We were challenged to make the world’s most disgusting drink, and the world’s most delightful (low sugar) drink. The goal was to show kids just how much sugar was in fizzy drinks, and demonstrate that low-sugar alternatives can be great.
So, just how much sugar IS in fizzy drinks? Well, in a 500ml bottle of coke for example, there are cubes 13.5 of sugar, or 54g. That is a huge amount of sugar. Enough to set my teeth on edge!!
I must admit, the drinks part isn’t too much of a challenge for us, as we’ve never allowed our children to have fizzy drinks, and consequently they haven’t really developed a taste for them. They are actually quite repulsed by most fizzy drinks, and will only try them when at a friend’s birthday party or occasion to be polite, but then come home really thirsty and want to drink juice or squash.
I’m not being too smug and self-righteous though. My kids still hate to drink water! Toby isn’t too bad, but Hugo flatly refuses. When very small, we used to give them fresh apple juice very diluted with water, and as they’ve grown older we also give them sugar-free squash. If we’re out we allow them to have fruit shoots or similar, or again they enjoy apple juice or squash when we’re out. They also enjoy milk and milkshakes, but they have learned at school about the amount of sugar in shop-bought milkshake, and were so disgusted that they often shy away from them.
They really enjoyed making smoothies as part of our experiments though, and it was their immediate choice when I asked them what healthy drink we should make. I’m really guilty of not making smoothies enough, as they are a brilliant healthy choice for kids. They also like making them into ice lollies too. It’s partly because my old blender broke, so I only have a food processor, and it’s quite messy to wash up afterwards. So if anyone feels like donating me a great blender/Nutri-bullet type machine, feel free! Just think of how healthy you’ll be making my family!!
The obvious choice for their disgusting drink had to involve vinegar and bicarbonate of soda. Explosions and fizzes go down a storm here! So we added the coke and mints experiment for good measure too. Shame the kids thought that one actually tasted nice! We also added the 13.5 cubes of sugar found in coke to our vinegar potion, to see if it improved any. Of course it did not! Toby’s face was a picture – take a look!
Oh My Blog is a monthly interview series, where fellow bloggers come together to answer a series of questions on a specific theme. This is a chance to get acquainted with a whole range of bloggers, some of whom you may not have heard of before, and learn a little more about them!
This month, the theme is Mums (because it’s Mother’s Day soon!) and we’re hosting Emma from Emma and Family.
Introduce us to your mum. What’s her name? What does she do? Reveal her age if you dare!
My mum is the lovely Wendy, I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing but she is 50 years young. She’s a young fit granny! She works as a bookkeeper for her father in law’s accountancy firm one day a week. Don’t ask me what that means she actually does because I haven’t a clue but it is something to do with numbers. She is also the lucky lady who gets to look after my toddler 1 day a week whilst I go to work as well as deal with my ferociously hormonal 13 year old sister.
What’s the one thing your mum always used to say to you?
I can’t think of anything poignant that she used to always say but she used to sing this little tune to me every morning. It’s about it being time to get up which always makes me think of her and I like to sing it once in awhile to Harrison.
Someone’s playing your mum. Who is it and why?
OOOoohhh this is so tricky. My mum’s, my mum! I can’t think of anyone that is like her! The first person that sprung to mind was Emma Thompson but I can’t really pinpoint why!
She’s won the lottery. What’s the first thing your mum buys for herself?
Probably absolutely nothing! Pay off the rest of her mortgage I imagine. She is the type of lady that extremely rarely spends money on herself. Which is actually something I used tell her off for when I was younger but now I’m a mother I find myself doing the exact same thing (I am currently wearing 10 year old leggings that have holes in them because I’m too stubborn to buy a new pair!)
What embarrassing story about you does she always tell when you meet new people?
Aw no my Mummy doesn’t actually do that! I struck lucky there! So instead I’ll tell you what she used that really embarrassed me. My high school was attached to a gym where my family as well as many of the families of staff and students at my school were members. My mother is one of those women that walk around the changing rooms fully starkers. Meaning the majority of my friends and schoolteachers have all not only seen my mother naked but also probably had an awkward conversation with her whilst naked!
What are your plans for Mother’s Day this year?
Not a clue in all honestly. I will probably try and see my mum and nan on the Saturday and then Sunday is up for my partner and son to spoil me! Although last year I seem to remember offering to take my mum and nan out for an afternoon tea which I never got round to do doing so maybe I will see if I can find anywhere not already fully booked and take them to that! But my Sunday will ideally be spent with a lie in and a take away with my boys.
What’s her favourite TV show at the moment?
A combination of Holby City and Casualty. My mum, my nan and I have all watched them both for as long as I can remember and they are pretty consistently the only programmes my mum makes time to watch every week. She likes things like One Born Every Minute and anything-medical documentary kind of thing. I think if it wasn’t for her fear of vomit she would have made an awesome nurse in another life.
What’s the biggest or most important thing that your mum inspired you to do?
Working hard at school. She didn’t do so well at school and has always regretted it as it stopped her going all the way in the career she wanted. So for as long as I can remember she has always pushed me to do well at school, to go to university etc. In my teens I probably resented her for that a bit but now I’m on the other side I’m really grateful she did. Not going do I have a great education that I will hopefully build on once I have school aged kiddies but I also had the best time of my life at university.
Your round at the bar! What’s your mum drinking?
White wine, or if it’s near Christmas Baileys! She isn’t really a big drinker, a glass of wine here and there but she doesn’t go in for anything adventurous alcohol wise.
What’s the biggest different between you and your mum?
As I get older I see more and more of my mum in myself! What will always remain a difference between us is our attitudes to drinking. My mum is terrified of being drunk, she got drunk once and hated it and will do her best to avoid it and has done ever since. Me on the other hand? Give me the booze! All the booze!
Most important question of the lot. What is your mum’s stance on 50 Shades of Grey? Does she love it? Hate it? Not even know what it is?
I would love to say she hasn’t even heard of it. That’s what I’d like to think anyway. We don’t discuss sex in my family.
What’s your favourite memory of your mum?
My mum was a single parent until I was 5. I don’t actually have many specific memories of that time but I have this warm overall fuzzy feeling of a memory of how close we were and it just being me and her as a little team and loving that. There is something special about being just a little two person team of a family.
What do you think your mum was like as a kid?
My mum was a big old tom boy. She was in the scouts and was a competitive swimmer so had her hair cut short. All her childhood and teenage years involved sailing or climbing tree. Although by the time she was 24 she had been engaged twice so maybe she was a little more exciting and adventurous than she had ever let me know!
Cast your mind back a bit; what was the thing you did as a child or teenager that made your mum the angriest she has ever been with you?
I was 13, I had a load of friends round for a sleepover and everyone stole some alcohol from their parents and we all got drunk! In my house. With my parents upstairs. How I imagined ever getting away with that I don’t know but I definitely was caught. That was without a doubt the most trouble I have ever got in! I was grounded for a month, in a family that didn’t do grounding as a punishment!
Finally, what’s the BEST piece of advice your mum ever gave to you?
In general, my mum isn’t really a big advice giver. She seems to believe in letting me go out there and make my own decisions and choices and mistakes and then being there to comfort me when those mistakes do happen. Apart from when it comes to my son, she always has little pieces of advice here and there, which to be honest, I don’t listen to many of. She taught me to know my own mind and make my own plans and to trust my gut. I think that is better than any piece of advice she could ever give me.
If you want to find out more about Emma, go and visit her lovely blog and social media.
We have been chosen as one of eight families taking part in a Sugar Smart challenge with Kallikids. We have no idea what we are in for!!
Sugar Smart is a project associated with the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation and Sustain – the alliance for better food and farming, to raise awareness of the amount of sugar in our foods and the adverse effects it can have on our bodies.
You may have heard of the Sugar Smart app, which has been created as part of the NHS Change for Life programme. Our children have brought home information from school about this, and are quite aware of sugar and the fact that too much of it is not good for you.
So, Kallikids have teamed up with Sugarsmart to help raise awareness, and they are starting right here with us!!
In the first week of our challenge, we were simply looking at our current habits and analysing the amount of sugar we consume in a normal week. We had to put crosses on our individual charts for natural sugars (fruit & fruit drinks, and honey), sweet things with sugar, and savoury things with sugar listed. The thing which surprised us most was how much sugar there was in savoury foods, such as pizza and bread! What is sugar doing in our pizza, I ask you??
Luckily, we do eat quite a lot of home cooked foods, so we can avoid a lot of added sugar there, but we are a busy family, like most families, so often turn to convenience and processed foods to help us out. It’s really shocking what is in some of these foods!
During week one of our challenge, a great big hamper of sugar free foods arrived to help us with our challenge. This is us opening our treats!
The kids were keen to dive right in, and as we were having chicken curry, they wanted to us the chickpea pop pops as popadoms! They then designed a new dish which looked a little like a blini, piling the chicken and rice onto the little crisp. They found it so delicious, and ate the whole lot! We even made it our Sunday Photo this week!
And how was our sugar count? Not too bad to be honest! The worst things are our breakfasts (tea and biscuits for grown ups, and cereals with sugar in for kids), plus some of the snacks the kids have. They are not as bad as they could be though, mostly cereal bars and brioche, but still containing some sugar. We also noted that none of us are eating enough fruit really. Could do better…
So, keep reading each week of the twelve week challenge to see what we discover about sugar and how we manage to change things as a family!
The conference takes place from 24th-30th April and offers a week of events, culminating in a weekend conference.
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It’s Crufts week everyone! My little Labradoodle and I are enjoying watching all the fine dogs on display. So I thought it was a good time to tell you about our new dog food…
Choosing dog food can be almost as complicated as feeding your kids these days. There are so many choices available – wet food, complete dry food, mixer, raw…. so complicated!
When we first got Daphne, we stuck with the food the breeder had been feeding her, but we soon found out there was a huge variety of choice out there. Just step into any pet food store or even supermarket, and the range is ovewhelming.
Thankfully, the helpful people at Tails.com stepped in to help us out! They custom blend their complete dog food to your requirements, all worked out based on the size and type of dog, and their activity levels. They even take into consideration your dog’s favourite flavours! The tailor made dog food is then delivered to your door every month in the perfect quantity so that you never run out.
When I first saw the offer online, I thought that such a special service and delivery would be costly, but I was pleasantly surprised. All prices are different, depending on the type of food and quantity required for your dog’s specific needs. For us it was no more expensive than the type of food Daphne was eating before. Tails.com say that this is because you cut out the middleman, buying directly from the manufacturer.
Of course, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so what did our little Daphne Doodle think of her new dog food? Well, we followed the very informative guidelines, and introduced the new food slowly, mixing with her current food. Tails.com supply a handy little scoop which folds down to your required size, and they tell you exactly how much to use which is really reassuring.
Daphne was so excited to have some new food to try, and we also got her a tray of the wet food, which comes in delicious sounding flavours such as ‘Fisherman’s Pate with Salmon and Peas’, and ‘Hearty Casserole With Pasta & Carrots’. The wet food worked out slightly more expensive per tray than the pouches she was having, but they were bigger. Most importantly, Daphne went absolutely wild for them!
She was very keen on the dry food too, we had no problems changing her over at all. In fact, she’s eating much better now, and she literally runs into the utility room when she knows her food is ready!
I would have no hesitation in recommending Tails.com. Everything from the service to the quality of the food has really impressed me. The uniquely designed menu, and the fact that everything is labelled with Daphne’s name are a lovely personal touch. It is also a great reminder that this is all tailor made for her.
Would you like a free 2-week trial of Tails.com food, with only £1 for delivery? We have a special code for you! Just head to their website at www.tails.com and enter the code FAMILYMAKES.
Sorry, I know, more holiday spam! But New England is so beautiful, especially with the sun out and the snow gleaming.
Look at the icicles on the building to the left! We spent a lot of time spotting spectacular icicles!
We love the town of Littleton, New Hampshire. It is the hometown of Eleanor H Porter, the author of Pollyanna. They have a statue of Pollyanna outside the library in town, and this year the lovely addition of the yellow Pollyanna flags on the lampposts. I like to think of myself as a bit of a Pollyanna, so this is particularly endearing to me!
As it’s World Book Day tomorrow, we decided to record our family’s favourite books for 7-12 year olds,
and also some of our all-time favourites from when the boys were younger.
Hugo is 10 years old, and is in Year 5 at school. His current top 10 favourite books are:
The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling – Hugo read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in Year 4 as a class, and has worked his way through the rest. He is currently reading The Half Blood Prince.
The Ghost of Thomas Kempe by Penelope Lively – he read this with his class in Year 5
The Titan – I think he means The Titan’s Curse, a Percy Jackson book by Rick Riordan. He hasn’t read this, but his class teacher has mentioned it, and he really wants to read it.
Room 13 by Robert Swindells – this is his current class book for Year 5, and is about a place near to us, Whitby
How To Train Your Dragon series by Cressida Cowell – we have read most of the books in this series, and Hugo got the last few he was missing recently at Barter Books.
Paw Tracks In The Moonlight by Denis O’Connor – this isn’t actually a children’s book, it’s one of mine, but Hugo is really enjoying it.
Krindlekrax by Philip Ridley – Hugo read this with his class in Year 4 and really enjoyed it. Toby has also read it at school this year, but didn’t like it as much.
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell – he really enjoyed this classic
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling – having initially struggled with the style of this book, being a play rather than a story, he enjoyed it more by reading it himself rather than us sharing it as a story.
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them by JK Rowling – a screenplay version which again he preferred to read alone. He did say that he enjoyed the film more.
Toby is 8 years old, and is currently in Year 4 at school. His top 10 favourite books are:
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl – Toby read this with his class in Year 3.
Danny The Champion Of The World by RoaldDahl – This is Toby’s current ‘tray book’ at school.
Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl – out little Dahl fan likes this one best of all I think.
The Beast Quest series – Toby has drained the school library of all of the Beast Quest books, and I’ve had to buy him more! He absolutely devours them!
The Demon Dentist and Billionaire Boy by David Walliams – these are Toby’s favourite Walliams books, although I think he has read them all!
George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl – This was another Year 3 Class book which Toby enjoyed.
The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney – he has loved all of these.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling – this is the book his current Year 4 class are reading, and he has also enjoyed the illustrated version at home in our story time, as well as The Chamber of Secrets.
How To Speak Dragonese by Cressida Cowell – this is Toby’s favourite in the How To Train Your Dragon series.
We couldn’t choose 10 each, as when the boys were younger they always had (and enjoyed) the same stories. So, we’ve gone for 15 in total:
You Choose by Nick Sharratt and Pippa Goodhart- not much reading in this book, but lots of interaction which they always loved.
Ginger by Charlotte Voake – this was the first book Hugo ever read by himself
Fantastic Mr. Fox – On Toby’s current list, but one of Hugo’s ‘when I was younger’ inclusions.
The Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown – we knew this one off by heart from an early age!
The Richest Crocodile In The World by Daniel Postgate
Duck In The Truck by Jez Albrough
Farmer Ham by Alec Sillifant
Matilda by Roald Dahl
Hugo (The Invention of Hugo Cabret) by Brian Selznick – for obvious reasons.
The Magic Sky by Lucy Richards – an all time favourite!
The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark by Jill Tomlinson
The Bear Under The Stairs by Helen Cooper
Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
Tinga Tinga Tales – Why Elephant Has A Trunk
Who’s In The Loo (toilet humour never fails to amuse!) by Jeanne Willis and Adrian Reynolds
Animals In School by Julia Donaldson
What do you think of their list? Any they’ve missed out? I’m surprised ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ and ‘Guess How Much I Love You’ don’t appear here, and they also missed out the great ‘Hairy McClairy’ books too, plus Mum’s favourites ‘Each Peach Pear Plum’, and ‘Tiddler’, and Dad’s favourites ‘The Night Pirates’ and ‘The Little Old Lady Who Cried Wolf’!
It’s interesting to see their personal preferences and styles appearing though as they get older, even if they have forgotten some of their old favourites already!
Would you like to pin this to help you remember our recommendations?