Sunday, 30 August 2015

Baby Friendly Finger Food Recipe - 3. Muffins. Apple, Carrot and Banana.

Apple, Banana and Carrot Muffins
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When I started looking after Bear for whole days at a time I quickly found that my repertoire of finger foods was severely lacking. Toast for breakfast and chipped carrots and broccoli for lunch was neither very healthy or adventurous. We were still trying to fatten Bear up so I wanted something that had lots of goodness in it and he could feed to himself. 

Thursday, 27 August 2015

The Difference a Week Makes - 24th August

Its only 5 days really, not even a whole week since I looked after Bear last but I am amazed at the things he can do now. He's growing up too quickly. Soon he'll be a toddler not a baby and I'm feeling sad about that.

I'm also very proud and loving every little thing he masters. 

collage. Baby with book. baby hitting slit drum with sticks. Baby holding toy car.

So what can Bear do now?

He can point.

I mean really point. At everything. A book. A cat. The ceiling. The walls. Everything. Some of it has meaning like when his mummy gave him a choice between a jar or a yoghurt for dessert, he pointed at the yoghurt and then ate it!

He can say "Dat".

OK it should be "cat" but he knows what a cat is and using his new skill of pointing he can combine the two.

He can say "Duck".

We went to Roath Park on Wednesday to see the ducks. Its a word we have been saying a lot lately. Its in his books, on the Fisher Price ipad games and he has a large soft toy duck. 

He pointed at a pigeon and said "duck". He thinks pigeons are ducks too.

He can say "eye".

He was just jabbering away and then he pointed at his toy duck's eye and said "eye" and then looked at his grandad for approval. How clever is that? 

He holds out a book to be read.

If he wants a story, he will pick up a book and hold it out. I have to go to him, I'm still working on getting him to bring it to me. He will then sit quietly while it's read to him.

Baby holding out book to be read

He recognises a red balloon. 

Bear has a red balloon.

In his new book there are pictures of balloons, a green one, a blue one and a red one. He points to each in turn, I tell him what they are, and when we get to the red balloon he either points to or crawls over to his red balloon and picks it up! 

He can stand without support.

He forgets that he cannot walk and sometimes lets go and stands still for a second or two. On Tuesday he was standing with one hand resting on the foot stool and he looked at me across the room, he let go and was about to take a step... and he stopped. Just for a second so did my heart! 

He can use a spoon.

baby in highchair with spoon in hand and face covered in food

He can hold a pen.

He is almost able to scribble. He understands that a pen will make a mark on paper and he swipes it across the page but often has the pen upside down.

I wonder what new things he will be doing next week. 

baby holding pens in his hands and scribbling on white paper

What amazing things did your little one do this week?  You can tell me in the comments box below. I would love to know.


Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Things I Don't Like Today But May Love Tomorrow

Today I found myself swearing at an inanimate object. It was a metal door stop. What was it doing? It was holding a door open.

I know what you're thinking, how annoying! 

It annoyed me because it was metal and the door that it was holding open was to the bathroom. Sunshine (I'll get onto that next) was pouring into the house and this meant Bear was playing with my face rather than going for his afternoon nap. I couldn't just kick it away as I was bare footed and I couldn't move it because I had my arms full. Grrr.

Sunshine. How dare it! It's been dark and raining in Cardiff for days, and days and days. This morning Bear went for his morning nap and the upstairs was dark, I mean really dark, I had to prop open the bathroom door with a doorstop to let in a little light. Then what happened, the sun came out. Slowly just like sunrise. Yep, you've guessed it, a wide awake Bear.

Which leads me onto car seats and cars. The sun was shining so we all went to the park. It was lovely. We laughed at the ducks and smiled at all the old people. 

Bear was very pointy too. Finger pointing at a pigeon "Duck!", pointing at the dogs "Dat!" 

So we are all feeling happy when we get into the car for the short journey home. Bear falls asleep! NO! Don't sleep, it's only a short drive and it's lunch time. He doesn't listen to me he just sleeps and sleeps and sleeps. Even when we stop and the engine is off.

baby sleeping in car seat

That's ruined my whole day. Now he's too tired to eat because 25 minutes is not enough and he's too wide awake to have his afternoon nap because he had 25 minutes in the car.

Which leads me on to poo. I hate poo. Not because it's smelly or messy or anything but because it always arrives during a morning or afternoon nap. I hate poo! I hate poo! 

It took 35 minutes to get Bear to have his afternoon nap because of the stupid car and car seat. Then 10 minutes into it he is awake. You've guessed it, a poo!

I could go on but it's Wednesday, that means I do not have Bear tomorrow. Wednesday is my Friday.

Ahh! A very nice Peroni. 

"You don't like sunshine?" you ask surprised
"It's true. I don't, I love it."


a half full bottle of Peroni Birra

What do you love today?

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

10 Games to Play with a 10 month old Baby

Like all babies Bear loves to play games. He loves repetition. Although he may amuse himself for short periods of time what he really enjoys most is to play with someone else. We play lots of games together but I wanted to play games that were educational and helped his development; his balance; his coordination; his language skills. I also wanted to play games that he liked too. When I searched the internet for ideas of games to play with a 10 month old, I found they were things we already did! 

These are some of the games we play;

1. Singing and talking

I sing made up songs, just whilst we are waiting for something to happen like waiting for the kettle to boil, toast to brown. I hold him on my hip (I know it's bad for my back but we like it) and sing rubbish to a made up tune, you know the sort of thing, 

"Nanny's in the kitchen  ♫♫

putting on the kettle  ♫♫♪♪♫♫♪
can't wait for a coffee and a  ♫♫♪♪
bottle for Bear!"  ♫♫♪♪♫♫♪♫♫♪♪♫

and I tell him everything I'm doing. 

"Nanny's picking up the kettle" 

"turning on the tap" 
"oh! Look at the water" 
"put your hand in the water, brr that's cold!" 
and on and on......

I let him smell everything, the coffee in the jar "ah smell the coffee, that's nice" and while we wait we sing, he likes to put his head on my chest whilst I sing, he likes the vibrations.

2. Action songs. 

Bear loves the nursery rhymes where something will happen and the expectation makes him laugh, you know the ones; Incy Wincy Spider; This little piggy; round and round the garden (this is great for cleaning hands, we do it after every meal when his hands are covered in food. Have a wet cloth and whilst singing round and round the garden, wipe his hands with the cloth, he giggles before I can go "tiggly under there!"

3. Throwing and catching a ball

Babies love throwing things and Bear does too but mostly he loves throwing balls. We started with just rolling them to him whilst he was sat on the floor but Bear quickly developed his own favourite game. He stands on the sofa and leans on the arm and throws the ball as far as he can for Grandad to go and get it. He waits patiently for the ball to be gently thrown back at him. Be warned, this game has no end, it can go on and on and on!

4. Beebo

Well that's what I call it! "Peek a Boo" is an alternative name favoured by Americans and people younger than me. It's the game where you hide your face with your hands or a cloth whilst saying "Where's Nanny?" and suddenly appear singing Beepo! Peek a boo! Here I am! There you are! or whatever. 

We started playing Beepo when Bear was very little, but a few months ago he really started to enjoy it and once he could stand he made up his own version. He would hide behind the end of the sofa, we would ask "Where's Bear?" and suddenly he would stand up with a great big smile on his face and we would all sing "Beepo!" "There he is!". Again and again!

5. Hide and seek

Not the big boys game but one of hiding objects. Bear loves to see things hidden in Grandads hands and then reappear like magic. Or hidden under a cushion or a cloth. It's hidden with Bear watching, and he's asked "Where's the ....?" he then finds it and we all clap.

6. Building up and knocking down

Anything at all really. I build it up, Bear knocks it down. Grandad builds it up, Bear knocks it down. Bricks, cushions, toys, anything at all. Eventually Bear will learn to build it up and I will knock it down!

7. Putting things in and taking them out

Putting anything into a container and taking it out. There are so many different toys you can buy, shape sorters, ones for bricks and blocks and balls. Bear does have these but we like to just put things into other things and take them out again, balls into a plastic bowl, bricks into Nanny's slippers, balls from the ball pit onto the floor, then from the floor into the ball pit. A brick into a box and shake it to make a noise, then take it out and shake it when empty. 

8. Tunnels and dens

Bear loves crawling between our legs and the sofa. He loves his tent with a sheet draped over to make a den and he loves tunnels made from cushions and sheets. He loves to crawl under the dining room table and chairs. 

9. Bouncing

Not the throwing baby in the air and catching them game, all babies love this but is best left to Mummy and Daddy who have loads more energy than me. No this is the one where they sit on something bouncy like the sofa and the sofa cushion is pushed up and down so they bounce, this immediately causes giggles and must be repeated again and again. I wonder if a small trampoline would be easier?

10. Reading

A book, a piece of paper, anything at all. Pictures are nice, Bear likes The Very Hungry Caterpillar because he likes to put his fingers into the holes. He also likes soft cloth books that make crinkling noises when squeezed. But I read him anything, he will sit still for a while and touch the pictures. If its not a children's book I just talk about the pictures.

Going to bed

I say "Time for bed" and Bear runs up the stairs and jumps into his cot and is fast asleep in minutes......... Oh well, I can wish can't I?

baby holding book with a b c written on it

baby playing with coloured balls inside a den made with a sheet

back of baby watching blocks being stacked

All the photos are fuzzy action shots! He doesn't stay still for a minute. What games do you like to play with your little one?


Friday, 21 August 2015

Baby Friendly Finger Food Recipe - 2. Easy Peasy Sausages and Burgers


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Easy Peasy Sausages and Burgers

As I've mentioned before, I am not very accomplished at cooking but love homemade food. So when cooking for Bear I need super easy recipes that will freeze. I can then cook a batch, freeze and then use as I need to. I buy lean pork chops and beef and mince my own in a food processor, I like to know exactly what goes into my minced meat. 

Thursday, 20 August 2015

How to open a Tommee Tippee sippy cup without breaking your nails

A helping hand.

If you Google "How to open a Tommee Tippee sippy cup without breaking your nails" or "How to open a Tommee Tippee sippy cup without swearing" the results are disappointing. 

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

A Cardiff Garden in August

Grandad loves his garden, Bear and I do too. We love to walk around picking flowers, smelling them. We love seeing the real Insy Winsy Spiders (no pictures of spiders, so don't worry all you arachnophobes!) and the bees and butterflies.

Picture of dark pink flowers with darker centre
Echinacea purpurea - coneflower

picture of flowers, yellow, white, orange and pink
Dierama - Angels fishing rods. Daisies and poppies from a packet of mixed seeds

picture of pink flowers with orange, white, blue  flowers behind
Pink Anenome - windflower poisonous! Orange flower - Montbretia

picture of flowers mauve, with leaves trailing over black metal balcony

picture of  the round head of a small bay tree
Laurus nobilis - Bay tree

picture of a passion flower against ared brick wall
Passiflora - passion flower

picture of white flowers on dark background
Hydrangea paniculata - Pyramid hydrangea

picture of pink flowers with green leaves
Hydrangea macrophylla normalis - Lacecap hydrangea

large pink flower head slightly hidden by green leaves
Hydrangea macrophylla - Mophead hydrangea
picture of baby sat on the grass in dungarees holding and looking at pink flower
Bear with a pink Cosmos flower


Monday, 17 August 2015

I love Monday's

Lots of people moan about Mondays. I love them.
I get to see my little Bear and have him for the whole day. I love Tuesdays and Wednesdays too, but Mondays are my favourite.

Why Mondays? Well I may not have seen Bear for a day or two and I'm fresh, I've had a nice lazy Sunday and a good nights sleep.

This Monday was one of the best. Bear arrived all smiles and happy at 7.15. Mummy and Daddy were a little bit late so he was still in his pj's all warm and snuggly. 

He cleaned his teeth and drank his bottle. He ate some oatibix and banana on toast. I love it when he has an appetite. We dressed him and played until 9am when he put his head down on the floor and rubbed his eyes. Time for a nap. 

He was tired, only a very badly timed poo stopped him from going to sleep, so a quick, quiet change of nappy and then back up to bed..........

An hour and forty minutes later (honest, I timed it!) he was awake. The sun was shining, it was too nice to stay in so he had his 10.30 bottle, albeit very late, and off we went to the park.

We are lucky living in Cardiff, we have lots and lots of parks to choose from. Today we chose Pontcanna fields. It has free parking and the river Taff and the Taff Trail running through it. It is possible to walk or cycle all the way from here to Cardiff Bay or the other way to Brecon without using any major roads, in fact most of it's 55 miles is traffic free.

Bear only has little legs so we decided not to attempt that today.

We had a lovely walk, watched children playing in the weir. Bear had lunch in the park, we left in a hurry so didn't think to take food for us. Bear rode on his bike, crawled on the grass and just loved every minute. 

Bear fell asleep in the car on the way home, his afternoon nap is usually about 2pm and it was now gone that so we stayed in the car and drove around the lanes of north Cardiff, through little villages and got home about 3pm.

Bear slept for about 5 minutes once the car had stopped, he does like the motion of the car to keep him asleep.

We all had something to eat. Bear had Cod, mashed potatoes and some of our tuna sandwiches.

We played until Mummy got here.

What a lovely day. Now you know why I love Mondays.


Saturday, 15 August 2015

Baby Friendly Finger Food Recipe - 1. Quiche

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Delicious home made quiche
I love home made food. I find most ready made food too peppery. I think too much seasoning is added to hide the lack of taste of the ingredients. The problem is I don't really enjoy cooking. I rarely cook. So why write a post about cooking?


Friday, 14 August 2015

Week 5 Cold Bear

Another week gone. What happened this week? Well to start with Bear had another cold. Now I know babies have to build their immune system but why all at once? Isn't teething enough?

Quite topically the BBC had a report on their breakfast show on Monday about how many weeks per year a family is sick if they have one child. 

Basically if a household has no children then they have 3 to 4 weeks a year of someone ill with a virus
Add one child and it goes up to 18 weeks a year
Two children - 29 weeks and
Three children - 30 weeks!

That's over half the year in a household with 3 children!

Now I think most of us knew that as soon as the little ones go back to school then everyone gets a cold or a sore throat or some other horrible illness but I didn't realise how much sickness just one child could bring, so I've decided to give Bear back........not really love him and his snotty nose xx

Worse than that, I've caught Bears cold. I like to think that I'm pretty resistant to coughs and colds and have been lucky to have avoided all the other ones doing the rounds. This did give me some empathy, I am blocked up, have a sore throat and a headache. Poor Bear.

So what have we done to help?

  1. Lots of fluids. Bear lost his appetite on Tuesday. He refused food but did drink his bottle. We offered water frequently too. Bear is good with a sippy cup and actually likes water so this was easy. Wednesday he was still blocked up so lots of water as he refused his bottles. His appetite came back and he ate really, really well. Why fluids? Although they can go a day without lots of food you do not want them to get dehydrated.
  2. Snufflebabe vapour rub. I am a great believer in Vick and this is the baby equivalent. I know some people scoff at the idea but put some on the soles of their feet as well as their chest. Yes it works, how? No idea.
  3. Rest and cwtches. Bear was very fussy and clingy, well I had no other plans so whatever he wanted he got. Oh and I don't believe you can spoil a baby or a child with too much love.
  4. Fresh air. I'm not sure if this helped Bear but it made me feel better. We were lucky to have sunshine (yeah!). A trip to the park, a go on the swings, a picnic in the garden.
  5. Paracetamol (Calpol) last resort. I didn't have to give Bear any as he seemed to be coping OK, he didn't have a temperature, he wasn't crying or grizzly (grizzly Bear lol!) but don't forget pain killers. Used in moderation they are a blessing, not the first thing to give but if Bear was poorly (like when he had ear ache) he would get it and at regular intervals too. 
  6. Baby wipes instead of tissues. Mummy suggested this. When we have a cold we use the tissues with balsam but a baby's nose is so delicate that we didn't wipe it constantly and when we did, we used wipes. It worked for us, Bear did not get a sore nose at all.
Baby holding orange sippy cup and drinking sat on a rug in the garden
Having a drink from his sippy cup
baby in sun tent in garden with orange bowl of food
In the tent eating homemade muffins
baby in buggy holding leaf with pram toy
Bear with leaf on the way to the park

Baby in swing looking right with adult stood behind
Bear watching the other children playing
If playing doesn't work then get them to help around the house.

Baby sitting in washing basket licking a red toy ball
Bear helping with the washing
baby sitting on floor holding tape measure next to baby gate
Bear helping Grandad fix a gate across the door
 After a lovely week we had the most amazing sunset in Cardiff. This picture really doesn't do it justice. It was taken with my ipad, no filters or other magic.

Pink, mauve, lilac, blue sky with houses silhouetted

What are your tips for getting through coughs and colds?


Wednesday, 12 August 2015

10 Essentials for Grandparents

When we agreed to care for Bear when his mummy went back to work, our minds turned to making our home baby friendly. I think it's easy to spend lots of money on stuff that isn't really essential so here's my list of what I use everyday and couldn't live without;

1) A cot. We decided on a cot bed because we have the space and hopefully it will be slightly future proof. We bought the East Coast Angelina Cot Bed in pure white (see my review)It was on offer and part of Tesco clubcard boost so a bargain. It also got excellent reviews. By all means buy second-hand but you must buy a new mattress for each baby. The Lullaby Trust has lots of useful info on safe sleeping.

Baby asleep in cot lying on their back

2) A high chair. Essential for meal times especially if baby led weaning. A simple seat that attaches to a dining room chair is sufficient. We bought the Chicco Polly 2 in 1 Happy Land, it was on special offer and although the pattern is not really to my taste (see my review) when covered in chocolate dessert or yoghurt they all look pretty much the same.

empty highchair

3) Coveralls and floor cover. Again to minimise mess when Bear feeds himself. He loves to decorate the dining room and himself so these have saved me hours of work. I bought the Mothercare coveralls and from Aldi's a nylon table cloth designed for outdoors that I use to cover the floor.

baby in highchair covered in chocolate with hand stretched out

4) A buggy/pushchair. To save transporting Bears pushchair back and forth when there's so much more to worry about we bought a cheap buggy. We bought the Chicco London stroller from Mothercare when they had it on special offer (I should have shares in this company!).  OK it is basic but if you can get it when on offer it's a bargain (see my review).

a babies buggy with footmuff and parasol

5) A change mat. Any will do they are cheap and colourful. Ours is the Red Kite stars from Asda. Other than protecting surfaces and having somewhere cushioned to lay Bear, it is also a reminder for him to lay still (oh yes he does!) whilst being changed. Lay him down on any other surface and he will roll over, crawl away or cry.

change mat with different coloured stars pattern

6) A Smart Trike. I love it, Grandad loves it, Bear loves it! Number one essential luxury for us. Again we weren't concerned about colour/design so bought the Vanilla 4 in 1 blue and a rain cover which we haven't used yet.

Baby on blue and orange trike

7) A car seat. This is essential if you want to get out and about. We didn't want to have to fiddle about taking his car seat out of daddy's car every day. We bought the Joie stages group 0+,1 and 2 when it was on special offer (another bargain from Mothercare). There is lots of advice on the internet for buying a car seat.

baby asleep in carseat

8) A play tent. We bought ours from Tesco, needed some tweaking to get it to work but Bear loves it as a den, hopefully summer will come to South Wales and we can use it in the garden (see my review).

baby in tent with lots of different coloured balls

play tent covered with white sheet to make a den

9) A fire guard. Why not higher in the list? Well we have a gas fire and very rarely have it on. We use the radiators to warm the house but Bear kept banging the fire and playing with the decorative bits. Also it has a raised marble hearth that I was worried he'd fall and crack his head on. Pillows etc did not deter him but since the fireguard has been in place he has mostly ignored it.

black fireguard surrounding gas fire not on

10) Wine. After our 3 days of childminding, on a Wednesday evening, Grandad and I like to reward ourselves with a glass or 2. Cheers.

Please see my review pages for what I think of the items we bought. "No review for wine?" I hear you say, not yet we're still researching.....


Is Bear the cleverest 10 month old baby ever?

Well it's been a month since we started looking after Bear whilst his parents work. I can't believe he was 10 months old on 6th August, time really does go quickly when you're having fun.

We are still waiting for a dry day in Cardiff so we can get out and have fun in the sunshine. Rain is OK if you have wellies and a raincoat but if your main mode of transport is crawling rain is a real pain.

Bear is learning quickly though, only a week or so ago we were all going silly over the fact he could stand and make steps along the sofa, this week he's walking with us holding his hands. Walking is still too slow for him though so he quickly goes to the ground to crawl and he can do that faster than the blink of an eye.

He has learnt lots of games and of course is the cleverest baby ever born.

"ooh" we say "he's so clever" "ooh, well done" "ooh that's so advanced for his age" 

Bear smiles and claps his hands. He knows he's clever.

So what can he do and what games can he play? 

  • He can clap his hands
  • He can wave whilst riding a trike
  • He can dance to music
  • He can throw a ball better than anyone in the Australian cricket team 
  • He can throw a tantrum
  • He can say dada, baba and Gandad
  • He can say oh! O! when he throws something to the floor
  • He knows who we all are by name
  • He knows the cats name
  • He knows his name
  • He can mimic noises his grandad makes
  • He can shout louder than me
  • He can ping the door stop and make a racket
  • He can ping the stick men from his Galt pop up toy
  • He laughs at the animals dancing on the Fisher Price laugh and learn animals app on my ipad 
  • He can play peek-a-boo, or as we used to call it beepo
  • He can clean his teeth, yep they took a long time to come through but he has 4 and a 5th on its way
  • He can climb the sofa
  • He can throw yoghurt onto the back of his head with one shot
  • He can just lay back and be fed
  • He can hold his own bottle
  • He holds his hands out for "round and round the garden" and giggles before he gets tickled
  • He can kneel
  • He can walk holding onto something
  • He can put a ball in a hole

See I told you he was clever 

baby on trike waving
Bear waving like royalty whilst riding a trike
Baby in cardboard box looking up
Beepo! (yes it's a wine box, see my 10 essentials for grandparents)
Baby in highchair with toothbrush
Bear cleaning his teeth
Babies head with blob of yoghurt on it
Good shot Bear!

baby climbing the back of a black sofa
Bear climbing the sofa, Pen Y Fan next!

Baby in highchair leaning back with arms up being fed raspberries
Bear being fed like a Roman Emperor

baby feeding themselves with a bottle
I can do it myself
Is your baby cleverer* than Bear? I'd love to read your comments.

*cleverer, made up word, means more clever, cleverest etc.
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