or at least need us and feel attached to us, but it’s so nice when they’re older enough to express it. She gives cuddles and kisses, and pats on the back. 
  5. Toddlers are cute. Need I say more?
  6. Toddler babble – also cute.
  7. Also, I can put her hair up now, and even though she HATES having her hair brushed she loves having her hair done up & often insists on it (yes, this makes hair time just as difficult as you imagine it to be…)

Ahava Miriam