Friday, November 14, 2014

Emilia's bilingual speech development at 22 months

I can't believe my baby girl is already 22 months! I have to say this is officially the cutest age ever, but then again haven't I said this about every age?
The most exciting thing that's been happening over the last few months is Emilia's speech development.
I think one of the reasons why i'm extra excited about this much anticipated milestone is because she was a late talker.

We are raising Emilia bilingually with both the English and German language. We are using the one parent one language method, so I speak to her only in English and Rob speaks to her only in German.  She also has regular exposure to the Polish language through her Oma and Opa who we see a few times a week. Rob and I speak to each other in English and Emilia and I spend time during the week with other native English speaking mamas and their children, so she is getting constant exposure to the English language.
We live in Germany which means the minute we step out the door she is surround by the German language and she also hears me speaking German everyday when we are out and about, which I imagine is all a bit confusing for her! She hears her papa speaking Polish with his parents, I communicate with my in-laws in German and they speak to her in a mixture of Polish and German. If  I've just totally confused you then  imagine how much information she is having to process in her little head!

At 17 months she was saying only a very small handful of recognizable words but could understand almost everything we said to her in both English and German. We did everything possible to encourage her speech development and read to her multiple times a day, but she just didn't seem interested in speaking. We were reassured by our pediatrician at her routine checkup that she was developing normally for a bilingual child and that she would speak when she was ready. This put our minds at ease and we just continued to encourage her speech development in a fun, relaxed, natural way without putting any pressure on her. Just after Emilia turned 18 months she had a language explosion and is now chatting so much. It felt like her language just suddenly developed over night, when in reality she had been observing and collecting all of the information her her brain for a long time, waiting for the time when she felt ready to speak. At first she seemed to be favoring German possibly because she recognized that it was the surrounding language, but now she's saying an equal amount of words in both English and German and is just starting to put words together.
Sometimes Rob and I will accidentally slip up and he will speak to her in English or I will speak to her in German and she doesn't like it it at all. If I slip up she will say to me ''No, papa!'' meaning no that's papa's language not yours! I find it fascinating that she has already distinguished the difference between the two languages and she can quickly tell if we aren't speaking the right language to her. It's so true that toddlers brains are like little sponges and they understand far more than we give them credit for.

I feel very lucky to have an amazing group of friends here in Germany who are also raising their children bilingually, so we get to share stories and exchange all sorts of tips and advice. It fascinates me just how differently each child develops, especially when it comes to reaching milestones. It is commonly known that children who are raised bilingually sometimes experience speech delay and although some of the bilingual children in our English speaking group were late speakers like Emilia, others actually spoke early. When Emilia was hardly saying a single word and I saw other kids her age talking up a storm I must admit I was a little worried, but looking back now I had absolutely nothing to worry about. I think it's so important not to push milestones and put any type of  pressure on children, because more often than not they will reach their milestones when they are ready not when you think they should be ready. Small children learn best in stress free relaxed environments so if they feel any type of pressure to perform they often just shut off, which can actually stunt their development.

I am so envious of anyone who was raised bilingually because the process of learning a foreign language from scratch as an adult is a whole different ball game, trust me i'm speaking from experience!
So far my biggest advice to parents raising their children bilingually is to be consistent, patient and don't give up. You're giving your child an extraordinary gift which they will be extremely grateful for later in life.

Antoinette x

Thursday, September 25, 2014

More delicious, gluten free, healthy lunch/dinner ideas.

Pumpkin lentils and tomato/avocado salsa 
Lately lentils have become a staple in my diet. They are extremely high in nutritional value, quick and easy to cook and have such a yummy nutty, earthy flavor. 

It's pumpkin season here in Germany so I've been incorporating this delicious versatile vegetable in so many different dishes. Pumpkin and lentils complement each other so nicely and when cooked together the lentils soak up so much of the pumpkins sweet flavor.

In this dish I have used orange lentils, vegetable stock, pumpkin seasoned with sea salt and black pepper and topped with a tomato/avocado salsa with a dash of lemon and garnished with fresh basil.

Nutty bean green salad 
I absolutely love eating a huge salad for lunch filled with fresh crisp vegetables, but find that the vegetables alone don't full me up for long enough. To solve this problem I like to incorporate kidney beans and walnuts into my salad, which give me the slow burning energy I need to keep up with my busy toddler!

the salad above consists of Romaine lettuce, tomato's, walnuts, beetroot, red apple, red kidney beans, fresh chives & mint topped with a tangy lemon and olive oil dressing. 

Honey glazed Chicken Salad 
I'm a huge sucker for a good chicken salad and whenever I see it on the menu at a restaurant or cafe I just have to order it.  I'm gonna be a bit cheeky and say that I'm yet to taste a chicken salad that beats my delicious creation!

The salad above consists of free range chicken breast seasoned with honey, sea salt and black pepper, fresh chives, cucumber, purple table grapes, carrot, red bell pepper and sweet corn, topped with a while balsamic vinegar olive oil and honey dressing. 
Antoinette x

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Like mother like daughter

Emilia at 20.5 months.

Me around the same age as Emilia. 

I was going through some of my old baby photos the other day and I almost fell off my chair when I came across this photo of me above taken at Waimarama beach when I was about Emilia's age! 
For the first time since Emilia was born I could actually see a resemblance between the two of us and not just the wild curly hair, I actually think our faces look quite similar in this photo. I always thought she looked just like her papa and that's what I would see whenever I looked at her. I loved that I could see so much of Rob in her but secretly wished someone would say that she had some of my features. Well after seeing this baby photo there's absolutely no denying that Emilia is her mama's daughter! 

Antoinette x

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Germany's beautiful Mosel Valley

We recently returned from a fabulous week away in Germany's beautiful Mosel Valley.
The Mosel is a wine region located near Germany's western boarder and is famous for its steep slopes overlooking the rivers, which the vineyards are planted on. The area is filled with cobbled towns, storybook castles, picturesque medieval streets tucked between steep vineyards and gorgeous scenery.
We stayed in a cute little German style cottage and spent our days sight seeing and taking in all the beauty surrounding us. It was so nice to have some much needed relaxing quality family time and the Mosel was the most perfect place for it.

The Mosel is most famous for it's delicious Riesling wines! 
Just like a fairytale!

Stopping to take in all that beauty.

Bremmer Calmont the steepest recorded vineyard in the world. 

Strolling through the streets of Cochem. I adore this charming, romantic little city! 

My loves

Strolling through the adorable city of Zell.

Enjoying the stunning view. 

Antoinette x

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Sugar free, gluten free, dairy free, banana pancakes (just two ingredients!)

Banana pancakes served warm with unsweetened natural yogurt and warm raspberries. 

I was beyond excited when I heard about this amazing  sugar free, gluten free, dairy free, banana pancake recipe with just two ingredients. It sounded a little too good to be true so I gave it a try and they seriously exceeded far past my wild expectations! These pancakes are so delicious and super healthy not to mention quick easy to make. 

So what are these two magical ingredients?? 
Egg + banana. 
Don't believe me, try it out for yourself. 

I made the pancakes above using two free range eggs and a large ripe banana. 
1. Mash the ripe banana in a bowl with a fork until it is smooth and free of lumps. 

2 .Add the eggs and mix together with fork or whisk into a batter. For extra smooth consistency you can use a blender. (I added a dash of cinnamon but this is totally optional)

3. Lightly grease a frying pan with butter or coconut oil and heat stove top to medium. 

4. Add a thin layer of batter to the pan depending on what size you you prefer your pancakes. Once the first side is lightly brown, flip and repeat.

5. Serve warm with topping of your choice. (I added natural unsweetened yogurt with warm raspberries)

(Serves 2)


Antoinette x

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Our extended breastfeeding story

This photo was taken shortly after Emilia was born. The beginning of our long beautiful breastfeeding relationship. 

Emilia is now almost 19 months old and still breastfeeding 1-2 times a day, always first thing in the morning and sometimes after her nap. If she's not feeling well or teething she will breastfeed a little more. These are our special moments together, our one on one time, cuddle time, our quiet time. 
I was determine to breastfeed Emilia for a whole year but after her first birthday I just knew she wasn't ready to be weaned.  Lately she has been wanting to breastfeed less frequently and I know that this chapter is slowly coming to end. It's bittersweet for me but it's definitely time and I am content in knowing that Emilia is almost ready.

I had an interesting conversation today about extended breastfeeding with a good friend of mine who also breastfed her little boy for well over a year. We were talking about how society puts so much pressure on women to breastfeed for six months to one year but as soon as the child turns one the pressure is on to wean as quickly as possible, as though breast milk is bad and suddenly losses it's nutritional value, which I think is just ridiculous. 
Many people seem so shocked when they find out i'm still breastfeeding Emilia at almost 19 months and I always get the same reaction ''you're STILL breastfeeding!!?'' In the same tone as ''You STILL have that horrible flu!?'' I have even had someone tell me that Emilia was going to be ''less independent'' because I was still breastfeeding her. Well actually it's quite the opposite, Emilia is very independent, strong willed and confident. This has been one of many annoying comments and I normally don't worry about other peoples opinions and I consider myself confident in my parenting decisions, but  I must admit that for some reason these types of reactions did start to get me down. So much so that  when Emilia was around 15 months I decided I was going to try and wean her cold turkey. After reading an article online I tried a pretty funny method of putting sticky plasters over my nipples and pretending they were sore. Well to cut a long story short this method actually worked (kind of) and Emilia did not want to breastfeed for a whole day and night. By the morning my breasts were so sore and engorged that they felt like they were going to burst. The whole morning Emilia was really irritable, emotional and just not herself which I knew deep down was because of my attempt to wean her cold turkey. I quickly realised that abruptly stopping breastfeeding was definitely not the right way for us to go about it. I also realised that my sudden decision to wean Emilia didn't come from her being ready, it came from me being made to feel bad for breastfeeding longer than what society thinks is 'normal' and 'accepted' 

Well right now I really couldn't care less about what anyone else thinks and I'm happy and proud to say that I am still breastfeeding my almost 19 month old. We are slowly starting the weaning process because I feel that she is truly ready not because I'm being told by anyone that she should be ready. 

Antoinette x

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Healthy gluten free lunch ideas for busy mamas

As a busy mama I always try and make it a high priority to eat a healthy nutritious lunch.  It's so important for me to have the energy to keep up with my very active toddler and when I eat well my body really thanks me for it!
As soon as Emilia go's down for her nap around 12 pm I make lunch for myself  and I'm always searching for delicious, healthy ideas which are easy and quick to prepare. Sometimes I'll do some preparation the night before to save me time because lets face it, no one wants to be slaving in the kitchen during our precious nap time break. 
Here are some of the lunches I have had this week. 

Salmon and Chickpea Salad. 

This is one of my favourite salad combinations and is packed with nutritious super foods which give me energy and make me feel fabulous. 

Chickpeas, cured salmon, rucola lettuce, sweetcorn, grapes red bell pepper and chopped herbs topped with an olive oil, white balsamic vinegar and wild honey dressing. 
I love to add chickpeas to my salads as they are a slow burning carbohydrate which fills me up and gives me the energy I need. 

Omelette vegetable wrap

These delicious omelette wraps are such a great gluten free alternative to wheat tortilla wraps and are packed with so much protein. 
To make these wraps I combine 3 free range eggs, a dash of milk a little sea salt and a T spoon of all purpose gluten free flour. I then whisk the ingredients together and fry the wraps in very thin layers with a dash of olive oil until they are golden brown. This makes about 6 wraps.
To save time I like to make the wraps in the evening to last me a few days and all I need to do is add my favourite fillings the next day.  

My wraps above are filled with avocado, tomato, cucumber  iceberg lettuce, green bell pepper, fresh herbs and Greek yogurt/garlic dressing. 

Seasoned roast vegetables

For an easy, healthy lunch I always enjoy a big bowl of crispy seasoned roast vegetables with some sweet chilli dipping sauce for that extra zing. I like to rotate my vegetables depending on what's in season or what I feel like. In autumn I absolutely love roasted pumpkin and sweet potato's. 

In the photo above I have roasted carrots, potato's, zucchini, red pepper and onions in a little canola oil sprinkled with sea salt, black pepper and rosemary seasoning. I wash and dry the vegetables then chop them up in small pieces and roast them for about 30 minutes at  200°C until they are nice and crispy. 
For extra nutrients and flavor I like to keep the vegetables in their skin but always make sure the carrots and potato's have been well washed.


Antoinette x

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Popping in to say hi

Its a hot, sticky summer's evening here in Bavaria Germany. Emilia is fast asleep, Rob is watching a movie which doesn't interest me and I'm in the mood for blogging.
Last time I updated my blog this little curly haired toddler of ours was just 14 months and now she's 18 months old and still the light of our lives and constantly amazes us. 
This last year and a half has been a wonderful, crazy, adventure and I have learnt so many valuable life lessons. I would be lying if I said that motherhood has been all smooth sailing but I can honestly say that my heart has never been full with so much love and appreciation for my husband and our little girl. 

I know that my blog posts have been few and far between lately and to be honest I really don't know whats happening with this little blog of mine or where its going. Blogging use to be such a huge part of my life and such a fun, therapeutic outlet for me and part of me still wants to hold onto that. As I briefly mentioned in a previous post  I fell right of the blogging bandwagon as soon as Emilia was born as my attention totally shifted and I found it hard to make time to blog. Maybe I will get back on a roll and start blogging regularly or maybe I will pop back once in a while but all I know is that I am definitely not ready to let go of blogging altogether so if anyone out there is still reading my blog, please bear with me. :)

I'm not going to write a huge update as I don't want this post to turn into a novel but I wanted to share some words that best describe Emilia's character and spirit. 

Loving, fun, friendly, affectionate, joyful, confident, Inquisitive. (I'm aware that I'm probably completely bias but I don't care, I adore this little girl ;)

Oh and last but not least here is a fun little family clip I threw together about a month ago. It was taken on a hot summers day in W├╝rzburg Germany. 

Antoinette x 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Emilia's 14 month update

So much has happened since my last post I don't even know where to start! Emilia is now 14 months old and I know I mentioned in her 9 month update that I wanted her to stay that age forever but that's because I didn't know her at 14 months. This is seriously the most fun we've had yet!

I now have a professional walker or should I say runner! At around 9 months Emilia started using furniture and anything she could pull herself up on to walk around. At 11 months she built up enough confidence to take her first steps on her own. She was a bit wobbly for the first few weeks but now she whizzes around everywhere at 100 miles an hour.

She can only say a few recognizable words but she's constantly babbling and experimenting with different sounds. She understands so much more then she can actually say, for example if I say to her ''where is Layla?'' (her baby doll) she will point to her or go and pick her up. Or if I say ''where are mamas shoes?'' she will point to my shoes or ''where are Emilia's shoes?'' she will point to her shoes. Her favourite game is walking around with us and pointing to different objects and wanting us to tell her what they are, she then tries to imitate the word we are saying.
We are raising her bilingual, I speak to her only in English and Rob speaks to her only in German as we want her to be fully immersed in both languages. Right now she is understanding a little in both languages but definitely more in English as she spends more of her time with me. Her Oma and Opa speak to her in a mixture of German and Polish and her aunty (Robs sister) who is deaf has started teaching her sign language so her little brain must be working overtime trying to process all of this information. I do worry a little sometimes that all these languages might be confusing her too much, but everything I read about raising children with multiple language reassures me that we are doing the right thing. Toddlers brains are like sponges and they are capable of leaning far more at this age than we could ever imagine. I am so interested to see how Emilia's languages progress.

Emilia's such a happy, friendly, confident little girl and I just love her spirit. She has always been a really cuddly baby but recently she has started coming up to me out of the blue and giving me kisses and cuddles which is pretty much the best gift I could ever receive! I have also caught her giving her baby doll little kisses and rocking her in her arms which is the sweetest thing ever. I hope she always stays so kind and loving.

Antoinette x

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Emilia is 9 months!

It's been so long since my last blog post and I feel so out of touch with the blogging world!  I don't even know where to begin as so many exciting things have been happening. I  really wanna try and blog more regularly because it's such a great outlet for me and something I miss so much.  

Emilia turned 9 months last week and I wish she would stay this age forever. Yes I know I say this about every age but seriously 9 months is the absolute best! She smiles and laughs so much and just loves her little world. I'm trying to take it all in and enjoy every moment cause she's growing and changing so unbelievably quickly. This little girl brings me more joy on a daily basis than I ever thought was possible. 

Emilia's milestones 
Emilia went from commando crawler to professional crawler in no time and boy does my baby love to crawl! She whizzes across the room in two seconds flat and I need to have my eye on her all the time because she's into absolutely everything.

She recently started pulling herself up into standing position and uses furniture to walk around. Rob had to adjust the setting on her cot to make the bars higher so she doesn't topple out when she stands up in there. 

She now has two teeth at the bottom and her two top teeth cut through last week. 

She babbles all the time and hums along to music. She can say dada and baba but i'm still waiting for her to say  mama. She loves to wave, clap her hands and play peekaboo. 

I'm not really sure if this is a milestone but she loves books. Rob reads to her every night in German, I read to her in English and when we visit her Oma and Opa they read to her in Polish.  Sometimes she just sits by herself with a book and looks at all the pictures. 

Our little girl is a great day sleeper and a terrible night sleeper. She usually sleeps for a solid hour mid morning and another hour sometime longer in the afternoon. She's mostly in bed by 7pm every night still wakes a few times a night for her milk and lately she's been more wakeful than usual because of teething. She has never once slept through the night, but we're working on it!

We are still going strong with breastfeeding and I'm not planning on weaning her any time soon. She started solids when she was 6 months old but she still prefers breast milk over anything. Meal time is always guaranteed to be an extremely messy event as Emilia is little miss independent and insists on feeding herself. She doesn't like to be spoon fed and always grabs the spoon off me so she can feed herself. We are currently experimenting with 'baby led weaning' which is basically self feeding and seems to suit Emilia so much better. It was a completely natural progression and I actually just went on my instincts with this one. She loves any type of sweet juicy fruit and I always have to mop the floor afterwards. 

Gosh I feel like this blog post could go on and on as there is so much more to say after so long not blogging. I think I better stop here so it doesn't get too long and boring. 

Antoinette x