When Little D was a newborn I bought a slow cooker. I was breastfeeding him and he was permanently attached to me and would feed for hours so I needed something to make my life easier. I had no clue about them, what size to get, what I could make but after procrastinating for ages I picked up one from Lidl and hoped for the best. I’m so glad I did because I love that I can chuck all the ingredients in first thing in the morning and I usually don’t need to worry until later.
My Mum bought me a slow cooker cook book for my birthday and I looked on the web for ideas. I found it quite difficult finding things that worked for all 5 of us taking into account the kids food allergies. A lot of things were tomato based which were out because Miss C couldn’t tolerate it. I’m not afraid of using spice and I think kids needs to try all different flavours to adapt their palates at a young age so I was happy to make curries and hot pots as long as they suited everyone.
We eat a lot of chicken so that was the first place I looked for inspiration. I came across this recipe and it was an instant hit. The only amendment I would suggest is I usually double the flour, stock and purée quantities. I also shred the chicken halfway through cooking or it can go a little dry.
If you’re going to try it then let me know how it goes.
Well here we are. Miss C has turned 3! It seems like only yesterday we were celebrating her second birthday, but here we are.
Things She Likes
She became a big sister at 17 months old and instantly fell in love with her little brother. She is fiercely protective of him and they are the best of friends. She loves playing with him and is mostly good at sharing with him. She has her moments particularly with her favourite stuff but she is very patient and considerate with him. It took her a while to remember how little he was and how gentle she needed to be, but thankfully she is.
When it comes to her sister they have an interesting relationship. She adores her big sister, wants to be just like her and follows her about like a puppy. They fight like cat and dog and their personalities couldn’t be more different. When they play nicely together it is pure bliss but when it goes off, it is mayhem!
Music and Dancing
She started street dance classes this year and absolutely loves it. She was in their summer dance show and I was absolutely bursting with pride. To have the confidence at 2.5 years old to stand up on a stage in front of 200+ people baffles me. There is no way I would have been able to do that at her age. Dance class has been off for the summer and she is desperate to get back and I can’t wait for her to go back and let some energy out there!
She loves music and just now her particular favourite is Little Mix. She also loves the Foos, Biffy Clyro, Taylor Swift and 90’s dance songs! There is something so amusing about seeing your toddler standing doing all the moves and she is word perfect on everything. The way she retains information is astounding.
Stuff in bags and pockets
She is still obsessed with sunglasses, but now she also loves a handbag, play phone, Mr Men Books, Moshi Monsters (When she manages to steal them from her sister), toy cars, pretty much anything she can fit in her pocket or bag. She is going through a phase of putting stuff in her back pocket, I assume it’s because she sees her Dad and I putting our phones in there, but it is really funny seeing her stick her Bing mobile in there.
I’ve written about her food allergies before and I’m glad to say that despite the fact she can’t eat certain things, she is still a wee gannet! She will eat anything and everything I put down in front of her and is at the stage where she likes to help me prep and cook. I was probably about 2 or 3 when my Mum and Gran taught me to cook and it was brill. She has her own apron which she loves because it’s like mine and she is very good at taking instructions.
Being a Joker
She loves to make her wee brother giggle and watching the pair of them belly laughing is one of the best bits of my day. When I try and take pictures, she is the one pulling funny faces and looking the other way. She can’t help herself, at all!
Stuff She Doesn’t Like
At the moment she mostly doesn’t like being told what to do and because of that the last 6 months have been pretty tough. She is head strong which I love about her, but at the same time the threenager has been emerging with fury. It’s not just the tantrums, if it was I could deal with that, it’s the emotional break downs. She’s been like a stroppy, hormonal teenager for the last 4 months and it’s really wearing. Thankfully, I have noticed a difference in the last few weeks so I’m hoping that she is going back to her usual lovely wee self.
She is one of the kindest, loving, caring, well mannered little girls I have ever met and I am proud to be her Mum. She is starting nursery on Thursday and she is more than ready for it. She needs more stimulation and I can’t wait to see where it takes her next. Just keep being yourself my little Star because you are amazing!
Last week Mr B had a few days off so on Friday we decided to take the kids swimming. Due to the age restrictions I can’t take all 3 on my own, so with Mr B being off I thought it would be a good idea.
I feel really guilty that this is the first time that Little D has been swimming. It’s really awful how time slips away and before you know it months or years have gone by and you haven’t done things you’ve wanted to.
Anyway, at first D was hanging on to his Daddy for dear life, his little chin wobbling with fear and generally just unsure of what the hell was going on. I had Miss C for the first wee while then we swapped and I took him deeper in the water and bobbed him about a bit and he was soon splashing, sticking his face in the water, playing with his sisters and constantly kicking me in the stomach.
Miss C was actually buzzing out of her tights! It’s been over 18 months since she’s been (bad Mummy) and she loved it. The kid has no fear. It’s brill but scary.I’m glad she’s like that though, and I’m going to enrol her in swimming lessons as soon as she is old enough. Being able to swim is such a life skill that I think it’s really important that kids learn as soon as they can. I was also told by the Physiotherapist that swimming could help to strengthen her muscles and help her hypermobility so I really want to try and take her more often and help those wee bendy ankles, knees and hips.
Miss B started swimming lessons in 2012 and she is amazing. She is almost finished all the levels and her couch was talking to her about starting the junior lifeguard programme which she is quite keen to do. She has a lot of activities so we will need to have a look and see what it involves and where she can fit it in.
I can tell you though that taking 3 kids swimming was so tiring. Just getting the 2 wee ones out of the pool, showered, dried and dressed was mental. We went at 9am and it was quiet, so no lack of family changing room or showers and everyone was shattered afterwards that we had a really chilled afternoon.
When Miss C last saw the dietitian in December I asked if she could be referred for allergy testing. I wanted the tests done so that if any other allergies showed up we could be prepared, especially with her going to nursery in a few months. I’m feeling a little apprehensive if I’m totally honest. I’ve been able to control all the environments she’s been in up until now and even though it has been drilled into her about not picking up anyone elses food or drink, she is still really young, plus one of us has always where ever she is to oversee what’s going on.
She had her appointment with the Specialist last Friday so I thought I would cover off what happened and let anyone else about to go through the process know what to expect. We are in South Lanarkshire so we went to Wishaw General Dietetics Department where she was first seen as a baby.
To date, we are aware of 7 allergies/intolerances and the reactions they cause:
Cows Milk Protein – tummy trouble, diarrhoea, blood in her stool
Soya – vomit
Tomatoes – rash around the mouth and sore stomach
Peppers – rash around the mouth and sore stomach
Strawberries – rash around the mouth and sore stomach
Bananas – rash around the mouth and sore stomach
Oranges – rash around the mouth and sore stomach
Beef – sore stomach
We went to the shop and I let her pick a magazine, this is the best treat in the world for Miss C, she spent ages choosing one and then managed to drop the entire shelf of magazines all over the floor. The man working there was not a happy bunny and when I tried to pick them up he nipped the face off me! Anyway, we paid and walked to the Outpatient clinic and were taken pretty quickly. A lovely nurse took her height and weight and was chatting to her about her magazine and who was in it. While she was being distracted, I filled in a questionnaire about allergies and what to do in case of reaction including anaphylaxis. We waited for 5 minutes and went in to see the Consultant. He was lovely and I’m fairly certain that I have seen him before about her allergies. We talked through what she was allergic to and what kind of reactions she had and if I had any other concerns. I told him that I had a good handle on her allergies but that with her going to nursery, I wanted to make sure we were 100% on everything. He sent us back outside to wait and then would be sent to the nurse for the test to be applied.
After a few minutes we went next door to see Angela who had laid out all the things that Miss C was to be tested for. She explained it would be a sick prick test and then itemised everything that would be administered. I told Miss C that Angela was going to put some medicine on her arm and she had to sit nice and still until she was finished, then I sat and chatted random nonsense to try and distract her.
Angela then drew on her arm, a letter for each item that was going to be tested for and a little smiley face 🙂 Angela was great, she told Miss C that she had a to put special bubbles on her arm and then C had to guess if she could pop the bubbles or not. She worked quickly and Miss C was brilliant until there were about 4 to go and then she started to get a bit upset. Once we were finished we were sent to the waiting room for 15 minutes when we would be called back in to see what reactions we had.
So we toddled off to the waiting room and had a drink and a snack and before we knew it we were being called back in. The Consultant had a look at her arm and confirmed that everything we thought she had issues with had shown up. Soya was the most red and inflamed and milk didn’t show, but since her reactions are all tummy related we wouldn’t have expected to see anything show up on her arm for milk.
The good news is that there are no new reactions, especially to nuts or sesame seeds so we talked through the next steps. I am going to gradually reintroduce everything that is on the list. I started a few months ago with tomatoes and after a few tries and a couple of reactions, she can now eat them cooked. This week we are going to tackle them raw and see how we get on!
So I can relax a bit about her starting nursery in a few months although we will always need to be on the look out and keep drilling into her that she can’t lift other peoples food or drinks. The Consultant was very reassuring that I have been doing well to manage the allergies and was happy with my plan for reintroduction. While I was there I also mentioned to him about Little D and his reactions to egg and he is going to get him seen as soon as he can.
All in all, it was a great experience. The staff were all lovely and everything was done quickly and Miss C was absolutely brilliant through it.
I’ve posted about Miss Cs food allergies before and a few of them snuck up and gave us a surprise. When I started weaning her brother I was particularly vigilant to make sure there were no reactions. All allergies react differently, it could be a rash, hives, vomiting, gas, the trots and some cases even anaphylaxis.
When I was weaning I would give the same food at least 2 days in a row to see if there was any reaction. The first food that caused a reaction was lentils. I had made a lentil and vegetable puree and after he ate it he had a rash around his mouth which looked a bit like prickly heat. I gave him more the next day and he instantly got the rash again.
A few weeks later I had made his sister some dairy free scrambled egg made with almond milk and within 5 minutes he was refusing to eat, his skin was all red and blotchy and he was scratching like crazy. I stopped giving him the egg and watched him for 5 mins to see if that was the only reaction. He seemed to be getting itchier and all of a sudden his breathing seemed laboured. I decided to give him some antihistamine and phoned Mr B who was working locally just incase I had to take him to the hospital. As soon as I gave him the Piriton he was sick but thankfully it seemed to do it’s job and his breathing went back to normal after 10 mins and the rash started to fade.
I wasn’t sure what it was that he had reacted to, it could have been the eggs or the almond milk and I knew from experience that I would have to give him eggs again without the almond milk to rule it out. I left it a few weeks and gave him scrambled egg with cows milk and he had the same reaction. I treated it with Piriton again and he was fine.
We have been avoiding egg and to be honest, we haven’t really had that much of an issue. Most of his food is made from scratch by me and if I do need to buy anything then I just need to check the ingredients.
Yesterday I made his sister scrambled egg for lunch and as always, I made sure that everything I used was kept away from his plate and utensils. All was well, she ate her egg, he ate his sandwich and his peach. Miss C decided to help her brother and gave him a few bits then started dancing round about him. I was clearing up when I noticed he was scratching his chest so I went to have a look and saw that he was red and covered in hives. I couldn’t figure out what had happened then realised that Miss C must have had remnants of egg on her hands when she touched the fruit. Again, within a few minutes his breathing started to become laboured and he was clawing at himself. I gave him some Piriton and cleared everything away and cleaned his chair and tray just incase there was anymore there.
When you are dealing with your kids allergies you usually know what to look out for and what kind of reaction to expect. Certainly with Miss C we know what happens when she reacts to different foods but we have never had any kind of reaction like this. I need to make sure I always have a bottle of Piriton in my bag at all times and I am going to speak to the allergy specialist who we are going to see on Friday for Miss C and enquire if we can get him tested to make sure we are managing his needs properly.
Over the last few weeks, Miss C has been a classic example of a toddler. One minute she is sweetness personified, all hugs and kisses and playing nicely with her brother and sister. Then in the blink of an eye she turns into a tantruming monster.
Tonight after her bath she was reading books and playing with her toys while I sorted her brother and then it began. Tantrums, screaming, screeching, exorcist style shrieking. I honestly feel like I’ve gone 10 rounds and been knocked out by a 2.5ft tornado!!!
I keep trying to remind myself that it’s just a phase and it won’t last forever but it’s bloody hard! Miss Bs terrible twos lasted for about 3 weeks so I think the universe is making sure we get our fair share of them. It also doesn’t help that I only had 3 hours sleep last night, my insomnia is back with a vengeance just now and I really need some sleep because my patience has been ground down until it’s gone!!!
So for now I will try and keep calm, count to 10 over and over and keep telling myself that it’s just a phase.
Picture this. Sunday morning, waking up after 1pm, still slightly drunk and pondering what to do with your day. Maybe you will get up and get some food. Maybe you will go for a wander round the shops. Maybe you will go start drinking again, after all, it is still the weekend. Or maybe, just maybe you will stay in bed allllllll day and just chill. Anyone have a recent Sunday like that? No? Me neither!
How many Sunday mornings did I waste away lying in bed watching the Hollyoaks omnibus while nursing a slight hangover but not giving a monkeys because I had all day to snooze it off and be as fresh as a daisy for work on Monday. A lot, that’s the answer.
But then you grow up, have responsibilities and dependants who don’t care if you drank too much wine the night before. It’s 7am and they want some Cheerios! My girls were both great sleepers. Put them to bed at 7pm and they would sleep right through until 7am. 12 whole hours of sleep. How good does that sound???
When you have a newborn, you know that you won’t be getting much sleep for a while but you can deal with that because you know it doesn’t last forever. The problem I had was that Little D didn’t get the memo and has been a rubbish sleeper since he was born. He never liked to nap and wouldn’t go longer than 3-4 hours without feeding. I kept praying that once he started on solids he would sleep better but he didn’t. I was breastfeeding on demand and was bloody exhausted. I started giving him a bottle of formula milk at night when he was about 7 months old in the vain hope that it would make him sleep a bit better at night. It didn’t. I have no idea how but I survived a year on no more than 4 hours sleep. I felt worse for poor Mr B who had to deal with so little sleep and then get up and go to work and use his brain and interact with actual people.
When he turned one we started to see a bit of improvement where he would sleep from 7pm until about 4am. Still not great but a lot better than he had been. His current favourite trick is to wake up between 05:00-05:30 and shout at the top of his lungs. He won’t go back to sleep in his bed so some days if he is yelling really loud we have taken him downstairs and put him in his playpen where he will go back to sleep for an hour.
In the last 6 weeks he has started to nap during the day for an hour in the morning which is great. I use the time to sort dinner, do the washing, clean, oh and eat. I honestly don’t know how he is so perky and happy all the time on so little sleep. Most days I am a mess and pretty crabbit to start off with, but he wakes up with a huge grin on his chops and is full of the joys!
A few weeks ago my sister took the kids overnight to give us a break and I was so excited. We had booked dinner and planned on going to the cinema. We went to one of my favourite places for food and instead of going to see a movie, we went home because we were so tired. I had this amazing plan of being in my bed early and getting at least a good 8 hours. Unfortunately my body clock is set and I was awake just after 2am then 05:20 and I couldn’t get back to sleep.
He now goes down at 7pm and will sleep through until 05:30 if we are lucky, so you would think that I would be in bed at 10pm and getting a great 7 hours, But no. I can’t sleep. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I can’t seem to switch my brain off. I can lie there for 3 or 4 hours and not go to sleep. I’ve tried lots of different techniques to sleep but I’m pretty much back to having a max of 5 hours sleep a night which isn’t ideal.
Surely I’m not the only person in this situation. Surely there are other Mombies out there who are struggling by on a few hours sleep and surviving on chunky cookies and copious amounts of Coke zero? I keep reminding myself that it won’t last forever and his sleep has improved so it will get better. It WILL get better 🙂
This is the recipe I use for a yummy slow cooker beef stew which easily feeds us all and even has some left overs for the next day.
1/2 a turnip, cut into chunks
4 carrots, cut into chunks
Mushrooms, as many as you fancy
900g of lean stewing steak, cut into bite sized chunks
2 tablespoons of oil
75g of flour
3 beef stock cubes
1 teaspoon of marmite
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
2 teaspoons of dried parsley
2 teaspoons of dried thyme
2 pints of boiling water
Put the beef in a bowl and coat in the oil, make sure it is fully covered.
In a separate bowl mix the flour, parsley, thyme, pepper and stock cubes.
Add the flour mixture to the beef and give it a good mix to make sure each piece is covered.
Heat some oil in a frying pan (medium/high) and add in the beef, marmite, worcestershire sauce and tomato puree.
Cook the beef for 10-15 minutes to seal the flavour in.
Put the veg into the slow cooker with any left over flour mixture and pour over the boiling water and give it a good mix.
Add the beef to the slow cooker and mix well.
Set to medium or auto for 6-8 hours
I like lots of Worcestershire sauce so wack loads in and I also like thick gravy so an hour or so before it’s done, add in some more flour if it’s needed. Taste through out cooking and add in more herbs or pepper etc if you want to.
I then serve with baby potatoes and loads of veg 🙂
and that is what my beautiful children are going to eat us out of! I was showing my Mum some pictures recently and she said “Why are all these pictures of them eating?” and the answer is that they are always bloody eating!
It’s fair to say that my kids have healthy appetites, to the point of I don’t know where they put it. From the first tastes of weaning with baby rice to trying all different varieties of food, they will try anything which is great. When we weaned I cooked everything from scratch and made sure that they tasted as much as possible and really tried to develop their palate and luckily non of them are fussy.
Miss C has multiple food allergies which I have written about before, so it can make cooking family meals for the five of us difficult. We also discovered a few months ago that Little D is VERY allergic to eggs so need to ensure we cater for that too.
I always seem to be cooking and try to switch things up as much as I can so we don’t all get bored. I bought a slow cooker last year and I love it! Just wack all the ingredients in first thing in the morning and by dinner time it’s good to go. I’ve found some recipes online and adapted them to suit our needs. I am going to start documenting some of them because a few people have asked me to and it could be helpful to other families in a similar situation to us.
Yesterday I made a lovely slow cooker beef stew, which I will put in a separate post but until then here are some of the pics my Mum was talking about 🙂
Well, it’s been almost a year! Have you missed me?
There has been so much going on since I last blogged that I actually don’t know where to start. My last update was about us being a family of 5 and my birth story. Little D is now 14 months old and life has been a whirlwind since his arrival. He isn’t a great sleeper and hasn’t been since birth so the last year has been rough. Most nights we are lucky to get more than 7 hours, and that’s only been in the last 2-3 months. I’m pinning my hopes on the clocks going forward and him sleeping past 05:30am so we can get some actual sleep!
I have literally had no time to do anything for myself for the last year but I’m slowly starting to feel a bit less hectic and more organised so I really want to try and get back to some regular blogs and putting my thoughts down and recording some of the chaos and madness that goes on in my life.
I am officially a stay at home Mum and juggling 3 kids all at very different stages and running the house is challenging and manic and amazing all at the same time. I am really going to try and keep it going this time and as always, I will be honest about everything. Over the last few months, I’ve posted a few things that people have said to me offline “Oh you should take that down” but I believe in being honest and not sugar coating things. Parenting is hard. End of! My three are amazing and funny and frustrating and infuriating all at different times. Some days by the time Mr B comes home from work I am a wreck, then others it’s been a great day and I’m in full on 50’s housewife mode. There are highs and lows every day and if I can share that and make one person feel that they are not alone then I will be happy.
I’m going to leave you with an up to date look at my wee monkeys.
Miss B is 9.5 and is a full of energy and sass. She is still doing really well at school and has loads of hobbies. This year she took up the flute and she is really good.
Miss C is 2.5 and my little toddling tornado. She is full on and one minute she is bawling, screaming and horrible then two seconds later she is adorable and cuddly and loving. In my house I usually just say #toddler.
Little D is 14 months old. Like I said, he still isn’t a great sleeper but he is better than he was so I can’t complain too much. He is almost walking and loves playing his big sisters. His favourite things at the moment are Teletubbies and eating. He eats EVERYTHING!!!!!
And here is me. I’m probably about a stone heavier than I was the last time I blogged, and I have been more tired that I ever thought possible but here I am. Still standing, just 🙂