Sleep Less, Sleep Better Number 1 tip for night feeding mums, or anyone who needs better sleep

Oh don't I look fabulous in my amber safety goggles  safe for watching TV, using computers, playing on phone etc! All without the dangers of suppressing my melatonin!

Oh don’t I look fabulous in my amber safety goggles safe for watching TV, using computers, playing on phone etc! All without the dangers of suppressing my melatonin!

My 1 tip for night-feeding mums (and dads! Or indeed anyone who finds themselves not falling asleep easily) – buy a pair of geeky Amber glasses and/or swap a red light bulb into your lamp! This is almost guaranteed to allow you have quality sleep whilst it is broken sleep.

Read on for the back story…

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Mammy and More

My Daffodil was born… My birth story

Tuesday 17th feb 2015.  Sunflower arrived home from a day out with her childminder during which she had a total of zero minutes of sleep. She was absolutely wreaked and headed to bed early. Just as I retired at 11pm Sunflower decided she wasn’t going to sleep in her bed and so knowing it could otherwise be a long battle she was allowed to sleep beside me. Daddy slept in the spare bed as he needed good rest ahead of a big day at work…!

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Mammy and More

New Year, New Me

I didn’t welcome in the New Year with a glass of bubbly and tons of chocolate like my previous life, instead I was curled up in bed with my hubby chatting through some of the things that we can each do to make 2015 a better year for us both, and Sunflower.

Now I haven’t make resolutions, these generally fall by the wayside by the end of January.  Instead, I’m going to do things more consistently, simplify my life, and create the space to be a better me, better mammy. better wife, better friend, better blogger, better me.  Because I want to be better; and I can be better. Continue reading

Child friendly Cookie & Cake decorations

Well, it’s been a long time promised, and I apologise for that, however, here are the details for the decorations we used for Sunflower’s gingerbread cookies before Christmas.  They were so successful that they are by no means limited to Christmas cookies!  And they are soooo easy! It took minutes to make them and she has had sooo much fun playing and eating them!

I admit, I cheated a little, doing the 80/20 rule with regards to sugars as I was pushed for time, but I will highlight in each recipe where there can be improvements.

Icing / Decorating Glue

This icing is delicious, so smooth, nice and sweet although no sickly so, and so so easy to make.

Icing - delicious icing

Icing – delicious icing

2 parts Coconut Oil
1 part Mild Honey

  • Put the oil (at room temperature so that it’s solid) and the honey into a food processor and mix.  Simple as that!
  • Store in the fridge
  • To use, bring to room temperature so that that the icing is spreadable.
  • Use as the “glue” for the sprinkles and chocolate pieces onto cookies
  • Use as you would use Royal Icing, for a smooth finish or spiky!
  • This icing sets solid in the fridge but unlike Royal icing will not remain solid when out of the fridge for any length of time, but it will hold its shape
  • Use for piping – this means the designs are endless!

Sprinkles

For these I cheated slightly and used commercial food colouring gel – I was stuck for time and given the amount of food colouring actually used, I applied my 80/20 rule!

Coloured sprinkles

Coloured sprinkles

1 tbsp desiccated coconut
3-5 drops Food colouring gel
1 Zip Seal freezer bag

Heather over at mommypotamus.com has some great recipes for food colouring.  Her recipes (although within her play dough post) are all food based and don’t really impart the taste so you will still end up with coloured coconut sprinkles.  I haven’t tried these myself yet, however, I think that the coconut would need soaking in the coloured water and then drying out in a cool oven or dehydrator.

Chocolate Drops / Buttons

And yes, these are just fabulous on their own as baby friendly chocolate!

Chocolate drops and bits

Chocolate drops and bits

2 parts Coconut Oil
1 part cocoa
1 part Mild Honey
pinch of sea salt (optional)

  • In a bain marie (double broiler / heatproof dish sitting over a pot of boiling water but not touching it), melt the coconut oil
  • Mix in the cocoa until lumps are gone
  • Stir in the honey (taste at this point for sweetness)
  • If you like your chocolate to be a bit smoother than dark chocolate, then add in the sea salt a tiny pinch at a time! This has the magic effect of producing a creamy chocolate!
  • Pour into chocolate moulds of your choice, or create drops on a baking tray
  • Chill until solid!
  • This chocolate is fabulous, and because it is made with coconut oil rather than cocoa butter, its cocoa solids content is much lower (40% ish) and therefore is not as rich as dark chocolate – perfect for kiddies! Sunflower loves it!
So delicious and tasty and colourful!

So delicious and tasty and colourful!

Next week I’m making a toddler friendly birthday cake for Sunflower and her friends and plan to use these decorations – will post about how it goes and how it is received, especially as the cake will be allergy friendly (except for nut allergy sufferers) and as healthy as a cake can be! Basically, I won’t have to limit how much Sunflower wants to eat of it!

 

Christmas Gingerbread Men – healthy, allergy (except nuts) friendly and soooo Delicious! Part 1 – the Cookies

The Best gingerbread man in the world…ever!

The Best gingerbread man in the world…ever!


So Sunflower’s childminder gave me a week’s notice – she was going to be doing Gingerbread Man decorating with the kids she looks after before the local play school Christmas Party – and what could she use for Sunflower…..

Hmmmm……. Thoughts of Smarties and Skittles and 100’s & 1000’s and silver sugar balls entered my head followed by the thoughts of “how am I going to help Sunflower with this one in a much healthier way”??????Google….. not much….. forums…. not much more…. this was going to be down to my own brain!…..

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Sleep Deprivation – a reality for many

Sleep deprivation, tiredness, exhaustion, too few hours in the day.  Call it what you will, many, indeed probably most if not every mother will have experienced this, at the very least in the first 6 weeks of baby’s wonderful life.

Some mothers are lucky and baby starts to establish longer sleeping hours within a few weeks, others must wait a few months, and then there are the few who have to wait years.  And I mean years.

Many of my friends don’t really believe me when I say that I can honestly count on two hands the numbers of nights in the last 2 years when Sunflower has slept for 9+ hours in a row, and because I don’t go to sleep 5 minutes after she does (I have done on occasion!), then the longest I have slept has been 6 hours, once, and that was wonderful!

The reality of it, however, is that sleep deprivation, especially over prolonged periods really impacts how we function, not just concentration and memory, but it affects our ability to think rationally, logically, to manage and balance our emotions. Personally, I have struggled to perform at work, and this has been noticed by the people I work with.  Before Sunflower, I was really “on the ball”, quick and accurate in the deductions I would make and made good decisions.  Now, I sometimes feel like I cannot make a decision at all! More on decision fatigue in another post at some stage.

So what can we really do about it? I know that I push on, I have to.  I must look after Sunflower, I want to look after my husband who is away from home at least 11 hours every day.  I am advised by “professionals” that it would be ok to leave the housework for a few days….really?  I actually find such advice patronising.  If I am in a tidy space, physically, then my mind can be much more at ease, and when I’m doing something, say cooking, then knowing the kitchen is a tidy space makes it a much more enjoyable and relaxing task than if the kitchen were a total mess with about 2 hours worth of cleaning to do.

With a tidy home, my brain can rest.  Over the last few weeks, Sunflower has been up again up to 5 times every night, first of all it was tonsillitis, then it was teething, and now it has been a tummy bug, with only brief interludes between each, meaning that it has been impossible to establish a proper sleeping routine.

And so I push on, I keep the house tidy, I enjoy my days, and form this week, I am only working for my “employers” for 1/2 day a week until Christmas, meaning I can spend my days when Sunflower is with the childminder to get the house sorted and find some “me” time – sewing, crafting, planning the next weeks food menu and my evenings are free to sleep, watch telly and relax….until I get that much needed rest!

I’m interested to hear other people’s experiences!