All Posts By:

Sophia Brown

Christmas/ Parenting

Elf on the Shelf – Elf Stuck in the TV – Free Download!

This is our third year with Elfie!! Elfie spent waaay too much time on his Elf antics last year – so pressure’s on for a fun 2018 with our 4 year old boys and 1 year old girls!! Day 2 in the Brown family household this year is Elfie half getting stuck in the TV! Elfie (aka ME) is not a pro photo editor – this is a massive home job and this is the best I could do – but looks pretty effective on the TV screen!!

Click on the picture below to download, save it onto a USB and plug it into your TV/mirror it to your TV (or whatever other fancy technology there is these days to put an image onto the TV)!! Then just squeeze your Elf halfway and tape them behind the bottom left corner of your TV! It can either be a TV free day in the house since the Elf is stuck in the TV, or you might be able to see him stuck on the ‘Elf Channel’ (when the other TV channels work normally)!

Twins and a Blog – Elf on the Shelf Stuck Inside the TV

If you are excited as I am to use this picture – please share the love – tag me in your photo and/or add this website link! Thanks guys! Merry Christmas!!!

Sophia x

@twinsandablog

 

Baby Food/ Baking/ Cookies/ Healthy/ Non Thermomix/ Snacks/ Thermomix

Egg Free Oat Cookies

I made these cookies especially for the girls (and also for the rest of the family) but particularly as I have been short of time/lazy and buying the girls their special and very $$$ baby friendly cookies from the baby food aisle! The are a firm and crunch cookie, very moreish, and perfect for lunchboxes!

Egg Free Oat Cookies

Print Recipe
Cooking Time: 12 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp chia seeds + 3 tbsp water
  • 120 grams butter
  • 80 grams coconut sugar
  • 130 grams oats
  • 130 grams wholemeal self raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste/extract
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

1

Method (THERMOMIX):

2

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

3

Add the chia seeds and water into a small bowl, stir and let it sit for at least 15 minutes (it should form a gel texture).

4

Add butter and sugar to bowl. Melt 3 minutes/50 degrees/Speed 2.

5

Add oats, flour, vanilla, salt and chia seed mixture to bowl. Mix 10 seconds/Speed 4.

6

Roll into teaspoon sized balls and press down with a fork.

7

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until browned.

8

Method (REGULAR):

9

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

10

Add the chia seeds and water into a small bowl, stir and let it sit for at least 15 minutes (it should form a gel texture).

11

Place butter and sugar in a medium sized saucepan. Stir on low to medium heat until combined & melted. Remove from the stovetop.

12

Add oats, flour, vanilla, salt and chia seed mixture to bowl. Mix until well combined.

13

Roll into teaspoon sized balls and press down with a fork.

14

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until browned.

Notes

*Great for freezing. **Store in an airtight container. ***You can use 1 egg instead of the chia seed + water mixture.

Babies/ Parenting/ Photography/ Twins

Camilla and Madison’s Cake Smash

For Camilla and Madison’s first birthday, the amazingly talented Amelia from Cherry On Top Photography generously gifted a cake smash session for the girls. It was the best day ever for the girls having their first taste of cake and icing!! They definitely love cake just like mummy!!

I am soooo IN LOVE with these beautiful photos that have captured the girls perfectly! In all the photos it is Camilla (left) and Madison (right). Amelia captured their personalities perfectly and the photos were the first time they had ever sat on their bottom (they only ever sat with W shaped legs before this!).

If you are in Sydney, especially in the Hills District area, I highly recommend Cherry On Top Photography! As you can see, Amelia’s photos are gorgeous, she is a natural with the babies and it was such a fun, smooth running and enjoyable session!

Website: https://cherryontopphotography.com.au/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cherryontopphotography/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cherryontopphotography/

PS. I used the same backdrop for the girls birthday party and smash cake. It is a hula hoop I bought from Kmart, wrapped ribbon around it and I tied the ONE balloon & some fake greens onto it with fishing line. I cut up a bouquet of fake flowers and glued them on with a hot glue gun to change it up for the smash cake and to go with the pink floral theme. I was going to unravel it all for the boys to play with the hula hoop but now I’m keeping the frame as is and changing the middle number for the girls birthday each year! 💖💖

As much as I love making cakes for my boys, I am over the moon to make OTT girly girl cakes for my girls! The cakes I made for the girls’ smash cake session were using my Perfect Buttercream Icing and Eggless Vanilla Cake recipes. For the buttercream I used 5 different colours & piping nozzles – it pipes beautifully especially using the tricky russian icing tips! The cakes were eggless as the girls had been getting a localised reaction from egg around their mouths – their mouths get red for about an hour then it disappears. I know some people can be allergic/not allergic to eggs cooked in different ways but the girls hadn’t tried cake before (let alone cake with egg in it) so I didn’t want to take that risk with these precious photos taken! 

Baking/ Cake/ Non Thermomix/ Thermomix

Eggless Vanilla Cake

This is my eggless vanilla cake recipe based on my Crunchy Lemon Muffin & Doughnut Muffin recipes (which can be made eggless too!) They are super light and fluffy, great by itself or iced with my Perfect Buttercream Icing. I made these for the girls’ 1st birthday smash cakes as they showed signs of an egg allergy & I didn’t want to risk any flare ups during their cake smash session!

3 layers of Eggless Vanilla Cake iced with Perfect Buttercream Icing

Cake Smash with Cherry On Top Photography

Eggless Vanilla Cake

Print Recipe
Cooking Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 300 grams self raising flour
  • 150 grams white sugar
  • 75 grams butter
  • 230 grams milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste/extract

Instructions

1

METHOD (Thermomix):

2

Preheat oven to 160 degrees.

3

Add all ingredients into the bowl - mix 20 seconds/Speed 5.

4

Spoon batter into lined cake tin(s).

5

Bake for 35-50 minutes or until skewer comes out clean (depends on the size of the cake tin).

6

METHOD (Non Thermomix):

7

Preheat oven to 160 degrees.

8

Melt butter.

9

Add all ingredients into a bowl and mix until well combined.

10

Spoon batter into lined cake tin(s).

11

Bake for 35-50 minutes or until skewer comes out clean (depends on the size of the cake tin).

Notes

The mixture makes 1 x 22cm+ cakes, 2 x 12cm cakes or 12 x muffin sized cakes.

Babies/ Parenting/ Twins

My Top Tips for New Twin Parents

As a fumble my way through my 4 years of motherhood, I have no idea & will never know about what it’s like to have a singleton baby. I only know how to look after/be pregnant with/give birth to 2 babies at once! Nearing the girls’ 1st birthday & the boys’ 4th birthday in a few weeks, I am one of the lucky few in this world who has gotten to experience twins more than once! The first year of being a parent to newborn twins is one the hardest, as you get used to the routine & changes in your life (& relationship) with 2 little ones the same age. Some days I feel like I can run the world, other days I can’t stop thinking about my pre-kid life, pre-kid bod, and all that sleep & spare time I used to take for granted! But I have been a twin mum for nearly 4 years, have nearly ‘survived’ 2 sets of twins for a year, still love my husband Mr Twins and A Blog (Mr ‘Super Sperm’) more than ever & life is complete with the 6 of us! Here are my top tips for new twin parents:

• Lower your expectations with cooking, cleaning and your appearance. There is light at the end of the tunnel once you get through the newborn blur.

• Don’t be a hero – take any help that is offered.

• Unless one baby is sick, I let them share bottles, dummies and once they start solids they share the same spoon/bowl of food – it reduces washing and wastage and they are in each others faces and mouths anyway!

• I wear tracksuits for PJs so I don’t have to change out of my ‘PJs’ during the day when people pop in for a visit or if I get the mail #mumhack

• Try to schedule the babies together – feed tandem or 1 right after another to maximise your rest time between (when one wakes up to feed, wake the other one up to feed).

• Lack of sleep = bad moods in the house = a competition/comparison of whos turn is it for the next feed, nappy change, cuddle, bath, sleep in, clean the bottles, cook dinner, do the laundry, take the bins out etc etc… this time shall pass and you’ll love each other even more after getting through this chapter together! #goteam

• Expect to be a celebrity at the shops. Be ready to swat away peoples hands from touching them or get ready the hand sanitizer gel and baby wipes! Also, don’t expect a ‘quick trip’ to the shops unless you can leave the babies at home!

• I indulge in nice shower body washes, soaps and shampoo as usually shower time is the only ‘me’ time I get in the day and I love to feel a million bucks at least once in the day (and when I actually get the chance to have a shower and wash my hair!)

• I love my Bugaboo Donkey pram (have used the same pram for both sets of twins) but if you have older kids, baby wearing is essential! We used Baby Bjorns for the boys when they were younger and carried 1 each, but now we have a 2 kid per adult ratio! I love tandem wearing the girls (or I baby wear one and carry the other one on my hip). I loved using the Weego twin baby carrier when the girls were newborns to 6 months, and now love the @twingo baby carrier (thanks Things for Twins!). Both are very easy to use on your own, I use them for quick trips, places which are not pram friendly, hanging out the laundry or going for walks with the boys.

• Join up to your local Multiple Births Club and find a local mums group on Facebook. I wasn’t part of any of these groups when I had the boys as my attitude was #aintnobodygottimefordat and ‘I had enough friends and I didn’t need to make anymore friends’! BUT I have found myself to be much happier this time round during my maternity leave, and I owe that to having a mum tribe. Whilst I was pregnant with the girls I joined my local Multiple Births Club and a Facebook group of local mums with babies due the same time and it is LIFE CHANGING. It is great to have an online support network & meet up with mums going through the same stuff as you, you are never alone in this journey. The pros of social media is that there is always someone you can chat to 24/7 – if you’re up at 3am with a 3 week old (or 3 year old!), chances are that someone else is too! Having young kids can be lonely and isolating with the same routine day in day out! #groundhogday I hear mums groups is a lot like online dating (I found my Mr before online dating was around so never got to experience that excitement!) but we are all human so you will click with some people more than others – sometimes it takes a while to find those connections, but it is a great way to find long lasting friendships with people who get it and get you!! (If you’re reading this: you know who you are 😘) Lesson: you can never have too many friends! #youarenotalone

• Most importantly, have fun, treasure every teeny tiny baby moment and take lots of photos! It is tiring, hard work, and when people say ‘you must have your hands full’ – well yes, they are literally full!! I enjoyed the newborn stage with the girls much more than with the boys as I knew how quickly that time goes and how fast they grow right in front of your very eyes! And if you’re more organised than me make sure you label all your photos so you know who’s who when you look back at the photos!!

Babies/ lifestyle/ Parenting/ Twins

Tips to Relieve a Sick Snotty Baby

Madison

Camilla

Can you believe these happy faces were sooooo miserable and sick that they were in the ER just 4 days ago?

Mr Twins and A Blog received some great tips from a very helpful ER Doctor when he took the girls into the hospital (I was already in hospital with Ethan). We have been using these tips & tricks on the girls & they have both gotten better exponentially in the last few days! We have always used the steam shower, fess & snot sucker with our sick babies, but never thought to do it in this order & routine. This has helped us heaps & I am sharing our success to help your sick bubbas too!

FYI: If you hate snot talk, scroll on by! 👃🤧

Tips to relieve a snotty sick baby:

👇👇Do all milk feeds in the shower👇👇

Spray Fess spray (saline spray) into bubs nostrils & wait for a minute. Even if it is wet sloppy snot just spray it in there to loosen everything deep in their sinus (I used to only use the Fess if it was a drier snot but now use it even when they have wet drippy snot too)

Close the bathroom door, direct the shower head to the wall & turn the hot water on in the shower. Whilst the steam builds up, you can feed bubs some milk for a few mins while you wait for the Fess to settle them, or just go right in and suck the sh#t out of their noses with the snot sucker (aka Nasal Oral Aspirator – we use the Neilmed Naspira but I have heard NoseFrida is also great!) Yep the babies won’t like it & will most likely protest and flail around, but they’ll be happy and smiling when they can breathe after it! Just suck out as much snot as you can until no more snot comes out. It is all that yucky snot that us adults can blow out easily into a tissue but drips down into their sinus. The snot is also full of all the gross yucky germs that we want to get out of their body, so the more we can get that sh#t out, the better!

Now that the shower is steamed up, either stand inside the shower (@mrtwinsandablog does this) or place a stool in the doorway of the shower (I do this as the girls are too heavy for me to stand & feed for long periods) & feed them their milk whilst heads inside the steamed up shower space. Drinking the milk in the steam forces them to use their nose to breathe and clears their airways. The warm steam is also really comforting and helps them to sleep too.

We have been doing this with every single milk feed, including all the crazy night feeds whilst they’ve been sick and after weeks of snotty noses, they have been snot free & back to their happy selves today!

@mrtwinsandablog has also made a video on his Instagram page about it so check it out especially for those of you who are more visual!

What other tips & tricks have you found that has helped your sick bubbas?

Sick bubba photos from the past few weeks:

Babies/ Healthy/ lifestyle/ Parenting

Mum Life + Vitamins

As a mum of babies and toddlers, my daily problems include post partum hair loss and the fresh fuzzy regrowth, lack of sleep and energy, and kids getting sick!

💁‍♀️My long black hair is my crowning glory! To help improve my hair strength, shine and growth after having babies, I’ve started taking Caruso’s Natural Health Hair Food and Super Collagen Builder.

🏃‍♀️Ever since becoming a parent, I’m ALWAYS tired! To help give my energy levels a boost so I can keep up with my energetic family, I’ve started taking Caruso’s Natural Health Ginseng 5500.

🤒Toddlers get sick way too frequently and as soon as one person in the family gets sick it is a domino effect with the rest of the family! To help with the boys immune system, especially since starting preschool, they have started taking Caruso’s Natural Health Kids Probiotic Immune Booster (the boys love the strawberry flavour!)

Caruso’s Natural Health is an Australian, family owned company founded by Frank Caruso, supplying vitamin, mineral & herbal supplements and natural foods. The range is available in over 3,000 pharmacies and health food stores throughout Australia.

https://carusosnaturalhealth.com.au/

Babies/ Baby Food/ Breakfast/ Healthy/ Thermomix

Baby Pear Porridge

This is a variation of my Pear Porridge which is very baby friendly! I have been making this for the girls for their breakfast from when they turned 6 months old. It freezes and reheats really well and has an amazing smooth and creamy texture for a ‘baby puree’! This has been the girls all time favourite meal and is also my go to meal for them when they are sick as it’s delicious and nutricious!

For the rest of the family, I recommend trying my Pear Porridge (if you haven’t already!) It is a regular breakfast for myself, my husband and the boys in the cooler months!

 

Baby Pear Porridge

Print Recipe
Cooking Time: 13 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 x pears (quartered and cored)
  • 40 grams oats
  • 10 grams desiccated coconut
  • 300 grams milk

Instructions

1

Add the pears to the bowl.

2

Blitz - 2 seconds/Speed 5.

3

Add the rest of the ingredients.

4

Cook - 13 minutes/90 degrees/Speed 2.

Notes

*For a smoother texture for younger babies, blitz an extra 3 seconds/Speed 5 after cooking. **For variations - add a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste/extract, or 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. ***Freezes/refrigerates and reheats well.

Babies/ Parenting/ Toddlers/ Twins

Twin Milestones

The first year of a baby’s life is full of milestones – first smile, sleeping through the night, rolling, solids & trying different foods, teeth, crawling, words, standing, walking etc.

When it comes to twins, there are a few special twin milestones:

  • Levels of interaction 🤝 such as the first time touching, holding hands, laughing together, biting & chatting with each other; and
  • Game changers 👊 such as their first bath together in the big bath, sitting in the trolley together, and sleeping in their own cot. 

These 9 month old sleeping beauties have been sharing a cot up until the weekend where they finally moved into their own cots! The boys moved into separate cots at 6 months as they were big babies and started their wrestling early 🤼‍♂️. The girls were happy sharing cots with each other & enjoyed each others warmth until last week where one would climb on top of the other in the middle of the night trying to wake up them up to play!

With the boys, and now the girls we put their cots side by side so their twin is closeby and just a reach away! The boys loved playing with each other through the railings and the girls are already standing facing each other to chat & touch each other through the railings when they wake up 😍

What other ‘twin milestones’ can you think of??

Babies/ Parenting/ Twins

Dad, daddy, dada

When I was pregnant with the boys, Mr Twins and A Blog was like whatever we do, we’re not going to be ‘that’ couple with kids that calls each other Dad and Mum… that’s just weird… I’m not your dad and you’re not my mum. 🙄😂
Today looking at his birthday cake with his cake topper ‘Paule’ on it, it looks damn weird to me! He’s ‘dad’, ‘daddy’, ‘dada’, or ‘darling’ (which I yell out if I can’t think quick enough which of the 5 names in the family I want/need to say!). It’s also ‘babe’ on date nights or in that short space of time at night between the kids bedtime and our bedtime! I once yelled out ‘Paule’ when I was trying to find him in the shops, and the boys yelled it out and kept repeating ‘Paule’ soooo loudly in public it was so weird to hear them refer to him by his name, not ‘daddy’, I have since tried to avoid all ‘Paule’ talk in front of the kids😂 Oh, and if I ever hear ‘Sophia’ come out of his mouth, something’s wrong or I know I’m in trouble 😅

PS. This photo is playing tricks with my mind, it looks like I’m wearing black bike shorts but it’s @mrtwinsandablog’s arm 😂 Anyone else think it looks weird?