Monday, 26 October 2015

Halloween is fast approaching so I've got some super easy fun Halloween painting activities to keep you and your little ones busy.

All you will need for these activities is some paint, paper, paint brushes, some fruit or vegetables and some little people's hands and feet.

Footprint Ghosts

Simply paint some feet with some white paint onto black paper. Add some black paint for eyes and a mouth. You could always stick some goggly eyes on instead.

Handprint Spiders

Using black paint simply paint palms and fingers avoiding thumbs and stick onto white paper one hand at a time overlapping each palm. Add some white paint with black dots for eyes or again use sticky googly eyes.

Apple Pumpkins

Cut an apple in half and then carve your jack o lantern shapes into the apple. Using orange paint simply paint your apple then stamp onto some paper.

Carrot Ghosts

We used carrots but lots of other vegetables would work for this including sweet potatoes or cucumbers. Simply cut your chosen vegetable in half, cover in white paint then stamp onto black paper. We added some black paint eyes and mouths to complete.

Handprint Frankenstein

Paint palms green then paint fingers black, avoiding thumbs and stick onto paper keeping fingers together. Add some eyes a nose and mouth. We then used black fingertips for the bolts.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

I've been wanting to introduce Oliver to the world of painting for a while but wanted to make sure it was edible paint. I've seen many ways to do homemade painting and instantly thought he would love yogurt painting.

I wanted entirely natural colourings so chose to colour the yogurt with raspberries, mango, spinach, blueberries and carrots. I simply blended yogurt into each flavouring and popped it into a silicone muffin tray. 

I thought it would be safest to try it in the bath, limit possible carpet stains and make cleaning up easy. I put the muffin tray on the bath mat with some paint brushes then stripped Oliver down to his nappy and let painting commence! 

He put his fingers in the raspberry and looked at it then became quite engrossed in the spinach. He mostly liked rubbing it in between his fingers. He then moved into the paint brushes but was more interested in posting them in the bath handle. This kept him occupied for a good 15 minutes. I tried to engage him with actually painting and also to rediscover the muffin tray but he wasn't interested. Once he started to stand up I called it a day as the bath was really slippy. 

I showered him and the bath down. After drying him I wiped the bath with some cleaner. It was the spinach that proved most pesky in the clean up but no colour left a stain. 

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

What I love about baby led weaning (blw) is that it makes dining out with young children so much easier. You don't need to worry about heating jars of baby food or having to mash something up from the menu. Eating out with children is such a fantastic experience for them (you might not agree when they are screaming in a packed restaurant!) but it is building the foundations of a hugely important life skill from a young age.

One of the basic principles of blw is that your child eats what you eat but when dining out, sometimes that is not often practical. When eating out with a young child I would always bring my own food but this involved lots of different tubs hiding in my change bag that was highly unpractical. So I started researching lunch boxes and instantly I was attracted to the Yumbox. The Yumbox encourages healthy, well balanced meals that are the perfect size for young dinners.

Photo 08-10-2015 09 57 24

There are two different styles of Yumbox, the classic and the panino. The panino has one large section and 3 smaller sections while the classic has 6 small sections. I opted for the classic as I felt it was more appropriate for younger dinners. The classic 6 sections are designed to encourage a well balanced, varied diet with offerings from different food groups: dairy, fruit, vegetables, grains and protein. This is handily illustrated on the tray to reinforce the importance of a varied diet.

What I love about the Yumbox is that when sealed it is leak poof. You can safely pack yogurt, dips and fruit purees in the safe knowledge that they won't leak out of the Yumbox or leak into another compartment. Every section is sealed so you don't need to worry about soggy bread!

The Yumbox is the perfect size for a child's lunchbox. It's roughly 8.5 x 6 x 1.8 inches so fits in tote bags. If I've packed something that needs to stay chilled like yogurt you can easily fit the Yumbox in a tote bag with a few ice blocks and it keeps it lovely and chilled. The Yumbox is completely food safe as it is BPA free and contains no phthalates.

We are the proud owners of two Yumboxes, we have the older design and the newer design. The newer design has slightly bigger compartments so is great for my pre-schooler. They come in a variety of colours and the tray inserts can be changed or you can keep it clear.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

We have just come out of a horrible two week long eating nightmare. Initially I thought we had entered the "fussy" stage as he was refusing to eat his favourite foods, not trying new foods and generally living off yogurt for dinner. Most children do go through a fussy stage at some point and we have been previously battling it but this was on a different level.

Unsettled nights and a full blown cold then led me to think it might be teething. Lo and behold, 4 molars in the space of a week decided to make an appearance! 

This has been the biggest challenge I've come across since we started weaning. He literally wasn't eating a single thing at dinner time and this went on for days. His other meals didn't suffer as much so knew he was still getting something but I thought I would get some advice from a health visitor. 

So here I thought I would share some of my tips to help how to survive teething or a food strike. 

Firstly stay calm! It's easier said than done! If you start to get anxious then you will convey that anxiousness to your child.  

If you know it's teething, keep it soft. You don't need to revert to mash or purees but obviously don't offer anything that is going to aggravate sore gums. Try offering something cold like a homemade popsicle or smoothie. 

smoothie bowl

Try something new, if it's a sunny day try having a picnic outside. It might be enough to distract them. 

picnic outside

If your child is not eating try offering them their favourite things. If they don't want to eat their favourite then they are not likely to eat anything. 

Don't spend hours preparing meals if your child is on a food strike. Keep it simple. It's soul destroying when you spend ages preparing a meal for it only to be fed to the floor. 

tuna pasta

If your child is not eating big meals or seems to have a loss of appetite try offering smaller snacks throughout the day instead of 3 big conventional meals. 

During a food strike or teething it's really important to make sure that your child is still drinking. If your child stops drinking or stops having wet nappies it's really important to seek medical advice. 

Finally this is only temporary. It may seem like forever but it's not! There is light at the end of the tunnel, well until the next bout of teething!  Try not to make a big deal about it as you don't want any negative eating habits to appear permanently. Just persevere and try to continue as normal.