Our miracle baby…. She was born to be called Hannah.

Unto us a child was born, a gift was given and responsibilities are upon our shoulders as parents. To bring her up our child healthy in body, mind and spirit so that she can grow up into the women God has created her to be.

I was told by many of my friend and a few family members that I won’t be able to carry a child, let alone to full term. Because I had multiply miscarriages – five in total. But as always God had other plans for me.

The joy Hannah brought into our family’s life is beyond our expectations. That is why one of her middle names is JOY.

We didn’t know the sex of our baby, but most people told us we were going to have a boy. So I sort of engraved that in my brain ‘as you do. We had names for boys sorted but no girls names. We were going to call him Samuel, not after my dad who’s name was Samuel but after Samuel in the bible. I though Samuel would be the most appropriate name for him. Because I prayed every day to have a child, just like Hannah in the bible did – Samuel’s mother. I could have identified with Hannah because she had child bearing problems. Only that Hannah could not bear a child, but she prayed every day to God to have a child and several years later she bore a baby boy and call him Samuel. Which in Hebrew means: “Name of God; asked of God; heard by God”. While me, I was able to conceive but wasn’t able to carry to term. I would have spontaneous miscarriages – five in total before Hannah was gifted to us.

And so when we had a baby girl! And so we were stock for names for about a day and half. I wasn’t in any fit state of mind to think of a name after my traumatic labour anyways.

So when my mother-in-law and her husband came to the hospital to visit me ( I was in there for eight days),she suggested we call her Shahalia after her sister – baby number four who we lost at twenty four weeks a year before.But Shaun wasn’t too keen nor did I. I was still too weak to even think. But when she mentioned the name Hannah that’s when I felt like something came alive in me again. I said yes that’s the name.

You see,as a little girl I always said that when even I grow up and if I ever have a girl child I was going to call her Hannah. But I did not remember at the time,that I had told my cousin Claudette several years ago. So when she rung me to find out how me and baby were doing and if I had a name for her get. She reminded me that I told her if ever I had a baby girl I would call her Hannah. As you can imagine I was in floods of tears then, and in ore of how it all came together. She was born to call Hannah.

And the Hebrew meaning for Hannah is “favour” or “grace”.

Hannah was born at thirty six week, a bit early than I expected. She was born by a very traumatic emergency cesarean section and look normal healthy baby girl weighing 7lbs 12oz, with a head full of black hair, bright dark eyes and the loudest cry in hospital. She was the most beautiful little thing I have ever seen, when I got to meet her and hold her. And one of the best feelings I ever had ever experienced. Well, apart from our wedding day.

I would have like to have had her via normal virginal birth but given the risk both me and her were in at the time, there were no choice but to consent to it and prayed that all was going to be well.

My faith was stretched to the max during my whole pregnancy. I allowed God to carry me; I put all my faith in Him and well…some in the medical professional. I had the most graceful consultant and I felt so blessed that she was a part of my journey at that present time.


Fruity Nutty Linseed Buckwheat Pancake

buckwheat-pancake

 

Who likes pancakes? I don’t think you like them more than my two munchkins,they absolutely love em!!

Pancakes is more than a weekend treat for us. I try to sneak in at least one batch a week on a school day morning for breakfast. I usually make healthy gluten free options and topped with the weird and wonderful healthy toppings like sugar free crunchy peanut or smooth almond butter, and my very own sugar free chocolate hazelnut spread, raw honey drizzled on fresh strawberries, blueberries, bananas or any fresh fruits in season. My five year old even likes to sprinkle chopped cashew nuts on his…queer I know :).

 

Pancakes don’t have to be always leaden with refined sugar and lemon juice or shop bought sugary toppings. Especially for little ones. You can read about the harmful effects sugar have on children here– healthier options are best for their little growing bodies. There is freedom in making pancakes and even more freedom with their toppings – the possibilities are endless when it comes to topping.

 

Really, there is no comparison between making pancakes yourself and buying the ready-made version or even the ready-made mix from the supermarket which usually have long shelf lives and therefore not ideal for our health.

 

As Pancake Day is almost upon us – less than 2 days to go. Hooray!

I am sharing with you my easy peasy Fruity Nutty Linseed Buckwheat Pancake Recipe using my Nutribullet to mix my batter. And I have also picked some of my favourite healthy homemade pancakes recipes for you from other foodies like me.

 

Recipe:Fruity Nutty Linseed Buckwheat Pancake

Makes 8-10 pancakes

Ingredients

50g buckwheat flour

50g einkorn flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 tbs linseed

1 medium egg

180 ml goat’s milk or coconut milk

Coconut oil or ghee, for cooking

Sliced fresh fruits and avocado for topping

A dollop of peanut butter

Method

Put both flours, cinnamon, linseed, egg and milk in  Nutribullet cup. Blend into a smooth pancake batter.

Heat a frying pan and very lightly grease the base of it with a piece of kitchen paper dipped in coconut oil or ghee.

Pour a thin layer of batter over the base of the pan. Cook it until the edges start to curl back. Either toss the pancake, or use a palette knife to loosen it around the edges and then use the palette knife to help flip it over.

Cook the pancake briefly on this side, then slide it out on to a plate.

Cook the rest of the mixture in the same way.

Serve pancakes warm with toppings

Enjoy!!

 

Fish Pie Stuffed Pancakes

by Fuss Free Flavours

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Guilt-Free Chocolate and Banana Pancakes 

By Lean Living Girl

 

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Green Smoothie Pancakes

by Runnin Srilankn

 

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As I said, there are no limits to the flavours and toppings I make, once they are healthy and my kids love them that’s all that matters.

So this pancake day I challenge you to explore, be adventurous with your pancake flavours and toppings and you will taste the difference.

 

Happy pancake day 2017 !!

 

 


How to stay well this winter season!!

My proven strategies for preventing colds and flu, and some simple, natural cold and flu remedies I use.

 

fresh-fruit

It’s that time of the year again when the signs of a cold or flu settling in, about to derail us, however temporarily from our day-to-day live. I must count myself lucky or blessed not to get colds and flu. However if I do get any symptoms of a cold, I would quickly make myself some sort of home remedy to stop it right in its tracks. Trust me, it always works. My two favourites are lemon and raw honey tea and fresh ginger tea.

Both my husband and my seven-year old daughter have had colds recently. My husband caught it off my daughter. She caught it playing out doors on a very cold autumn’s afternoon without a cardigan or coat – not very sensible for a seven-year old.

For us, if an illness struck, natural and herbal remedies are our first port of call, it helps shorten the duration and get you feeling better faster.

We as a family have never had the flu jab, nor do we intend to take it, because of the long-term effect it has on the immune system. Instead of waiting until we experience the cold and flu symptoms, I tend to build up and strengthen my body’s natural defence mechanism–my immune system with a number of vitamins, minerals, herbs and essential oils that naturally boost our immune system. But most importantly we eat a well-balanced healthy whole food diet,consisting of mainly fresh whole and natural foods like good cuts of meat and fish, free range eggs, nuts, seeds, good fats, fruits and vegetables.

 

Get juicing this winter. Your immune system will love you for it !!

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Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables is a great way to boost your immune system and benefit from Vitamin C and other phytonutrients found in fresh raw foods.

Choose orange fruits and vegetables like carrots to get more beta carotene, the precursor your body turns into Vitamin A. This nutrient helps your immune system by supporting healthy lungs and lymph.

Dark greens like kale and spinach contain beta carotene and Vitamin E that help your body fend off cold and flu infections.

Fresh red and pink fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, strawberries and pink grapefruit are especially high in Vitamin C.

We love juicing this time of the year, rather than making smoothies.

orange-and-beetroot

Orange, beetroot, kale and carrot juice – the kids loved it!!

 

Say No To Sugar

Sugar can cripple your immune system for up to 5 hours after eating sugar! So I stay well away from it. According to a 1973 study done by Loma Linda University, when you eat 100 grams of sugar, about as much sugar as you find in a 1 litter bottle of coke or fizzy drink, your white blood cells are 40 percent less effective at killing germs.

Some of my favourite natural remedies, essential oils and herbal supplements.

Echinacea acts as an anti-inflammatory, which can help reduce bronchial symptoms of cold and flu.

Garlic has antibiotic and antibacterial properties. In a recent study, people who took a garlic supplement for 12 weeks got about 60% fewer colds than those who didn’t and recovered faster if they did get a cold.

The best way to take garlic, other cooking with it, is to swallow a raw clove. I like to make garlic tea. But you can take garlic capsule as well.

Ginger naturally boosts the immune system. It believes that because ginger is so effective at warming the body, it can help break down the accumulation of toxins in your organs. It’s also known to cleanse the lymphatic system, our body’s sewage system.  Dr. Oz says, “By opening up these lymphatic channels and keeping things clean, ginger prevents the accumulation of the toxins that make you susceptible to infections, especially in the respiratory system. I do enjoy a good cup of fresh ginger tea, its so refreshing. As a child, when ever we get a cold or cough, my mum use to make us ginger tea to get rid of it and I do the same for my kids now.

Eucalyptus works as an expectorant and helps cleanse your body of toxins and harmful micro-organisms that can make you feel sick. My husband love adding a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil in our diffuser in the evening – it bring the room to life to say the least.

Vitamin C can boost the immune system and reduce the severity of cold and flu symptoms. I usually add about ¼ teaspoon to my kids water (700 ml) they take to school. And I take it in capsule form.

Vitamin D is produced in the body by sunlight and regulates the expression of over 2,000 genes, including those of the immune system. Recent research has found that low vitamin D levels are linked to higher rates of cold, flu and respiratory infections.

 

natural-remedies

Homemade Vapor Rub

Total Time: 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pour all oils in to a jar.
  2. Place a saucepan with 2 inches of water over medium low heat
  3. Place jar in saucepan and allow oils to melt. Stir to combine.
  4. Once combined, allow to cool slightly and add in essential oils.
  5. Pour mixture into metal tins or storage containers and allow to set.

 


My emotional journey to motherhood

My journey to motherhood was fill with so many mixed emotions. And was diffidently a roller coaster journey. I felt every emotion possible that a mum would feel in her life time.

From feelings of ‘oh dear’ what have I done, I’m pregnant and I’m not married (my first miscarriage was in my mid twenties. I wasn’t married then) but still feeling happy because I always wanted children. And then that feeling of loss, sadness and pain and even a sense of rejection and disappointed when I miscarried at twelve weeks gestation. To the feelings of worry and anxiousness for my second and third…

I was pregnant again and so I felt happy that I was going to be a mum.And I felt safe that I’m going to be in safe hands medically.But then in the beginning of my thirteen week gestation I started to feel abdominal pains and started spotting.I began to feel worried that I’m going to lose my baby again.Then disaster struck and that feeling of disappointment, loss, sadness and pain over took me again.

Now I’m on this path of medical investigation I became even more worried when Shaun and I. But me more, had to do all sorts of blood tests to find out whether we were compatible –  being a black and white couple. My thoughts were…’what if’, but then I felt relived when the test result came back with a thumbs up.
I began to feel a sense of hope. But other investigations results showed something that I never expected and had never heard of either. A blood test came back positive, showing that I had an auto immune disorder call lupus anticoagulant.It’s where small blood clots develop in the uterus, the placenta can be cut off; leaving the fetus void of the oxygen and nutrient supply it needs to survive. So this had caused me multiply miscarriages (five in total). Not only did I have to deal with the feeling of loss, confusion, and sadness, looking for answers and questioning God –why me?. I also had to work through the resentment towards my pregnant friends, colleague or any women that would “fall” pregnant every time they sneezed. For the fifth time I felt every emotion handed to me on a plate plus a bit of depression as dessert, as if that wasn’t enough.

But then my Faith kicked in and with some spiritual determinations – reading the scriptures daily, meditating on all the promises in the bible in relation to conceptions. I got myself together and begin to focus more on my spiritual being as much as my health. I came across a book written by Jackie Mize entitled Supernatural Childbirth which I read daily as part of my daily inspiration.

I had a supernatural experience right in my living room, where I had a prompting from the ‘Holy Spirit’  to do my own research relating to my health. I leap out of my sofa right away and begin to research on the internet about natural approach to pregnancy and miscarriage preventions ‘lo and behold’ there is was – I found a forum where women with the same problem like me, sharing their stories.  I noticed that they all used one common natural remedy called natural progesterone cream and reported that their pregnancies were successful.

Although I did had medical intervention, I believe that my Faith in God and the changes I made with my eating also the use of the progesterone cream through out my pregnancy was the game changer. Why I believe that? Because I was given the same medical treatment for my fifth pregnancy I still miscarried. Read more here.

My labour was a drama. Read why here

 

Our miracle baby

Becoming a mother and actually holding my little girl for the first time was the best feeling ever. My world was fill with joy even though I was poorly to begin with, that sense of joy, deep down in my soul kept me going.

Nothing could have prepared me for becoming a mother though. It’s nothing like I read in books or see in movies. Not even what I saw my mum did.

When I became a mum the jolting realisation hit me – life is now utterly and completely different. Now I have this little person to nourish, to sustain, to care and provide for – what a gift and responsibility I thought.

The responsibilities were overwhelming for me for the first six months or so. Right along with that little bundle of joy comes with a stark reality: I though that now I will hardly ever have a moment to myself. I had enjoyed my ‘me times’ – my favourites were: polishing my nails, weekend facial, manicure and pedicure and put my feet up and watch a good movie. And now, anytime I get, if I did, would be fill with work and to-do-list tasks, or even much-needed sleep.  I had no relatives nearby to help out, so it was pretty hard for me. But my pretty amazing Pastor’s wife Paula offered to do my ironing, ‘tick’- one job I didn’t have to do (she did it for almost three years)and she would come and take me out if I needed to go anywhere while Shaun was at work – she is a super amazing woman, mother and grandmother. Without her and my other Church family at that time I would have been stuffed.

Our miracle baby…. She was born to be called Hannah.

Unto us a child was born, a gift was given and responsibilities are upon our shoulders as parents, to bring her up healthy in body, mind and spirit, so that she can grow into the women God created her to be. I was told by many of my friends and a few family members that I won’t be able to carry a child. But as always God had other plans for us.

The joy Hannah brought into our family’s life is beyond our expectations. That is why one of her middle names is JOY. We didn’t find out the sex of the baby during my many scans. Most people told us it going to be a boy, so I sort of had that engraved in my head and so we had boys names sorted but no girls names. We were going to call him Samuel, not after my dad whose name was Samuel but Samuel in the bible. Which in Hebrew means: “Name of God; asked of God; heard by God”. His mother Hannah could not conceive and bear a child, so she prayed to God every day for years to have a baby and promised God to give her child back to him.Since its going to be a boy, I thought Samuel was the best and most appropriate name for him given my child-bearing problems too.

Some hours later, when I sort of recovered from my traumatic emergency labour surgery in the recovery room. One of the midwives showed me a picture of a baby girl and told me she was my little girl. I was most surprised. I remembered drifting in and out of sleep clutching the photo and kept on kissing it, until they brought her to meet me. That feeling of happiness and joy was so overwhelming that I burst into tears. They lay her down beside me on the recovery bed as I could not get up. I kissed her and told her I loved her. I remembered repeating these words ‘thank you Jesus’ until she was taken back to the baby unit to be cared for until I fully recovered and fit to hold her.

She was born to call Hannah!!!

Now its girl we were stock for names for about two days. I wasn’t in any fit state to think of a name anyways after.

So when my mother-in-law and her husband came into the hospital to visit me (I was in there for eight days) she suggested the name Shahalia,after baby number four who we lost at twenty four weeks,but Shaun wasn’t too keen nor did me. I was still too weak to even think. But when she mentioned the name Hannah,I felt like something came alive in me again. I said yes, that’s the name. You see, as a little girl I always said that when even I have a girl child I was going to call her Hannah. I did not remember at the time that I told my cousin Claudette some years before. But she remembered. So when she rung me to see how me and baby was doing and asked if I got a name for her yet? She reminded me, that I told her, I want my baby girl to be call Hannah when ever I had one. I was in floods of tears then, and in awe of how it all came together. She was born to be call Hannah. The Hebrew meaning for Hannah is “favour” or “grace”.

Hannah was born at thirty six week, a bit early than I expected. She was born by a very traumatic emergency caesarean section. She was a normal healthy baby girl weighing 7lbs 12oz, with a head full of black hair, bright dark eyes and the loudest cry in hospital. She was the most beautiful little thing I have ever seen, when I got to hold and cuddle her. It was one of the best feelings I ever had,apart from our wedding day.

I would have like to have had her via normal virginal birth but given the risk both me and her were in at the time, there was no choice but to consent to it and prayed that all was going to be well. My faith was stretched to the max during my whole pregnancy. I allowed God to carry me; I put all my faith in Him and well…some in the medical professional. I had the most graceful consultant and I felt so blessed that she was a part of my journey at that present time.

Faith, my essential tool for motherhood

Though it’s amazingly joyful and essentially good, for many Christian mums, it’s also tinged with a sense of spiritual loss. Motherhood is full of so much giving to another and so little time for one’s self that many of the spiritual practices of our old, pre-baby life become nearly impossible.

What I began to learn as a brand-new mum—and what I’m still learning is that motherhood is saturated with hidden opportunities for profound spiritual growth. Often those opportunities are hidden directly behind the most stressful, frustrating, and toughest parts of parenting. But with some spiritual determination and a bit of creativity, I found some and is still discovering new opportunities.

So after feeling that sense of spiritual loss and feeling of frustration that I no longer have that ‘quiet time’ extended and uninterrupted spans of time alone to pray, study Scripture, and connect with God.I had to give up meeting for our weekly bible study group I lead in my home and the monthly women’s group I organised. I had to give it all up and concentrate on motherhood – that was hard to do.

But hidden behind this challenge is the opportunity to commune with God differently: through practicing the presence of God…and so I begun to do just that. I became more aware of God’s presence – I developed a different type of intimacy with God by connecting with him throughout the day while doing my chores, having dialogue with Him about the little and big matters of my everyday life.I’ll communicate with him anywhere and anytime and sometimes all day. Especially those days when I feel like motherhood is just a tat too far out of my league. When I feel overwhelmed with all the responsibilities,when I’m feeling low – missing my family. When my kids developed allergies and food sensitive and it seems like every thing they ate they reacted to causing them their skin itch and can’t sleep – those were desperate days and nights – I would have ‘hard talks’ with him looking for answers and seeking healing for them.

Another way I stay connected is by listening to Christian radio station daily – I keep my radio in the kitchen since I spend a lot of time there. My two favourite stations are: http://www.premierchristianradio.com/radioplayer and http://www.ucb.co.uk/radioplayer/uk/

Motherhood had though me humility, patience, I’m more compassionate towards others, less judgemental, broke down barriers of prejudices, love, Grace and ‘ the fruits of the spirit’ in abondance.

Motherhood has shaped within me a more simplistic authentic faith.

Awsome blog post by Lauren Hale: Faith & Motherhood http://www.mypostpartumvoice.com/faith-and-motherhood-banner-2/


How to get fussy eaters to eat!

I find it so frustrated when I spend time making healthy nutritious foods, only for it to be refused by my two picky eaters. My daughter is the most challenge, sometimes she won’t even taste it before she says ‘mum, I don’t like this’, but I don’t easily give up. My son will try anything once it’s not made with cheese.

This behaviour happens at many kitchen tables, with many parents feeling very alone, that they are the only ones with a fussy child. However, around ninety per cent of children go through at least one lengthy phase of fussy eating. While it can be frustrating when a child rejects the food we give them, their eating habits are hugely impacted how we react to the situation. Eating habits and tastes are formed from an early age, so a variety of foods is very important from the outset. Not only is this important to help avoid fussiness, but is important in giving them a balanced healthy diet that provides the nutrients they need.

Hide my frustrations

I try to make mealtimes a fun, positive experience. I would hide my frustrations and give my daughter lots of praise when she eats well or tries something new. I sometimes reward good eating with stickers. I tend not to use foods as reward treats because I want them to grow to always enjoy their foods.

For those of you who like to be organised, planning a menu at the beginning of the week will not only save you time and money, but will also allow you to plan a delicious variety of meals that the whole family can enjoy.

Timing

Children tend to come home from school or an activity starving and can quickly look to the snack tin for a quick fix. This is a great time to get children to eat something healthy. Before, crisp uses to be that quick fix. Now I have a healthier snack ready or to hand, like a slice of gluten free homemade bread with almond butter or a fruit or raw vegetable – cucumber or carrot with dips

Eating together

They look forward to my off days tea times, as we eat together at the kitchen table. Eating together can really make a difference where fussy eaters are concerned. Take the time to chat, rather than focusing heavily on what is on the plates. This will help to take the pressure off children who may feel that what – and how much – they eat is being scrutinized.

Cooking together

Making things look appealing is just as important for kids as it is for adults. Making food preparation interactive in this way enhances the experience.

My children love getting involved in the kitchen – its time for bonding and sharing time and learning new things together.
Teaching your children to cook can teach them invaluable skills, and encourage them to become interested in food. Why not invite a group of friends over and get them to prepare their own meal (younger children will need some supervision). Children are more likely to eat and be enthusiastic about something they have helped to make.

If you are not confident with letting your child help in the kitchen, you can start with the easy fun foods that your child loves. Like chicken nuggets and chips – you can make chicken nuggets by marinating some chicken and coating it in breadcrumbs then cook it in the oven or burgers using good-quality lean mince. And how about making ice lollies or ice fruit cubes from fresh fruit and pure fruit juice? There are lots of ways to get your fussy eater interested in food..

Remember: you’re not alone. Keep trying, and don’t easily give up!

No added sugar Ice fruit cubes

Ingredients:  1 apple, 1 carrot, 1/4 cucumber and 1/2 beetroot.

Juice together and pour into ice cube mould and freeze for about 2 hours.

If you don’t have a juicer you can blend them together.

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Homemade chicken nuggets

Ingredients: Fresh chicken breast, breadcrumbs, died mixed herbs, salt and pepper.

Method: Cut chicken breast into small pieces.

Marinade with herds, salt and pepper

dust with breadcrumbs and cook in a pre heated oven for about 15 minutes.