Filling up the tween – week 58

There’s been more than the usual amount of basketball played in our house.

With the annual representative clubs working their way through 100’s of avid tweens and teens desperately wanting team selection – our tween has made the cut and is placed in a team for the third year in a row. It’s great news for him and as parents we brace ourselves for another 48 weeks of hectic friday night games plus 2 x a week practice.

And like most parents out there, this extra is added to the current schedule of school, sport, friendships and downtime, and of course some children-free time for the adults.

However it’s wonderful. As parents we want our children to extend themselves, have fun with life and generally be happy. And that’s what we have seen in our tween this week. The happiness as the tween settles into his new basketball team, the relish of coaching a group of nine year olds, and the refereeing he adds to the end of his Saturday line-up.

But somewhere along this crazy routine we need to ensure the tween is eating right. His growing body is being pushed and getting the balance right can be tricky. Whilst we have the “three meals a day” stacked with fresh fruit and vegetables, calcium and other nutrients for growing bodies, it’s the snacks in between that can be tricky.

The barrage of commercially packed snacks that are stacked with sugar, salt and a heap of numbers are tempting to snatch and grab during a busy week down the supermarket aisle. Keeping this at bay (yes, we have the odd slip-up here) is tricky and I’ve been playing around with a few tasty and better-for-everyone treats.

My latest not-too-shabby from the kitchen is a dark chocolate topped grain and seed slice. Using some locally made raw muesli that is packed with ancient grains, seeds and dried fruits, I have added some quinoa flakes and shredded coconut. Binding this together with honey, coconut oil and butter, and baking for about 30 minutes, I then top with melted 90% dark chocolate.

The result is a delicious packed-with-energy slice that the tween (and myself) love. It’s uber filling and as nut free can be taken to school.

Ancient grain and seed slice topped with dark chocolate

Ancient grain and seed slice topped with dark chocolate

Whilst the grain and seed slice currently has a “made in my kitchen” look, I’m sure with some refinement it will look more “commercially pre-packed”.

As baking, cooking and generally sharing recipes is really not my thing, I do highly recommend my friend and awesome journalist Carole Beck in her quest to feed her family and explore the parenting journey at Healthier Mummy.

All love



28 October 2014

Comments are always welcome. Please be mindful however that words can 
enlighten or dishearten.

Some distance — week 57

I’m in Berlin and my tween is in Melbourne.

After two weeks of family holidays in Asia, it’s probably a good thing to put some miles between us. That sounds tougher than I mean — I miss him, his brother and their father terribly. The airport farewell pulled my heart vigorously and I wondered what I was doing…

Back in Melbourne the tween has settled into the school routine with the added excitement of being in his last term of junior school, and more immediately, getting back into the basketball season.

Basketball is the tweens’ number one love.

It’s what he lives and breaths everyday.

The swish of a goal; the handling, the flip, the blocks and the “and ones”. There’s a life and a lingo that I didn’t know existed until four years ago.

As a player, a coach and a referee, the tween fills his Friday nights and Saturday’s with the resounding bounce of a ball.

It can be a wonder to watch when his head is up, a smile creases his eyes and the move maps across his face.

And afterwards, the flop on the sofa to recount his game plan, talk about his under 9 team he coaches and the calls he made as a referee. The excitement in the recount, the glow of a win, or the shadow of a loss.

What this love of basketball has really brought to my tween is a growing sense of who he is.

He spends many Saturday afternoons and early evenings hanging out with older kids (teenagers) at the courts between his refereeing games.

At first I was wary of what this meant but soon realised that these boys and girls are awesome; funny cool dudes that don’t fit the stereotype. They are great at being themselves and have unknowingly shown the tween that too.

And the vocab is a world to behold!

Who knew the poly-clad group would be our saviour?

All love



7 October 2014

Comments are always welcome. Please be mindful however that words can 
enlighten or dishearten.