Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Cooking for baby and family

Three years ago I wrote a post about cooking for baby and the rest of the family, with six suggestions of family meals that can be mashed or finally chopped to suit a baby of around 9 months upwards. It is great when they get to the stage of being able to eat a wider variety of foods, can handle a bit of texture and you can cook for the entire family without having to prepare something different for the baby.

My youngest is one now so we have been at this stage for a little while and I was looking back over my old post recently and decided I had another six suggestions to give! 

Soup: anything goes with soup but you can add beans, pasta or grains to make it more substantial. You could also crumble in some cracker/rice cakes/bread into the baby's bowl.

Tacos: these have become a new favourite in the Mummy Zen household. We get the crispy corn taco shells and fill them usually with some kind of black or pinto bean mixture often with a bit of covert veg, finely diced or mashed avocado, sour cream and grated cheese. Baby gets the filling and you could break up bits of taco or give them some softer bread or rice with it.

Shepherds/cottage pie: as a vegetarian, my version of these is with lentil or aduki beans but whatever your main ingredient, the rest is finely chopped veg and mashed potato, so nice and easy for baby to eat or you can even mash it all up further if needed.

Jacket potatoes: popular with many children, simply scoop out the soft potato for baby and mix with your choose of toppings.

Savoury pancakes/fritters: potato pancakes, sweetcorn fritters, or grate carrot, courgette into a batter or anything else you fancy. Make smaller ones for baby to hold (or cut up larger ones), these are a great finger food.

You can see my previous six meal suggestions here.

What are some of your go-to meals to prepare for the family that can be easily adapted to baby?
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You Baby Me Mummy

Thursday, 23 April 2015

6 tips for a longer life!

I have been reading the book, A Short Guide to a Long Life by David B. Agus. The author is one of the world's leading cancer doctors and researchers, amongst other things. The book is a very easy read and compiled of short chapters, each one about a healthy habit he advises people to adopt, or something he thinks we should try to avoid.

As I have found it a really interesting read, I thought I would share a few of his suggestions of things we should all be doing, ones that I think are especially relevant to parents:

Have children: Obviously, not for everyone but the thought behind this one is that raising children keeps us active, both mentally and physically, which are both recommended for good health.

Grow a garden: Agus writes, "This should be a mandatory rule for anyone with children, especially young ones". He believes it is the best way of teaching children how food grows, what it looks like in all its stages and therefore encouraging healthy eating.

Speak strongly to the next generation: Whilst our children might not be very keen on listening to us tell them what is good for them and what is not, Agus believes it is a matter of finding the right words or images that can convey the message in a relevant way to them. He gives an example of showing his own children the Jamie Oliver video where he fills a school bus with the amount of sugar added into Los Angeles Unified School District's flavoured milk each week. It worked in keeping them off the chocolate milk!

Deal with sickness smartly: "Part of the art of dealing with sickness means sticking to our routines as much as possible". Agus advises against lying in bed all day with the curtains closed if we want a quick recovery because if our body is not moving around, the lymph system which helps fight infections will not be in action. This made me smile, as a busy mother to three young children, I never have the chance to lie in bed all day if I am ill and generally, I get over things pretty quickly. My husband on the other hand definitely follows the lying in bed in the dark route and doesn't get over things as quickly I would say...!

Practise good hygiene: Something we can pass along to our children is the importance of hand washing throughout the day. It will help you avoid germs that could make you ill, as well as prevent spreading germs to others.

Have a glass of wine with dinner: There is plenty of talk of wine o'clock amongst the parenting community so this point might interest you! One drink a day for a woman (two for a man) is considered a sensible amount to reap the benefits, particularly of red wine, in reducing your chances of heart disease. Binge drinking at the weekends is not however permitted!

Do you do all or some of the above already?

If you are interested in reading what else helps you lead a long and healthy life, as well as what is to be avoided, do get a copy of the book, A Short Guide to a Long Life. It is very readable and full of lots of fascinating facts too.
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You Baby Me Mummy

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Fear of abandonment

Recently our three and a half-year old daughter has been getting quite anxious, not wanting to be in a room without mummy or daddy during the day time, being a bit scared of the dark at bed time and wanting the bedroom door left wide open... This all sounded very familiar to me, as I remembered my son going through a similar fearful stage around this age. I looked back over the blog to see how old he was at the time, and he was just four. His big issue was waking at night time, scary dreams and thoughts.

Having gone through a similar phase with my son, I know (as with all these things) that it will pass with time. With my daughter however, it is a little more full-on for me as a parent, as she is mostly affected during the day and whilst awake. She is fine once in bed asleep. I literally can not leave her to play for a few minutes while I am cooking dinner or getting the baby ready for bed. Sometimes she is ok if her older brother is with her, but more often than not, only mummy will do.

I am trying to remain patient and understanding. It is a little wearing but I am aware that she needs reassurance and plenty of love and respect for her feelings while she is going through this stage. It is the flip side of a preschooler's independence, whilst happy to go off and do their own thing at times, they can then get worried that mum or dad will go off and leave them. If I tell my daughter I'm going to do something like change the baby's nappy, she'll say, "and then you'll come right back?". Of course, she will follow me anyway....

One day she might not want to come anywhere near me, or be in the same room as me! So for now, I'll try to enjoy the closeness and cuddles as much as I can.

Can you remember your preschooler going through a similar phase? Was there anything you think helped them get through it or was it just a matter of time and patience?
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Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Back to business!

Somehow it has been almost a month since my last post! The Easter holidays kept us busy and we had a great couple of weeks off from school/nursery and the daily routine. I have always loved the holidays but I have also enjoyed the return to the routine and the structure that brings to our days. This time, I was more reluctant to get back to school and the routine than usual, although that feeling may change I suppose.

Spring is full swing now and with that, lots to do! I began my gradual spring cleaning a month or so ago but it is by no means finished and I need to get get back to it. The garden needs some more attention too and I am probably moving my tomato plants outside this week. We planted some potatoes and cucumber plants last week and my neighbour gave me a red pepper plant. The outdoor toys all need a good clean now that the weather is permitting their use once again.

Back to school for me therefore means lots of catching up! The fun and relaxed pace of the holidays definitely takes a toll on the jobs around the house so I guess it is a good thing they have come to an end! 

What about you? Are you glad to have the children back at school and do you also have lots of stuff to catch up on?
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