Living Arrows 39/52 (2016)

I’m sure I only wrote last week’s Living Arrows post two minutes ago, time seems to be speeding by at the moment! We’ve still not being up to much, just settling into our new routine.

Gabe was still recovering from his immunisations last week and had a bit of a temperature on Wednesday. He’s got all four of his first molars coming at the moment too – two of them have cut and the other two are on the way. He’s coping pretty well, just not sleeping very well (not that he ever does!).

My parents are both involved in Scouts and at the weekend my dad was camping with his group just round the corner from our house. I took the boys along for the afternoon on Saturday – Toby had a brilliant time just running around the field and joining in some of the activities. I had Gabe in the carrier and even though he was a bit grumpy and tired he still managed to charm everyone with a few cheeky smiles.

Gabe giving a cheeky smile at scout camp

It’s been quite a big week for Toby really – he went to his first ever birthday party, and wasn’t really a fan. To be fair, the entertainer was really, really loud and I probably would have been scared if I was three too! On the plus side though, I got chatting to one of the nursery mums and we’ve arranged to meet up in a couple of weeks so that’s good. We’ve also been making some progress on the potty training front with Toby too. We’re not there yet but yesterday he had three wees in the potty which he has never done before so we’re calling that a win!

I was messing about with my camera and a peek-through book the other day and took this picture of Toby…I quite like it. He’s getting much harder to photograph these days though – he has to be in the right mood to cooperate!

Toby through the peek-through hole of a book about space

Living Arrows

Banana and mango smoothies with Nutribaby

The other day we had some bananas hanging about that were a bit past their best and we didn’t have time to make a banana loaf which would be my usual use for them so we decided to whip up some banana and mango smoothies using our Nutribaby from Babymoov.

babymoov-nutribaby

Toby loves to help in the kitchen and these smoothies were easy enough for him to get really involved in making them.

First he peeled the banana and broke it up into large pieces in the Nutribaby. Next the mango went in (we bought some pre-cut for ease).

toby-putting-bananas-in-the-nutribaby

On top of the fruit Toby put a couple of big dollops of Greek yogurt and topped it up with some milk. As we were making these smoothies for the kids we used full-fat yogurt and milk but you could easily substitute low-fat alternatives.

adding-natural-yoghurt-to-the-banana-and-mango

Once all the ingredients were in the blender jug of the Nutribaby we clicked on the lid and whizzed the whole lot up together.

banana-mango-yoghurt-and-milk-in-the-nutribaby

I really like the fact that the blender won’t work unless both the jug and lid are fully clicked into place – hands up if you’ve started a blender without the lid on before and sprayed stuff all over the kitchen!

pressing-the-button-on-the-nutribaby-to-whizz-everything-up

The only trouble we had making the smoothies was that Gabe really didn’t like the noise…

gabe-didnt-like-the-noise-of-the-nutribaby

I’d picked up these cute glass milk bottles and paper straws on offer at the garden centre a few days before we made the smoothies. A word of warning though – those paper straws might look cool but they are pretty useless for a toddler and turned to mush in seconds!

banana-and-mango-smoothies-from-the-babymoov-nutribaby

And now for my last confession – Gabe had a try of the smoothie and pulled a bit of a face, but then he’s funny about his food anyway.

gabe-had-a-try-of-the-smoothie

But unfortunately Toby also declared it ‘yucky’ and wouldn’t drink it either! I thought it was quite nice but I think the problem was that the mango wasn’t quite ripe enough so didn’t blend fully into the smoothie.

Anyway, in an effort to rescue the situation I made Toby another smoothie but I replaced the mango with a couple of spoons of chocolate Nesquik. The verdict? This one was yummy…

toby-enjoying-his-chocolate-and-banana-smoothie

Don’t forget to Pin this post for later if you like it…

banana-and-mango-smoothies

 

**Disclosure: We were sent the Nutribaby as a part of our role as Babymoov ambassadors. All opinions are my own.

 

Living Arrows 38/52 (2016)

A bit late this week… Gabe had his one year immunisations on Friday, and he’s getting two molars – he’s coping pretty well though apart from a lot of disturbed nights (for both of us). We met my friend Claire at soft play on Monday though and he seemed to be having plenty of fun. I love these sheep dungarees too – I’ll be sad when they don’t fit anymore.

Gabe exploring soft play in his sheep dungarees

And Toby this week? Well Toby had a massive chocolate ice cream!

Toby covered in chocolate ice cream

Living Arrows

A modern makeover for your child’s bedroom

*This is a collaborative post

I know everyone with children says it, but kids really do grow up so quickly and my two are no exception. No sooner is the nursery decorated and prepared for the arrival of a new born, than it is time to redecorate to accommodate the growing child who sees the nursery décor as just too babyish. In an ideal world, you will probably get a good few years out of the nursery decor, but as your child grows and establishes his or her own preferences (Bing bunny anyone?), it becomes apparent that the cute border and cot bed are no longer up to your child’s impeccable standards! As we have just moved house and the boys have started sharing a room it meant we left Toby’s old nursery behind and had to decorate a new room for them both. If you want to ensure you aren’t continuously redecorating it is a good idea to choose a modern theme that will also see your child into the forthcoming years. As we have just faced the same dilemma ourselves, I thought I’d share a little of my research with you – I hope it helps!

Dr Seuss quote and rocket bedding in Toby's nursery

A Bed that dreams are made of

Kids change their minds on a whim and although they may have once insisted they will love their themed bed forever, you can be certain that they won’t. Instead of going for fads, invest in a durable bed which will stand the test of time and entertain their whims with themed duvet covers instead. Toby is currently in a full size single bed but I think a three quarter sized metal bed is a great idea for older kids as it will see them through until their teen years, and all you will have to do is change the mattress every few years. Small doubles (also known as three quarter size beds) are a great way to make your child feel a little more grown up and don’t take up as much room as a full-sized double. I’ve taken quite a fancy to the Bedstar range of small double beds as they are well within our price range and are really quite stylish.

Storage is a must!

The one mistake parents often make when buying furniture for their child’s bedroom is to think in miniature: small wardrobes, tiny desks, and incy wincy bookshelves. These may look great for a while, but are completely impractical for a growing child. Buy a full sized wardrobe that will fit their increasing clothes collection and install bookshelves that won’t look childish in years to come. We’ve actually just bought a new triple wardrobe (which is currently in our bedroom) for all the boys clothes. Storage will encourage your child to put things away which will make any parent happy! After all, you can’t complain about a messy room if they have nowhere to put all their stuff, can you?

Keep them involved

Giving your child a say in their newly styled bedroom will make them more willing to take care of it, so let them know early on what they can select for their room. Pictures, bedding and accessories such as bean bags and cushions are easily changed so allow them to choose items such as these which reflect their own personal tastes. Letting your child make decisions like these can also make the process a lot more enjoyable too, and not just for your child, but for you too, so be prepared to compromise – just a little! Toby isn’t really old enough to have much of an opinion yet but we did let him decide whether to stick with the space theme from our old house or choose something new. He stuck with space and I’ll be sharing a full room tour as soon as we’ve managed to get the shelves up and add the last few finishing touches.

 

Siblings // Toby and Gabe in September

I haven’t got much new to add in this month’s Siblings Project post. Toby is tolerating Gabe slightly more, and Gabe still wants to do everything his big brother is doing.

We are still having odd moments when they actually manage to play together but more often than not Toby just gets annoyed when Gabe crawls all over whatever he is trying to play with, or tries to eat the pieces of whatever toy he has. I know it will only get better as they both get a bit older but for now, playing referee is driving me a bit bonkers!

I haven’t managed to get many pictures of my boys together this month but here’s a few that I did capture…

toby-gabe-looking-out-of-the-balcony-together

Looking out over the balcony together – Gabe is getting so big now but I think it will be a while yet before he catches Toby up!

brothers-playing-together

Toby ‘helping’ Gabe play with some of his birthday presents.

toby-pushing-gabe-on-the-swing

Toby pushing his brother on the swing – I had to intervene when he got a bit over enthusiastic though!

And that’s it for this month. I’m hoping next month I might be able to write even more about how Toby and Gabe are playing together. I really think it will help when Gabe starts walking, although then Toby will have even less chance of being left alone…

The Me and Mine Project

Living Arrows 37/52 (2016)

You can tell it hasn’t been a great week when I haven’t posted anything since last week’s Living Arrows. Gabe’s sleep has been rubbish (even more rubbish than usual) thanks to his hand, foot and mouth, and I think possibly teeth as well. He’s gone right off his milk as well, and hasn’t been eating very well either so then he’s been even more grumpy because he’s hungry. Add to that we haven’t really been able to go anywhere because of him being contagious…

Toby has been pretty good this week though, despite being stuck in the house for a few days. We think he might have a very mild case of hand, foot and mouth too – he had one spot on his tongue for a day, and a very slight temperature but otherwise seems OK. Fingers crossed that’s it for him.

This week’s photos are more living room shots – we’ve not really been anywhere to take any others. I usually only do one picture of each boy for Living Arrows but this week I just couldn’t choose so they’ve got two each.

This first one is Gabe looking very serious. He’s not always grumpy but he’s definitely not as smiley a baby as Toby was.

Gabe looking very serious

And this is his other new face… I’m not sure if it’s a smile or a growl but it’s cute either way!

Gabe's growl

I usually share very smiley pictures of Toby so I’m going for something slightly different this week. Our new house has a balcony but it needs replacing and at the moment isn’t really safe to go out on. We’ve moved the play pen in front of the door now though so at least we can have the door open and let a bit of air in without anyone escaping! Toby was enjoying looking out over the fields with his big bunny this week.

Toby looking out over the balcony

And this last one is another close up but I just liked his expression…

Toby not grinning for once

Living Arrows

Living Arrows 36/52 (2016)

If you read last week’s post you’ll know that Gabe had been ill with a cough which ended up causing a reflux flare. We then had a couple of days where he seemed OK followed by a few rubbish nights which I put down to teething. Then I was just about to leave him at nursery yesterday when the girls noticed he had some spots on his hands…yep, he’s only gone and got hand, foot and mouth disease! Seriously, this boy cannot catch a break. He’s actually coping with it surprisingly well so I’m just hoping he gets over it quickly and that the rest of us don’t catch it too.

This photo was taken last week before the latest illness struck. We found a new park to go to with plenty of things for Toby to do, and some swings for Gabe too. Just look at his little face…

Gabe enjoying the swing

Things are much the same with Toby. He’s doing well to sleep through all Gabe’s wakings, he’s still whinging and whining a lot of the time, but he’s also a big lovely cheeky chops.

Toby is such a cheeky chops

Living Arrows

My top 5 weaning essentials

We’re now six months into our weaning journey with Gabe and although we’ve hit a few bumps along the way we are slowing getting there. Having now weaned two babies I thought I’d share my top five weaning essentials with you…

top five weaning essentials
Highchair

Even though we waited until 6 months to start weaning with Toby and Gabe they were both still a bit unsteady when sitting so needed a highchair that would support them. We used the IKEA Antilop with them both which was fab; very cheap and very easy to clean too. My only gripe with it is that it doesn’t fold and so takes up quite a lot of room. The Babymoov Light Wood high chair that we reviewed recently and are using with Gabe is fab in that respect. I also like that it’s the perfect height for Gabe to be able to sit up at the table with the rest of the family but still use the tray of the high chair.

Messy mat

Even if you’re not going full-on baby led weaning there’s no denying that weaning is messy however you do it, and food will end up on the floor. In both our houses we’ve had carpet in the area we eat so a mat to protect the floor has been essential. I know a lot of people use a plastic shower curtain, we’ve had various bits of PVC material bought from the fabric department at Dunelm – this is what we’re using at the moment as it meant I could get one piece big enough to go under both Gabe and Toby’s chairs. You can also get lots of purpose made weaning mats like this one from Messy Me that we reviewed recently.

Spoons

You don’t need lots of fancy equipment for weaning but I would say soft baby spoons are pretty essential. Of course you could just use an ordinary teaspoon but I know both my boys have really liked to chew on their spoons and I would worry about them hurting themselves on a metal one. We like these silicone spoons from Munchkin – Gabe definitely likes giving them a good old chomp!

Bowls

Again you could just use any bowl you happen to have but I’ve found that plastic bowls are great for when they inevitably get thrown on the floor. Lidded bowls are also very handy for storing left overs in the fridge or for when you are out and about. These bowls from Babymoov are the perfect size for babies and toddlers and they’re stackable so easy to store too.

Bibs

A good bib is essential when you are weaning unless you want to spend all your time washing food covered clothes. Even Toby still wears a bib at three when he’s eating cereal or anything that might drip or splash just because it makes my life easier. For babyled weaning a complete coverall bib is fantastic and I really like the Ultrabib from Bibetta that we reviewed recently. We also use these from Silly Bibz which are a great size, fold up small for eating out and both boys seems to find them comfortable and don’t try to pull them off which is a bonus!

I also wanted to mention one non-essential but very useful product – especially if you are going down the more traditional puree route with weaning…

Steamer/Blender

Of course you don’t actually need a steamer/blender specifically designed for babies. You can steam things in a pan or in the microwave and use any kind of blender to make your purees. However, we’ve been trying out the Nutribaby from Babymoov and it is a great little piece of kit. It is quite small so doesn’t take up tons of room on the worktop. The steamer can be used to heat and sterilise bottles or warm baby food, as well as actually cooking food. The blender is a really good size and has some great features – for example it’s impossible to turn the blender on without the lid clicked into place…great for those baby brain moments! I’ll be sharing a few ways we’ve been using the Nutribaby over the next couple of months.

So there you have it – my top five weaning essentials (and one non-essential). Is there anything else that you’ve found invaluable when weaning?

 

**Disclosure: We were sent some of the products featured in this post as a part of our role as Babymoov Ambassadors on the #stresslessweaning program. As always, all opinions are my own.

Me & Mine // A Family Portrait (August 2016)

I normally start these monthly Me & Mine posts by saying how quickly the month has gone but actually this month it seems an absolute age since I published July’s post. Since then we have actually moved into our new house and spent a month unpacking boxes and trying to find a place for everything to go. We’re still not quite finished but we’re getting there and there’s only really one room of chaos left!

In other firsts this month, it was Gabe’s first birthday a couple of weeks ago – so we’ve made it through our first full year as a family of four. And look how different we were a year ago!

Me and Mine August 2015

Although we didn’t really do anything to celebrate Gabe’s birthday (not even a cake – bad mummy!) he seemed to enjoy opening his presents and we are hoping to have some sort of house warming/ birthday party sometime in September.

Toby and Gabe have both started going to their new nursery this month too. They go two days a week, which is supposedly to give me time to do house stuff and perhaps even a bit of blogging. I have managed to do quite a lot of organising in the house, the blogging not so much! And today I even signed up with a supply agency so hopefully I might be heading back to the classroom fairly soon. I wanted to get the boys settled in nursery before the start of the school so that if some work does come up they are already settled in and it isn’t all a last minute rush. They are both doing really well, and the staff seem great so I’m very pleased with how it’s all gone.

Barry started his new (old) job this month too so is currently commuting to Manchester every day. It means some long days for him – he leaves the house at 6 am but is usually back not longer after 5 pm so most days we are managing to eat together and put the boys to bed. I know it’s really hard for him though, because he only really sees the boys for that couple of hours before bed when they’re tired and grumpy. He will eventually be working from home two days a week though so hopefully things will get a bit easier then.

I think that’s probably about it for this month. We’ve just been busy getting to know the local area, realising walking to the park and back is just that bit too far for Toby and I will end up having to carry him, and generally just trying to get get ourselves into a new routine.

I mentioned last month that I wanted to take this month’s Me & Mine posts on the bench in our garden and my plan is that every August we will take a family picture in the same place so we can compare how things change from year to year.

We took 194 pictures while we were sat here (Toby did have control of the remote for some of the time which might explain it) and luckily, amongst them all we did get one nice one where everyone is almost smiling and looking vaguely in the direction of the camera!

Me & Mine August 2016

We also got these lovely ones of Toby pulling faces…

Toby with his tongue out Me Mine

Pulling faces

And this one of me tickling the boys, which I actually love…

Family giggles August 2016

Until next month then…

The Me and Mine Project

What is colic in babies?

*This is a collaborative post

According to the NHS website ‘colic is the name for excessive, frequent crying in a baby who appears to be otherwise healthy. It’s a common problem that affects up to one in five babies.’ This crying usually happens in the evening and can go on for several hours at a time. There are some other indicators that your baby may be suffering from colic; baby draws knees up to his chest, baby has a swollen stomach, baby passes wind more than usual. If your baby has some or all of these symptoms then it is likely that they are suffering with colic.

What is colic in babies

It isn’t really know what causes colic – it may be trapped wind, indigestion or some other discomfort but the truth is that no one really knows. As long as your baby is gaining weight, feeding normally and seems otherwise well then colic is usually nothing to worry about. Most babies will grow out of colic when they are between four and six months old.

However, there may be other causes for excessive crying in babies. I have had two babies with reflux and I know that in the past reflux was often dismissed as colic when in fact it is something which can be treated with medication if necessary. Things like allergies and intolerance can also present with similar symptoms. If you are at all worried you should always speak to your GP or health visitor.

So having said that colic isn’t usually something to worry about it doesn’t make it any easier to live with. I know how heart breaking, and exhausting it can be to deal with a baby that won’t stop crying for hours on end. I have been there so many times…rocking, pacing, singing, pushing, shushing…doing everything I can think of to try and get my babies to stop crying.

There are a few things you can try though to try and ease the symptoms of colic;

  • try to make sure you are winding your baby thoroughly after every feed.
  • an over the counter remedy such as Infacol may help to release trapped wind.
  • carrying your baby in a sling can really help to calm them – being upright against the warmth of your body can be very comforting. I can remember spending hours with Toby in a stretchy wrap walking up and down the living room to get him to settle.
  • a walk in the pram or a drive in the car can sometimes help.
  • white noise works brilliantly for some babies – you can get apps for your phone, or why not try the vacuum cleaner, a hairdryer or the washing machine. I have sat both my boys in their bouncy chairs in front of the washing machine before now!
  • baby massage can be very comforting for a baby, and also help to release trapped wind. I went to a baby massage course run by my local health visitors but there are lots of videos available online too.

Colic can be awful to live with, both for you and your baby, especially if you don’t have a lot of support. If you can then do speak to your partner, family and friends and take whatever help you can get. Even getting someone to take the baby out for a walk for half an hour while you have a shower, or a nap, or even just sit and stare into space with a hot cup of tea, can make the world of difference!