We’re just over halfway through winter and it’s feeling pretty chilly here in Blighty. As we head into the coldest part of the year, I’ve been thinking about ways to sneak vitamins and minerals into my children to ensure they have a head start to stay healthy.

To help fend off the dreaded bugs and to support their immune systems, they’ll be taking their Haliborange supplements every day, as well as eating a varied and nutritious diet. Here are a few extra creative ways I’ll be boosting their immune systems even further.

Why is calcium important and how can we eat more of it?

vitamins and mineralsCalcium is vital for teeth and bone health, especially for growing children whose bodies are achieving peak bone mass. As a family we don’t eat a huge amount of dairy, so I’m always on the hunt for extra ways to get calcium into us all. Did you know that a cup of cooked kale, or a tin of sardines (with bones) contains more calcium than a cup of pasteurised milk? It’s quite fascinating once you start looking into it, check out this article for more info.

Although most of us throw them away, egg shells are an excellent source of calcium. They are mainly calcium carbonate, made up similarly to our bones and teeth. A simple way of preparing the shells is to boil them (to remove bacteria) then roast them in a hot oven for 10-15 minutes, allow to cool and grind to a powder in a blender. When the powder is added to soups and smoothies it’s undetectable. I call that a win!

Why is vitamin D important and how can we eat more of it?

We need vitamin D to be able to absorb calcium, and deficiency in children could lead to bone disorders such as rickets. Unlike many other vitamins and minerals, vitamin D is largely made by our own bodies by converting chemicals it receives from exposure to sunshine. Unfortunately, when you live in a country like the UK, you can’t rely on the sun making an appearance every day, so it’s vital to boost vitamin D where possible. Check out this article for signs of deficiency.     

Red meat, oily fish and eggs are all great sources of vitamin D, as well as certain mushrooms (especially maitake). As long as they’ve been exposed to UV light, these mushrooms are exceptionally high in vitamin D because their skin absorbs it from the light the way human skin does. Even my ridiculously fussy eater Freddy can be persuaded to eat mushrooms that have been sauteed in coconut oil and sea salt from time to time. 

Why is iron important and how can we eat more of it?

vitamins and mineralsIf you don’t have enough iron in your system, your body won’t be able to make enough healthy oxygen carrying red blood cells. This could lead to iron deficiency, also known as anemia, which is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies. Thankfully we can avoid it by eating lots of iron rich food. Red meat and liver are high in iron, as is spirulina, a type of algae. Check out this article for the top ten best foods to eat for boosting iron.

Other great iron sources are raisins, pistachio nuts and dark chocolate. The children love making bark in our house, and it never lasts longer than five minutes. Simply melt dark chocolate (I use 85% cocoa solids, the higher the better as it will be lower in sugar), then stir in a handful each of raisins and pistachios, then allow to set in the fridge. It’s absolutely delicious, and also makes a fab gift. 

What are your favourite ways of sneaking vitamins and minerals into your children? Tweet me @mummytries

**Disclaimer: this post has been sponsored by Haliborange. For my full disclosure policy, please click here.**

Vitamin A: helps support normal vision | Vitamin C: helps support the immune system | Vitamin D: essential for the normal growth and development of bones in children | Vitamin B12: contributes to normal energy release.

Food supplements do not replace a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

todayAnyone who reads this blog will know that it’s not easy to walk in my shoes, and never has been. Those who aren’t familiar with my back story might want to read this.

All is not lost, and never is

Yes there is plenty to be thankful for, always, but it can be tough to focus on the bigger picture when the smaller one keeps throwing curve balls your way.

Optimism and positivity are infectious, but when the chips are down and the cycle of negativity grips you tight, it can feel impossible to break it.

When the days are long, nights are relentless, there is no offer of help or sign of things becoming less grinding on the horizon, and the little things in life that should go over your head get to you much more than you should allow them to, it can feel hopeless.

It isn’t hopeless though, and never is. We always have a choice. We can give in to the despair and choose to see the doom and gloom like I’ve been doing lately. Or we can man / woman up and kick the shit out of our life plans.    

So today I am choosing to be thankful for the small mercies

Three beautiful children, who bring a lot of joy amid the sleep deprived chaos.

A wonderful husband, who works his socks off for us and adores us all to bits.

The most amazing friends on the planet, who are a tonic for my soul.

Today, I will leave the room, count to ten, and re-enter it a calmer mummy.

Today I will go back over the book I took the trouble of writing, and take my own advice.

Today, I will try my best to smile in the face of adversity.  

Today, I won’t just be going through the motions.

Today I choose life!

real life has no filter

 

One Thing After AnotherI pride myself on my togetherness. My normalness. Some people consider the N Word to be as dirty as the C Word, no not Christmas. I don’t though. With my background, being as normal as I am now is a wonderful thing.

Lately though, I don’t feel very together. I can’t seem to shake my sadness. It comes and goes, and comes back again.

Sadness at the state of the world.

Sadness at what human beings are capable of doing to each other.

Sadness at the big picture.

Sadness at the small picture.

It feels like we take two steps forward and three back where my eldest is concerned, and it terrifies me.

The violence. The spitefulness. The screaming. The pinching. The destroying. The soul destroying.

I can’t bring myself to think about the future because it reduces me tears.

Questions plague me: what if we don’t manage to get her on an even keel? What if it just continues to get worse and worse? What if all the love and good parenting in the world isn’t enough?

What if our family becomes so messed up, and lost among the shouting and throwing and hitting and kicking, that we can’t get ourselves back to happy?

What if we’ve made a huge mistake deciding to home educate

What if so much damage has already been done to my marriage that it doesn’t survive?

These are the thoughts that run through my mind on a loop. Eating away at my sanity and waking me up in the middle of the night when the kids are actually sleeping.

Maybe I’m turning into an emotional wreck?

Maybe it’s the six long years of sleep deprivation getting the better of me?

2015-12-09 08.18.41Maybe it’s because Freddy has been unwell (the pox, poor boy), which has triggered off Polly’s morbid obsession with death that has been apparent since we lost Andy’s granddad? 

Or maybe it’s the relentless one thing after another cycle that our life has been this year? So much stress that I can almost see the god damn cortisol.

I know there is lots to be grateful for. I also know that I’m not a robot thoughI’m not super human. I have my limits.  

So what am I going to do about it?

First and foremost, as I mentioned recently, social media is not my friend when I’m feeling low. I’ve been online less and less these last few weeks and gone entire days without checking Facebook (my main nemesis). This has definitely helped.

Polly declared the other day that she hates me looking at my phone, so this has been the final kick up the bum I needed to completely stop checking it as much during the day. If I miss a blogging opportunity because I can’t answer an email quick enough then so be it.

I’m trying my hardest to not beat myself up and add extra pressure where it doesn’t need to be.

After all these years of doing everything myself and never asking for help, that is going to change. My lovely neighbour has offered to do some arts and crafts lessons at her house, which I’ll be taking her up on soonest. Any offer of the Grandparents coming to help out will be snapped up without hesitation.       

And to end on a positive note, my wonderful friend is taking the girls off our hands this weekend for a sleepover, which will provide a much needed time out. Some breathing space, so we can gather our thoughts and just be for 24 hours.

Only three more sleeps… not that I’m counting 😉