Top Tip 39: What to do with your old cot mattress!

Thank you to Shona for putting together this post!!!

NHM readers suggested uses for old cot mattresses

I asked the Friends of  my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook What did you do with your cot mattress when you didn’t need it any more?  I don’t really want to dump it but I’m sure you can’t recycle mattresses. Seems such a waste to take it to the tip”.  Thank you very much to everyone who responded, here are the suggestions:

Please note, these are in no particular order!

1. Animal Rescue Centres

Karen suggested trying animal rescue centres as they sometimes take them and use them as beds.

2. Re-use / Upcycle

(Suggested by Poppy, Karen, Susan, Michelle and Karen)

If you have the room to keep them then old mattresses are great for a selection of uses, such as:

  • To get out for the kids to jump on when they feel the urge to jump on the sofa or bed
  • A spare bed for when you have friends staying over with little ones or for camping trips
  • As a base for tent/den making
  • Smaller mattresses (such as moses basket mattresses) make great bathroom or garden kneelers
  • Recover and use as a window seat cushion

3. Send out to Romania

Vicki suggested contacting Ruth at Christ Church Chineham as she arranges for old mattresses to be sent out to Romania.

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Top Tip 38: Kilner Jar Salad’s

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I recently read an American post about “10 Mason Jar (What the US calls Kilner Jars) Lunches to have on hand” via the Super Healthy Kids Blog which was recommended to me by a NHM Reader a couple of years ago and thought it sounded like a brilliant idea.

I was slightly sceptical about whether it actually worked but then I saw a work colleague with kilner jars on her desk and she said they were fantastic. She makes all her lunches for work on a Sunday, keeps them in the fridge and the salads are still in great condition by the following Friday.

As regular NHM readers know I’m always looking out for any short cut’s that will make my life a bit easier so I knew I had to try this.

It’s also pretty widely known that Mr NHM literally takes a step back when the word “salad” is used in any context ;-).

I don’t know if it’s his northern blood but he categorically refuses to eat anything remotely salad like. Combine this with a child who has suddenly developed a “fussy food streak” and the only person I’m making any salads for is myself.

I don’t have the time or inclination to spend every evening making only myself a salad…. until I tried the kilner jar method!

Honestly, it’s fantastic!

I did what my colleague suggested and made up 4 kilner jars for the week on a Sunday and put them in the fridge. I also made up a kilner jar with cous cous and raisins and stored this in the fridge. It took me about 15 minutes of time to make the 5 jars but I was doing them at the same time as cooking another meal.

I was expecting the salad and cous cous to be soggy by the time I used them but they weren’t, it was as if I’d just prepared them!

I have no idea whether it’s because the jars are air tight but they are MILES better than using tupperware or lock and lock’s.

I bought my kilner jars from The Range as they were the cheapest I could find.

The pictures in this post are from one of the recipes in the original “10 Mason Jar Lunches” post, “Chicken Taco mason jar salad”, and I adapted it to what I had in the fridge and the equivalent to the US products.

I used, rocket and watercress chopped up, then grapes and blueberries, then a chopped tomato, some sweetcorn, some cucumber and finely chopped radishes and topped off with some black beans (not in the picture as I got distracted!).

I made the sauce from mild salsa mixed with creme fraiche when I needed it as I’d decided not to put it in the jar because I’m still a bit sceptical about whether the sauces will keep. I’m definitely going to try it next time though.

When I needed the salad, I dumped it all out into my bowl, topped with the sauce and it was DELICIOUS!

I highly recommend using kilner jars for storing food like salads and cous cous. Now I’m sold I’m going to try it on LOADS of other different foods and will report back soon! :-D.

Let me know if you have any good “kilner jar” recipes as I’d love to expand my current repertoire.

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NHM Readers Top Tips for Keeping Cool

YAY! It’s Half Term!!! Whoop Whoop!!

So, on the off chance the weather is lovely during half term I thought I’d post up the responses that I asked for last year on on my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook, for top tips for staying cool with little ones in the heat.

Thank you very much to everyone who responded and thank you to Shona for putting this together!

NHM Readers Top Tips for Keeping Cool

Louise said:

Gazebo, paddling pool and lots of water and ice pops!!!

Lisa said:

Be still like crocodiles as much as possible! LOTS of water. Keep all windows shut to keep coolness in. Run cold water over wrists for 1 minute to cool down. Hats and lots of shade when outside.

Lisa B said:

Hang around lolly freezers – make sure children take ages to choose

Hayley said:

Sun shade, lots of water and paddling pool.

What are your suggestions for keeping cool in the hot weather?

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Top tip 37: Ecover limescale remover

I discovered Ecover limescale remover from a friend who raves about it. (yes, I’m well aware of how tragic that sentence is! lol).

It’s great stuff, safe for the environment (and therefore little ones) and it does a FANTASTIC job of removing limescale.

It’s quite expensive at £4 a bottle and I’ve only ever found it in Ocado, but it’s the only thing that gets my shower screen clean that doesn’t have harmful chemicals in. It does an awesome job on metal sinks too.

Highly recommended if you want to get something that cleans but doesn’t have harmful chemicals in.

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Top Tip 35: YouTube Kids

YouTube Kids

You Tube have put together a specific App for children which is called: YouTube Kids.

If you let your little ones use YouTube a lot, this App will be perfect for you.

Although YouTube can’t guarantee that there won’t be anything inappropriate on the App, it’s a lot better than your child using “YouTube” where they can literally stumble over anything.

They say: “YouTube Kids gives your family an easy way to watch their favourite shows, or explore anything that captures their imagination. It’s free, simple to use, and full of family-friendly videos.”

There is also a section which is tailored just for parents which explains how the App works.

Apparently it tailors the content too, so your child will be shown more of what they like.

So don’t start them off on “My Little Pony” if you don’t want their brains to rot :-D.

https://kids.youtube.com

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Top Tip 34: Slow Cooker Lasagna

Someone told me a couple of years ago (Hi Laura!) that you could do lasagna in your slow cooker .

I was bit sceptical but have been wanting to try it for ages and finally got around to it a few weeks ago.

We loved it so much, that we have had it twice in the past month! Which possibly explains why I’m not losing any weight at the moment! lol.

Top Tip 34: Slow Cooker Lasagna

I used my slow cooker to batch cook a basic bolognese sauce. I use:

  • chopped tomatoes
  • chopped onion
  • finely chopped carrots,  peppers and apple (lots of hidden veg and you can’t taste them)
  • loads of garlic
  • minced beef
  • beef stock
  • tomato puree
  • oregano
  • and sometimes passata if it’s in the cupboard.

I chuck it all in the slow cooker and let it cook for 8 hours.

I make a huge batch and then freeze it and use it as a base for pasta and sauce, chilli (chuck in some mild chilli and red kidney beans for 30 mins when reheating) and now for lasagna.

This sauce is very versatile!

Steps

Layer your stuff. For my first layer I put in the bolognese sauce.

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Then I break up the lasagna sheets to cover the sauce.

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Then I add the cheese sauce (Make a rue, with butter and flour, add milk very slowly and keep stirring constantly and then boil so the sauce thickens. Add some grated cheese once sauce has thickened. You don’t need to use much cheese).

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Then I add another layer of bolognese sauce.

You can add a layer of spinach here too if you want to add some more veg.

Depending on how much “stuff” I have available, I will keep doing the layers until I’ve run out!

However, the last two layers on the top are always the lasagna sheets topped with the cheese sauce and some grated cheese.

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Then wack your slow cooker on low for 4 hours.

I actually switched mine off after 3.5 hours last time because I could smell that it was cooked (it smells YUMMY!).

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Then serve!

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We have ours with salad. (when I say “we”, I obviously mean me and Miss NHM as Mr NHM’s is still northern and refuses to eat salads :-D).

I often end up storing what’s left in the fridge and ensure that when I re-heat the lasagna it’s boiling hot, so no risk of food poisoning.

Related Posts

Top Tip 31: Batch Cooking: Home Made Cottage pie

Mum Top Tip’s

Top Tip 8: Slow Cooker Roast Chicken

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Top Tip 36: Birthing Hospital Tips

“S” sent me her hospital tips when her second child was born who is now nearly three years old! Opps! I probably should have posted this a bit sooner, but better late than never! Thank you for this fantastic post “S”. Going to miss you ;-).

I am posting this after meeting up with an old school friend, “K” on Monday, whom I haven’t seen to chat too in over 20 years! This post is for you “K” and all of the other pregnant ladies who read NHM ;-).

Hospital Tips

  • Pampers – not one nappy has leaked so far
  • Bikini top – so hot in the hospital this was a great thing to wear in labour
  • Disposable knickers – lots of blood very early on and actually not uncomfortable
  • Don’t bother with fancy pjs – def get blood on them even with 2 maternity towels on
  • Take nice towel for yourself – the hospital ones are tough and not really offered clean ones
  • Luxury toilet paper – a must for stitches
  • Padded maternity towels with wings were good, if stitches wear 2 on top of each other for extra padding
  • Be assertive with midwives and listen to your body not the textbook
  • Get as much help as possible with feeding – nursery nurses were brilliant, ask for breastfeeding counsellor appointment too, they come around the wards
  • Ibaby breastfeeding app excellent for iPhone to figure out feed times esp with stopping/ starting for burping etc
  • Contraction timer excellent – and gave me something to focus on during contractions
  • Fruit really good to eat during labour
  • Good idea to take a range of clothes sizes in case your baby is tiny/big
  • A bath with lavender essential oil is soothing for stitches

What’s missing from this list?

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Top Tip 33: Creamy coconut and berry Lolly’s

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My first attempt!

I’ve been looking for a healthy lolly recipe for a while and stumbled across this one via The Green Parent website.

They are very cheap to make and much better for you than shop bought lolly’s. They are also suitable for dairy intolerant peeps.

Ingredients:

• 1 can of coconut milk
• 6 tablespoons of honey (we used agave nectar as it’s the only thing I had in)
• 4-6 large strawberries (we skipped the strawberries as we don’t have any at the moment!)
• 2 cups of frozen summer berries

Method:

1. Throw all ingredients into a blender, mix until smooth.
2. Pour into popsicle/lolly cases.
3. Freeze for 4-6 hours.

Serves: 12-18
Cost: Approximately £2

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Top Tip 30: Reviews and Age Ratings of Movies, Games, TV, Apps, Books, Music…

I’ve always been really worried about exposing Miss NHM to technology stuff that isn’t age appropriate.

I mentioned this to a fabulous friend of mine recently and she sent me the link to this FANTASTIC website.

If you are looking for suggestions of age appropriate Apps to download or which films are suitable, etc. I recommend checking this website out.

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/

Thanks very much fab friend :-D.

Top Tip 31: Batch Cooking: Home Made Cottage pie

If I had written this post ten years ago, I probably would have shot myself! lol.

The fact that I really enjoyed doing this, says a lot about how my life and mindset has changed :-D.

Top Tip 31: Batch Cooking: Home Made Cottage pie

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A few weeks ago, I spent an hour making six meals for my family, which I’ve frozen and which have already gotten me out of a few sticky “lack of meal” situations!

I was lucky enough to pop into Lakeland in Reading a few days before and picked up some of those foil dishes that you can use to freeze prepared meals in.

They were excellent but I’ve just found that they are a lot cheaper from Sainsburys, so will try those foil dishes and let you know how I get on.

In the morning I put the slow cooker cottage pie mix on.

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This was:

  • Minced beef
  • Chopped onions
  • 2 beef stock cubes
  • A carrot, finely chopped
  • A handful of frozen peas
  • Gravy granules

In the evening I boiled some potatoes and turned them into mash:

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Once they were ready, I loaded the dishes up:

056I then topped them off with grated cheese:

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I put the lids on and put them in the freezer.

It took about an hour, all in all, and I made six healthy meals that have been yummy!

Have you tried batch freezer cooking and if yes, which recipes do you cook?