Oh the weekends just blend in with the week when you're on maternity leave, I tend to walk around oblivious of the day or date and just get on with things.  This weekend we went raspberry picking, a free pudding to a lunch and so so yummy to cook with.  I also attempted Jamie Oliver's 'Empire Roast Chicken', which was no mean feat.  I generally find that his recipes are easy to follow, but this one didn't really read well but it did look pretty immense and I was after a Sunday dinner that was a little out of the ordinary.  It was beautiful, honestly, the chicken smelt amazing while marinating in the fridge, and the whole thing cooked beautifully.  Both the children devoured it too, which is always a bonus.  I'd definitely cook it again, another successful meal!

I did attempt to make a blackberry and apple pie for pudding, but got as far as making the pastry!  Clearly incapable of multitasking to a great extent!  I'll be finishing off the pie tomorrow, pictures to follow.
Monday morning means it's baby group, off to the park this morning.  The park is a giant sandpit, most of which we seemed to bring home with us!  The house had to be hoovered in the brief window both boys are entertained at bath time, phew!  Park number two this afternoon, and 'O' threw the hugest paddy, what do you do when your child refuses to walk any further?!  I threatened the naughty step, which was clearly implausible, you could nearly see him laughing at me.  I couldn't carry him and push the pushchair.  He was just in a clingy mood.  The little limpet only let go of me to stamp across the bridges 'trip trap' style.  I admit, I find the limpet highly irritating when I'm out and about and manoeuvring the pushchair at the same time, it can be difficult, but really, I also love it.  He always holds my hand when we're walking about, so I know he's with me and safe, and I love him so much, why would I want to let go, or why would I want him to let go?

Mr and me discussed our family at the weekend.  I'm sure it's a conversation most parents of two have at some point, but we're thinking this is it for us baby wise.  I'm going to hate to sell and donate all our baby belongings, my maternity clothes, all the teeny toys and things but we feasibly can't afford to have any more, so these precious baby days are nearly over.  I feel so sad about it.  I feel sad that I'm never going to be pregnant again, feel the baby kick, wriggle or hiccup.  I feel sad that we're not going to have a little girl.  I do though, recognise how lucky we are.  We do have two beautiful, healthy boys.  I know, having had my brother die, that the temptation is to have a 'spare'.  Obviously they wouldn't be 'spare', but I could not be any more grateful to still have a sister, so if the worst did happen to one of my little boys (please no), then at least there would be another little one for the other.  But it is not to be, and like most parents out there, we will hope for the best, every day.  I also think I'd be too fraught with three, I'm pulled at two, and I've never been the most patient or rational of people.  So two it is, at least 'H' won't have the trauma of being a middle child!
 
 
The boys and I have been really busy today, we went to the park to meet 'O's nursery friends for a summer holiday picnic, which was rather nice, and then 'O' and I went to the dentist.  The appointment today felt completely pointless, not only was the appointment solely for 'O', but he obstinately refused to open his mouth... this was the third time we've been.  Baring in mind, like most toddlers he is rarely quiet for more than a few seconds, if he's not chattering away, he's going through this hugely irritating roaring phase, think lions, tigers, dinosaurs, thunder... if it roars, he roars more.  We were even encouraging him to roar for the dentist, but no, not a sausage.  When we got down from the chair, he did ask if we were going home now.  Yes, and thanks for that!  I'm not against obstinacy, I'm absolutely sure I was one of those children, but it's about me learning how to handle it, how to coax, cajole, negotiate, so that we can at least do these necessary appointments... has anyone any ideas?  Our next attempt is in September... I want to go prepared!

Dinner tonight was Fish and Chips, well the home-made version.  Sea bass in breadcrumbs, potato wedges and a massive quantity of peas, the awesome, on-hand, easy veg!  I'm not going to do a recipe, it's just too easy, but thanks to the Hairy Dieters, I do now use yoghurt instead of egg when preparing to cover something in breadcrumbs.  It is less messy, less points on weight watchers, more moist and infinitely more tasty.  The big news on dinner was that 'H' ate a full baby portion, he couldn't have chowed down more food quick enough,  it was amazing to watch, he clearly loved every mouthful!  I felt so proud!  I'm still not sure whether it was down to it being a brilliant tasting meal, that was easy to hold, or whether it was because he was in his bumbo as opposed to his usual Cosatto Noodle high chair.  Speaking of which, we've had the Noodle for 21/2 years, and yesterday I noticed a crack in the leg hinge bit, phoned them up, no quibs, they came and collected it today for repairs, what awesome customer service!

And lastly, every year, there is no escaping the flying ant season, and this is right now.  Ugh, I've just sprayed loads with fly spray and put down one of those ant stop things... fingers crossed we'll have no more tomorrow!
 
 
For a few weeks now we've had 'O' waking in the middle of the night, sometimes a couple of times or more, crying and shouting for us.  When we've asked him what is wrong, he's clearly said that there are monsters under the bed.  Poor boy!  Poor us too!  I've had a good read in Jo Frost's - Confident Toddler Care, and she says to treat it seriously and take measures to get rid of the monster.  So we've tried clapping, saying goodbye to the monster, cuddles then back to bed and leaving the hall light on.  But it's not really working, well, it's definitely not working if we're still having to get up in the night to resolve it.  I don't mind the odd one, but a few nights a week and I'm starting to feel like a zombie again!  Has anyone got any tips?!

I've just bought a night light, I'm hoping that will help, fingers crossed for a quick delivery!  I'm also thinking of creating a drawing with 'O' to ward-off any would be monsters lurking...

Such a vivid imagination!
 
 
So I thought I'd try and use up the vast amount of chard, kindly given to me by Mum, and given the flavours worked so well with pasta, I thought I'd give risotto a whirl.  When I told 'O' he bluntly told me he'd rather have sausages as he doesn't like chard...  I will not be thwarted by a toddler!

Searching for a recipe on the web proved fruitless so I adapted an age old recipe for a basic risotto.  In my opinion it worked; hubby ate it all and low and behold, fussy toddler ate the rice, the cheese and some veg.  Even 'H' munched a couple of squished handfuls.


1tsb olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 stick celery, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
Dash of vodka (yep, I had no wine or such like in!)
200g arborio (risotto) rice
1pt veg stock
1tsp fresh thyme (yay for summer herb garden)
250g chard, stalks chopped to about 5mm thick pieces, leaves as you like
1/2 tin chickpeas
60g feta

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pan, when hot, add the onion, celery and garlic, turn the heat down.  Fry slowly till soft but not coloured (about 5 mins)
  • Add the rice to the pan, turn the heat up, stir for a few mins, until the rice starts to glisten
  • Throw in a splash of vodka, or what ever you think might add some flavour, I quite liked the nuttiness it added, stir until the vodka is absorbed
  • Ladle in some stock, stir until absorbed
  • Toss in the fresh thyme and the chard stalks, with another ladle of stock, stir until absorbed
  • Keep adding more stock, ladle by ladle, when the rice is almost cooked add the chick peas and the chard leaves.
  • When the rice is cooked, turn off the heat, break up and add the feta, give it another good stir and serve.


All in all, it takes about 40 mins, I found it made enough for two large adult portions, a decent toddler portion and a baby portion.  Yummy, fairly quick and certainly made use of mums garden!



 
 
Seriously?

Do children that ask 'what's that?' continually eventually ask less 'why?' questions?!!

My day is tormented by my curious eldest constantly breaking every single thought process I might have with the innocuous little question.  'What's that' and 'whachannna doing?'  Well, that is the letter U, T, K, the number 9, a fish, a jelly fish, I'm looking at the rain, I'm cleaning up after lunch, I'm changing your nappy, etc etc!

I love him, he's ridiculously funny, and gorgeous, and how can you even want to suppress such a fantastic little mind?  But just 5 minutes peace would not go amiss!

Today, it's raining.  So we're stuck indoors making the most of a page of stickers and trying to avoid sticking the tele on.