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Don’t skip breakfast

Don't skip breakfast

I always start the day with breakfast with my daughter. I may not have long but I always make sure there’s orange juice, cereal and fruit on the table in the morning. I lay the table the night before. Don’t skip breakfast if you can. It will start the whole families day off well. I always have three types of cereal- weetabix, cornflakes and porridge plus a bowl of fruit. It means you can have choice without thinking too hard. Weekends are scrambled eggs and toast in front of the TV for a treat. Have a good week everyone

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Rainy day fun.

I’m really lucky to be surrounded by lots of mums who inspire me on a daily basis-one friend reminded me after my last blog that picnics aren’t just for the outdoors. I loved it when she told me that her little girls (not so little any more) still remind her of the days they used to have picnics at home. All the money in the world can’t but memories like that.

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Well she got me thinking about the times when me and my little girl have spread our picnics out in the living room, invited a few teddies to join us, got the tea set out and eaten our lunch. Toddlers love role play so this is great bonding time and way to have fun. I have to say that I enjoy it almost as much a my daughter. It’s the mini china cups and saucers. Love them!

Here are my top ten fun things to do on a rainy day:

  1. Build a den out of two kitchen chairs and a bed sheet. Your little one will love hiding in there!
  2. Roll out a sheet of plain wallpaper and be as messy as you can with paint.
  3. Ask your toddler to put your money from the money jar in to piles. This keeps my little girl happy for ages.
  4. Have a play bath. I don’t have much time in the working week for this but on a weekend I fill the bath with toys, give my girl a straw to blow bubbles with, loads of bubble bath and off we go. Splashing and soaking the place. Brill fun.
  5. Collect your empty pop bottles to make skittles Or fill them with rice to make musical instruments.
  6. Toddlers love water! Get two washing up bowls or similar. Cut a milk carton in half just above the handle to make a scoop. Fill one bowl with water and watch them transfer water between bowls.
  7. Play shops by filling cereal boxes with rice, use empty egg boxes, sweet tubes, mini raisin boxes and empty washing up bottles. Place them on a low shelf and you have a shop!
  8. Make cookies but cut them in to star shapes or moons. Top them with fun things like chocolate sprinkles or mini sweets. Press in to the cookies while warm.
  9. Pairs! Playing pairs with cards but being really noisy when you find a pair is an educational game thats fun too.
  10. Dressing up. Old hats, big shoes, necklaces and handbags. Dressing up like mummy is what every girl loves. Get the boys to dress up likes dad. Clomping about in his shoes.

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I’ve got so much to share with you-this blog is my gift to other mums.

Have a good week-my next few blogs will be sharing week day cooking, great toddler days out and maybe I’ll share with you a photograph of the cheese pretzels I’m making this afternoon-recipe by Annabel Karmel-a lady who’s work inspires me but often breaks me 🙂 My friends and I might be planning a group birthday party on a budget. I’ll share that too.

Come back again soon x

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A crafty picnic.

I love picnics. There’s something special about eating outdoors and to top it all there’s no washing up and no cooking involved. I’d love to be a posh picnicker-my friend had some Bollinger and some French cheese in her picnic photo. Ooooh lovely!

My family are just as happy with some bits and pieces I’ve dug out from the fridge. I always take fruit, cheese and bottle of the water so we eat healthily. A few sandwiches, low fat crisps like Quavers, maybe some pasta salad and a nice ‘small’ treat too.

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We spread the picnic out on the blanket and off we munch. What I really love is that my little girl who’s 2 and a half can choose what she wants to eat. And she can help lay out the plates and napkins too.

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It’s a nice way to have quality family time.

After a picnic what better way to explore the countryside or beach than filling up our buckets with shells, feathers, stones and leaves. I love doing this and my little girl loves filling up her bucket (Sadly though she is a collector of stones so she collects them and I pick up the nice things for a picture)

Collecting re-enforces learning and by taking things home and talking about them it also creates wonderful memories.

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A really simple and easy bit of fun is to create a nature trail checklist so your little one has to find the objects on your sheet-I draw a leaf, a branch, a flower and a stone on a piece of paper. My daughter finds each one and puts them in her bucket to take home. There are some great free resources online which I print off for sunny days like today:

The Woodland Trust Nature Detectives has a great page on free downloads split in to seasons. All sorts of ideas for you:

http://www.naturedetectives.org.uk/download/summer/

Keeping a toddler entertained is hard work- letting them run free outside to explore and collect takes so much pressure off you and everyone enjoys.

Give it a go-pack your picnic basket or your carrier bag up with goodies and go exploring!

Have a fun time x

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Weekend cooking

I always wanted my little girl to have home cooked meals every day- it’s not easy but I have stuck to this for over two years now. I’ve learned some ways to make this manageable. I’m no Annabel Karmel-trust me! My kitchen isn’t full of exotic spices and herbs. And to be honest I don’t want it to be.

My cooking is fairly basic but nonetheless quite tasty.

Before my girl came along I didn’t and couldn’t cook at all. I remember serving my husband porridge for breakfast one morning pre-baby. I asked if he liked it and he said the way he’d always had it in the past was a bit different. I asked in what way and he replied ‘It moved’!!!! So this blog is not from a pro-cook, a woman who dreamt all her life of being a mum-no-I’m a working mum who scratches about in her cupboards to rustle up a decent meal without burning it. I also use my oven on one setting-high. Well it works for me.

One part of my routine as a working mum is spending half an hour or so in the kitchen on a Sunday making a few meals for the week ahead.

I often just put a whole roasting tray of potatoes in the oven for freezing.

I take one to work every day and they are an easy tea for my daughter-covered in beans, spaghetti, chilli or a casserole.

It saves so much time and thought.

This week I’ve cut up some sweet potatoes, sprayed them with low fat cooking oil and sprinkled on some herbs. These are great to put ready (And can be frozen) for my daughter to have in nursery for lunch. Nutritious, filling, healthy and you can play while they’re cooking

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Every weekend I make a set of sugar-free jellies.
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37p for two packets-enough to make 10 jellies. My little girl loves these and one quick boil of the kettle and you have enough jellies for the working week.

I found a great recipe today for sweet potato soup from the BBC Good Food site:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/sweetpotatosoup_81433

I always make soup because it’s the best way to get my toddler to eat her vegetables and as a constant dieter I can eat it too. I’ll blend the soup and put it in a plastic bowl to eat throughout the week.
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I love it! Basic cooking skills required.

Finally I made a really easier Weight Watchers tomato, basil and quark filo tart.

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Great for the picnic we’re about to go on today to the local estuary.

http://www.weightwatchers.co.uk/food/rcp/RecipePage.aspx?recipeId=72741

Have a great weekend. more about picnics next week