Saturday, August 28, 2010

Weight Whine

Please bear with me a few moments. I feel a whine coming on.
Why is it that people think that because I am small, I must therefore be in great shape? I had someone comment recently that I've 'regained my figure well after having a baby' or something to that extent. Nope. I am still 9kgs overweight. My thighs touch. I have fat rolls round my tummy. I can't get my engagement ring back on, because my finger is too fat! I can't fit any of my pre-Munchkin clothes! Especially not my trousers. Or anything tight around my midrift. There are 4 containers of clothes that I don't want to get rid of, but can't fit this year. I had to buy more trousers. I'm just wearing my larger tops and trying to pretend I don't realise that they are too tight. And I'm still wearing my maternity least the ones that are warm enough for winter.

It just irritates me so much that people assume I don't need to lose weight. I've been feeling like I couldn't share my over-weightness with anyone, because they just laugh it off or compare to someone who looks obviously overweight...either way I feel a bit belittled. As if I shouldn't feel blah about my body. Which I obviously do.

Let me explain. I am 160cm tall (5foot3inches). I inherited very fine bone structure. My optimal weight (which I have weighed for the past 8 years or so) is 45kg. I know, I know, that is skinny as...but seriously, I have a tiny body so while I can carry extra weight and no-one but myself and maybe my husband and mother would notice the difference, that doesn't mean it is healthy!!!

Considering I gained 20kg over pregnancy (that's a 45% increase in body mass, by the way - no wonder I felt and looked like a beached whale!), I'm not doing too bad. I only have 9 left to lose...11kg disappeared without any effort on my part in the week or so following Munchkin's birth. Fluid. Tons of it!

9kgs doesn't really sound like all that much. The issue here is that it is still 20% extra on my bodymass. Now, if someone of say 80kg suddenly put on an extra 16kg, you'd probably notice the difference. And you'd probably say that they could do with losing some weight and getting fit. Well, that's what I've put on, percentage wise. You just can't tell because I am somewhat smaller than average normally. So, I can probably get away with staying this size without anyone, other than my mum, caring. Boyo is very accepting. Mum and I are after health. You see, the issue is what 20% extra being carried around might do to my body in the long run. Surely it can't be healthy for me?!? I mean, all that extra weight requires feeding, and carrying, and pumping blood to. Which takes effort, which my body could probably use elsewhere in things like fighting disease and illness, and running efficiently to get me from point A to B each day. So while I feel like a blob, because I am a bit overweight, and am motivated to lose some because of that, my bigger issue is that I want to live a long and healthy life, and carryign 20% more weight that I used to is so not going to help with that. Maybe an extra 3-4kg over what I used to weigh might be alright...keep a bit of fat in reserves, as I never used to have any. But the rest needs to go.

So there you go. I have finished griping. So what am I doing to change things?
At present, I am just keeping myself moving while Munchkin is little and study is so demanding. Boyo and I go for a walk nearly every day, which I totally love. Not being able to go walking was one of the things in late pregnancy that totally sucked. I want to get back to a once-a-week swim (I swam twice a week in late pregnancy and quite enjoyed it), but will probably start that once the madness of assignments is over in late September. Instead, I'm starting to do a short pilates routine at home...much more convenient as it can be done in 10mins while Munchkin plays on the floor, rather than having to organise a time to get out of the house. Our diet is pretty shot - combination of tiredness and busyness with a new baby, and Boyo's odd evening work hours. So I'm hoping to slowly make improvements on that. Currently I'm working on increasing the leafy greens content of what I eat.

Anyway, just thought I'd put it out there that you can't judge a 'book by it's cover' or rather someone's size by what you see. ;op We all have our little, or not-so-little, issues to work through, regardless of what you might see on the surface.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

I Love Savemart!

Munchkin has outgrown yet another lot of clothes, so there was an 'emergency' dash to the local second hand store, Savemart, on the weekend. My mum and I have a really good system. She walks along picking out possibilities, and I then look over them for size, etc. We even did this when I was pregnant...she'd find something and I'd try it on (yep, in the aisle, over my clothes - after all, we knew we needed a bit of growing space!)...we are a well oiled machine of efficiency!

I must just say that for kids clothes, I love Savemart! Actually, I love Savemart for clothes! It has certainly had plenty of custom from our family. I got most of my new winter wardrobe there last year when we moved back from Australia. It also supplied me with quite a number of 'preggy' clothes earlier this year. Most of Munchkin's lovely winter jerseys were from Savemart. And now he's once more decked out in second hand style!


That's all it cost to get all of these:

So not only did we manage to set him up with about 7 full outfits, but also came home with some scratch mittens (to stop him drawing blood because he will insist on rubbing his face with his hands and I can never seem to get his nails short enough!), a cute little book, and some plastic rattles. I feel quite chuffed.

Next time we need new clothes, I am also going to look on Trademe (Ebay) as I hear you can sometimes get bags of baby clothes for $1. Plus there's another second hand store just up the road from us here, which I had forgotten about. I don't imagine it will be all that long before I have to look again. Most of Munchkin's clothes are already 6-9month ones and he's only 3 months old...and some of the new ones only 'just' fit. Grin. Or should it be Grimace? It is kind of disappointing. We were given so many nice clothes, both second hand and new for Munchkin, and he's only worn many of them a couple of times, and some of them not at all! Oh well, what can you do? Not his fault he's a bit of a giraffe.



I've had some seedlings growing away on the windowsill beside my desk over the past few weeks. On Monday, I transplanted them, some into my little garden and the rest into my parents'.

I love how lush and green they look! These were an Italian Mesculin mix, a Red Mesculin mix, and some spinach, all from Kings Seeds.

Hopefully they transplant okay. It is always a bit difficult here in Tauranga getting seedlings established okay, as we invariably seem to end up with a patch of really sunny weather right after I've planted them...either that or pouring rain!

Next on my list this week is to buy some more seed raising mix, and get our tomato seeds planted. We can plant tomatoes in the garden in late September here (most of NZ is Labour Weekend at the end of October but Tauranga is quite mild and balmy come spring). So Dad and I worked out that we probably need a good 4 weeks worth of growth before transplanting. Once the tomatoes are large enough to transplant into bigger pottles, I'll start some beans, cucumbers, and so on. I'm thinking of using toilet rolls and just popping them straight into the ground to transplant and letting them breakdown; a good recycling option for the 'trolls' and it saves my pottles for things that need a bit more tlc.

Have you planted anything lately? Amy

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Christmas Child Toys

My son is still sound asleep - very long sleep happening here, much to my surprise - so I am making the most of the few spare minutes to do a few things I want to do...such as put labels on a couple of containers, prune the rose out the front, and write blog entries! I'd already brought in 2 loads of washing and done another 3 so figure some recreational time is okay. I finished an assignment yesterday, and did a bit of work on some this morning so I think they will also keep for another day.

Here are the toys I got recently for my Christmas Child boxes. Only a month or two to go before they are due for collection! I'd better start getting my shoeboxes soonish. These little gems come under the 'something to love' category and were found at a local Dollar Value store - they range in price from $1-5 each. Aren't they cute? They are just perfect for the shoeboxes as they are all nice and small, leaving enough space in the shoeboxes for other things.
Opps, I think the long sleep has finally ended! Very hungry baby about to be fed!

Spring is Coming

I do believe that spring is coming. I have been meaning to prune the roses around our place for awhile now, but as it is somewhat low on the list of priorities it has yet to eventuate.

I did just head outside and quickly clip back the one right beside the carpad, so we don't get attacked every time we get in or out of the drivers door. It was already starting to bud, a sure sign that spring must be on its way. I don't really feel like we've had much of a winter this year, it has been so mild but I'm still happy to have spring arrive.

In other exciting news, our front neighbours came over and pruned back the wayward banksia rose that was hanging over the carpad. They're tidying up to rent out the house (please, God, nice quiet new neighbours - the unit beside us will have new tenants soon too so two lots of new neighbours). They not only pruned it back with their long-handled loopers, but took the prunings away in their trailer, and the lady pulled out the weeds along the edge while her man did the pruning! I feel so blessed. I've been wanting to tackle that area for months and just haven't had time to allocate to it...and now, out of the blue, it is done!
What signs of spring (or autumn if you are in the Northern Hemisphere) have you seen this week?

Growing Up

I think my son might just be a tall boy...

Exhibit A: 3 month old son

Exhibit B: Pile of 3 month old clothes that no longer fit.

Exhibit C: 6-9 month old clothes that do (thankfully!) fit!

The fat nappies certainly don't help me get the singlets domed under his legs, but most of it is his own length!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dry Goods Storage

I have found a great use for the multiple formula tins we are producing at the moment (Munchkin is on formula as I did not produce nearly enough milk for a growing baby!). I do so like finding a use for things, and this one has several benefits. Firstly, I feel like I'm getting a few extra 'miles' out of our expensive formula purchases. Secondly, I have found some larger containers to store my dry goods in. Bonus, they don't break!
My other storage containers are glass jars bought at the Sallies op shop for 20c each or something. But they are not big enough to fit a whole 1kg bag of sugar or flour, which is annoying. So now I am transferring things into the old formula tins. They are fabulous, if you just get past the green outsides. They are designed to keep things nice and fresh for a long time, which is just what I need! Plus they stack neatly on top of each other.

The only real issue is that I see one and think, "What is Munchkin's formula doing on my baking shelf?" So I've printed off some labels to try and help clarify things for me! I'm even going to put the vegetable garden seeds into a couple of them to keep them fresh. Not sure what I'll store after that (we will have quite a few more containers yet...months of bottles yet to come and Munchkin currently goes through one every 5.5 days)...but I'm sure I'll come up with something. If not, there's bound to be someone I can give them to for their pantry. Grin.

A great example of recycling, I must say!

Is there anything you've found a second use for in your home lately?


Carrots Like the Cold

I have decided that it is so not worth growing carrots in Tauranga. I thought this last year, when half the row of my parent's carrots went to seed before we got to eat them (they were planted a bit late and never really thickened up decently). But there is something so magical about pulling a carrot out of the ground. I can convince myself quite completely that carrots are a waste of time here, when I am not growing any...but as soon as there are some in the ground I get a school-girl enthusiasm for their fluffy green tops and hidden crunchy gems.

The issue is that Tauranga does not get very cold. My mother in law grows fabulous carrots, but she lives where they get some decent cracker frosts each winter. Her carrots are sweet and tasty. My carrots, on the other hand, are always a bit too tangy. Not enough sugar in there. Blame it on the frost. Or the lack thereof. This year is particularly bad for carrot-sweetening: we've had all of one decent frost the entire winter. I have two little rows of carrots out in my back garden which I recently started eating. And yes, the thrill of digging up bright orange cylinders from beneath the soil still gets to me, but I find myself so disappointed when I eat them that I wonder at the point of it all. They are small, and quite frankly I get driven mad trying to plant the teeny tiny seeds. I've tried doing them in rows...big gaps. I've tried mixing the seed with a bit of soil and spreading thinly over the whole bed...again big gaps in some places and way too many carrots in others. I just hate thinning! It feels so jolly wasteful, you know. So of course I try too hard to get the carrot seed spread just right, and fail every time!

So, no more carrots. I know I said this last year but I thought I really should just give it one more go. Well, we've had our one more go. Next year, stick to growing greens. Broccoli, spinach, even lettuce grow well here over winter (much better than lettuce does over summer - the cooler weather seems to suit better than the humid summers and dry, dry soils).

Here are some of the carrots I pulled recently. Aren't they just delightful. I am tempted to plant more seed just looking at them. NO, Amy, no!


Sunday, August 15, 2010

The End of an Era

Last month I retired my handbag. It was a somewhat sad affair, and long overdue. I'd been given this gorgeous bag by my good friend, as a thank-you to her bridesmaids. That was 3 years ago I think...maybe 4? My maths is elluding me. Anyway, I loved the soft fabric and it was the perfect length to hang over my shoulder comfortably. I found that I never left it places, as it was easy to just leave it over my shoulder, across my back. This was particularly useful when doing things like supermarket shopping (you don't want to leave your purse in your trolley by mistake and come back with your carrots or celery to discover you've no money there to pay for them!).

The only thing is that my handbag took a beating. It was used every day, and you can tell. It has a couple of tears in it, but the reason for its retirement is simply that it had no pockets. I'd wanted pockets for a couple of years, actually, but loved the bag too much to change it simply because it didn't have any. Plus, I hate shopping and didn't think it would be easy to find something as comfortable as this one. I'd thought, many times, about sewing some pockets for it. That's as far as the thought got though, a thought.

The arival of Munchkin spelled the retirement of my handbag. I was so sick of spending ages fishing through my bag trying to find my keys, lip balm, or my ringing cell phone (invariably finding it after it had stopped ringing!). With Munchkin on the scene, the stress was just too much. Plus, my bag was pretty longer large enough to hold all the extras associated with a baby.

So I got a new bag. I found it, quite by accident, on special when I was looking for clothes. I love that it is bright blue, and it has a nice long strap like my last bag. It is bigger too, and has POCKETS!!! My sunglasses go in one, my pen and odd little bits in another, and there's even a place for my cell phone and car keys so I always know where they are. I'm happy. I'm sad to see my old bag go, and I have not been able to throw it out quite yet, but I'm happy that I've finally got a new one.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Shopping Day

You can tell that things have been a bit hectic around here lately by the state of our pantry. A tin of tomatoes sits forlornly, all alone. We have run out of jam. We have run out of cheese. There's barely any meat left in the freezer. I don't think we've ever had this little in our cupboards! I am a stockpiler by nature, so usually there's a month's worth of supplies. I like to think that I could invite anyone around for a meal and we'd be able to feed them without a trip to the shops.

We do still have some tuna, salmon and tinned spaghetti. I have not yet reached the point of desperation required to attempt mixing them into a meal! Today, I shop. We are in the middle of the month already, when usually I get the shopping done in the first few days, but working out time to do a big shop when there's assignments to do, washing to put away, a son to feed, or bath, or cuddle, or change is a bit complicated. I am currently waiting for Boyo to get up so I can go without Munchkin. Munchkin is crying, determined that he does NOT want to be in his bed. Poor, tired boy.

I am just hoping that in my rush last night to get the shopping list done, I have not forgotten anything important. I have remembered the toilet paper, bread for Boyo, and the light bulb to replace the blown one in the lounge. Oh, did I write soy sauce on the list? Better check that before I go. Hopefully we're all covered. Munchkin and I have been for a short walk, wrapped up in the front pack and my wet weather gear as it is an overcast, drizzly day. It was glorious being outside. I stopped and watched a flock of silver eyes feeding and enjoyed the crisp breeze for a few minutes.

I've even managed to get a good amount of study done this morning so that I don't have to try and squeeze it in this afternoon. As we shop monthly, it usually takes me two hours at the supermarket, followed by another couple at home packing things away. Thankfully I have leftover dinner in the fridge for my lunch. I'd just better make sure Boyo doesn't get to it first. Grin.

Time to sort out my tired baby and check on the washing in the machine.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

More Blankets

Here are some more blankets...


I am feeling inspired.

Yesterday I went and viewed the Operation Cover Up Blankets for the Tauranga area. They were on display at a local church before being packed into wool bales for shipping to orphanages in Europe today.

I just want to knit, and knit, and knit!!!

I had hoped to get my blanket finished in time, but sadly didn't quite make it. Somehow I managed to stuff up the number of squares, twice. So I ended up having to knit an extra 4 squares in a hurry. I'd run out of the wool I'd been using for my pattern too so had to improvise a bit with some plain white squares. I managed to get all the squares crocheted into their 8 strips, but have not gotten the strips crocheted together into the blanket. My back gave out on me. Study gripped me. My son needed me. You get the general idea. I just can't do everything. I was going to see if someone else could finish it off for me, but convinced myself I could get it done...there's something about completing a project like this myself. I still find it amazing that I have managed to finish a blanket every year for the past 5 years. Considering the scale of these projects, and my track history with large projects, it is quite amazing. I never used to be very good at finishing things. I have some patchwork squares somewhere still to prove it. But for some reason these blankets keep me motivated right the way through. I am still putting my current one together, it will just sadly have to wait another year before going to a child. Hopefully that means I will have 2 blankets to donate then. I am not holding my breath on this one, though. My free time has kind of disappeared in a whirlwind of study and baby! I do still need some more wool though...for those scarce moments when knitting is a soothing breather.

Anyway, I took photos of lots of the blankets as inspiration for future patterns. I was just blown away by how different and beautiful they all were. I thought I'd seen them all, only to discover that I'd just been looking at a select few put on display and there were bags upon bags of them in the hall next door!

Here are just a few of my favourites:

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Munchkin's Mandarin

It is traditional for Maori to keep the whenua (placenta) when a baby is born. The whenua is later buried in a place of special significance to the baby's family, usually looking over a mountain or some other place of belonging to that whanau. A tree is planted on top. My understanding is very limited on the matter, but I believe it is all about stating where this new child belongs. By placing their whenua in the earth, they are now connected to this place. I love this concept of connection and belonging!

When Munchkin was born, we chose to keep his whenua. A month or so later, we finally managed to go out and get a tree for him...motivated by a desire to create some more room in our freezer by removing the whenua, if I must be honest here!

We chose a mandarin. It now sits in a large pot outside our front door. As we are renting, we chose to put it in a pot so that it can move with us. When we eventually buy another property, we may then plant his mandarin tree in the ground, but doing it this way meant he still gets to have his whenua tree. The pot is a 'self watering' one with a little reservoir in the bottom. I am not very good at remembering to water pots, you see, so was somewhat concerned that I might kill Munchkin's tree by neglect. That would be rather tragic as it is a special tree with special meaning! So we got a decent sized self-watering pot, and a Miho variety of mandarin as the label says it is good in pots.

I noticed just this week that it looks like Munchkin's Mandarin might be starting to put out more leaves. Yay!

Here it is, with the friendy neighbourhood kitten being nosey (who has decided to adopt is not allowed in the house as I am allergic to cats, much to Andrew's disappointment as he loves cats...but he does get fairly frequent visits from our friendly grey kitten, coming for a rub out by the washing line or on the front door step!):

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Budgeting Blues

I've been feeling a bit down lately about the savings versus spending in our household. Our budget has been completely blown out of the water the past few months. I guess I should have expected that, but I did not. Call me naieve. I kind of underestimated how much having a baby was going to there's the unexpected expenses like new clothes and portacot for Munchkin, which I bought brand new, horror of horrors.

I'd planned on buying most of our baby stuff second hand and until he was born, managed that fine. The change table and rocker are from a second hand store, the pram is from the Sallies (Salvos) store, most of his clothes were given second hand with a few bought from Save Mart (2nd hand clothing store) and topped up with new ones given as gifts. Since Munchkin was born though, many of my ideals have gone out the window. He's a tall boy, and outgrew his newborn clothes by 8 weeks. Plus the pram got too short to sleep him in the lounge during the day, and the borrowed capsule is also now too short so we have to install the 'big' carseat in the car this week...which means he can't just sleep in the carseat when we go places as once that hunking great thing is in the car it is so not comin out again!!! Hence the portacot. As I had a bazillion assignments due (okay, so I exaggerate, but it does feel like that many!), a baby with a cold, and very little free time or energy I went for the simplest option and bought new. I just didn't have what it took to do all the looking, checking, questioning, driving, and more looking required to buy secondhand items. Pity, as the saved money would have been good.

Add to that such things as vaporiser and snot-sucker for the cold, several dental bills for Boyo and I, and the fact that our diet is shocking so we've overspent in that area too, and you can see why I've been feeling a bit discouraged. I just have to remind myself that this is an incredibly stressful, unusual time in our lives. And as we don't plan on having 10 kids, it is probably okay that things are a bit crazy in the budget department at present. It is a season that shall pass.

We have to sort out our monthly budget was supposed to be done last week and I've only just remembered, opps! I will need to remind myself frequently that we are actually doing okay. We have savings to help us through this period, we are all well and happy, and Munchkin will grow up so fast I'll probably wonder what I was fussing over.

Ever had the 'budgeting blues?' How did you get through them?