Being a parent is pretty exhausting… being a parent that is attempting to live frugally adds as certain extra ‘thinking’ layer and then worrying about your ethical values and impact on the World could make it a real headache. BUT it doesn’t have to be – you are not alone in trying to combine these two important things…it is possible to save money and save the world, really!
Over at The Frugal Family we share our efforts and our experiences to help offer solutions to these tricky dual demands. I honestly believe that by being open to the ups and downs of our quest to be frugal and ethical we will help others to at least give it a shot. We are just an ordinary family and are looking to offer realistic and practical ideas, after many years helping other to balance their lives, I’ve taken time out to work on my own life, and family on our new mantra – to spend less, use less and do more!
One way I try to encourage the kids to think about their impact, and live frugally is through food. We love to cook and bake here at Frugal HQ, and I hope to share that passion with the children. From a very early age we get them helping in the kitchen, we have special knives they can use safely and a few select pieces of equipment that they can use with minimal intervention from hovering adults. You do need a certain amount of prep time, and there WILL be mess… but cooking with kids is a great opportunity to discuss where food comes from, how it’s grown and transported, discuss seasons and food chains and all sorts of other topics.
With our 2 year old we just do counting and colours, with the older ones they can read a recipe on their own now… it’s a lovely bonding activity and of course you get to eat what you make! If you are feeling really brave you could go shopping for ingredients with the kids as well, that can help with looking for products that have less/recyclable packaging, thinking about seasonal foods and looking at what is in the food. I’ve also found that my picky eaters are more likely to try foods that they have prepared and fully understand (a try is something…).
Food created by children won’t always look very appetising, but the process is a very valuable one, it allows for creativity and experimentation as well as exploring all their senses. It is also a nice activity for a cold or wet day, and it’s easy to involve more than one child. We have a range of ideas on the website – but here are a couple for the warmer days to come…
Fast Fun Kids Fruit Snacks
Organic Soya Yogurt/coconut based yogurt/whatever you fancy that’s yogurty
Kids can do this fun recipe completely on their own; you simply prepare all the ingredients – core the strawberries (but leave whole), open yogurt pot and pour the coconut into a bowl. Then kids skewer a strawberry onto a kebab stick, cocktail stick, fork or we use a fondue fork and then dip in the yogurt and then roll in the coconut. Alternatively you can do the dipping and then get younger kids to sing Incy Wincy Spider and sprinkle coconut onto the yogurt while you hold it.
For a really refreshing snack you can pop these in the freezer for about 15mins to be really cold and then eat them with your fingers or leave on the fork. These can keep in the fridge for a good few hours if necessary. We sometimes use other cupboard ingredients to cover the yogurt (which can be any flavour), for example cocoa powder, sesame seeds or crushed up nuts.
Any fruit you have to hand, but really works well with melon and larger soft fruits like peaches.
Find some cookie cutters, slice your fruit into 1-2cm slices with or without the skin depending on what fruits you have – then cut out and arrange into a tower. These look good with a range of sizes and colours of fruit for the ‘layers’ – kiwi’s always look especially exciting. We sometimes put them into cupcake cases to keep the juice in, but frankly they are rarely around long enough for that to be a big problem. These don’t keep very well so you need to eat them quite quickly.
Claire is a mum of 4 dairy intolerant, veggie kids as well as a very stupid dog; she spends her time running around after them all, while also running The Frugal Family. If you need some realistic and practical ideas of how to have a frugal family life, without giving up your ethical values and dreams then give the website a look www.thefrugalfamily.co.uk