SUGAR FREE BROWNIES! Choc macadamia flavour!

SUGAR FREE BROWNIES! Choc macadamia flavour!

Sugar Free Brownies!

These sugar free brownies are delicious and have lots of hidden nutrition.  In fact many people are pretty shocked when they read the ingredient list! Anything that has veges hidden in it is a winner in my book and this recipe is definitely set to become a regular at my house. Simple to make, these super tasty sugar free brownies are excellent for afternoon tea or served with ice-cream for desert! ENJOY!

Ingredients:

  • Coconut oil for greasing
  • 1.5 cups sweet potato puree
  • 1/3 cup rice malt syrup
  • 90 g butter (or 1/4 cup coconut oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder
  • 1/2 cup self raising flour
  • 1/3 cup raw cacao
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • pinch sea salt (a few twists!)
  • 3 eggs whisked
  • 3/4 cup macadamia nuts roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate (85%) roughly chopped (or other nuts)

Method:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees

Grease tray with coconut oil.

Bake one medium sweet potato until soft, remove skin and blend with a bar mixer. Add syrup, butter/oil, vanilla, flour cacao, baking soda, cayenne pepper and salt, and blend. Now stir through eggs, nuts and chocolate.

Pour into greased tin and bake for 30 minutes.

To test wether the brownie is ready pierce with a skewer. I like to leave the brownies a little gooey. So your skewer should be moist. If you prefer your brownies a bit more cake like in texture then bake for a further 5-10 testing regularly with a skewer.

Once cooked allow to cool before cutting into squares and serving.

Enjoy you sugar free, super tasty brownies!

(Recipe adapted from Sarah Wilson’s book: “I quit sugar, the chocolate cookbook!”) 

If you like this recipe you might like to try some of my other recipes for kids!

mimijumi

Children and technology: where should parents draw the line?

I have unintentionally become one of those mum’s who relies on technology. I have accidentally made my child fall in love with anything to do with a screen, be it a TV, Ipad or IPhone, he LOVES it and if I am truly honest so do I. At 5.30 at night when I am trying to cook dinner and deal with the twins, and he is in one of those fabulous “toddler witching hour moods” nothing keeps the peace better than 20 minutes of the “Cars” or a round of “Tozzle”  (a brilliant puzzle iPad app).

The problem is that Charlie now believes he owns the Ipad and demands his turn on my phone when I am talking on it. So now I have a konundrum, am I simply moving with the times allowing my child to “play” with this type of technology or am I turning him into a square eyed addict? Combining children and technology is a tricky business. I recently saw a YouTube video (click to view) with a toddler swiping her finger across the front page of a magazine and looking extremely puzzled as to why the image hadn’t changed or moved??? I have to admit this made me cringe. With day care centres and certainly primary schools using IPads and laptops as a part of everyday learning I do think that some type of exposure to these technologies is a part of being a child in today’s society… whether we parents like it or not children and technology now go hand in hand.

One things for sure, with twins and an almost obsessive love of travel,  the TV and Ipad are sure going to come in handy in our family. Figuring out where to draw the line and monitoring our children’s use of technology is only going to be more difficult as they get older. I don’t even want to think about all the adult content they could be exposed to as they grow up, but this is the reality of the world in which we find ourselves raising our kids.

Unfortunately for this fellow mum Kristy, all of these questions were raised much, much earlier than expected!!! Thanks to Kristy for sharing her story:

Kristy’s Story: Square Eyes

When you’re a parent of two small children, you’ll do anything to keep one child safely distracted whilst you tend to the other one. Queue the Ipad. My hubby and I decided early after our second baby was born (with our firstborn being 20 months old at the time) that we were happy for our son Ethan to watch the Ipad if it meant I could feed/bathe/change our newborn daughter without his ‘assistance’.  In fact he become so proficient with using it that we were secretly proud our little man could select a movie or TV show on his own, play it, fast forward, rewind, switch programs etc on his own.

So one day I decided that Ethan needed some ‘Ipad time’ to wind down after a particularly over stimulating morning. I put Ethan in the cot with the Ipad and his bottle of milk and looked forward to having half an hour of peace and quiet with the baby.

Half an hour later I went upstairs to reclaim the Ipad. I was listening at the door to Ethan’s room to see if maybe (miraculously) he might have fallen asleep watching it. No such luck.. but instead of hearing the musical tunes of the Lion King, I start hearing something else…something entirely different. The scratchy tones of a conversations between two adults, and the sound of..motorcycles?

YES thats right, my infant son was happily (and intentionally) watching Sons of Anarchy. Which is R rated.

Needless to say I’ve now deleted everything that isn’t child friendly on that Ipad!

mimijumi

Healthy choc dipped nut bites! Nutritious and Delicious!

Healthy choc dipped nut bites!

These delicious healthy choc dipped nut bites are a little cheeky- straddling the lines between healthy snack and delectable desert! Packed full of goodness they hide a nutritious hit and will impress fussy eaters of all ages! Throw away those store bought muesli bars and get creative with these very simple treats!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup pepitas
  • 2/3 cup buckwheat
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup puffed quinoa
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 cup organic honey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 300g organic dark chocolate

Method:

Line a baking pan with baking paper and set aside.

Heat the honey, butter and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat for around 10 minutes. You want to see it begin to thicken and turn a deep golden caramel colour. Once the desired colour is seen fold in the chopped nuts and seeds and stir until well coated.

Remove the mix from the heat and pour it into the lined baking pan. Cover with another sheet of baking paper and press down firmly to form one flat layer. Place this in the fridge to set.

Once hard cut into square pieces with a sharp knife and keep refrigerated until ready to dip into the chocolate.

Melt chopped chocolate in the microwave or in a bowl above a saucepan of boiling water. Once the chocolate is melted dip each of the nut squares into the chocolate. Place the squares onto a baking paper lined tray and refrigerate until the chocolate sets.

Store your choc dipped nut bites in the fridge in an airtight container between sheets of baking paper.

Cheeky tip: the second time I made these I used puffed Quinoa and dried cranberries- they were delicious! Go to your local health food store and let your imagination run wild! You really cant go wrong if you stick to quality organic ingredients and keep a similar ratio of dried to wet ingredients. I have also tried using a combo of white and dark chocolate and it works a treat! (Excuse the pun!)

mimijumi
mimijumi

Labour and Birth- A Mother’s Journey Part 2

Great Expectations: A Mother’s Journey

After writting the post “Birth plan?” questioning whether birth plans helped or hindered expecting mum’s labour and birth, I began to wonder if perhaps it was just me that was against the status quo of encouraging “birth plans”. I set out to see what other women had experienced and the response was incredible. The following post “GREAT EXPECTATIONS” is each woman’s experience in her own words. I feel that this is the best way for us to learn from each other and find our own path. After reading all the responses to the birth questionnaire one thing stood out- Birth Plans SUCK. Perhaps we should ask women what their “birth preferences” are instead and stop setting them up to feel as though they have failed in what is the most anticipated, exciting and important day of their lives??

Thank you to all these brave mum’s for so openly sharing the story of their labour and birth-it is a very private and intimate journey.

Part 2: Hayley and Jo

Name: Hayley Talbot

Mama to: Archie 2.5 years

When you first discovered you were pregnant how did you feel?

Numb, shocked, completely drained – it definitely wasn’t planned!

What did you think labour and birth would be like?

I wasn’t sure but Im a tough girl with a high threshold of pain and my mum and Nana aren’t so I kept telling myself if they could survive it I’d be fine! I also prepared for parenthood and birthing with my husband with Hypnobirthing. It really helped us in the prenatal bonding phase.

Did you love/hate being pregnant- where you sick or glowing??

I loved being pregnant. I was blessed with a happy healthy hiccup free run through til the end…and then things went off course…

Did you attend any pre-birth classes:

I did and they terrified me. The lady who ran the class was the loveliest lady and I suppose in hindsight the classes were dealing with the reality of birth, but after doing Hypnobirthing none of the information I was being given was what I wanted to hear. I was in a room full of women who were selecting drugs like food from a menu and I was very anti-intervention from practicing Hypnobirthing. In retrospect I was being judgmental, but at the time it just all felt very confronting because I was planning a peaceful drug free water-birth. What an idealistic fool!

What was your pre-birth plan:

Oh I had the works – drug free, water birth, music playing, minimal examination, no reference to pain and communication to me to be through my husband!

When did u deliver?:

I was full term, almost 40 weeks, and delivered by caesarean.

Did your pre-birth plan go “out the window?” If so how did you feel about this?

Completely out the window and it was crushing. Archie was in breech for the last 5 months of my pregnancy and no matter what I did he refused to budge. If he was feet first I may have been able to move him but he was bottom first with his head up high and his feet firmly in his face – I had no chance of getting him to turn. Despite this I did acupuncture, relaxation and visualisation sessions, burnt moxi candles on the BL67 acupuncture points on my little toes (chinese medicene), swam every day, and did these maniacal head stands against the wall! A giant pregnant lady hanging upside down!? Don’ cause yourself a brain injury imagining that…

How long where you in labor for?

I call it a drive through labour – I was wheeled down to the OR and returned with a baby in my arms 45 mins later and that included 20 mins waiting in pre-op!

Did you have any complications during your labour and birth?

To my mind, the fact that I ended up having to have a caesarean was a complication, but in fact, the operation was quite routine and I had the best obstetrician. Now that Im through it Im very strong and I barely have a scar. I have completely recovered.

Finish this sentence: “there was a point during my labor where I thought to myself………” I didn’t have a labor. I still feel really left out when I think about it.

How did you feel the moment you saw your baby?

I wish I remembered more about how I felt. I was grateful there was a nurse taking millions of pictures. There’s a lovely photo of Archie finally being placed in my arms (I was probably the 4th person to hold my baby) and Im bawling my eyes out! Of course I loved him to pieces. I still feel a bit sad when I think of how he entered the world. I felt like I’d failed. I even have entries in my pregnancy journal where I am apologising to him for failing him. Im annoyed I placed this pressure on myself! A caesarean is not a failure at all and it is by no means the easy way out. It is major surgery and it does not erase 9 months of caring for yourself and carrying a baby through to birthing. I know this now of course, but at the time I was really hung up about people knowing I had a caesarean just after I had Archie and would get really pissed off when people asked about the birth. Likewise for the weeks leading up. I was getting so stressed with people asking me if he’d turned yet because I was petrified of a surgical birth and I knew it was looming and everyone asking me if the baby had turned yet just kept reminding me of it. I felt quite unsupported when it emerged that I wasn’t getting my water birth and had a recurring dream about my baby being cut from my stomach and stolen away. It was awful. I became terrified of delivering my baby. I loved Hypnobirthing while I was pregnant because it really helped my husband and I connect with our baby and I really loved the lady I practiced with but I felt all alone and like a failure in the weeks just before hospital.

How was your birth recovery and hospital stay?

Our hospital stay was fantastic. We were well looked after and we felt equipped to care for our baby when we left. There’s always going to be at least one miserable nurse who makes you feel like an idiot about something but by and large our experience post birth was great. Recovery was a test. It was long and painful and I dont cope that well with having to sit still but I did what I had to do and I recovered to full pre baby strength and condition.

Is there anything you would change if you could go back?

I would certainly have tempered my attitude. Im a really happy go lucky girl. If I had have approached birth how I approach everything else I would have been completely fine, but I set myself up for disappointment when I couldn’t have the birth I visualised. I wish I didn’t bother with the visualisation thing at all. I have a strong body, a strong mind, and a strong spirit – I was already well equipped to cope without re-training myself and thinking I could control nature when I really couldn’t.

What advice would you give someone who is currently pregnant?

Be open to any and all possibilities. Focus on strengthening your body, mind and spirit and trust that they will guide through whatever circumstance arises. Rely on your head and common sense with medical decisions and don’t automatically assume that Doctors and nurses are the enemy. If my birth had been left to occur naturally one or both of us would not have survived. Modern medicine is a gift. At the end of the day the goal is a happy healthy mother and baby. Your focus should not be on controlling your birth but on having the strength of spirit to rise to any challenge you are faced with. In the end my motto was, and still is for all things; A.S.A.P – Always Say A Prayer x

Name:
 Jo

Mumma to:
 Grace 2.5 years

When you first discovered you where pregnant how did you feel?

I suffered a miscarriage a couple of years earlier and my husband and I decided to wait a while …We moved to Brisbane and when we felt settled we decided we would start trying. After a miscarriage I thought it might be difficult and worried I would have problems. That was not the case and pretty much happened straight away. I passed up on the champagne and Melbourne Cup festivities and did a pregnancy test. It was positive and I thought, “Awesome, this is really happening!”

What did you think labour and birth would be like?

I thought it would be the hardest thing I would ever have to endure but of course had nothing to compare it to. It was hard to get my head around and rather than worrying about it I was prepared to just go with the flow and deal with whatever I needed to for my unborn baby.

Did you love/hate being pregnant, where you sick or glowing?

I loved being pregnant, I felt like I was glowing and never had any morning sickness.

Did you attend any pre-natal classes?

Yes, we did the course that was on offer through the hospital we were booked into. Was 1 night a week for 6 weeks and I always looked forward to going. We met some lovely couples and made some life long friends that I still catch up with regularly.

What was your birth plan?

I didn’t want to be induced so I did lots of walking leading up to my due date. I went and saw a fertility acupuncturist a week before for a session who had 90% success rate with mothers going into labor naturally. I was planning another session but didn’t need to! I had hoped my waters would break at home and they did right when my husband and I had hoped (early morning)… I decided I would try gas and at 5cm would have an epidural. I tried the gas and hated it! So when they checked me and I was 5cm I was like: “Epidural please!”

When did u deliver?

40 weeks, a day before my due date.

Did your birth plan go out the window?

No not really, it pretty much happened the way I had hoped. Except for the gas, the only other thing that didn’t happen was the massage with the massage oil I made my husband buy and some time in the shower while I was having contractions.

How long where u in labor?

M
y waters broke at 5.30am and Grace was born at 3.12pm. Around 10 hours…

Did u have any complications during your labour and birth?


No, just a couple of stitches!

Finish this sentence, “there was a point during my labor where I though to myself…..

“This is easy!” I actually thought I was cheating the whole labor thing after my epidural because I couldn’t feel anything and couldn’t believe my luck hahaha….Then I had to push. Mind you but that wasn’t so bad!


How did you feel when you first saw your baby?


Completely in love, amazed, elated, was the most amazing moment of my life….

What advice would you give an expectant mum?

Read plenty of books and be open to trying different techniques to get you through the labor..Be prepared for anything, if something needs to happen to ensure a safe delivery then let it! If you can avoid finding out the sex do! It helped me psychologically through my contractions and whatever I was to endure would guarantee me the best surprise in the end!

mimijumi
mimijumi
mimijumi
mimijumi
mimijumi

Labour and Birth- A Mother’s Journey Part 1

Great expectations: A Mother’s Journey

After writting the post “Birth plan?” questioning whether birth plans helped or hindered expecting mum’s during labour and birth, I began to wonder if perhaps it was just me that was against the status quo of encouraging “birth plans”. I set out to see what other women had experienced and the response was incredible. The following post “GREAT EXPECTATIONS” is each woman’s experience in her own words. I feel that this is the best way for us to learn from each other and find our own path. After reading all the responses to the birth questionnaire one thing stood out- Birth Plans SUCK. Perhaps we should ask women what their “birth preferences” are instead and stop setting them up to feel as though they have failed in what is the most anticipated, exciting and important day of their lives??

Thank you to all these brave mum’s for so openly sharing the story of their labour and birth- it is a very private and intimate journey.

Part 1: Tarryn and Jenna

Name: Tarryn Durbidge

Mumma to: Willow 3 years

When you first discovered you were pregnant how did you feel?

ELATED! We were trying for a baby so it was an amazing moment seeing the 2 lines on the stick.

What did you think labour and birth would be like?

I practised Hypnobirthing so visualised my birth as being beautiful, natural and momentous. I was actually excited for the moment I went into labour and wasn’t fearful of the pain.

Did you love/hate being pregnant- where you sick or glowing??

I liked being pregnant. I had a fairly smooth pregnancy, with the usual minor issues like joint ligament pain, bleeding throughout my pregnancy and heartburn but all in all, I really enjoyed it and felt lucky to be pregnant.

Did you attend any pre-birth classes:

I went to the hospital where I was giving birth for their ante-natal classes and found them really helpful. They were realistic in regards to what potentials can happen at the birth and explains a lot of the medical side.

I also did a 6 week Hypnobirthing course which gave me the skills to use relaxation as a coping mechanism. It removed all the fear of birth and pregnancy. I really appreciated doing those classes, although my birth wasn’t a typical Hypnobirthing birth, it helped me through a traumatic time.

What was your pre-birth plan:

My birth plan included no epidural, delayed clamping of the umbilical cord after birth, until it had stopped pulsing (for extra blood hit for my baby), and skin-on-skin for my baby and i right after birth.

Did your pre-birth plan go “out the window?” If so how did you feel about this?

My birth plan definitely went out the window due to things out of my control. I felt disappointed, sad, unhappy, confused and let down (at myself). All things I know that I didn’t need to feel as my birth plan was unrealistic for what I was about to endure. The fact that my baby was in a posterior position contributed majorly to this.

How long where you in labor for?

My labour was 22 hours

Did you have any complications during your labour and birth?

Many.  Induced, waters broken, posterior positioned baby, syntocinon drip, episiotomy, ventouse, cord around the baby’s neck, tearing (took an hour to stitch up and drifting in and out of consciousness), loss of blood resulting in difficulties with milk supply, infection with stitches requiring anti-biotics (due to loss of blood), operation of removal of scar tissue 3 months later, operation of internal muscles 11 months later, operation of internal muscles 15 months later… Maybe more to come.

Finish this sentence: “there was a point during my labor where I thought to myself………”

It’s time for an epidural. I have tried my absolute hardest and I’m exhausted and really struggling. Soon as I had the epidural I felt a lot of relief and renewal of focus.

How did you feel the moment you saw your baby?

Amazed, exhausted, drowsy (loss of blood), and i remember i kept saying to my doctor and hubby “this is the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to me!” It all felt very out-of-body.

How was your birth recovery and hospital stay?

The hospital staff were lovely, although much emphasis was on breastfeeding I struggled thanks to loss of so much blood (i was popping about 12 pills per day to boost milk supply and I was quite sick myself from the birth). My recovery was long and painful due to so much tearing and infection but we got by.

Is there anything you would change if you could go back?

Wow, so much. I don’t think i want to ‘go there’ because I feel that so much could have been different for me, but it’s not healthy for me to do since I’ve come such a long way. I think all things happen for a reason so i know this was supposed to happen. Just grateful I have a beautifully healthy, happy little girl and I’m healthy again. What more could I ask.

What advice would you give someone who is currently pregnant?

Just go with the flow. Don’t have a birth plan unless it is to trust your body, accept changes if they’re required and do your best. That’s all you can ask for. The end goal is a healthy baby and healthy mummy, regardless of how you get there. xo

Name: Jenna Agius

Mumma to: Ollie 3 years

When you first discovered you were pregnant, how did you feel?

I was sitting in a lecture theatre at uni (second week into my course), and felt that ‘oh god I’m going to spew everywhere’ feeling, luckily I held it down. I knew straight away that I was pregnant. I was so excited and couldn’t wait to get home and take a test!

What did you think labour and birth would be like?

I watched so many you tube videos of births and they actually didn’t freak me out. I was so excited and thought- this is what we’re made for.

Did you love/hate being pregnant- where you sick or glowing??

I absolutely LOVED being pregnant, even though I was vomiting up until 16 weeks (only once a day), I felt so healthy and my skin cleared up and I suppose you could say I was ‘glowing’ (wish that hung around).

Did you attend any pre-birth classes:

No I didn’t, for a moment I did want to but then never really got around to it, I had some books but I sort of wanted to go into the birth not knowing too much anyway. I have heard mixed things about pre-natal classes and I am positive I chose the best option for me.

What was your pre-birth plan:

I wrote down a few things like: I don’t want any drugs (well that was dumb). I want to be in the bath while in labour (well that didn’t happen). I want only my partner and mother in the room while in labour and giving birth (also another fail). I want to hold the baby as soon as he/she arrives (also didn’t happen). I want a natural birth (hahaha).

Did your pre-birth plan go “out the window?” If so how did you feel about this?

It totally went out the window, 1: I was induced. 2: I had gestational diabetes so had to be monitored through the labour, therefore could not go in the bath. 3: my mother, father and partner were in with me the whole labour. 4: I had Gas. 5: I had an epidural. 6: ended up having a caesarean.

I felt disappointed when they said I had to have a caesarean and I burst into tears, but as soon as I held Ollie in my arms I didn’t care about the last 15 hours and what had happened.

How long where you in labour for?

15 hours, but really when I look back it flew by (I think the drugs help with that).

 Did you have any complications during your labour and birth?

Yes, doesn’t everyone?!? After 13 hours and only having gas, I was only 5cm dilated… woo hoo go me. It was then that I said ‘give me the damn epidural,’ then looked at my partner, mother and father and said ‘I’m not a failure am I?’ Then ‘the baby’s’ heart rate started to drop and I ended up having an emergency caesarean, which I wish I had earlier, I swear it only took 20 minutes and I had my beautiful baby boy in my (shaky drugged up) arms.

Finish this sentence: “there was a point during my labour where I thought to myself………”

Wow, I can’t believe I didn’t want to have an epidural!

 How did you feel the moment you saw your baby?

Amazed that he was perfect, amazed that I made him, amazed that he was so beautiful and so damn happy he was out of me!

How was your birth recovery and hospital stay ?

After the caesarean I had to stay in bed for 2 days, but after that I walked around the ward, very slowly. I stayed at Tweed Hospital for 6 nights; they were so lovely to us. When I got home I made sure I went walking every day and I healed so quickly.

Is there anything you would change if you could go back?

No, after all, it’s one day out of your life and you get the same result in the end, a beautiful baby!

What advice would you give someone who is currently pregnant?

Don’t stress about the birth, like I said its one day, make sure go in with an open mind and know that the doctors know what’s best for your baby, listen to them and don’t get down on yourself if you can’t have a natural birth. Good luck xx

mimijumi
mimijumi
mimijumi
mimijumi
mimijumi
mimijumi

Surrogacy: The Young Family’s Story.

Surrogacy: The Young Family’s Story

When I was pregnant with my twins I spent a lot of time in hospital. I went into premature labour 3 times before my girls were eventually born at 35 weeks. It was during this time that I met a very special lady. Kylie Young. We had something in common. We were both expecting twins. However, that is where the similarities ended. Our journeys toward motherhood could not have been more different. Here is Kylie’s Story:

Meet Kylie, Cameron, Luke and Stella.

They are an exceptional family. It took a lot of people (and a lot of money) to bring this little family together. Luke and Stella where born through a surrogate in Thailand. They were conceived with donor eggs and Cameron’s sperm. They are nothing short of a miracle.

Cameron and Kylie had been trying to have a child of their own for 11 years. 8 failed IVF cycles, 2 failed surrogacy attempts here in Queensland and years and years of being on adoption wait lists had left the couple wondering if their dream of being parents would ever come true. Then one Sunday night they were watching TV and saw a show about an Australian family who had used a Thai surrogate.

Kylie then made contact with the Surrogacy Australia website and was put in contact with other families who had used overseas surrogates. Kylie and Cameron both say they felt a bit concerned and nervous at first. “We spoke with the reps from the agency for over 6 months before we made the decision to go ahead and attempt surrogacy again,” Cameron said.

“For us, this felt like the last resort,” Kylie said.

The couple then flew to Thailand and met both their egg donor and their surrogate. At this time 3 donated eggs, fertilised with Cameron’s sperm were implanted into the surrogate.

6 weeks later whilst at a Delta Goodrem concert, Kylie got the call that changed her life. Finally, good news. Their surrogate was pregnant!!!! “I screamed for about ten minutes I was so excited. That’s when they told me that the surrogates’ blood test results were showing very high hormone levels and that we had a good chance of twins.”

“I was so excited I could hardly believe it had finally worked after all those years of trying!”

Years earlier Cameron and Kylie had twice attempted surrogacy here in Queensland. They explained that the process here in Australia was fraught with difficulty. “You can’t pay surrogates here and yet the legal paperwork alone costs around $12,000. We had to have counselling for 12 months before we could even attempt to conceive. In both cases nothing took.”

“There is a very low success rate with surrogacy in Australia, only around 30-40%.”

The Thailand option promised big things and quickly. The clinic they used ‘All IVF’ in Bangkok boasted an 89% success rate. All prospective donors, surrogates and parents go through a proven screening process and once the surrogate is pregnant the parents are kept up to date with the pregnancy through an agent.

“You receive ultrasounds and can call anytime,” said Cameron.

“Our surrogate had some bleeding at around 11 weeks and was hospitalised. It was really scary but the agent kept us in the loop and helped us through it. We had just found out it was twins and I was so scared we’d lose them,” said Kylie.

“Luckily both the surrogate and the babies were fine and she was released from hospital after only 3 days.”

“At the 19 week scan they confirmed we were expecting one boy and one girl and I couldn’t believe our luck! We were overjoyed.”

From then on it was smooth sailing. Kylie and Cameron arrived in Thailand 1 week before the twins delivery, yet under Thailand’s rules only the biological parents are allowed in the room for the birth. Thus Kylie had to wait outside the delivery room whilst her husband Cam witnessed the birth.

The twins were born at 35 and a half weeks and spent 2 days in ICU, which meant that Kylie and Cameron didn’t get to hold the twins until they were almost 2 days old. But it was well worth the wait according to Kylie,”it was so overwhelming, the best feeling in the world!” Eleven years of waiting had finally come to an end and the Young family was finally a family.

After 5 days hospital the twins were able to move into a rented apartment in Bangkok with Cam and Kylie. Several of their extended family members also came to Thailand to meet the children and support Cam and Kylie.

Yet the journey to get the twins home to Australia had only just begun. “We knew it was a huge process to go through to get the kids home, but it was still very frustrating at the time.”

“In all it took 6.5 weeks for all the paper work to come through.”

“First we had get the birth certificates, then citizenship certificates, then DNA testing. After that both the surrogate and the IVF clinic had to be interviewed by the Australian embassy and then finally we could apply for passports.”

“The whole process was delayed by an extra 10 days because the one and only doctor able to do the DNA test was on holiday!”

In the meantime that family sat in limbo in Thailand. They did however use this time to get to know each other as a family.

“It was such a positive experience overall but you have to be a paperwork person and understand the system. They run the show and you have to play the game. The agency helps as much as they can but legally there is so much they cannot do so you basically have to do it all on your own.”

Kylie and Cameron will always have a special bond with their surrogate. “I can’t thank her enough, she will forever be in our hearts for the joy she has given Cam and I.”

Kylie and Cam were both concerned for the wellbeing of potential surrogates and wanted to know that they weren’t being exploited. When they arrived in Thailand to meet their egg donor and surrogate they were pleased to find that all involved were not only thrilled to take part but were being well looked after financially, something that under Queensland’s laws cannot happen.

“Surrogacy in Thailand is a great thing for all the people involved. Our surrogate Tai has a young family of her own and this has helped her to provide for them in ways that would never have been possible before,” said Kylie.

“It felt good to be a part of that,” said Cameron.

When I asked Kylie if she’d like to have more children she said,” If we won the lotto we’d go to Thailand again, we have spent nearly $90,000 over 11 years. Now we have 2 beautiful kids and we are both turning 40 next year. So I think we are done!”

Now that their family feels complete Kylie and Cameron are looking at helping others. “We understand how it feels to want kids. We have decided to pass our remaining embryos onto others who are in a similar situation,” said Cameron.

Kylie and Cameron both agree that they highly recommend using a Thai surrogate.

“If you are like us and unable to have kids on your own then this is a great option.Go straight overseas and go straight to clinics, cut out the middle people if you are trying to save money, but if you need the help use an agent.”

If you would like more information about surrogacy contact Surrogacy Australia.

mimijumi
mimijumi
mimijumi
mimijumi
mimijumi
mimijumi

Healthy muffin recipe: carrot, zucchini and chia seed muffins!

Carrot Zucchini and Chia Seed Muffins | The Perfect Healthy Muffin Recipe!

This healthy muffin recipe is a real winner. It’s super simple, quick to make and the muffins can be frozen! 3 big wins in any mum’s book! This carrot, zucchini and chia seed muffin recipe is a real taste surprise. They aren’t the most delicate looking muffin, but they are deliciously moist and flavoursome. My kids LOVE them and anything that gets kids to eat veges makes for one happy mum!

Ingredients

  • 3 carrots
  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup natural greek yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (can be substituted with agave syrup)
  • 1 cup sultanas
  • 1/2 cup milk ( you can use almond or soy)
  • 1.5 cup  self raising wholemeal flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons chia seeds (for on top)

This recipe makes 24.

Handy Hint: You can also make a double batch and freeze the muffins (great for school lunch boxes!)

Method

Grate the carrot and zucchini. Mix the wet ingredients. Mix the dry ingredients. Add together and mix. Separate into cupcake moulds or patties and sprinkle with chia seeds.  Bake at 180 until golden brown. Test that the muffins are ready by piercing with a skewer. If it can be cleanly removed, they are ready.

If you want to be a bit naughty you can add a cream cheese icing! Simply combine cream cheese icing sugar and you are away!

ENJOY!

P.S If you liked this recipe you might also like to try my banana and zucchini bread!

mimijumi
mimijumi

Kids Party Food: Dinosaur Party!

Kids Party Food!

This year for Charlie’s 3rd birthday we threw him a dinosaur party and had the best kids party food ever! It was a huge success and so I wanted to share with you the recipes that helped make the kids party food on the day so special. I have included some of my most treasured childhood recipes all of which are incredibly simple. So easy in fact you can even get your kids involved in the cooking! I hope they make your next party as special as Charlie’s was!

My 3 favourite kids party food recipes:

Coco Pop Crackles (chocolate crackles)

Ingredients:

  • 350 g milk chocolate
  • 4 cups cocopops

Method:

Melt chocolate in microwave or in a bowl over boiling water on the stove stop. Place coco pops in large bowl and set out cupcake holders on a large tray. Once melted poor chocolate over coco pops and mix well. Spoon mixture into cupcake patties, decorate and set in fridge for 2 hours. Makes approx: 24

Note: For something different why not try rice bubbles, white chocolate and pink sprinkles? Or get really creative and stir some blueberries into this mix!

Kids Caramel Popcorn:

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup popping corn
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 60 g butter (chopped)

Method:

Pop corn on stove top or in microwave and set aside (remove any un popped kernels). Spoon popped corn into individual cupcake patties. Melt honey, sugar and butter together in a large saucepan over low heat. Stir while cooking for approx 7 minutes or until sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and boil without stirring for 5-6 minutes, or until golden brown. Working quickly poor the caramel over the popped corn.

Allow to cool and then enjoy!

Rice Crispy Cakes

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups mini marshmallows
  • (approx 280 grams if large marshmallows)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies

Method:

Grease a baking dish with butter.

In a large saucepan melt butter and marshmallows over low heat stirring continuously. Place Rice Krispies into large bowl. Once melted pour mix over Rice Krispies and mix well. Pour into baking dish and using a square or baking paper press firmly into baking dish to create a flat and even surface. Decorate then refrigerate for 2 hours, slice and serve.

The sky is the limit with this recipe. I have added chic chips, food colouring and even peanut butter. All were delicious, so use your creative side and make these easy kids party foods for your next party or lunch box surprise!

Handy hint: Once you have chosen the theme of your child’s party visit your local dollar store and purchase plastic plates and cups and figurines that match the theme. It’s far cheaper than other stores and the figurines make great additions to party bags after they have been used to decorate the food!

For more fun recipes check out the Recipes for Kids section of my blog.

mimijumi
mimijumi
mimijumi
mimijumi

Gardening and kids: Teaching kids where food comes from?

Gardening and kids: Teaching kids where food comes from?

I remember many years ago (before I had children) watching an episode of Jaime Oliver’s School Lunches documentary series and being mortified that young school aged children where so clueless when it came to food. Two things in particular really shocked me:

A- the children couldn’t identify simple vegetables like tomatoes and,

B- when asked where food came from they all said the same thing: the shops. (CRINGE!)

I was reminded of this recently when my son asked me what a custard apple was when we where strolling through Woolworths. We have always played “name the vegetable” and “who’s that fruit?” on our shopping trips but I got to wondering if my kids truly understood where food comes from? Thus I set out on a mission to ensure my kids know exactly where food comes from and exactly what each fruit and vegetable is called and more importantly, what it tastes like.

My plan had 2 parts:

1) Gardening and kids

I wanted to get the kids involved, let them get messy and make food and “farming” a game. Charlie and I went on an adventure to the nursery, he chose his own plants and together with some help from his best friend Madden we planted out herbs, veges and fruit trees. We have been watering them everyday and have even picked and eaten some of our produce. Charlie’s favourite game is to pick off a leaf of mint and smell it! We have even started cooking in the kitchen together, he gets to pick the herbs and add them into the food. We even made mint and lime cordial by freezing the mint into ice cubes.

2) The good old reward chart.

Some may not agree with it but bribery works a treat for me and so the “healthy eating and trying new things” sticker chart was made. Charlie had not been a fan of vegetables at all before the reward chat. Since its arrival on our kitchen wall he has tried 5 new veges and is regularly eating things he previously wouldn’t have touched! Importantly we have a “taste it” rule, he has to have a good sized taste of everything, if he then decides he doesn’t like it he doesn’t have to eat it.I don’t like to force feed, I’d like my kids to love food instead of me having to ram it down their throats! At 3 years old this concept is a bit out there but it seems to be working, slowly but surely Charlie is deciding he likes more and more foods.

Overall our little foray into the world of farming has been a great success. Whether you live in an apartment or have acres and acres of land there are so many ways to teach your kids about food. Most cities have community gardens where you can get your kids involved or you can always plant a seed in an recycled egg tray and watch the fascination blossom on your child’s face as their own little garden beings to grow.

Happy gardening mummies… P.S sorry about the mess!

If you would like more tips and fun ideas on kids and gardening check out this great acitivity list.

mimijumi
mimijumi
mimijumi

How to make a baby video: Creating a time-lapse pregnancy video!

There is nothing more special than your first pregnancy. It’s such an exciting time in your life and although that last trimester might feel like it takes 100 years – in retrospect the time really does fly by.  Some very enthusiastic parents have started a trend that is taking off. Pregnancy time-lapse videos. Although some of the ideas in them are a little cheesy the idea is brilliant! I really wish I had done this for my pregnancies! I did have some great images of me taken whilst pregnant but it would have been great to be able to see the changes that my body went through!

Take a look at some of the best baby time-lapse videos:

Introducing…. Amalie Amaya

9 months in 1000 pictures stop motion

9 Months of Pregnancy in Under 2 Minutes

Want to do it? Here are a few tips on how to make a baby video:

1. Choose a location that has a clear background and isn’t pilled with junk! Against a wall works best.

2. Use the same camera and shoot from the same spot. Choosing a location where you can rest the camera on something and leave it there works best.

3. Decide whether you will wear the same clothes or not. If you choose to, leave that outfit only for the pictures.

4. Set and alarm reminder in your phone to remind you to take the pictures.

5. Try to take the pictures at the same time of day for lighting purposes. Monday and Thursday evening just before bed tends to work well.

6. Don’t worry about how you look. No make-up, messy hair? It all adds to it! If you have to do yourself up before every shot you will find you will give it up pretty quickly!

7. Take at least 10 shots each time and ensure you back up your photos, nothing would be worse than loosing them! Ensure that you save them in folders marked by month, inside the folders they should automatically collect in date order. This will help when you go to edit your video.

8. Many cameras now have automatic sequence shooting options so dig out your cameras manual and check out your options.

9. Choose a fun song to go with your shots. Make sure its something that is fun and meaningful to you.

10.  Dont forget to take a shot when your bub arrives!

11. Edit your video! There are lots of programs that can help you to put your video together fairly simply. Vimeo  and Smilebox are great free options. Sequence by Mac is $34.99 and is for those who want to take their editing to the next level! There are also several apps for iPhones that take you through the entire process.

12. Finally, enjoy watch your video with your family and friends and marvel at what your body is capable of!

I hope this article on how to make a baby video has been helpful? You can read more of my blog by clicking HERE!

mimijumi