Mummykind’s November Top 5

Wow – November is over already! Where has the year gone? It’s very nearly, dare I say it?, CHRISTMAS! I’m not sure whether we will continue our round up posts next year – what do you all think?

Top 5 Blog Posts

This post from Maria is number 1 this month!

I guess we know what everyone’s kids have been suffering with since the wintery weather came along!

This one from Sarah is still up there in the top 5! I guess it’s still Summer somewhere…

With the release of Frozen 2 we may need to plan a Frozen themed party to suit those winter birthdays!

We’d love to know if anyone has tried this during their pregnancy as recommended by Maria – get in touch!

This post is up at number 3 this month.

We must have had a few readers looking for gift ideas this month! I’m sure that many of these gift ideas for your paper anniversary could also be appropriate as Christmas gifts for your other half!

This one from Sarah is up at number 4 this month.

Last but not least, at number 5 we have Sarah’s birth story making a comeback!

Keep an eye out for Maria’s new birth story post all about baby no.2!

Top 5 Things we did

  1. Sarah took Kiera to see Little Mix at the O2 Arena in London! Coincidentally, Amy also went to see them the day before. Everyone had an amazing time and came away feeling so empowered. #GRLPWR anyone?
  2. Maria applied for funding to expand her nappy library – keep your eyes peeled for more developments!
  3. Harriet & Florence and Charlie, Immy & Leon all went to Little Street together and had a lovely time
  4. Harriet got a 1st in her first university assignment – we’re all so proud of her!
  5. Maria and her husband celebrated 8 years together – CONGRATULATIONS GUYS!

Top 5 Other Blogposts we LOVED

  1. Tales From Mamaville – The importance of mental health as a mother
  2. Rainbows Are Too Beautiful – An Elf on the Shelf for our autistic kids
  3. Vikalinka – White Christmas Truffle Cake Recipe
  4. Easy Mommy Life – 10 phrases to use when your toddler doesn’t listen
  5. A Moment With Franca – 12 Family Movie Nights Advent Calendar

What have you been up to this month?

Taking Care Of Toddler Skin In Winter

You may remember that Chrissy wrote a post on spotting the early signs of lung cancer for us last year, and today, she is sharing her top 3 tips for taking care of toddler skin in the winter time!


Lots of children suffer with eczema and I know how dry even my skin gets during the winter – I hope that these tips will help someone who’s little one is suffering in the cold weather!


Thank you Chrissy!
 

3 TOP TIPS TO HELP YOUR TODDLER’S SKIN DURING THE WINTER

British winters can be freezing – last winter’s average temperature was at 3.6 degrees – but they can also be magical and full of exciting new experiences for your toddler. That said, raising toddlers in the chilly climate has its own set of challenges. Between helping them battle inevitable colds to keeping them warm and occupied, making sure their skin remains healthy and soft should be the least of your worries. Here are the basics for keeping their young complexions happy and smooth as you introduce your child to the wonders of winter.

Be prepared for skin ailments

As mentioned above, it’s all but inevitable that your little one will come down with some kind of sickness. Runny noses coupled with the contrasting indoor and outdoor environments are the perfect recipe for painfully chapped lips and noses for both yourself and your toddler. In addition, winter weather conditions make your child even more susceptible to skin conditions such as eczema, cold sores, and wind burn. The good news is that there are plenty of natural remedies for these ailments that can reduce discomfort and hasten healing. Stock up on these moisturising treatments such as petroleum jellies and aloe vera gels so that you can soothe an ailment as soon as it appears.

Protection from the elements

As unappealing as the chilly weather and short hours of sunlight can be, venturing outdoors and breathing fresh air for just a couple of hours a day is a great way to keep your toddler occupied, soak up vital Vitamin D and banish fatigue brought on by inactivity. That said, the cool dryness of winter air sucks the moisture from your toddler’s skin as much as it does to yours, and the sun can still do damage even though it doesn’t feel like it’s doing anything at all. To protect your child, make sure you apply sunscreen of SPF 15 or above. It’s also important to dress them well in a coat, a warm hat, scarf, and insulated gloves. Be aware of bundling them up too much though, as this can cause blocked glands and skin irritation.

When indoors, beware of keeping the heating too toasty as an artificially hot, low-humidity climate will also dry out your and your toddler’s skin. Make the air warm, but just cool enough to be wearing a couple of light layers.

Extra care for healthy skin

Your daily routines within your home can have a considerable impact on the health of your toddler’s skin in winter time, and there are a number of simple changes you can make to stop ailments occurring in the first place. Perhaps the most obvious habit to make is to moisturise your child straight after their bath when their skin i

s still damp to lock in as much hydration as possible. However, be careful of the products you use on your toddler’s skin. Go for no-fragrance, soap-free cleaners suitable for sensitive skin to best retain skin moisture and avoid skin irritation. In addition, keep bath time short and in tepid rather than hot water and pat your toddler dry to be as kind as possible to their young skin.

Though it comes with its own set of tough challenges, winter can still prove to be a delightful time with your toddler. By applying nourishing natural treatments to ailments as they appear, protecting them from the harsh climates, and adapting skin-friendly household habits, you’ll maintain your toddler’s smooth, healthy skin and make winter a wonderland to be enjoyed by the whole family.

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Traditional Boozy Make and Mature Christmas Cake

Let me start by saying this: if you don’t want your Christmas cake to pack a serious boozy punch then this is not the cake for you. This is for grown ups only.

You may also be wondering why I’m talking Christmas cake so early… well, the clue is in the title. This cake takes some serious maturing. So this recipe will be broken down into a rough schedule to help you pack the biggest boozy punch into your Christmas cake.  I have written this recipe so it’s easy to make half, the written recipe is for a large family sized cake.

September

Soak 1kg of mixed dried fruit (raisins, sultanas, dried peel – the works) in 200ml of whichever booze you choose. I start soaking in early September in a clip sealed lunchbox and give it a good shake once or twice a week, whenever I remember really. This just makes sure all the fruit gets a good soak and not just the bits at the bottom.

This year I am using Honey Jack Daniels, last year I used Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum and the year before I used cheap supermarket own Brandy. It all works and it’s all preference.

If you skip this stage you can just soak for an hour before you bake but I prefer a good mature soak.

October

Time to  bake!

At some point in the first week of October you need to bake your cake. Don’t worry about it going stale or going bad, you’re going to spend the next two and a half months feeding it more alcohol.

Here’s what you need:

Equipment:
LARGE saucepan
LARGE mixing bowl
LARGE tall sided cake tin.
Baking parchment or bake-o-glide

Ingredients:

Your pre-soaked fruit plus another 50ml of your chosen alcohol
250g Butter (because of allergies, we use dairy free spread or baking blocks and they work very well)
200g Soft Brown Sugar (light or dark)
Zest and Juice of 1 Orange

1tbsp Ground Mixed Spice
1tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

200g Plain White Flour
100g Ground Almonds
100g Flaked Almonds
1tsp Baking powder
4 Large Eggs

Method:
1. Put the fruit, booze, sugar, butter, spices, vanilla, zest, and juice into the saucepan and gently bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Transfer the mixture into a large bowl and leave to cool for at least half an hour.

3. Preheat the oven to 150°C and line your baking tin. A circle at the bottom as usual but the paper around the edge needs to be around twice the depth of the tin and sticking out the top. It’s a good idea to check your oven shelf is the right height to accommodate this before the oven gets hot.

4. Add the remaining ingredients, leaving the eggs until last and beat well.

5. Transfer the mix into your prepared tin and bake for 2 hours. If you end up with too much mix you can bake whatever you have left in a loaf tin or muffin tin and enjoy them before Christmas! (Smaller cakes will need less time in the oven so check regularly once the first hour has passed)

6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before poking a generous number of holes into the top of the cake with a skewer, fork or spoon handle and feeding it 25ml of your chosen alcohol.

October, November and December

You can store your cake in the baking parchment it was cooked in, wrapped in a cloth or tea towel or wrapped in cling film if you have nothing else. It’s best to then keep it inside a tub or a tin as well.

Feed it 10ml weekly or 20ml every two weeks until two weeks before the date you would like to ice it. If you feed it too close to icing it, it will be too wet to ice.

Icing

Traditionally, I ice my cake on Christmas eve, possibly because no one can be trusted not to eat it once it’s iced. I will hold my hands up to this: I use ready made marzipan and fondant icing. It’s partly a skill thing, partly a cost thing, partly a time thing. The end result is the same so I won’t lose sleep over it. You can also leave the cake naked if you prefer.

1. Roll the marzipan into a circle big enough to cover the entire cake
2. Brush the cake with some warmed up marmalade or citrus jam. One year I used ginger preserve which was delightful.
3. Lay the marzipan over the now sticky cake and smooth down the edges
4. Trim off the excess marzipan and save it for later
5. Repeat the above steps with the icing but substitute marmalade for vodka of you have it or whichever alcohol you have been feeding your cake.
6. Add any embellishments to your cake that you would like and try not to eat it straight away.

The leftover marzipan and icing

I make it into sweets. It’s the best.

1. Roll the icing into a long flat strip  and inch or two wide
2. Roll the marzipan into a sausage shape the same length
3. Moisten the  icing with a dab of water (child friendly)
4. Roll the icing around the marzipan nice and tight
5. Cut the roll at 1/4 inch intervals to make small festive treats

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Winter vs. spring: What’s changed?

So spring is finally here, and with the change of season comes many other changes. Whether it be changes in your child, your life or yourself, change is inevitable throughout the year. Here at Mummykind, we have also experienced it!

Aimee:

  • Evie potty trained day and night not even within a week of eachother!
  • I’ve got a new job that finally fits around childcare and my family!
  • Evie has started to show off everything she’s learnt at nursery since January.
  • I’ve also started to learn to drive!
  • The language Evie has been using has developed so much and her memory for songs and stories continues to amaze me every single day.

Sarah:

  • Jamie went to Afghanistan and now it’s me and Olivia all by ourselves!!!!! (It terrifies me)
  • Olivia has started potty training and is doing really well at telling me when she needs to go… but she also stands up and shouts “I did it!” even when she hasn’t!
  • Olivia learned a bunch of new French words and has started saying proper sentences, too.
  • We have a pretty good bedtime routine going on.
  • I’ve started cooking and baking more often like I used to.
  • Olivia has a new found love of splashing in, well, everything – be it puddles, the paddling pool, or the bath!
 
Amy:

  • I split up with my son’s father and began my new life as a single mother
  • I was diagnosed with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) and finally got the help I have needed for a long time
  • Oliver has started walking and has become incredibly aware of his surroundings
  • I have started setting myself goals and ambitions
  • Oliver had his first parents’ evening at nursery and I discovered he is the class clown!
  • I have learned that I have truly incredible friends who support me in my time of need and Oliver has amazing godparents who are always there for him.
  • I’ve also learnt that Oliver looks exactly like I did as a toddler
Charlie:

  • I finally admitted to myself and my doctors that I need some extra help for my anxiety, which has been a positive step.
  • We did our first holiday abroad to France!
  • Imogen continues to learn new words every day and amazes us!
  • She is beginning to form opinions on things, so she is telling us exactly what she wants, and doesn’t want!
  • She is also getting really good at picking up on people’s different emotions and she shows a lot of care and concern for people who are sad, hurt or unwell. She says “oh dear” and tries to comfort people, which is really heart-warming and sweet, but not so much when it’s a stranger like the man who was laying down reading a book in the park the other day! We’re extremely proud of her.
 
Maria:

  • My little man has had a crazy growth spurt and suddenly started talking (and lying). I’m so pleased because I was concerned about his progress with speech and now he seems to be doing just fine… even if he is running rings around me.
  • I have lost a shed load of weight through careful diet and increased physical activity and I am back into my pre-baby jeans. I feel better for it, especially my ankles!
  • Potty training has taken a back seat, it’s not worth the stress it was causing me or my son, we have decided to revisit it when his communication is more consistent.
  • My cloth nappy library has become incredibly busy after a quiet spell over the winter and with all the sunshine lately it couldn’t have come at a better time. Nothing is more satisfying than a washing line full of nappies.
Mummykind:
  • Mummykind’s pageviews went over 200,000 in a blink!
  • We hit 200 followers on instagram!
  • We started our own Tailwind tribe, please join in!
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6 tips to help your toddler through a cold

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Winter is here and it brought my son the gift of a snotty nose and a sore throat. Toddlers end up suffering colds so badly because they don’t understand what is happening and they can’t dose up on cold and flu medicine.

1. Honey and lemon

This classic cold remedy is brilliant once your little one is over a year old.  If they are under one year old this is isn’t suitable because honey contains Clostridium Botulinum. Paired with their immature guts, there is a (very low) risk of them developing botulism.
The honey is good for sore throats because of its antibacterial and potentially antiviral properties and the lemon packs a nice punch of Vitamin C.

I struggled for ages to make it the right temperature quickly without making it taste gross. The answer? Frozen lemon. Buy a few lemons, quarter them and freeze them. Pop one or two slices into a hot water and honey mixture and wait a couple of minutes. Give them a little squeeze and voila! Perfect toddler temperature honey and lemon. We pop ours in a sippy cup with a lid so the lemon can stay in the drink without getting in the way.

2. Vapour rub

Maybe it’s obvious, but vapour rub is brilliant. Don’t just buy the normal strength one though, make sure you get the kids one; the adult one can be a little bit too potent. Most baby ones are fine from six months, but always check the label.

3. Vapour Oil

There are child strength ones available but they are just diluted versions of the normal one. We use Olbas oil  which has instructions for use with children from six months, they also make a children’s one which has a different ‘dosage’. As long as you follow the instructions either is fine.  When my son was still in his cot it we were able to put Olbas in his room in a bowl of boiling water but now he is in a bed we can’t do that. My solution is to put a drop or two on a little square of cotton or a tissue and put it under his mattress so he can’t get to it. It’s strong stuff so it will definitely work through that many layers. Please contact a qualified aromatherapist for advice if you have pets in the home as some essential oils can be harmful to animals.

4. Paracetamol

I try to avoid turning to infant paracetamol regularly, but I always have it on hand for those times it’s unavoidable. If his colds get really awful I know his sinuses are going to be hurting, easing one symptom can really help manage the others.

5. Muslins or Handkerchiefs

Tissues are a huge waste of time, resources and money just to make your nose sting when you blow it. We all know how sore your nose can get with a cold, now imagine if you had super delicate baby skin? Ouch. We opt for the muslins my son had as a baby – now he doesn’t spit up they may as well get some use. They are soft, gentle and reusable. We’re totally cool about germs, we’ve all been exposed to them if someone in the house has a cold but if it concerns you, a 15 minute soak in sterilising fluid or a 60 degree wash will kill any lurking nasties. If it’s a bug rather than a cold you’ll likely be doing some hot washes anyway.

6. Patience

This one can be so difficult, especially if you have a cold as well.

It’s 2am and your toddler is just crying at you, completely inconsolable and not listening to a word you say. They won’t calm down and it’s making them cough and rasp and you can see the more they cry the more upset they become. You’re freezing because you heard a cry, went straight to them without grabbing a dressing gown and you’re tired because…well it’s 2am (and they did this last night as well). It is so easy to get frustrated but I just think about how much I would panic if I woke up not able to breathe. They don’t understand and they don’t realise you’re trying to comfort them. The best thing I’ve found is to try and distract my son. If I can get him to laugh we are half way there. We already know we’ll be exhausted in the morning – that’s inevitable now, so we might as well have a giggle.

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