Hi I'm Jennifer! Stay-at-home-mum, 'farmer's' wife, and I guess now a blogger. I am navigating my way through motherhood and life on a small farm in rural New Zealand, learning everyday and loving it. Nothing beats gumboots in the mud and a lot of love!
What do you do in your 3 minutes of downtime? Sure you’re probably thinking what is this woman on about…3 minutes of downtime…she’s a stay-at-home mum she has heaps of downtime. Ya right! I wish.
Between taking care of my beautiful baby girl, housework, cooking, car seat rentals, event managing the Central Otago A&P show, and managing our small farm, I get about 3 minutes of downtime, that are just for me. And in this time I am usually trying to gulp back a latte, peruse facebook, pinterest,twitter and instagram at the same time, or I am working on my photos, editing and playing with my camera. It’s my time. I can do with what I want and I enjoy it. Although it may be short, it’s re-boosting and invigorating and I need it.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining here. I love being a stay-at-home mum and love managing the farm and all of the other jobs I have taken on. It’s busy but that’s how I like it. But it does mean I just need these few minutes of me time a day to enjoy everything I do just a little bit more. And in today’s 3 minutes I wrote this blog, and the baby is up again so here we go. 🙂
As a mother of a newborn or young infant there is a lot we are going through, from sleepless nights, to dirty nappies, to figuring out feeding cues and just generally trying to keep our baby happy. Do not add fuel to the fire by asking these three seemingly harmless questions.
1) Is he/she a good baby? In short, of course she’s a good baby! She’s my baby and I love her to bits. She could be screaming like a banshee and in my eyes she’s still a good baby. What would you do if I said no, she’s a little shit and is very naughty? It would shock you and disgust you. Although, I probably should next time though as it would end the conversation and I would not be asked the following two questions.
2) Is he/she a good sleeper NO! Of course not! She’s a baby!!!! But if you say no then they have advice for you on how to get your baby to sleep, mostly ‘oh you should just let her cry’ (WTF this is not the 1960s we know so much better now). I have said yes before too, and then was told ‘oh if shes a good sleeper now, she won’t be when she’s older’. Thanks for that, I needed to hear that tidbit of information from you, older pompus male!
Babies are not meant to sleep – they are actually programmed to wake up frequently to protect them from falling in a deep sleep and reducing their risk of SIDS. They need us to come check on them during the night to make sure they are not too hot or too cold, or blankets aren’t over their head and generally just comfort them and perhaps feed them. This misconception that babies need to sleep through the night needs to change. Sleeping through the night for a baby is 5.5 hrs. I consider it a blessing that my daughter still gets up, as I know she is safe and I can comfort her gently back to sleep. Sure we have some rough nights where the waking is all to frequent but there is usually something else going on at that point like illness or teething. So STOP asking if my baby is a good sleeper! You have probably been there yourself and know very well they are not.
3) Are you feeding him/her? Yes of course I am! Does she look like she’s starving? Now if you mean breastfeeding or bottle feeding you have just entered a whole different ball game and your judgey eyes can take a step back before my lack of sleep blurs my judgement and I throw a punch your way. Bottlefed or breastfed, FED is ALWAYS BEST! If I say yes I am still breastfeeding, I would sometimes get rounds of applause or a pat on the back, or the look of isn’t it time you weaned her. If a mum said she was formula feeding then the looks would come out and judgey eyes would appear and be like why you not breastfeeding? It is a no win situation for anyone! There is no taboo against breastfeeding just as there is no taboo against bottlefeeding. STOP judging these amazing mothers and start supporting them!
So in order to keep the peace and leave a new mothers sanity intact! PLEASE stop asking these degrading questions, that only really make her question her own parenting skills and what she knows is best for her child. After all it is her baby, not yours, so really its none of your business. So unless you are going to tell her what a fantastic job she is doing and that her baby is the cutest darn thing you have ever seen in the whole entire world, and here let me buys those nappies for you (disposable or cloth) (sidenote: True story a lady did buy nappies for me at the grocery store, amazing act of kindness) KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT and let the mummy be.
So I was lucky enough to try the Breastfeeding Cookies from Franny at Breastmates last week (just in time for World Breastfeeding Week) and let me tell you they are delicious and work wonders! I have always been a milk and cookies kind of girl so was very excited to give these a try.
Super easy to make, only adding butter and an egg! I like simple these days and you can’t get much easier than that. The pre-made booster mix has everything else you need in it for making the biscuits and boosting the breastfeeding mums milk supply. Not to say that anyone else can’t have them, but you just might not want to share.
I did add cranberries as an extra, as suggested on the pack, just to keep things interesting. But feel free to add your favourite little extra to the biscuits to make them your own. I have seen a number of posts of mums adding all sorts of fun things like coconut, dates, M&M’s and chocolate chips.
The pack says it makes 20 – I got 25 out of it! Score! I am guessing this is due to adding the cranberries and the size you make our biscuits. Again let me reiterate: “super easy to make and takes no time at all”. I baked them whilst making tea and playing with bubs. Using a mixer would speed the process up a little, but I did it the fashioned way and still managed to mix it quite easily. The whole baking process took less than 25minutes.
Even the dough was delicious (although if pregnant I would not suggest eating it as it does contain raw egg -but I had to lick my fingers clean after rolling the biscuits out). They are a bit crumbly, but it doesn’t make a difference in the baking just roll into little balls and squish down no problem. But as the packet says do have your butter at room temperature (and I might add your egg too if you keep them in the fridge) to ensure a nice smooth base to start with.
After 15 minutes in the oven -done! And time to get into these delicious cookies. I was a bit over zealous to give them a try and may have burnt my tongue a little, but it was so worth it. They are delicious! The problem is limiting myself to only two or three a day. These breastfeeding cookies are great with a glass of milk, which is exactly how I like to eat my cookies anyways.
And in terms of my milk supply – they work! (Almost immediately. I noticed a difference on the first day) A delicious treat and something that helps lactating mummies – you can’t go wrong really. I pump almost twice as much now and still am able to feed my little one. Great for increasing my freezer stash for future use. If you’re a breastfeeding mum or know of a breastfeeding mummy, I highly recommend giving these biscuits a try. Even if your supply isn’t low, mine was good before and I still noticed a difference. Thanks for this Franny! A fantastic job on these!
Franny at Breastmates has the breastfeeding mummy covered! From easy wearing practical and stylish nursing wear, everything for your pumping and storage needs, to almost everything baby, she has it figured out for you. I highly recommend you check out her website and see what she is all about. Two big thumbs up from this mummy and I have been recommending you to all of my friends for all their nursing needs!
Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this post, I was provided with a free booster mix to try and asked to review. Results may not be the same for you. I have bought other products, including clothing, myself from Breastmates and speak from personal experience.
As I lay awake in bed last night, after tending to bubs at 2am, I thought it was time to change the name of my blog. ‘Country Crossings’ makes sense to me but not necessarily everyone else. So I have decided to entitle my blog ‘Gumboots & Love’, because really that’s what we are all about here.
I’m a stay-at-home-mum, helping to run our small farm in rural New Zealand. Our gumboots are always muddy and blocking the front door, and before I know it there will be more little gumboots everywhere. And we get by on a whole lot of love. It only really seems fitting to describe my writing in this manner.
I’m finding my writing is changing or at least my train of thought is, and I find it very telling to what stage of life you are in, with what you are writing about. Our interests and focus changes with time, and when we follow and nurture those interests that is when we grow as individuals, and for me as a mother. Life is constantly changing and we will never follow one path, but rather take many diversions and sometimes shortcuts along the way. I’m loving where I am right now and know that who I am today and what I am doing is shaping who my daughter (and myself) will become tomorrow.
So a bit of a rant today. This has sat on my conscience for a couple of days now and I have to get it off my chest. On Thursday I was out with my mummy friends. We do an exercise class and then out for coffees/lunch at the local cafe. It’s great we have a fantastic time and its good fun to catch up and swap baby stories, ask questions and just be with other adults and out of the house. I look forward to Thursdays every week! We are a diverse group of mums, ranging in age, culture, breastfeeding, bottlefeeding, etc etc. And the best part about it – is there is no mummy shaming in our group. We support each other in our choices and help out each other when we can always providing a listening ear and perhaps advice if needed.
So as a breastfeeding mummy, I don’t feel ‘ashamed’ per se to feed my beautiful bubs when she needs. I am quite happy to feed her in the cafe and continue having my coffee and enjoying the conversation. And I am not the only one. I have never felt shamed or awkward about feeding my baby in public. I’m discreet about it, I will say that, not flashing everyone in sight. But to me it’s natural and let’s be honest you see more of my breasts when I wear a bikini. So let’s not get all freaked out about it, ok. Great now moving on to my ‘rant’ I guess. A new mum joined our group this week. Fantastic! Love new friends and bubs joining us. But we got on the conversation of breastfeeding or bottlefeeding and I had asked what she does, a breastfeeding mama as well. But the next comment out of her mouth struck me “but I won’t feed in public!”. Ok fine, to each their own, it’s her choice, but her reasoning. Because she is afraid of what someone might say to her. That got me. I felt hurt for her. She is so afraid at one someone else might think or say that she won’t do it. Since when is breastfeeding anyone’s business but mummy and baby’s? Since when does someone else have the right to comment on what a mother is doing for her child? Again it’s natural, she is nourishing her baby and giving her the best start she can in life. There is no way she should have ever been or be made to feel ashamed about how she feeds her child.And the best part about it -is we have a right to breastfeed. That’s right it is against the law to discriminate against a woman for breastfeeding and she is allowed to do so when and where she likes. Don’t believe me check out this link “The Right to Breastfeed”.
We need to normalize breastfeeding! And fast! This crazy world that we live that thinks that women should not be using what their beautiful bodies have in order to nourish their children is absurd. Fifty years ago this would never have been an issue. This is just the way that babies were fed and there was no shame in it. Formula was not around and there was not a push for mothers to stop breastfeeding and switch to formula. Why we think formula is better than 3 million years of evolution is beyond me. I will not hide away in a bathroom to feed my child because you are uncomfortable. If you don’t like it – don’t look. Again I am not flaunting it in your face so this should not be an issue. I feel where we live is quite progressive and I have not run in to a single issue breastfeeding in public here, and it makes me wonder what this mother’s previous experiences have been. It makes me a bit sad, that she has felt she had to consciously make this decision. And then that got me to thinking again…haha never a good thing. What would I say or do if someone actually said anything to me? Well let me tell you, I have an argument that would tear a strip up and down someone so fast they will wish they would have just kept their mouth shut! Backed up with facts and a lack of sleep you will wish you never crossed this mama bear. I will save you the brunt of it my lovely readers, but I pity the fool who dare to comment.
That being said I am travelling home to Canada in the next month and wonder if my experiences will be the same there or if I will run in to more negativity about breastfeeding and especially in public. At least I know that I have every right to feed my baby and no one can tell me to leave or actually pass judgement. “The Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code) is a law that provides for equal rights and opportunities and recognizes the dignity and worth of every person in Ontario. The Code makes it against the law to discriminate against someone or to harass them because of sex, including pregnancy and breastfeeding”. So again I should have nothing to worry about.
Sorry about the rant, just needed to get it off my chest.
Lots of love to all you breastfeeding mamas and supporters! xx
I love warm mild winter days. That’s right it’s mid-July and we are sitting at a balmy 17 degrees down here on the South Island! We are supposed to be in to our coldest time of year and for the past two days I have been able to turn the fire off and get out and enjoy the sunshine.
The washing is hanging out -for the second day in a row and has dried completely. The fire is off and windows are open airing out the house. It could not have come at a better time actually with our bout of sickness and germy little bugs everywhere. A good air out is exactly what this house needs. And in term of the farm this weather is fantastic! We had a little bit of rain earlier this week an now these warm temperatures the grass will be loving it and so will our stock. It’s not so hard on them and they aren’t burning calories to stay warm, rather bulking up how we want them too. Our paddocks are looking green and lovely against the golden sun and I know we will have enough feed to make it through the second half of winter. There is no need to break the ice on the trough these days and your fingers don’t freeze when shifting breaks because of soggy wet gloves. I love these days on the farm and being able to go out without have to spend fifteen minutes getting both me and the bubs dressed to withstand the weather. I know we will soon again be back to freezing temperatures and frosty mornings, but for now I will enjoy the sunshine and get my healthy dose of vitamin D.
As I sit here breathing in the gorgeous fresh Central Otago air, drinking my coffee of course (how else am I supposed to make it through the day?) and lying in the warm winter sun like a cat, I cant help but thin about how lucky we are to live where we do. Even in the midst of what is supposed to be a yucky cold time of year we these days and are surrounded by the beauty of the landscape, one can only sometimes describe has barren and harsh. But this is home. And I cannot think of a better place to call home.
When it rains…it pours and not in the literal sense unfortunately. As farmers we pray for rain, it can be the difference between a good year and bad year. But when it comes to managing my household I prefer calm sunny days please. But this week is proving to be a thunderstorm.
Poor wee bubs is sick. Which is normally fine and we will take it as it comes. But we ended up in hospital this time with bronchiolitis. The poor girl. Mind you, even though she was sick, the doctors were calling her the ‘Happy Wheezer’ as she was still all smiles for them. But if I could trade places with her, I would, in an instant. We have had a rough few nights and I am running on very little sleep. If it’s not her waking up it was the nurses last night coming in to check on her waking me. I’m not complaining we were in the best place for her considering the circumstances. Mind you I will say some of the night shift workers need to pull their shit together. I could have throttled one of them for their bedside manner and unnecessary loud talking which woke up my wee girl. If you don’t know how to use or read the equipment checking her ops please don’t come in here blubbering away to yourself and turning on all of the lights. A completely unnecessary move on her part and rude I might add. When the doctor came in to help he was extremely unimpressed with attitude, which I’m hoping lead to her being read the riot act. On the other hand with my wee girls coughing fits and vomitting I am glad we were in hospital.
We luckily were discharged yesterday and were able to go home. At least I won’t be so bored being stuck in one room under no contact. But we came home to no hot water. You have got to be kidding me. I was dying for a hot shower. Guess that is going to have to wait. The house is a disaster and I’ve got washing pile up higher than my basket can handle. I do wonder what else this week is going to throw our way. But I am hoping we are in for smooth sailing. A wise woman said to me these things are sent to try us and that they are. If you can’t handle a little spilt milk once in a while life is going to get very tough for you. Take it as it comes and know that tomorrow will be better.
And we are actually in for a good rain so we will see what happens, may be an indoor kind of week.
I love weekends. Not because I work and have time off on weekends – as I’m a stay-at-home mummy so my job is never done. But because we have daddy home on the weekends. And it’s also not because he lets me sit and do nothing and takes care of everything – haha -far from it. I end up doing most of the chores on the weekend because someone else is there to watch bubs.
No, I love weekends because at least once we have a lie-in and snuggles in bed with bubs. I love this time and precious moments we have together and the smiles she gives her daddy as if he is the only man in the world (and I hope it stays that way a very long time). And then I’m usually up with bubs for a bit getting her dressed and sorted for the day and just as she is going down for her first nap, daddy gets up and cooks up an amazing breakfast, usually bacon and eggs fresh from the neighbours chooks (cannot wait to get our own soon). I love it. I don’t think he realises how much I do love it. It’s an hour of ‘us’ time and he does all the cooking and makes me a fantastic latte and I get to sit back and enjoy. Sure I still have to do dishes and the washing and the vacuuming and get myself sorted for the day, but at least we have that time with each other. Conversation is good, food is good and the company well it’s the best. It makes me smile and I love that we can enjoy this time together – I know these days are fleeting and soon there will be little rugrats joining us at the table and wanting to eat what daddy has on his plate and not on their own plate. And this will bring a whole new level of joy to our lives.
Until then I’m going to enjoy those weekend breakfasts and time together of just us.
And duty calls, baby is crying and dishes still are not done. Off I go!
Ask me five years ago if I would ever get a dog and my answer would have been ‘hells no!’ Too much work, not enough time, I work full-time, and it would be neglected etc etc. The list would have gone on and on. I also lived in a big busy city and I did not think it fair to have a dog locked up in a house all day only to go for walks on a lead and never have anytime to be free and run around and do doggy things. I would have been a terrible dog mummy.
And then I moved to New Zealand and my life did a 180. I was no longer surrounded by buildings and concrete, rather lived miles from the city and had the wide open air around me. My perspectives changed a little and having a dog only seemed to make sense. Now three years later, we have two dogs and I cannot imagine my life without them.
We got Macy two years ago – before moving to the farm. She’s one very active, excited and lovable Springer Spaniel. To say she is part of the family is an understatement. She has nestled her way into our hearts, home and sometimes even our bed. And my now five month old baby girl is absolutely in love with her already – can’t wait to watch them grow up together.
Then we moved to a small farm in Chatto Creek, and needed a working dog. Macy was just not going to cut it shifting lambs for us – way too fast and way to excited to just chase, not move stock. So we got Ra, a Huntaway mix. He is shy and timid, but can work stock and is very lovable. Loves to get scratches and snuggles and lie on the porch and soak up the sunshine. But he works when he needs to and most of the time he is pretty good at it.
I used to scoff at people who talked about their dogs as being a family member and found it just a bit odd. I admit it. So what made me become a dog person. I’m not quite sure, but I think of at least five reasons.
1) Their unconditional love. No matter what happens or how long you have been gone for or how little time you have been gone for, my dogs are so excited to see me. I mean wag the tail, jump up and down excited to see me. They get happy seeing my car come down the road. And when you’re not feeling the best, they are right there with you trying to cheer you up, snuggling in and wanting cuddles.
2) They understand. I don’t know how they know what’s going on but they do. They can sense emotions and know how to act accordingly. I remember bringing my baby girl home in January and I was unsure about how the dogs would react. I was not in the best way after having her and I got out of the car and let Macy off her kennel. She didn’t jump, bark or try to barrel me over (I had not seen her in almost a week), rather she quietly walked beside me as I hobbled my way over to the car where my partner and bubs were. She sniffed the blanket I had our baby girl wrapped in and that was it. She accepted her into our family immediately. Always wanting to give kisses which we stop, but she loved her right away and knew she had to be gentle.
3) A sense of security. Dogs hear everything – they know when things are off – and they want nothing to happen to you. I just feel a bit safer with my dogs around. Especially on nights when it’s just me and bubs at home. I know if someone is around or coming up the drive because the dogs will let me know.
4) They want to make you happy. Yup their whole goal is to please their owners. They see you as the leader of their pack and they want to make you happy. Always looking for you when out for a walk and listen to your commands in order to please you. Everything they do is for you and possibly for a few treats and cuddles.
5) They work harder than me. I mean this in a good way. They make working life on the farm a lot easier. Macy catches rabbits, Ra rounds up stock and Macy helps their as well. Saves me a whole bunch of running and walking myself. Work smarter not harder, and a good dog will allow you to do that.
So I’ll say it now – ‘I’m a dog person” -yup that’s right – love these little monsters heaps, and cannot imagine my life without a dog now. Sure sometimes its tough when you want to getaway but we have great neighbours who feed and walk them when we are away and my father-in-law loves Macy and would watch her in a heart beat for us. We are lucky that way. And I guess I’m lucky that they found their way into our lives. My little girl is growing up with her best friend already.
So it’s a girls day on the farm. Little Miss A and I are out shifting lambs and feed breaks for the cattle. We got this!
Not three minutes after I finished were our calves into the new grass. Winter feeding is tough on them but they have heaps of feed with turnips and grass we sowed this past Autumn. Happy wee boys they are!