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toddlers

Babies/ Parenting/ Photography

Baby Photo Tips

As some of you may know I love taking photos of my kids and post them on my Facebook pages (‘Thermotwinning’, ‘Twins and a Blog’ and my personal page) and my ‘Twins and a Blog’ Instagram account. I’m not a professional photographer, I have never done any photography course – these tips are just from my own personal experience!  I use social media as a tool to journal and be my photo album to look back at photos of my life and family. Taking pics of my bubbas is one of my favourite things to do! I took heeaaaps of daily photos of my boys since birth and have learnt aaaaallot in the past 3 years (especially having to get that perfect shot of BOTH of them!). I also love printing my photos into huge canvas prints around my house!

Everyone has different likes and tastes with their photos – I prefer portrait type photos (rather than ‘arty’ ones) as I love looking back and clearly seeing my babies faces. I took weekly photos of my boys for their first year, and have been doing the same for the girls (though their photos are more like every day to get through their gazillion outfits!)  – so it has been great to look back at my boys photos and compare them with the girls at the same age!

The easiest time to get in pics is before your bubs gets too mobile! Here are my tips for a perfect baby pic:


Use a firm but comfy flat surface on the floor. (In my opinion) the floor gets the most flattering angle for a baby if you take the photos right above their head & body as a birds eye view. Lie your bubs on a thick mat, sheepskin or a few folded blankets on the floor (keep it an even surface). I find it’s hard to get a good angle & they sink in too much if they are placed on a bed or couch.

Getting bubs to smile & look at the camera. Sometimes I have my phone in my right hand and shake a toy in my left hand right above my phone to gauge their attention. Most of the time I put my face right under my phone as I take multiple photos and make funny faces and voices to get them to smile.

Take photos about 30 mins after a feed – so they’re not hungry but also not regurgitating milk out the sides of their mouths.

Natural light – choose your spot. Use a bright spot in your house with natural ambient light from your windows but not direct sunlight (which then causes too many shadows). Have the top of their heads/sides of their body towards the light (i.e. don’t put yourself between the bubs and the light or it will get extra shadow). My favourite spot in my house is in the lounge room, a few metres away from the windows, with the curtains half closed (so it’s not too bright, but enough to get natural light in).

Use your phone – don’t bother with fancy cameras. I have always used my phone to take photos of my kids (I’ve always used a Samsung Android phone, I’m currently using a Samsung S8+). Not only is your phone easy to get out and snap away, but the quality of photos from phones amazing these days. With babies you have to be quick and phone’s take photos in an instant – I find there is tiny bit a lag/delay with shots if using a proper camera, and milliseconds count when you want to capture a smile or non kicking legs!

Take gazillion photos! With the digital age it costs nothing to take gazillion photos! I take about 50 – 100 photos for the 1 shot I post. I then go back into my phone, choose a few best photos with smiles and non blurry arms/legs from them moving, then delete the rest.

Edit your photo. Don’t worry about getting the unfolded clothes & toys lying next to bubs in the image. Crop the photo around your bubs and mat. I personally prefer portrait type shots (not arty shots) so I can look back and see their faces with how I remember them. And I also don’t like super duper filters – babies are so perfect you don’t need those full on filters! I usually just brighten & highlight the photo to reduce any shadows. If I do use a filter it is a ‘portrait’ filter on an app called ‘Snapseed’ (but it gets quite dark so I brighten  it up alot after that)

….And don’t forget the toddlers!
My only tip for taking photos for toddlers is BRIBERY! Most times my boys will voluntarily pose for pics for me or even ask me to take pics of them (trained them since birth lol!) but for the other times I have a secret stash of M & Ms which works a treat!
Good luck and happy snapping! Post/send me your baby spam if you give these 👆 a go!!

Love Sophia x

Christmas

Elfie Antics 2017 – Elf on the Shelf Ideas

I’ll miss all the Elfie fun from this year, but I’m glad to get my nights back for Netflix…and sleep!! I posted each day of Elfie on my social media pages, but here the highlight reel of Elfie’s antics for 2017!

Day #1 – Hi Elfie!

Look who’s back from the North Pole!! There are going to be 2 very excited boys in the morning!! We started this tradition last year but they were still a little young to appreciate it, this year will be the first time they will truly enjoy the spirit and magic of Christmas!

Day #2 – Elfie’s Shrinking Machine

Day #3 – Elfie’s Ball Pit (I was out all day/night so this was an easy one to put together!)

Day #4 – Crossfit Elfie

Day #5 – May the force be with you (the boys LOVE Star Wars!)

Day #6 – Skittle Rainbow (before and after pic)

I did a trial run before the boys got to do this in the morning! (I removed the ‘after’ example so it took them by suprise)

Tips:

  • Make sure all the Skittles are touching
  • Use warm water and add just enough water for it to touch the Skittles (don’t add too much water or the colours will run into each other and goes brown in a few minutes)

Day #7 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Elfie

Day #8 – Elfie’s Ginger Bread House

Day #9 & #10 – Elfie’s Magic Eggs

Elfie’s magic dust is made of rainbow sprinkles and glitter. I was going to use the standard Kinder Suprise eggs which are the same size as a normal egg but I couldn’t resist these huge Christmas Kinder Suprise ones! It is an easy one to switch over the next night!

Day #11 – Meet Frosty!

Craft paper cutouts and tissue paper for the scarf/hat. The hardest part of this was cleaning all the magnets/coupons/letters/photos/cards off the fridge!

Day #12 – Day Spa

All these magic tricks topped with Frosty appearing the night before was hard work! Time for Elfie to relax in a nice bubble bath, complete with Elfie sized body wash, candle, shot of milk and mini oreos.

Day #13 – Wrecking Ball 2.0

This was an encore from my 2016 fave! Last year I used a clear bauble filled with M & M’s. This year I used a Cadbury Snowbites ball. The boys had so much fun with this wrecking ball! See wrecking ball video HERE.

Day #14 & #15 – Elfie’s Magic Seeds

The soil was made of white sugar topped with sprinkles. I put it in cups for some depth so the Candy Canes can stay upright when ‘planted’. The Tic Tac’s are Candy Cane flavoured ones (but you could use red or white ones). I love these 2 day things as the 2nd night you just need to plant the Candy Canes!

Day #16 – Toilet Paper Tree

Day #17 – Do you want to build a snowman?

This was one of the boys’ FAVOURITE Elfie moments with this sensory play complete with Play Snow! It looks like snow, and can be moulded into fun little shapes! CLICK HERE for the easy Play Snow recipe!

Day #18 – Game of Thrones

Have you G.O.T the Christmas spirit?

Day #19 – Hammock Life

Elfie needs a lie down and cocktail with all this flying to and from Santa every night!

Day #20 – Elfie the Magician – the ‘cutting Hulk in half’ trick!

No sawing or cutting involved, just pure Elf *magic*!

Day #21 – Where’s Elfie?

Day #22 – Elfie vs Spiderman

NOTE: This is what a whole packet of dental floss looks like!! (this took about an hour to do!)

Day #23 – Transformers: Elfie in Disguise

This was a combined daddy and mummy effort and was one of the boys’ fave Elfie moments!!

Day #24 – Elfie’s last day before Santa arrives!

‘Hi Ethan and Harley!

Today is our last day together before I fly back with Santa to the North Pole.
Let’s have cuddles and take photos together – here is some magic dust to sprinkle on me so I can fly back home with Santa.

I have given your mummy the recipe for Santa’s favourite cookies for you to bake today to put out for Santa tonight.

Before you go to bed tonight, here is some reindeer food to sprinkle on the grass outside and a tray to fill with milk and cookies for Santa and a carrot for Rudolph!

Get excited, because Santa is coming tonight and you both have been good boys this year, and good boys get presents from Santa!

Love Elfie xoxo

Note: Reindeer food is oats, Magic Elf dust is glitter, and Santa Snacks board is from Thermoart.

Day #25 – Farewell Elfie!

Baby Food/ Healthy/ Thermomix

Easy Fruit Puree

I’ve always made my fruit purees by steaming it first, then blitzing it in the bowl. But this method is waaaaaaay easier, less washing up, and keeps ALL the nutrients in there, rather than it dripping into the water for the steaming. I keep telling myself WHY DID I NOT DO THIS EARLIER when the boys were on their purees!

I love bulk making and this is a great way to use up the boy’s toddler bitten apples, and random bits of fruit lying around. This is great for baby food, kids or adults to eat plain, with cereal, yoghurt, sandwich spread (instead of jam), in smoothies, or you can even use this with all apples in their for apple sauce to go with your pork roast. You can use 1 type of fruit, or a mix of fruit i.e. apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, berries, and denser melons like rockmelon and honeydew.

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Easy Fruit Puree

Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1000 grams fruit (cored and quartered)
  • 30 grams water

Instructions

1

Add all ingredients in bowl.

2

Cook 15 minutes/100 degrees/Speed 1.

3

Blitz 1 minute/Speed 9 (slowly and progressively increasing the speed from 1 to 9).

4

Cool and store in fridge or freezer.

Notes

This can be kept in the fridge for a few days, or it freezes really well in ice cube trays or reusable food pouches. When frozen, take out and defrost over a few hours or in the microwave when needed. I usually freeze in Sinchies, or ice cube trays and decant them into labelled ziplock bags.

Christmas/ Craft/ Kids in the Kitchen/ Non Thermomix/ Thermomix/ Twins

Advent Calendar for 2 year olds

It’s the most WONDERFUL TIME of the year!!! I’ve always loved Christmas and now it is so exciting to share it with the boys! Now that they are 2, this is the first year they can start appreciating it! Instead of chocolates/lollies for the 25 day countdown to Christmas, this is my 25 days of Christmas advent Calendar activities suitable for 2 year old old toddlers (and the family)!! Last year I also had a list for when the boys were 1 year olds!

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1. Take photos with Santa

2. Paint Christmas ornaments

I bought this $5 Christmas plaster set from Kmart which the boys will love! http://www.kmart.com.au/product/christmas-plaster-set—pack-of-17/1030801

3. Finger paint Christmas cards/wrapping paper

4. Make & play with a Christmas Tree Ball sorter

https://au.pinterest.com/pin/28640147608206029/

5. Make Reindeer paper plates

https://au.pinterest.com/pin/41587996536037932/

6. Make salt dough hand print Christmas ornaments

Non Thermomix – http://www.mommymoment.ca/2013/04/salt-dough-handprint.html

Thermomix – http://www.trtlmt.com.au/salt-dough/

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7. Sing and dance to Christmas carols

8. Take Christmas themed photos at home

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9. Make homemade muffins for the first time!

20 Second Crunchy Lemon Muffins (made in a big bowl so they can stir it themselves!)

20 Second Crunchy Lemon Muffins

10. Check out Christmas displays at a shopping centre (i.e. Myer/DJ’s in the city!)

11. Make popsicle stick Christmas Tree ornaments

https://au.pinterest.com/pin/351912451187976/

12. Have a picnic in the backyard with Christmas themed food

13. Go the beach and make sandcastles

14. Make little canvas paintings for presents – use painters tape, and tape a shape/initial on a canvas, and finger print on top – when dry, peel off the painters tape!

https://www.pinterest.com/explore/painters-tape-art/

15. Help mummy make and decorate Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes – Recipe for with or without a Thermomix

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16. Make easy ‘snow globes’ for presents

https://www.pinterest.com/explore/snow-globe-crafts/

17. Make Christmas shapes out of red and green playdough + Doterra ‘Holiday Joy’ 

ThermoFun – Kids Everyday Essentials – Playdough

18. Help mummy decorate a Gingerbread house for the first time

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(this was mummy’s last year before any creative help from the kiddies!)

19. Run in the sprinklers 

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20. Check out Christmas Lights!!

21. Make Christmas feet Reindeer

https://www.pinterest.com/explore/reindeer-footprint/

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22. Tree/star shaped pumpkin pancakes for breakfast

Pumpkin Pancakes

23. Make Chocolate Chip Cookies for Santa (ready for Christmas Eve)

Healthy Choc Chip Cookies

24. Watch a Christmas themed movie as a family with popcorn AND set up Santa’s snacks!

http://www.kidspot.com.au/MySpot-escapes-The-best-Christmas-movies-of-all-time+6494+178+article.htm

25. Take family photos in front of the tree and open presents!!

 

Uncategorized

2 Ingredient Slime Putty

This is a mix between slime and putty. It feels like a light fluffy putty but if you wait a few minutes, it spreads out like slime! This is great for sensory play for babies, toddlers and kids!

This has only 2 ingredients – cornflour and shampoo! I use kids shampoo as it is non toxic (since kids have it all over their heads and faces), and it smells nice! PLUS it is sooo easy to clean out of the kids fingers, hair and clothes, and they smell like beautiful clean kids after it! 🙂

The shampoo I use doesn’t have a colour, so I added food colouring to half of the batch so the boys could squish the colours together.

My ‘neat’ twin Ethan only played with this with 1 hand and got over it after 10 minutes, however my ‘messy’ twin Harley LOVED this, really got into it and is something that would entertain him for hours! Either way, it is a great activity for them, and gives me a moment of quiet time to have a coffee!! 🙂

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Add all ingredients to bowl.

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Mix 10 seconds/Speed 4. Scrape down.
Mix a further 15 seconds/Speed 4.

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Optional – add food colouring – I spoon out half the mixture and colour the other half (mix for a further 10 seconds/Speed 4)

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Feels like putty…

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After a few minutes it spreads like slime!

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2 Ingredient Slime Putty

Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 190 grams cornflour
  • 150 grams kids shampoo
  • (Optional) food colouring

Instructions

1

METHOD (THERMOMIX):

2

Add all ingredients to bowl.

3

Mix 10 seconds/Speed 4. Scrape down.

4

Mix a further 15 seconds/Speed 4.

5

Spoon out and play!

6

METHOD (1 BOWL):

7

Add all ingredients to a medium sized bowl.

8

Mix with a spoon and fingers until all combined.

9

Spoon out and play!

Notes

Depending on the type of shampoo you use, you have have to add a little bit more or less shampoo/cornflour in the mix! Experiment and have a go - however if you use more cornflour it will be more putty-ish, and if you use more shampoo it will be more slime-ish!

 

Baby Food/ Breakfast/ Kids in the Kitchen/ Main Meal/ Non Thermomix/ Snacks/ Thermomix/ Twins

Finger Food Ideas for Babies and Toddlers

Here are my ‘tried and tested’ list of finger foods for my boys!
When Ethan and Harley started to want to eat themselves, I did a lot of online and book research for finger food ideas. My boys are HUGE for their age, and looove their food. They are not fussy (…most of the time) and have no food intolerances which makes it really easy for me to prepare their meals! My rule is to have the most colourful ‘tasting’ plate of foods so the boys experience a variety of different foods, textures, smells and flavours. I’ve read that a colourful plate of food is a nutritious one! So I make sure I cover lots of food colours in the meals the boys eat (except for when we are out and using the pram!). I’ve also read that the more variety of foods you give a baby when they are young, the less fussy they will be when they grow older (this isn’t tried and tested yet, so *fingers crossed*)!
 
Thermotwinning’s Finger Food Ideas for Babies and Toddlers
Koala sandwich with Mayvers Super Spread on a bed of baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, babybel cheese, steamed broccoli and carrot, strawberries (quartered), hard boiled egg, and pizza pockets 
The boys with their ‘pram friendly’ finger foods (i.e. nothing juicy or coloured like vegemite, tomatoes, berries, watermelon etc)
Dinosaur sandwich with cream cheese on a bed of baby spinach, cheese and crackers, dried apricots, freeze dried apple, and whole orange and poppyseed muffin with almond and chia seeds 
Another ‘pram friendly’ lunch box
Cheese and bacon rolls, sweet eating cucumber, tasty cheese, mini fruit balls, pear and crackers
BREAKFAST:

Pancakes/waffles – these are some that I make that freezes and reheats well:
– Pumpkin Pancakes (The boys fave!!)
– Sweet Potato Waffles 
– Berry Coconut Flour Pancakes 

Wholemeal sandwich, toast or Cruskits with the following spreads:
– Baby purees including fruit purees (instead of jam)
– Vegemite
– Mayvers Super Spread (can be found with the peanut butter section/organics section)
– Cream cheese
– Avocado
– Mashed banana
– Jam

Raisin Toast (there is a wholemeal version available) – freezes and reheats well

Scrambled eggs – in a bowl, add egg(s) (about 1 per child) + a splash of milk + a small handful of grated tasty cheese – microwave 1 minute on high, stir, then microwave 30 seconds at a time stirring in between until cooked. Leave to cool for a few minutes – the tasty cheese gives it some flavour and also helps the egg firm up so it is easier to grip (my husband’s trick! he makes it for the boys on the days I’m at work) – goes well with vegemite on toast!

Sultana Bran Buds (link here) or similar type bite sized cereals (soaked in some milk to soften)

***With a spoon:

MAIN MEALS:

Wholemeal sandwich, toast or Cruskits with the following spreads:
– Baby purees including fruit purees (instead of jam) and savoury ‘main meal’ ones
– Vegemite
– Cream cheese
– Mayvers Super Spread (can be found with the peanut butter section/organics section)
– ‘The Laughing Cow’ cheese triangles – squished and spread 
– Cream cheese mixed with sardines (super nutritious but best left to eat at home as it‘s a bit on the nose!) my boys love this!
– Vegemite and sliced tasty cheese
– Avocado
– Mashed banana
– Jam 

Wholemeal Toast Cheesy Melts – I use one or some of these toppings and top it with a piece of sliced tasty cheese and pop it in the air fryer or grill for 5 minutes/180 degrees
– Tinned tuna
– Ham
– Scrambled eggs
– Tomatoes
– Tinned red salmon
– Avocado
– Bolognese sauce
– Gourmet sausages cut up into small pieces
– Roast/poached chicken (shredded)
– Leftover meat diced into small pieces

Pizza Pockets (link here– freezes and reheats well

Pasta – any type, I usually use elbow pasta, macaroni or small sea shells as they are easy to pick up – freezes and reheats well. I generally use a cheesy white sauce base, vegetable puree, or tomato based sauce for the pasta sauce with the following fillings:
– Tinned red salmon
– Fresh salmon (de-skinned and de-boned)
– White fish like Ling or Barramundi (de-skinned and de-boned)
– Bacon/ham
– Chicken Thigh Fillets (they have more nutrients than breast fillets)
– Pork, chicken or Beef mince
– Peas
– Broccoli
– Sweet Potato
– Pumpkin
– Carrots
– Zucchini
– Frozen Veg i.e. peas and carrot
– Or cooked pasta with grated cheese melted on top (easy and not messy if you’re out!)

Some of the boys’ fave pasta recipes:

Meatballs – Any combo of chicken/pork/beef mince + hidden blitzed up veggies – freezes and reheats well

 
Salmon Patties – I use a recipe from the Thermomix Cooking for your Baby and Toddler book – however this is a great Salmon Rissole recipe – freezes and reheats well
 
Risotto or Pasta Muffin Cups – With any risotto or pasta recipe, just place in muffin tins and top with tasty or cheddar cheese, and bake for about 20 minutes/180 degrees until cheese is melted and golden. Skinnymixer’s Risotto Frittata is a great recipe – freezes and reheats well

Hot Dog Buns (Chinese Sausage Rolls) (link here) – freezes and defrosts well

Sushi – This is great for older babies if you’re out and need to takeaway something for them. My boys love the mini ones and make sure you don’t get the raw fillings, so I usually get avocado, tuna, cucumber, or egg ones. The sushi rice is really sticky so I find it really easy to clean up after them! You can make Sushi yourself – this is a great recipe – Thermobexta’s Egg and Avocado Sushi
 
Thermomumma’s Garlic, Cheese and Spinach Naan (link here) – freezes and reheats well
 
***With a spoon/fork:
VEGETABLES:

Sweet eating cucumbers (halved or quartered lengthwise) – these are mini cucumbers you can get at green grocers, Coles/Woolies and Aldi – usually in the refrigerated vegetable section with the lettuce

Cherry/grape tomatoes (halved lengthwise) – the boys fave are the Gold Sweet Eating Grape tomatoes (they are orange in colour) these are the ones from Coles, they are sweeter than normal Cherry tomatoes which can sometimes be quite tarte

Steamed carrots and green beans (cut in half, then quartered lengthwise) – Fill bowl with water just above the blades, place carrots into steaming basket (I usually make about 2 carrots and a handful of beans then place in fridge to use as needed), then steam 16 minutes/Varoma/Speed 1

Steamed Broccoli Trees – Fill bowl with water just above the blades, place carrots into steaming basket (I usually cut 1 lot of broccoli then place in fridge to use as needed), then steam 12 minutes/Varoma/Speed 1

Steamed Zucchini – Fill bowl with water just above the blades, place carrots into steaming basket (I usually cut 2 lots of zucchini then place in fridge to use as needed), then steam 9 minutes/Varoma/Speed 1

Sweet potato (roasted/air fried/steamed)

Pumpkin (roasted/air fried/steamed)

Potato (roasted/air fried/steamed)

Lettuce/spinach leaves (any type though I steer clear of the bitter ones like rocket)

Cooked peas – Fresh, frozen or dehydrated

Capsicum (Cut into sticks)

FRUIT:

Apples (quartered, cored, then each quarter cut into 3 wedges) I leave the skin on as it has a lot of vitamins/nutrition in it, or else there are ‘kid’s lunchbox’ apples which are smaller which my boys love to use their teeth and bite into!

Pears (quartered, cored, then each quarter cut into 3 wedges) I leave the skin on as above

Seedless Watermelon
(cut into small pieces (one of the boys faves but I leave it for home as it is so messy!)


Blueberries

Strawberries
 (halved or quartered)

Grapes (halved lengthwise)

Bananas

White or Yellow Peaches

White or Yellow Nectarines

Mango

Kiwifruit

SNACKS/DESSERT:

BLISS BALLS:
(Fridge or freezer)

SLICES/BARS/BROWNIES:

(Freezes and defrosts well)

 

MUFFINS/CUPCAKES:
(Freezes and defrosts well)
 

COOKIES/BISCUITS:
(Freezes and defrosts well)

 

BREAD/CAKE:
(Freezes and defrosts well)

 

SWEETS:
(Keeps in fridge for a few weeks)

 

SAVOURY:


Hard Boiled Eggs – Fill bowl with water just above the blades, place eggs into steaming basket – cook 15 minutes/Varoma/Speed 1
Tasty or cheddar cheese – pre-sliced/cut into thin pieces
Cheese sticks (these are softer, I would wait to introduce it around 10 months as I found the boys would squish it in their hands and smoosh it everywhere before it got to their mouths)

Babybel Cheese

Deli meats – ham, turkey, Skinnymixers Lunchbox Chicken Loaf

Shredded chicken (poached, roasted)

Crackers – Jatz, Ritz etc

Arnott’s Shredded Wheatmeal biscuits

Fruit straps (100% dehydrated fruit) I have made them like the Strawberry Chips but they have a really short shelf life when homemade (when the boys are older and eat more it’ll better!) but my recent fave are Annie’s Fruit Straps as they are great to leave in the baby bag
Mini Fruit Balls (link here) – can be frozen and defrosted

Cruskits – These are a great alternative to the ‘baby section’ rice crackers which are sooooo $$$$$$ which I use for snacks when we go out

Dried apricots
 
Dried apples

Sultanas 

Tinned pineapple pieces

Freeze dried fruit (I buy mine from Costco, Bellamy’s Organic also have some)

Veggie Straws (I also buy these from Costco but you can get them from the heath food section)
Skinnymixer’s Cheesy Pumpkin Puffs (link here) – freezes and reheats well

***With a spoon:
DRINKS:
Getting into their pizza pockets!
Wholemeal toast cheesy melt with Bolognese sauce #nomnomnom