Tell the Truth Day… so here goes nothing

Apparently today (Friday July 7th) is Tell the Truth Day. It’s also Global Forgiveness Day, Chocolate Day, and Strawberry Sundae Day. Now there’s a day I can get behind; There isn’t a single special label on today that I would trade! And although it’s already evening, it’s never too late to celebrate!

Tell the truth day. Here’s a truth for you: I got rear-ended yesterday. I wasn’t going to blog about it (no sense stressing out my family — Don’t worry mum, we’re all OK. So’s the car.), but seeing as how it’s Tell the Truth Day I figured I might as well own up to it. (Besides, if you don’t hear it from me, Bean will be sure to tell you “Somebody hit mummy’s car.”… Those of you with preschoolers know that there’s no such thing as a secret with them!) I was driving home yesterday after having lunch with some colleagues when the car in front of me suddenly braked. From 70+ km/h to 0. I slam on the brakes too and thankfully manage to stop without hitting the car in front of me. Praise God. Then a quick check in my rearview reveals the car behind me slamming on the brakes. I hear his tires squeal on the pavement (I didn’t even know that was a thing outside of the movies…) and brace for impact. Thankfully it was a small bump and it didn’t careen my car into the stopped vehicle in front of me. We pull over and get out of the car. The other driver, D, was super considerate. As he was walking to the back of my car he sees the kids in my backseat and is instantly concerned. Are the kids ok? (Yes.) We check out the back of my car, and although I’m in a cute little sundress, I’m down on the pavement with him, checking under the back bumper and making sure my car is OK. Neither of us see anything amiss. (It turns out that D is a bit of a car guy, and I have some knowledge about what to look for.) His car looks fine too. Thank goodness! I get his information anyways, but hopefully won’t need to use it.

Global Forgiveness Day. This one’s easy for me. I forgive D for rear-ending me. (And on the off chance that a certain car enthusiast is reading this mummy blog, thank you D for being so kind, considerate, and even-tempered in less-than-ideal circumstances.)forgiveness-1767432_960_720

Chocolate Day. The kids didn’t nap well today (there’s another truth for you!). Well, El napped for two 30-minute spurts (instead of her usual two 1.5 hour naps) and Bean, despite telling me that she was tired, didn’t nap at all. So to reward myself once they were both finally in bed for the night and asleep, I had a piece of chocolate. Nice, dark chocolate with caramel bits in it. Yumm. (Lindt caramel and sea salt, in case you were wondering.) I don’t need an excuse to have chocolate, but I feel like on chocolate day it’s worth having an extra piece. lindt chocolate - 2350244803_77dd91c7bb_b

Strawberry Sundae Day. The one elusive special part of today that I am unable to celebrate. To be honest, chocolate sundaes are more my thing, but I DO love fresh strawberries, and the thought of adding some fresh Ontario strawberries to a hot-fudge sundae almost makes me want to walk the 10 minutes to DQ… mmmm. Except that Hubby is at the gym and I can’t leave the girls alone, let alone actually eat the ice cream. Sigh. (We suspect that El has a dairy allergy, and since I’m breastfeeding, that means no dairy for me. I have fallen in love with coconut “ice cream”, but a quick check in the freezer reveals that we’re all out of it. Zut.*) Maybe another piece of chocolate will satisfy me. (*Zut roughly translates as Shoot.)

Wishing all of you a happy, truthful, forgiving, chocolatey, strawberry-sundae day.

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Canada Day Fun for Little Ones

With Canada Day just around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to find ways to celebrate this special day with the little ones in our life who might not be able to stay awake late enough for fireworks (or who might be afraid of them).

Here are a few of my favourite ideas, along with links so that you can make them too!

  1. Canada Day Moose snack! (from CBC) If you have a peanut allergy in your house, you could easily substitute nut-free butter instead. I don’t have a maple-leaf-shaped cookie cutter, but I don’t see any reason why I can’t turn apple slices into “grass” for the moose to walk on. Especially if you use granny smith apples. (Or the grass can be red, haha. Your toddlers/preschoolers probably won’t care.)

    moosesnack_lead_jdubien

    Photo source: CBC’s moose snack

  2. Fingerpaint Flag (Today’s Parent) This is too cute! Bean loves it when I let her make handprint or fingerprint crafts, and I know that she will have so much fun making this flag!

  3. Read a book together. Here are some of our favourite Canada-themed books: Canada books
  4. Play a Canada-themed memory-card game together. Here’s a link to one that is related to First Nations and Inuit from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.
  5. Colour some Canada-themed pictures together. Here’s a link to some great free printables from Activity Village: Canada Day Colouring Pages
  6. Have a Canada-Day themed Scavenger hunt. Here’s the original idea from Canadian Living, but I would adapt this for toddlers & preschoolers. Unless you’re hiding red-and-white rocks in your garden, I would make a list of what you hid or at the very least how many items there are. That way, you’ll be able to track down any missing ones. Here are some ideas of things to hide: red-and-white rocks (which requires collecting and painting them first), strawberries (although you might want to put them in something before hiding them… or offer a washing station for the kids once they’ve found a berry!), Canada-Day stickers or temporary tattoos.
  7. Make a cake and sing “Happy Birthday” to Canada. (We will definitely be doing this at our house!) White icing and red sprinkles (or whipped cream and fresh strawberries!) will make it festive without too much work.

Happy 150th Birthday Canada! Wishing you all a wonderful celebration.

Cheers to men who help to share the mental load!

Interested in a good laugh? If you haven’t already seen it (it’s making the rounds), check out this amusing comic from Emma about why us mommas seem to be so tired all the time :

 

you should have asked

You should’ve asked” comic by Emma (click title to read full comic)

 

At first read, I thought that this comic was an amusing insight into the brain of several mommas I know (myself included). The part about how it takes 2 hours to clean off the table makes me laugh….  that is SO me!!! (My husband likes to remind me on occasion that I am not good at multi-tasking… we both know that I’m much more efficient if I just do one thing at a time. Unfortunately, life with 2 small kids doesn’t always permit that.)

However, when I started reading the comments below the comic, I was somewhat horrified at the amount of people who seemed to think that this was a personal attack on them. I don’t recommend reading the comments at the end of Emma’s comic… it’ll get your back up and turn a light-hearted laughable comic into a jumping point for major arguments and negative energy. Just skip the comments. But read the comic. 🙂

One thing I will say is that this comic definitely hits the nail on the head (so to speak) about the mental strain of being a mum. However, at the same time, I know that my husband has a lot of stuff on his mind too. True, he still doesn’t know where to find clean pajamas in the nursery (they’ve been in the same drawer for over 3 years now), or which sheets go on our bed (queen-sized) and which are for the guest bed (a double), but I don’t mind. He’s man enough to ask me where things are, or which are the sheets for our bed, or where we keep the sugar. And yes, sometimes it frustrates me that he still doesn’t know where the baby’s washcloths are kept, but on the flip side, at least he recognises that she needs a bath and is willing to clean her. I might be the one with the mental load of almost everything related to the kids (doctor’s check ups, school events, homework, nap schedule, etc.), the laundry, the contents of our cupboards, and the “where things belong” category, but he’s got his own mental load to bear. He keeps on top of the lawn maintenance, most of the grocery shopping, and at least half of the dinners each week. Not to mention whatever mental load he’s got for work (which is huge!).

I know that I’m lucky to have such a great husband. I think that a lot of you do too. So the next time your husband asks “Honey, where do we keep the …” for the umpteenth-time, help the man out and answer his question. After all, he is trying to help.

 

 

“I love my Daddy.”

This past weekend was full of celebratory Fathers’ Day stuff, and so I didn’t actually have time to write anything until today (haha, story of my life!) I thought that in honour of my wonderful husband, I would summarize why he’s so great through the eyes of our 3-year old (Bean). Without further ado, here are 7 reasons why Bean loves her Daddy.

  1. “Daddy’s a good cooker.” (Direct quote! It’s true, he’s a whiz in the kitchen and prepares some pretty tasty meals!)
  2. “Daddy is better at giving sh-baths.” (Yes, that’s a made-up word. I don’t even really know what it means, which is probably why “Daddy” is better at them. From what I understand, it’s a cross between a bath and a shower and somehow also involves washing the wall. On purpose. Quite frankly, as long as she gets clean, I don’t really mind.)
  3. “Daddy goes running with me.” Bean needs to run. Probably almost as much as a puppy… (I’m picturing a cute little boxer puppy who can run off-leash, whole-hog for an hour on a farm, only to get back home and need to go for another walk ten minutes later.) (Shout out to Pipps!) And she is fast. I’m not just saying that in a proud-momma-kind-of-way. My uncle took her out for a run a few weeks ago and came back drenched in sweat. That is NOT what I was expecting. You need to sign her up for track and field. Hubby laces up and gets a work-out in while running sprints with her on the local school’s track. Most people think we must be out-of-shape when we talk about getting a cardio work-out in while running with our 3-year-old. I know better and love that Hubby is willing to run with her.
  4. Daddy jungle gym. This is a game where Hubby lets Bean crawl all over him, as if he were a living jungle gym; sometimes she even swings off of his arms. He rearranges his limbs to make it challenging for her. She loves it.
  5. “Daddy and Bean like silly songs…” It’s the first line in a silly song Hubby made up to sing with Bean. It involves making all sorts of silly sounds, so of course, she loves it!
  6. The story about Mr. Potato. Hubby makes up stories for Bean while she sits on the toilet. There’s one about Mr. Potato and where sweet potatoes came from (entirely fictional), one about Mr. Fox (which ends with the singing of What does the fox say? by Ylvis), and one about Mr. Fry (and how he discovered that he was French, haha).
  7. “Daddy makes me apples AND pears at breakfast.” Ok, so it’s not always apples and pears, but when he’s around for breakfast, there’s always 2 kinds of fruit on her plate (sometimes more). When I make breakfast and only serve up apple slices along with her oatmeal, you can be sure I’ll hear about how Daddy gives her both. I love that he finds the time to make it happen.

Sending lots of love to Hubby today (and every day!).

 

Fathers Day gift 2017

This is the gift that Bean made for Fathers’ Day. I take no credit for it; she made it at preschool. All the same, I love it. What a great idea!

 

Book Banter: The 5 Love Languages of Children

Welcome to a new section I’m incorporating into my blog: Book Banter. In this semi-regular (translation: when I have something to write about) series, I’m going to discuss books related to parenting. No formal reviews, nothing stuffy… just me, chatting about a book I recently read that relates to parenting (and, inadvertently, my life). Hope you like it!

5 love languages children

Photo source here (Indigo)

This “week” (month?) we’re talking about the book The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell. I casually mentioned the book over coffee with one of my girlfriends and her first response was “What’s a love language?” (Glad you weren’t the only one thinking that? 😛 ) Basically, the authors explain the different ways we understand love, stating that “Every child has a primary language of love, a way in which he or she understands a parent’s love best.” (Chapman, 9) By loving your child through their primary love language, we ensure that they know they are loved, which, in turn, helps them to “grow into a giving, loving, responsible adult.” (9) Of course, the authors also recommend loving your child through all 5 love languages (even as you focus on their primary one), which will subsequently help them to speak all 5 love languages themselves later in life (109-10).

So what are the 5 languages? Physical touch (ex. hugs & kisses); Words of Affirmation (words expressing your love for them, either spoken or written); Quality Time (spending time with them); Gifts (can be “made, found, or purchased” (86), includes gifts that are both needs and wants); and Acts of Service (doing something for them (ex. making them a special breakfast (105)), or helping them to do something (ex. study for a test (106)).

The authors advise that “With an infant, you must express love in all five languages” (111) and that even “Young children are just beginning to learn how to receive and express love in the various languages. This means that they will experiment with actions and responses that are satisfying to them” and may change their dominant love language from one month to the next (111). They also warn that as they grow, a child’s love language may change; particularly as a teenager. (112)

I can confirm the changing love language of young ‘uns…. A month ago I would have proclaimed that Bean was definitely NOT a physical touch love language kid. (Her version of “snuggling” was to lie down close together without touching.) However, this past week she’s started experimenting with that love language. Over the weekend, she offered to brush my hair (heavenly!) and then just this morning, mid-breakfast she announced “Snuggle time!” and curled up into me for a little snuggle (a real one!) in between bites of toast. I’m only too happy to oblige, but considering the only time in the past few years that she’s been snuggly is when she’s either sick or has had a bad dream, you can understand my surprise.

Back to the book: I like that the authors offer suggestions on how to express your love for your children in each of the 5 languages (conveniently organized in a section at the back of each love-language-specific chapter). They also offer advice on how to discipline with the 5 love languages, which might just have some surprising insight for you. There’s even a chapter at the end of the book dealing with the challenges posed by single-parent families. There are other books in the collection if you’re interested (one is specifically about teenagers, if you happen to have one, … and no, I don’t think threenagers count, haha.).

The bottom line for me? Since the book is geared towards parents of children 5 and older, I think that I will get a LOT more out of the book if I re-read it again in a few years. Until then, it’s given me a great overview of the 5 love languages, along with some food for thought.

 

References from:

Chapman, Gary, and Ross Campbell. The 5 Love Languages of Children. 1997. Northfield Publishing, Chicago, 2016.

Happy World Baking Day!

Colorful Baking Cupcakes Celebration Cupcake Cases

I love to bake and was surprised to find out that there’s a day to celebrate it! Who knew?! What a great excuse to spend the day creating yummy tasties… except that it’s supposed to be 30-something-degrees today and the thought of the oven on all day is rather unappealing. (Author’s note: World Baking Day was actually on May 17th, but things have been so chaotic this past week, I haven’t been able to get around to editing this post until today…. Oops. Enjoy it anyways!)

So if not a whole day of baking, at least an hour. Bean’s request for banana bread will have to wait for another day, because I have plans for that thing vegetable? growing in my backyard. You know, the perfect plant for me: one that grows no matter how much I neglect it, haha. (Confession: Sadly, I did not inherit the green thumb that runs in my family. It has taken me a lot of dead house plants to figure that one out.) Actually, the thing in question is rhubarb. I have fond memories of eating delicious strawberry-rhubarb-crumble and other such desserts while growing up. When my parents downsized to a smaller house, I jumped at the chance to transplant some of my mum’s rhubarb into my garden. (My mum did the transplanting… see my earlier comment about dead house plants.) That was three years ago. I decided it was finally time I do something with it. I might not have a green thumb, but I am rather gifted at baking, and so why not use the skills I have to make a tasty treat?

I found a great recipe online (orange-rhubarb muffins) and decided to try it. I wanted to get started while El was sleeping, so I chose to forgo the shower for the moment and bake in my pyjamas. Of course, this also meant that I was out in the backyard picking rhubarb in my pyjamas, but I doubt any of the neighbours noticed… and if they did, oh well.

The results are delicious! I will definitely be making these orange-rhubarb muffins again. Whatever you decide to bake today, I hope that it turns out perfectly too. And if you’re not the baking type, then stop by a local bakery later today and pick up a treat for you and your family. Happy World Baking Day everyone!

 

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I had to taste one to make sure they were good before recommending the recipe. 😉

 

Mothers Day “surprises”

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Bean loves surprises. She loves giving them just as much as she loves receiving them (for which I am thankful). While playing, she’ll often come up to me with her arms behind her back. “Mummy, I have a present for you. Surprise!” (And then produces one of her toys). Other times, the “present” is something imaginary that she’ll throw to me across the room (this can be anything from an ice cream cone to magic powers), which I catch and then exclaim my thanks over. Sometimes she doesn’t tell me what it is before I catch it… once I popped the imaginary surprise in my mouth to eat it (as the previous few had all been edible), only to see Bean’s shocked look. “Mummy, you can’t eat that. It’s a plate.” Hahaha… oops. Right. I “spat out” the plate, to a look of relief from Bean.

She also loves the idea of making surprises for other people, but doesn’t get that in order for it to be a surprise, she has to keep it a secret. However, luckily for the receiver, her hints are often slightly cryptic. All week Bean has been talking to me about the surprise she was making for me for Mothers Day.

Monday: “Mummy, when you come for the Mothers Day picnic, you have to drive fast, ok? Don’t drive slow. If you drive slow, I won’t give you a teabag.”

Tuesday: “For the Mothers Day Party someone is going to put big chairs outside for the mummies to sit on. I don’t know who, but someone is going to do that.”

Wednesday: “Mummy, today I glued flowers on your teabag. It’s a surprise.”

Thursday: “Mummy, I made you a surprise. It has Elsa and Anna on it.”

Friday: The day of the Mothers’ Day picnic at Bean’s preschool. Hubby has graciously taken the afternoon off of work in order to look after El so that I can have some much-needed one-on-one time with Bean.

I arrive to be greeted with one of the biggest, best hugs Bean can give — the kind that is usually reserved for the rare days that Daddy picks her up from preschool. (Since I pick her up almost daily, I usually just get a normal hug.) That hug alone makes my day. The preschool has various games and stations set up around the yard, so Bean and I play bean-bag-toss (she’s actually pretty good), make a necklace for her (think coloured bits of pasta on string), and visit the face-paint station (she decides to paint her own face, which just cracks me up). Afterwards, she looks in the hand mirror at the streaks of blue and green paint that appear to be haphazardly strewn across her face and declares that she is beautiful. I can’t help but smile.

Then it’s time for the picnic — guacamole and tortilla chips, wraps (3 flavours!), followed by fruit and cake for dessert. The wraps look surprisingly good. Bean tells me that she helped to make the egg wraps, so we make sure to take one of those (actually, we take one of each flavour). Listening to her tell me about making the egg salad wraps is wonderful. I take a bite… it is delicious! I make sure to let her know how good it tastes, meanwhile thinking that the next time we make egg salad, I’ll have her help make it. Just before leaving, she goes to get her present for me: a cute little jar (decorated with paper flowers), inside of which are 2 loose-leaf teabags. Ah… NOW I understand the hints. Lots of thanks and lots of hugs. It was such a special day and a big thank-you to the preschool for organizing it.

(Of course, Hubby spoiled me too. I will, however, spare you the details… I’m sure that your husbands were just as wonderful!) Whether it was your spouse or your kids, on the actual Mothers Day or on another day that worked better for you and your family, I hope that you were all showered with love. For you ALL deserve it. Happy Mothers Day everyone!

 

Mothers day craft 2017

Bean’s Mother’s Day gift to me. And in case you were wondering how Elsa & Anna figure in, they were on the card that Hubby helped her to make.

 

 

Happy May Day!

In many countries around the world, May 1st is a day to celebrate the arrival of spring (source). To me, May Day conjures up images of children dancing around the Maypole with ribbons in their hands (one end of which is attached to the top of the Maypole) and flowers in their hair. I’m picturing sunshine, warmth, good food and drink, and fun times with family and friends.

The reality? I look out my window at the grey day, the rain hitting the windowpane. My husband is out of the country at a conference, Bean is at school, and El is napping. I don’t mind a little quiet time, but I would have loved to have spent it in the garden, possibly even in sandals! Sigh. That is not-to-be this May Day. Yesterday was cold enough to need a winter coat, and although today is indeed warmer, it’s not exactly sandal weather.

So I’m on the hunt for a creative way to celebrate May Day that doesn’t involve spring-cleaning the garden, or going for a walk to appreciate nature, or even simply having a cup of tea on the deck. On a cold, rainy day this momma needs to find another way to celebrate.

One idea is to buy some fresh flowers for inside the house. On the weekend, Bean picked some flowers (with permission) from my in-laws’ garden. When she brought them home, I let her do the flower-arranging herself. She loved it!!! (And for those of you who are perfectionists, find a way to resist the urge to fix it. The pride they feel every time they see their flower arrangement on the table is worth it.) So I’ve already got that covered. Check!

 

Bean's May Day flowers

Bean’s May Day flower arrangement

 

Another idea is to do a random act of kindness. Traditionally, this involves making a May-day basket of flowers and leaving it on a neighbour’s doorknob/doorstep to surprise them. Again, in this weather, I don’t really want to leave anything sitting on someone’s doorstep or it’s sure to be soaked in minutes (if it’s not blown away by the wind). Bean and I have already planned a random act of kindness to do after school. Check! Yesterday she unexpectedly got a smurf toy from a random stranger while we were out for lunch. (Bean’s not into smurfs — she initially thought it was one of the trolls from Frozen, haha.)
– Mummy, I don’t need this.
– Ok, that’s fine. You don’t need to keep the toy. Can you think of someone you’d like to give it to?
– E. (a friend at school)
– Ok, that’s a nice idea. I’ll bring it when I pick you up after school and you can give it to her as a surprise.
(Bean saw the toy on the counter this morning and made sure to remind me to bring it after school.)

BS AL FLOWER BASKETS

May Day in Annapolis, 2009” Photo by Susan Reimer

There are a ton of May-day crafts and activities suitable for preschoolers on the internet (check out the good ideas over at Preschool Express), one of which is a paper-May-day-crown. Bean loves crowns and I think she would love this idea too! It’ll have to wait until she gets home from school, but that’s ok. There is enough spring-cleaning (or, if I’m being honest, regular cleaning) to do inside the house in the meantime. And maybe, if I’m feeling up for it, I’ll make a little May day basket to put her afterschool snack in. Just a little something special to mark the day.

So as it turns out, I am celebrating May Day; just not in the traditional sense. Flowers and a random act of kindness (plus a craft or two) seem like a great way to brighten up this rainy May Day. However you choose to celebrate (or even if you don’t), Happy May Day everyone!

There’s a what in your bed???

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As I mentioned in my last post (here), something was up with Bean — my normally great eater was barely touching her food. By the time dinner was done, the poor kid was burning up. A quick check with the thermometer confirmed what I already knew: a big fever. A dose of meds and into bed!

The only time Bean wants to snuggle in the true sense of the word is when she’s sick. (Normally her version of “snuggling” is to lie close together without touching.) So I’m trying not to breathe in her germs while she snuggles right up to me and (eventually) falls asleep. I extract myself from beneath her head and slip out of the bedroom to come downstairs in time to hear late-night-dinner-praises from Hubby. As we’re discussing the finer art of trying to cook dinner when 2 little ones want my attention, we’re interrupted by calls of “Mummy!” from upstairs. It’s Bean.

I go into her room and she starts recounting (at full volume) how she woke up and was calling for me. I gently interrupt her (in a quiet voice, hoping she’ll follow suit and not wake up her sister) to ask her why she’s awake. “I want you to lie down with me Mummy.” Right. 20 questions it is.
– Did you have a bad dream?
– No.
– Do you have to pee?
– Yes!
Yessss! Got it on the second try!

After the bathroom, she snuggles up to me once again and falls back asleep (relatively quickly, phew!). A bit more chatting with Hubby, and then I go upstairs to get ready for bed. Just before I fall asleep there’s more calls of “Mummy!” coming from Bean’s room. Sigh. This is going to be a long night.

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Bean’s sitting up in her bed, a sure sign of a bad dream. I climb in beside her as she’s telling me there was a lion in her room. “It was just a bad dream sweetie. You’re safe now. Here, snuggle with Koala (a present from the Easter bunny and one of her new favourite bedtime buddies) and we’ll lie down and go back to sleep.” She starts scooting away from the stuffed animal, moaning about how there’s a lion climbing on Koala. A quick check revealed that Bean’s eyes were indeed open.
Umm… a lion? “I don’t see a lion.”
“Yes mummy, right there!”
I feel Bean’s forehead, and she’s burning up again. “Ok, I’m going to get some more médicaments for you.”
“I’m coming too!”
I start to protest but the fearful looks she keeps shooting at Koala persuade me otherwise. “Ok, come on then.”

As we’re heading down the stairs, Bean is walking funny. Like she has spent way too many hours riding a horse.
– Bean, what’s up? Why are you walking funny?
– Mummy, there’s a lion.
I must not have heard that right. It looks like she’s avoiding a crack in the sidewalk, except that it’s our carpeted stairs with no crack in sight.
– A line? Like a long straight line?
– No Mummy. A squiggly one with ears and a mouth that goes ROAR!
At this point, I have to press my lips together to keep from laughing at her. Part of me thinks this is hilarious. The other part of me thinks that she must be hallucinating from the fever and maybe I should actually do something about it. The practical part wins (although not, I admit, until after I’ve had a good (silent) laugh with my face turned away so that she can’t see…). I give her some more meds, a sip of water, and climb into bed with her and a cold, damp washcloth in an effort to reduce the fever. The poor kid curls up with me and falls asleep (as do I — waking up around 4am when El wants to feed).

My sleep-addled brain knows enough to think that tomorrow (or is it now today?) I’ll keep her home from school and it will be a slow day… a pyjama-wearing, movie-watching, snuggling-the-sick-kid-while-trying-not-to-catch-it kind of day. Here’s hoping it’s only a 24-hr bug.

Edited to add: It was indeed only a 24-hr fever, and by dinner-time the next day she was back to her usual self.

 

Pan fried or roasted? The art of trying to make dinner while minding the kids

via Daily Prompt: Fry

food-vegetables-wood-knife

I tried a new recipe last night for a tasty pasta primavera from one of my favourite cookbooks: Looneyspoons. I had to modify it a bit to suit the dietary restrictions of my family, but all-in-all it was great! Hubby came home late from work to find the kitchen rather a mess, but a tasty meal awaiting him. This is delicious! He said. But wouldn’t it have been easier to just fry up the veggies? Was it really worth the extra work of roasting them?

My husband is a great cook, so dinner compliments from him are always nice to hear. I also appreciate the advice to streamline the cooking process, however, with two small ones flitting about, that’s not always easy. Here’s how my dinner prep went yesterday:

While El was having her afternoon nap I decided to chop up all of the veggies in preparation for dinner. Point for me! However, while happily chopping veggies I suddenly noticed that it was almost time to go and pick up Bean from preschool. Right. The dishes will just have to wait. I covered the veggies and off we went for pick-up, meanwhile congratulating myself (albeit prematurely) on the advance dinner prep.

Once home, I instructed Bean, “Just let mummy put these veggies in the oven and then you can have a video while I breastfeed El.” I’m thinking 2 minutes, tops. All I had to do was chop some basil and garlic, toss them with the veggies and a little olive oil, and then voilà, time with the girls. Then I looked at the recipe. Oh dear, I’d forgotten to chop the tomatoes. And of course, the garlic and basil took a little longer than I would have liked. Points for the other team. (What other team??? Umm… maybe those mums who are a little more with it than me, haha.)

So I finally finish prepping the veggies, pop them in the oven and then sit down to feed El and watch Paw Patrol with Bean. Ok, this is why I wanted to roast the veggies — time with the girls while it was cooking. Except that I’m supposed to be cooking the pasta and washing up the prep dishes… Right. So after the veggies come out, the pasta goes on and Bean gets to watch more Paw Patrol while I finish organizing everything dinner-related; the dishes are going to have to wait.

Dinner’s finally ready, yes! It tastes great. Or at least, I think it does. I spend half the meal spoon-feeding El, the other half trying to coax food and fluids into Bean (something is up; this kid normally loves to eat), shoving a fork-full of my own dinner into my mouth every now and then. By the time dinner’s over, Bean’s really not doing so great, and it’s bedtime for El, so I corral the girls upstairs and leave the dishes be.

So yes, it might have been faster to fry the veggies, but then the dishes would most definitely NOT have been done. At least with roasting I had half a chance to do them… maybe next time I’ll plan it all out a little better. This momma might just yet be able to serve a nice home-cooked meal without the kitchen being a mess by the time I’m done. 😉 Here’s to all of you mommas who can cook dinner while managing kids and cleaning up the dishes as you go. You are my hero; please send advice!