Sunday, 15 July 2012

Toddler Tantrums

The age of 2, it seems, is a difficult one.  My daughter, who is as beautiful as an angel, has the propensity to turn from an idyllic little person into a ranting demon in a split second.  She has also developed the high pitch scream of frustration, should anyone do anything that displeases her.  It is a noisy, confusing and exhausting time in our household right now.

At the same time she is engaging, chatty and adorable.  Her favourite TV show right now is Team Umizoomi.  She is Milly.  Bob is Geo and I am Bot.  Allegedly.  I am amazed at her maths ability, her shape recognition and her colour skills.  My little lady is a smart cookie.

Hubby and I have recently discovered hours of camcorder video that we had failed to upload to our computers.  Footage of our little man when he was 14 days old brings back so many memories.  Seeing him as a baby is strange.  I remember him as a baby, but seeing his features all small and newborn is like looking through fog.  I know those features, yet they are alien to me. Unfamiliar now.  Five years later and the face I see that greets me, bleary eyed, in the mornings and full of smiles in the day, is so very different to the small, fragile, precious baby that I see on screen.  It all goes by so fast.

And so I remember.  Two is an age.  Tantrums are a phase.  It will pass.  It will pass quickly and soon these days of screams and tears will be alien to me.  Unfamiliar as a new age, a new phase becomes the norm.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Knock Knock

Bob

"Knock, Knock."

"Who's there?"

"Chicken."

"Chicken who?"

"Chicken Bow Wow! Ahahahahahahahaha!"

"Knock, Knock."

"Who's there?"

"Cow."

"Cow who?"

"Cow chicken! Ahahahahahahaha!"

Boo

"Knock, Knock."

"Who's there?"

"Wahshahsgsa!"

"Wahshahsgsa who?"

"Wahshahsgsa gnarrhahaha! Ahahahahahahaha!"

Me

Car journeys have just entered a new dimension of Hell.

Vegetable Frittata

This is such a simple dish to make.  Perfect for using up leftovers from a Sunday lunch.

Serves 4

8 eggs, beaten (add a pinch of salt and dash of pepper)
100 gm potato, peeled, boiled and diced
250 gm cooked vegetables (I used roasted vegetables (courgettes, tomatoes, shallots and peppers) but you can use boiled or steamed of your choice)
100 gm, grated cheese
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic, crushed


Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion until transluscent.  Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.

Add the cooked potato and vegetables and cook over a medium-low heat for a couple of minutes.

Turn on the grill.

Add the beaten eggs and stir a couple of times to ensure the vegetables are mixed up well with the eggs.

Cook on a medium heat for a few minutes until the sides start to look cooked and peel slightly from the edge of the pan.

Add the grated cheese and then transfer to the grill.

Cook until the eggs and cheese are cooked and start to turn slightly brown.

Serve with a lovely side salad of green leaves and beetroot.

Delicious!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Easy Peasy Playdough

Another day in the on-going saga that is 'dealing with a two year old'.

Today I decided to try and tackle Miss Boo's behaviour with as much attention as I could possibly muster.  The problem with foul behaviour is that your inclination is not  to spend time, or give attention, to the person behaving badly.  But today, I thought, I will provide attention and see if we fared any better.

We did okay getting Bob off to school and for a short while once we returned.

"What do you want to do today?" I asked.

"This, that and that!" Miss Boo responded, pointing up at the shelf at our old playdough boxes and accessories.

Dutifully, I brought down the boxes and emptied everything out onto the table top.

Unfortunately, due to poor storing, all our play dough had either dried out or turned grey (thanks to all the colours being combined together).

Miss Boo did not look amused.

"Don't worry," I said cheerily, "Mummy will make you some more."

Play dough is a really simple, yet effective way to keep small hands and minds busy.  It is a great texture to play with and really lets the imagination fly.  Best of all it is super easy to make and stores well wrapped in cling film.  You can keep it for quite a few days, but do remember that it is made up of food stuffs so will eventually go mouldy.

Easy Peasy Playdough - This recipe makes quite a bit of playdough.  You could always halve the quantity to make a little less or make two batches with different colours.

2 cups plain flour
1 cup salt
2 cups water
2 tsps cream of tartare
2 tbsps vegetable oil
food colouring of your choice.

Place all the ingredients into a large saucepan and stir over a medium heat.

The mixture will seem very watery at first and you may be inclined to add more flour - don't!  The water will be absorbed and after about 5 minutes of occasional stirring the dough will form into a gelatinous mass.

Once formed, turned out onto a greaseproof baking sheet and leave to cool for a few minutes.



Whilst still a little warm, knead the dough to gain some elasticity and then leave to cool before allowing little hands to play.

NB Dough is hot when it first comes off the stove so wait until it has cooled before letting children play with it.

It kept Miss Boo amused for a short while.






Bob enjoyed playing with the play dough when he got back from school too.  Great fun for all ages.



I was lulled into a false sense of security.  Soon after the dough was thrown around the house, my washing was pulled from the line and stomped on in the muddy garden, sand was thrown at me from the sand pit and the picnic lunch I had made was tossed around the garden.

*sigh*

It's a hard age.

It will get better.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Toddler Blues

Yesterday was an awful day on the parenting front.  I failed on so many levels and feel like the world''s worst parent.

After Bob was born I suffered from pretty bad post natal depression.  I would phone my husband at least 4 times a day in a state of fear, frustration and tears. I battled through each day and found parenting so challenging and difficult.  Some days I enjoyed, but most I endured.

After Boo was born I took immediate action.  I joined a post-natal depression support group and started on some medication.  The effect was immediate.  I went from calling my husband 4 or 5 times a day to maybe once, just to check in.

Motherhood was still a challenge, but a manageable one.

But not everyday is plain sailing.  Some days can be hard.  Each moment can be a chore.

I love my children.  They are my pride and joy, but when I am enveloped by this cloak of depression I find it so hard to love parenting them.  Each demand and need becomes another bind that suffocates me and I tense up.  Every cuddle asked of me makes me tighter and tighter until I can't do anything but explode.

Yesterday was a bad day.  From the start Miss Boo pushed my buttons and then some.  It's not her fault.  she's two.  She does exactly what a two year old should do and she is perfect. 

But I lost it.  I shouted.  

I shouted at a two year old. 

She is fine.  She probably doesn't remember this morning.  Most times she just laughed in my face and carried on doing what she was doing (hitting her brother, biting me, throwing everything around the house, breaking lamps, destroying my plants, throwing food at me).  But other times I could see that she was upset and confused.  Why wasn't I finding what she was doing fun?

When my husband got in I collapsed in his arm in a fit full of tears.

I went out in the evening.  I did a work out and pushed myself hard so that my body released all its tension and endorphins ran through my veins.

I came home and snuggled in bed next to my daughter.  Gently snoring away.  Looking as beautiful and angelic as ever.

I woke in the morning to cuddles and kisses and giggles galore.

I have not woke with a cloak on me.  A resolve lies in my heart to make each day a better day.  To learn to cast off any cloak that tries to suffocate me again. I owe that to her and to Bob.  I owe it to myself.

I hope that I am strong enough.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Cook's Staple - Bolognese

This is a classic bolognese sauce - serve with pasta of your choice.

450 gm minced beef
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 stick of celery, cut into small slices
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 beef stock cube
400 gm tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato puree
300 ml boiling water
1 teaspoon mixed herbs
2 bay leafs.
Olive oil

In a large saucepan, cook onion until soft (about 5 minutes).

Add garlic and stir.

Add minced beef and cook until meat has turned brown.

Add carrot and celery. Stir.

Add chopped tomatoes and tomato puree.  Stir in the herbs.

Dissolve stock cube in boiling water and add to pan.

Bring to boil, place a lid on saucepan then lower heat and simmer for approximately 20 minutes, stirring often.

Remove lid, stir and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Serve with  pasta.

Can add grated Parmesan according to personal preference.

Rainy Day Puppetry


There is something wrong with June.  It seems to be broken.  The height of summer feels more akin to the middle of autumn.  It is grey, wet and pretty bleak.

Hopes for running around the garden or splashing in paddling pools has instead been replaced by indoor play and imaginative games.

For Boo's second birthday we got her a puppet theatre and puppets.  She will grow into it and loves putting on little skits already.  Bob loves it too.



"Get ready for a puppet show!"  They squeal in delight.

Boo tries to re-enact all the Peppa Pig episodes.

Bob likes making the pirate and prince fight.






But it all ends happily with a kiss when the prince saves the princess.





Then they all end up in a heap on the floor.


The End.




clap clap clap!!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Lesson Learned

My husband is a Gemini.  This is the apparent reason that he can not make his mind up when asked a direct question and can appear to be going in two different directions at the same time.  This can be infuriating at times.

For example:

Me: "Darling, what do you want for your birthday?"
Hubby: "Oh I don't know.  I'm not sure.  What do you think I should get?"
Me: "I don't know.  It isn't my birthday.  What do you want? Anything special I can get you?"
Hubby: "No, not really.  Am sure that anything you think of will be fine."
Me: "Okay." (This is not helpful to me as I can't think of anything, hence me asking in the first place).
Me: "Well is there anything from the children you would like?"
Hubby: "I'm sure anything they chose will be perfect."

Fabulous!

Me: "Kids, what shall we get Daddy for his birthday?"
Boo: "Peppa Pig!"
Bob: "a Lego rocket!"
Me: "Excellent choices kids!  Well done!"

And so it came to pass, in the forty first year of my husbands wonderous existence that he received a Peppa Pig book entitled "Daddy Pig's Fun Run" and a Lego rocket set (for ages 6-12).

The children are delighted.

The husband is bemused.

I'm pretty sure next year I will be receiving a list.

Garden update

Aside from a few evil slugs attacking my Coriander - the garden is blossoming nicely. 

Hurrah!


















How to make a building block cake

It was my hubby's birthday yesterday. 

"What kind of cake shall we make Daddy?"

"Twinkle star!" cried Boo

"Lego!" shouted Bob.

"Lego!" confirmed Boo.

"Lego it shall be." I declared.

Well, we settled on a 'building block' look.

Ingredients

8 oz butter
8 oz caster sugar
8 oz self raising flour
1-2 tsp Vanilla extract
4 eggs



Buttercream icing

4 oz butter, softened
8 oz icing sugar, sifted
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Filling

2 tbsp raspberry jam, heated gently over a cup of hot water

Decoration

Shortbread biscuits
Coloured fondant icing
Smarties (optional)

Turn on the oven to 180C.

Grease and line two rectangle tins 6" x 8"



Cream the butter and sugar together.

Beat the eggs and vanilla extract together.

Slowly sift the flour into the creamed butter and sugar, alternating with the beaten eggs.





Little hands are great for helping with the mixing!


Spoon the batter into the lined tins.




Cook in the oven for 30 minutes.  Check the cake is cooked by inserting a skewer into the centre.  If it comes out clean, the cake is cooked.

Turn out onto a cooling tray and leave to cool completely.

Wrap with cling film and place in the fridge for about an hour.  This will help when creaming the cake as it will stop too many crumbs coming off.




When ready, remove the cake from the fridge and start making the butter icing.

Spoon the warmed jam onto one cake and a layer of butter icing on the other.

Sandwich the two together.




Next roll out the coloured fondant. I used these as squares and rectangles to decorate the cake board.  I used a cookie cutter to make slight circular imprints to look like building blocks.



Next place the cake on the board and cover with the butter icing.


Place the shortbread biscuits on top in two rows of three.  I used shop bought biscuits but you could make your own if you so desired.  Otherwise you could also use large marshmallows cut in half.



Finally, cover with a large layer of rolled fondant.  I found that rolling this out on a greaseproof sheet made it easier to transfer onto the cake.  Simply turn the sheet over and gently unroll.  Much easier than trying to lift a large piece of fondant with your hands!


Cover with candles and surround with Smarties (Bobs decision), and celebrate.

Happy Birthday darling hubby xxx