Top Tips for Parents!

   Who would have thought? Me in my very own 'test kitchen' for Thermos!!

Who would have thought? Me in my very own 'test kitchen' for Thermos!!

Fellow #craphousewives, you know that me and the kitchen don't usually go together!

However, recently I was lucky enough to host Thermos® FUNtainer® Parenting Fun-101 Workshop!

During the workshop we chatted all things parenting as well as preparing some easy meals for the family.

Here are some of my tips that I shared during the workshop:

  • Don't sweat the small stuff. When my girls were little I wasted too much time trying to get them into 'nice, neat' outfits. Eventually I realised it didn't matter if they spent the day in their dress ups and PJs. It wasn't worth wasting my energy on debating the merits of matching clothes with a three year old. Besides, I'm getting my own back now, when I pick my girls up from school wearing my pyjamas! Also, it doesn't matter if your kids won't brush their hair. One day they will.
  • Good manners matter. It's important to teach your kids to say please and thank you. They're little sponges and soak up what we do, as they learn by our example. If you're polite to people, your kids will also learn the importance of good manners.
  • Keep dinner simple and straightforward. You can have toast for dinner sometimes. I'm not the worlds best cook (I know you know that)! I rely on schnitzel, sausages and mince, done many different ways. Often I'll prepare my girls a 'tasting plate' of cut up carrots, cherry tomatoes and avocado which they'll eat before dinner. It's an easy way to get some vegies into them.
  • Sugar is okay sometimes. I love it (and so do my daughters). Most of the time we eat healthily, but it's all about balance. Ice cream for dessert, with a plate of fruit on the side keeps everyone happy.
   PJs for school pick up!

PJs for school pick up!

   Secret chocolate stash!

Secret chocolate stash!

  • Take time out for yourself. Yes, it's easier said than done because as parents (especially mums) we put everyone else's needs ahead of our own. Try to do one thing each day just for you... For me, that means reading my Kindle in bed while munching on my own stash of dark chocolate. It's hidden in my top bedside drawer.
  • Find your own family fun. Going to the playground can be boring (it was for me), I used to try to find other like-minded mums whose eyes were also getting glazed over while trying to push their children on the swings. I would get chatting and realise that it wasn't 'just me' trying to run interference to avoid skirmishes in the sandpit. By the time my second daughter was born I was much easier on myself and stopped doing things that weren't fun for me (as the lack of enthusiasm would rub off on my daughters too). It meant we did a lot more dancing at home, dress ups and singing!
  • Remember there is no such thing as being a perfect mother. We're all doing our best. And some days go better than others for no clear reason. It's just life, messy, chaotic, complicated but wonderful.
  • You live in a family home, not a showroom. Life is far too short to spend endless hours folding washing and making everything perfect. Especially when you have little people ready to mess it up moments later.
  • Take shortcuts and save your precious time for what matters to you. Get your clothes out of the dryer quickly as it saves on ironing. Recently I was playing charades with the girls and as I attempted to act out 'ironing' they looked at me like I was demented. They had no idea what I was doing, as they have never seen an iron. We don't own one!
  • Don't be too hard on yourself. There is no one size fits all style of parenting. You do what works for you and your family. Don't compare yourself to anyone else. No one has it all together, some are just better at pretending than others. You are enough.
   My sink always looks like this...

My sink always looks like this...

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There was plenty of chat during the Thermos® FUNtainer® workshop, but there was also time to 'cook'!!

Thankfully I was supervised by the marvellous nutritionist and dietian Susie Burrell, who devised the healthy and easy recipes that we prepared for some fabulous mums. (The plus was the meals and snacks were designed to fit easily into the new Thermos® FUNtainer® food jars.)

These jars can keep food hot for up to five hours and cold for up to seven hours. It's a great way to keep your kids food at the best temperature for outings, school lunchboxes or picnics.

Here's Susie's recipe for Banana Bites:

(Serves 6-8)

Ingredients: 2 large bananas, mashed. 1 cup rolled oats, raw. 1 cup pitted dates, chopped. 1 cup coconut, shredded (for rolling)

Method: Combine the mashed banana with the oats and dates in a blender for one minute. Roll the mixture into small sized balls in your hands. Coat the balls in shredded coconut and store in the fridge. It should take around 30 minutes for the bites to firm in the fridge.

Success rate: I ate most of them before they made it into my school lunchboxes!

What are your easy, lunchbox snacks? I'd love to hear about them.

This article has been sponsored by Thermos®.

   Banana Bites!

Banana Bites!