Terrestrial Treasures: Metal Detecting With Children

As a mom I’m always looking for good ways to get your children off their screens and games, and get them outdoors? While strict TV-hours might be useful, I often find offering them a creative alternative is much more effective. One such an alternative is introducing kids to the pleasures of treasure hunting with a metal detector – something we often see on the beach near our house. It can be addictive in a good way, and even better, it can get your child enthusiastic about a physical activity. It’s extraordinary what a little hope of adventures can achieve.Read more: Terrestrial Treasures: Metal Detecting With Children

The Treasure Hunting Family: Tips for Gem Collecting and Metal Detecting Together

The gold rush of the latter half of the 19th century was a savage time. Hordes of people rushed westward to strip the earth of every speck of gold that they could find, robbing and killing one another, and causing general mayhem in the process. They did this not only because they lusted after riches, but also because they were reacting to the idea of “gold,” a material that almost casts a spell on people. 

If you would like your children to experience the sense of the energy that drove all those thousands of people to impossible risk-taking all those decades ago, there is one great way to do it without all the death and leaving the country and stuff – taking them treasure hunting. While the modern versions are completely safe, civilized and well-regulated, your kids can still pretend it’s the Wild West. Kids are good at it. The best part is, there is real treasure out there to look for.Read more: The Treasure Hunting Family: Tips for Gem Collecting and Metal Detecting Together

How To Pick The Right Gift For A Child

It is always an enormous struggle to find a perfect Christmas gift for a child that is not just toys. Children may be temporarily happy with a toy, but sometimes something a little different is just that little bit more special too. Here are three basic tips to help you out.

Think about the age of a child 

Some things can be suitable for all ages, and some can work only with specific ages.  For example, if you want to pamper a five year old, it is best to choose for gifts in a 5-7-year-old category, rather than a 4-5-year-old group. This will ensure you have chosen a gift that stretches the child but doesn’t frustrate him or her, and it extends the life expectancy of the gift.

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Read more: How To Pick The Right Gift For A Child

7 Lifehacks For Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving just passed you’re likely feeling relaxed and happy that all the stress is over with.  Believe me, I’ve been there.  But this is the perfect opportunity to reflect on the chaos of the past few weeks and unlock the secrets of a convenient holiday for next year.  Peruse this list, and see just how easy Thanksgiving can be.

  1. Shop Early

One of the worst parts of preparing for a holiday like Thanksgiving is braving the crowds at the local grocery store. Unfortunately, it’s an unavoidable task for any of the fresh foods required for your dishes. You can make it easier on yourself by dividing and conquering. In the days or weeks before, head to the store and load up on all of the non-perishables that will stay fresh until your festivities commence. Make two lists: the things you can buy now, and the things you’ll need the day before. With the first list in hand, head to your grocery store and load up. When the fresh ingredients become necessary, you’ll have a much smaller second list to attend to which means less time spent in the store.

  1. Make Décor Easyautumn-mood-947484_640

Creating DIY centerpieces for your holiday occasions can be so much fun, but not when you’re on a time crunch. If you’re stressing about how to decorate your home before all those Thanksgiving guests arrive, don’t worry! Order a seasonal arrangement from a flower company and put it on your table for a one-step centerpiece. You can also use leftovers from your most recent holiday. If you have any uncarved pumpkins sitting around that haven’t started to slump, core them out and throw some lush Thanksgiving greenery and flowers in the center for your very own do it yourself bouquet.

  1. Turkey Takeover

Turkey is a mainstay of the Thanksgiving meal, but these huge birds can take up all the space in your oven—meaning no room for the other sides you were hoping to make. Consider different ways of cooking your bird. Whether it’s the crockpot or a deep fryer, trying alternative spins on this Thanksgiving fowl will give your feast a whole new taste and vibe next year. If you’d still like to cook your large turkey in the oven, consider slow roasting it overnight. You can throw it in the oven at 11 pm, and come morning, the low temperature cooking technique will have you a golden brown bird ready for the day’s feast—and an empty oven ready for that green bean casserole or Grandma’s famous fresh baked rolls.

  1. Dessert With No Effortpumpkin-pie-1041330_640

Do something a little bit different than just the normal pumpkin pie for the holiday season. Add a dessert table filled with the perfect finger foods to make your Thanksgiving festivities the most delicious your family has ever experienced. Whether you offer chocolate covered strawberries, cupcakes, cake pops, or delicious melt in your mouth cookies, the kids and adults alike will easily be found hovering around your dessert table.

  1. Avoid the Bloat

Holidays are rife with fantastic foods, but that can mean terrible things for our health—and our waistlines. Do what you can to avoid binging and feeling awful by snacking on healthy items throughout the day, offering healthy choices on your Thanksgiving table, and saying no to seconds. The effort now will be worth it later, especially when you are ready to start your New Year in a healthy way.

  1. Cooking in Advancetea-314671_640

Limited kitchen space makes cooking all of your main entrees, sides, and desserts in one go an impossible task. Do what you can to plan ahead, and prepare any items that you can during the day before Thanksgiving. Baked goodies, certain vegetables, and meats like bacon can all be prepared 24 hours ahead of time—sometimes even longer than that—meaning you can focus on the big items the day of. Examine the different cooking temperatures you’ll need for your oven and plan to cook items that can go in at the same time.

  1. Separate Drink Bar

Set up a specific area and table for all of your guests’ drink needs. Whether it’s alcohol or punch, place the libations of choice in this area to ensure your kitchen is free of unnecessary bodies (making it easier for you to get done all that you need to without distraction or interruption). Lay out plastic cups, utensils, straws, and a full ice chest to ensure guests can grab what they want when they need it without having to ask.

 

Downtime DIY: Weekend Projects for You and Your Printer

Guest post by John Sollars

You might think of your printer as a useful workhorse that makes life a bit easier by printing out
driving directions, boarding passes and tickets together with the odd document or two, but it is
actually more versatile than that.

If you are looking for something to do at home or to keep the kids entertained with a craft project that won’t break the bank, there are a number of ideas that you might want to consider which can be tackled using your printer to get you started.

Model-making opportunities

Papercraft is very popular and this is a DIY-modelling community where people create models using just their printer and some paper, glue or tape and scissors.

Take a look at the Paperkraft.net website and you soon realise that there are some very interesting and sometimes challenging craft projects you can embark upon, depending on your enthusiasm and perhaps your craft skills.

There is something for everyone and you can create all sorts of retro tech items and sci-fi models or almost anything that you want to have a go at making.

Photo cake

Image result for diy edible photo cakeYou might need to ensure that you find an online supplier for HP ink cartridge replacement or whatever brand you use, so that you have plenty of ink in stock and don’t run out halfway through a project.

Some of the big supermarkets offer you the chance to print a favourite image onto a cake, which looks great and is always well received by the recipient on their birthday or to mark a special occasion.

You can actually do this yourself at home, which means being able to bake your own cake using the ingredients you want in it and then printing out a photo on an edible frosting sheet to put on the cake.

For a one-off cake, it might turn out to be too expensive to get the sheets and the edible inks you need, but if you plan to make a habit of it, then producing your own photo cake will be quite rewarding.

Create your own camera

Not many people would think that you could create a working camera out of paper, but it is possible however improbable it sounds. If you are wanting digital technology then you are going to be disappointed but you can actually create a pinhole camera which works with an old unused 35mm film.

The building process might stump a few people at first but you can get the inspiration you need for this ambitious project by viewing the original instructions for the Dirkon Paper Camera. There are numerous applications and ideas that you can use your printer to complete and many people turn out to be very surprised just how underused their device has been up to this point.

Printing out your own boarding passes and favourite photos is putting your printer to good use but printing out a 3D model or even a working camera, takes it to a new level and will ensure you never have another dull weekend again.

John Sollars is a business owner of many years. When he gets the time, he likes to sit down and share what has worked for him. Look for his informative posts on a number of websites and blogs today.

Baby on Board: Travel Planning Pointers for Pregnancy

As many expectant mothers will tell you travelling while you are pregnant can be an uncomfortable and even challenging thing to do.

Regardless of whether you are planning a journey by plane, train or in the car, each mode of transport presents its own set of issues and requires an element of smart preparation if things are going to go smoothly.

Flying with a baby on boardpregnant-422982_1280

You should be able to take a flight without any difficulty during your first and second trimester but when you run into your third trimester and the due date is rapidly approaching, airlines may refuse to let you fly with them.

If your pregnancy is considered a high-risk then you may not get permission to fly at all – but if you have any choice in the matter, speak to the airline and ask them about quieter flights. Also ask once you’re on board if there are any open seats – and sometimes on long haul flights even open rows where you can lie down – towards the back of the plane.

Obviously we all hope that we won’t be unfortunate enough to have any sort of accident or mishap, especially when you are pregnant, but you will no doubt appreciate that commercial airlines don’t want to take any unnecessary risks with an expectant mother.

Always make sure you have sufficient travel insurance that covers you for medical treatment at your destination, and remember that accidents can happen to anyone,  so if you suffer an injury that wasn’t your fault, there are companies like claimsdirect.co.uk that can assist you to make sure you don’t miss out on compensation.

Early dangers

While early pregnancy won’t see you have the same issues with airlines,  you should be aware of some of the difficulties of travelling when pregnant. For example you may be experience nausea and fatigue during the first few months of pregnancy, which will make any sort of travel uncomfortable, and can be very limiting on what you are physically capable of.  And if you’re afflicted with the need for the toilet every few minutes, that can make for a very long flight too!

2nd Trimester comes out tops

General medical opinion seems to be that the best time to travel is during your second trimester, when you are likely to be feeling at your best physically and the risk of complications is relatively low- unless you have ongoing conditions like Hyperemesis Gravidarum or similar.

Many people travel during their final trimester, especially those planning a babymoon – a last hurrah before the baby comes. This can be a wonderful opportunity for a couple to reconnect and strengthen their bond for what lies ahead, but remember that pregnancy can often cause all sorts of aches and pains and swollen ankles and feet, so if you are heading off somewhere exotic, make sure to take a comfortable pair of shoes, Geranium oil for massaging those water retaining feet, and always ask for spare pillows at your hotel so that you have enough around to prop up all the aching bits.

Although it certainly comes with a few additional complications, travel during pregnancy is manageable, and the photos will give you something to reminisce over during those late night feed and burp sessions.

Julian Green has worked for years in public health and wellness. He likes to share his insights online and his thoughts can be found on health related blogs.

Give the Gift That Lasts a Lifetime: All About Personalised Presents

Of course, every gift is personal; you pick an item out and give it to the recipient.

However, personalised gifts are a bit different.  For example, anyone can give a tie as a gift, but having a special someone’s initials engraved on the front makes it more special.  A bracelet is a token any receiver would appreciate, yet a personalized message on the inside – something intimate – makes it cherished even more.  If you’re thinking about making a someone feel extra special, give the gift of a personalised present.

Kinds of Personalisation

You may assume a personalised gift means it must show the recipient’s name, yet that is only one way to personalise a gift.  Besides the name, you could do just initials, birth date, special date, inside joke, or heartfelt message.  Also, personalisation doesn’t have to incorporate print or text.  Personalise a gift by adding a photo, or use personal items to create some form of collage.  For example, a really special way to honour and remember those who aren’t with us anymore, is a memory tree* using pictures, personal artifacts, and messages to express feelings to remember them.Baby-s-1st-Christmas-Red-Picture-Frame-RU13112

What to Personalise

Now that you have ideas about kinds of personalisation, you can begin to think about choosing gifts to personalise. For example, personalised pens are great for writers, or if you’re thinking of a first anniversary gift (paper anniversary); those who love the holidays enjoy personalised Christmas ornaments*; and, those who work in IT might like a personalised mouse pads.  As the popularity of personalisation grows, providers expand the available items too.  You may have noticed even brands like Coca Cola getting in on the personalisation trend with their named cans!

When to Personalise

Personalised gifts are perfect for many occasions – a wedding, birthday, Christmas, graduation, or to commemorate a person’s life.  A personalised token is especially thoughtful when you’re sure that other gift givers will provide something thoughtful yet expected, like a watch for a work anniversary or money for a graduation gift.  If you truly want to make an impression, show the recipient that you went out of your way to ensure their gift is one of a kind – and that it’s not last minute, since you’d have to put time and thought into getting something made to order.

How to Buy a Personal Gift

Shop online to find ideas and items that you may personalise, whether it’s a set of glasses, dice, shirt, ring, ornament, or similar.  Be sure to check the spelling; it would be unfortunate to go out of your way to personalise something only to find you spelled the person’s name incorrectly!  If you’re personalising a gift with a photo, use high-quality photos and be aware of the kind of file you’re sending a vendor or manufacturer.  If you’re ordering online, a number of suppliers will provide an image of what the personalized item will look like, which is a nice option to have since most will not allow you to return an item once it has been marked with initials or a special message.  Lastly, ask a merchant how they charge; for example, some charge per letter while others charge a flat fee regardless of how many characters are in a name or an intended message.

 

Lisa Hanson is a full-time mom and has been designing and creating her own gifts for years. She loves to be able to share her ideas online and has already shared her tips across a number of websites.

 

Early Years In Finland And Sweden

Many home-ed parents, when asked why we home educate, will reference Finland and Sweden’s models of education and their results, as part of the reasons why we choose not to send our children off to school aged 4 or 5, even if they do seem ready. Often I’ve heard people use the fairly obvious ‘in Finland they don’t start before 7′, but few people know many other details of these education systems. Today I have a guest post for you, with a bit of background on the education systems in these countries, and what makes them different. Enjoy!

***

Early years education in both Finland and Sweden are much lauded and envied around the world. Recognised globally for their child-centric starting point and commitment to outstanding care and learning for all children, many countries seek to emulate this Nordic success story. Finland is officially the world’s leader in wider education, while Sweden takes the accolade of international leader in early childhood education and care.

In Sweden and Finland, children don’t begin school until they’re seven, although 83% of Swedish children aged between one and six are in pre-school, which is run on the EDUCARE model. The model’s objective is to meet every child’s educational and care needs, while simultaneously providing a societal pillar that allows parents the time to work and study.

apple-256261_640A number of factors define the child’s day-to-day experience, including highly educated teachers and teaching assistants, a remarkably high-quality environment and materials, and an emphasis on valuing the thoughts and opinions of everyone; parents, teachers and children alike. Perhaps most significantly, these small children are not placed under the pressure of targets – they do not have to reach arbitrary learning milestones at certain ages. Instead, they simply develop at their own individual pace.

Some aspects of Sweden and Finland’s educational models may seem counter-intuitive. For example, Finland, despite boasting world-leading results in the sphere of education, also has some of the shortest school days and terms. Finnish children enjoy a lengthy 11-week summer break yet continue to thrive when they are in the classroom.

Both countries have built their education systems on foundations of equality. That equality is for the children themselves, but also for their parents, no matter which socio-economic background they come from. During the 1970s and 1980s, Sweden deliberately combined the early years education provided by crèches, which were originally established for poorer children, and Kindergartens, which had been more middle-class. The objective was to create inclusive learning environments where everyone enjoyed the same educational benefits. All children, rich and poor, begin at the same point in Sweden.

shaky-bridge-838061_640So, while an ethos based upon child-friendly care and learning, and a commitment to creating a meritocracy have defined the Swedish model, what elements of the Finnish system have propelled it to such phenomenal educational success? Well, in Finland there are no exams and very little homework until children are well into double figures. Neither are there any educational tiers, meaning that children of all abilities work together in the same classroom. Plus, all teachers have a (state-subsidised) master’s degree and the national curriculum is incredibly flexible compared to its UK equivalent, designed to gently guide teaching rather than furiously dictate it.

As parents and teachers in the UK, we can learn much from how Finland and Sweden have designed their education systems. By allowing each child to learn about the world and explore its fascinations at their own pace, whilst simultaneously providing a comfortable, nurturing learning environment, as well as quality learning tools from companies such as Hope Education, we can release untold potential and make a valuable contribution to our children’s happiness.

 

Knit Your Own Reusable Menstrual Pads : A Pattern

It’s been many years since I last picked up knitting needles, but after Aviya’s birth I used reusable pads for the first time ever, and I am sold on them. I’m in no hurry for that part of my life to return, but when the day does come, I will be a full on reusable pad girl. It’s so much nicer than disposables!

My fellow  NPN volunteer Destany, who blogs at  They Are All Of Me recently offered to share her instructions for DIY knitted pads, and I jumped at the opportunity. Maybe someone will enjoy making them so much, they’ll gift me a few. A girl can dream, right?

I once asked my mother growing up, “What did women use for their periods before we had disposable pads and tampons?” She said that they used old rags or anything they could find around the house that could be thrown away. I immediately looked at the dirty grey dust cloth I had just used and held it up to ask her if that’s what she meant.

liners one photo liners1_zpsf4fdb3c7.jpg

She nodded. “Yup!”

Compared to the starkly white bleached cotton pads sitting upstairs behind the toilet, the idea of using old rags seemed a horror – poor Grandma!

Oh mother… If only we’d had internet! I always found her answer woefully inadequate. However, it wasn’t her fault. Women of the pre-Kotex era simply did not speak of menstruation or share their habits.

Fortunately these days we have the Museum of Menstruation to gain a little insight. Information is still sketchy, but it would appear that some women indeed used cloth “rags” and I can see that they may have used old fabric for this, but it wouldn’t have been a dirty dust rag. It would have been clean, you know. And there’s no telling what women of upper class may have used, but I can imagine it would have been better than what the lower class had to get by with.

The reason I asked my mother, apart from curiosity, is that there simply had to be a better way. Those disposable pads were (and still are) very uncomfortable to me. They give me rashes, dry me out, they bulk up in places, and when you have one flip over while pulling up your breeches and the sticky side gets stuck to you instead of your panties? Nightmare. Total nightmare!

And then there’s the disposal. Wadded up period packages filling up the wastebasket, the time spent on carefully unwrapping, changing, rolling up the old pad and winding the wax paper strip around the outside of it so that it could be put inside the plastic wrapper without sticking to the sides of it. It’s a huge hassle.

Fortunately, women these days have many options. I don’t have to choose between a wad of chemical laced paper or a dingy old rag!1 Many companies make reusable cloth pads and menstrual cups are becoming increasingly popular. As a seamstress, I have been making my own cloth pads. However, one day when I was knitting up a new kitchen towel that felt super soft and thick, I was struck with inspiration to knit some new cloth pads!

Before you get wigged out at how complicated or off putting it would be to reuse cloth sanitary napkins, let me break this down for you.

This is me on disposable pads:

Get my period. Look in the cupboard. Count how many pads I have before I need to hightail it to the store to buy more (or argue with the husband about going up and getting me some if I’m laid up with cramps). Spend the week changing out pad after pad, leaving the used ones in the can beside the toilet.2 Run out and buy more pads when I’m wearing my last one. At the end of the week, take out the bathroom trash. *When using disposable pads, my periods lasted anywhere from 4 to 6 days.

This is me on reusable pads and a menstrual cup:

Get my period. Insert my cup and grab a clean cloth pad from my dresser drawer. Count the pads. I have six, just like always. Twice a day I change the pad and put the old one in a ceramic lidded pot that I keep beneath the bathroom sink. At the end of my period, dump the ceramic pot into the washing machine with a load of towels. Launder. Place fresh clean pads back into my dresser drawer for next month and clean/sanitize the cup. *Using a menstrual cup and reusable pads, my period lasts 2 to 3 days.3

I find reusable products are much easier, more convenient, and frankly, a lot more sanitary not having a pile of gross pads filling up the trash. Mold on unused tampons is far more common than you’d guess. And you won’t know if the tampon you’re using has any mold on it because you’re not allowed to see it before inserting it.

liners two photo liners2_zps1efe90cc.jpgNow onto the pattern!

This pattern is highly versatile. Use it to make plain panty liners for very light days or back up to a cup; use it to make slightly more absorbent pads with wings; add a sturdy backing to it to handle your heavy days.

If you have very heavy periods, you can even knit an extra top piece to place on top of your finished pad, for extra absorbency.

Knitted Basic Panty Liner:

Use WW cotton yarn, size 2 needles.

CO 8 stitches
k, p, k, p, k, p, k, p
p, m1, k, p, k, p, k, p, m1, k
k, k, p, k, p, k, p, k, p, p
p, m1, p, k, p, k, p, k, p, k, m1, k
k, p, k, p, k, p, k, p, k, p, k, p
p, m1, k, p, k, p, k, p, k, p, k, p, m1, k
k, k, p, k, p, k, p, k, p, k, p, k, p, p
p, m1, p, k, p, k, p, k, p, k, p, k, p, k, m1, k
*k, p, *all the way across
*p, k, *all the way across

Repeat the last two rows until you have the length of liner you wish. 60 rows or six inches for medium, 80 rows or eight inches for large.
**Your last row before beginning to decrease should end with a knit stitch.

K2tog, p, k, p, k, p, k, p, k, p, k, p, k, p2tog
*p, k, *all the way across
p2tog, k, p, k, p, k, p, k, p, k, p, k2tog
*k, p, *all the way across
k2tog, p, k, p, k, p, k, p, k, p2tog
*p, k, *all the way across
p2tog, k, p, k, p, k, p, k2tog
*k, p, *all the way across
Bind off and weave in ends.

You can use the basic liners for light spotting, or as a double up for heavy days.

I decided to give them wings and it was really easy.

liners three photo liners3_zps0550746d.jpg

Find the horizontal stitches on the very edge of the liner. These are the purls. Noting the center, slide your needle beneath ten of these stitches on either side of the center, so that you have 20 stitches on your needle. Beginning from the right side, knit across to form a base of your wing. Knit as follows:
*k, *all the way across
k, k, p16, k, k
k2tog, k16, k2tog
k, k, p14, k, k,
k2tog, k14, k2tog
k, k, p12, k, k
k2tog, k12, k2tog
k, k, p10, k, k
k2tog, k10, k2tog
k, k, p8, k, k
k2tog, k8, k2tog
k, k, p6, k, k
k2tog, k6, k2tog
k, k, p4, k, k
k2tog, k4, k2tog
k, k, p2, k, k
k2tog, k2, k2tog
k, k, k, k
k2tog, k2tog
p2tog
bind off

Do this on the other side as well. Weave in all of your ends, and apply the snaps according to the package directions. liners five photo liners5_zps2cd14d37.jpg

I know many women prefer a more protective backing on their liners, and that is easy enough to add to these. I chose denim, but other sturdy fabrics such as corduroy will also work. You may choose to use PUL, or polyurethane lined (waterproof) fabric.
Place your liner facing down onto a piece of paper and trace around it. Use this template as guide, and cut your backing fabric about a quarter of an inche larger all the way around. Snip the rounded edges of your backing fabric to minimize puckering or bunching.

liners six photo liners6_zps9a5bbad2.jpg Line up your backing and your top pieces, and place a strip of terrycloth between the two layers.

Pin it and stitch it down, an eighth of an inch from the edge.

liners seven photo liners7_zps68a58fdb.jpg
Use a nice thickly woven terrycloth for your liners.
liners eight photo liners8_zps9d450089.jpg
When pinning, try to eliminate any bulky areas.
liners nine photo liners9_zps994b72f7.jpg 
I handstitched my backing on, if you machine stitch, you a long stitch setting.

That is it, your liners are complete! Here are some links that explain proper care of cloth menstrual products:

Menstruation Dot ComLuna PadsMama Cloth Green Feminine Care

 

__________________________________________

1. Despite the fact that women are known to absorb chemicals into their bodies by means of vaginal exposure (through tampons and even sanitary napkins), menstrual product companies are not expected to disclose the ingredients they use on their packaging. Tampons and napkins are known to contain many harmful substances including dioxins (according to the FDA).

Exposure to dioxins, which are highly-toxic chemicals, can lead to skin problems, liver dysfunction, immune system issues, endocrine system problems, and issues with reproduction and fertility.http://teenhealth.about.com/od/physicalhealth/a/toxictampons.htm

2. Personally, I find the use of over the counter sanitary pads incredibly messy I require a bit of extra upkeep throughout my menstrual week, including diligent cleaning. This is not true with a menstrual cup. The menses is contained within the vagina until I choose to conveniently dispose of it and normal bathing is more than sufficient. I get to feel clean and fresh as always, and have numerous times even forgotten that I’m having a period.
Becoming Cruncy
3. No one knows for certain why foregoing disposable mass produced period protection leads to shorter, lighter periods but the stories are far too common to dismiss. Personally, I didn’t believe it and was completely shocked when my periods began lasting only half as long as they did before within only 3 months. This phenomenon has led some to conclude that the chemicals in these products are causing the prolonged/heavier bleeding and some have even accused the companies of adding asbestos to them in order to prompt the excess bleeding. Whatever the reason, I’m pretty amazed and grateful!
Natural Parents Network – Reusasable Menstural Products

5 Great Recipe Ideas For Poorly Kids (Guest Post)

Despite our best efforts at natural immunity, sometimes our children get sick. Whether they go to school or not, just being around other children seems to make them vulnerable sometimes! Written in collaboration with Supersavvyme, this guest post has great ideas for foods that help fight colds and inflammation, and recipe suggestions for incorporating them into foods for poorly little people.

When children head off to school, they’re especially susceptible to catching coughs and colds from their friends and class mates. If a sick day under the duvet covers beckons, here are five tasty and nutritional recipes that will boost the immunity of your child when they’re feeling under the weather:

Easy Salmon Fishcakes – Serves 5

Salmon is rich in Omega-3, which reduces inflammation and prevents respiratory illnesses.

In a bowl, mix 1 (418g) tin of salmon, 2 beaten eggs, 4 tbsp dried breadcrumbs, 4 tbsp instant mashed potato flakes, 1 diced onion, 1 crushed clove of garlic, 1/4 tsp dried dill, 1/4 tsp celery salt, salt and pepper. Form the mixture into 5cm balls, and flatten into patties about 1cm thick.

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. In batches, cook patties about 5 minutes on each side, until lightly browned, and serve.

Garlicky Spaghetti – Serves 4

Garlic contains allicin, which helps fights infection and bacteria.

This is a great store cupboard meal that can be rustled up easily, and with just a few ingredients. Cook 400g spaghetti according to the packet instructions, drain and reserve 2 tbsp of the cooking liquid.

Over a low heat, crush and sauté 8 garlic cloves in 100ml olive oil until golden but not browned. If your child likes hot food, add 4 chopped and de-seeded red chillies, and the reserved liquid. Add spaghetti and season with 2 tsp chopped flat leaf parsley, salt and pepper. Toss until the spaghetti is coated in the mixture and everything is well combined. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

Easy Chicken Soup – Serves 6

When chicken cooks, cysteine is released- this amino acid has a chemical resemblance to a widely prescribed bronchitis drug, and has similar congestion relieving results. The soup’s salty stock also keeps mucus thin the same way cough medicines do.

Melt 55g butter in a saucepan over a medium heat and soften 2 sliced onions, 2 sticks of celery finely chopped, and 2 diced carrots. Stir in 25g plain flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 pints of chicken stock and bring the mixture to the boil, whilst stirring. Season with salt and pepper, then simmer for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

Add 450g cooked chicken and heat through. Season again, and add 1 tbsp parsley to serve.

Yoghurt 

Yoghurt contains probiotics, which keep the gut free from intestinal bacteria that can cause unwanted diseases.

Avoid artificially sweetened or “fat-free”: go for natural yoghurts to best support your child’s health. If they don’t like yoghurt, try freezing home-flavoured yoghurt in lollipop moulds. Or serve yoghurt sweetened with honeyor even try this yoghurt cake.

Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene, a form of vitamin A, which is vital for healthy skin, which of course is designed to protect you from bacteria and viruses.

These are a great alternative to the classic jacket potato, and can be served with any topping your child fancies. They are also good steamed or roasted, or as an alternative to pasta – or if you fancy cooking a new recipe, you could try this Sweet Potato and Spinach Bake.

Once you’ve cooked up a storm in the kitchen, make sure you take the pain out of washing up and other household chores with the great money off coupons you can take advantage of online.