Monday, 28 October 2013

Meal Planning Monday - the October half term edition!

Meal Planning MondayYes, it's finally here. A week off. A busy one for us, if the weather lets us do all the things we've got planned. The children and I are off to London on Wednesday, the day before we're all going to the ballet and we have another day out over the weekend.

So, a short week of cooking, and I already have a carry over from last week. Not a lot to buy at the supermarket. Hurray.

Monday - Prawn and coconut curry
Tuesday - Eating out
Wednesday - London
Thursday - Burgers
Friday - Salmon, broccoli and potato bake
Saturday - Sausage plait
Sunday - Out

Short and sweet because well, I have family time to do. Catch more Meal Planning at Mrs M's, click the badge.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Superfoods for super kids?

The media goes on about superfoods a lot. I'm not sure they really exist but they are big business these days.

There is one "superfood" that has been a regular in our household though and that's something called CherryActive. We first discovered it when following the exploits of Run Geordie Run running across the USA. They were one of his sponsors and he used it daily to help him with his recovery from running long distances every day. (Side note - he's currently doing it again, across Australia in 70 days for charity, please give generously, he's mad).

The husband, gadget man that he is, decided he had to try it. In fairness to him, he was training for marathons and then for an Ironman triathlon and was swayed by the prospect of fewer aches and pains. Since then, he's taken it religiously when training.

CherryActive was started by John Carrey in the USA when he discovered that Montmorency cherries helped his gout pain. The concentrate has nothing added to it - sugar, colourings or flavourings - and can be used neat or mixed with water or yogurt. The only problem is that they are sour cherries so it's quite hard to give to children. There are capsules if you don't like the taste but again, not very child friendly.

Beyond its benefits in aiding sports recovery, it is meant to help sustain proper joint function and can also improve your sleep. The level of antioxidants is also meant to help protect against diseases and all sorts of conditions associated with ageing.

CherryActive have now come up with a child friendly alternative, BlueberryActive. Blueberries are believed to have powerful antioxidant properties, but now also it's believed that it can boost brain performance and help protect against neurodegeneration. That should mean it's great for kids to improve concentration at school. Its major benefit is it tastes just like blueberries and a much less sour taste than the cherries. How do I know? Well, CherryActive kindly sent me some to try along with some BeetActive and some of the original CherryActive to try, along with some fancy glasses where you can measure out the right amount of your chosen drink and top it up with yogurt for a smoothie or just plain water. BlueberryActive is actually really nice diluted with sparkling water. I do find the cherry one too sour and beetroot is not my favourite (although perhaps I could use it in a cake...) as it tastes too earthy for me. The children, predictably, loved blueberry so our little bottle went far too quickly.

The only problem is the price. A small bottle of BlueberryActive works out at about £11 for 7 servings. You can buy CherryActive in larger bottles so it can work out cheaper. Still, both work out cheaper than buying smoothies in the shops. And if you want to try it for a bit less, you can buy anything from the CherryActive website and get 10% off if you enter the code KATE10 until the end of October.

(Thanks to CherryActive for sending me some samples to try and 3 of their drinking glasses for us to try.)

Monday, 21 October 2013

Meal Planning Monday - the why is not half term yet edition!

Meal Planning MondayEven going back to school later has made no difference, and we're all feeling a bit tired today. Maybe it's the 400 mile round trip to Buckinghamshire for a party this weekend that is at fault, but I'm thoroughly looking forward to the children not having anything to go to for a week (although we do, just not school stuff).

This plan was kind of cobbled together (as it always is, it gets rejigged so many times!) before and after my weekend. I expect it to fail! Eyes down, look in, here we go. 

Thursday - Butties
Sunday - Roast pork

So, that's me for the week. Can I sleep now? 

Monday, 14 October 2013

Meal Planning Monday - the October comfort food edition!

Meal Planning Monday(I couldn't think what else to call it!)

It's getting colder. Yeah, it's not that cold compared to some of last winter. But cold, compared to what it used to be recently. I don't like this. The heating is on, although don't tell husband but I've got it set so it's only just taking the edge off the cold in the house which means it's not coming on that much at the moment.


Need to use up leftover roast chicken this week and I have a dish carry over from last week after a change of plan when Missy Woo went out for tea on Saturday leading to a freezer dive. We're away at the weekend at a family party for my nephew's 30th birthday. Yes I do feel old, thanks very much.

So, this is it.

Monday - chicken and stuffing pasties
Tuesday - Sweet pea fish pie
Wednesday - Beef keema with carrots and potatoes
Thursday - Sandwiches (tho I'm going out in the evening)
Friday - Honey mustard pork
Saturday - away
Sunday - keeping free, possibly fish finger butties or just takeaway

So that's us. Another week of meals, another week closer to... half term! Click on the badge above to find the rest of this week's meal planning delights by more lovely bloggers.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

A battle worth fighting: me against the children and their teeth

I knew something was up. I think Monkey knew because, for a change, he was not keen to go. My worst fears were confirmed. "He needs a filling," said the dentist. He started to cry when the dentist gave him a talk about looking after his teeth. Before we knew it, we were downstairs booking an appointment when the receptionist asked if we could do it now. Eek. I decided we would, for lots of reasons. He calmed down and actually did brilliantly - although our fab dentist seems to do fillings without any horror shows, as it was the easiest filling I've ever seen.

We did have another chat with Monkey, about brushing his teeth. Bear in mind that Missy Woo gets the same things as he does and her teeth are fantastic and the dentist always praises her. Quite simply, she brushes her teeth properly. I've lost count of the number of times I've sent Monkey back to the bathroom to brush his teeth again after he's disappeared for all of 15 seconds then said he's done his teeth. That must mean there are plenty more times when I didn't.

If nothing else, the filling was a wake up call to him. Whilst it wasn't as traumatic as he thought it would be (mainly driven by his friend telling him how much a filling had hurt - I told you we had a fab dentist!), he realised that not brushing your teeth properly has consequences (especially after breakfast when he often has raisins on his cereal; they are so difficult to unstick from little teeth.) Mind you, there are signs of a bit of slippage and once again, I'm sending him back upstairs after his sister snitched on him a few times.

The problem is, two minutes is a bit long when you are 8. Or 7 but Missy Woo is way more patient.

Thankfully, Colgate sent me a bag of goodies including a fab toothy two minute timer to help them know exactly how long two minutes is. I mean, when Monkey first had a filling, I sat upstairs watching the clock to time them. They sent it for their Oral Health Month in September so let's gloss over the fact that it's now October. Bad Kate. Still, there's never a bad time to discuss dental health for kids.

Colgate shared with me an infographic that I personally found quite interesting, and shocking. I'd share it with you but Blogger won't let me upload the file so I'll give you the edited highlights. Only 50% of children go to see their dentist twice a year. That is down in part to some parents not realising that milk teeth are as important as adult teeth. Another factor is parents' fear of dentists and also because the children are afraid. Generally, I don't fear the dentist which I'm glad about, and my kids have been going to the dentist so long they shouldn't really fear them because they haven't learnt that from me. I'm hoping the filling doesn't scare Monkey in any way.

We are so lucky that we do have a dentist that we can visit regularly - I know that not everyone is so fortunate. And I know that it's really super hard not to give into demands for sweets and chocolate all the time, particularly when you have smart persuasive children. I spend my life saying no to my kids, and I don't always win. But I do think it's a battle worth fighting and winning as much as I can. Having healthy teeth is more important than most of us think - it can affect your overall health, as well as your confidence. So the fight will go on and I'll try to keep them on the right track.

(Thanks to Colgate for sending a bag of goodies for us to try.)

Monday, 7 October 2013

Meal Planning Monday - the leftover leftovers edition!

Meal Planning MondayYes, it's that kind of week. Stuff leftover here and there - stuff I didn't make last week, stuff leftover from Sunday dinner, stuff hidden in the freezer. It should mean it's a cheap week but I've said that before!

We have nothing special planned this week. I actually quite like that after the madness of the last few months! We're into a groove now with school work and stuff, the routine is generally worked out so we know what we're doing and it's generally ticking along.

This, then, is our week.

Monday - Beef stroganoff and rice (leftover roast beef)
Tuesday - Leftover something from the freezer (it's some kind of potato topped pie)
Wednesday - Chicken and mushroom pasta bake
Thursday - Sandwiches
Friday - Italian chickpea burgers (carried over from last week)
Saturday - Beef keema with carrots and potatoes
Sunday - Roast chicken

Yes, that's it. Short and sweet from me today. Don't forget to visit Mrs M's. Click on badge above for more meal planning mayhem. Or something.
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