Cooking for Mummies…Salmon and broccoli pasta.

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It’s been a while, I know. So here you go, another ‘Cooking for Mummies’ recipe.

As is standard, this recipe can be done in 20- 3o minutes even with a twin hanging off each leg, a puppy to trip over, a cat to keep out of the ingredients, repeated Netflix channel and volume adjustments for a 6 year old and while resolving a dispute between the 4 year old and the chicken over a hot cross bun.

If you haven’t read one of these recipes before, ingredients with an * are basic keep in the house always ingredients as they get lobbed into lots of dishes!

Salmon and Broccoli pasta for picky little darlings

Ingredients

A bag of pasta

4 salmon fillets

Milk (1.5 – 2 pints)

A bunch of broccoli

A Knor fish stock pot*

Half a bag of ready grated cheese

3 to 4 tsp of cornflower*

* I keep a plastic tub of stock pots in the cupboard as they make lots of things taste great. The fact that I toss them all in together does make it tricky to tell if I have run out of a particular type. Then again, no-one has ever noticed when I have substituted a vegetable pot for a chicken one etc. 

Method

Put the salmon, milk and stockpot into a saucepan, cover it, bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.

Boil the broccoli, then drain.

Boil the pasta, then drain. Depending on how shitty your kids are being at the time, you may even be able to simultaneously boil the pasta and broccoli (obvs this is pretty unlikely).

Take the salmon out of the milk, remove skin and feed to awaiting dog or cat, and break the fish into little pieces.

Stir a small amount cold water into the cornflour and mix to a paste, then and add the to simmering milk. (If the sauce is not thick enough, just repeat.) Add the cheese, pasta, salmon and broccoli, and serve.

Spend the next 5 minutes blowing frantically on said pasta to cool it, amidst a chorus of cries such as “Where’s my dinner? I am starving! Can I have a banana? I hate pasta! She hit me! I need wee! etc etc etc. Finally, when cool enough, deposit in front of kids.

Tip

You can actually blitz or mash the salmon if your little darlings decide that since you are making fish, they hate fish. Equally, blitz the broccoli, or substitute another vegetable.

Challenge

See if you can make a cup of tea, and drink two mouthfuls of it while hot before the chaos resumes.

Happy Cooking everyone!

 

 

 

 

The Worlds Shittiest Tooth Fairy!

Hurrah for me, officially the shittiest tooth fairy ever. I have performed this particular parenting role so badly that I have actually had to re-write the universally accepted tooth fairy laws.

It’s simple, right? Tooth falls out, child puts it under their pillow, and when they are asleep, the tooth fairy aka Mummy, swaps it for a pound or two. Surely no-one could get something so simple wrong, I hear you cry! Well I did, not once, not twice, not even three times. Four times. On four separate occasions I have failed in the simple task of swapping a tooth for a two pound coin.

The first time, I couldn’t believe I had forgotten. When a sleepy headed 4 year old crept into my room to announce that his tooth was still there, I panicked. What could I say? Before I knew what was about to come out of my mouth, I heard myself explaining that he must have been lying with his head on the pillow directly above the tooth. Even the most magical tooth fairy’s magic would not be strong enough to get in there. I continued  by advising him that fairy protocol in these situations required the fairy to come back while the child was eating breakfast, and do the crucial swap then.

As he ate his breakfast, I stealthily crept upstairs and did the swap. He was delighted, and I was relieved. Well, I will never make that mistake again, I thought to myself. But I did, 3 more times in fact.

So it was, that at 6 am on Saturday morning, I was laughing with Patch, who now finds it hilarious that he has outslept the tooth fairy every time. He giggled at his own cleverness as I carefully picked ‘fairy dust’ out of his ears (obviously left by the fairy as it tried in vain to get to the tooth under Patch’s very sleepy head). Cue a frantic run upstairs during breakfast, and a tooth still in my dressing gown pocket.

In our house, it seems, the tooth fairy protocol has now been re-written for good. Any child whose tooth gets taken while they sleep will be deemed to have lost the tooth fairy game. I am only relieved that I managed to make up for my shitty parenting by being a bloody quick liar!

 

Mummy’s magic spell…!

Today, I did something almost unthinkable. 

I know many of my mummy readers may suspect that I made it up, it’s so, well, unbelievable. But I didn’t. It’s a true story. It all began when I went into Patch’s room, and saw this:

  
I thought about shouting. I thought about crying. I even thought about running away. Not just because of this you understand. The reality is that the only room in the entire house which is usually in some way habitable is Patch’s room. I suppose this was like some kind of metaphoric red rag to a bull. I felt very much like doing this:

  
But then, I had a brainwave. In a flash, while the kids were still wondering why I had run off without even uttering a word, I gathered together the following:

   
   
And then, wait for it, no really, I actually did this…I LOCKED THE BATHROOM DOOR!!!  Agh! I know! Ignoring all of my parental instincts, and all of the conditioning training instilled in me by the little darlings over the last 6 years, I shut and locked the door, with the kids in the wrong side of it (or the right side if you are looking at it from my perspective!). Ignoring the increasingly unsettled calls from outside the bathroom door, I slipped into a warm bubble bath, cracked open my can of G&T, and opened the novel which I have been attempting to read for about the last year. 

For the first 5 minutes, I struggled with the rhythmic kicking of the door, crying, and calls for Mummy. After that, I slipped into a kind of self-induced trance. I read two whole chapters of my novel, stretched out my aching limbs in the warm bubbly water, and enjoyed a weird new flavour of G&T in a can. The sensation was amazing. It felt like I had been in there for an hour when I eventually emerged, while in reality it was just under 15 minutes. 

When I emerged from the bathroom, smelling like freshly mown flowers, with a towel turban on my head, the tribe, snotty and tearful having been denied my services for 12.5 whole minutes, fell silent. It was rather like I had cast a magic spell. They were looking at me suspiciously as though I were some sort of witch rather than their ever subservient mother. 

It didn’t last, of course, but for a very short time, it was as though I had cast a magic spell. They each got into their pyjamas without a fight. 

Obviously once they had their PJ’s on, normal fighting resumed! 

Boxcitement review and giveaway!

Click here to enter!

So what have I been up to recently? Well, I have been scaring used car salesmen, enjoying Eco Kids magazines at special time, attempting to train a puppy, working, mummying, wifeing…oh yes, and hosting a dinner party!

Recently I was asked by Bocxitement to review one of their boxes and let everyone know what I thought. What is Boxcitement I hear you cry! Well, it is a company which endeavours to liven up your life by adding a little excitement. They do this by posting you a box once a month. Every month it contains something different, and you can opt to have no idea what you will get (hence the excitement!).


I do love a good surprise, although I am not very patient. When my box arrived, I couldn’t wait to get into it to see what was in it. It’s a well packaged handy letter box sized box. Being the mature parent I am, I obviously banned the equally excited kids from participating in the opening of the box, although of course, I let them watch. Inside, I found a whole range of goodies aimed at helping me host the perfect dinner party. The box contained:

1. The definitive dinner party planner guide book.

2. Invitations cards.

3. Coloured doilies.

4. Coloured tea lights.

5. A charm making kit.

6. 4 After Eights in a personalised box.

7. A ‘How’s the Head’ kit for the morning after. This contained:

(i) Berocca.

(ii) Ear plugs.

(iii) White tea toning eye gel.

(iv) A tin of sliders strawberry lip balm.


 After explaining to the kids that no-one ever posts me anything except bills so this was mine all mine, I got to thinking. Why not host a dinner party. It’s been so long since I had one, I cannot actually remember the last one. I looked in my diary, picked a date, and wrote the invitations.

The planner was actually very useful. If you are a busy person, it is pretty easy to forget a key step in the organisation. There were also tips which I didn’t know, or hadn’t really thought about. For example, to think about a seating plan, and arrange people according to their interests and things they may have in common. I had always just let people arrange themselves. However, where you have friends who don’t know each other, some may get on with each other better than others. I have one good friend who spends at least 50% of his life talking about Landrovers, and another friend who doesn’t drive and cycles everywhere. I can’t imagine they would have much to say to each other beyond the initial pleasantries, but could easily end up sitting next to each other in my DIY approach to seating. There are also some etiquette tips and a handy wine and food pairing guide (now safely filed for my next dinner party!).i also really loved the tip about lighting a scented candle in the loo!

The invitation cards were really lovely, and everyone who was invited commented on the quality. I will confess that the after eights were eaten exclusively by me in advance of the party, but I did buy a box (one of my own tips – they are really nice frozen! (This is the type of tip you come up with when you accidentally shove them in the freezer when putting away the shopping, and only find them while getting ice for your guests drinks!).

We all had a lovely evening, and the rescue kit came in handy the next day after I was wakened at 5.30 am by the kids demanding breakfast.


What I liked about the box was firstly the excitement, followed by the incentive to do something which I might otherwise not have done. As I have said, the contents were great, and well thought out. The only thing which I would have liked is a couple of sample menus or tips on things to avoid. I am never sure whether it’s ok to serve garlicky or spicy foods, or whether to play it safe. That’s probably me just being a bit lazy though!

So what’s in next month’s box? I have no idea, and that’s the point for me. You can choose to find out in advance, but for me that would rather spoil the experience.

To experience Boxcitement for yourself, why not enter this fantastic giveaway: Boxcitement have kindly offered the prize of a free surprise box to one lovely reader. To enter, please click on the link above which says ‘click here to enter’.

Eco Kids Planet review and giveaway!

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Win a 12 month subscription to Eco Kids Planet magazine.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

As regular readers will know, every evening, Patch and I have ‘special time’. This came about when attending school during the day, and competing with his 3 siblings in the evenings became a source of upset to him.

Special time starts at 7pm when the twins are whisked off to bed by Daddy, and Lucy is doing an activity or watching TV. When it comes to thinking up great children’s activities, basically, I am completely crap! I very often get it wrong. You need only look at the failed ‘Grow your own crazy plants kit’ where none of the plants ever germinated. We nurtured some mouldy soil for around 8 weeks before giving up. Then, there are the ‘sea monkeys’ where we somehow managed to lose the years worth of food on the second day after we were meant to start feeding them. I could go on, but I am sure you get the picture. Recently, thinking up special time activities was becoming a source of stress for me!

When I was asked to review Eco Kids Planet magazine, I rubbed my hands with glee. Patch loves aminals, and it is always nice to try and do something educational at special time. When I received a bundle of magazines in the post, I was immediately impressed by the amazing vibrant photographs on the cover of every edition, as well as the high quality feel and look of the publication. It turned out that was only the start of the Eco Kids journey!

Each magazine focuses on a particular area or region of the world.  We started with the Amazon, as being a 6 year old boy, Patch loved the snapping crocodile on the front cover. He was absolutely engrossed in the Amazon Animal Top Trumps which detail animals such as the green basilisk lizard, which can run on water, and the giant anaconda which has eaten humans whole (as you can imagine, he wanted the grisly details!). The section on ill fated adventures into the Amazon was equally as fascinating for Patch and I. It’s broken into little chunks, perfect for children. It is not all reading either. We learnt how to draw a river turtle, and other activities included a pull out board game.

The Arctic issue features lots of interesting scientific facts as well as an arctic workbook complete with stickers to place the animals at the right layer of the arctic seas, and a night sky star chart. The photographs of India are amazing, and gave Patch such an insight into how different places in the world can be from each other. As always, there were games, and a particularly educational article on pollution including pictures of the devastating state of some of the rivers.

Our favourite fact about China was that Panda mothers cannot look after twins. In captivity, the twins are rotated between the mother and an incubator, with top up milk provided. The Panda mother believes that she has only one cub, not realising that she actually has two. Tonight, we plan on making our own Chinese dragon at special time.

In short, this has been an amazing special time journey for Patch and I. We have both learned a great deal, and best of all, we have really honestly enjoyed reading every magazine from cover to cover, and doing all of the activities.

The verdict from Patch?

“Please, please, please keep the magazines coming. I love them. The best ones are the killer animal ones, and the animals that look like monsters. I have been playing river monsters with my friends at school. They want to see my magazines, so my teacher said I could bring them in for show and tell next week!”

Obviously then he ran off pretending to be a roaring snapping caiman crocodile scaring the life out of Lucy, and Emily. Ben ran off to get a sword to kill the crocodile, so all seems to be in order!

In conclusion, these magazines are very well worth subscribing to. I know that I am unlikely to buy mainstream supermarket kids magazines again any time soon, having seen the real quality this has to offer.

The giveaway

Eco Kids Planet have kindly given me a 12 month subscription to give away to one of my lovely readers.

When you click on the link above, where it says ‘CLICK HERE TO ENTER,’ there are a number of options. As always, I know you are all mega busy. The only options that are compulsory are to like my Facebook page, comment on the post, and share the post, and to like Eco Kids Planet Facebook page. The other options are all voluntary, but do increase your chances of winning.

Thanks for reading. Good luck everyone!

A Mother’s Day Poem!


It’s Mother’s Day, hip hip hooray!

You will get spoilt they said.

Fluffy slippers, breakfast kippers,

Served to you in bed.

And so I waken with a thump

A dolly hits my head,

‘Benjy hit me’, ‘Emmy bit me,

‘Patch is a grump’ they said.

‘Mummy, Mummy, please get up,

Purcy cat has hit the pup,

Ben’s put soldiers down the loo,

Lucy’s poured milk in your shoes.’

So I drag my sleepy head,

Weary, drowsy out of bed,

Down to see the damage wrought,

For the 10 minutes extra sleep I sought.

I should know it’s never worth it,

On Mother’s Day I thought I’d earned it,

But I see that I was wrong,

Feeding cannot wait that long.

Peanut better, bread and ham,

Eggs and pancakes strawberry jam,

Milk and water, squash and fizzy,

By the time I’m done, I’m dizzy.

Dreaming of a cup of tea,

Then the cat lands on my knee,

Giving me his evil stare,

Mummy, clearly you don’t care.

Feed the animals, chickens out,

Benjy gives his sis a clout.

Then I land hard on my knee

Having slipped in puppy wee.

As I nurse my injured limb,

I gave Facebook a quick skim,

Choc’s and flowers, cuddly ted’s,

Mummies supping tea in bed.

I hope they choke, hope they get sick,

I hope they stand on Lego bricks.

‘Don’t be such a bitch’ I hear,

My conscience whisper in my ear.

You hate Choc and cuddly ted’s,

Don’t allow food in your bed.

You have the greatest gift! That’s right!

You are mum to these delights!

They might be bossy, mean and rude,

Each demanding different food.

But they’re also sweet and lovely,

Sometimes kind and very cuddly.

Each kid took 9 months to grow,

Exiting painfully via fanjo.

Maximum of 3 hours sleeping

Nipples cracked and sore and weeping.

A pelvic floor that is no more,

Pooey nappies on the floor.

Still I love the little buggers.

That’s because I am their mother.

There is nothing they could do

Would stop me saying ‘I love you’.

Spoiled Mums should count your luck

Unspoiled Mums shouldn’t give a fuck.

Because the greatest gift of all,

Is being a Mummy to the smalls!

#happymothersday

This Mum's Life

The Godmother Part 1

Yesterday, Lucy’s Godmother kindly took her for their first afternoon out together.

By all accounts, they had a fabulous time. They went swimming (although it turns out Lucy put her swimsuit on over her vest) they did arts and crafts, made a Mother’s Day card and present, and generally had lots of fun.

Then, I got this message:

“Lucy says she doesn’t eat quiche, or pie. She requested bolognaise which I made. She has rejected the heart shaped pasta, so I found some spaghetti. Tho apparently my bolognaise does not live up to your standards, so a ham sandwich was requested but the bread was not right. Our crisp selection was also inappropriate…. Thankfully she had some plums and grapes. Sorry!!”

#fussyeaters #unlikelytobeinvitedback

 

How to scare a used car salesman.

Today I went car shopping. In all honesty, my main drive behind wanting a new car is my acknowledged self delusion that somehow it won’t end up being a complete shit pit like my current car.

My husband does clean my car out with reasonable regularity. However, it really only takes a week before it ends up looking a bit like a bin lorry inside. When I opened the door yesterday, out fell used food wrappers, 3 brightly coloured plastic unicorns, a coke bottle, several items of kids clothing and a toy car. That was before I attempted to dig my way through the interior debris to retrieve the wellies I was actually looking for.

As I climbed into the back seat, I was assaulted by various substances including sucked jelly sweets, Pom bears, orange segments, and the obligatory squished black mouldy banana. I placed my hand carefully to lean on what I though was a clean patch of seat, only to find that it had obviously recently been painted in jam.

So, today we went on our roughly bi-annual car shopping trip. I put on my best patient face and exited the car. The used car salesman pounced with alarming prowess given his less then agile appearance. Then he saw the kids, and realised immediately his error. Sadly, there was no way he could politely reverse, so he grimaced, and offered me his slimy hand. Checking I had the baby wipes in my coat pocket, I duly shook the proffered hand.

I explained in a no-nonsense kind of way that I had come to look at a particular car, and was not even remotely interested in discussing any other one. The car salesman looked relieved. He emphasised to me the quality and hard wearing nature of the interior leather, and the fact that this was a true family car. As I sat in the drivers seat, the kids climbed around in the back, pulling anything that looked vaguely like a handle, and pushing anything which looked even remotely like a button. Seeing his horrified expression in the rear view mirror, I explained to the car salesman that my children were just testing the hard wearing leather, and family car properties. He managed a smile through gritted teeth.

When I started loading the car seats in the back, explaining that I was now going to take the car for a test drive, the used car salesman looked horrified. To be fair, they had been munching on jam sandwiches on the way there, and the little darlings were sporting a fair amount of the jam about their faces and clothing. Nonetheless, I give him full credit for remaining polite and business like, and retrieving the keys for me.

As we drove the kids initially squealed with delight, but quickly reverted to kicking one another and arguing over who had got the best seat. The car salesman clearly hadn’t been shut in a car with a pile of marauding infants and a slightly demented mummy before. In addition to the used car salesman aura, I could smell fear. Real fear.

He chattered nervously about things like miles per gallon, towing ratios and other stuff, all the while clearing hoping I would turn back towards the showroom. After 10 minutes laughing quietly to myself, I took him back to the showroom. He immediately plied the little darlings with crayons and paper, which they ignored because they had discovered the water fountain which is much more fun. I got a coffee, and so began the sales patter. He asked me lots of questions apparently designed for protecting complete imbeciles from being unhappy with their car purchases. These went a a little like this:

S: Have you considered any other makes or models.

Me: Yes, I did, before concluding that this is the make and model I want.

S: Do you plan to park it in a garage?

Me: No. It’s very unlikely it would fit in a garage.

S: That’s why I have to ask. It is so I don’t sell you something which isn’t fit for purpose. Do you plan to tow with it?

Me: Yes.

S: Have you considered the towing ratios?

Me: Given that what I am purchasing verges on being a lorry, and has a 3 litre engine, there isn’t going to be a great deal it doesn’t tow.

S: Well, yes, of course. Do you need to trade in your current car?

Me: No.

*S Looks distinctly relieved. I suspect he really didn’t want to have to clean it.*

S:  Apart from the four children, do you need space to carry any other passengers?

Me: Well, there’s the four children, my husband, the au pair, the puppy, the cat, 4 chickens and 2 dwarf Russian hamsters.

S: Giggles nervously as he’s not sure whether I am joking or not. Calls his boss over to do the sales patter. After talking at me for 10 minutes or so, they conclude that this car is the perfect one for my needs. They have no doubt about this at all, and they think I should immediately give them a substantial deposit. I suspect they would have come to that conclusion a whole lot quicker had they been able to see what the kids were doing with the water fountain, cups and calculators.

Me: Well, thanks very much. I have taken on board everything which you have said, and I am glad that I now fully understand the importance of ensuring whatever I buy is fit for purpose. In order to make absolutely sure the car is fit for my purposes, I will come tomorrow with my husband, the 4 kids, the au pair, the cat, the 4 chickens, and the 2 dwarf Russian hamsters, you know, just to make sure we all fit in. 10am ok?

This Mum's Life