Saturday, September 25, 2010

Tummy troubles


How a little thing called gluten can play havoc on little tummies
Warning: don’t read this if you’re still eating your breakfast...
When I was pregnant I suffered from severe stomach cramps.
Being of stubborn mind, I thought I could do a self-diagnosis without my doctor.
It was either irritable bowel syndrome or gastroenteritis or giardia or Coeliac disease or constipation.
How clever am I to work that out?
I ended up seeing my doctor, but not without first trying a gluten-free diet which is what those with Coeliac disease must do.
And it was not easy.
In fact, I realised that almost everything I ate contained gluten, not just bread and pasta.
There’s gluten in biscuits, soy sauce, stock, barbecue sauce, sausages, crackers, gravy powder, Vegemite, meusli bars, breakfast cereals, pastries, Milo and salad dressings.
And there can be hidden gluten in everything from baked beans, to toothpaste, to lipstick!
I could no longer enjoy a muffin with my morning coffee, or get a takeaway pizza on the weekend.
But instead I frequented the health food shops and health food aisles of the supermarkets to stock up on gluten-free products.
While I don’t have Coeliac disease, my little diet experiment was a huge eye-opener.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Taking a knife to caesars



About to have a caesar? You’re not alone, as a health report shows more women are choosing to go under the knife to have a baby
Two of my friends this week have welcomed to the world newborn baby boys.
Coincidentally, both women went past their due dates and while one chose to be induced, the other chose to have a caesarean.
The mum having the caesarean lives in South Africa, so I have no idea what the antenatal care is like in her country, but it did make me question some of the reasons why women choose to have a caesarean birth.
A health report shows that Queensland has the highest rate of caesarean births in Australia, with one in three mums now giving birth in this way.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released a landmark 580-page report on the nation’s health trends, entitled Australia’s Health 2010.
The report shows a dramatic rise in the proportion of women having caesarean sections, from a national average of 2.1 per cent in 1998 to 30.9 per cent in 2007.
Queensland had the highest rate of caesareans, with 33.1 per cent of births occurring in this fashion in 2007, while Tasmania had the lowest rate of 28 per cent.
The report also states that 18.1 per cent of caesarean births happened without labour.
Australian Medical Association Queensland president Gino Pecoraro said there was no single reason behind the high figure, but different rules applied in public hospitals from state to state.
Unlike their New South Wales counterparts, women in Queensland public hospitals could “demand” a caesarean without a medical reason, he said.

Friday, September 10, 2010

WIN an awesome EzyRoller!

The very cool EzyRoller is expected to dominate Christmas wish-lists in Australia this year, but Weekender has scored one to giveaway to one lucky reader.
The EzyRoller incorporates the best of a billy cart, a scooter and a rip-board, all with the control of a bike.
The EzyRoller has no pedals, chains or batteries. Kids simply sit on the seat and use their legs to get it moving. It glides forward like a snake using easy left-right movements of the feet and legs to propell it. You don’t need a hill to gain speed, the clever foot action creates all the momentum you need.
It not only looks exciting, but is made from a tough, long lasting steel fork and frame for the most active kids. 
A child’s centre of gravity on the EzyRoller is low, making it is very stable. A hand brake allows the child to stop easily. 
It comes with two extension bars to adjust the size to the child and is very easy to assemble.
It seems the creators have thought of everything because the EzyRoller is completely silent and has non-marking wheels making it great for both indoor and outdoor use.
The EzyRoller won Toy of the Year last season in America, and is available in red, blue and pink.
It is suitable for children aged 4 to 14 and retails at around $160.
A junior version comes with a handle to make it easier for younger kids (24-48 months) to operate. For more information, including a list of stockists, check out www.ezyroller.com.au.
Check out the EzyRoller in action here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_S3ZQdx9Is
To go in the draw, visit www.cairns.com.au/competitions
Entries close Friday, September 17. 

Put parenting first


A paid parental leave scheme is not about the money, it’s about putting our children first
There’s been a lot of talk about parental leave provisions in the past few months, particularly in light of the election, so I thought it would be worthwhile to take a look at this hot topic.
The trouble with our current system is that there are too many scenarios that can cause upheaval within family life.
Firstly, you fall pregnant and worry about how you will live on one income, and how soon you would need to go back to work.
Then you have to put your unborn baby’s name on a waiting list for childcare, hoping they’ll be accepted by the time you need to get back to work.
You also wonder about whether the cost of childcare is worth going back to work.
And while you’re at work, you fear you’ll be treated differently if you go back part-time, or if you need time off work to look after a sick child.
You probably sometimes wish your partner could take care of the children while you went to work.
Well, in Sweden, none of these scenarios take place because parents are paid to stay at home with their children for 16 months, two of which are mandatory “daddy months”.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Support Backpacks 4 Aussie Kids


Backpacks 4 Aussie Kids is a not-for-profit organisation started by Despina Parakas.

When Despina and her partner looked into becoming foster carers, their eyes were opened to just how much some children don't have.
Many children are taken from their home by strangers (police or DOCS) with nothing but the clothes on their backs, and sent to home to live with strangers.
Many live with one family for a month or so and are then moved on to the next one. Some children have nowhere to call home.
So her mission is to create 1000 backpacks filled with essential and personal items for children in care.
Backpacks 4 Aussie Kids is collecting donations of school backpacks as well as any other items suitable for children of all ages.
Each backpack stays with the child. It has pyjamas, a little blanket, maybe some clothes including new underwear, toothbrush, an age appropriate toy or book, and a little torch.
Children of all ages are in care, from newborn babies to teenagers, so you can imagine that some children may need nappies and a little cuddly toy to take to bed.
To see how you can help this wonderful cause, visit backpacks4aussiekids.org

Mumologues is donating a pair of Ladybug BabyLegs to go in a fundraising cent sale which will take place in Innisfail in November. If you would like more info on contributing to this event, visit Connect to Mums.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Money doesn’t grow on trees




Help your children become financially literate for life
Recently I was playing “shops” with my daughter, who has a small toy cash register and plastic money, and had neatly set up a grocery store with plastic fruit and vegetables.
I selected my items and she “scanned” each piece, and then announced that the total came to $565.
I promptly handed over some plastic coins, she placed them in the register and then handed me back more coins than what I gave her.
“Here you go,” she said. “Thanks for shopping!”
Now her understanding of money is very basic, as she is only four years old, but she has certainly picked up on the fact that many times when we are out shopping, we not only get what we have gone in to buy, but we also get a handful of cash.
Parents understand that getting cash out at the checkout is a good idea to save on bank fees but this transaction doesn’t help to teach our children about money.
So it’s important for parents to talk to their kids and explain why they do these things and that the money you are given is actually coming out of your bank account, it’s not just a nice little bonus to say “thanks for shopping with us” (though wouldn’t that be nice!).
Parents are probably the biggest influence on how we deal with money, even if we decide not to do what our parents did.
If you set a good example for your children by following good, basic money management habits yourself, and reinforcing the lessons your kids are taught in school, then your children will be better with money too.