Country Kids from Coombe Mill

Turning an average day into bags of Fun!

Farmer Nick had the boys sweeping the shed floor. Not an exciting job but they were pretty keen as Daddy had promised a turn on his new toy if they did a good job!

Sweeping Farmer Nick's Shed


Nick had the electric Gator on trial for the week to see if it would be a benefit on the farm. Lots of fun to be had but at £5000 second hand I persuaded him that it really wasn’t anything he couldn’t do with the tractor and trailer. I fear it may be a hollow victory as he and the kids clearly loved it and I have caught Nick since eyeing them up on e-bay and on the John Deere web site!

 Fun on the Gator with Dad / Farmer Nick

Disappointed that all the fun was over, the children headed back to the shed. Here they became inspired by the bag of floor sweepings they had collected. I am sure I have the only children who can amuse themselves with a bag of dust! They rigged it up to Dad’s ceiling chain, designed for working on the tractors, and used it as a boxing bag, kick bag and swing. Ten out of ten for initiative boys! (Just for the record I was overseeing this little game at a distance just to ensure there was nothing sharp or dangerous in their punch bag and that it would take their weight for swinging).

At play in Farmer Nick's shedFun on the Gator with Dad


What have you been up to outdoors with the kids this week? Do please grab the badge and share your family fun on the linky. A comment on others would be much appreciated and a great way to find outdoor inspiration. 


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Saturday Caption Day

 I have never before managed a Saturday Caption post, but I love the linky and keep meaning to join in. I understand while the lovely Mammasaurus is away Mummy Mishaps is hosting. Jenny is so very friendly and supportive of me I felt this had to be the week I finally joined the Sat Cap gang. Here is my first ever entry taken just after this enormous Salmon was caught in the River Camel this week.  It was just by our play boat where the children were playing at the time.  


Fishing for Salmon on the river Camel at Coombe Mill


Do please think of a good caption to go with the photo and leave it on the comments below; then click on the badge to see some more photos needing captions.

The lovely  who blogs at  All About The Boys has set up Independence Day to support small family businesses trying to make their way in the world. I am delighted to join in again this month with a shout out to 3 businesses with great products worth sharing with all Parents out there. 

Independence Day badge


The Land of Sometimes

Discover the magical far away Land of Sometimes in book and CD. A beautifully told story in songs that encourages imaginative play and make believe in children. It is perfect from toddlers up to around age. We have a copy of the book and CD here at Coombe Mill, where holiday makers can read, listen and enjoy creating their own adventures out on our farm. Do read more about The Land of Sometimes on the competition we ran earlier this year to win a copy of the CD..  


The Land Of Sometimes


The Play Wrap

The second company I would like to recognise this month is Bondie Bird. Two Mums who saw a gap in the market with their babies and have created an impressive product to fill that gap! The playwrap is essentially a portable, wearable, attachable play mat with clip on toys suitable from birth upwards. It is perfect for travelling with its own little draw string bag. We were delighted to host a competition to help promote the Playwrap, and have one here at Coombe Mill to borrow when staying. Better still if you try it here and like it as much as I think you will there is a Special one off 15% discount code for Coombe Mill followers to purchase their own! Just Like  on twitter and drop them a DM 

Playwrap in use at Coombemill


Roobub & Custard

I had been following from Roobub & Custard on Twitter when she told me she was coming to Cornwall on holiday. I just had to meet her and see some of the lovely toys she had been telling me about. Following the birth of her son Alex, Shelley saw a gap in the market for parents wanting to buy toys and room accessories ethically made from sustainable materials; hence Roobub & Custard was born. We spent a sunny few hours together here at Coombe Mill, while Shelley shared 3 lovely products from her range which are here now for guests to borrow and following soon on the blog will be a chance to win one too!

Playing at Coombe Mill with Ruburb & Custard toy farm

Competitions with Coombe Mill

If you have a small business selling products in line with our children’s family holidays and would like to host a competition and review with me please do get in contact via email, twitter, facebook or by leaving a message here on the blog.

Promoting with Coombe Mill

I have an open invitation to any small business aligned to Coombe Mill to advertise free of charge on my blog. There are 3 categories:

1. Local Cornish businesses helpful to our holiday makers

2. Products or services for parents and young childrenLiked by Coombe Mill badge

3. Parenting blogs offering friendly helpful information.

I choose I each week to promote on the front of my blog and tweet, please come and join up with me here 

What happened to my baby?Clio as a baby

Do you look back on your baby years and fondly remember them eating all their puréed fruit and vegetables, a kin to a sparrow in the nest with no nonsense, relishing the next spoonful and wondering what the problem was about with fussy children? I certainly did. I think I really believed fussy eaters were born of parents not introducing tastes and flavours early on and proudly blended any veg we had for my babies, marvelling on how well mashed garden greens went down.


Toddler rebellion!

The first time mine began to express a preference was on the transition from mush to solids. Suddenly carrot was OK, peas and sweet corn tolerated, but greens and mushrooms were out the window, or more literally dropped from the high chair table! I have always been quite strict about food; I think it comes from my own upbringing and the need to avoid fussy eaters with 6 children. My solution was to impose a no pudding rule for anyone who failed to finish their main course, including all the greens! For some this worked a treat, for others it was a hollow victory as they just left the greens and endlessly missed out on pudding. Their choice, but I still worried they were missing important nutrients.


Difficult eatersToddler eatingToddler Meals


The breakthrough

I am not quite sure at what point the penny dropped that children eat by more than one sense. They are more attuned to their senses than us adults and use them all more effectively.  Liking is not just the flavour (which is stronger to them) but also the smell, the visual and the texture. Crack these and you crack your fussy eater!  

The Visual:Meal time Castles

Try making patterns, pictures or play scenes with meals. Favourites for mine were sausage and mash: The mash would be a mound to represent a castle. Sausages would be chopped into pieces and placed into the mash to represent soldiers, broccoli florets around the edge of the castle were the “baddies” and gravy the castle moat. As the children raced to eat the baddies and protect the soldiers, they quite forgot it was broccoli they were eating! Animals, faces and stick people are entertaining: carrot batons are great for this. Allowing children to help prepare and join in with the creating also gives a sense of ownership and desire to taste their work. 


Dinner looking fun


This lovely photo is thanks to The Boy and Me  who kindly allowed me use it following her blog post The battle of the greens which looks at similar issues.


The Texture

No matter how pretty and creative, there are some foods which most children just find off putting, onion and mushrooms for a start! Here I believe it is the food texture that is the issue. Cooked mushrooms have a slimy slug like feel and will even make many adults want to retch!  All of my children fall into this camp but all eat plenty of onion and mushroom, they just don’t taste them. My food processor is my “Desert Island” kitchen gadget and my key to feeding my children the vegetables I feel they need but which they dislike! All my mince recipes from cottage pie to Lasagne have at least 60% vegetable content, my trick is to chop the vegetables into mince meat size pieces before slow cooking with all the herbs, garlic and meat so that the vegetables and meat fuse as one texture and flavour. 

Blended raw vegetablesmince and veg cooking with herbs and spiceslasagne

And Now?

My children are now age 8 to 14 and they will all try any food, still there are some they don’t like, but casserole with vegetables is now ok so long as the “veg bits” are not too large. Admittedly the older children are more enthusiastic than the younger ones, but that gives me hope that it does all correct itself in time.

We eat as a family whenever we can, this is only 

Family Meal time

about half the week given all their clubs and activities, but on the evenings we are all home meal times are an important occasion in the day. Now that their tastes are maturing family meal times are much more versatile, I find I can be more liberal with the spices and herbs and more adventurous with flavours. That said I will still do a mince based dish at least once a week to ensure I use up any unpopular vegetables and help them along with their 5 a day! 


I would love to hear if you have experienced fussy eaters and the vegetable rebellion and how you have dealt with the situation.