When I returned from holidays recently, my fridge was empty and my fruit bowl was bare (not too panic, my pantry and freezer were well stocked!). It was a perfect opportunity to start with a clean slate and take steps to reduce my food wastage and focus more on healthy eating. Having started “me time” at the gym three times a week earlier this year, I am feeling so much fitter and healthier, and whilst I have been eating pretty healthily, it was a great chance to make a few more healthy changes. I have also recently been watching Hugh’s War on Waste and it inspired me to do more to minimise my food wastage. The amount of food thrown out is unbelievable. From food that doesn’t make it to the supermarket because it doesn’t look pretty enough, to leftovers and veggies that hide at the back of ourfridges for too long to products past their use by date. We can all make small changes to minimise our food waste.
So this is what I am going to do.
I am going to plan out my meals for the week using my menu planner which creates my shopping list – something I have been doing, but had let slip recently.
This way I will only buy what I need, in the quantities needed. It will also make life easier as I know what is for dinner each night. I can plan for those busy activity nights when preparation and cooking time is limited and I can even make a double batch to put int freezer for use at a later date.
I am going to use more local produce, and I mean close to home local.
I have a freezer with lamb and beef from a friends’ farm – the taste and quality cannot be beaten and I know they have treated these animals well and not used unnecessary medicines/antibiotics. By planning my meals for the week, I can ensure the meat is defrosted ready to use.
I also have a vegetable patch starting to flourish with crops of pak choy, broccoli, peas, spring onions, leeks, herbs, citrus. The ultimate in garden to plate – produce at its best and freshest. Why would I not want to maximise my crop and use it at its best?
With a little bit of planning I can achieve these things.
With a little planning we can all do more to minimise food wastage.
What can you change to make a difference in your life?
Today, I caught with my besties for coffee (love you ladies!). These coffees are a lot of laughs, but also a great chance for us as mum’s to share the stresses of the many hats we wear. My friend mentioned today that she felt she was doing a mediocre job of everything at the moment and I can relate.
We all wear many hats – mum, cleaner, laundry worker (this feels like a full-time never ending job!), shopper, cook, menu planner, taxi service, homework co-ordinator, chief of after-school activities, committee member….just to name a few. Then there is the small things like remembering family and friends birthdays, buying gifts, sending cards….the list goes on. On top of that I, like many, run my own business.
My friend who is feeling she is doing a mediocre job of everything, has recently started her own business and is trying to add that on top of her daily jobs and keep it all in balance. I know that she will find her balance and realise that she is fabulous at many things and has been all along!
We must all realise that achieving all of the things we do is way beyond medicority and ventures into fabulousness. An all-round gymnast may not be the world champion in any one event, instead they perform at a high level in many events. We mums like all-round gymnasts perform at a high level across many roles – if only there were Olympic medals for the many hats us mum’s wear. The medal factory wouldn’t be able to keep up with demand!
Take a moment to appreciate how fabulous you are today and every day! You are doing a fabulous job.
With a new year of kinder and school underway, the children are settling into their new classes, reconnecting with friends and making new friends too. As they bond, children often ask if their friend can come over for a play. If this friend has allergies, this can be daunting.
So, you have a child with allergies or intolerances coming to your place to play………….what do you do? DON’T panic!
This post gives you tips for a play date at which the child’s parent is in attendance. An upcoming post will look at a play date at which the parent does not stay and will look at what you will need to check before the parent leaves, such as medications and when and how to administer them in the event of an emergency.
If you have a child with allergies/intolerances, share this post with all your non-allergy friends/kinder/school group – it will help open the lines of communication and provide them with some tips to hosting a play date with your child. Most people are scared of managing allergies if they haven’t been exposed to them before, but most will be willing to learn.
Tip 1:Ask the parent to stay.
Tell the parent you would like for them to stay for the first play date so that you can get to know them and understand their child’s allergies/intolerances better. Whilst the parent is there, you can ask questions about the child’s allergies and how to manage them. This play date is about you learning more so that you can have a play date without the parent present, and it also allows the parent to see that you are willing to learn so you can accommodate their child’s eating requirements, giving them comfort to leave the child with you for a play date in the future.
Tip 2: Talk to the parent in advance of the play date about what allergies/intolerances the child has and what they can and cannot eat.
Start with a play date that will only need you to provide some snacks rather than a meal. You can even ask the parent to bring a plate to share that way you will know it is safe for their child to eat, and you can get some ideas for next time.
Tip 3: Ensure your food preparation area, crockery and utensils are clean.
If you are going to prepare some snacks for the children, you need to ensure your food preparation area and serving plates and cutlery is appropriately cleaned before you start. It can’t hurt to give play area and toys a once over too, especially if you have younger children that like to chew on toys. The attached website has some great tips on cleaning to prevent contamination:
Fruit skewers are a great option that kids love – there is just something about food on a skewer that kids love.
Vegetable sticks with dip – ask the parent in advance what brand and flavour dip the child can eat. Don’t feel bad for asking, it shows that you care. The parent will be grateful and more than happy to advise. If you haven’t had a chance to ask in advance, check the labels careful before purchasing and keep the product sealed and have it checked by the parent before you open it.
For a more hearty snack Loni’s Allergy Free Chicken Nuggets are a great option – kids love them and my recipe is easy to prepare using only a few ingredients that you can buy at the supermarket. Even better, you can make these in advance and freeze them, so that all you need to do is pop them in the oven when your guests arrive. Making them in advance means you can check the ingredients you are planning to use with the child’s family to ensure they are suitable.
Recipes for fruit skewers, dips and chicken nuggets are all available in my cookbook Loni’s Allergy Free (RRP $39.95) along with other great everyday recipes – click here to purchase.
Tip 5: Enjoy the play date and catch up with the parent.
I hope everyone has had a great Christmas/New Years break. Wishing you all a happy, healthy and fun 2016!
I have been enjoying the holidays with my family, spending lots of time at the beach and just hanging out. I love school holidays, no school or kinder, no activities, no rushing out the door, no rush to get dressed just time to relax and play games without the distractions of the usual busy-ness of life. Time being just a mum……the topic of this blog post!
I went for walk in the park, on my own – well actually pushing a pram with child #3 in it, but #1 and #2 stayed home so close to on my own!
Whilst I walked I think I realised why us women say we are “just a mum”…..could it be that instead of saying because we think of being “just a mum” as not a job, we are saying it because there is only enough time in the day to be “just a mum”? Being “just a mum” requires quite a resume of skills when you think about it.
“Just a mum” must haves:
Valid driver’s licence to taxi children to crèche/kinder/school/activities
Exemplary organisational skills to ensure all household duties are completed (at least on a semi-regular basis) in between your children’s activities such as cleaning, shopping, washing, meals
Master degree in clothes folding (I swear that every child doubles your amount of washing and seriously what is with trying to fold fitted sheets!)
Superb multi-tasker – must be able to cook dinner, supervise homework, gather snacks and listen to all your kids talking all at the same time whilst looking calm and in-control!
On-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and able to function at a reasonably high level with minimal sleep.
Well versed in medical conditions with ability to diagnose what is a sniffle and what requires a Dr (particularly challenging in the younger years when children can’t tell you what hurts!). Must enjoy reading outdated trash magazines whilst waiting in the Dr’s surgery for the 2nd or 3rd time in a week. I often think that I should have a standing weekly appointment over winter as one of my three kids will use it!
Add to this list if you have allergies or intolerances in your family
20:20 vision to read the super fine print of labels to ensure foods purchased accommodate all members of the households allergies and intolerances
The memory of an elephant to keep tabs on who can eat what, as well as other allergies which in my family include medications and sunscreens!
I have recently decided that this “just a mum” needs to spend a little more time on herself and getting fit and dropping the baby weight. Hmm, can you still call it baby weight almost 2 years after #3 was born? Someone told me once that you gain 5kg for every child…whilst I am not sure if the figure is accurate, the principle definitely is. I have certainly gained a few kgs with each child that I have decided need to go.
As I thought about this “just a mum” theory I had developed during my walk, I realised that being “just a mum” with a bit of “wifely duties” on the side, really does take up just about every waking minute. Just finding half an hour a day to go for an energetic walk (vs a stop my shoe fell off, stop my legs are tired, stop I saw a pretty flower type walk) is not an easy task. Most days my “me” time walk is like today, pushing my cheeky, adorable two year old in her pram, whilst she sings to herself – extra resistance pushing a pram perhaps? Perhaps it doesn’t entirely matching the definition of “me time”, but would I trade it? Never!
So I guess what I realised is that anyone who says they are just a mum, is doing the worlds hardest, yet best job in the world.
In an ideal world, I would spend more time with my kids, more time with my husband, more time together as a family, more me time, more time doing things that I love….sorry golf clubs that have been gathering dust for 6 years. Unfortunately, however I have not discovered the ability to manufacture time. So, my “me time” often gets put off to make way for the other things.
What do I want to say to all the “just a mum’s” out there?
Kids are little for such a short time that I wouldn’t trade spending every waking minute being “just a mum”. As my kids are getting older, I can see the light ahead where I will have some me time and perhaps it will be more me time than I had bargained on. So I am just going to cherish every minute, cherish taking my two year old on walks that end with a play in the park, cherish the chats and games of eye-spy on the way to and from school, cherish seeing my kids learn new skills in whatever activities they choose, cherish stopping every third step to pick a flower or watch an ant trail. Isn’t that what life is all about?
Being “just a mum” sounds just perfect to me. To all you wonderful mum’s out there be proud of being “just a mum” – we have the best job in the world.
With Christmas just around the corner (8 sleeps for those of us counting), this is an apt time for those of us with food intolerance to remember the pain our last “just a little bit won’t hurt” episode inflicted, and vow not to do it to ourselves this Christmas. For allergy sufferers, extra vigilance at this time of the year is critical, with meals at other people’s houses and lollies and chocolates common place gifts, you can never be too careful. My Christmas wish for you all is for a happy, healthy and joyous time with your families, full of great allergy-friendly food.
Merry Christmas from my family to yours!
When you suffer from allergies, just a little bit is not an option, as just a little bit is life threatening. However, when you sufferer from intolerances, just a little bit causes some uncomfortableness that passes. Those of you with intolerances will be able to identify the times when you are lulled into thinking a little bit won’t hurt…..for me it was my husband’s 40th birthday. Whilst the menu was expertly caters to accommodate all the diets of the guest including myself, it was the OMG Cake that everyone kept raving about the got me. There was an intolerance suitable cake, but the layers of sponge, crème patisserie and filo pastry in this OMG Cake had everyone talking and I couldn’t resist just a little taste (and then a few more little tastes!). This cake was exceptionally and definitely delicious.
As I sat wanting to scratch the skin of my shins and the backs of my knees, whilst my tummy grumbled and performed Olympic grade somersaults, I was very much reminded of why I cannot eat just a little bit. The after effects outweigh the enjoyment at the time (although as I mentioned this cake was exceptional so the gap was shortened!). The memory of this cake will last for a set period and when it wears off and I have conveniently forgotten the impact, I will no doubt be sucked in again. For me the memory of the bad after effects last a little longer each time I indulge in things I shouldn’t…will I ever learn?
Why do we do it to ourselves? A short period of enjoyment for longer lasting uncomfortable side effects….I guess it is the part of us that wants to be normal and like everyone else, that wants to eat those foods that look and taste amazing, the part of us that wishes just a little bit won’t hurt.
Don’t forget to check out my recently released e-book titled “Loni’s Allergy Free Christmas Menu”.
Full of delicious recipes for a complete Christmas Dinner with all the trimmings, as well as recipes to transform leftovers into delicious meals, this e-book will take the stress out of Christmas cooking for those with allergies and intolerances. All recipes are free from wheat, gluten, corn, yeast, dairy, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame seeds, tomato and seafood. Also included is a full shopping list and time planner, so that as much of your time as possible is spent enjoy the joy of Christmas with your family.