Sponsored Video: Stand Up For Good Snacks

The endless shame of toddler parenting for me is, yet again, how far I fail in the food department. 5th time round, I still have a child who has hit age 2 with the palate of an adult and then suddenly regressed until nothing but white processed bread will do. Natural weaning, home made or responsibly created packets and a plentiful supply of different tastes have been, once again, as nothing as my boy retreats into a world where any acceptable food is ditched as disgusting after 3 days and consigned to the ‘he used to eat’ bin yet again.

Tell me I’m not the only one? He used to come home from nursery with a report sheet listing the salmon gratin and chilli beans he had happily chomped on; suddenly it listed “a bit of bread, all his cake and tasted some of a bowl of dry krispies’. It’s disheartening and even as an experienced parent, a little alarming as your toddler descends into the realms of existing on air.

For us, the only trick to keep him eating (and he hasn’t ever looked malnourished so I’ve contented myself with concluding he just went through a phase of not needing so much) is to vary the food as much as possible, pick my battles (a calorie low means ANYTHING will do, even if wouldn’t be my first choice of nourishment) and grab moments when I can distract him into eating such as while in the car or while watching TV (Peppa Pig, I salute you!) I genuinely have used Ella’s Kitchen (Bene refused all others), the brand who made the video below as a way of having a handy and novel snack in my bag and at the low point, a few months ago, we reverted to pouches of pureed fruit and veg for him to such on as the only way to get fresh food into him; this worked a treat, as did stirring it into yoghurts, rice pudding or custard.

We have a massive problem re-educating parents and children in this country so that they grow up eating fresher, healthier food with nutrients rather than empty calories. Perhaps one way is to get them involved in believing what they put in their mouth matters, like these feisty little people in the video. But I know how tough it can be when everything you offer is met with a firm no.

 

What are your toddler and preschool food tips?

Simple Things

We had 3 days apart this week, Bene and I. It was too long really, though I had a marvellous time. And he was fine.

This morning was perfect, him waking up to find me in the bed I wasn’t in when he fell asleep last night. There was pure delight in his eyes. It was a long, slow morning of joyful milky cuddles and an extended lie in.

Then he spent his day like this.

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A baking tray full of lentils and split peas, a small bowl, a coffee scoop and a tea spoon. We played for ages together then he played for hours along, pretending to cook, riding horses through it, driving tractors through it.

60p of pulses that are (remarkably!) very easy to sweep up and use again and hours of educational fun. Perfect.

There’s no place like home, as they say.

Bene is in nursery more than I’d choose just now. Depending on how the next few months go, I might soon be working outside the home.

I must remember to make the most of this time.

It’s an emergency! Unexpected Expenses.

Like plenty of families in this day and age, we are no strangers to the irritating habit money has of going out faster than it comes in. With 5 children to buy for – and an increasingly aging car that is beginning to require hospitalisation for things like “a stuck sensor… that will be £600, thank you very much” there is sadly never a month where we get to the end of it and think “hmmm…. what shall we do with this left over clinking stuff?” – it tends to be more of a case of juggling payments to try and make sure that nothing bounces and no one goes hungry.

We’ve also had our brush with debt in the past, a long time ago when you could buy a house for £30,000; after a miserable few years where costs racked up too fast, we sold up and started afresh, vowing never to let it happen again. It has at times, but we’ve learned a valuable set of lessons in recent years, one of which is to not imagine that a minus number in an account or on a credit card will magically disappear on its own. There is no fairy to spirit debts away and they tend to get larger with time too, which isn’t pretty.

Santander asked me to blog about how we cover ourselves “in case of emergency” and what that phrase means to us. I’ve been thinking about it over the weekend, mulling over the times when the credit card has bailed up out of a tight spot.

  • There was the time when Max left work to help me with running an increasingly huge business and 4 young home educated children. Max has a real horror of debt (far worse than mine, I grew up with it being part of the fun ;) ) but life was getting very difficult and everything was on the line. I remember thinking that we truly must be gripping the wires when he said that if it meant living off credit cards for a while, that was what we would do. I don’t think I realised until that moment how much things needed to change but we took the risk and thankfully, within a few months, it worked to our benefit. As a short term safety net it was worth it.
  • There have been the inevitable moments when the car has broken down towards the end of the month and there simply hasn’t been any extra in the bank accounts. We can’t even get people to school without a car so when that happen, the car has to be resuscitated. Occasionally, just occasionally, that’s a moment to call out the cards.
  • Those dreadful moments in life when suddenly the last thing you need to think about is balancing the books and only keeping body and soul together – and food on the table and fuel in the car – really matter. Proper emergencies. Unfortunately we’ve had them and been truly glad to have a fall back.

Sometimes, because life can be busy and difficult to manage but the problem is more lack of time than lack of money, I use a credit card to keep track of what I’m doing and tot up properly at the end of the month. Christmas (in a large family) probably constitutes a major emergency because I’m utterly incapable of planning for it, despite knowing it comes around every year. So I make sure I start at zero and spend as wisely as I can to keep within a set budget; that saves me from losing sight of my spending in among household purchases and over-doing it. I am really good at paying it off. It’s important. (No tooth fairy for bills, remember? If you forgot, visit this site for support.) I have a rule here that I have no pin number for my credit card so I can’t get shop happy with it and can only be used when I absolutely HAVE to pay something serious – at home, online or over the phone and when I have considered the options.

In the last month (I’m sensing a ‘fail to plan’ theme here!) I’ve had more than a few minor emergencies.

  • Everyone needed new school shoes – the rotters!
  • Everyone turned their school shirts grey or inexplicably grew!
  • Fran achieved more GCSE A’s than expected, meaning I’m taking her to the West End for a treat I hadn’t thought I would need to plan ahead for. (I’m not moaning about this but OUCH! at ticket costs!)
  • Amelie’s school want money for a trip to War Horse for English.
  • Maddy’s school want money for a trip to the ballet for Drama.
  • Bene has outgrown EVERYTHING.
  • The car. The sensor. We aren’t speaking.
  • Fran’s school like them all to have a dedicated school ipad. *And breathe*
  • New gym leotards for everyone. Did I mention the growing thing?

yarn purchase

And then, occasionally, because nothing should be humdrum all the time, I have an accident in a yarn shop. What do you mean I didn’t really need any more yarn? It was an emergency!

Serious issue or ‘let’s pretend that didn’t happen!’ extravagance you couldn’t live without… what comes under the “in case of emergency’ heading in your household?When it comes to finances, what counts as an emergency to you? Have you got ways of short term money management? What are your credit card rules?

Disclosure: This post is in collaboration with Santander and I have been compensated for my time.