"Ollie! The Boy Who Became What He Ate" nominated for Youth Media Alliance Award of Excellence

We are so pleased to share that our children's TV program, Ollie! The Boy Who Became What He Ate, has been nominated for Youth Media Alliance/Alliance Médias Jeunesse's Award of Excellence for Best Program, Animation – Preschool.

Youth Media Alliance seeks to enrich the lives of Canadian children and teens by helping improve the quality of the content created for them on all screen-based media. The Alliance pursues its mission of encouraging high-quality content by presenting annual awards of excellence to the best productions targeting young English- and French-speaking Canadians

You can read more info about the award here.

The winners will be revealed at the gala to be held on May 29at the CBC Glenn-Gould Studio, in Toronto. Fingers crossed! You can watch Ollie! The Boy Who Became What He Ate every Saturday at 10am ET on Canada's CBC Kids. US air dates to be announced soon!

Insta-garden! 3 Easy Growing Projects for Kids!

I have lots of fond memories of gardening as a kid –plenty of carrots and radishes (and weeds if I’m honest!). Here at Ollie HQ we’ve been digging around for fun, easy growing activities you can do with your kids![1]

And we know… children are impatient, so it might seem a bit nutty to get them gardening. But the reward you’ll get from your children’s wonder at what growth comes from a tiny seed, with just a little love and water, is well worth it! And their wonder lasts – right into the kitchen and eating! It’s great for picky eaters - they learn how to grow, cook and discover their own food super-powers![2]

1. No Soil, Just Add Water (Super Easy – 10 min)

Perfect for impatient children (and adults too!). Results in a week! The good news is there are lots of vegetable seeds that are super easy to grow with little work and great rewards.

3 Items:  Small clear jar or Ziploc bag, paper towel, some beans such as lima or kidney beans

Beans like kidney and lima beans grow quickly and don’t need a garden. Put some moist paper towel in the bottom of a small clear jar or a plastic sandwich bag – this will mean you can see it happening your own mini ‘greenhouse’. Add about 4 beans (soak the beans overnight beforehand). Put in a warm, dry, sunny place like a window ledge – or even tape the bag to a window - and in about 3-7 days watch as the magic begins[3].

2. Tangy Tomatoes: (Harvest in 6-8 weeks)

Tomatoes will give your kids energy-boosting super-powers! A great small project for limited space. Plant them after the frost (gardening fact: tomatoes need a minimum night air temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit/13 Celsius).

4 Items:  Small container, soil, tomato seeds or sprouts – then a growing larger pot, stick and string.

Buy some tomato seeds or even easier, some sprouted small plants. This is a good chance for kids to get their hands muddy. Let them dig a little hole and put the seedling in and pat the earth around it.

Then it's simply water and sun! As the seedlings grow, support them with a stick or cane. Let your kids take ownership - they might want to name it, water it and take photos to show its growth! This is something they can be proud of.

And all this garden fun has a health benefit too – children are more likely to eat fruit and vegetables if they’ve had a hand in growing it.[4]

Count down to your harvest festival - in 6-8 weeks you can harvest your first tomatoes!

Get a recipe ready for your harvest and allow kids to pick and wash them for cooking. We love making homemade pizza (recipe below) with our tomato harvests! What will you make?

3. Flower Power:  (Sprouts in 7-10 days, harvest in 2-4 months)

Sunflowers are a great example of a seed that can surpass the height of your child! You can teach your kids how some plants grow big and strong - just like them.

4 Items: small container, soil, sunflower seeds – later a larger growing pot.

Start with a small container, about plastic cup size and fill with soil. Get your child involved by helping to make a hole for the seed, drop it in and cover it up - and enjoy the muddy fingers!

Put it in a warm spot with lots of light that kids can see. Have them water or spray it regularly (moist not soaking) and watch for the sprout in 1-2 weeks![5] Let your kids measure its growth, take pictures and record it.

When it’s big enough, transfer to a larger pot outside.

Harvest!!  Best of all, when the sunflower head starts to go brown, you can dry and toast the seeds in the oven – or feed the birds.  Simply dry the head until the seeds come loose and let your kids rub the seeds off. Don’t forget to save seeds for next year’s sunflower crop.

Top Tip: As an activity – take weekly photos and make a gardener’s picture book. We want to see some muddy hands and green shoots to win our signed Ollie: The Boy Who Became What He Ate storybook.

Simple Pizza Recipe:

Chop 4 tomatoes up finely, put them in a pot and let them simmer.

Then add flavor with minced garlic clove, finely chopped small onion, 1 tsp of basil and oregano and pepper to taste. You could also put these ingredients in a blender.

Get the kids to help prepare. They can put cooled sauce on a bagel or ready-made pizza dough, or add toppings like green peppers, mushrooms and cheese. With a hand in making it, they’ll be more excited about eating their pizza. Bake until crispy in oven and enjoy!

Not only is cooking with kids heaps of fun, but it is also proven that when they are involved in the cooking, they eat more as a result[6]. And even better, they make healthier food choices too.[7]

For an easy dough recipe, check out Pizza with Pizzaz in Ollie’s Favorite Recipes HERE.

I would love to see what you have grown, or cooked from what you grew! Please share photos of your Spring planting activities with Ollie Club on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, using #ollieclub, and March and April's best photo will win an Ollie cookbook!

Making every meal an adventure.

Messy fun! Sheena x




[1] [Evaluation of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program]


[3] [A Lesson Plan: Growing Plants with Preschoolers]

[4]  [Children Eat More Fruits And Vegetables If They Are Homegrown]

[5]  [Gardening with Preschoolers: Germinating Bean Seeds]

[6]  [If a kid helps cook it, is he or she more likely to eat it?]

[7]  [Kids who cook are hungrier for healthy food choices]

GUEST BLOG: Happy New Year! Healthy hacks for the year ahead

To wrap up the holiday season - and the year!! - we've got one last guest blog from UK-based mom and Ollie Club friend Celine Bell!

GUEST BLOG: Happy New Year!
Healthy hacks for the year ahead

Both myself and Ollie HQ believe in messy fun and making every meal an adventure. But we are also realistic. We have certainly enjoyed ourselves this Christmas, so January is a great excuse to revitalize our habits and ensure we are active, healthy and setting a great example to our kids.

Remember – new habits should be positive. Don’t talk about what you are going to stop doing, and don’t label any foods as ‘bad’. Instead, think of all the new things you could try, do and start.

1. Family Activities Use your family calendar to mark every time you do an activity as a family. A gold star for every walk, bike ride or swimming trip. What month will get you most stars?

2. Wintery Soups January is a great time for hearty, warming soups. Kids enjoy the slurping sensation, and it’s a good way of getting veggies into them. If they aren’t keen, treat it as a hot dip, and let them experiment with dipping cheese fingers, bread sticks or celery into the warm soup. Ollie's veggie soup is a perfect one to start with. Remember, even one sip is enough to start a taste adventure.

3. Cold-weather Fun Even in the coldest months, there are activities you can do as a family. Try bowling on a rainy Saturday, then come home and enjoy a (healthy!) pizza and movie night.

4. Indoor Picnics I love picnics, but they aren’t an option in January. Throw down a blanket and have an indoors picnic, allowing your kids to help decide what to serve. Hard boiled eggs, left over pizza from movie night, fajitas piled on a plate and crudités are all delicious finger foods for the family. Don’t worry about mess, just shake the blanket outdoors afterwards.

5. Healthy Resolutions Make healthy resolutions as a family. Maybe make sure little kids commit to washing their hands after the bathroom, try a new recipe a week (we have some ideas here!) drink milk or water instead of soda, and spend some time together each day without screens. By letting your kids come up with some ideas, they are more likely to stick to them. Get them to write a list out, add some coloring and stickers, and stick it to the refrigerator.

6. Limiting Screen Time Time without screens is a resolution we’ll certainly be taking up. We’ll replace it with games night, and cooking night. Getting kids involved in the kitchen means they understand where their food has come from, and inspires them to try new things.

7. Eco-friendly Less screen time means less electricity usage. My young kids are keen to be more eco-conscious, so we are recycling more, and using the car less.

8. New Adventures Learn something new! Try a new recipe. Learn how to sing a new song from start to finish. My niece wants to master a handstand – can’t wait to see her learn.


Thanks for all of the great tips throughout the season, Celine! Read more of her insightful parenting tips on her blog, Bell From Bow, and check her out on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Whatever you do in 2019, have messy fun!

Sheena xx

It’s the holidays! Here’s how to help keep it healthy

It’s holiday time, and no matter how hard you try to keep your kids eating habits healthy and balanced, sometimes it’s not that easy (and sometimes it’s hijacked by Aunt Mary – thanks but no thanks for the candy…). We all want to have fun, enjoy the holidays, and indulge a little, but we don’t want to set a bad example or get into habits that don’t work for us.

1. Family Exercise It’s obvious, but if you keep active, you’ll set a great example for your kids. Take a walk as a family to visit local Christmas lights. If you live near an ice-rink, wrap up warm and enjoy some ice-skating. Use the Christmas tree flashing lights and some music to have a home-disco. No snow? Ball up white socks and make your own snowball fight. Exercise should be fun, not a chore!

2. Set a Healthy Example The same goes for food. Model the behavior you want them to adopt. Slice some fruit to eat with your breakfast and make sure you serve veggies at every meal. Try Ollie's fruity cereal recipe for family breakfast.

3. Nutritious Alternatives Baking at Christmas is a tradition of ours, but we seek out low-sugar versions of old favorites. Check out the muffins and cookies on Ollie Club. Messy fun, but healthy too, and a good way of sneaking fruit and veggies into your picky eaters.

4. Involve the Kids It’s not just about cooking - they can lay tables, make place cards, write menus. They’ll be excited to come to the table.

5. Non-food Rewards Don’t use food as a reward. Start a Christmassy sticker chart instead.

That’s easy to say, but sometimes it seems the whole holiday revolves around food! Try these games and activities to keep you busy and ensure you make magical memories with your families.

1. We love story time before bed. Use it as a chance to read Christmas, Hanukkah or festive tales to your children.

2. Use shaving cream as fake snow – let them have messy fun and get involved. If it’s not too cold, you can play outside – otherwise put a towel down to protect your carpet.

3. Use cotton balls and colored paper to make a snowman card. Googly eyes bring them to life. Another idea is to draw a twirling black line, then use fingerprints in colored paint to create an artistic string of lights – great for Christmas cards for relatives. If you have leftovers, they are also good as thank you cards.

4. Relatives’ houses can be boring for young kids unless there is a stash of toys to investigate. Keep a bag in the boot of the car with coloring pencils, sticker books, and small games like dominos or cards that you can use to entertain the kids. Also useful for restaurant trips – we have one permanently stashed in the car!

We can’t wait to hear how you’ve celebrated – tag us in your Instagram pictures (@OllieClub), and have fun!

Messy fun, Sheena xx

GUEST BLOG: Christmas hacks for kids – 8 tips to feed, entertain and decorate this holiday season

Today on the blog, Celine Bell, mom of two young sons, is back at Ollie Club HQ to share some of her best Christmas hacks!

GUEST BLOG: Christmas Hacks for Kids -
8 Tips to Feed, Entertain and Decorate this Holiday Season

Merry Christmas and happy holidays! We are excited about the family time ahead, and I want to share some tips that help me during the festive season. Sure, it’s fun, but it’s also stressful, and at Ollie HQ, we want to share some tips for getting through with a smile on your face.

1.We love to thank the kids’ teachers at Christmas with a small gift. Homemade is nicer than shop bought, so we pair a hand drawn card with a box of these Ollie-Pop Banana and Oat cookies. Have fun making them with the kids, and a double batch mean there are some left over for you. They are handy to have for long car journeys over the holidays – for kids and parents alike!

2. Make Ollie’s Pizza with Pizzaz, and have fun turning the dough into a Christmas tree shape. Add strips of pepper for tinsel. Use cookie cutters to cut stars into cheese that you can add to your pizza tree. My kids love left over pizza as a snack, so make some extras for later.

3. Get your kids to decorate bagels with cream cheese and fruit and veg (raisins, strawberries etc) to create an edible Santa. Who knew cream cheese made such a good beard?!  Works well with breakfast pancakes too. Some topping ideas here.

4. Too cold to go outside? An empty jam jar, a plastic figurine, some glue, glitter and water all combine to make your own snow globe. Add a dash of glycerin to keep the glitter from falling too quickly.

5. Reindeer eat carrots, so be sure to leave one out on Christmas Eve. We cut them into fingers. The kids enjoy eating reindeer food, and I enjoy them eating their veggies. Of course, we save enough for Rudolf.

6. Add bright red cranberries to a star-shaped ice-cream tray for festive ice cubes.

7. Slice oranges thinly, and get your kids to lay them onto greaseproof paper on a baking tray. Dry them out in the oven on the lowest heat setting for a couple of hours. Thread them onto colorful string with the kids, and use them as decorations for the tree. I love this, as they want to nibble on the fruit before cooking it, so they get their vitamins by default.

8. Get them having fun with veggies – can they turn their crudités into a Christmas tree? Cucumber and celery make great branches, and carrots (assuming you aren’t saving them for Rudolf) are an excellent branch. Dip them in our Hip Hop Hummus.

Have a great holiday with your family!


Thanks for more great tips for the holiday season, Celine! Read more of her insightful parenting tips on her blog, Bell From Bow, and check her out on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Messy fun! Sheena xx

5 Parent Food Tips - How are your Food Superpowers? 

Do you have your very own Ollie at home – the world’s pickiest eater? Are mealtimes a drama? Here are some tips that are tried and true to make life easier, and mealtimes more enjoyable for everyone.  

We all have the perfect dinnertime in our heads… your child is happily munching away on a meal you have lovingly crafted. Everyone is calm. In reality… you are in a rush, your sweet little toddler is wiping it in their hair, on the table and even on the wall. And this is where you might see evidence of Ollie in your kid – a picky child, who doesn’t want to eat anything you’ve served. So much for nutrition! 

In this battle of wills, how do we make this easier, for all of us?  

Here’s what I found out by talking with food, nutrition and behavioral experts on what is proved to work in the field (well… at the table!)[1].

P.S. If you’re like me and want to know more, check the expert sources in my footnotes.   

  1. How much is enoughYour picky eater may eat like a bird at breakfast and like a lion at lunch. While it’s reassuring to see food go down, it’s best to look at what they’re eating by the day or week – not by each meal. Most young children will vary to their hunger meal by meal[2].
  2. Small tummiesI was amazed to find toddlers’ tummies are only the size of their own small closed fist[3]. With this in mind, it can be unrealistic to expect them to eat a large meal in one sitting. Keep this in mind when serving up.
  3. RoutinesWith small tummies like I just said, it’s better all-around to keep mealtimes regular. Then little bellies know when to expect the next energy boost! Normally 3 meals and 2 snacks will keep them fueled like Ollie, with their own food superpowers.
  4. Hangry tantrums? If there is a toddler melt down pending (yup, we know how you feel!), and they can’t wait for the food to cook, you can offer the meal in reverse – yogurt can be a starter, not a dessert! It keeps them entertained while you cook. And you can prime them for the meal by asking - what Ollie super-powers they will get from the food you will serve next?
  5. Two Food Rules: Food is one area where children can take some control. From my research, giving children limited choices can stop a lot of power struggles. Here are two simple rules that the experts say help. First rule, you choose the healthy foods you want to serve. For instance, for a snack “Do you want a carrots or peas?” Second, your child can decide on what and how much they eat. Kids like choices![4]
  6. Visual reminders! Behavioral experts recommend that having fruit visible means that you are more likely to eat it[5]! Dial up your kids’ interests with some bright bananas or red apples in a bowl on the table so they can see them - and ask them what Ollie super-powers they can get. Read the storybook to them or invent your own funny fruit super-powers.  

Still worried? If you are concerned about your child’s eating, don’t think twice about making a visit to your pediatrician. They can reassure and advise you. And fortunately for parents everywhere, children tend to grow out of fussy eating habits. Phew!

Tip – remember, you choose what they eat, but they choose how much to eat.   

Please share your best picky eater tips with us - and win a signed copy of the storybook Ollie: The Boy Who Became What He Ate! Join our conversation on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

Making every meal an adventure  

Messy fun! Sheena x


[1] [How To Handle Picky Eaters]

[2] [The Variability of Young Children's Every Intake]

[3] [How To Handle Picky Eaters]

[4]  [Feeding Toddlers - Introduction]

[5]  [Eat Better By Making Healthy Food More Visible]

GUEST BLOG: Winter is coming The good and the bad about the changing of seasons when you're a parent

I'm Celine Bell, mom of two young sons. My youngest son eats anything and everything, but my eldest, who is nearly 5, is an incredibly picky eater. Ollie has helped us have fun with food, and make every meal an adventure. I've also learned to worry less about it, and relax around food. If he's happy, then I'm happy.

The change in seasons is tough as a parent. Not only changes to clocks, but changes to weather, temperature and activities. And of course, food changes with the season! It's giving us an opportunity for warming bakes and casseroles, as well as the celebrations we'll enjoy for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. I hope both my sons enjoy the food, and the time spent round the table as a family. I look forward to sharing our adventures with you and the Ollie Club!

GUEST BLOG: Winter is Coming -
The Good and the Bad About the Changing of Seasons When You're a Parent

It’s colder. It’s damp. There are soggy leaves in the park to skip through, but lots of them conceal aged erm - dog ‘presents’ - best avoided with super speedy toddlers!

There are so many reasons to dread winter.

1. Getting out of the house with kids is hard even on a summer’s day. Getting them dressed in winter is like dressing a squid on acid. Lip balm on chapped mouths, two mittens, ideally matching per child. Layers for them. Layers for you. You are boiling before you walk out of the front door, and as soon as you get out - you freeze.

2. Killing long sunny days in the park works well in June. In November you spend a fortune warming up in the café, one or the other will fall in a puddle, and it gets dark at 4pm anyway. You spend long afternoons indoors looking at the condensation building on the window as you watch 'Moana' for the eleventy-billionth time. At bedtime, everyone is irritable because they haven’t run off the day’s energy. You have to eat chocolate cookies hiding in the bathroom so the kids don’t eat them too.

3. Having to get up for night-wakings when the house is icy cold, the tiled floors make your toes curl, and your babies still need you, is grim.

4. Being snotty. Because the nursery runny nose will last until April, as will the sneezes, and piles of snotty tissues.

5. The clocks change for Daylight Savings Time (it’s November 4th this year). And that hour’s difference erases your well-honed routine for at least a week. Not even the Gro-Clock can save you.

6. Winter-loving, Christmas-obsessed people, screaming festive cheers and snowflakes are hugely irritating. Go away. I miss the summer. I miss rosé wine.

But it’s not all bad.

1. The colors. The leaves are amazing. You can teach your young leaf-peepers the colors - copper and auburn, rather than orange and yellow. Stick leaves onto bits of paper, catch them as they fall, and jump into the massive piles of them blown into a corner of a park.

2. The cozy movie afternoons. Cook some popcorn, grab some blankets and have a daytime pajama party. Stay warm by the fire and hunker down.

3. The food. A warm stew, bubbling in the pot. Halloween chocolate binges. Thanksgiving turkey – and the rest. Eating the advent calendar before December starts. Because you can keep your bikini body under wraps til at least June.

4. The clothes. Cover that mac-and-cheese-lard with a fluffy cardigan, thermal leggings, woolly socks and ideally have a cat on your lap at all times. Or a cuddly toddler will do.

5. September is behind us. That new-school-year-new-pencil-case feeling is over. No more headlines screaming at you to have a fresh start (at least til January, when "NEW YEAR, NEW YOU" makes you want to jump out of a window). You can be selfish and hunker down. You can say in ominous tones, “Winter is coming.”

6. Cuddling for warmth. Beware. This got me knocked up. Maybe not so wise after all.


Thank you, Celine, for reminding us why the impending winter might not be so bad after all! Read more insights from this mom of two on her blog, Bell From Bow, and check her out on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

What helps you and your kids get through the long, cold winters? Share your tips with Ollie Club on FacebookTwitter or Instagram and win a signed Ollie Storybook to cuddle up to with the kids this winter!

Making every meal an adventure.

Messy fun! Sheena x

GUEST BLOG: Thanksgiving - Family-friendly ideas for giving thanks, sharing time and enjoying a meal together

Today on the blog, Celine Bell, mom of two young sons, shares some of her favorite traditions for making Thanksgiving a special day for the family.

GUEST BLOG: Thanksgiving -
Family-Friendly Ideas for Giving Thanks, Sharing Time and Enjoying a Meal Together

Every Thanksgiving, we open the jar that sits on the worktop in the kitchen. It’s a big jar (and a bit dusty!), and by the time Thanksgiving comes around, it’s full. Every weekend, we put something in the jar that sums up our time together as a family. A rainy January weekend was cinema tickets. Sunny days at the beach are lollypop sticks and a cracked crab shell. There’s a pinecone from Grandma’s garden, and a golden autumnal leaf from a couple of weeks ago in the park. There are some less Instagram friendly items too – we once had a dead beetle in there – but it represents our year, and our weekends together when there is no school bus to catch, no work meetings to worry about, and lots of cuddles and noise.

We spill the jar onto the kitchen table and go through its contents. ‘I remember the day at the beach! We had a picnic!’  My picky eater remembers getting sand in his sandwiches and hiding his grapes under the blanket. ‘We went there with uncle Mike,’ comes from the ticket stub for the fairground. When we are ready to pack the contents of the jar away, leaving it empty for the year ahead, we’ve shared lots of memories, and made some plans for the year ahead. It’s great to do this with kids and introduce them to the idea of giving thanks for what they have. From family that loves them, to a home that keeps them warm, we want simple and fun ways for them to realize that they are fortunate.

Why not start your own jar to collate your adventures? At the end of the year, it’s a fun family activity to remember the best bits of previous months. You can make a gratitude collage with what’s left over. Here’s some other ideas you could use to share gratitude:

1. Daily Highlights Share your favorite parts of the day as you sit down to supper. It doesn’t have to be explicitly about gratitude, more what you’ve enjoyed most about the day. It’s a great way to get kids sharing, especially if you kick off with some good examples first. Mine usually involves food!

2. Gratitude Cards My shy son would rather write down his gratitude list, so he draws or writes on a small colored card. We’ve kept them in a box and he often looks through them – it’s wonderful to see him thinking in this way with no pressure from us.

3. Toy Donation Before Christmas, when you’ll be inundated with new toys, work with your kids on choosing some toys they no longer play with to give to Goodwill.

4. Pumpkin Pie Pumpkin is high in nutrients, so a low-sugar pumpkin pie is a great dessert for the whole family.

5. Healthy Standbys Thanksgiving lunch/dinner comes with a lot of pressure – don’t sweat it though. Don’t battle with your kids to eat something they don’t want, instead have some healthy foods you know they will eat on standby. Apple slices with peanut butter works for keeping mine out of the kitchen when I’m basting a hot turkey, and I keep a batch of Ollie’s Hidden Veggie Pasta in the fridge that I can heat up quickly should they not want a traditional lunch. I’m all for getting kids to try new foods as you know, but I also want this meal, like every other, to be an adventure, and I won’t get that from a battle over food.


Thanks for these lovely tips, Celine! Read more of her insightful parenting tips on her blog, Bell From Bow, and check her out on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

However you celebrate Thanksgiving, enjoy your day!

Messy fun! Sheena xx

Have a healthy, happy Halloween with Ollie Club

Happy Halloween!! It's coming along with all the kid zombies, so we’ve got the best hacks for you to make sure you have a spooooooky day with your kids – with some healthy eating snuck in too!

1. Spooky Water! Your local toy store will sell small plastic bugs and creepy crawlies – add them to ice cube trays to make a spooky drink – it’s great for ensuring kids drink enough water!

2. Booger-Cakes Anyone? Use green natural food coloring in these amazing carrot and zucchini muffins to make booger-cakes. The kids will love them, and you’ll know you’ve snuck in some sneaky veggies.

3. Seeding Fun. How many seeds are there in the pumpkin? Have a guess, and let your pre-schoolers practice their counting. And don’t throw the seeds away! Dry the seeds from inside the pumpkin and make a mosaic with your kids. Add autumnal leaves and conkers for seasonal fun. You can paint the seeds bright colors or leave them as they are, create an autumnal collage or dry them in an envelope and plant in the spring.

4. Pumpkin Face. Don’t want your little ones carving a pumpkin? Use paints and stickers instead and create a pumpkin face with no sharp blades. Little ones can do finger painting and hand prints for a personalized pumpkin. You can also color the pumpkin with non-permanent markers – when you’ve finished, take a picture and then wipe clean for another turn!

5. Going Trick or Treating?  Get some finger food pre-prepared for when you come home so you can feed hungry kids quickly – and healthily. We love this brilliant dip– eat, enjoy, and Ollie-pop into a carrot!

6. Pumpkin Recycling. When it’s all over, leave your pumpkin at the end of the garden – squirrels will love it! Another tip is to put a small mason jar inside the pumpkin with water, and use the hollowed out pumpkin as a flower vase.

7. Pumpkin Cooking! Cut the pumpkin into slices, and remove the string and seeds. Bake wrapped in foil until soft (75 mins at 190 degrees) and then puree – voila, your own pumpkin puree to add as a side, soup or into muffins.

8. Outside Games. Get the kids outside and kick a ball around pumpkins on the lawn. How far away can your kids throw a ball into a hollowed-out pumpkin?

9. Candy Aware. Don’t want your kids eating all the candy at once (of course not!!) We know it’s easier said than done. Before you go trick or treating, let them know that the candy has to last, and get them to decorate plastic freezer baggies with stickers and letters – they can divide the candy into these, and you can decide how often they can indulge.

10. Rainy day? Parenting can be tough when the weather isn’t on your side. Blow up orange balloons as pumpkins, and don’t let them touch the floor! Then turn mommy into a mummy – wrap her in toilet paper and see how spooky she is! Use black tape to mark out a spiders web on the floor, and see who can cross the ground without attracting the attention of the spider. Or someone could turn into Spider-man!

However you are celebrating this Halloween, have messy fun!

Sheena x

Lunchbox hacks – Neat cheats for time-poor parents with lunch-boxes to fill!

School days are as stressful for kids and parents alike, and you want to make sure your kids have the energy to keep going all day. But making a packed lunch is yet another thing for a parent’s never-ending to do list. Ollie Club wants to make it easy for you - and tasty and nutritious for them. After all, who wouldn’t eat a dinosaur sandwich?!

1. The freezer is your friend! No fresh bread? Don’t panic, use sliced bread from the freezer, it will defrost by lunch. (Also works for sandwiches for frazzled moms to take to work too). In warmer weather, a useful tip is to freeze lunchtime drinks to keep the lunchbox cool.

2. Wrap your sliced apple back up into an apple shape again, and cover in plastic wrap. Stops it going brown, which means there is a 2% chance of them eating it, right?!

3. Cookie cutters make sandwiches more appealing – I don’t know why it’s easier to eat a sandwich shaped like a dinosaur, but apparently it is. You could go seasonal with Halloween and Christmas cutters too.

4. A neat cheat that’s good for you and good for the planet - reuse and recycle small food containers and fill with hummus or Ollie’s yogurt dip.

5. Get the kids involved – use the weekends to make your own trail mix, portion up small bags of popcorn, grated cheese or pretzels, and write a plan of what sandwiches they want on which day. Stick it on the refrigerator – no more indecision from little picky eaters!

6. Kids love lots of snacky things – Cheerios or non-sugary granolas make a great snack pot. Use cupcake liners if you don’t have small enough tubs.

7. They doesn’t like sandwich wraps? However, try putting yogurt, raisins and a dribble of honey inside, it’s not a wrap anymore, it’s dessert!

8. It’s hard to get them to eat protein, but a hardboiled egg with a smiley face on it is a good place to start. A slice of frittata is easy to prepare in advance too, and you can load it with veggies. This one is a great mom-lunch too.

9. Tomatoes and cheese squares on a cocktail stick brings color and variety to a lunchbox, and works well for fruit too.

10. Pasta salad (with pasta shapes not spaghetti) and homemade pizza squares are a great alternative to sandwiches. Also a great way of using up leftovers.

11. They will get messy. THEY ALWAYS GET MESSY!! Include a square of paper towel for sticky fingers. You can write a mini note on it too. A note from mom at lunchtime will make the separation easier.

12. Don’t be offended if they don’t eat it all. (Spoiler – they WILL NOT eat it all.) Keep sending healthy varied meals, and give them input into what they want to have. Make meals an adventure! Compare notes with other moms – they might have some great ideas. And like your kids, you’ll be making new friends.

We’d love to hear your lunchbox hacks – what foods work well for your kids? Tell us via our social channels using #ollieclub. We are on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. There’s a special Ollie-prize for the best one!

Like this? Check out our breakfast hacks, for ensuring that your kids can keep going 'til they open their lunch boxes.

Making every meal an adventure.

Messy fun! Sheena x