Mummy I want something else!

“I want something else”

Please say I’m not the only parent who hears these words mere minutes after her toddler has ‘finished’ her dinner!

Imogen has always been so good at eating. She’s usually liked trying new things, just sometimes has needed a little encouragement. I know there’s of course going to be those things she will not like for a while, (maybe even ever)… such as peppers, but on the whole, if it’s sliced up small enough, in another meal she’s wolfed it up. So over the last couple of months this new refusal to eat pretty much anything I’ve put in front of her has been a bit of a shock. I’ve been so smug and naïve!

At 2 and a half Imogen has become such a fiercely independent young lady. She’s putting on most of her clothes herself, she’s choosing what she wants to wear, what she likes and dislikes, so I guess it’s only natural that she would be trying to choose what she wants to eat. Of course anyone who didn’t know the repercussions would want to eat nothing but chocolate and biscuits, but trying to get it through to a toddler that this isn’t possible is not easy is it!?

I tried different techniques: gentle persuasion, cartoons on the TV, no TV at all, music, sitting next to Imogen for emotional support, eating all together at set meal times, eating out in public, negotiation, and the more desperate approach of bribery with dessert/cake. Nothing was working!! This toddler had me wrapped around her little finger and she knew it. All those meals she used to love… spaghetti Bolognese, moussaka, sausages, chicken nuggets… Imogen was now telling me “I DON’T LIKE IT! I WANT SOMETHING ELSE!”

WHY????!! You liked it a couple of months ago!

I was even considering putting my daughter in nursery for the entire 5 days a week because every time I’ve gone to pick her up, the darling has eaten double portions of all the meals they’ve been serving. At least, I thought, she would be eating! But no, in all honesty I enjoy my time with her and that wouldn’t be what I wanted really. I also can’t imagine having the finances to do that.

So I’ve tried something new.

I bought the Fred Dinner Winner Kids’ Dinner Tray, with dinosaurs on, for my little dinosaur lover. If you’ve not seen these dinner trays they look like board games, with a little windy path to the hidden prize at the end.

I also printed out a little sticker rewards chart which has gone on to the wall next to where she eats.

The dinner tray has gone down well. My only comments on it really are that Imogen hasn’t got her head around eating from the slots in order, but on the plus side, she has been eating it all. When she’s older, I’m sure she’ll get the idea around it being like a board game, but right now I think it’s appealing because of the dinosaurs and the surprise at the end. The prize slot is a little small, so what I thought I might do is maybe draw a small picture of a yoghurt pot etc on a folded piece of paper, so she knows what her surprise is when she opens it up. It’s just too small for anything really other than a couple pieces of chocolate. When Imogen has eaten her dinner we have the exciting job of adding a star to the reward chart, and it shows a reminder that she has been eating all week. So far, it has been working, but I don’t know how long it will work for. I’m hoping that if we make it our new routine hopefully Imogen will start eating better. We also need everyone else to be on board, i.e. the grandparents who have a tendency to give children what they ask for!

If you have any dinner time tips for getting a fussy or bossy little one to eat, please share them here for everyone to see, we’d love to hear them! 🙂

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Organix Snacks for Babies and Toddlers!

We were recently sent a big box of goodies from Organix to review! Included inside were a number of baby and toddler snacks which are all vegetarian and some even suitable for vegans and children with cows’ milk protein allergies (CMPA).

Part of the bundle of goodies we were sent were these new pea-based snacks:

The pea puffs on the left are suitable for vegans and CMPA, and the other two packets are suitable for veggies and a huge win with Olivia! Her favourites are the cheese and onion lentil hoops, but whenever she eats them I have to sit her away from me because the cheese and onion smell is quite strong!
These packets are great for taking out and about with you and even for packed lunches, and are a fab alternative to just having unhealthy crisps in the kids’ lunch bags. Organix have a no junk promise, ensuring that these are pretty much as good for your children as you can get. I love that these have hidden veggies in them but are marketed as NORMAL things your child would eat, specifically aimed at kids and with fun, colourful designs on the packets to make them more appealing… In fact, these ones Olivia calls her “sweeties”:

The fact that she thinks they are sweeties is adorable and great from a mum perspective, because I can bribe her reward her good behaviour with “sweeties” that are actually not full of rubbish! No mum-guilt here!


Here’s what Amy and Oliver thought!

Oliver tucked straight into his pea puffs, infact he snatched the bag as soon as he saw them and ga
ve me a massive grin, I was very intrigued to see his reaction as he has a tendency to be picky sometimes, but as you can tell by the picture, he was tucking straight in and at some points I had to ask him to stop ramming as many as possible in his mouth.

They we’re great to have in my handbag or his nappy bag to take out and about and since trying them I have bought more as they’re good value for money and it’s reassuring to know what he is eating is healthy and won’t give him a massive sugar high.

I could tell he enjoyed it as Oliver does this super cute thing where when he is enjoying food shouts “Mmmmmm” and makes a cute attempt at saying “delicious!”

These biscuits were also a big hit with both of them, and definitely a much better alternative to normal sugary biscuits! Oliver and Olivia enjoyed sharing them and kept coming back for me!

All in all, these are fab little snacks for babies and toddlers of all different ages! Oliver is almost 2, and Olivia is 6 months older than him.

The no junk promise makes these the perfect selection for picky children who want a treat, without any mum guilt!

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20 of the best Moana birthday party ideas on Pinterest!

With a toddler who adores Moana and a 2nd birthday party to plan, I have, of course, been scrolling through Moana party ideas on Pinterest for weeks now! The trouble is that there are so many amazing things that I want to try, so here is my list of the top 20 Moana party ideas on Pinterest!

1. Heart of Te Fiti cookies

Moana Party Treats - Heart of Te Fiti Cookies Recipe from Paging SupermomMoana birthday party ideas - heart of the fiti sugar cookies
These are a simple, yet effective, Moana birthday party idea! Everyone loves cookies, and whichever design you go for, it looks like they’d be pretty difficult to get wrong! The design on the left reminds me of a jam roly poly, so you could possibly even make one of those in the Heart of Te Fiti shape and colour!
If you love the look of these cookies, have a look here at our recipe for Heart of Te Fiti cookies that are 100% vegan!

2. Kakamora coconut cups

Moana Party Favor Ideas. Complete your Moana Birthday Party with this Kokamora Cups, use the Free Printable Moana Kokamora Faces. This is a great addition to a Luau Party or Hawaiin Party as well. www.anytots.com for more Moana Party Ideas.
These are so cool! You can buy pre-made coconut cups (not real coconuts, I might add), and download the free printables to either get kids to make their own, or to choose a cup that you’ve already stuck a face onto!

3. Moana themed balloons

DIY Balloon and Fronds Tropical Party Table Centerpiece Garland - learn to make this easy table decor for your birthday table, party photo booths or summer party decorations!We made these palm tree balloon columns to fit a pirate theme
This is another simple, yet effective, Moana decoration you can easily make at home! You can switch up the colours of the balloons in the garland, and there’s even a tutorial on Pinterest to make your own balloon arch! Failing that you can use the garland as a table decoration, and have the balloon palm trees placed around the garden to make it feel like you’re on Motunui!

4. Flower garlands for kids

Want to learn how to make this beautiful JAM DIY tissue paper flower garland? Click the pin to find 5 easy steps!
You can either have these pre-made for when your party guests to wear when they arrive, or as a party favour for the kids to take home, or as another activity for them to do at the party – the possibilities are endless! Personally, I think I’d use them for when the kids arrive so that everyone can get into the Polynesian spirit and celebrate the Moana party in style!

6. Coconut bowling

Add a fun twist to summer games with the kiddos -- go coconut bowling!  A simple, fun outside game that'll have the kids giggling the whole time.
Using the Kakamora printables above, you can easily make these bowling balls into “murdering little pirates” and use them to bowl down pineapples, water bottles, or even mini palm trees.

7. Pin the nose on Pua

MOANA PARTY GAME Pua Pin My Nose 11x17 inches and 18x24 new
A classic party game is pin the tail on the donkey, so why not modify it with a Moana twist and pin the nose on Pua? You could choose any character, really! Pin the Heart on Te Fiti/Te Ka, or pin the tail on Hei Hei! All it requires is a printer, some cutting out and some blindfolds for the kids to take part! And, of course, adult supervision when they’re all blindfolded and spinning around in circles…

8. Moana sail boat hot dog trays

Moana Birthday Party Printable Sail Boat Hot Dog Tray
Even though we are vegetarians in our house, we could easily adapt this to use veggie sausages/hot dogs, or we could simply prepare these for our meat-eating guests! Either way, it’s a fun twist on a classic hot dog and the Moana sail boat is just too cute not to try!

9. Sand pudding parfaits

Sand Pudding Parfaits - a delicious Golden Oreo dessert with layers of pudding cream between.
This amazing recipe uses golden Oreos and cream to make a delicious beach-like pudding in a cup! Not only are these super tasty but they’re also no-bake, meaning less washing up and that’s always a win!

10. Personalised Polynesian Luau party favours

Kids Personalized Luau Party Favors Flower Lei by stargazinglily, $4.25
These are available to buy on Etsy, but it would be a much better idea to have the kids make their own to pop into their party favour bags! All you need is the right beads and some elasticated string!

11. Find the Heart of Te Fiti

Moana Heart of Tafiti Party Favors!  Glass gems - $1 @ Dollar Tree Lime paint pen - $4 @ Michael's
These are so quick and easy to make, and if you make enough for each child they can have a scavenger hunt to find the Heart of Te Fiti, doubling up as an additional party favour.
 

12. Themed character foods

Looking for some awesome Moana party food ideas? Look no further!

You can try out Hei Hei chicken nuggets, coconut Kakamora kebabs – all you have to do is get little themed place cards to pop next to the food… You can even DIY them by using cocktail sticks and printing it out yourself!

13. Moana doughnut boats

This is a super easy Moana party food idea! Download our free printable sails and use cocktail sticks to stick each one into a doughnut to make boats just like Moana's!
These are such a cute and fun idea for a sweet treat at your Moana party!
 

14. Tamatoa croissants

These are amazing! All you need is some googly eyes, cocktail sticks, croissants and fillings! You could even add something “shiny” to his back!

15. A hula skirt table

Luau party
If your party guests aren’t already adorned in Moana-themed costumes, get them into the Polynesian party mood with some tropical hula skirts and the flower garlands that you made yourself or bought pre-made from the shop! And if you don’t want to hang onto these after the party, pop them in the party bags for the kids to take home!

16. Moana inspired face paint

Moana inspired face painting
I mean, you probably couldn’t do this yourself unless you’re a super talented artist, but this Moana inspired face paint is just incredible!

17. Sailboat cupcakes

Wrapper e toppers para mini Cupcake. Barco Moana. Festa Moana.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE these! The wave pattern around the cupcake case just makes this look really awesome, and who doesn’t love cupcakes? The mast is just a clear straw, and then you have the classic Te Fiti spiral on the flag.

18. Heart of Te Fiti cupcakes

Perfect cupcakes for the best Moana party ever!
These are a simple yet effective design utilising simple food colouring and icing penmanship! And you can style them up with cute little place cards too!

19. Beach jelly pots

Love all of these Under the Sea party ideas!  These little jello sail boats are so cute!
These are technically an “under the sea” theme, but they would work just as well for your Moana themed party!

20. The CAKE

Well, I have seen some pretty AMAZING Moana inspired cakes… Take a look at some of these:
Handmade Moana face cake! Pretty good resemblance and amazing flower in the hair!      Moana Cake

Girl's 'Baby Moana' Birthday Cake     Pastel-para-fiesta-de-moana (15) - Decoracion de Fiestas Cumpleaños Bodas, Baby shower, Bautizo, Despedidas

Moana Cake by Simona Volpe‎     Moana cake

And as hard as it is to pick a favourite… It’s got to be this one:

Te fiti of Moana cake

I mean, it’s just incredible! I wish I could make a cake this awesome!

So that is it! I hope you’ve loved this Moana party ideas round up from Pinterest – let me know in the comments if you’ve tried any of them or if you’ve come across any more amazing Moana inspired party ideas on Pinterest!
 
And remember everyone…
 
WE KNOW THE WAAAYYYYYY…. I AM MOANAAAAAAA

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Trying SimplyCook

Before I start, I should probably say, this isn’t sponsored by SimplyCook. I’m just a mumma who loves food and discounted/free thigs!

As the main cook in my household, I hate dinner time, because I try and make something new but always end up going back to the same old meals we usually have, which is what drew me to SimplyCook. As a lot of ‘post box’ brands do, SimplyCook had a ‘first box for £3’ offer going and I’m never one to turn down discounted things so I got one and eagerly awaited the post for my box.

In your box you get 4 mini boxes containing herbs, spices etc. Everything you’’ll need to add to your food to make it taste amazing.

Meal 1- Santa Fe Chicken Salad


Included in the box – 
Cilantro Salsa Blend
Grilled Pepper Mix
Ancho Chilli Rub

Ingredients to buy
Chicken
Peppers
Red Onion
Tomatoes
Bag of Salad

The Verdict.
I’m a little bit on the fence with this one. The chicken had such an intense, moreish flavour to it and really brought the salad to life and the same with peppers but unfortunately the same can’t be said about the Cilantro Salsa Blend. It had a very intense lemon flavour that was hard to swallow and just didn’t go well with the chicken. It was the only thing left on our plates at the end of the meal, which was a shame because I LOVE salsa so was looking forward to trying it on a salad. It just didn’t match the great tastes of the chicken. At  approximately 410 Calories per serving, which isn’t bad, I just don’t think its worth trying again just because of that.

Overall I’d give this meal a 6/10, sadly let down by the Cilantro Salsa Blend. My partner sadly gave it a 4, again let down by the Cilantro Salsa Blend.

Meal 2 – Hungarian Goulash Soup


Included in the box
Sweet Paprika
Goulash Spice Blend
Beef Stock

Ingredients to buy
Pork Sausages
Onion
Carrot
Red and Green Peppers
Tomato Puree

The Verdict.
This meal was delicious! It was warming, comforting and just everything you want for a cold, miserable day. I will say, I chose to have it with crusty bread rather than the 2nd option of mashed potatoes, but I wish I had gone for the potatoes as it is more of a casserole consistency and would have made the meal even better. I can’t fault this meal at all, it wasn’t perfect but it was very very yummy! It is approximately 500 Calories per serving which is amazing from something so hearty!

Overall I’d give this meal an 8/10, simply because it was more of a casserole than a soup but still tasted amazing!

Meal 3 – Shakshouka


Included in the box
Cumin & Caraway Mix
Spricy Tomato Paste
Shakshouka Spices

Ingredients to buy
Eggs
Tomatoes
Onion
Red and Yellow Peppers
Bread

The Verdict.
WOW. We had this for brunch after date night and it may not look like much but it was amazing. It was such a welcomed change to our breakfast routine and it was just perfect. The spices and flavours in this meal just blended so perfectly together with the eggs and it really got me and my partner excited to try it again. At only 375 Calories per serving, it would be rude not have it again! Definitely the best meal from these boxes so far!

Overall I’d give this meal a 10/10. It was such a lovely change from our usual breakfast choices and we are already planning on having it again!

Meal 4 – BBQ Tandoori Chicken


Included in the box
Smoked Chilli Blend
Sweet Potato Seasoning
Tandoori Paste

Ingredients to buy
Chicken Thighs
Natural Yogurt
A Lemon
Sweet Potatoes
A Bag of Salad

The Verdict.
This meal was pretty good, not too spicy but not lacking in flavour also. Even my daughter tried it, which at the moment is saying something because she is ill and really fussy. The meal made me and my partner nicely full and kept us full for a longer period of time (although, I did have room for a sneaky piece of banana cake whilst I wrote this… oops!) This one is a nice altenative to buying food from a takeaway and a lot healthier at approximately only 500 Calories per serving!

Overall, I’d give this meal an 8/10. It was a lovely meal and I will definitely try it again, it just can’t have a 10 because it was nowhere near as good as the Shakshouka.

So! Would I buy this again…?
Absolutely! Not only did it help with the buying side of things, it also gave me more ideas for dinner time. We would never have tried most of the things in this box but we do definitely be eating them again. (Especially the Shakshouka!)

I would absolutely recommend SimplyCook to anyone who is stuck for dinner ideas, wanting to try something new or anyone who just loves amazing food!

The ups and downs of baby led weaning

I began giving her finger foods like cucumber sticks and avocado wedges to munch on, but every time she coughed I was convinced she was choking. My partner must have been sick of my overreacting, but I didn’t see it as that at the time. There was nothing melodramatic, I really thought she wasn’t breathing when she clearly was.

Our weaning journey began what feels like a million years ago, but it was actually only 10 months ago.

My experience of weaning Olivia may have been very different to others’ experiences, but I think that some of the worries and concerns would be the same as any other mum starting to wean their little monster!

At four and a half months old, Olivia was so interested in everyone’s food. She was rolling and pulling herself along the floor, and could sit up all by herself. She also had a habit of putting EVERYTHING in her mouth, and trying ever so hard to pinch my food and eat it, so her hand eye coordination was good enough for weaning too. But I didn’t feel ready.

My baby was giving me all of the signs to say that she was ready to wean, and so the day before she was 5 months old, she had her first rusk. I watched her like a hawk, terrified that she would choke on a bit of it, but she was absolutely fine and she loved it.

That was the beginning, and it started relatively well. I began giving her finger foods like cucumber sticks and avocado wedges to munch on, but every time she coughed I was convinced she was choking. My partner must have been sick of my overreacting, but I didn’t see it as that at the time. There was nothing melodramatic, I really thought she wasn’t breathing when she clearly was.

She was fast approaching six months old, the recommended age for weaning babies, and so pressure from my health visitor was increasing to let her try a variety of foods herself, and I said yes and went along with it. Every mealtime was emotionally traumatic for me. Every mealtime I ended up in tears and snatched the food away from Olivia, throwing it out and replacing it with milk. It was so hard to be sure that she wasn’t choking and that she was fine. Around that time I was re-diagnosed with depression and anxiety having spent two months thinking everything had gone away by itself, and that explained my irrational fear of the little one coughing at mealtimes, but it’s also a common feeling for new, first time mums to feel so worried about choking. I attended all of the save a baby’s life and baby weaning workshops at the local health centres, but it didn’t prepare me for how hard it would be not to assume the worst and overreact at the slightest spluttering.

It didn’t help being told that it was normal and that every new mum gets paranoid, because personally I don’t believe that it’s true. Why are people on the outside so quick to paint as wide a brushstroke as possible to say what is normal? What is normal for me isn’t normal for somebody else. My obsessive anxiety over feeding my daughter was not normal for me, and once I stopped trying to be normal and follow the advice of other mums, my own maternal instinct was allowed to kick in.

I convinced the health visitor that baby led weaning was too hard for me, listening to my partner who didn’t want to see me and our baby crying our eyes out at every meal. I was able to finally speak for myself and access support, not unhelpful advice that clearly wasn’t working for me. She helped me work out a proper feeding schedule, phasing in a ready-brek breakfast, a pureed lunch and a pureed dinner, healthy vegetarian options incorporating different flavours and textures. Choosing not to continue with baby led weaning didn’t mean that Olivia wasn’t going to experience different foods, or that she wasn’t going to learn how to eat (as my partner kept reminding me).

As my confidence grew and my anxiety lessened, we fell back into baby led weaning as if she’d been doing it all along. She took food off my plate, she had fruit and vegetable finger foods, and we switched to toast for breakfast for her to feed herself.

She’s now 15 months old, loves her food, and has absolutely no problems navigating lumps and bumps in her meals. Most foods she feeds herself, some are still semi-mashed up and spoon-fed. Looking back on the first 2/3 months of weaning, it seems silly and unnecessary that I worried so much. I desperately wanted to be able to do something right, after having a ton of trouble breastfeeding I think I wanted to compensate.

There was nothing to compensate for. She was fed, happy, healthy, loved and looked after. Who cares how we do it, as long that’s what we do?

It may take time to find your groove, but it’s there, and everything does click into place in the end.