Sunday, May 31, 2009

Il Majjistral National Park

This is an endemic plant of Malta unfortunately I forgot the name

Yesterday, we went together with my cousin & her husband to a free guided walk of the Majjistral National Park located in the northern part of the island- extending from Golden Bay to Popeye village. It was my first visit there and we all quite enjoyed the 2 hr or so walk. The actual park is still basic or rather left in its original state. However there are no fences or some kind of marker to show where it starts and finishes and no public conveniences by the entrances (which I think would be a nice plus) and no warden huts so that people can pass it, take informative leaflets and sign themselves (so the admin will have an approx. idea how many people are visiting). There is a plaque though showing the entrances and routes to take around the park just outside it.
This is called a Girna

Analise the guide who took us around was quite knowledgeable and I got to know that we have more than one plant endemic only to our islands. That although our island looks arid especially in Summer, there is lots of life to be seen. The area was spectacularly intersperesed with wild thyme in bloom which filled your sensesc with its aroma at certain places (and were told in peak Summer it will actually be all over). There were fantastic views of huge expanses of land with fallen boulders into the sea, a sunset to remember and an old mediaval settlement.

View of the Cliffs

Although the area is a park, there is still some farmland and there are still to be seen the hunting huts (which I know the park is working hard to have the hunters out- please sign the petition).

Sunset at the park

It was an amazing experience and am looking forward to the next activity which also includes a bit of astronomy. I recommend all Maltese to support the park (which can be visited anytime for free) and take part in the activities they do. You can contact them on walks@majjistral.org


Beautiful cliffs view

All the above pictures are courtesy of my cousin Priscilla & her husband Joe

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Aromatherapy time


Hi for this weeks' aromatherapy section, I will discuss Camomile. Firstly let me say there are 2 types of camomile, German camomile & Roman camomile; generally speaking when recipes for ailments are made they are usually refering to the Roman variety. Although both are camomile, they do not have the same healing properties. I myself will be writing on Roman Camomile or Anthemis nobilis/ Chamaemelum nobilis. Camomile as Lavender is very versitile and uses can overlap, in fact used together you should get even better results. One example we can use is how both Lavender & Camomile are good for child use. Camomile diluted with a carrier oil will help an infant with his teething ( i.e. when he is not in great pain as no matter how much I love home remedies, I found that hysterical crying by my son due to teething pain got no better with Camomile). A weak herbal tea or a few drops in the bath will calm a fretful child.


Camomile has been used for over 4000 years; its flowers used to scent clothes and linen, to scent the hair, deter flies and more. It is good for the following uses: inflammation, aches and pains, insomnia, vomiting, restlessness, tension, irritability among others.


Face oil- for a good rest (also said to help wrinkles)

5ml jojoba oil

10ml apricot kernel oil

5ml rosehip seed oil

4 drops rose oil

2 drops camomile oil

2 drops neroli oil

mix them together apply to face and let it be absorbed. After 5 mins remove excess oil with a tissue.


earache

5ml olive oil

1 drop camomile

1 drop tea tree

mix in an egg cup then gently heat standing cup in water. Dip cotton wool in mixture and place in effected ear. You can do it twice a day.


headache- make a cold compress ie ice cold water & a drop of camomile


sore eyes - camomile teabag, 1 drop oil & 10ml witch hazel. Put teabag in a mug, add the oil, pour boiling water (not more than 100ml) cover and let cool ten remove the bag add the witch hazel to water, transfer to a bottle shake well. dip small compresses in the mixture and place over closed eyes for 10 minutes.


Enjoy your home remedies and happy weekend!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

articles with a difference

Here are some interesting articles from Treehugger. For the full article press the title of every bit of info.

Israel replacing pesticides with birds- Many farmers are installing nest boxes to encourage the birds, which hunt the crop-damaging rodents.
In Israel, where there is a drive to reduce the use of toxic chemical pesticides, this has been turned into a government-funded national programme.-shouldn't Malta do the same?


Mars going fair trade - And then the big announcement of their teaming-up with Rainforest Alliance and other certification bodies to ensure that all the beans bought by Mars would meet fairtrade standards. That includes "minimum wages for farmers, conserving water and biodiversity-friendly pest management- now that is great news!

Canadian government eats raw seal - She swallowed a piece whole and deemed it tasty, saying: "It's like sushi. ... And it's very rich in protein."
Jean, whose post is largely ceremonial, defended the hunt as an eons-old traditional hunting practice that is not inhumane - disgusting...I understand why they won't ban seal hunting but I belive they should find a more humane way to kill them!!


Portable flip flop - Like a devoted lover, these portable flip-flops will go where you go, roam where you roam, whether it's to the yoga studio, the spa, or that grody motel room where the carpet smells (and feels) like wet mongrel. - hmmm nice thought.

Foldable bikes -- The clean and striking MODE is aimed at commuters that may have not considered cycling or folding bikes as an option. MODE avoids oily chains, complex tubes with hidden dirt traps and the clutter of traditional bike features. It can be used by commuters who do not want to change their appearance into 'bicycle warriors'. - Now if only it wasn't so expensive I'd get one.

Laptops no need to recycle - What they've done with a laptop that many users would think is past its prime is pretty inspirational. We love seeing old devices made new again, rather than tossed. Keeping useful products in the stream is definitely greener than that next best alternative - recycling. - Nice idea me a d Dave will soon try it as ours going downhill.

200 new frogs in Madagascar - What's more is that of these newly discovered frog species, about 25% of them were discovered in areas not protected as reserve or national park—that's in a country which has lost about 80% of its rainforests- wow awesome!

Climate change no more - a group of about 230 glaciers in the Western Himalayas are either growing or holding instead of retreating like most other glaciers. The study points to a potential explanation for that, and it sounds very plausible. Read on for more details. - don't raise your hopes there is an explanation.

Sun and global warming - Currently astrophysicists are noting that this is the "slow" period in solar flares and storms in decades and that the last time this happened coincided with the coldest part of the Little Ice Age from 1645 to 1715. Currently the sun is also the "dimmest" it has been in 100 years, and no that's not just because we're experiencing winter/spring here in North America.- why ain't nothing easy now the sun gets in the middle.

I enjoy reading these stories...gives you some hindsight and get to know what's new.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

wordless wednesday

Tummy time and boy is he enjoying it!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Yoga Journal - Yoga Habitat - When Less is More

I thought this was a great article to share with you people!

Aparigraha also means "not having a lot of unnecessary things around yourself and not hankering after what other people have," Frawley says. In other words, aparigraha also means keeping only what you need and wanting only what you need.
Aparigraha leads naturally to one of the niyamas: santosha, or "contentment," being satisfied with the resources at hand and not desiring more. Ultimately, Frawley says, "Yoga is about transcending the desire for external things, which is the cause of suffering, and finding peace and happiness within."

Yoga Journal - Yoga Habitat - When Less is More

The Recipe corner

Hi all and welcome once more to the recipe corner of my blog. Last week I did raspberry muffins & strawberry cake....both came really good but the cake was my favourite. Here are the recipes for you and enjoy baking!



Strawberry cake:



1 cup butter

4 eggs

1 cup sugar

11/2 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour



1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

3/4 cup mashed strawberries

In a bowl beat butter till creamed and fluffy. Gradually add sugar till light & fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs one at a time. Stir together the dry ingredients & add to the batter till thoroughly blended. Turn half the batter into greased loaf tin then add the strawberries and the rest of batter. Bake in 325 degrees oven till cake tests done ( about 60 mins).

Raspberry Muffins

1 egg

3/4 cup milk

1/3 cup cooking oil

13/4 cups flour

1/4 cup sugar

21/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1 cup raspberries with 2 tablespoons sugar

In a small bowl beat egg add milk and oil set aside. In a large bowl stir flour, sugar, baking powder & alt. Add the egg mixture stirring till just moistened (the batter shouldn't be lumpy). Add the raspberries with sugar stir till just combined. Spoon into greased muffin cups & bake 400 degrees for 20 mins. Makes 12 muffins

Monday, May 25, 2009

working mom or stay at home mom??

Before my little baby was born, I had it all planned - I will have 5 months maternity, David will have 3 months after me and then we will leave our boy with family and I will carry on working as usual for another year. After that the idea wasn't as clear, I'd love another kid of course and I'd like a job that keeps me nearer to home and something completely different but I had planned till July next year only! Now that I have basically a month & week left before I return to my 8 to 5 work I am not quite convinced of this decision. I am happy that Dave will get 3 months with Greg but after that? I'd love to be the one to be with him again. I wish to be able and exploit to its best my parenting method, since as much as they care and as much as they try to keep to the parenting style I choose, every one has their own methods, beliefs and ideas. Besides, I will lose 3 months of constant care and milestones and I'd rather not loose anymore!

Seeing him at the moment playing in his gym, kicking, grabbing and rolling over. Gurgling with the animals conversation like, getting frustrated at something and I swear I also belief he is jealous of my laptop since whenever I log on to blog or just search stuff he starts crying for attention! It's an inspiration in itself. It might be hard work but really I think at the moment the only one which will ever feel full filling. Capturing those moments on camera and seeing them again gives you such a rush of emotion and I wonder how this young man of mine will be when he is grown, how hard it will be to see him let go of me as a lifeline and taking his independent steps.... and so I think, I should live every possible second with him so I can capture every still moment of our lives and not think of working for whatever excuse.

I have half a solution in my head but I wonder if it will work and there's no way of knowing before August!(don't be too curious nothing extraordinary but well maybe it is on my island...will keep you posted). Now I gotta go puppy realised I am typing and started howling for his momma.

Earth....

So much to tell you after this weekend just passed.....a weekend dedicated to our beautiful earth in more than one way.....

This weekend in Malta we had the Earth Garden & Echo Fest for the third year running. Though been wanting to go, this was my first time and had some real great fun. It was well organised and very interesting. There were stalls with Maltese organic products, an ethnic market with nice stuff imported from third world countries, art exhibition and various music posts. The one I loved most was an area under the trees which was lit with Chinese lanterns...incredibly relaxing. Gregory slept peacefully most of that time snuggled in his sling and poking me with his small hand when he wanted food. My cousin Priscilla & her husband Joe joined us there for this night with a difference. It was also interesting seeing so many Maltese clearly enjoying it and dressed in hippy earthen wear.

After this warm,balmy night, we woke up to a hot shimmering day. Thank God there was a breeze so the heat wasn't suffocating. We spent most of the day with my parents on their field, checking the crops and relaxing in the shade with some wine and good old Maltese food. Gregory was so hot I undressed him completely and having a small basin at hand we dipped him in nice cold fresh water. He simply loved it and once he had cooled off, I just did a makeshift cloth nappy and he slept peacefully in the shade for 2 hours or so. We finished this grand day with a nice long walk in Mellieha with Priscilla, Joe & Chris-David's brother. It was a nice walk starting by the long Mellieha beach up through Foresta 2000 (a government initiative to re plant trees for a better environment) and passed the Red Tower. By the time we got back to where we had started, it was 1030 pm and Greg was still awake. He was carried in the carrier by his dad and uncle and loved seeing all the new places. He did sleep soundly in the car and continued so till 4 am (after which he wanted to play!!). It was great reconnecting with our earth appreciating its beauty and tranquility. I will soon post some pics on flickr so keep yourselves posted.

On a not so pleasant note however, I ask you to look at this sad video and tell everyone about it. Not only do we need to appreciate were we live but also contribute to give the same opportunities to so much more people.
http://www.cultureunplugged.com/play/1081/Chicken-a-la-Carte

I also invite you to donate on this website which is doing its best to help so many children. The website is a creation of my cousin. After travelling to various places around the world and seeing this video, they felt they should do something and the result was EarthClick. Your help is much appreciated by many people around the world.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sun, sea & jelly fish


The sun is out and although its only 8am its already quite hot. The temperature is due to go up to 30 degrees or even a bit more...Summer is defenitely back in Malta. I am dying to dip in our clear blue sea but of course it seems to be infested by jellyfish once again! These little jelly like creatures do havoc of our Summers first they sting and if you see one there wil usually be more- on some unlucky days there might be so many together that you simply can't swim.. To add insult to injury, the reports are that its the big portuguese jelly fish also known as the portuguese manowar that are on our islands.... I haven't seen these big jelly fish myself and I hope its the usual hoax. On wikipedia, this is what I found on the man o war:

The Portuguese Man o' War (Physalia physalis), also known as the blue bubble, blue bottle, man-of-war, or the Portuguese man of war, is a jelly-like, marine invertebrate. They are commonly but erroneously thought of and referred to as a jellyfish. In fact, a Portuguese Man O' War is not a single animal, but rather a siphonophore – a colony of four kinds of minute, highly modified individuals, which are specialized polyps and medusoids. The Portuguese Man O' War is infamous for swarming in groups of thousands and for a very painful, powerful sting. It is rare that only a single Portuguese Man O' War is found; the discovery of one usually indicates the presence of many as they can "swarm" in groups of thousands.

Attitudes to the presence of the Portuguese Man O' War vary around the world. Given their sting, they must be treated with caution and the discovery of a number of blue bottles washed up on the beach might lead to the closure of a whole beach.
Stings usually cause severe pain to humans, leaving whip-like, red welts on the skin which normally last about 2–3 days after the initial sting, the pain should subside after about 1 hour. However, the venom can travel to the lymph nodes and may cause, depending on the amount of venom, more intense pain. A sting may lead to an allergic reaction. There can also be serious effects, including fever, shock, and interference with heart and lung action. There have even been deaths, although this is rare. Medical attention may be necessary, especially where pain persists or is intense, or there is an extreme reaction, or the rash worsens, or a feeling of overall illness develops, or a red streak develops between swollen lymph nodes and the sting, or if either area becomes red, warm and tender.


Nice is it? As I said I will pray its just the yearly hoax as otherwise, I defenitely can't take Greg for his first swim in our beautiful sea which is a great shame. Also considering the heat, we won't have any respite from it if the sea is infested!

(top common jellyfish found in Malta; mid section portuguese man o war)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Aromatherapy time

Decided to do a weekly aromatherapy section with general info and some concotions to try and for today I will write on Lavender. But before starting I just wanted to tell you all that my little puppy did his first chuckles yesterday and that was soooo wonderful. Managed to record him on video which is absolutely fabolous!

Now back to our original topic, Lavender has always been valued for its healing properties and is one of the safest oils to use. So much so that you can use lavender oil undiluted which is an exception to the norm.
Lavender, on its own has a calming effect on body and mind. It is also effective to treat minor scalds or burn, headaches, inflkammation, bacterial infection and more. It is said to help in soothing temper tantrums in children
Lavender is also known by its latin name Lavendula angustifolia.


Lavender Sachets
you will need some organza sachets (or do you own), dried lavender and lavender oil.
Fill sachets will lavender but not too much (it should be able to shake around), drop a bit essential oil on the flowers for extra aroma and put in your cupboards, wardrobes or linen drawers.

Minor scalds
first cool effected area under water then apply neat lavender and cover with a gauze. Chande dressing regularly and when the area is less painful expose to sunlight.

Lavender bowl to fight insomnia
(this one I never tried so no idea if effective but the other two work beautifully.)
you need steaming hot water, 2 drops lavender & 2 drops eucalyptus- mix everything together and leave by your bed to inhale the aromas all night long.

Next week, we will discuss Camomile.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

wordless wednesday





Rock Hyrax, Kenya National Park

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

green bbqs

This morning, I was searching how to do your own weaning recipes and came across baby-led weaning which captivated my interest and was going to post some info on it. Then this afternoon while scrolling through the green websites I saw BBQs......since it's the barbeque season I changed minds and decided to post on green bbqs instead and leave baby weaning for another time.

Now 2 things I wasn't aware of is that:

  1. charcoal bbqs contain more carbon monoxide than anything else and gas bbqs are better for the environmental footprint.
  2. It takes 1,916 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef , and cattle produce enormous amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas that’s almost 20 times more harmful than carbon dioxide. So adding more veg and reducing meat in bbqs goes a long way to being green.

(the above info was found on www.planetgreen.discovery.com)

Other ways to have a green bbq is also common sense; like not using throwaway cutlery & tableware, use the recycling system to throw rubbish and of course buy organic as much as possible.

Also keeping the bbq lid closed produces more efficient cooking as heating is distributed more evenly.

So people enjoy barbequeing but please go green!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Thank God for weekends

We always feel weekends are special, guess for the simple reason a lot of the working community are off during those days....alas full time or part time mums don't have that privilege. However, we too can take some time off now and again.
This past weekend I had a grand relaxing time. Friday we met my cousin who came especially from Canada to take some wine with me (ok not especially true but we did do just that) and had a wonderful time talking. Saturday, me and hubby had a massage and vino therapy bath booked- a special thanks go to our friends Gabriel & Dorianne for their thoughtfulness!(whenever you want we'd love to do it again - grin). So we were shown into this big room which had 2 massage couches (one each) a big nice bubbling bath for later, candles all over, background music and oh 2 nice armchairs those that remind me of a king's throne like. The Chinese girls who did the massage on us were great and the bath ohhh I nearly slept in it heheh....still dreaming of it. We ended the weekend with partner yoga :)..now I have to say that Dave is never quite certain of it, then he usually says he enjoyed it and I see a smile on his face and the next day he complains of his body aching....well if you haven't stretched in a while what do you expect? But it truly was great helping each other stretch and then simply relaxing while the other did a little massage . The yoga postures were simple yet dynamic and it was great seeing my yoga teacher again. One other nice thing I noticed is that unlike prior lessons, we didn't fall or waver when we did poses which means we trust each other much more then the first time we went there. This is basically true, since the birth of our son we are closer more reliant on each other and trust us so much more too.
It is a nice feeling that of knowing your relationship is maturing and becoming better with time.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Babywearing blogger & raspberries

My blog is officially now on the blogroll of babywearers - you can also see the widget at the side of my blog. Thanks to Stephanie @ Adventures in Babywearing. It is nice to connect with other people who have similar views to yourself in child rearing ad so share experiences as well as info. In fact I got some questions which I hope someone can help me with.





My 3 and a half month young man has as of 3 days ago, started wanting my breast as a pacifier to sleep, refuses the bottle (had been giving him breastmilk in a bottle once a day for over a month with no problems) and sometimes he cries non stop when I leave him in the care of my husband or other family member. Any help on what I can do to remedy these situations? Just in case it does make a difference, he is already teething and although hasn't had much pain in the last week, his saliva faucet is on big time! Could the first two be due to his teething and is there something I can do? Also read about stranger anxiety, which I thought could be what is also happening but they say that happens aroung 6-7 months.....your views are most appreciated.

*********



About 2 days ago I said I'd post a raspberry tart recipe....well I didn't do the tart, I did a cake which tastes great so here is how to make it and a pic.



1/3 Cup butter
1 Cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 Cup flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 Cup milk
2 Cup fresh raspberries ( used frozen variety but thawed)
Cream butter and sugar. Add well beaten egg and vanilla( I didn't have vanilla but the taste came very good anyway). Add dry ingredients alternating with milk, beating just enough to keep batter smooth. Pour into greased and floured 7 1/2 x 11 inch pan and spread or sprinkle raspberries on top. Bake at 375°F. 35 to 40 minutes. Drizzle with vanilla icing while warm(which I didn't do either)

Icing: 2 Cups of icing sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, enough milk to make a thin icing. Mix icing sugar and vanilla and mix in enough milk to make a thin icing.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

natural beauty

I find that natural cleaning products are more effective, so thought of giving you a couple of recipes for your body.... do let me know should you try them how it went....



deep facial cleansing for oily skin:



1 tbs milk (preferably not skimmed)
1 drop pure lavender oil
1/2 tsp diluted petitgrain oil

Combine oils, heat milk slightly add to oils, dab on a cotton wool and cleanse face and neck. -

milk is a great cleanser, gentle on the skin but antiseptic.

After cleansing do a facial steam by pouring steaming water in a bowl cover head with towel and steam face for 5 mins. Next do the mask.

15gr fresh parsley crushed in a pestle & mortar

1 tsp natural yogourt

1 drop pure petitgrain oil

1 tsp clay (preferably green)

mix crushed parsley to yogourt, essential oil & enough clay to make a paste. apply to face & neck leaver fr 15 mins and then rinse off with cool water. - Parsley reduces excess oiliness while the yogourt & clay will deep cleanse and tone the skin.

I started using it after I had my son and my fdace was full of pimples and found it very effective. As a daily cleanser tea tree facial wash is great and not expensive either.

Another recipe is a very nice bath blend:

1/2tsp helichrysum oil

1 drop pure rosemary oil

2 drops pure coriander oil

1 drop pure grapefruit oil

Mix all the above and add to a full bath of water. This is a warming yet energizing blend.

Anyway I hope you like them and will find some time to try them....I will find some more interesting blends for you people and will post them here soon!

Aromatherapy has been around for ages. Its the art in using natural, aromatic, essential oils. Oils have healing properties that when used properly and together with other oils of same properties, they release molecules and the brain activity increases stimulating or relaxing dpeneding on your blend. There are many therapeutic benefits for beauty, general wellbeing and emotional help. I myself find them most effective and fun to prepare.

Wordless Wednesday



Ghajn Tuffieha Bay (Apple's Eye Bay), Malta

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Crying it out the original way

Our puppy is here blabbing away while I type and research and do whatever on my laptop. Of course we are also having a conversation (though as such I got no idea what we are saying still since it amuses him and he gives me big smiles I carry on).
But the reason I am actually posting is due to a very nice article I found while going into other blogs.... the website is aware parenting and in it is an article on the origins of the let them cry it out saga which is such a bad thing to do as I am sure all of you mothers know! The origin is that the crying it out was a good thing but by the early 20th century this was distorted and changed. As crying is for us a way to release tension, this is the only tool babies have to release tension themselves. Be it a birth trauma, over stimulation, frustration etc. Of course before you let a baby to cry it out you have to make sure all his basic needs are met and when he cries NEVER leave him alone or not held. However do go and see the whole article this is just a summary - its not only interesting but also informative and gives a book list one can read.
I would defenitely wish to try it on Greg next time such a thing happens, though mustering some nerves of steel are a must to be able and hear your little one screaming it out.....
Will later do some raspberry tarts will let you know how it comes tomorrow.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day

Just reading a friends' of mine blog and realised that yes yesterday it was mother's day and I am now part of that group of people who celebrate it. Although I was given wishes from family & friends and my husband bought me shoes as a present (ok maybe not flowers but I needed the shoes so I told him to switch flowers which he was gonna buy - he tried to suprise me but as usual I didn't let him - to shoes instead), it still kinda didn't kick in. Yet today thinking again about it and reading from my friend I thought how amazing it is that suddenly my status has changed or rather has been added to and I am truly a mother now as well. Somehow the change doesn't quite strike you straight away and now that it did it truly is a wonderful thing to have happened to me. So lucky when so many people wish to have children and don't manage or have to wait years before it finally happens.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

relaxing saturday

It's 1500 hrs here in sunny Malta and my two boys
- big & small are happily asleep and mommy is enjoying some time alone in
quiet peace. Our little puppy rolled over twice this week....the first time I
thought it was just a fluke but when it happened again I rethought that! I can't
believe how Greg is developing so quickly. I also read about stranger anxiety
(which usually happens from 6 months on) and it seems he is already starting to
have it this young man of mine. It's a bit worrying since I soon have to go back
to work and yesterday not even with David would he calm down. But it's a phase
they have to go through and I can only make it as clear as possible to him that
I will always be near and that I will come back...




This morning we gave him his 2nd injection, he
was smiling happily on the nurse's couch and continued smiling while she
injected him but soon after she drew out the needle he started squeeling. it
didn't last long thank God and seems ok so far. However, since last time round
by 3 pm he was in a fit of bad crying due to pain in his leg and wouldn't rest
or anything for a long time, this time we gave him some medicine straight away.
I don't like giving him any med really and prefer natural alternatives but I'd
rather do so in such situations then have him in pain.




When I think of these 3 and a half months just
passed it all seems incredible. I can't quite imagine my life now without
Gregory, my life goes to second place and I am quite happy to go according to my
sons' wishes and moods. Since we never were party people, our life didn't
change soo much in the social scene but you do feel different when meeting your
friends. For some strange reason which I still can't phathom I always end
up talking about my kid which I guess its a bit boring for my friends who are
not with children. What's new in the clothes scene or which holiday
destination is next became of no importance at all. Now considering I am a
travel mania, I feel kinda nostalgic that I probably won't travel for a while
yet, but at the same time this is no big deal.


Most of all I marvel at how this little bundle
that came in my arms, has changed me personally. I have finally started
doing yoga with more presence and I feel more strong and more healthy. I
have grown but oh sooooo much patient and I think more flexible in my attitude
(though this David has to confirm I suppose). I feel like I have found
more ofthe real me who used to hide so much. I am less shy and more open
to people and generally feel more happy and at peace.

It's difficult to explain it really but in short
I am more whole!


I wish all the mothers that will read this a
great mothers day full of wonders and new surprises.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Counting my blessings

I have finally shaken off the mood of these past few days (thanks to your encouragement people), and feel once more on the right track and ready to tackle anything that comes my way (even though we're still woken up at 3am by yours truly Gregory).

Dispelling my dark mood I realised how much I shouldn't wallow in such thoughts....not only they bring you down but you don't appreciate your daily miracles. Since Saturday Gregory started holding small objects in his tiny hands, discovering his own hands (and clothes-seems an attraction pulling at his shirt or trousers & possibly put in his mouth), babbling most of the day and giving big wide smiles and the occassional giggle. All this started suddenly as if a switch went on in his body and mind. He also seems very interested to mom's house cleaning and cooking preperations and shopping when I am wearing him instead of sleeping like he used to.

It is such a joy sharing my day completely with him. I met quite a few moms while shopping etc who ask me about the sling and how I find it. Being a new concept in Malta and not yet popular (more so due to the belief that holding your child you will have problems later as will want to be held all the time), they seem impressed and at the same time sceptical that I do every thing that needs doing at home and its less bulky than a buggy when going out. Besides he is more content, less fussy and me as a parent more relaxed. If you are reading this and is interested contact me on melissa.josephine@gmail.com and I'll tell you more.

Recipe corner

This simple snack although nothing special is quite a good quick fix for kids and adults alike and it only takes 20 mins to cook plus another 10 to prepare.



almond choc crescents


8 large sponge finger biscuits crushed

200gr chocolate grated(preferably dark)

1/2 cup ground almonds

120gr melted butter

1 sheet ready rolled puff pastry

1 beaten egg


Combine biscuits, chocolate, almonds & melted butter in a bowl. Cut the pastry in 4 squares. Divide mixture for each pastry diagonally and roll them from corner to corner and shape in crescent form. Brush with egg, place in lightly greased oven tray & bake till brown. Its best if you preheat oven first at 120 degrees celcius.


Another nice and quick chocolatey recipe is the chocolate cake. Again this takes 40 mins from start to finish and it comes fluffy and light.


Chocolate cake


cooking oil spray

125gr butter chopped

1 cup caster sugar

2 lightly beaten eggs

1 1/2 cups self raising flour

1/3 cup cocoa

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 cup water.


Coat a baba pan ( see pic at the side) with spray, combine rest of ingredients and beat at low speed 5 mins & smooth. Pour in pan and bake 30 mins or skewer comes out clean.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wordless Wednesdays


Proud dad and peeking son

stamina indeed


This week I feel discouraged, dispirited and tired beyond reason. I was actually looking forward to leaving my puppy and go back to work in 2 months. Why? its not so simple to explain, but parenting is a big responsibility and the more time passes I see it become more difficult. What, in trying to be the best parent and having people questioning your parental method or if you actually really know what your kid needs at a given time(they are only trying to help I tell myself but they do confuse you) and me ending up explaining (which I don't need to really)....I suddenly felt all my energy dissipate and evaporate into nothing. Not even yoga could give it back to me and that usually works. But a tired heart its different from a tired body. To top it off so far we had 2 semi sleepless nights and I just felt even more drained and whenever Greg cries I nearly feel lightheaded and wanting to cry myself. Its a strange feeling really with every little scream I feel more energy leaving my body and Greg feels heavier than he is and when I have him in my arms I can't think what I should do to calm him, my system numbs and I get listless. I think that I can't do it anymore that its too much and soon after I think so, I breathe deeply, smile at my little one and find that little bit of energy to carry me through the day and make Greg feel loved and cared for.


Just a few minutes ago I found this entry in 5 minutes for parenting and it rang so true and it gave me some of that energy back and a glimmer of pride and happiness. After all his smiles outweigh the cries by light years and God never gives us more than we can bear. If you want to read the full entry please follow the link at the bottom.


Somewhere in the middle of the store the baby in my left arm got heavier,
the cart got even more awkward, the children began to whine, and I realized, I
can't do this. It had been a difficult weekend, taking care of the kids alone,
uncertain whether the baby will need surgery, uncertain about the future of my
husband's job, and struggling to steer that stupid cart finally broke me. I
cannot do this.
But I had to.
Leaving the cart and getting the kids out
and trekking back to the door would have been even more work, and the shopping
would still need to be done. Even if I couldn't, I had to. The longer I am
a parent, the more I find myself doing things that I just cannot do. Like always
walking twice as far as I thought I could, parenting has given me
stamina.
And even though I am very, very tired, that gives me hope


http://www.5minutesforparenting.com/346/stamina/

And even though I am tired, I have to carry on and somehow I find some more energy stored in the deep recesses of my body and that truly gives you hope...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Eating out with babies

I went to lunch with my girl friends and had Gregory with me. I really had a great time and Gregory was peacefully sleeping till some teething pain woke him up. What I hated most at that moment, what made me angry and also sad is the attitude of the people.

Soon after he started crying, I began receiving pitying looks (kind of poor you, you can't enjoy yourself now with a baby), then they started changing on various degrees to curiosity, disdain, anger & also disgust. Why you ask?

Curiosity to why this little baby won't stop crying and his mum 'doing nothing'; disdain & anger that after 20mins it is going on and hey you are disturbing our lunch (as if the noise from other tables & music was nothing but a baby crying is insufferable- guess it is really come to think of it but still) and disgust cause they believe that since he is still crying than you do not know how to care for your child & you are more interested in having fun.

This results in you feeling inadequate, guilty, embarrassed & ashamed- followed quickly by anger that people should make you feel this way (especially when the people around you have young children or older people who are sure to have had their own) and sadness that this kind of thing happens and you feel like you haven't got the right to go out with your child anywhere where there are other people except for the beach or some other kid oriented place.

I am not embarrassed to go out with my son even if he is crying (you'd know what it is from). I try to calm him down but not always you can (especially if its the teeth or tummy ache). Yes if I see that it is going to take long for him to calm I leave as I do understand that not everyone likes hearing babies crying ---well I suppose no one does but you have some extremes---and its easier anyway to be at home in a familiar environment for him to calm as he understands that he is now at home and feels more secure and at ease. Yet to feel those eyes burning in your back and seeing those pitying looks etc are a sadness in a world were we should be tolerable and at the end of the day what do you expect a baby to do? he can only express himself through crying. And what do you expect us parents to do? We do not enjoy seeing them suffer but at times you can do nothing but hug your little angel, but that doesn't mean that we should be banned from places of leisure.

Parents don't let them put you down and for goodness sake don't panic and tense as your child will sense it and will feel more frightened and so will cry even more. Just relax try to sooth him and if he won't sooth within 20 mins then it's time for you to go home as he won't calm himself anywhere else.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

we're all in this together

I was just on another blog -5 minutes for parenting and saw this article which literally sums up the same thing I feel and probably most other mum bloggers etc. So I thought I'd share it with you. For the full article there is a link at the bottom.

"And the thing is, I am not necessarily writing for anyone else but myself, but knowing that others can relate and validate what I have to say really does matter. What I've found inside- that somehow my fingers to my keyboard manage to spill out onto your screen- propels me to understand myself better, to see who I am as a mother and friend, where I am going, and where I want to be."


http://www.5minutesforparenting.com/41/were-all-in-this-together/

babies day out

Yesterday 8 couples from our parentcraft course met (at a very good restaurant I must add) and discussed of course our babies which were from what I gathered all born 2 weeks ahead of time & nearly all male. Now the most amazing thing I believe is that for most of the time they all stayed nice and quiet if not straight sleeping or feeding and most started to stir when our food got brought to the table LOL how typical ey? The best part of it I believe is that one could discuss without prejudice from anyone your baby and parenting method and feel secure in the fact that now you can see for real that other people have your same problems. It was also great to be able and give tips to each other on what we find good when dealing with certain situations. A thank you is due to Louise our parentcraft lecturer who arranged for this meeting. I hope we will keep contact and meet now and then so we can boost eachothers' confidence :)


Gregory quite enjoyed his 3rd restaurant experience and in the afternoon wanted more fun so we took him for a walk and the result is this wonderful big smile for which I thank Chris my brother in law who was at hand to take a photo :)


On a different note, in Malta we now have an eco shop yuppiiiii! it's still to be launched and the website is still under construction, but the idea is great and I hope we will find a lot of good deals to help our environment.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Il Majjistral National Park

This is an endemic plant of Malta unfortunately I forgot the name

Yesterday, we went together with my cousin & her husband to a free guided walk of the Majjistral National Park located in the northern part of the island- extending from Golden Bay to Popeye village. It was my first visit there and we all quite enjoyed the 2 hr or so walk. The actual park is still basic or rather left in its original state. However there are no fences or some kind of marker to show where it starts and finishes and no public conveniences by the entrances (which I think would be a nice plus) and no warden huts so that people can pass it, take informative leaflets and sign themselves (so the admin will have an approx. idea how many people are visiting). There is a plaque though showing the entrances and routes to take around the park just outside it.
This is called a Girna

Analise the guide who took us around was quite knowledgeable and I got to know that we have more than one plant endemic only to our islands. That although our island looks arid especially in Summer, there is lots of life to be seen. The area was spectacularly intersperesed with wild thyme in bloom which filled your sensesc with its aroma at certain places (and were told in peak Summer it will actually be all over). There were fantastic views of huge expanses of land with fallen boulders into the sea, a sunset to remember and an old mediaval settlement.

View of the Cliffs

Although the area is a park, there is still some farmland and there are still to be seen the hunting huts (which I know the park is working hard to have the hunters out- please sign the petition).

Sunset at the park

It was an amazing experience and am looking forward to the next activity which also includes a bit of astronomy. I recommend all Maltese to support the park (which can be visited anytime for free) and take part in the activities they do. You can contact them on walks@majjistral.org


Beautiful cliffs view

All the above pictures are courtesy of my cousin Priscilla & her husband Joe

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Aromatherapy time


Hi for this weeks' aromatherapy section, I will discuss Camomile. Firstly let me say there are 2 types of camomile, German camomile & Roman camomile; generally speaking when recipes for ailments are made they are usually refering to the Roman variety. Although both are camomile, they do not have the same healing properties. I myself will be writing on Roman Camomile or Anthemis nobilis/ Chamaemelum nobilis. Camomile as Lavender is very versitile and uses can overlap, in fact used together you should get even better results. One example we can use is how both Lavender & Camomile are good for child use. Camomile diluted with a carrier oil will help an infant with his teething ( i.e. when he is not in great pain as no matter how much I love home remedies, I found that hysterical crying by my son due to teething pain got no better with Camomile). A weak herbal tea or a few drops in the bath will calm a fretful child.


Camomile has been used for over 4000 years; its flowers used to scent clothes and linen, to scent the hair, deter flies and more. It is good for the following uses: inflammation, aches and pains, insomnia, vomiting, restlessness, tension, irritability among others.


Face oil- for a good rest (also said to help wrinkles)

5ml jojoba oil

10ml apricot kernel oil

5ml rosehip seed oil

4 drops rose oil

2 drops camomile oil

2 drops neroli oil

mix them together apply to face and let it be absorbed. After 5 mins remove excess oil with a tissue.


earache

5ml olive oil

1 drop camomile

1 drop tea tree

mix in an egg cup then gently heat standing cup in water. Dip cotton wool in mixture and place in effected ear. You can do it twice a day.


headache- make a cold compress ie ice cold water & a drop of camomile


sore eyes - camomile teabag, 1 drop oil & 10ml witch hazel. Put teabag in a mug, add the oil, pour boiling water (not more than 100ml) cover and let cool ten remove the bag add the witch hazel to water, transfer to a bottle shake well. dip small compresses in the mixture and place over closed eyes for 10 minutes.


Enjoy your home remedies and happy weekend!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

articles with a difference

Here are some interesting articles from Treehugger. For the full article press the title of every bit of info.

Israel replacing pesticides with birds- Many farmers are installing nest boxes to encourage the birds, which hunt the crop-damaging rodents.
In Israel, where there is a drive to reduce the use of toxic chemical pesticides, this has been turned into a government-funded national programme.-shouldn't Malta do the same?


Mars going fair trade - And then the big announcement of their teaming-up with Rainforest Alliance and other certification bodies to ensure that all the beans bought by Mars would meet fairtrade standards. That includes "minimum wages for farmers, conserving water and biodiversity-friendly pest management- now that is great news!

Canadian government eats raw seal - She swallowed a piece whole and deemed it tasty, saying: "It's like sushi. ... And it's very rich in protein."
Jean, whose post is largely ceremonial, defended the hunt as an eons-old traditional hunting practice that is not inhumane - disgusting...I understand why they won't ban seal hunting but I belive they should find a more humane way to kill them!!


Portable flip flop - Like a devoted lover, these portable flip-flops will go where you go, roam where you roam, whether it's to the yoga studio, the spa, or that grody motel room where the carpet smells (and feels) like wet mongrel. - hmmm nice thought.

Foldable bikes -- The clean and striking MODE is aimed at commuters that may have not considered cycling or folding bikes as an option. MODE avoids oily chains, complex tubes with hidden dirt traps and the clutter of traditional bike features. It can be used by commuters who do not want to change their appearance into 'bicycle warriors'. - Now if only it wasn't so expensive I'd get one.

Laptops no need to recycle - What they've done with a laptop that many users would think is past its prime is pretty inspirational. We love seeing old devices made new again, rather than tossed. Keeping useful products in the stream is definitely greener than that next best alternative - recycling. - Nice idea me a d Dave will soon try it as ours going downhill.

200 new frogs in Madagascar - What's more is that of these newly discovered frog species, about 25% of them were discovered in areas not protected as reserve or national park—that's in a country which has lost about 80% of its rainforests- wow awesome!

Climate change no more - a group of about 230 glaciers in the Western Himalayas are either growing or holding instead of retreating like most other glaciers. The study points to a potential explanation for that, and it sounds very plausible. Read on for more details. - don't raise your hopes there is an explanation.

Sun and global warming - Currently astrophysicists are noting that this is the "slow" period in solar flares and storms in decades and that the last time this happened coincided with the coldest part of the Little Ice Age from 1645 to 1715. Currently the sun is also the "dimmest" it has been in 100 years, and no that's not just because we're experiencing winter/spring here in North America.- why ain't nothing easy now the sun gets in the middle.

I enjoy reading these stories...gives you some hindsight and get to know what's new.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Yoga Journal - Yoga Habitat - When Less is More

I thought this was a great article to share with you people!

Aparigraha also means "not having a lot of unnecessary things around yourself and not hankering after what other people have," Frawley says. In other words, aparigraha also means keeping only what you need and wanting only what you need.
Aparigraha leads naturally to one of the niyamas: santosha, or "contentment," being satisfied with the resources at hand and not desiring more. Ultimately, Frawley says, "Yoga is about transcending the desire for external things, which is the cause of suffering, and finding peace and happiness within."

Yoga Journal - Yoga Habitat - When Less is More

The Recipe corner

Hi all and welcome once more to the recipe corner of my blog. Last week I did raspberry muffins & strawberry cake....both came really good but the cake was my favourite. Here are the recipes for you and enjoy baking!



Strawberry cake:



1 cup butter

4 eggs

1 cup sugar

11/2 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour



1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

3/4 cup mashed strawberries

In a bowl beat butter till creamed and fluffy. Gradually add sugar till light & fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs one at a time. Stir together the dry ingredients & add to the batter till thoroughly blended. Turn half the batter into greased loaf tin then add the strawberries and the rest of batter. Bake in 325 degrees oven till cake tests done ( about 60 mins).

Raspberry Muffins

1 egg

3/4 cup milk

1/3 cup cooking oil

13/4 cups flour

1/4 cup sugar

21/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1 cup raspberries with 2 tablespoons sugar

In a small bowl beat egg add milk and oil set aside. In a large bowl stir flour, sugar, baking powder & alt. Add the egg mixture stirring till just moistened (the batter shouldn't be lumpy). Add the raspberries with sugar stir till just combined. Spoon into greased muffin cups & bake 400 degrees for 20 mins. Makes 12 muffins

Monday, May 25, 2009

working mom or stay at home mom??

Before my little baby was born, I had it all planned - I will have 5 months maternity, David will have 3 months after me and then we will leave our boy with family and I will carry on working as usual for another year. After that the idea wasn't as clear, I'd love another kid of course and I'd like a job that keeps me nearer to home and something completely different but I had planned till July next year only! Now that I have basically a month & week left before I return to my 8 to 5 work I am not quite convinced of this decision. I am happy that Dave will get 3 months with Greg but after that? I'd love to be the one to be with him again. I wish to be able and exploit to its best my parenting method, since as much as they care and as much as they try to keep to the parenting style I choose, every one has their own methods, beliefs and ideas. Besides, I will lose 3 months of constant care and milestones and I'd rather not loose anymore!

Seeing him at the moment playing in his gym, kicking, grabbing and rolling over. Gurgling with the animals conversation like, getting frustrated at something and I swear I also belief he is jealous of my laptop since whenever I log on to blog or just search stuff he starts crying for attention! It's an inspiration in itself. It might be hard work but really I think at the moment the only one which will ever feel full filling. Capturing those moments on camera and seeing them again gives you such a rush of emotion and I wonder how this young man of mine will be when he is grown, how hard it will be to see him let go of me as a lifeline and taking his independent steps.... and so I think, I should live every possible second with him so I can capture every still moment of our lives and not think of working for whatever excuse.

I have half a solution in my head but I wonder if it will work and there's no way of knowing before August!(don't be too curious nothing extraordinary but well maybe it is on my island...will keep you posted). Now I gotta go puppy realised I am typing and started howling for his momma.

Earth....

So much to tell you after this weekend just passed.....a weekend dedicated to our beautiful earth in more than one way.....

This weekend in Malta we had the Earth Garden & Echo Fest for the third year running. Though been wanting to go, this was my first time and had some real great fun. It was well organised and very interesting. There were stalls with Maltese organic products, an ethnic market with nice stuff imported from third world countries, art exhibition and various music posts. The one I loved most was an area under the trees which was lit with Chinese lanterns...incredibly relaxing. Gregory slept peacefully most of that time snuggled in his sling and poking me with his small hand when he wanted food. My cousin Priscilla & her husband Joe joined us there for this night with a difference. It was also interesting seeing so many Maltese clearly enjoying it and dressed in hippy earthen wear.

After this warm,balmy night, we woke up to a hot shimmering day. Thank God there was a breeze so the heat wasn't suffocating. We spent most of the day with my parents on their field, checking the crops and relaxing in the shade with some wine and good old Maltese food. Gregory was so hot I undressed him completely and having a small basin at hand we dipped him in nice cold fresh water. He simply loved it and once he had cooled off, I just did a makeshift cloth nappy and he slept peacefully in the shade for 2 hours or so. We finished this grand day with a nice long walk in Mellieha with Priscilla, Joe & Chris-David's brother. It was a nice walk starting by the long Mellieha beach up through Foresta 2000 (a government initiative to re plant trees for a better environment) and passed the Red Tower. By the time we got back to where we had started, it was 1030 pm and Greg was still awake. He was carried in the carrier by his dad and uncle and loved seeing all the new places. He did sleep soundly in the car and continued so till 4 am (after which he wanted to play!!). It was great reconnecting with our earth appreciating its beauty and tranquility. I will soon post some pics on flickr so keep yourselves posted.

On a not so pleasant note however, I ask you to look at this sad video and tell everyone about it. Not only do we need to appreciate were we live but also contribute to give the same opportunities to so much more people.
http://www.cultureunplugged.com/play/1081/Chicken-a-la-Carte

I also invite you to donate on this website which is doing its best to help so many children. The website is a creation of my cousin. After travelling to various places around the world and seeing this video, they felt they should do something and the result was EarthClick. Your help is much appreciated by many people around the world.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sun, sea & jelly fish


The sun is out and although its only 8am its already quite hot. The temperature is due to go up to 30 degrees or even a bit more...Summer is defenitely back in Malta. I am dying to dip in our clear blue sea but of course it seems to be infested by jellyfish once again! These little jelly like creatures do havoc of our Summers first they sting and if you see one there wil usually be more- on some unlucky days there might be so many together that you simply can't swim.. To add insult to injury, the reports are that its the big portuguese jelly fish also known as the portuguese manowar that are on our islands.... I haven't seen these big jelly fish myself and I hope its the usual hoax. On wikipedia, this is what I found on the man o war:

The Portuguese Man o' War (Physalia physalis), also known as the blue bubble, blue bottle, man-of-war, or the Portuguese man of war, is a jelly-like, marine invertebrate. They are commonly but erroneously thought of and referred to as a jellyfish. In fact, a Portuguese Man O' War is not a single animal, but rather a siphonophore – a colony of four kinds of minute, highly modified individuals, which are specialized polyps and medusoids. The Portuguese Man O' War is infamous for swarming in groups of thousands and for a very painful, powerful sting. It is rare that only a single Portuguese Man O' War is found; the discovery of one usually indicates the presence of many as they can "swarm" in groups of thousands.

Attitudes to the presence of the Portuguese Man O' War vary around the world. Given their sting, they must be treated with caution and the discovery of a number of blue bottles washed up on the beach might lead to the closure of a whole beach.
Stings usually cause severe pain to humans, leaving whip-like, red welts on the skin which normally last about 2–3 days after the initial sting, the pain should subside after about 1 hour. However, the venom can travel to the lymph nodes and may cause, depending on the amount of venom, more intense pain. A sting may lead to an allergic reaction. There can also be serious effects, including fever, shock, and interference with heart and lung action. There have even been deaths, although this is rare. Medical attention may be necessary, especially where pain persists or is intense, or there is an extreme reaction, or the rash worsens, or a feeling of overall illness develops, or a red streak develops between swollen lymph nodes and the sting, or if either area becomes red, warm and tender.


Nice is it? As I said I will pray its just the yearly hoax as otherwise, I defenitely can't take Greg for his first swim in our beautiful sea which is a great shame. Also considering the heat, we won't have any respite from it if the sea is infested!

(top common jellyfish found in Malta; mid section portuguese man o war)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Aromatherapy time

Decided to do a weekly aromatherapy section with general info and some concotions to try and for today I will write on Lavender. But before starting I just wanted to tell you all that my little puppy did his first chuckles yesterday and that was soooo wonderful. Managed to record him on video which is absolutely fabolous!

Now back to our original topic, Lavender has always been valued for its healing properties and is one of the safest oils to use. So much so that you can use lavender oil undiluted which is an exception to the norm.
Lavender, on its own has a calming effect on body and mind. It is also effective to treat minor scalds or burn, headaches, inflkammation, bacterial infection and more. It is said to help in soothing temper tantrums in children
Lavender is also known by its latin name Lavendula angustifolia.


Lavender Sachets
you will need some organza sachets (or do you own), dried lavender and lavender oil.
Fill sachets will lavender but not too much (it should be able to shake around), drop a bit essential oil on the flowers for extra aroma and put in your cupboards, wardrobes or linen drawers.

Minor scalds
first cool effected area under water then apply neat lavender and cover with a gauze. Chande dressing regularly and when the area is less painful expose to sunlight.

Lavender bowl to fight insomnia
(this one I never tried so no idea if effective but the other two work beautifully.)
you need steaming hot water, 2 drops lavender & 2 drops eucalyptus- mix everything together and leave by your bed to inhale the aromas all night long.

Next week, we will discuss Camomile.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

green bbqs

This morning, I was searching how to do your own weaning recipes and came across baby-led weaning which captivated my interest and was going to post some info on it. Then this afternoon while scrolling through the green websites I saw BBQs......since it's the barbeque season I changed minds and decided to post on green bbqs instead and leave baby weaning for another time.

Now 2 things I wasn't aware of is that:

  1. charcoal bbqs contain more carbon monoxide than anything else and gas bbqs are better for the environmental footprint.
  2. It takes 1,916 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef , and cattle produce enormous amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas that’s almost 20 times more harmful than carbon dioxide. So adding more veg and reducing meat in bbqs goes a long way to being green.

(the above info was found on www.planetgreen.discovery.com)

Other ways to have a green bbq is also common sense; like not using throwaway cutlery & tableware, use the recycling system to throw rubbish and of course buy organic as much as possible.

Also keeping the bbq lid closed produces more efficient cooking as heating is distributed more evenly.

So people enjoy barbequeing but please go green!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Thank God for weekends

We always feel weekends are special, guess for the simple reason a lot of the working community are off during those days....alas full time or part time mums don't have that privilege. However, we too can take some time off now and again.
This past weekend I had a grand relaxing time. Friday we met my cousin who came especially from Canada to take some wine with me (ok not especially true but we did do just that) and had a wonderful time talking. Saturday, me and hubby had a massage and vino therapy bath booked- a special thanks go to our friends Gabriel & Dorianne for their thoughtfulness!(whenever you want we'd love to do it again - grin). So we were shown into this big room which had 2 massage couches (one each) a big nice bubbling bath for later, candles all over, background music and oh 2 nice armchairs those that remind me of a king's throne like. The Chinese girls who did the massage on us were great and the bath ohhh I nearly slept in it heheh....still dreaming of it. We ended the weekend with partner yoga :)..now I have to say that Dave is never quite certain of it, then he usually says he enjoyed it and I see a smile on his face and the next day he complains of his body aching....well if you haven't stretched in a while what do you expect? But it truly was great helping each other stretch and then simply relaxing while the other did a little massage . The yoga postures were simple yet dynamic and it was great seeing my yoga teacher again. One other nice thing I noticed is that unlike prior lessons, we didn't fall or waver when we did poses which means we trust each other much more then the first time we went there. This is basically true, since the birth of our son we are closer more reliant on each other and trust us so much more too.
It is a nice feeling that of knowing your relationship is maturing and becoming better with time.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Babywearing blogger & raspberries

My blog is officially now on the blogroll of babywearers - you can also see the widget at the side of my blog. Thanks to Stephanie @ Adventures in Babywearing. It is nice to connect with other people who have similar views to yourself in child rearing ad so share experiences as well as info. In fact I got some questions which I hope someone can help me with.





My 3 and a half month young man has as of 3 days ago, started wanting my breast as a pacifier to sleep, refuses the bottle (had been giving him breastmilk in a bottle once a day for over a month with no problems) and sometimes he cries non stop when I leave him in the care of my husband or other family member. Any help on what I can do to remedy these situations? Just in case it does make a difference, he is already teething and although hasn't had much pain in the last week, his saliva faucet is on big time! Could the first two be due to his teething and is there something I can do? Also read about stranger anxiety, which I thought could be what is also happening but they say that happens aroung 6-7 months.....your views are most appreciated.

*********



About 2 days ago I said I'd post a raspberry tart recipe....well I didn't do the tart, I did a cake which tastes great so here is how to make it and a pic.



1/3 Cup butter
1 Cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 Cup flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 Cup milk
2 Cup fresh raspberries ( used frozen variety but thawed)
Cream butter and sugar. Add well beaten egg and vanilla( I didn't have vanilla but the taste came very good anyway). Add dry ingredients alternating with milk, beating just enough to keep batter smooth. Pour into greased and floured 7 1/2 x 11 inch pan and spread or sprinkle raspberries on top. Bake at 375°F. 35 to 40 minutes. Drizzle with vanilla icing while warm(which I didn't do either)

Icing: 2 Cups of icing sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, enough milk to make a thin icing. Mix icing sugar and vanilla and mix in enough milk to make a thin icing.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

natural beauty

I find that natural cleaning products are more effective, so thought of giving you a couple of recipes for your body.... do let me know should you try them how it went....



deep facial cleansing for oily skin:



1 tbs milk (preferably not skimmed)
1 drop pure lavender oil
1/2 tsp diluted petitgrain oil

Combine oils, heat milk slightly add to oils, dab on a cotton wool and cleanse face and neck. -

milk is a great cleanser, gentle on the skin but antiseptic.

After cleansing do a facial steam by pouring steaming water in a bowl cover head with towel and steam face for 5 mins. Next do the mask.

15gr fresh parsley crushed in a pestle & mortar

1 tsp natural yogourt

1 drop pure petitgrain oil

1 tsp clay (preferably green)

mix crushed parsley to yogourt, essential oil & enough clay to make a paste. apply to face & neck leaver fr 15 mins and then rinse off with cool water. - Parsley reduces excess oiliness while the yogourt & clay will deep cleanse and tone the skin.

I started using it after I had my son and my fdace was full of pimples and found it very effective. As a daily cleanser tea tree facial wash is great and not expensive either.

Another recipe is a very nice bath blend:

1/2tsp helichrysum oil

1 drop pure rosemary oil

2 drops pure coriander oil

1 drop pure grapefruit oil

Mix all the above and add to a full bath of water. This is a warming yet energizing blend.

Anyway I hope you like them and will find some time to try them....I will find some more interesting blends for you people and will post them here soon!

Aromatherapy has been around for ages. Its the art in using natural, aromatic, essential oils. Oils have healing properties that when used properly and together with other oils of same properties, they release molecules and the brain activity increases stimulating or relaxing dpeneding on your blend. There are many therapeutic benefits for beauty, general wellbeing and emotional help. I myself find them most effective and fun to prepare.

Wordless Wednesday



Ghajn Tuffieha Bay (Apple's Eye Bay), Malta

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Crying it out the original way

Our puppy is here blabbing away while I type and research and do whatever on my laptop. Of course we are also having a conversation (though as such I got no idea what we are saying still since it amuses him and he gives me big smiles I carry on).
But the reason I am actually posting is due to a very nice article I found while going into other blogs.... the website is aware parenting and in it is an article on the origins of the let them cry it out saga which is such a bad thing to do as I am sure all of you mothers know! The origin is that the crying it out was a good thing but by the early 20th century this was distorted and changed. As crying is for us a way to release tension, this is the only tool babies have to release tension themselves. Be it a birth trauma, over stimulation, frustration etc. Of course before you let a baby to cry it out you have to make sure all his basic needs are met and when he cries NEVER leave him alone or not held. However do go and see the whole article this is just a summary - its not only interesting but also informative and gives a book list one can read.
I would defenitely wish to try it on Greg next time such a thing happens, though mustering some nerves of steel are a must to be able and hear your little one screaming it out.....
Will later do some raspberry tarts will let you know how it comes tomorrow.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day

Just reading a friends' of mine blog and realised that yes yesterday it was mother's day and I am now part of that group of people who celebrate it. Although I was given wishes from family & friends and my husband bought me shoes as a present (ok maybe not flowers but I needed the shoes so I told him to switch flowers which he was gonna buy - he tried to suprise me but as usual I didn't let him - to shoes instead), it still kinda didn't kick in. Yet today thinking again about it and reading from my friend I thought how amazing it is that suddenly my status has changed or rather has been added to and I am truly a mother now as well. Somehow the change doesn't quite strike you straight away and now that it did it truly is a wonderful thing to have happened to me. So lucky when so many people wish to have children and don't manage or have to wait years before it finally happens.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

relaxing saturday

It's 1500 hrs here in sunny Malta and my two boys
- big & small are happily asleep and mommy is enjoying some time alone in
quiet peace. Our little puppy rolled over twice this week....the first time I
thought it was just a fluke but when it happened again I rethought that! I can't
believe how Greg is developing so quickly. I also read about stranger anxiety
(which usually happens from 6 months on) and it seems he is already starting to
have it this young man of mine. It's a bit worrying since I soon have to go back
to work and yesterday not even with David would he calm down. But it's a phase
they have to go through and I can only make it as clear as possible to him that
I will always be near and that I will come back...




This morning we gave him his 2nd injection, he
was smiling happily on the nurse's couch and continued smiling while she
injected him but soon after she drew out the needle he started squeeling. it
didn't last long thank God and seems ok so far. However, since last time round
by 3 pm he was in a fit of bad crying due to pain in his leg and wouldn't rest
or anything for a long time, this time we gave him some medicine straight away.
I don't like giving him any med really and prefer natural alternatives but I'd
rather do so in such situations then have him in pain.




When I think of these 3 and a half months just
passed it all seems incredible. I can't quite imagine my life now without
Gregory, my life goes to second place and I am quite happy to go according to my
sons' wishes and moods. Since we never were party people, our life didn't
change soo much in the social scene but you do feel different when meeting your
friends. For some strange reason which I still can't phathom I always end
up talking about my kid which I guess its a bit boring for my friends who are
not with children. What's new in the clothes scene or which holiday
destination is next became of no importance at all. Now considering I am a
travel mania, I feel kinda nostalgic that I probably won't travel for a while
yet, but at the same time this is no big deal.


Most of all I marvel at how this little bundle
that came in my arms, has changed me personally. I have finally started
doing yoga with more presence and I feel more strong and more healthy. I
have grown but oh sooooo much patient and I think more flexible in my attitude
(though this David has to confirm I suppose). I feel like I have found
more ofthe real me who used to hide so much. I am less shy and more open
to people and generally feel more happy and at peace.

It's difficult to explain it really but in short
I am more whole!


I wish all the mothers that will read this a
great mothers day full of wonders and new surprises.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Counting my blessings

I have finally shaken off the mood of these past few days (thanks to your encouragement people), and feel once more on the right track and ready to tackle anything that comes my way (even though we're still woken up at 3am by yours truly Gregory).

Dispelling my dark mood I realised how much I shouldn't wallow in such thoughts....not only they bring you down but you don't appreciate your daily miracles. Since Saturday Gregory started holding small objects in his tiny hands, discovering his own hands (and clothes-seems an attraction pulling at his shirt or trousers & possibly put in his mouth), babbling most of the day and giving big wide smiles and the occassional giggle. All this started suddenly as if a switch went on in his body and mind. He also seems very interested to mom's house cleaning and cooking preperations and shopping when I am wearing him instead of sleeping like he used to.

It is such a joy sharing my day completely with him. I met quite a few moms while shopping etc who ask me about the sling and how I find it. Being a new concept in Malta and not yet popular (more so due to the belief that holding your child you will have problems later as will want to be held all the time), they seem impressed and at the same time sceptical that I do every thing that needs doing at home and its less bulky than a buggy when going out. Besides he is more content, less fussy and me as a parent more relaxed. If you are reading this and is interested contact me on melissa.josephine@gmail.com and I'll tell you more.

Recipe corner

This simple snack although nothing special is quite a good quick fix for kids and adults alike and it only takes 20 mins to cook plus another 10 to prepare.



almond choc crescents


8 large sponge finger biscuits crushed

200gr chocolate grated(preferably dark)

1/2 cup ground almonds

120gr melted butter

1 sheet ready rolled puff pastry

1 beaten egg


Combine biscuits, chocolate, almonds & melted butter in a bowl. Cut the pastry in 4 squares. Divide mixture for each pastry diagonally and roll them from corner to corner and shape in crescent form. Brush with egg, place in lightly greased oven tray & bake till brown. Its best if you preheat oven first at 120 degrees celcius.


Another nice and quick chocolatey recipe is the chocolate cake. Again this takes 40 mins from start to finish and it comes fluffy and light.


Chocolate cake


cooking oil spray

125gr butter chopped

1 cup caster sugar

2 lightly beaten eggs

1 1/2 cups self raising flour

1/3 cup cocoa

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 cup water.


Coat a baba pan ( see pic at the side) with spray, combine rest of ingredients and beat at low speed 5 mins & smooth. Pour in pan and bake 30 mins or skewer comes out clean.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wordless Wednesdays


Proud dad and peeking son

stamina indeed


This week I feel discouraged, dispirited and tired beyond reason. I was actually looking forward to leaving my puppy and go back to work in 2 months. Why? its not so simple to explain, but parenting is a big responsibility and the more time passes I see it become more difficult. What, in trying to be the best parent and having people questioning your parental method or if you actually really know what your kid needs at a given time(they are only trying to help I tell myself but they do confuse you) and me ending up explaining (which I don't need to really)....I suddenly felt all my energy dissipate and evaporate into nothing. Not even yoga could give it back to me and that usually works. But a tired heart its different from a tired body. To top it off so far we had 2 semi sleepless nights and I just felt even more drained and whenever Greg cries I nearly feel lightheaded and wanting to cry myself. Its a strange feeling really with every little scream I feel more energy leaving my body and Greg feels heavier than he is and when I have him in my arms I can't think what I should do to calm him, my system numbs and I get listless. I think that I can't do it anymore that its too much and soon after I think so, I breathe deeply, smile at my little one and find that little bit of energy to carry me through the day and make Greg feel loved and cared for.


Just a few minutes ago I found this entry in 5 minutes for parenting and it rang so true and it gave me some of that energy back and a glimmer of pride and happiness. After all his smiles outweigh the cries by light years and God never gives us more than we can bear. If you want to read the full entry please follow the link at the bottom.


Somewhere in the middle of the store the baby in my left arm got heavier,
the cart got even more awkward, the children began to whine, and I realized, I
can't do this. It had been a difficult weekend, taking care of the kids alone,
uncertain whether the baby will need surgery, uncertain about the future of my
husband's job, and struggling to steer that stupid cart finally broke me. I
cannot do this.
But I had to.
Leaving the cart and getting the kids out
and trekking back to the door would have been even more work, and the shopping
would still need to be done. Even if I couldn't, I had to. The longer I am
a parent, the more I find myself doing things that I just cannot do. Like always
walking twice as far as I thought I could, parenting has given me
stamina.
And even though I am very, very tired, that gives me hope


http://www.5minutesforparenting.com/346/stamina/

And even though I am tired, I have to carry on and somehow I find some more energy stored in the deep recesses of my body and that truly gives you hope...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Eating out with babies

I went to lunch with my girl friends and had Gregory with me. I really had a great time and Gregory was peacefully sleeping till some teething pain woke him up. What I hated most at that moment, what made me angry and also sad is the attitude of the people.

Soon after he started crying, I began receiving pitying looks (kind of poor you, you can't enjoy yourself now with a baby), then they started changing on various degrees to curiosity, disdain, anger & also disgust. Why you ask?

Curiosity to why this little baby won't stop crying and his mum 'doing nothing'; disdain & anger that after 20mins it is going on and hey you are disturbing our lunch (as if the noise from other tables & music was nothing but a baby crying is insufferable- guess it is really come to think of it but still) and disgust cause they believe that since he is still crying than you do not know how to care for your child & you are more interested in having fun.

This results in you feeling inadequate, guilty, embarrassed & ashamed- followed quickly by anger that people should make you feel this way (especially when the people around you have young children or older people who are sure to have had their own) and sadness that this kind of thing happens and you feel like you haven't got the right to go out with your child anywhere where there are other people except for the beach or some other kid oriented place.

I am not embarrassed to go out with my son even if he is crying (you'd know what it is from). I try to calm him down but not always you can (especially if its the teeth or tummy ache). Yes if I see that it is going to take long for him to calm I leave as I do understand that not everyone likes hearing babies crying ---well I suppose no one does but you have some extremes---and its easier anyway to be at home in a familiar environment for him to calm as he understands that he is now at home and feels more secure and at ease. Yet to feel those eyes burning in your back and seeing those pitying looks etc are a sadness in a world were we should be tolerable and at the end of the day what do you expect a baby to do? he can only express himself through crying. And what do you expect us parents to do? We do not enjoy seeing them suffer but at times you can do nothing but hug your little angel, but that doesn't mean that we should be banned from places of leisure.

Parents don't let them put you down and for goodness sake don't panic and tense as your child will sense it and will feel more frightened and so will cry even more. Just relax try to sooth him and if he won't sooth within 20 mins then it's time for you to go home as he won't calm himself anywhere else.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

we're all in this together

I was just on another blog -5 minutes for parenting and saw this article which literally sums up the same thing I feel and probably most other mum bloggers etc. So I thought I'd share it with you. For the full article there is a link at the bottom.

"And the thing is, I am not necessarily writing for anyone else but myself, but knowing that others can relate and validate what I have to say really does matter. What I've found inside- that somehow my fingers to my keyboard manage to spill out onto your screen- propels me to understand myself better, to see who I am as a mother and friend, where I am going, and where I want to be."


http://www.5minutesforparenting.com/41/were-all-in-this-together/

babies day out

Yesterday 8 couples from our parentcraft course met (at a very good restaurant I must add) and discussed of course our babies which were from what I gathered all born 2 weeks ahead of time & nearly all male. Now the most amazing thing I believe is that for most of the time they all stayed nice and quiet if not straight sleeping or feeding and most started to stir when our food got brought to the table LOL how typical ey? The best part of it I believe is that one could discuss without prejudice from anyone your baby and parenting method and feel secure in the fact that now you can see for real that other people have your same problems. It was also great to be able and give tips to each other on what we find good when dealing with certain situations. A thank you is due to Louise our parentcraft lecturer who arranged for this meeting. I hope we will keep contact and meet now and then so we can boost eachothers' confidence :)


Gregory quite enjoyed his 3rd restaurant experience and in the afternoon wanted more fun so we took him for a walk and the result is this wonderful big smile for which I thank Chris my brother in law who was at hand to take a photo :)


On a different note, in Malta we now have an eco shop yuppiiiii! it's still to be launched and the website is still under construction, but the idea is great and I hope we will find a lot of good deals to help our environment.