Australian Breastfeeding Association meets in Ballina!

Yay! Almost 4 years after wishing for a group to be in (or at least closer to) Ballina, it has arrived!!

The first meeting in Ballina was a huge success, with over dozen people in attendance – I guess I wasn’t the only one who had been hoping for this to start. I think it will be a great asset to the Ballina community.
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The Australian Breastfeeding Association is one of the leading sources of breastfeeding information and support, and a great way to meet other parents, particularly as you fumble your way through parenting young children (and breastfeeding!).

“The Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) is an Australian organisation of people interested in the promotion and protection of breastfeeding. Amongst these are breastfeeding women and their partners and health professionals such as doctors, lactation consultants and midwives.

ABA was founded in Melbourne, Victoria in 1964 as the Nursing Mothers’ Association, with the aim of giving mother-to-mother support to breastfeeding women. It is Australia’s leading source of breastfeeding information and support” Wikipedia

The meeting was hosted by two ABA counsellors, Jan and Jeannee, both traveling from out of town to help the group get started. They are both a wealth of knowledge, and very helpful – Jan was even around when the Nursing Mothers first started up in the Northern Rivers.

Meetings occur on the last Tuesday of the month at the CWA Hall in River Street, next to the RSL in Ballina, starting at 1pm. Coin donations are appreciated, to put towards the use of the hall.

There are also meetings in Lismore and Mullumbimby. Lismore is on the second Friday of the month, starting at 10am, at the ground floor meeting room of the Lismore Library. Mullumbimby have their meetings on the first Wednesday of the month starting at 9:15am, in the Mullumbimby Neighbourhood Centre, Dalley Street.

Breastfeeding BallinaBoy

Breastfeeding BallinaBoy at the start of the meeting, while everyone chatted.

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Paleo Sausages

I am loving paleo sausages right now. Cherry Street butcher makes two varieties, a thick one with fennel and a thin one with paprika. I could have them mixed up, but whatever flavour the thin one is, it is delicious!

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What makes them a “paleo sausage” is that they are made with no grain fillings (meatier!), no sugar and no preservatives. So you need to freeze these bad boys as soon as you get home or cook them quick! Neither are a problem for me, although working out how I should break it up can be. Sometimes the kids eat all of what I have made for me, other times I end up eating the whole lot and have too much!

BallinaGirl and I have been having a few sausages over the past couple of days, especially after I discovered how delicious it was dipped in to a whole30 approved baba ganoush that Amy from Fighting Fit Super Centre had made. Yum!

You can call Cherry Street Butcher to order some, on 02 6686 2610.

P.S. I am doing whole30 at the moment. I’ll have to write up a blog post about it when I’m finished. More info on whole30 can be found here.

Fawcett Park

Fawcett Park (aka Pelican Park) is in the main section of town, along the river on Fawcett Street (which runs parallel with River Street) with access from Cherry Street also. It is across the road from Cafe Twenty9, Baskin & Robins and the CookieMan.

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Fawcett Park, is only partly fenced (along the riverside) and has tables, barbecues, seating and lots of grass. The playground is designed as a castle, with two slides a drawbridge, “stage” and a jail (or “shop” in some play experiences) and a crocodile (which recently lost its tail).

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This is one of my favourite playgrounds for toddlers. The steps are great for climbing, wide enough for a crawling baby to rest of each step, or sit to look around. It has a small slide for them to happily climb up to and navigate themselves too, and other little obstacles for them to navigate without it being “too challenging”. As toddlers grow, they can climb up to the bigger slide and play in the high tower of the castle. But one of the favourite things in the playground for both my kids has been the crocodile, which they climb on, scale, sit on and sing “cheeky monkeys” to.

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And sometimes the water fountain is more entertaining than the playground.

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It can be a lovely place to watch the sun set, look for dolphins, turtles or fish, or watch the boats zoom past. But beware, there is no fence along the riverside walkway, and it can be a scary looking drop!

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And after a big play, we can go grab something to eat or drink across the road.

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Ballina Boat Hire

While looking for things to do while we have visitors, we often book a BBQ boat from Ballina Boat Hire in River Street, Ballina.
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The idea is that you can cook what you catch, but our fishing talent means we have a barbecue while attempting to catch something, or as BallinaGirl prefers, feed the fish. This works for me, as I don’t like catching fish, but love eating food.
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Sometimes, we end up organising a cold and or rainy day, which isn’t too bad. You have cover, but also, you can drive the boat to find shelter from the conditions.
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There is a sticker in the boat with the legal size limits, we rarely catch anything of limit, but every catch is exciting for BallinaGirl
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Even if you don’t catch a fish, or like fishing. It is a good day out and way to see Ballina from a different view. Putt around and find your little patch of serenity in the river, cook up a feed, sit back and relax, chat and enjoy the sea (river?) air.

… It even has a toilet.

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FFSC Mums & Bubs CrossFit

I started at CrossFit last year, when BallinaBoy was approximately 12 weeks, I think. The first session is free, and BallinaGirl seemed to love playing with the kids there, and I was able to tend to my kids when and if they needed, but there was also a lovely group of welcoming mums with warm hearts ready to try their best to comfort your children, while you were working out.

The session is (usually) broken up in to two groups, one group works out and the other supervises and cares for the kids, and then they swap. Seems logical. No over crowded under spaced crèche here. There is a kids area set up with toys, a TV, and a wooden kitchen. There is also the whole other half of the centre that they set up (with an obstacle course) for the bigger kids to be able to jump, climb and throw giant balls (in the “cage” or as some of the kids call it, the “trampoline”) at each other – what more could a preschooler or toddler want?
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The thing that made me decide to go back? The amount of pain I was in following – I could feel muscles I didn’t even know I had! That was a serious work out.
What made me continue to go back? The support, the individual attention and modifications (apparently I am, or was, really bad at squatting!), and the fact that I could see my babies, and tend to their needs if I needed to. If BallinaBoy needed boob, then I’d go in the second session. If I needed to calm my kids, I could throw them in a carrier and continue on (yep! I have done it with my toddler on, in testing week!), and if I had to exit half way through session one, I could continue in the next session.
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What makes me love it? It’s not only about a workout, it can be so much more. The people are welcoming, inclusive and most of all supportive. They organise cooked meals for mums when they are struggling, they organise social events, have a morning tea so you can chat and debrief, chat, and eat some yummy food, or chat more if you want. It is not just a workout it’s a community, a village, support and encouragement.
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I highly recommend coming down and trying it out, even if your kids are in school, you have one on the way, or don’t have kids but want to be around some warm hearted ladies (and sometimes men) and get your arse kicked (fitness and sweatiness wise).

Mums & Bubs sessions are on Tuesday and Thursday at 9:30am, and Wednesday 10:30am. Check out their website, or Facebook page, for more details.

On a side note: the Wednesday classes are quite small at the moment, as they are a new addition. If you are unsure about whether CrossFit works for you, are not good with big groups, or just feel you may be embarrassed by your fitness level (or lack there of) – Wednesday is a great session to get to, to test the water. But, you can also just come down and watch and hang out. When my kids have been having off days, out of routine, etc, I have just gone down to let them play with the other kids and ease back in to the routine (and catch up with everyone).
I hope to see you there! I’ll be the unco, sweaty, puffing, red in the face one – most likely with a kid strapped to me, haha.

Ballina Farmers Markets

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Sunday mornings, down by the river, by Missingham Bridge, you can find Ballina’s little farmers’ markets. While it doesn’t have some of the delicious goodies you can find at Byron’s farmers’ markets, it is still a great place to go pick up your fruit & veg, honey, macadamias, some fresh cut flowers, some potted plants and there is even a home made food stall who is featured in the 10 year anniversary of Byron Bay’s Famers’ Markets’ cookbook.

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We usually head down as a family, with Miss2 insisting on choosing all of our purchases. The stall owners are lovely, usually offering Miss2 some lovely fruit to sample, or some other treats they have, including her new favourite treat, dried bananas.

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Today, I headed out early, as BabyBoy woke ready for action early, and everyone else was snoozing. So we snuck out and got all our shopping done and brought home breakfast. While it was a lot more peaceful and quicker than having Miss2 with us, it wasn’t nearly as much fun or social. We were able to go in and out quickly, but I missed being able to teach her how to pick which produce would suit us best and why, missed her opinion on what she thought we should eat for the week, but didn’t miss the use of the eyes on the back of my head 😉

The markets start early, somewhere between 6 and 7, and go until they are either sold out, or until about 11am, depending on the stall. If you are organised, and it was a nice day, you could incorporate your trip with a splash in the waves or sandcastle making over the sand dune behind the markets on the sandy beach front of the river.

Thursday Twilight Markets

Not really a good photo as it was a baby wearing appreciation of toddler and Natibaby Dino shot (only wrap she asks to get in to without prompting), but was taken down at Fawcett Park on Richmond River in Ballina at the Twilight Markets.

Toddler dino wrap love at the a twilight Markets

Toddler dino wrap love at the Twilight Markets

The Twilight Markets take place on Thursdays between 4-8pm during daylight savings. It started last year, and I’m glad it’s back this year, as it is a lovely thing to do on a sunny afternoon, usually followed by a play at the playground (for miss2) and snacking on the yummy food I picked up at the markets.

Yesterday, they also had a lovely lady creating balloon sculptures for the kiddies, it definitely drew a crowd and made for some happy kids, unless it popped like Miss2’s, who promptly had a meltdown for half an hour due to a lack of day time napping. 😦 By the time we had calmed down and got back there she had finished up and gone home, so I suggest getting there early if you want to get one for the kiddies.

Some of the market stalls include: fresh produce, dumplings, crepes, fresh pasta, honey and beeswax, drinks, make up, clothing, wooden furniture, and some arty gift ideas. I’ve noticed though, that if the weather is iffy or wet, it’s mainly just food stalls that you’ll find, including fresh produce.