Category Archives: Just for Fun

Go on, take a break, have a giggle!

How to cook soup, a busy parents’ guide

Find a whole cauliflower in the back of the fridge you forgot about. It looks a bit sad but it’s still good, surely.

Leave it on the bench for 6 hours while you keep thinking you’ll get to it “in just a minute”

Break the cauliflower into large florrettes and tip onto an oven tray. Spray with oil and put in the oven while the toddler’s dinosaur nuggets cook.

Ignore for about half an hour and congratulate yourself for remembering to take it out before it burns. The crispy edges are, in fact, exactly what you were after and not a mistake at all. Leave tray on top of the stove while you put the baby to bed.

Chop some onion and/or leek and/or celery and/or whatever you have to hand and throw in a large saucepan with plenty of oil and garlic. Keep the temperature fairly low so you can leave the veggies to sweat and not burn while you put the toddler back to bed.

  1. stir the veggies.
  2. put the toddler back to bed
  3. stir the veggies.
  4. resettle the baby.
  5. stir the veggies.
  6. put the toddler back to bed.
  7. forget the veggies but that’s ok because you had the temperature low.
  8. put the toddler back to bed. and this time you mean it!

Add the roasted cauliflower and any stock you may have (that half a box in the fridge says use within three days but you can’t remember when you used it so best just throw it in now). Top up the liquid with approximately 2 paw patrol drink bottles worth of water.

Remember you were meant to add spices earlier. Add them now! A dash of this and a shake of that. Cumin coriander and tumeric maybe? Don’t have those? Thyme and oregano? None of that either? Forget the spices, it’ll taste good as it is!

Turn the heat up now and let it boil then simmer while you pack up the toys and the dishes. Move the laundry that needs folded to a different area, to be done “later”.

Now your soup looks cooked. It’s certainly hot and it’s time to watch the next episode of your show so let’s say it’s done! Get out your stick blender and whiz it up. Add plenty of salt and don’t worry that it tastes like you tipped in a bit too much tumeric.

Your soup is now done. The kids are asleep. You a wonderful chef and parent combination.

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Trash or Treasure? Too many toys?

Photo by LeMast on Foter.com / CC BY-ND

It’s hard rubbish time around here. If you don’t know how hard rubbish works, let me break it down for you...

  • Your local council warn you it’s coming soon. Your street is allocated a week when you can dump rubbish too big for the bin, leaving it outside your house.
  • You start to notice the rubbish being left in neighbouring streets looks amazing. You become a dangerous driver as you veer slightly off course trying to peer into the piles.
  • Every day you narrowly avoid coming home with an old broken bookcase, a possibly flea infested armchair, a washing machine that just might work. It’s really only the difficulty of lugging it that stops you, the desire to find a hidden gem languishing on the street is unremitting.
  • The smaller items begin to make it into your car and your home. An old tire (this could be an amazing addition to my kids outside play area!), a retro fan (I could sell this once it’s cleaned up!), a rocking horse (who gave away this beauty? It’s in much better condition than the one I gave away a few months ago!)……

But the real golden finds are the toys. Oh the toys that people throw away! I’ve rescued a farmyard, a Buzz Lightyear, assorted balls, the aforementioned rocking horse, and so many more. Why are these things being put out for hard rubbish? You know what happens to the hard rubbish? It’s crushed, destroyed, wasted. It’s meant to be sorted but I’ve watched the trucks crush much of what could be otherwise. Why are people putting perfectly good toys out for this treatment?

Do we have too many toys for our children? What do they learn from seeing their belongings cast aside so thoughtlessly? Or, for that matter, from receiving ‘new’ toys for no reason other than that some well meaning parent saved it from the bin?

While I can hardly resist the lure of the hard rubbish scavenger hunt, it did give me pause when another parent asked me if we shouldn’t be hoping these second hand toys went to those who needed them, not added to the coffers of children with too many toys already.

Giving away a glut of toys may be a step in the right direction for families overloaded with stuff that brings too little joy. But give away, not throw away, seems to be the real goal here. Perhaps parents assume, reasonably, that the toys will be found and rescued when left on the street. But perhaps donating them to charity shop would serve the purpose better.

Then our children can see the life cycle of their toys ending in a gift to those more in need, and not as a cast off that hopes to be found by anyone who passes by.

What have you found in your neighbours’ hard rubbish?

You may also like:

 

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Filed under General, Just for Fun, Thoughtful

Messy is Necessary

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

I heard from a parent today that they don’t allow their 11 month old to make a mess when he eats.

Now before you start sniggering, I knew exactly what she meant. If little Goggins throws his food everywhere just to make a point/see the reaction/get out of eating it/see the reaction (oh wait, I said that already) they don’t turn a blind eye. They are trying to teach him some rules. I do the same. 11 months old is an appropriate age to start asking your child to hand you food they don’t want when they’re finished, not throw it against a wall, and it’s perfectly fine to tell an 11 month old” no” if they tip their food on the floor 5 times in a row while screaming at you.

But if there’s also an element of simply not liking the aesthetics of yoghurt in your baby’s eyebrows, and of wanting to keep the shaggy white rug under her highchair as snowy as they day you bought it (the day before you found out you were pregnant no doubt), then I’m afraid it’s time someone told you – babies are messy.

If you want to keep your white rug white, your wooden floors scratch-free, your vintage dresses & designer tea towels & first edition books & original art works and hand blown glasswear pristine, you have two choices:

  1. Keep them in a part of the house your child never goes (and at some point, rest assured, they will still go to that part of the house). 
  2. Don’t have children.

I know it’s tempting to think the third choice is to keep your children under control and clean and calm. And even though you can probably do those things sometimes, hell, most of the time if you’re focused, there’s almost no chance you’ll do it All the time.

Babies make mess.

They are exploring and learning. Often it requires pushing your hands into your porridge and then rubbing into your eyes, sometimes feeding yourself is so hard that only half of it makes it to your mouth and rest falls innocently on the floor, and sometimes it means feeling so frustrated that your limited coping skills induce you to throw half a peach at the wall.

By all means, try to keep eating under control and try to keep your house clean enough to feel comfortable in, but it’s best if you also try not to worry about a bit of mess at meal time. It’s a necessary part of being a baby.

Does your baby make a mess at meal times?
Do you have any handy tips to keep the mess (slightly) under control?

You might also like:

Messy kids who play with their food may be faster leaners: Huffington Post

Top 5 reasons why kids want to get messy with food: One Handed Cooks

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Filed under Babycare Advice, General, Just for Fun

Time to turn off the TV?

Photo: Getty

When the toddlers I care for have had (what I’ve decided is) enough TV I often tell them their favourite characters are going to sleep. If they ask for TV when I don’t want them to watch I’ll say again that so-and-so is sleeping.

Should we encourage children to believe the characters on TV have lives we can’t see? Should we molly coddle them with these ideas when we really just want to say “no”?

I’m ok with limited TV for children but definitely don’t want them watching all day, or becoming less able to be entertained without the screen on. Perhaps the best way to keep TV from becoming so central is to keep the characters the children watch from becoming too real, like playmates they can’t wait to see again. Dora’s not sleeping – she doesn’t bloody well exist!

What do you think? If your young children watch TV, what do you say to them to discourage them from wanting too much?
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You might also like:

Television makes toddlers aggressive: The Telegraph

Television addicted 2 year olds don’t even know their own name: Eco Child’s Play

Why it’s really not so terrible to let your toddler watch TV: Huffington Post

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Potty mouth!

English: "No Swearing" sign along At...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You dropped a glass. It shattered as it hit the ground, sending glass splinters skating across the floor and a pool of shard filled juice creeping under the fridge.

“F**k.”

A fairly common response. Except you didn’t say it. Your 18 month old toddler watching you from the doorway did.

My baby has a potty  mouth before she’s even potty trained!

She’s so cute at this age. Now she understands around 200 words and can probably say about 60. You can share jokes together, she is beginning to follow your simple rules and instructions, and is able to tell you what she wants to eat and how she likes to play. I bet you love to show off to others how she can repeat a word for you – “Can you say, ‘shark’ ?? … Tell Grandma what this is! …”

What an excellent mimic! And isn’t is she adorable when she tries to use the broom or the phone or the remote just like you do? And now she’s swearing, just like you do. It’s enough to make you want to say, “F**k!” 🙂

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

How did this happen?!

Your toddler thinks you are the bees knees. You are the bestest, smartest, most wonderfullest person and he wants nothing more than to be like you and to have your approval.

If he’s heard you repeat a word or a phrase often enough, and to be honest it doesn’t have to be that often, he’ll want to try and say it too – to be like you. And if you react when he says it with amusement or attention, even negative attention, he’ll want to keep eliciting that response from you.

As far as your toddler is concerned, he’s ticking all the boxes every time he says ‘the F word’. He does it just like you do, and he gets plenty of attention for it as well.

What should I do to clean up his act?

Remove both the reasons he’s doing it in the first place. Don’t give him something to mimic and don’t give him attention for saying the word.

Believe me, I love a good curse word, when used in the company of adults who appreciate it! But those blissful days of babyhood when you could talk about whatever you wanted, using whatever language you liked and know your child had no clue what was going on are O-V-E-R. And if you can’t spell you’re in trouble, too, because you’re going to spell rather say say things like, ‘ice cream’, or ‘park’, or ‘bedtime’, for many years to come.

Be more mindful of what words you say, and the content of your conversations, from now on. Encourage your child to say a phrase like, “Oh Oh!” when there’s an accident and be sure to do the same yourself.

If he keeps using unwanted words, tell him not to say it, but don’t make a fuss. Do not laugh, no matter how inappropriately hilarious it is to hear your munchkin unknowingly swearing like the proverbial sailor. Keep a blank expression on your face, not one of disapproval either. After briefly telling him not to say the word, go about your business, preferable something unrelated to your child. Now he is no longer getting any worthwhile response from saying this word.

Soon enough he will forget about it and choose to use language that he mimics from your own and that is reinforced by your interactions with him. That is, until he goes to school and learns them all over again from the other kids!

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When has your child said something inappropriate?

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