Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Things not to say when someone tells you "I'm pregnant"

Today I bring you a quick little post. With the gradual release of news about Attila, I've had some absolute corkers from people in response to the announcement. I'm sure they mean it with the best of intentions, but really, there are some terrible cases of foot in mouth out there. I've surveyed some of my friends too, to hear some of the funny responses they've had to their announcement of "I'm pregnant":
  1. I've had food babies bigger than that. How far along did you say you are?
  2. What? Where is it?! I won't believe it until you show me proof. Do you have an ultrasound or something?
  3. Conversely to #1, OMG, you're huge!
  4. Wow, was it planned?
  5. How on earth will you handle another one?
  6. What terrible timing with the changes to maternity leave payments.
  7. Again? Already?!
  8. Yes, I thought your boobs were looking huge.
  9. Oh really? When will you finish work?
     
So, for future reference, there is only really one correct response if someone tells you they're expecting:

Congratulations

 
 
Have you had any odd responses when you broke the news?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Pregnancy - the glitz, the glamour... and the reality

Those prenatal books always talk up the good parts of pregnancy. The glow you supposedly get. The way your hair is supposed to be thicker and lusher. The special attention you and your bump get. Ha! The reality is, none of that happens for me! Glow? More like bad skin for nine months straight, worsening after baby is born due to sleep deprivation. Thick, lush hair? Pffft. Try, lank and stringy, falling out and leaving weird bald patches post birth. Here are some other illusions I've recently had shattered:
  • Currently I'm just about half way along with Attila. I'm bigger than usual which means that my balance is off but unfortunately, I'm not big enough to look obviously pregnant. Therefore, I do not get offered a seat on public transport and I feel weird asking for one.  I'm not too angry about it because I understand it's a fine line to draw when you're not sure if someone is really pregnant or just large. Here are some progress shots. Ignore the bathroom background please!
 
  • I'm at that awkward clothing stage where nothing fits right. I'm not yet big enough for maternity clothes but regular clothes are starting to look a bit obscene. Draping scarves and longer tops are my friends. Also, anything with an elastic waist. If I could make track pants an accepted fashion statement and suitable for work wear, I'd be doing that too! Going out and formal events are just hard!
  • The sheer discomfort of growing... assets. Not that Mr Fork is complaining, but, well, they are larger. And more painful. And maternity bras are just not flattering at all. Also, see my previous point about needing to dress the bump and assets.
  • Constantly needing to wee. Yes, it happens. I don't mind so much during the day, but now that it's colder, I definitely mind leaving my snuggly warm bed in the middle of the night due to having a walnut sized bladder. 
  • The total lack of energy. My first trimester nausea has (mostly) subsided but I'm still not at my regular levels of activity. On work days, I get home and all I want to do is shower off the day and sleep. Not really possible when I have a hungry toddler and husband who've waited patiently for me. Not to mention that there are Ellie cuddles to be had! Thank goodness for meal planning so I don't have to think too hard. And for takeaway pizza. Thank goodness for that too on the nights I'm too lazy for anything.
  • Apparently, Attila is now the size of a sweet potato and I should be feeling movement. Which I totally am! Or it might be gas (yep, that happens too). But I'm pretty sure it's movement. 
  • Heartburn. Oh the heartburn! It happens when I don't eat. When I do eat. If I don't eat enough, it feels like my stomach tries to eat itself. When I eat too much there is no room left inside for anything and I spend the next few hours metaphorically rolling around the floor (if I'm at home, sometimes I do roll around the floor and Ellie thinks it's a great game!).
  • It's a glamourous business, growing a baby, don't let anyone tell you differently! Of course, the end result is absolutely worth it. Best reason for feeling rotten and going through all that indignity indeed!

Did pregnancy shatter any myths for you? Or have you ever looked forward to something only to find the reality less than the expectations?

Friday, June 6, 2014

What's in my kitchen, June 2014

In my kitchen is... 

Soup! I do love soup, and it's hearty and delicious and fairly quick. We've had pumpkin (from my homegrown kent) and red lentil lately. Both yummy!


In my kitchen is... 

Bacon flavoured bits! What can I say. They're an odd sort of thing to crave but they are vegan and they just go down so nicely... perfect for when I want something to crunch on or add a bit of salty flavour to salads or as a soup topping. They've been really hard to find lately, but I had a craving and was stoked to see them in my local IGA. I had to be restrained from buying in bulk.


In my kitchen is...


Joong. This bowl contains a small number of these delicious glutinous rice dumplings which my MIL made for me. Sometimes called the Asian tamale, in Cantonese we call them joong, but they are also known as zongzi. Traditionally made to celebrate the Dragon Boat festival on the fifth day of the fifth month in the lunar calendar, this batch was made especially vegan for me, and contains peanuts, mung beans and shiitake mushrooms instead of the usual assorted meats and pork. I have to share them with Ellie, but Mr Fork doesn't care for them at all which just means more for us! I'm torn between whether to devour them all or freeze some to savour later (they're quite labour intensive so I don't tend to make them myself). So yummy.

In my kitchen is...

A rogue baby sweet potato. I found this little guy when the hounds wouldn't stop barking. Investigation found them distressed near my sweet potato mound where I had previously planted slips from a potato which I'd failed to eat and had sprouted. The top of this little fellow was exposed and proved to be the 'intruder' they were perplexed about. I dug him out because he was a bit mauled, but I hope the rest of the batch underground get more growing time. Bread tie thingie there for scale.


In my kitchen is...

Capilano honey infused with ginger. I saw this while grocery shopping and thought, why not? Honey isn't something I generally use, but I do make Mr Fork some hot drinks with it in, and this saves me the effort of cutting up fresh ginger to make him honey ginger tea when he gets his bouts of man flu. By all reports, the flavour is fairly decent. They had some other infusions too, I think lemon was one of them.


This month is quite food intensive in my kitchen, and not many things. Although well into second trimester now, I find my energy levels very low, and am spending less time cooking than usual. I've been making things in large batches and either eating them for a few days straight (Ellie and Mr Fork are not fans of this) or freezing portions to bring out another time. When food cravings hit, I tend to want the same thing over and over but I'm conscious that it's the hormones talking and my family doesn't agree. I'm just so tired - Attila is taking up a lot of energy yet stubbornly not producing a bump I can show off properly yet! Hopefully I get my mojo back next month.

I am linking this post in with Fig Jam and Lime Cordial's monthly In My Kitchen event. Go have a peek through other kitchens around the globe!

What's in your kitchen this month?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Airing your dirty laundry

No, I'm not talking about the kind of Mount Foldmore that is threatening to overtake my spare room. What I'm talking about is the social media type of laundry, the posts that make me pause when I'm scrolling through my feed(s) and think "Really?!"

I'm sure we've all seen such posts, or know someone (who knows someone) who has posted something online that probably doesn't belong there.

Sure, it's easy to do these days with the prevalence of social media access on our phones, tablets and laptops. It's a simple thing to snap a picture and add a quirky caption, or in a cranky or inebriated state post a ranty status online. At what cost though?


Once something is online, it's online for good. You can't control it, or stop other people from sharing it. Even if your privacy settings are high, all it takes is one person in your network to forward that message out or to tag you in one of their own pictures for their network to see. It's done, it's out there and being cached and crawled and searched - getting it back is like trying to herd feral cats or protect your nice outfit from your children's sticky fingers.

When I'm reviewing people for hire, I usually do a quick Google search to see what turns up. In fact, I regularly Google myself too. Let's just say, there are some interesting results out there. I worry for the social media users of today, some of who think nothing of drunken selfies, of public berating and pointed rants, and the publishing of information that might not belong in the public domain. Truly, I love technology, but what I don't love is the way that some people forget that behind every post/image, there is a flesh and blood human who has feelings, a reputation and a life.

I know, some might say, but aren't you a mummy blogger? Don't you have Facebook and Instagram and post photos and stories about your life? And this is true, I do. But I'll be honest, I vet my stories. I only share what I'm comfortable putting my name to. Pictures of Ellie are watermarked, and the face of Mr Fork is never shown, at his request. I don't even use Ellie's full name. It's a fine and personal line to draw, but I try to step carefully through the landmines. I still allow unrestricted comments because I believe in free speech but I may change my mind one day.

I post with my name, both on my blog and when I comment on other's work. I only say what I'm personally happy to stand behind. I choose what I put online and what I keep private. I try to keep my dirty laundry where it belongs - in my laundry basket, within the walls of my own home. I shudder to think how I will teach Ellie to do the same with the mixed messages out there and the way that technology is already so ubiquitous in her life.

Given that this is Stay Safe Online Week, let's discuss. What are your thoughts?

Monday, June 2, 2014

Recipe: Tomato, red lentil and vegetable soup

Also less kindly known as the clear my fridge of vegetables soup!

I really felt like a nice hearty soup and this one fit the bill perfectly. It was filling, had protein and lots of hidden vegetables and as an added bonus, got rid of some vegetables that were slightly wilting in my fridge drawer.

It's very versatile, so substitutions and additions would still make a tasty end product.

Ingredients:

1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
200g sliced mushrooms
500g sweet potato, peeled and chopped
half a jar of pasta sauce (or substitute a tin of diced tomatoes)
4 cups water (if using the pasta sauce) or stock (I use Vegeta stock powder to make mine up)
1/2 cup red lentils
1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar (optional, for added sweetness)

Method:

  1. Start with a lug of olive oil in your pot. Add onion and garlic then stir until fragrant and softened. Add mushrooms and stir until the mushrooms are softened.
  2. Add chopped sweet potato, red lentils and the pasta sauce/water/stock.
  3. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes until the sweet potatoes are tender.
  4. Blend until smooth, and return over low heat. Season with salt, pepper and the balsamic vinegar, then serve!

Serves 4, generously.

Tomato, lentil and vegetable soup
I served mine with some chilli dukkah on the top as I had an open packet and felt like a little bit of crunch. Some chopped fresh shallots would also be delicious. I also had a loaf of olive sourdough handy, which was perfect for soaking up the leftover bits of soup in the bowl (because I'm classy like that!).

Now that it's officially Winter, are you craving soup yet?

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