Tag Archives: food

Catch up

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I have to stop counting on months now, right? (25 months old!)

Quite update on some things we’ve been up to.

2 year Health Visitor check went pretty well. We had been entirely honest on our form- it asks about whether he can perform certain tasks. There were a few we didn’t know about- like whether he could flick a switch. We’ve always discouraged him from switches of any kind (ie sockets) so he’s never found out! The Health Visitor ended up changin g a few of our answers for a better score as she could see that he’s very capable. He can use a fork. He chooses to use his hands. He probably can tidy up his toys. Not to say he will! Anyway, she was pleased with him as we hoped so that was good.

The health visitor checks are interesting. My view has always been that if you have attended one and think it’s a waste of time, then you are probably one of the lucky ones. This means there are no problems being identified with your childs speech, fine motor skills, weight gain or any other factors. This means your child is developing normally and you had to take an hour out of your day to find that out. Sometimes its’ hard to think outside of our own home-life bubble, but there will be parents who have taken their child to a checkup where the health visitor has identified an issue with the child’s development or home life that needs attention. It may help pick up on problems early so they can be tackled or that families can be signposted to get extra help where needed.

The other side of things I often hear on the facebook breastfeeding groups I’m on is about how some health care professionals including health visitors treat those of us that practice Attachment Parenting. I HATE labels like this but if I look at the way we are choosing to bring up our child, most of it falls pretty neatly into AP’s philosophy (one reason I dislike it is the suggestion that those who do not identify with AP are somehow detached……). Many women have had negative experiences of hcps commenting on their decision to breastfeed past a certain arbitrary age, for co-sleeping, for not using CIO (Cry It Out) methods to get their children to sleep etc. However I would say that our review was an unmitigated success.

R ran about whilst we chatted through the paperwork. We were then asked how he eats (badly) so she asked us to talk through a typical day. Half way through this, he hopped up onto my lap and asked for “boobies” (not my favourite choice of word to signify that he wants milk but hey ho, it’s stuck). At the end of describing his daily food intake, I finished with “Oh, and milk of course“. The HV then asked me if he drank it from a cup, which seemed like an odd question at the time, but I replied “No, just from me”. At which point she looked up from her laptop and said, “Oh…. Yes. Well done.” Now I do not breastfeed my child for a pat on the back but it was very welcome after the horror stories I’d heard and was better than being told erroniously that there would be “no nutritional value” in my milk or that he was “only doing it for comfort” (favoured phrases it seems). She asked if we were happy with it still and both myself and the husband said “YES” in unison. After a short discussion about his frequent night wakings, she then told me that if I wanted to wean at any point and needed help, then I could call the HV team. And that was that.

Well not really, my little charmer then proved that he could put all the toys away and then as we put him into his buggy (with not a single protest from him) he waved and said “Goodbye nice lady” and blew her a kiss!

What else?

Nightweaning (to be sung to the tune of Nightswimming by REM). Not sure if I blogged about it then but back in January around my birthday we had a pop at night weaning from milk. It happened at this point because a friend (who had a child herself that didn’t sleep though for different reasons) pointed me towards a gentle AP-worthy method of night weaning by a chap called Dr Jay Gordon. I was understandably entirely sceptical. We have (half heartedly) attempted a number of different things over the last two years to improve sleep, and none of them have worked. In fairness the element of half heartedness no doubt had some kind of influence on this but realistically we knew they were never going to work and so it was all a bit of a pointless exercise. However, straight away on reading this method, I felt like I could get on with it. Dr Gordon doesn’t endorse any kind of sleep training for under one year olds. He talks about co-sleeping in the “family bed”.

He says:

Don’t get me wrong. I love the family bed, child-led weaning and cuddling all through the first, second, third year or more if it’s working well and if the family is doing well. Don’t let anyone convince you that this is a harmful choice or that there will be “no way” to get him out of your bed if you don’t do it now. Don’t believe anyone who says that babies who cuddle and nurse all night long “never” learn to self soothe or become independent. This is simply not true but it sells books and the myths stay in our culture.

I agree. This helps.

This method highlights the difference between a child who is safely in his mother or fathers arms crying because he is frustrated at not getting what he wants (milk) when he wants it (9pm,11:30pm, 1am, 2:30am, 4am, 5am and from 6-7am), and leaving a child alone in their own room to cry to teach them that no-one is coming. This hit hard with me as leaving a child to cry alone has never resonated well with me. However, I am able to leave R in his daddies arms having a bit of a sob to go and do things because I know he is safe and loved and protected.

I won’t go through the full method as you can read it on the link to Dr Gordon’s page, but a brief run down is that you choose a period of night during which you do not feed your child (we chose 11pm to 5am). Before and after that time you continue as normal. During that time for the first 3 nights you give them a brief feed (but don’t feed to sleep), then cuddled them to sleep. You repeat the process each time they wake. The next 3 nights, you just cuddle, with no feed. The next 3-4 nights after that you stay with them, talk to them, soothe them etc but don’t pick them up to cuddle them. The idea is that it’s gentle but persuades them that they don’t need a feed to get to sleep, and also that they won’t get one so they don’t need to wake. At R’s age, he does not need to feed at night but he likes to. But I also need to get some sleep.

When we tried back in January, it was going well before we all got hideous germs. I had tonsilitis then spent the next 6 weeks with a cold, a lost voice etc, small person was so full of green goo it wasn’t funny and the husband had a selection of his own germs too. It went on for so long (which was unusual as we usually have good health!) that we just totally gave up on it. Which is weird because it was actually working prior to the ill.

Our sleep got worse again a month or so ago and I was duly complaining to anyone who would listen, and it was suggested that we try again. So we said “Why not?”, and we did. There were two nights in the middle where small stuff cried for 2 hours or so. One night we actually ended up taking him downstairs as he was being so noisy and awful, the other night I told him stories gently in the hope of convincing him to sleep but just our luck we have the only child in the land who finds bedtime stories too stimulating and then starts joining in! At this point we weren’t very hopeful but the next night, he only woke twice. All night. TWICE! Not seven times. From then on in it’s been pretty consistent. We still have bad nights and we’ve shifted the timings a little because he was waking at 4:30 or so desperate for a feed and crying until five. As he wasn’t often waking before that, I decided a 4:30am feed isn’t such a bad thing.

So the next step may end up being his own bed. We have an old single bed frame in the attic which we are going to get out at the weekend and see if we can get a mattress to fit (weird Ikea bed size). Then we can see if he likes having his own room….. Wish us luck!

Sorry no pictures- will add some in from my phone when I get a chance

Review: Riverford Organic Veg Box

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Review: Riverford Organic Veg Box

Time for another review.

Although my small person is pretty fussy with food, it hasn’t stopped us trying to ensure he gets a good variety of healthy, home made meals. Our diet is in no way perfect- neither of us eat enough fruit and veg most days and we both enjoy a drink. We don’t really believe in faddy eating- detoxes, diets, sugar free, “paleo” or “carb free” eating. However we do believe in home made good hearty food. We drink full fat milk, and enjoy cheese and real butter. We eat carbohydrates with most meals and balance that with protein, vegetables and grains. We don’t eat much “processed” food- from jars or packets, and as a consequence happily add sugar and salt to recipes where required. We probably eat “too much” meat, and definitely too much processed meat, though if I were more confident in my cooking I’d cook more fish and more vegetarian dishes.

When we moved in together we decided we needed to at least try some kind of organic veg box. Initially it didn’t work out for us in our last property due to our lifestyle amongst other things but we started back up with Riverford 5 years ago and have been enjoying seasonal treats and cooking challenges ever since.

From Riverford’s website:

The Riverford box scheme began when Guy Watson started delivering vegetables locally to 30 friends in Devon. We now deliver around 47,000 boxes a week to homes around the UK from our regional farms.

Things I like about this kind of vegetable box scheme:

  • It supports small scale local businesses not just the huge supermarket chains
  • Attention is paid to all kinds of ethics across the company from freighting options to packaging to staff and animal welfare
  • Prices are comparable with larger businesses
  • Personal touch of notes from Guy and new recipes every week
  • The challenge of a new vegetable

Riverford offer a huge range of different size and style of vegetable boxes, plus they do fruit boxes, meat, dairy produce, recipe boxes and much more. This means that you can just supplement your usual weekly shop with a box delivered to your door, or if you choose can get the majority of your grocery and some store cupboard essentials all directly from Riverford. Most boxes contain onions, potatoes and carrots (or another root vegetable) but you can also get their “less root veg” box which doesn’t contain the above if you prefer. They also do fruit boxes for workplaces, veg & meat combination boxes or you can just make up your own order. The system remembers you order and places the order each week/fortnight depending on the regularity you’ve selected and takes the payment directly from your account.

We used to get a “Seasons vegbox” but a couple of years ago Riverford changed around their offerings. We now get a “Large Fruit and Veg box” plus 1litre of milk and 6 eggs every fortnight at a cost of £21.95 (£10.96 per week). This is quite comparable to the box we used to get, as most of what you receive from Riverford is seaonal anyway. Most of it is grown on UK farms any anything from abroad is grown in fair trade co-operatives and never air freighted.

Riverford describe our large fruit and veg box as follows:

Eating a healthy, wholesome diet is easy with our large organic fruit and veg box. Packed with 7 different varieties of veg and 3 varieties of fruit, all of our produce is freshly picked and full of seasonal flavour. We only give you what’s ripe and ready for eating in our fields so box contents change throughout the year, giving you enough variety to keep everyone in the family happy. From crisp sugar snap peas to tart, tangy rhubarb, this fruit and vegbox is a winning combination of seasonal fruit and veg at its best.

We don’t use Riverford for all our fruit&veg needs, but for our family of three it builds the basis of our meal planning for about 3/4 of the fortnight before the next box arrives. This means that we’re guided by the items in there but not limited to them, the best of both worlds I say! Either when the box arrives, or before it arrives if I’ve got to do a shop, I take a look online to see what we are getting then purchase what else we need around that.

Our last veg box arrived 8 days ago, and we’ve eaten about 3/4 plus of what’s in the box.

In our veg box last week was:

  • bunched carrots
  • corgettes
  • broad beans
  • potatoes
  • globe artichokes
  • some kind of cabbage
  • complimentary basil leaves
  • mixed lettuce leaves
  • cherry tomatoes
  • bananas
  • nectarines
  • blackcurrants

I thought I’d show you what I’ve done with some of it!

I’ve made a few salads, drizzled in balsamic glaze or with goats cheese and sundried tomatoes.

I’ve drunk tea when working at home or at the weekends and had a cheeky post-workout banana

A make-it-up-as-you-go-along saussage and vegetable stew with potato and carrot mash which was approved of by all the family, including the fussy eater

There have been breakfasts- eggs on top of marmite on toast before a workout or porridge with fruit for long days at work

There was a slow cooker curry into which lots of green things were thrown

And I conquered my nemesis- broad beans by making a bean-puree, which was mixed with a kind of home made pesto using the basil that came in the box too, served with chicken legs on a bed of mixed grains.

And finally I’ve been nibbling these lovely cherry tomatoes like little sweets.

Not bad at all for 8 days of nutrition.

There’s still the globe artichokes to eat- I’ve learnt my lesson with them in terms of which bits you can and can’t eat, and have a wonderful lemon and artichoke pilaf recipe I hope to use again this week. Apart from that there’s a few potatoes and some carrots left, plus a a handful of  blackcurrants which were so wonderfully tangy I could only eat them in small amounts.

Are there negatives?

I think it depends on how adventurous you are. I love to cook and love cooking for my family, and thoroughly enjoy the challenge of looking at the veg box and working out a)what everything actually is (you can check online for anything you’re not sure about) and b)what on earth I’m going to do with it.

Something that’s helped with this enormously is the white board we have up in the dining room where we try to plan and write onto it our meals for most days of the week (alongside working days, childminder pickups, shoppings lists and social activities). Riverford also produce useful recipe cards with every box, they have a great recipe book which I own and they also have a whole page on their website dedicated to recipes.

If you are not adventurous or are very limited in terms of what fruit and veg you like, this might not be for you, however I’d recommend trying it as you might be surprised. There are very few vegetables that we don’t eat and I’ve managed to tackle a few of them- including broad beans (recipes like this Broad Bean Dip) and make something I like. I’ve learnt so much about different seasonal fruit and vegetables- I make a mean celeriac and blue cheese soup, I can make great coleslaw and I know how to tackle the different kinds of green cabbage type things from pak choi to spring greens and spinach.

Some people think this kind of thing is expensive, although Riverford have a great Price Comparison Page showing how their organic fruit and veg measures against most the large UK supermarkets and they tell you their method for working it out too. Having said that one reason we don’t order meat and so on is because (although it is lovely as we shared a large order with a friend before) that does work out quite expensive as far as I can tell.

There are other Veg Boxes avaialable including Abel and Cole and also some more local companies in some areas. Other people have looked at more than one company- Jorg&Olif have a comparison review on their site and good old Mumsnet have a discussion thread (though the first comment already had me remembering why I left such a catty, silly forum). All I can say is that we did have Abel and Cole in our old house and there must be a reason that we switched but I can’t think what it was now!

Adventures

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Adventures

Last week we bravely embarked on our first holiday abroad as a family of three…..

What an adventure! We chose Fuerteventura with the hopes of winter sunshine, reasonable flight time (4 hours?? With an active toddler? ?), good Spanish food and all at a sensible out of season price.

To start with we are all recovering from illnesses (or so we thought) which was less than helpful. I’ve had tonsillitis and laryngitis then small gave me his conjunctivitis. Husband thinks he might have bronchitis with a nasty lingering cough and a pain in his back. Small is snotty and coughing. Still. For more than three weeks we’ve all woken up feeling ill-not a great start!

Early morning get up and easy drive to the airport worked out ok, small just stayed happily asleep in the car seat until we arruived. We weren’t too impressed with the “valet parking” as it was pretty slow and not a drop off outside the terminal as promised but in the short stay car park! Check in and security were a breeze as I had small in the sling, then we settled in for breakfast and baby-wrangling.

The flight was. …okay. Small wore himself out running laps of the airport so he slept for a whopping 90 mins at the start of the flight. The only challenge being not able to put the tray down when my meal arrived, but thankfully the chap next to us went off for a wander when our meals arrived so we could borrow a tray. The last 2 1/2 hours involved walking up and down the aisle getting in people’s way, dancing outside the toilets, watching RaaRaa on the tablet and playing with cars and stickers.

The transfer to our hotel was a bit naff as we sat on a boiling coach on what turned out to be the nicest day of the holiday waiting 45 minutes for another flight to arrive before we could set off. Nice one Thomas Cook!

The hotel was lovely. All inclusive deals are new to me but impressed me with cava for breakfast,  let alone the wonderful range of hot and cold food for every meal. The buffet was ideal for a small who loses interest in food quickly and can only sit in a high chair for about 10-15 minutes before commencing food throwing and shouting. I ate all my favourite things-octopus, calamari,  fish, spanish meat stews,  paella etc and tried local cheeses and their rather moreish mojo verde sauce. Small ate sausages,  pasta,  potatoes and on occasion even some yogurt.

We were in the family area of the hotel (Hotel Suite Atlantis in Corralejo for those interested) which was near the kids pools and play area (though sadly far from the nearest bar). Our room had a gigantic bed which meant the three of us could share easily even with small lying horizontally between our faces with minimum kicking. There was great entertainment for the children,  including a kids disco and at and games during the day. Small was a bit, well, small and impatient for most of it but enjoyed musical bumps once he’d worked it out!

We filled the week with activities in lieu of reasonable weather (I’m being harsh,  if was just poor for this time of year and certainly 15 plus degrees centigrade warmer than the snow at home), including a slightly disappointing boat trip to Lanzerote,  some brilliant bike hire and a wonderful Jeep tour to see the rugged North of the island up close. Though not all ideal,  all were sdoable with a small, wild one and the locals and other tourists alike were friendly and understanding.

The holiday finished in spectacular style with small falling into the fountain at the front of the hotel whilst we waited for our coach to take us back to the airport.

We came home with 93 load of washing to do and all the germs we went with,  and now an extra blocked duct to add to the healthy fun. And sand. Lots of sand.

Would we do it again? Yeeeeeeessss I *think* so. Maybe a little closer to in-season. Maybe a shorter flight but yes.

All we could do was praise small’s behavior whilst we were away but I think that is linked to being a but more relaxed in ourselves which meant more time to spend with him and entertain him!

Side car named Sleep.

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I won’t even mention the amount of time since I last posted….I used to regularly upkeep 4 blogs, the only one I manage well now is my livejournal which is a closed personal blog that I’ve had for 11 years!

Baby D is now over 9 months old. Months 0-6 trickled past as we tried to get to grips with everything. Since 6 months passed and we stopped counting his age in weeks, and since I started counting down the weeks until I go back to work, time is suddenly flying.  I say that but he’s learnt so much and amazes us every day so maybe it’s not gone so quickly.

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DEVELOPMENT
Developmentally he’s decided that rolling and crawling are not for him. He is very confident during and can spin a full 360 on his bottom at speed if there’s a good toy behind him. He’s always wanted to be on his feet-the jumperoo  and more recently the Walker have helped fuel this passion. And he’s been learning to stand whilst holding on to the sofa. A few weeks have passed and he is cruising around the furniture and given the right surfaces can pull himself up to standing. Eek.

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(There is a serious perspective issue in this photo as he is the tallest in his friend group! )

FOOD
Overall weaning (the English meaning of weaning being too stay them onto solids alongside milk) has been slow.  We decided to mix the classic puree-style weaning with baby-led. Baby D likes to be in charge so this suits him well. We started about a week before he turned 6 months amidst empty promises of it helping him sleep better. Whilst most his friends sit compliantly with an open beak, waiting to have food shovelled in, my boy is a bit of a pickle. I come from a family of keen eaters, my husband less so. Seems baby got his eating habits from daddy’s side of the family. I hope out non-pressurising approach means he grows up with a positive attitude towards food (I detest picky eaters and have patience with them! Everyone has likes and dislikes buy fussiness is annoying@).

The warm summer is not really helping (nor is the tummy bug we both had), and some days he basically eats nothing. We offer him three meals a day and s huge range and variety of tastes and textures in hot and cold, sweet and savoury food. Sometimes he goes mad for it, more often than not he doesn’t want anything.  However his weight is good and I’ve bought vitamin drops (which is as good as giving them, right? ) to ensure he gets what he needs. We are also spending a lot of time outside (though careful with suncream etc) so I hope he’s getting the vitamin D that breast milk can lack.
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SLEEP
Oh sleep. I won’t go into too much detail but whilst most people in the (western. Or maybe just british) world will try to make you feel like a freak if your baby doesn’t Sleep Through The Night from about 3 seconds old, I’m lucky to have my group of mumsnet friends showing me 60 plus different versions of normal. Sadly we are at the crappy end of the spectrum. I’m not prepared to sleep train my baby in the classic way (long story short -all babies are different and I don’t believe in a one-cure-fits-all solution and it definitely doesn’t suit my baby) Which doesn’t leave many options (and certainly none that have really worked for us).

I wish we had Co-slept earlier. There are so many people parroting bag information about Co sleeping and how it will ruin your life and kill your baby that I was reluctant to try it. In actual fact I get so much more sleep now than I did before despite his sleep patterns still being pretty awful. However Co sleeping in the spare room had meant not spending much time with my husband so last night we got radical and converted his cot into a sidecar cot.  Lots of great information about how to do it on many blogs so I will be modifying it tonight to try to improve the position.

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Need to remove the bedside table and move the cot up, then pad my side of the bed to get it a bit higher!

Muchies

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Ooops, today I got the munchies!

After having a bacon and egg sarnie at 11am, about 4pm I realised I was starving. So far I have eaten a free chocolate bar that Moonpig sent me for some reason, three large pickled gherkins (though waitrose disappointed me by ruining them with “dill flower”), a nectarine, a satsuma, and a hot cross bun.

Still starving.

Shopping

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Today I went food shopping.

Food shopping with morning sickness is a new adventure really. I’m lucky in as much as nothing specific sets me off, and I haven’t gone off any previously favourite foods (though the thought on a gin and tonic turns my tummy!). However, it was a mission in picking-up-things-that-I-thought-I-could-fancy-sometime.

So what did I buy?
-milk
-non alocoholic ginger beer
-a box of magnum infinity caramel (incidently, these are disgusting!)
-fresh seafood (which I will cook very diligently before eating)
-Kingsmill 50/50 bread (the thought of white bread and brown bread both currently repulsive)
-two small bottles of diet pepsi (after a lifetime of saying I can’t tell the different between pepsi/coke/diet coke/ pepsi max, I now only like diet pepsi it seems…..)
-haribo tangfastic “chicks” (don’t ask)
-chilli and lime cheese
-cheesy cracker mix
-Glamour magazine

Hm. Not sure that counts as a healthy diet, but luckily all advice in the first trimester says to eat what you feel like (within reason) as your priority is to ensure you can eat something at least.

I’m sure any second now I’ll stop talking about sickness.

Probably.