Sneaking supercharged food into children’s meals

Written by kim cotton on . Posted in all, On Health & Happiness

Mini SalmonI absolutely love sneaking healthy ingredients into my child’s meals. When I see my daughter eating well, I get the warm and fuzzies.

A couple of my fave ‘stealth’ foods are grating zucchini into her spaghetti bolognaise or tiny strips of English spinich (uncooked so it’s crunchy). A more obvious one is just adding fruit such as blueberries to a dessert such as icecream or grating extra apple into a cake. My piece de la resistance is slipping an egg into a banana smoothie at breakfast time. 

My lovely friend and amazing health goddess Lee Holmes has released her book Supercharged Food for Kids and she has dedicated a section to sneaking food into children’s meals and so much more.

A Supercharged tip: “Sneak pureed cauliflower into a white creamy sauce and pour it over grilled chicken breasts.” Thanks Lee! Now that sounds delicious, so delicious that I think i might be sneaking it off my daughter’s plate and onto mine 🙂

Five books to inspire children to love reading

Written by kim cotton on . Posted in all, On Love of Learning

Five awesome books to inspire a love of reading in your child … using authentic story lines, humour, intrigue, amazing images and most importantly, the recognition that little people adore a good story too. 

April Underhill by Bob Graham

Genre: modern fairy tale

Spirited Mama - April Underhill

This book is a gem! How could a little family of bohemian tooth fairies who live on the edge of the M42 outside of London not be? The story tells of the adventurous rite of passage for the little fairies April and her sister, Esme, who collect their first tooth. While the story draws on an age-old concept, it’s set in a totally modern context – April gets her first assignment via mobile phone; they live in the city, next to a heavy traffic zone – dad has a ponytail, mum has a tattoo. The story has great connections that any young child understands such as losing a tooth, convincing parents they’re older and using texting to communicate. It also has a great problem-solving element, which supports the idea of a fave researcher of mine that “we rely on stories to sort out the world”. The pictures are gorgeous – imagine mum semi-drying her hair and keeping her little fairies floating in the air with the dryer as she’s talking with them in the bathroom.

French toast for kids ~ gluten free!

Written by kim cotton on . Posted in all, On Health & Happiness, Uncategorized

French toast for kidsExpanding the palates of little ones, especially fussy eaters or those with allergies, doesn’t have to be a nightmare journey. Delicious French Toast with all that comforting goodness is a wonderful introduction for children to a different cuisine even if some say its origins date back to Rome rather than France. 

This healthy kid-friendly recipe comes from the new e-book Supercharged Food for Kids by lovely Lee Holmes.

If you would like to be in the running to win a copy of this comprehensive compendium to children’s cooking including 90 fab recipes and amazing tips on getting fussy eaters to dig in simply:

♥Like Spirited Mama on Facebook

♥Leave a little blog lovin on what your best tip is to getting kids to try new foods.

A child’s list to happiness

Written by kim cotton on . Posted in all, On Health & Happiness, Uncategorized

Spirited Mama - childs list

My daughter has been hurting so she has written a list to happiness.

My daughter has suffered a major disappointment of late, so I asked her to write a list to happiness. A list of things that could help her pass the time, to help her feel happy.

We talked about how being down and dwelling on sad things doesn’t serve us well – it just makes us feel worse yet our lives still keep ticking. We talked about the importance of feeling sad, to nurture the sadness, to be real about it, but then to pop it away to make room for the good. Life is good is my mantra. even if it doesn’t feel like it at times.

Feeling better

As a mother all I want is for my child to be happy, to grow up resilient, to feel life as a joy. Sometimes it feels all wrong. But a list to happiness made me feel better too. It made me feel like I could do something for her, just give her a strategy for looking after herself – to manage disappointment and see that she has the power to make her life good.

Beef bourguignon with aged wine

Written by kim cotton on . Posted in all, On Health & Happiness

aged wineWhatever you do don’t waste the wine – use it for the bourguignon!

Oh no! I had just opened the bottle of wine I’d been keeping for more than 25 years – a 1986 St Emilion Grand Cru – and it was corked. When I bought it I had no idea how much we would have gone through together. I was a humble backpacker when I found her in the cobbled back streets of a pretty village near Bordeaux, France. Now all those years later all I could do was say, ‘C’est la vie, you can go in the stew’.

Ahh I guess that’s one thing about growing older. I’ve learnt that while aged wine generally tastes better, I’ve also learnt to take life’s knocks on the chin a little more gracefully.

5 fantastic ways to nurture your child’s imagination

Written by kim cotton on . Posted in all, On Love of Learning

Flying carpet mobileNurturing your child’s imagination is one of the greatest gifts you can give. When children learn to dream big they become creative adults. When creative adults put their dreams into reality we all benefit. It’s a big statement I know, but how exciting! It’s the imagineers of the world who have given us awesome technology (Steve Jobs and Bill Gates), beautiful art (Margaret Olley and Paul Cezanne), amazing films (Jane Campion and Martin Scorsese).

1. Go free range

Andrew Daddo said “let have a green sky and blue grass for as long as they can because then they’ll realise it’s OK to be little bit interesting.” Let your child go free-range in their art, in their thinking, in their play. Reasearch shows free-range play is the building blocks to helping a child develop their unique identity, self-confidence and problem solving skills and it also supports children to build on the knowledge and creativity they have already learnt from you and the world around them.

Easy French crepes for breakfast

Written by kim cotton on . Posted in all, On Health & Happiness

photo (75)

It’s a tradition in our household to make French crepes most Sundays and any day during the school holidays. 

They’re delicious, light, easy to make and best of all they’re a crowd-pleaser – they will make babies smile and grown men weep.

The secret to making good crepes is balance – of the flour, eggs and milk. The other secret is focus and timing. Crepes don’t take long to make but during that crucial stage of cooking, timing and focus are the essence.

And the best way to do that is simply to practice. 

Oh, there’s one other secret too and that’s lashings of Nutella or similar – yum! The chocolaty, creamy nutty paste melts onto a freshly made crepe so smoothly and coupled with blueberries or raspberries it’s heaven on a plate. Even my little French Romantique dolls thinks so!

Nurturing children’s imaginations

Written by kim cotton on . Posted in all, On Love of Learning

Shell schlumpeter in situ

Nurturing our children’s imaginations is everything … let them have a green sky and blue grass for as long as they can because then they’ll realise it’s OK to be little bit interesting, says Andrew Daddo.

Imagination helps our children to problem solve, create their own lives, dream amazing futures for all of us.

Einstein said logic will take us from A to B but imagination will take us everywhere. Knight of Innovation and creativity Sir Ken Robinson said human imagination is all that stands between us and still living in caves.

“It’s the source of every form of human achievement in literature, in science, the the arts, in human relationships … it’s what gives us 6,000 languages currently spoken on Earth … the Sistine Chapel, the music of Bach.”

A few years ago I interviewed the lovely children’s author Andrew Daddo for the article Inspiring ways to build your child’s imagination.

Andrew said it beautifully:

“It’s having their head filled with ideas. Kids often say things that are really amazing but wrong, but it’s how they see the world. Encourage them to do that …

“Let them have a green sky and blue grass for as long as they can because then they’ll realise it’s OK to be little bit interesting.”

Spirited Mama’s French Heart Store was created to inspire the imaginations of big and little people, too. The beautiful treasures sourced from the heart of France, like Seashells mobile above, add a little bit of magic to the every day just so our dreams can be that little more sweeter.

How do you nurture your child’s imagination?

Linking in with lovely Jess @ IBOT.


Giveaway: beautiful French mobile

Written by kim cotton on . Posted in all, On Attitude & Adventure, On Health & Happiness, On Love of Learning

Moonboy toy
Marguerite toy

Would you like to win a beautiful French mobile like the ones pictured here?

There are only a few days left to enter.

I ran the competition to celebrate the launch of my blog and opening of my new Treasure Shop selling toys and homewares from the heart of France.

Entering my competion is simple. Leave a comment on my Facebook page letting me know what Treasures you love from my shop. Or you can tweet it including a link of the product but I have found Facebook easier.

Everyone who enters automatically receives 15% off all treasures.

The completion closes June 12 at midnight.

Good luck and thanks for supporting Spirited Mama.


Linking in with talented Jess @ IBOT.

Amusing an only child – adventure on the high seas

Written by kim cotton on . Posted in all, On Attitude & Adventure

kayak small

If you’re looking to amuse an only child, consider taking them on kayaking adventure for two. 

I took my daughter to the hidden gem of Store Beach near Manly’s Northern Beaches for an afternoon. It was so beautiful and secluded I was tempted to call her Wilson from Tom Hanks’ movie Castaway!

The story of my perfect day get-away is over at Sydney Kids Food and Travel. It’s my first guest post. I’d love you to check it out and give Seana Smith some blog loving. Kimx

Linking in with gorgeous Grace @ FYBF


Photo: An oarsome way to spend a day. Spirited Mama 2013


10 things you don't expect when you become a parent (part 1)

Written by kim cotton on . Posted in all, On Attitude & Adventure


I’ve been a parent for about eight years now and each day there is something else that absolutely surprises me that wasn’t on the motherhood brochure. 

When you become a parent you don’t expect:

  1. Your baby’s smile to feel like a butterfly landing on your shoulder.
  2. That a box of guilt and a bouquet of worry will be the only things that come free with the baby.
  3. No matter how hard you try your life will never be the same again … seriously, it won’t.
  4. To be woken each day just before sunrise, for the next five years … yup.
  5. To feel another parent’s pain like it’s your own when your learn a child is sick or hurt or worse.
  6. To be late for an appointment because your child has a meltdown over clothing seams, fluff balls in socks or “scratchie” tags on undies.
  7. To conduct regular snot inspections on sleeves before walking out the door – often with positive results.
  8. To catch vomit in your bare hands in hope it doesn’t splatter on the carpet … again.
  9. Your baby to come with an inbuilt ‘no rush’ policy.
  10. That when everything is quiet there is bound to be trouble in paradise 🙂

What didn’t you expect when you became a parent?

Linking in with lovely Jess @ IBOT.

Sacred mama space

Written by kim cotton on . Posted in all, On Health & Happiness, Uncategorized

redheaded-woman-and-sunflowers.jpg! GauginAll mothers need time alone, to go into their boudoirs, their cave, to dwell in sacred mama space. 

For me as a mama raising my child and running a business with all their demands can be tough. I feel at times I go to bed, wake up, hurl myself at the world, go to bed, wake up … it’s exhausting.

Similarly, I watch friends and it’s just a different kind of demand laid upon them. In the day if they’re stay at home mums they’re wrangling the kids and housework, in the evening they’re on task for the family. It can be relentless because the active button is always ‘on’. Life loses its charm, and inevitably our glow as women dims.


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