Valentine’s Day Sweet-Hearts.

Well, my attempt at returning to blogging is still a bit weak, so I have written up a new schedule and designated myself a weekly blogging day. That means a few things will be in arrears, but at least I’ll get on with everything.

Sweet Hearts Jam Tarts Easy Recipe

As a little thank-you for returning to read the blog, here is a simple recipe from my pantry, perfect to make for your sweetheart, to give your kids or for them to give their classmates, to jazz up a work space, to make together with your partner or just to eat because you’re a daft romantic who doesn’t care whether or not there’s anyone free to share them with because Valentine’s day is adorable.

Ingredients:

  • 500g strong flour
  • 200g salted butter
  • 5tbsp sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp nutmeg
  • pinch cloves
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 200-300g of any kind of jam (I used homemade damson and homemade raspberry jam from foraged fruits, because I’m a hippie little weirdo with too much time, but, seriously, anything is fine, you could even use chocolate icing instead)

Utensils:

  • mixing bowl
  • rolling pin
  • heart-shaped cookie cutters or a bit of patience and ingenuity
  • teaspoon
  • greased or nonstick baking trays

Recipe:

  1. Mix the flour and spices together.
  2. Add the eggs.
  3. Add the butter. Mix very well.
  4. Add water as you fold until the dough is smooth, elastic and only a touch sticky.
  5. Leave to rest.
  6. Preheat the oven to 160C.
  7. Dust your worktop and rolling pin with flour. Roll out the dough to 1-2cm thick.
  8. Cut some hearts and lay them on the trays.
  9. Use the teaspoon to make a little bowl in each bow of each heart. Just press down a bit for an indent.
  10. Add just enough jam to fill each bowl.
  11. Repeat until all the dough is used.
  12. Put in the oven for around 20min, or until the Sweet Hearts are browned, still a bit tender, but hold firm when you lift them.
  13. Cool.
  14. Eat.

TTFN and Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

10 Things You Can Do For Your Baby Now.

So you’re pregnant. Or you might be. Or you’re TTC and getting way ahead of yourself. And you really want to give your baby the best imaginable start in life. What can you get started on right here and now that will give your baby a better start in life?

Here are ten things I am doing to ensure my baby has the best start I can give it.

1: Eat well.

A good diet for your baby starts well before weaning, before breastfeeding, before even conception.

Your baby’s intra-womb nutrition is very heavily based on digesting the fatty tissue around your hips, upper thighs and buttocks. This is why a low waist to hip ratio and a wide, round bum is appealing to the vastest majority of men: it signals “I have abundant baby food!” Before conception, this fat is very hard for your body to digest short of actually starving yourself. This is why it was so hard to lose your “fat bum” when you hit puberty. Your body wants a fat bum.

So what goes into growing a fat bum, full of healthy baby nutrition, without getting fat everywhere else? Your body shoves a series of types of lipid and nutrient into this fat:

  • omega oils
  • calcium, magnesium, selenium and zinc
  • fat soluble vitamins

Make sure to eat a diet rich in vitamins and minerals, as well as essential fatty acids, to grow wide hips to feed many babies with. Just keep your portions under control to not grow much wider everywhere else!

2: Get husband to eat well.

His diet matters as much of yours, but mostly it matters before conception. After that it’s a bit easier on him.

The average man needs to follow these guidelines to produce numerous, strong, genetically balanced sperm cells:

  • extra zinc, magnesium and selenium
  • more green veggies
  • more protein
  • some alcohol, less frequently
  • fewer sugars

3: Work.

Whether you are an employee, self employed or a housewife, do as much as you can to make and save money as the baby is on its way. You will likely have nowhere near enough time to make or save money once baby is here, and you will probably be hit by the nesting bug and want to buy more things for the baby very soon.

So make a point of making extra money, saving more, and setting a lot to one side, for peace of mind.

4: Stockpile.

Set aside a small corner. Start collecting baby basics, like wash cloths, weaning spoons, bibs, burping cloths, bra and nipple pads, vitamins… anything you will need during pregnancy and the first few months. Whenever you see something at a good price, snap it up and save it. This will save a lot of panicked, expensive last minute shopping.

5: Take notes.

Go and see the doctor.

Join a baby group, online or in person.

Research.

Ask friends and family.

Find out everything you could possibly want to know about making a baby and take note of anything useful, interesting or unusual.

Not only will it help you feel a bit more prepared and avoid big mistakes, but it will bring some comfort, relief and happiness.

6: Stay fit.

Having healthy hip fat is only part of the battle. If you want a strong and healthy baby, you need to be strong and healthy yourself.

Keep your weight down. Don’t diet, but try and not put on too much fat before or during the pregnancy. Some very overweight and obese women can even healthily lose body fat during pregnancy. Remember: the fat your body feeds the baby is almost a completely different pool to the fat you burn when you diet. Baby will be fine.

Stay active. Go for walks, lift weights, play with the dog. Don’t overexert yourself, but it’s absolutely fine to exercise until you’re a bit out of breath or tired. As long as you aren’t sweating or massively straining your abs, you are doing well.

Get outside. Get in the sunshine, breath some fresh air, experience the calming effects of nature. Not only will you get some vitamin D (crucial for bone development of the baby and healthy bones in yourself) and cleanse your lungs, but being in nature is good for mental health as well.

Keep your immune system strong. Don’t expose yourself to multiple people with the same bugs. Don’t overwash or underwash your hands. Eat well-cooked or very fresh foods. Listen to your sickness. Your body doesn’t need to be overburdened.

7: Meditate.

Sit down and take some time to relax, think about the baby and just enjoy your body.

8: Nurture love.

The baby may come before other people, but it should not push them out. Show affection and kindness to friends and family. Make a place for your partner as the parent of your child. Make sure everyone feels loved and a part of this.

9: Plan loosely.

Start making some plans.

Think about the money you want to have saved by the time the baby is born.

Think about how you will manage finances and work and maternity leave, check what government grants are available.

Think about what names you want to go for.

Think about how you could adapt if your baby is born disabled.

Think about what your partner will help you with.

Plan, but don’t plan too much.

10: Don’t stress.

Chances are everything will be fine. And even if things don’t go according to plan, you will definitely be fine.

And that’s what I’m doing to try and give my baby the best start possible. What would more experienced mamas and papas suggest I start doing to get ready?

TTFN and Happy Hunting.