How to Include Children in Household Chores

Household chores can take ages and be a bit dull, but if you get the kids involved you can save time and even have some fun together. Whether it’s dusting, vacuuming, scrubbing or folding laundry, there’s plenty that they can do to help. The key is to keep it interesting and make sure they have a reason to help, otherwise it might end up being more of a hindrance. Let’s check out a handful of ways you can get your children involved in household chores.

Set Challenges 

Let’s be honest, doing chores isn’t the most exciting activity for kids. A great way of combatting the boredom and making sure they stay reasonably interested is to set challenges. Things like setting times, using tick sheets or simply getting them to copy exactly what you’re doing can work well. You could even score their work from the previous week or day and challenge them to beat that score on the next occasion. Remember to give yourself plenty of scope here; the goals need to be attainable, after all!

Get them Involved in New Chores

If you get your kids doing the same thing each week they are at risk of losing interest, so try to vary it. Jobs like organising the cupboards and defrosting the freezer are not weekly events, so the novelty of you asking for their help on these ‘special’ tasks can gain their interest. Speaking of more specialised tasks, if you’d like to know how to defrost a freezer efficiently, just click here.

Use Incentives and Rewards 

Following on nicely from setting challenges is the incentive side of things. Kids love being rewarded when they’ve done well and this type of positive reinforcement can work wonders. The key is to make sure that they know that if they do a certain task well they will get a certain reward. You can mix things up a little by throwing in a mystery star prize every now and then, but on the whole it’s best for them to know what they’ll get for their efforts to stay motivated.

Give Them Responsibility

Another thing that children really enjoy as they grow up is being given responsibility. When you feel they are ready you can let them get on with things without you being on top of them. Giving them a little agency can boost their confidence too, as they see that they are able to achieve things independently of you. Just be careful what jobs you give them, though; stay away from heavy tasks or anything that involves the use of cleaning chemicals.

Giving kids responsibility, offering them rewards and keeping things challenging all work really well, and in the process they might just learn a thing or two. They might even start asking interesting questions, like how to defrost a freezer, how does a hoover works and why do we need to dust regularly? Start getting your kids involved in household chores and it will be a win-win for everyone!

 

Disclaimer: This post is a pre-written guest post published on behalf of the team at Maverns.

The Journey Through Egg Donation: Your IVF Options

IVF has transformed many lives. In the past few decades, it has become a relatively common procedure that allows singles and couples alike to have healthy, happy children in situations where it would otherwise be difficult to conceive.

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If you are considering this procedure, you have a number of different options available to you. Sophisticated IVF technologies allow couples with a wide variety of fertility issues to successfully become pregnant and carry a child to term. Those who are interested in the IVF journey can benefit from knowing the different types of IVF that are available.

Natural Cycle IVF

In this type of IVF, a woman’s eggs are harvested during the normal course of a woman’s menstrual cycle. One or more eggs are then fertilized and reimplanted into the woman’s body (or the body of a surrogate). This type of fertilization has a number of advantages, most notably it avoids the risk of ovary overstimulation and generally does not produce spare embryos that are ultimately not used. However, this method has a lower success rate than other methods.

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Stimulation IVF

In stimulation IVF, hormones are used to stimulate the ovaries to produce additional eggs for a single menstrual cycle. Using this method, multiple eggs can be harvested and multiple embryos created so the most viable one can be chosen for implantation. There is always a small risk of ovary hyper stimulation with this method, a potentially serious condition that can threaten the woman’s health. This method has a much higher success rate than natural cycle IVF.

Artificial Insemination and Donor Sperm

In instances where a man has fertility issues, sperm can be harvested from them and inserted directly into the uterus so it has a better chance of fertilizing an egg. To further increase your chances, this method is often used in conjunction with ovary stimulation or fertility drugs to increase your chances of getting pregnant.

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Those who do not have a male partner, or cannot conceive with their male partner can use artificial insemination in conjunction with donor sperm. This is sperm that is harvested from a male of the woman’s choice or an anonymous third party.

Donor Embryos

Women who are past their prime childbearing years or other women who do not have many viable eggs can use donor embryos from a third party. These embryos are created using eggs from a donor - usually a young woman - and then implanted in the uterus of the woman wanting to give birth. The process of carrying the embryo to term is often accompanied with a fairly hefty drug regimen to prevent the body from rejecting the embryo. In spite of the risk of rejection, this method has a fairly high success rate, especially when using fresh embryos.

Surrogacy

In a surrogacy arrangement, a surrogate woman carries the baby for the couple who wish to conceive. The embryo implanted in the surrogate can be made from one of the woman’s eggs, one of the man’s sperms, or both. Surrogacy arrangements can be emotionally trying, but they are often the best IVF solution for those who are unable to carry a child themselves for various reasons.

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You can find out more about egg donation and IVF, by checking out this infographic by Growing Generations, a company passionately dedicated to the vision of creating life & in the process, changing the world through surrogacy & egg donation!
 

Disclaimer: This content is a pre-written guest post published on behalf of the team at Growing Generations.

A Rainbow Picnic with Organix

Everyone who has followed by story here at Me Becoming Mum or has known me for a while, will know how much I love rainbows. They have such strong symbolism, of the promise that things will be better after the storm. As both of my girls are rainbow babies they have a special meaning to me, so when I approached by Organix to share some recipes for their rainbow picnic it was a no brained really!

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The best thing about Organix food, including these recipes you can make at home, is that there is no "junk" included. They are simple, easy, and of course healthy options for you and your family! The best thing about these rainbow recipies is that all the rainbows are made from the natural colours of the vegetables and fruit used.

If you like these recipes and want to be able to check out more easy and healthy recipes for you and your family to enjoy, check out the Recipe Page on the Organix website https://www.organix.com/recipes.

Rainbow Muffins

Mum Hack: Get your children involved in the prep, baking in any form is fun, and they are more likely to eat something that they have had a hand in making.

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Ingredients

225g self-raising flour

1 small carrot

2 spring onions

1/2 red pepper

2 tbps sweetcorn

100g mature cheddar

175ml milk (or dairy free alternative)

1 large egg

50ml olive oil

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (Gas mark 6/400°F). Lightly brush 10 moulds of a 12 hole muffin tin with oil.

2.  Measure and sift the flour into a large mixing bowl.

3. Prepare the vegetables: Grate the carrot, finely chop the spring onion, de-seed and finely chop the red pepper. Add all of the vegetables to the flour. Grate the cheddar cheese, add it to the bowl and mix well to combine.

4.  In a separate bowl, mix together the milk, egg and olive oil. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well.  Divide the mixture between the 10 oiled muffin tin moulds.

5. Bake for about 20 minutes until cooked through and golden brown.

6. Cool on a wire rack then pack in an air-tight box for your picnic.

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Rainbow Wrap

Mum Hack: For this recipe, Organix provided details of how to make the wrap. For a mum like me though, I don't have time for that.  Buying pre-made wraps from your local supermarket is a cheap and quick alternative!

Ingredients (For the Wrap)

100g buckwheat flour

1 organic egg

300ml organic milk (or milk alternative - rice/oat/nut milk)

3 tbsp water

A little olive or coconut oil for frying

Ingredients (For the Rainbow Filling)

A couple of spoonfuls of cream cheese or hummus

½ cooked beetroot

¼ red pepper

1 small carrot

¼ yellow pepper

5 cm chunk cucumber

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Method

1. To make the wrap, simply whisk all ingredients (except the oil) together until very smooth. Ideally use an electric whisk if you have one.

2. Allow batter to stand for about half an hour.

3. Heat a little olive oil or coconut oil in a 6 inch, non-stick frying pan. Ladle a scoop of batter into the pan – just enough to cover the pan surface, so the wrap is just less than 5mm thick. Tip the pan so the batter covers the surface, and allow to cook over a medium heat for a couple of minutes.

4. Use a fish slice to carefully see if it is cooked on the bottom. Once it’s cooked on one side, slide the fish slice under the wrap and flip it over. Cook the other side for a couple more minutes until golden. Repeat with the rest of the mixture.

5. Allow the wraps to cool on a wire rack, or if you prefer them warm they can be kept warm in a low oven.

6. Prepare the vegetables by cutting them into thin matchsticks. The carrot and beetroot could also be grated if preferred.

7. Spread a layer of cream cheese or hummus over the whole wrap

8. Place the vegetables on top of the wrap in strips arranged by colour. Fold up the top and bottom of the wrap, then tightly roll, spreading a little extra cheese on the last bit of wrap to help ‘glue’ it in place if needed.

9. Slice in half at an angle so that you can see the range of rainbow colours then pack in an airtight box for your picnic.

Mum Hack:  Leftover homemade wraps can used the next day or even frozen! Simply layer greaseproof paper between each wrap before freezing.

Rainbow Dips

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Ingredients (Carrot Hummus)

250g carrots

1 garlic clove

½ tbsp olive oil

½ 400g tin chickpeas

½ tsp ground cumin

1 ½ tbsp orange juice

Ingredients (Beetroot Hummus)

200g cooked beetroot

½ 400g tin chickpeas

1 small garlic clove (optional)

½ tsp ground cumin

1 tbsp olive oil

½ tbsp lemon juice

Ingredients (Pea and Mint Dip)

300g frozen peas

2 sprigs fresh mint

100g thick Greek yogurt (or dairy free alternative)

1 Tbs lemon juice

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (Gas mark 4/400°F). Scrub the carrots under running water. Top and tail them then cut into short sticks, leaving the skins on.

2. Place the carrots in a roasting tray with the garlic clove (still in its papery skin) and the olive oil. Shake the tin to completely coat the carrots and garlic.

3. Pop in the oven to roast for 20-25 minutes until the carrots are golden and cooked through. Once the carrots are ready, take out of the oven and leave to cool.

4. Drain the tin of chickpeas and tip half of them into a blender (reserve the other half for the beetroot hummus). Squeeze the clove of garlic out of its skin and into the blender with the chickpeas. Add the roasted carrots, ground cumin and orange juice. Blend all of the ingredients together until you have a hummus consistency.

5. Tip into a bowl, cover and store in the fridge then clean the blender ready to make the next dip.

6. Roughly chop the beetroot and tip into the blender with the remaining chickpeas, peeled garlic clove, cumin, olive oil and lemon juice.

7. Blend all of the ingredients together until you have a hummus consistency.  Tip into a bowl, cover and store in the fridge then clean the blender ready to make the last dip.

8. Pour the frozen peas into a saucepan with the mint sprigs. Cover with boiling water and cook for 1-2 minutes until tender.

9. Tip into a colander to drain, then cool down under a tap of cold running water. Drain well, then remove the mint sprigs.

10. Strip the mint leaves from the stems and add to the blender with the peas, yogurt and lemon juice. Blend all of the ingredients together until smooth. Tip into a bowl, cover and store in the fridge until ready to serve.

Rainbow Vegetable Platter

Mum Hack: For parents with weaning babes, or toothless tots like my Little L, boiling or steaming the vegetables slightly will soften them enough to make them easier for them to eat.

Ingredients

handful baby corn

handful sugar snap peas

2 carrots

½ red pepper

½ yellow pepper

½ cucumber

Method

1. Lightly steam the baby corn and sugar snap peas. Remove from the heat and cool quickly in ice water or a colander held under a cold running tap. Slice each piece of baby corn in half lengthways.

2. Prepare the remaining vegetables; peel the carrot and cut into sticks, de-seed and slice the pepper, cut the cucumber into sticks.

3. Arrange the vegetables on a plate or platter. Cover and store in the fridge until ready to serve. Serve with rainbow dips on the side.

 Mum Hack: When cutting your vegetables, make sure the pieces are not going to be a choking hazard.

Rainbow Fruit Kebabs

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Ingredients

5 or 6 strawberries

1 clementine

Handful pineapple pieces

1 kiwi fruit

handful blueberries

Method

1. Prepare the fruit; wash, hull and halve the strawberries, peel the clementine and break into segments, cut the pineapple into bite-sized pieces, peel the kiwi fruit and cut into bite sized pieces, wash and halve the blueberries.

2. Thread the fruit onto plastic or bamboo skewers. You can make them all the same in rainbow order or let your little one design their own.

3. Arrange the fruit kebabs on a plate, platter or air-tight container. Cover and store in the fridge until ready to serve.

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Disclaimer: This post was written in collaboration with Organix. Photos of the picnic makes were provided by Organix. Photos of my toddler were taken by me and are the property of Me Becoming Mum.

Why it is Important to Encourage Your Children to Start Gardening

Why it is Important to Encourage Your Children to Start Gardening

As a parent, you want to nurture your children so that they become well-rounded adults. You do all kinds of activities to support them and gardening may be one of them. There are many reasons why your garden is a fascinating place for children. By encouraging them to start gardening, their physical and also their mental well-being will be nurtured too. Here are a number of reasons why gardening is great for children.

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