Porridge fingers

One morning, whilst trying to spoon porridge into my daughter’s mouth and having her outright refuse it, I gave up but was annoyed that I had a wasted bowl of porridge. I had a think about what I could do with it rather than it end up in the food waste bin (affectionately called the ‘slop bucket’ in our house). I recalled a recipe I once made (here) for baked oatmeal, so I bunged the porridge in an oven-proof dish and shoved it in the oven for 20 minutes. The result was a flapjack-style baked porridge, which I left to cool, cut into fingers and… the baby ate it all up! 

Not the most attractive but they taste good!

My initial porridge was simply equal measures of porridge oats and full fat milk. I’ve since tried it out with added cinnamon, apple purée (I wasn’t going to let my frozen cubes of apple purée be wasted) and ginger. 

Equal measures of porridge and milk, with some cinnamon thrown in

I usually make too much porridge so that I have some to keep in the fridge for the next day, or to have in the freezer for a quick breakfast. The porridge fingers keep their shape well, so I’ve wrapped them in cling film and taken them out with us for a snack-on-the-go too. 

Baked porridge

I’ve since searched for them on Pinterest and found some good variations on flavours to try out – carrot cake, apple pie, raspberry and coconut are a few on my list for future versions. 

Link here: http://pin.it/oNP6BbM

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Nursery bookshelves 

I’ve bought or been given lots of books for my little girl but had nowhere to put them in her bedroom; it’s far too small for a freestanding bookcase. Whilst having my daily browse of Pinterest and looking up ideas for nursery decor and baby play, I kept spotting the same pin, which was for a reading corner using Ikea spice shelves as bookshelves. 

A different way to store books

At only a few pounds each, the spice shelves are so cheap, but really effective as they display the books nicely rather than just seeing the spine of them, and as they’re bare wood, you can paint or varnish them any colour. I chose white as I had a tin of white satinwood paint lurking at the back of the garage, though I do regret using it; gloss paint takes ages to dry in between coats, and these needed three. 

Cheap as chips spice shelf
Gloss paint, not the best choice

I painted each part of the shelf individually before screwing them together, but in hindsight assembling them before painting may have been a better idea. 
A tedious painting job

I chose to turn one shelf upside down to display some kitsch ornaments I had as a child and to hang some decorations from, but it can easily be turned around to use for more books if needed. I think this is a really cheap but effective idea! 

A little reading corner in my baby’s tiny bedroom!

Link here: http://pin.it/umSxcaV

Baby’s first art

Whilst browsing for baby sensory ideas, I spotted this pin for mess-free art – as I mentioned in my last blog post (here) I’m not ready for too much mess just yet! – and this seemed like fun. So off I trooped to Poundland to pick up some paint and I spent a few minutes setting up the paper, paint and cling film: a bit fiddly but nothing too strenuous. 

All the ‘ingredients’

I set up the painting on a tray in the garden as it was a nice day and the baby’s high chair tray isn’t at quite the right height. 

Paper with paint dots, wrapped in cling film, ready to go!

Well let’s just say that Pinterest does make these things look so easy! 

Firstly, the baby was more interested in the tray than squishing the paint around to make some beautiful art. Even me demonstrating didn’t help. 

More interested in picking up the tray and paper than painting!

Also, paint from Poundland… you certainly get what you pay for. It’s very watery so soaks through the paper. 

I’ve since seen a version where you use a zip-lock bag rather than cling film, and tape it to a window or high chair tray. That does seem fiddly but I may give it a go some day. I was able to make something from the ‘art’ though… 

From this…

… to some artwork for the baby’s bedroom wall.

Link here: http://pin.it/TtN04FU 

Savoury flapjacks

My little girl has shown us that she’s very strong-willed and has decided that she does not like to be spoon-fed, but would rather feed herself. So somewhat reluctantly I turned to Baby Led Weaning (BLW). I read up on it and actually my opinion of it has been changed – I initially thought it was one of those ‘faddy’ things – and I wish now that we’d just started the weaning process with it, avoiding the stress of her refusing the spoon and wasted purées! 

Red pepper, cheese, spinach and paprika flapjacks

As we cook the majority of our meals from scratch, we weren’t looking to use jars or pouches of ready made food, but some of our own meals aren’t so baby-friendly at the moment – or just would be too messy for me to deal with! – so I’ve been trying out some easy recipes to vary what my daughter eats and to introduce lots of new tastes and textures. 

One of two dishes of flapjack mixture

I found this savoury flapjack recipe and it looked simple to make, so I tried it out. I added red pepper, cheese, spinach and paprika for lots of lovely flavour. The quantity of ingredients made a lot of flapjacks so I’ve frozen some for future meals. 

Up close

It wasn’t an entirely mess-free meals as flapjacks do crumble up, and it was a bit ‘claggy’ as Mary Berry would say, but my little girl seemed to enjoy it… I certainly thought it was tasty so I’d try it again with some different ingredients.  

Perfect for little fingers

Recipe here: http://pin.it/Ba_ikrK

Treasure baskets

Now that my little girl can sit up really well unaided and is interacting more with her toys, I decided to try out some different baby sensory games with her. This week it has been all about the treasure basket

Treasure baskets are simply baskets (or boxes or any other small holding device) filled with different baby-friendly objects for babies to explore. Ideally the objects should be a range of textures, materials and shapes to stimulate their senses, and things you can just find around the house. I like mine to have a different theme and I find a book to follow along with the theme, so we can read it afterwards as a ‘plenary’ (I’m a teacher, I can’t help it!). 

Here are a few examples of my treasure baskets:

Animals… in this basket I put a small fabric book, a butterfly teething toy, a wooden dinosaur, two finger puppets and a Peter Rabbit rattle/soft toy. 

Musical instruments… this had a few rattles, bells and shakers to make a lot of noise. 

It’s been fascinating to sit back and watch my baby explore these treasure baskets and take each item (including the basket!) to find out more. 

Here’s a sneak peek of tomorrow’s treasure basket with its dinosaur theme. 

Link here: http://pin.it/h_sCGvr 

50 post-iversary!

When I started my blog back in August 2015 my main aim was to keep it up and for it not to just be an idea that I then forgot and left behind. I’ve followed a fair few people (on Instagram mainly) who made grand announcements about their brand-spanking-new blogs for all their words, thoughts and noteworthy deeds, only for them to disappear after only one or two posts. I didn’t want to be like them. I think it helps that I kept my expectations of my blog low; I wanted it to be more of a diary for me to log all of the Pinterest projects that I tried out, rather than a place for me to gather all the followers I possibly could and become some kind of professional blogger! 

My trusty notebook, where I draft all my blog posts. One page per post, that’s my rule to keep the posts short and sweet!

And today I published my 50th post, which makes me really rather proud. That’s 50 posts in 18 months, with at least one post every month (except for a few when I had a newborn baby, which is a good excuse for a blog break) and I’ve gained 45 followers and one Liebster award along the way… pretty good going, I think! 

Jewellery pegboard

Whilst I have some nice jewellery boxes, they’re stuck beneath baby paraphernalia on my bedside table and so get forgotten. I came up with the idea of using some pegboard to create a hanging space for some of my jewellery (and to actually wear it!) after seeing on Facebook someone’s board that they use for their craft supplies. I looked first on Etsy and Not On The High Street for boards to buy, but for at least £30 each I felt I couldn’t justify the cost. Then I turned to Pinterest for ideas to make my own and got lots of inspiration. 

The end result

I bought a piece of pegboard, some dowels and pegboard hooks from Amazon – this all could be bought from a DIY store but with a baby on the scene I found using a seller on Amazon to be far more convenient. 

I used some leftover paint from painting my mirror frame and wicker basket (see links for old posts) and gave the board two coats of paint, as well as painting a few pieces of dowel. It was very quick, only taking about 30 minutes in total. I then rummaged around in my sewing basket for some ribbon to use to hang the board, and found some nice gold stuff that had probably been salvaged from an old box of chocolates! 

Yes, that is a baby changing mat underneath!

I love the end result and it fits in well with the mirror and basket in the corner of my bedroom. 

And the wicker basket is just underneath!

Link here: http://pin.it/RNACchY