As one of South Africa’s most recognised and trusted brands, Jungle Oats has proven they are the energy champion, maintaining their prominent position in consumer awareness for almost a century and last week I was privileged to attend a breakfast hosted by Jungle Oats at the Capsicum Culinary School in Woodstock. It was a really amazing culinary experience, as we did not only get to taste the amazing Jungle oats creations but also got the opportunity to watch it being made by Expresso Chef, Zola Nene while listening to some great nutritional advice from Professional Nutritionist Joanna Wilson.
Isn’t Isaac just adorable? This little man hails all the way from New Zealand – he also just celebrated his first birthday last month. I met Isaac’s mom Melissa about 8 years ago through work but not too long after that her family decided to move to New Zealand. This is one of the reasons why I love Facebook and other social media…. it helps us keep in touch with people who are not so close by and yet it feels as if you haven’t missed out that much! I chatted to Melissa recently and picked her brain about how she has coped the past year. This is what she had to say.
- What would you say has been the most challenging part of the past year for you?
The biggest challenge for me was trying to juggle both work and being the best mum I could be. Isaac caught every bug out there so was sick quite a bit which meant my time at work was both limited and precious. I was lucky enough to be able to breastfeed him everyday during my lunch break which for the first few months was awesome however when Isaac was about 9 months old he started suffering extreme separation anxiety. I was at a crossroads and had to figure how to deal with him being so unsettled without me. About 6 weeks before he turned one I decided to drop the lunch time feed and left work early instead. It worked! He is now much more settled and independent.
- What has been the most rewarding part of this past year for you?
The most rewarding part of Isaacs first year was being able to breastfeed him, and it didn’t come without a few hiccups. Unlike with my first son my milk took some time to come in and my supply was initially quite low. However once things improved the bond we shared was so amazing. We live in New Plymouth New Zealand which is a small seaside town of about 75,000 and that meant we live, work and school close-by. This meant I could breastfeed Isaac everyday during my lunch break too.
- How do you juggle working while being a Mommy?
Sleep deprivation has been the hardest on me as a working mum as Isaac was not a very good sleeper at night due to being a very windy baby. Also, still having to cook and clean (without much family support as they live elsewhere) has made working full time extremely taxing! Here in New Zealand domestic workers and nannies are not affordable for the middle-class either. In order to cope I ensured I took a good multi-vitaman and vitamin B complex each morning and then a magnesium vitamin before bed at night which ensures I fall back to a sound sleep once woken by Isaac. Also, taking time out on weekends to just chill out helps heaps. 4. Issac is your second born – how did things differ this time around with Isaac and how different is it to be a Mom of 2 kids?
This time round I was so much more prepared for motherhood! I was blessed enough to follow my birth plan and give birth naturally without pain meds…I just so much wanted that experience as a women. I was also able to form a bond quicker with Isaac as my recovery was quick and I knew what having a newborn entailed. Having two children is very busy and I now understand how mums of two or three complain of not having any time to themselves. There are more spills and less cleaning and the demands have doubled.
5. Have you done anything special to record baby’s milestones (sitting up, crawling, first tooth etc) throughout this year? I was given a book from my sister Michele which records all milestones and has been very helpful in keeping track of all the little things one can so easily forget. It has prompts for pics and milestones and now contains a pic of Isaacs first smile, hand and foot prints and much more.
6. Is there anything new that you’ve learnt about yourself since you’ve become a parent? Like so many parents I have learnt how it feels to love unconditionally! With each child I have been blessed with, I become more of a women and more secure in my identity as I discover more about how to love others.
7. Your baby is now officially a toddler! Are you ready for what this new chapter has to bring – walking, running, talking and the good old tantrums 🙂 ?
The toddler years are the cutest but the hardest for sure! I do feel more equipped this time round however and I am more confident that I will be able to strong boundaries for Isaac. 8. Tell me about your little ones first birthday party… how much planning went to it? Did you have help or did you do it all on your own? Did you have a theme?
I started planning Isaacs birthday party about 6 weeks out…just started thinking about it really. I usually plan the birthday parties on my own – its much easier that way. I thought about a theme and decided on the party being sailor influenced. I then sent out a save the date to our friends and family here in New Plymouth. Two days prior I took off work to prepare as I do all my own baking for the boys parties. We were so lucky that even the weather played its part and we had a awesome time celebrating this special milestone in Isaacs life.
I kid you not…. Alyssa has had a birthday party to attend every Saturday since the beginning of October – with this past Saturday being the first to have a break. Well not for long as next Saturday there is another one to attend. She also has a swim lesson every Saturday morning which means there is no time for Mom to do much else.
I’ve decided to add Birthday gifts as an official expense on our monthly budget now! I’m not complaining though… Alyssa has enjoyed herself sooooo much at these parties and I can attest that at party number 1 she was a tad bit intimidated by a jumping castle but 6 weeks later she is quite the veteran!
I must also add that all of these parties are BOYS parties … Robots, Spiderman, Lego, Barney and Cars themed parties!
I now need to start thinking about what to do for Alyssa’s birthday party which is coming up in February. After all these parties she keeps on asking me when is it her birthday party lol. I think I will start looking for ideas now and hopefully have everything planned in time. I have to keep the following in mind though:
- 6 out of the 7 parties she’s recently attended are school mates – at these parties it seems that Alyssa’s WHOLE class was invited (about 12-15 kids). Am I now obligated to invite the entire class too? We have a lot of friends with kids and Alyssa has cousins too…. so we will end up with about 30 kids in total if we go that route!
- Is it necessary to invite our Adult family members to her party? They’ve been to Alyssa’s first and second birthday party’s but is it really necessary to invite them to the party or is it ok to just invite them for tea on the evening of her actual birthday which is a week night.
- Budget wise… I must also remember that 6 weeks after Alyssa turns 3, Aidan will be turning 1 so another soiree’ will need to take place. I can’t NOT have a party for Aidan as we had such a big doo for Alyssa’s first.
- What theme do we go with? One day Frozen is the best thing ever, then it’s Minnie Mouse but then 5 minutes later it’s Sophia! (I would much rather prefer Hello Kitty … so I will try to persuade her to follow suit)
- I need to find a venue…. As much as I want to host the party at home, from a cleaning perspective I prefer to have it elsewhere as after the party there’s not much cleaning and packing away! We can just go home and relax, just like we did last year after her party at Giraffe House.
Looks like I will be spending my December holiday doing a lot of planning and preparation….
What are your thoughts? Any ideas or tips? I would love to hear!
Who doesn’t love a good braai? Chicken, chops and sausage on the fire will never be boring however the usual potato and coleslaw salads that usually go along with it does… and the loads of mayo mixed in them is not great for anyone watching their figure!
If you share my sentiment and would like to try something different, with half the amount of calories, here’s an old “weigh-less approved” recipe which I love making. The leftovers also serve as a great lunch – just add a few strips of chicken to it.
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 20 mins
280g cooked fusilli or shell pasta
2 carrots, julienned
2 green/yellow pepper, sliced
200g button mushrooms, sliced
250g canned butter beans
200g green beans, broken in half
20ml (1.5 tsp) low fat margarine
2 tablespoons basil pesto
2 tablespoons lite mayo
Heat the margarine in a non-stick saucepan, add the mushrooms, green beans and saute for 10 minutes. Place the pasta and remaining ingredients except basil pesto and mayo in a bowl. Add the basil pesto and mayo to combine. Season with salt and pepper.