On Starting Kindy

Wow. The big day has arrived. The day my little one attends his first day at kindergarten. He’s been excited for a while now about the prospect of kindergarten. I’ve approached it with a mixture of trepidation and anxiety, maybe a little bit of excitement.

I’ve never put him into care before, and I’m still a little ambivalent about my schooling options. Homeschooling and unschooling both appeal to me, and yet I remember how much I loved conventional school as a child.

But my little one ran into the centre with glee and got straight into the thick of things. He was eager to try anything and everything that was in his line of sight, and my heart broke a little at the realisation that my little one is not so little anymore. Gosh, I just love him. Even as I write this, I miss him. His little face, his little voice. I’m left wondering how long will I get to enjoy this little person? The one who lovingly calls me mummy, and strokes my face and looks at me with such love? I hope he always looks at me that way.

I even miss his little quirks that often irk me. His constant demands, the steady stream of questions and all the obvious statements.

Is it possible to love someone so much that you think you’d die without them? That if they weren’t in the world, you wouldn’t want to be here either? I never used to think so. Until I met my son.

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C.A.D.A (Coconut, Almonds, Dates and Apple)

Another tasty food first tasted at my mum’s house! I like to eat C.A.D.A as a yummy, healthy breakfast dish. It would also make a great morning or afternoon tea, or even dessert.

You can add other ingredients to change the flavour of your C.A.D.A, but I think it’s pretty great as is. This particular recipe is adapted from a Thermomix recipe, which you can find here.

You Will Need:

Coconut (2 tablespoons of dessicated or shredded)
Almonds (I used a handful of activated almonds)
Pitted Dates (about a handful if they’re dried and about 3 if fresh).
Apple (today I used half a peeled and cored apple)
A Blender or Food Processor or Thermomix

-Combine all ingredients in the blender.

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-Pulse to blend and chop ingredients. I like my C.A.D.A to be a little chunky. You may need to push ingredients back down the side with a spoon. Make sure you do this when the blender’s blades have stopped moving!!
-Once the C.A.D.A has reached your desired consistency, scoop out blender and into a bowl and enjoy!

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-I like to eat my C.A.D.A combined with my homemade yoghurt. It’s delish!

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Note: Be careful using dates that have been pitted before purchase, as sometimes pits can slip through. They’re very hard and can damage teeth if bitten down on hard enough. So check your dates before they go into the blender!

Gardening Goddess, I am not.

So it seems I wasn’t born with a green thumb. Gardening does not appear to be a gift I was blessed with.

A couple of months ago I was extremely excited to begin re-vamping my veggie patch.

Well I cleared it, turned the soil, cleared it again. And then it became overgrown again.

I keep missing my opportunity to plant. Now it’s winter. And my veggie patch is overrun again.

But I am not ready to give up! I still dream of having my own veggie patch. I still have seeds to plant.

So after this rain comes and goes, I’ll begin clearing it again. I might put some plastic over it, once it’s cleared, and then turn the soil. I’ll plant in the spring.

I am a COMPLETE newbie at this gardening gig. If anyone has some tips, feel free to share them! I would be ever so grateful!

Checking out earthworms in our “Jungle Patch”

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Body Love After a Baby

It’s taken me almost 3 years since I had my son to feel truly sexy again.

There have been times when I felt beautiful or pretty. But I haven’t felt sexy. I haven’t felt like my body belonged to me until a few weeks ago.

I hated the way my body looked after I gave birth. I thought my stretch marks were disgusting. I hated the way my skin on my stomach and back had been stretched. I deplored my chubbier frame. My thighs made me ill and I couldn’t look at my arms in photographs.

So many people told me I was still beautiful and I wasn’t fat at all. But I knew I was different. I knew I’d never be the same as I once was. I’d cry every time I’d open my wardrobe and see all my beautiful, tiny clothes. I’d feel sick when I looked in the mirror.

It may seem superficial to some. But I was so depressed about the change I saw in my body. I didn’t feel curvier. I didn’t feel more womanly. I felt fat. I felt frumpy. I felt ugly. It was so hard for me to give up my uni dreams and my life plans due to my unexpected pregnancy, I felt so punished that my body had been taken away too.

I had always been very slim my entire life. Having been complimented so often on my figure (which was maintained without much effort at all I must admit), I took it for granted. I never realised how lucky I was.

A massive turning point for me was undertaking the Paladin SC 12 Week Health & Fitness Challenge last year (see my blog post about my results here). It made me approach exercise differently. And I started to feel like myself more and more.

I now feel like me again!

I am almost back into my teeny tiny shorts (they won’t be coming off, so prepare yourself), and my beautiful dresses. I no longer have braces (just an annoying retainer haha). And now I feel beautiful. I don’t feel like I used to. I feel better. I have gratitude and respect for my body now. And now I feel that “I am woman, hear me roar.”

So no. I won’t stop posting about my guns and buns on Facebook. And yes, I will keep checking in at Yoga. Because I know that there are other mums out there who have felt the post baby body dismay. And I want them to know that they’re not alone.

Guns N’ Buns Baby!
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No braces!
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Domestic Violence

A massive topic.

No one wants to be the first to talk about it publicly. Nobody wants to say “I have been there.”

The fear, the discomfort and the shame are all difficult subjects to broach. I don’t even want to mention my ex by name, still. I don’t doubt for a second that he will be upset if he ever reads this. I don’t even think he believes that he is an abusive partner.

But all actions have consequences and reactions. These are my experiences too. I will share them because they happened to me. I know many women have experienced so much more than I have. But I also know it’s so much harder for them to talk or even think about.

This is my story of my ex.

I swore I’d never have an abusive partner. After seeing such relationships in my family (and that’s a whole other topic), it was the LAST thing I wanted for myself. But before I knew it, I had one. And I honestly could not see how I had found myself in that situation.

I know many people ask: why do women put up with an abusive partner? Well… to tell you truth, it’s not like the men start out that way.

Mine was wonderful. He was shy and cute and he thought I was the world. He made me feel so beautiful. So desired. Like he couldn’t live without me. He’d buy me flowers, call and text me constantly. He’d say I was beautiful, sexy, gorgeous. I’d never felt so loved in my life. I’d never been treated so well. Never had I been so cherished.

In hindsight, maybe there were some warning signs. He’d get insecure, jealous and very attached, I just thought it was evidence that he loved me.

Looking back, I can’t even pinpoint when I started to notice that things were terribly wrong. A warning bell started going off when his ex wouldn’t stop calling him. He was evasive about that. Another when he kept acting irrationally.

He’d leave me for a few weeks and then beg me to take him back. He’d tell his friends differing things about me. That I was: “just a friend”, “my girlfriend Karlla”, “this is my girl.” While to me he’d say that he wanted to have babies, stay together forever, live on his property. It was confusing and scary and a little offensive.

The scariest morning for me was the morning he broke down. I had never seen a grown man this way. I had never before in my entire life seen a man so broken, so lost, so out of control. It remains to this day one of my worst memories in my life. Me holding his face while he sobbed into my lap, gripping my arms til I had bruises, saying: “Please don’t leave me alone Karlla, I think I will kill myself.”

When I finally gathered enough courage to ask what was wrong (a pretty inadequate way to to try and help, but what else could I say?) he told me he was severely addicted to several substances and he was trying to stop. This was shocking to me, but really, I should have guessed. I knew he had an addiction to marijuana but the rest? I must admit I was completely ignorant.

When I asked: “What do you mean everything?”. He listed drug after drug (some I’d never even heard of before). “Everything Karlla. Except Heroin. I haven’t done that. I won’t do that.”

What could I do? Leave, you might say. But (even though I’d never spoken it aloud, never acknowledged it to him) I loved this man. So much. How could I leave when he needed me so much? So obviously? So I stayed. Even though he’d already left me three times by this point in our relationship. Even though I knew I would probably regret it, I stayed. He kept saying I deserved better, and maybe he was right. But the truth was, I didn’t want better. I just wanted him.

So I stayed. I put up with his fear of being alone. His suicidal phone calls. His erratic mood swings. His jealousy. His gratitude. His love. I even travelled on a hour’s notice almost 2000kms in a car with him. I had 3 pairs of clothes. 3 pairs of underwear and one pair of shoes. I had a toothbrush, a hairbrush and a razor.

I lived on impulse with him. Relied on strangers (his friends, and later mine) for kindness and somewhere to stay. I had never lived like this before in my entire life. I felt like I was someone else. I failed 2 of my uni courses because he made it impossible for me to study, to sleep. There were nights when he couldnt get to sleep, so he would sit up in bed and shake me awake too. This was massive for me. I had never failed before at anything academic in my life. I was sick at the thought of that failure, and I began to see that his problems were now mine too.

While I made new friends, I think those weeks I spent with him, so far from home, were the worst of my life. He was far moodier. I was completely isolated from my friends and family. He even threatened to leave me in the middle of nowhere with no way to get anywhere. (I can’t drive). He screamed at me in the middle of the city. He forcibly thrust me into a car with people looking on. He yelled at me in a bar because I had a conversation with another 20 year old man. He screamed at me in a Caravan Park. He glared at me for 3 hours during a party. He shook me and slammed me into a wall. He stood over me and screamed at me. He continually grabbed my arm that had been badly burnt (in a separate unrelated incident). He smoked marijuana with his friends in a small enclosed room while I was asleep in it. Thought it was hilarious when I woke up high. He bruised my arm by holding me too tight. I had to endure awkward questions from his friends about how he treated me. He left me as the only sober person at a pub hotel, while he and his friends got high, took ecstasy, ate hash cookies, smoked pot and snorted coke. A man came to my room that night and banged on my door, I thought that he would hurt me. I was so scared.

Why the hell didn’t I get out of there ASAP? Well he also: apologised profusely, cooked me dinner, bought me gifts, loved me, kissed me, made love to me, took me on dinner dates, left me love notes, drew me romantic baths, made me laugh more than I have in my life, told me I was beautiful, told everyone proudly that I was his good girl, stood up for me, and told me he couldn’t live without me.

I lived with the hope every day that I’d wake up and it would be a good day. I wished and hoped that he’d finally stop having mood swings. And I loved him through it all.

The sad thing is, even though I left, even though I flew away on a plane, I wouldn’t have if he hadn’t physically picked me up, shook me, threatened to choke me, or threatened to put an axe into my head. I probably still wouldn’t have left after he said those things, if he hadn’t driven me to the airport in tears himself. I wouldn’t have gotten on the plane if he hadn’t thrust my suitcase at me, tears rolling down his face saying “stay away from me Karlla. I’m no good for you. I will never be good enough for you. Find some bloke who deserves you, coz I sure don’t”.

I would have even taken him back a month later after he apologized, if he hadn’t decided to give up on me and get himself a new girlfriend.

And that’s why I am ashamed. Not because I loved him. I will always love him. (Just a little). I’m ashamed because I loved him so much that I would have let myself be so mistreated over and over again.

When it all came down to it, I stayed because I loved him.

I wasn’t scared to be alone. I wasn’t scared to leave him. It wasn’t that I lacked self-esteem. It wasn’t that I didn’t think I could do better.

I stayed because I loved him.

And I tell you what, that’s what hurt the most. Because he broke up with me in the end. I thought I was not good enough for HIM. And that made me near suicidal. I wasn’t heart-broken. I was heart-smashed. I felt as though a had a gaping hole where my heart had been. I have never been so depressed in my life. I didn’t eat. I was underweight. I weighed 51kgs and I am 168cms tall. My hair was brittle. I was so frayed and strung out and stressed out that I felt my brain was fried. I couldn’t concentrate at uni, I would burst into tears in public all the time, and I think I called my mum every single day for nearly 3 months. I went to Counselling and nothing really felt like it was helping. I really didn’t want to be here anymore. I could not stand myself.

While this was my most shameful, painful break-up, this was the fourth time I had been dumped, and I was seriously convinced that I wasn’t good enough for anyone.

About 6 months had passed since the plane trip home and I was still unhealthy and depressed. And he called me. He wanted me to talk to him, he was coming back. He wouldn’t stop texting and calling. I’d gotten a few abusive calls about a month after we’d broken up, but this was different.

I freaked out. I moved. I got away. He still called for a while.

Hell he’s called me just a few months ago.

And still I care.

And you might all think I’m stupid for being with him. Some of you may even think that it was nothing, that the way he treated me wasn’t abusive. You’ve heard worse. Been through worse. Seen worse. But it was abusive. Having gone through it, I can say, I will never let anyone treat me like that again. But I had to go through it to realize that.

The point of this post was to give you some insight on how women find themselves in these situations. On why they stay. If you think you know someone who is in an abusive relationship, be there for them. Let them know that it’s not ok. Let them know that they’re not alone. Tell them how much you love them.

If I didn’t have my family and friends around me, I don’t think I would have gotten through my depression.

I wasn’t just depressed about my break up. I was depressed because I felt that I had failed. I was depressed because I knew my ex was back on hard drugs. I was depressed because I felt I had wasted a large chunk of my young life.

I now know it wasn’t wasted. It wasn’t pointless. It was invaluable. I now know how I should be treated. I now know what I don’t want. I know deep down in my stomach that if it hurts, then it’s not true love.

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Natural Products I Love

I decided to share the love by letting you all know what natural products I love and why.

I wanted my household to become chemical-free when I had my son. It was easy for me to get rid of the nasty chemical-laden household cleaners. But I found it so hard to make the transition into natural body care products. The shampoo and conditioners made my hair too oily or too brittle, the washes left my skin oily and the deodorants didn’t work. But I have found some that do, and I am so happy! Not only do they work, but I feel so much fresher, so healthy.

Biologika Coconut Shampoo and Conditioner
This was the first natural shampoo and conditioner I tried that did not leave my hair oily! I love this stuff. It smells divine. I usually have to wash my hair twice with the shampoo, to get the froth that is so characteristic of mainstream shampoos full of nasties. I sometimes didn’t even use the conditioner at all, as the shampoo left my hair beautiful. But I like the conditioner too, especially if I needed to straighten or style my hair afterward. I purchased mine online at: http://www.botanikka.com.au/

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MooGoo Milk Shampoo and Cream Conditioner
I ran out of my coconut shampoo recently. I really needed to wash my hair for work, and as I order the Biologika online, that wasn’t an option, I didn’t have a few days to wait. So I visited my local Go Vita. I have loved the other MooGoo products I have tried (read my post about it here), and I thought I’d give their shampoo and conditioner a try. The shampoo froths up first wash and gets your hair so squeaky clean it actually feels a little brittle. I was a teeny bit worried for my thin curly hair, but shouldn’t have bothered. The conditioner is AMAZING. Omg. Never has a natural conditioner felt like this. So smooth, gets the tangles out easily and without any fuss. And it does wonders for my curls. It has minimised frizz for me and my curls have so much bounce, without sticking out all over the place. Give it a go! You can purchase it online at: http://www.moogoo.com.au/

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Hurraw! Lip Balm
This is my FAVOURITE natural lip balm. I thought my MooGoo balm was awesome. But I cannot live without my tinted, black cherry flavoured, all natural Hurraw! Lip Balm. It’s amazing. It glides on, keeps your lips feeling lush, gives them a bit of colour and I have not had a problem with it melting and reforming with chunks or ruining the wind up mechanism. It comes in a variety of flavours. I have tried: coconut, vanilla bean, tinted cinnamon, chai spice and chocolate. I like them all, but I LOVE my black cherry.
I have purchased mine from: http://www.botanikka.com.au/ and http://www.iherb.com/

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Kale Chips

You will need:
3 to 4 Cloves of Garlic
A bunch of Kale
Coconut oil
Himalayan salt
Baking paper
A large flat tray
A pair of scissors

You might be wondering, what is kale? Kale is a form of cabbage (Brassica oleracea Acephala Group), and can have green or purple leaves. It is extremely good for you. A couple of years ago my sister had to complete an assignment for her Nutritional Medicine degree, and she had to use Kale as her main ingredient. We didn’t even know what kale was. We’d never heard of it before then.

Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, and rich in calcium. Kale contains sulforaphane (particularly when chopped or minced), a chemical with potent anti-cancer properties. Kale is also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells. Kale has been found to contain a group of resins known as bile acid sequestrants, which have been shown to lower cholesterol and decrease absorption of dietary fat.

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-Preheat the oven to 180°
-Line baking tray with the baking paper.
-Finally dice the garlic until it is quite small.
-Give the kale a good rinse and shake, then cut the leaves away from the stem using the scissors.

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-Use the scissors to cut the leaves into chip-sized pieces.
-Place in a large bowl as if you’re going to make a tossed salad.
-Pour coconut oil onto the kale, add the garlic, crack some salt and toss with your hands until the leaves are covered with oil, garlic and salt.

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-Place the leaves onto the tray, making sure they do not overlap.

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-Place tray in the oven until the leaves turn from green to a crispy brown.

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-Remove from oven and enjoy!

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NOTE: These can be “spiced up” in a number of different ways. Try seasoning with turmeric or paprika.

References
-Yuesheng Zhang & Eileen C. Callaway (May 2002). “High cellular accumulation of sulphoraphane, a dietary anticarcinogen, is followed by rapid transporter-mediated export as a glutathione conjugate”. The Biochemical journal 364 (Pt 1): 301–307. PMC 1222573. PMID 11988104.

-”Broccoli chemical’s cancer check”. BBC News. 7 February 2006. Retrieved 5 September 2010

-Talwinder Singh Kahlon, Mei-Chen M. Chiu, Mary H. Chapman (2008). “Steam cooking significantly improves in vitro bile acid binding of collard greens, kale, mustard greens, broccoli, green bell pepper, and cabbage”. Nutrition Research 28: 351–357.