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Say Your Peas And Thank You’s!

How do I get my toddler to eat their veggies? I asked my Mum friends what their secrets were and they didn’t disappoint with their healthy, creative and sometimes downright sneaky tips- here they are for you to read:

  • Let your little one grow their own vegetables so they can see where they come from and be proud that they grew something you can eat. Look at this fab ‘My First Ever Vegetable Garden’ Children’s Grow Kit by Canova available on Amazon
  • Let them help you prepare vegetables-toddlers like nothing more than sneaking something away when you’re cooking and they want to be just like Mum
  • Home made pizzas can include blended vegetables in the tomato base sauce-get them to decorate with peppers, sweet corn, mushrooms etc then sprinkle with cheese. Great tip from my friend thanks (I use muffins cut in half for the base-so quick and easy. Meal in minutes) Great recipe from Sainsbury’s for toddler muffin pizzasmuffin
  • Hidden vegetable pasta sauce- you can buy shop bought pasta sauces with vegetables inside or you can blend a variety of vegetables and mix them with passata. Bulk make this sauce as use as a pizza base, a Bolognese sauce or a chilli con carne base.
  • Heinz Baked Beans count as one of your five a day so don’t feel guilty for serving them up for lunch.
  • Cover it in gravy!
  • Introduce veggies as soon as they are old enough to chew and eat solids-carrots, sweet potato and parsnip work well and if you are trying baby led weaning methods sticks of vegetables like carrot batons, green beans and cucumber sticks are enticing for your little one
  • Home made soup-so many benefits, lots of different types to try, great way of serving vegetables without them looking like veggies, healthy, cheap, easy and freezable. When my little one was small I used to just buy a great big jar of passata, add to some garlic cooked in a little olive oil and sprinkle with fresh or dried basil. So easy. Other easy soups to make are vegetable, potato and leek, sweet potato, coriander and coconut, carrot and coriander and finally tomato and corned beef which dissolves to make a meaty soup.
  • Don’t give them a choice-serve at every meal from the start so it is the norm.
  • STAR TIP***** Blend everything you eat and feed to your toddler at the weaning stage. It saves double cooking and introduces your toddler to the same foods you eat.
  • I have to quote a friend here as I don’t want to take the credit for such ‘trickery’- My eldest wouldn’t touch any kind of veg until I told her that cabbage would make her boobs grow!” 🙂 I’ll be using that one for sure
  • Roll it in sugar! Hmmmmm. No fear mums this was said in joke

Some great ideas here-what I love it the honesty of them. We’re not boasting about feeding our kids asparagus tips served on bed of spinach. Although that does sound quite nice. It’s just good honest food served by mums who care.

Is it just my toddler that won’t eat veg? Rest easy-here’s some science from Edward Abramson, Ph.D on psychology today :

  • It may help to recognize that we’re born preferring sweet tastes
  • Hundreds of thousands of years ago our prehistoric ancestors who ate sour or bitter things were more likely to perish, those who ate only sweet things were more likely to survive
  • Liking sweet tastes was a survival mechanism that has been passed down to us

It’s NOT Just Baby Fat!: 10 Steps to Help Your Child to a Healthy Weight at Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/g9TAhX

Phew! We can all sigh with relief!

Thanks for the tips mums-keep them coming and thanks for sharing.

Next blog is going to be about making food fun!

Have a good week-photos of my puddings for just 25p will be added today

Amanda

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Toddler crafts for rainy days

One of my favourite things about being a mummy is making crafts. Most of the time I’m left on my own with the glue while my little girl has moved on to other projects. I still love it. To me it’s evocative of my childhood where I spent hours making miniature gardens on a saucer, crafts made out of recycled household bits and pieces and things made out of cut up Christmas cards.

Today’s blog is mainly pictures but the ideas are so simple and fun not many words are needed. So get out the glue and make a mess. Enjoy!

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Paint stamps made from corks carved to with a Stanley knife to make circles, squares, diamonds etc. Lots of fun stamping them on to paper.

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Paper plate flower cello taped on to a green plant stick. Easy!

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Paper flowers in a yoghurt pop

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Toilet roll animals

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Weather mobiles

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kite mobile

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Plate forest-I couldn’t resist

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Alphabet rocks from my creative friend Louise

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Sweet tin covered in coloured paper and decorated with stickers.

Hope you like these. We we enjoyed making them.

Have a great week.

Amanda

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The Other Mums!

I’ve never spent much time in the big mum website forums because I often find the comments from other mums patronising and judgemental. It’s clear they often don’t read questions properly before  jumping on their moral high horses proving they are the best mum in the universe.

My mum friends are not afraid to share their mistakes as well as their achievements. I wasn’t afraid to tell them that I cut my daughters fringe so short she looked like Friar Tuck and I’m not afraid to share some of my little girls ‘naughty’ moments-they are funny to read and sharing often lightens the load.

When you have a child you feel that you have to portray to the outside world what a wonderful life you now have (with a dreamy smile)-in real life there are days when it’s just sheer hard work. Of course we wouldn’t change a thing (Well maybe I’d make more time for a haircut!) and our little ones are so precious but how do the other mums do it?

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My friends, the working mums, are a great source of inspiration to me-they probably don’t even realise it. I asked them what’s your tip for helping you cope with all you have to do. Here are there replies:

  • Tell the ones you love that you love them-it helps you remember what’s important (Particularly the partners)
  • Never let the washing build up for more than a few days or you’ll never catch up.
  • Always have a night out-a happy mum equals a happy child.
  • Don’t stress about the mess-spending time with your child is the most important.
  • Try not to use the TV as a replacement for time with you because you’re busy cleaning-get out of the house and go for a walk. The cleaning can wait
  • Keep minor misbehaviour in perspective. It’s easy when you’re stressed  to blow things out of proportion in the heat of the moment. Take a minute to analyse the situation before you react. You don’t want to regret discipline you’ve chosen.
  • Wine o’clock helps!
  • Takes 5 minutes out to find stillness within yourself. It helps bring calm and order after some of the toddler tantrums, breakdowns and accidents you may have to deal with. Just lie still for 5 minutes and try to get every part of your body to be still.
  • Routine brings stability to everyone’s lives-set bedtime, waking up time, tea time etc. It’s not always possible but it helps children feel in control. Breakdowns often happen when they feel unsure of a situation or it’s a break from their routine.
  • Pick your battles-some things aren’t worth the upset.
  • Never let your children go to bed upset. Laughter and cuddles will help them wake up happy too.
  • Make memories rather than trying to buy happiness. Some ideas in my other blogs
  • Routine ensures you have you time- don’t forget you are a person that needs to be happy too.
  • It’s important for your children to see you happy so do what it takes to put the smile on your face-a spa, a walk, a night out, a movie etc.
  • Don’t feel bad about working-it gives you independence and helps you provide for your family and sets a good example for the future.
  • Only you know what’s right or wrong for your family-don’t worry about what you should or shouldn’t be doing.
  • ‘Those that matter don’t mind and those that mind don’t matter’
  • Coffee! Coffee! Coffee!
  • Lock yourself in the shed!
  • Wine

(Clearly my friends were starting to go down the ‘relaxing’ route the later they replied to my question 🙂 )

Some great comments from some great working mums

I enjoyed reading these-I hope you do too

Enjoy your weekend-the sun is out and I’m off with my little girl and husband to spend the day outside.

Amanda

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A single mum

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With my other half working away for a week being a working mum has brought about new challenges. Having a meal either ready or quick to cook when we get home after six can be stressful. (I’m not going to tell you how much fun I’ve had using the remote control on my own though-there has been an endless stream of cooking and home programmes on-oh and I’m not saying a word about how great it is to sleep like a starfish)

As I mentioned previously I am no natural cook but I have learnt to cope.

Here are my top easy to make meals- some quick and easy, some cook while I’m in work and some are just plain scrimping:

  1. Chicken casserole in the slow cooker. The meat is always tender and the beauty is that is cooks while I’m work. I have a slow cooker big enough to fit a whole chicken- I just add onions, carrots, chopped tomatoes, chicken stock and herbs. Finally chop some small potatoes in to quarters ( I don’t peel them ). Hey presto when I get home our meal is ready, hot and homely.
  2. After I’ve cooked a chicken I put it in the fridge (once it’s gone cold) and the next day I make a really easy curry. Put the rice on to cook. When almost done chop onion and fry. Add chopped tomatoes and fresh tomatoes. Then add some curry paste or powder and you have a delicious curry. Stir in natural yogurt to make it nice and creamy.
  3. Sausage casserole. You can’t go wrong just browning some sausages, putting them in a casserole dish with chopped tomatoes, carrots, onions, herbs, mushrooms and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. I cook this the night before when my little one is in bed then just re-heat for our tea. I always put a little portion aside for her tea the next day.
  4. If you’re in a rush I find gnocchi is really simple to cook and tasty too. Grill some bacon lardons or pancetta under the grill. Add mushrooms to a saucepan with a little fry light, add a tin of tomatoes and some herbs. Leave to simmer. Bring a pan of water to the boil. Put in the gnocchi and remove when it floats to the top. Add to the tomato sauce. Simmer for a few minutes and then serve with grated parmesan.
  5. Spaghetti bolognese. Easy to make the night before and just re-heat once some spaghetti has cooked.
  6. Make double the quantity of bolognese and put aside. Add kidney beans and chilli power for a lovely chilli con carne. You can buy microwaveable rice pouches if you’re short of time. I find them perfectly nice and a good rescue remedy to keep in the freezer
  7. Fresh beef burgers are often inexpensive. I cut them up and once browned add them to a tomato sauce with onion. They make they make fab meatballs.

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  1. I found a really good recipe called chicken mulligatawny. A meal that includes apples, sultanas and chicken. It fed us for two days.
  2. Stir fry is so healthy and so quick. I like too use turkey pieces as it has more protein than chicken. Fry meat until brown. Add vegatables and at the end fresh noodles. Coat in soy sauce. Yummy
  3. Make a tasty marinade for chicken thighs-just put some honey, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and some mustard in a bowl with olive oil. Whisk and coat chicken. Cook. Serve with chips or jackets potatoes and corn on the cob.

Most of these meals are one pot because I find I can hide vegetables in them easier, they take less cooking time and can be frozen or eaten again the next day.

If I make too much of a meal I just freeze a few portions for my little girl to take to nursery. Try and keep lots of different sized plastic pots. Nothing goes to waste in my home.

Have a good weekend. My next blog will be about fruit and vegetables-getting them through toddler customs!

Amanda