Monday, June 28, 2010

Quick Kid Tip - Bendy Straws

Bendy straws are pretty much essential for my kids to be able to drink without a mess when we are out and about. However, most of the restaurants and cafes we go to only have regular straws - a recipe for disaster. So now I keep a toothbrush holder full of them in my handbag. This quick kid tip has made my life much easier and much less messy!

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

CSN Stores Giveaway

A little while ago (OK , a long while ago...) CSN asked if I wanted to host a giveaway. And so, finally, here it is! CSN have generously offered a $50 voucher to any one of their 200 fantastic stores. CSN sell everything you need for your house, from a sofa to a bed to having a fully stocked kitchen. Their store allmodernbaby is amazing, stocking all these modern nursery items. My style usually runs classic as you've seen with Stephen's room, but when I saw rooms like these, I could almost feel myself wanting to run out and buy a whole new room!!

I haven't shopped from CSN since they are in the US, but I have shopped from their Australian collaboration, Buyster, and was really impressed with their service.

Unfortunately, this giveaway is only open to US and Canadian residents, but don't worry, I will have a giveaway for everyone coming soon!

Get one entry for each of the following (leave a comment for each!). Ends Friday 2 July at 5pm AWST.

  1. Subscribe to Chic Mummy by email (or let me know that you already do!)
  2. Subscribe to Chic Mummy by RSS (or let me know that you already do!)
  3. Follow me publicly (or let me know that you already do!)
  4. Follow me on Twitter (use the button at right)
  5. Let me know if you want me to still do giveaways like this, or do they feel too much like ads?

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Disclaimer: I did not receive any compensation for this post other than the giveaway prize.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Healthy Kid's Lunches and Snacks

I have been finding that lunch and snacks are becoming the most important meals of the day for making sure my kids are meeting my nutrition goals for them. I know everyone talks about breakfast being the most important, but my kids have eating breakfast down pat. As long as I serve them some cereal or toast, a glass of milk, a yoghurt and some fruit, they are happy and wolf it down. So that is one meal that is taken care of. Dinner, well, dinner is hit and miss. Some nights they wolf it down. More often than not, they pick and move it around, and then refuse to eat anymore. Nick and I really don't want to make mealtimes a battleground, so we've decided to let it go, and I have been focusing on making sure they eat well at lunch and snack times.

Having said all of that, I really don't want to be making lunch from scratch everyday - we are just too busy for that. Instead, I have been stocking up the pantry and fridge with a range of healthy ingredients so I can mix and match and pull together quick and easy snacks and lunches.

Lunch Basics

  • Wholewheat/wholegrain bread - I have been using Abbott's Bakery Granary bread which is a mix of sprouted grain and wholewheat.
  • Sliced deli ham and chicken - I know these are not ideal options (full of nitrates and salt), but they are still OK sources of quick and easy protein
  • Boiled eggs - I put a saucepan of eggs on every few days, and store the cooked eggs in the fridge. Great sliced or as curried egg in sandwiches or made into devilled eggs.
  • Sliced cheddar cheese (I try to pre-slice cheese off a large block at the beginning of the week rather than buying processed cheese slices)
  • Almond butter - I add this to smoothies, put it in sandwiches and crackers, or serve with apple slices
  • Plain homemade yoghurt - I usually sweeten it with a bit of honey, some jam or some stewed fruit
Fruits and Veggies
  • Fresh strawberries and blueberries when in season, frozen for smoothies when out of season
  • Bananas - on their own, in sandwiches with some almond butter, and of course, in smoothies
  • Apples - great as a snack, even better as cheese and apple sandwiches!
  • Cucumber - my kids like them as half moons to eat on their own, or sticks to dip into homemade dip
  • Grape or cherry tomatoes - make sure to cut in half for younger ones
Treats
  • Rice crackers, vita-wheat crackers or pretzels serve as healthy replacements for chips
  • Homemade jelly (jello) made from 100% juice and gelatin (we are loving an apple, cranberry and pomegranate juice at the moment)
  • Cheese rounds (Mini Babybel - these little round treats are real cheese, not processed cheese)
  • Applesauce tubs
  • Trail mix
From these on-hand ingredients, I can whip together a balanced lunch or snack containing protein, carbs, dairy, fruit and veg. Some of our favourite lunches are our Muffin Tin Monday Lunches (also see pic at the top). I very rarely follow Michelle's themes (I'm just not that organised and the pic below of "red white and blue" just proves it!) but despite that, the kids love being able to pick at little bits and pieces.


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Friday, June 18, 2010

Toddler Get Better Boxes

With winter comes the dreaded colds that lay up your poor toddler. One thing I've found that helps out during this difficult time is a Get Better Box. When my two toddlers are sick, they tend to spend most of their time lying on the couch, so I have put together two boxes filled with small bits and pieces that can help to make their couch stays less miserable.

  • a box of aloe-vera enriched tissues
  • a new colouring book
  • a sticker activity book
  • a mini magna doodle/etch-a-sketch
  • Mickey Mouse or Pooh DVD (the kids don't usually watch DVDs so these are a treat for them!)

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Recipe: Elder, Mint & Thyme Cough Lollies

Winter is coming on fast down here in Oz, and with that comes coughs and colds. I strongly believe in beating coughs and colds the natural way and I have recently added these delicious Thyme and Elder Cough Lollies to my natural medicine cabinet.

Elder, Mint & Thyme and Elder Cough Lollies

1/2 cup dried elder flowers
1 cup fresh peppermint leaves
1/2 cup fresh thyme leaves
2.5 cm (1") pce of fresh ginger, sliced thinly
3 cups rapadura or succanat (unrefined sugar - if you don't have any, use brown sugar instead)
1 tsp cream of tartar
icing (confectioner's) sugar

  1. Line and grease a medium baking tray with butter
  2. In a medium sized heatproof glass bowl, pour 3 cups boiling water over herbs and ginger. Press down on the herbs with a spoon to bruise them and then allow mixture to sit for 1 hour.
  3. Strain through a cheesecloth lined strainer, gathering up the cheesecloth at the end and squeezing to extract as much liquid as possible. Keep the herb tea and throw away the herb remnants (great for a worm farm or Bokashi bucket!)
  4. Measure out 2 1/2 cups of the herb tea into a medium saucepan and add the sugar and cream of tartar, stirring occasionally over a medium low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Use a wet pastry brush to brush down any sugar crystals on the sides of the pan.
  5. Turn up the heat once all the sugar is dissolved, and bring to a good boil. Boil until it reaches 175 C on a candy thermometer (or soft ball stage) - about 20 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat, let cool slightly and then pour into prepared pan. Tilt pan to spread toffee evenly. Allow to cool at room temp. When it is nearly set, score the top into squares, about 60.
  7. When completely cool, break into squares and dust with icing sugar. Wrap each cough lolly in some cellophane or baking paper and store in an airtight container for 3 months.
For other natural cold remedies, check out:

My Homemade Decongestant Balm

My Sore Throat Tea

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Disclaimer: these recipes are for adults only, and are not intended to take the place of medical advice. Use and follow at your own risk

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Trail Mix Snack recipes

Earlier in the year I posted a recipe for a yummy trail mix that has been a real hit with the kids (and me!). While I have been mixing up that basic recipe a bit, I have also been taking the lazy route and making up some mixes that don't require baking in the oven. I don't have quantities of the ingredients, since I just add in and mix around until it looks yummy! For those of you about to go on your long school holiday, these are perfect for quickly making up, packing into little snack bags, and then taking with you on the road.

Apricot & Almond

Toasted granola mix (I have been using Carman's Classic Fruit Muesli)
Dried apricots, roughly chopped
Dry roasted almonds, roughly chopped

Berry Pretzel

Pretzel twists, broken into pieces
Craisins (dried, sweetened cranberries)
Dried cherries, chopped
Dried blueberries

Sweet Treat

Dry roasted almonds, roughly chopped
Mini M&M's
Dried pawpaw (papaya)

Banana Split

Pita Crisps, broken into pieces
Dried banana chips
Walnuts, roughly chopped
Mini choc chips

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