Our house is shrinking…

Meet the new addition to our family. Her name is Cassie and she’s just over a year old.

Mind you, her living with us is only temporary until we find a forever home for this gorgeous lurcher girl.

She arrived yesterday and we’re fostering her until such a time comes! All our cubs love her (and have already requested we adopt her for life!) and even the cats are nice to the dog! She’s a joy to have around.

Creature comforts; she sure knows what she likes! Such a couch potato! She’s probably thinking ‘not her again with that blasted camera‘ hehe.

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Tell you what though, she’s keeping me fit with the extra walking I’m doing now!

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Hot Whiskey – for medicinal purposes, naturally!

It’s nearly there, the season to be jolly… and with it come the horrible days of colds and flu and coughs. Bleugh.

The cough’s what’s got hold of me in the last few days. Well, and cub 4, the poor wee mite. Worse at night, of course, when lying down and trying to finally get some rest.

What else was I supposed to do but to reach for a traditional medicinal drink…!?

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What can I say? It’s delicious! Of course, made with Irish Whiskey. Here’s what you need to do if you want to make your own (and, please don’t serve this to persons under 18 (or whichever the drinking age is in your country!):

Rinse a glass with hot water to pre-heat it a bit.

Two teaspoons of brown sugar into the glass, then add a generous helping of Irish Whiskey to it and fill up with hot water. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved. Add fresh sliced lemons and cloves, stir and enjoy.

Tonight, I also added a small teaspoon of honey to mine. Medicinal, see? Right there 🙂

Onion to the rescue!

There are nights where I wish I could do magic. Real magic. The kind of Harry Potter magic. A wave of a wand or a magic potion and all is well again.

Tonight is one of those nights. Cub 4, who is two, was howling in pain, telling me that his ear ‘hurt, in there’. Poor thing was absolutely miserable with his ear ache.

So I did the next best thing to real magic: I baked an onion. A whole one, skin and all, for about 20 minutes. After letting it cool down, I cut it open and squeezed it to get the onion juice out. Which I then carefully dribbled into his ear. Just a few tiny drops.

Instant relief.

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I had already given him ibuprofen for babies but the whining only stopped after the onion. So… Onion wins! He’s now asleep and hopefully will be better in the morning.

And maybe, just maybe this means there is just a little bit of real magic in the world, if only in form of onions.

You know you should be in bed when…

… your kids are asleep in bed and half an hour later, you realise you’re still watching Jungle Junction on Disney.

I think that is justification enough to declare it vodka’n’coke o’clock on a Wednesday night. Just a small one, for medicinal reasons, you see.

After all, I survived another soft day. The cubs were a bit like caged tigers, fighting and arguing all day over the little things. Crimes like, ‘he looked at me‘ (cub 3 about cub 2) or, ‘stop making that noise‘ (cub 2 to cub 3) and even, ‘don’t fall into my dust pile!‘ (cub 1 to cub 4 when she was sweeping the floor while he twirled to get a dizzy buzz)

Nothing quite surpasses the moment of the monumental crash though, followed by dead silence and then cheeky giggles which quickly faded to ‘oh fiddlesticks mami doesn’t think it’s funny‘ when I walked into the room. I had washed cushions and their covers after the recent illnesses and lice and whatnot and had the clothes horse up with them drying flat on the top. Naturally, cubs 3 and 4 took that as an invitation to climb up it and try to lie down on top. With the result that the whole thing bent crooked, and both fell off and over – thankfully only the clothes horse got injured.

I am knackered though. I went on a run this morning. Only 3km but boy did that wipe me! Suppose that’s what happens when you haven’t really run since beginning of June (a charity ‘mini-marathon’ 10k race) – but I figured I have to get back to it if I want to make it across that Half Marathon finish line in March; and I’d really like to still be running while crossing that line and not crawl across it before collapsing. I’m hoping to do it in under 2 hours 30 minutes. We shall see! I think the main problem is that the training plan is 12 weeks… so no pressure yet to do it. Might just have to find another goal closer to Now to get my arse in gear!

Another thing bugging me is that this month is NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month. It’s about the nth year in a row that I had great plans on finally doing it and keeping up. Usually, I manage well enough the first week. After all, just over 1600 words/day is doable. This year however, well it’s day 6 and my word total is a gigantic ZERO. Do I really want to catch up 10,000 words? Want? Yes. But as soon as I even think about sitting down to do it, I’m rather efficiently putting the Pro into procrastination.

Now, before I forget I shall have my little vodka/coke and while I’m at it to get the ice, I might as well take a rat out of the freezer and defrost it overnight for our snake. She is a lovely, gentle corn snake. What does the snake do in our household, you might ask yourself. After all, didn’t I say I live in Ireland? Didn’t that bloke St. Patrick take care of that?

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Well, we found her slithering in the ivy on our shed in the back garden. Take that, St. Patrick. We made the mistake to let the kids name the snake (Snakey! Inventive, huh?) and added the St. Patricia bit on as she’s a girl and it’s so fitting! It is true though that there aren’t any snakes at home in Ireland (only a slow worm!) and she is an escaped (or purposely let loose?) pet. As we couldn’t find the owner, we’ve kept her and she’s now with us for over 2 years! Here she is on the day we found and captured her:

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Snakey St. Patricia. She’s about 4 ft long now and very gentle – all the cubs can handle her (strictly under my supervision that is) and love having her around.

And now, to all a good night!

Best laid plans and all that…

First of all… my apologies for the lack of promised posts with Halloween foods.

It’s been one hell of a rollercoaster recently. I’ve decided to file the whole of last week under ‘must scour from brain’ and start again.

Well, there are a few things I can’t forget, really. This poor neglected pumpkin, for example,  will still feature on my menu this week… shame to waste it. It must feel very sad and excluded not having been carved at all!!!

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Honestly though, between cubs home from school on mid-term break, fighting head lice off cub’s head (isn’t it great when the little ones share those!), a not-so-plain-sailing daytrip on the ferry to and from Dublin-Holyhead (Wales), tummy bugs over Halloween (yes, I was sick for two days missing it ALL) which lead to an ever increasing Mt Washmore… all while having a visitor in the house! Let’s just pretend that week didn’t happen and move on, shall we!?

This week started off quite well. Cold and blustery, but well nonetheless. Cubs are happy back in their schools, the house is s.l.o.w.l.y. looking somewhat clean again and the coffee flows freely. I have news of more upcoming voice-over work on the horizon (not the exciting movie stardom ones – pssst if you are looking for someone in that area though, PICK ME! – ‘only’ corporate stuff, but still: hooray!) and I actually got a couple good night’s sleep in.

If the weather holds – you never know, we might be lucky – I will bring the cubs out farther afield to have a go at locating and collecting some marrons to roast and eat. A friend had done that and offered me some, but at aforementioned tummy bug time and I didn’t even want to think about food then. So a foraging-for-food-adventure is called for, me thinks!!!

Once we’ve managed to procure some, I shall share our results.

For now, I’ve put up a recipe that came about out of sheer frustration. Shopping’s not been as organised recently *pointing back up to that dreadful youknowhat* and I’ve had to use some things up that looked rather sorry in the fridge. Therefore, I will leave you today, with this utterly delicious creation made tonight:

Vegan Quinoa Burgers (gluten free and low-fat!)
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Halloween is only around the corner!

Halloween is fast approaching. My two eldest cubs are at their school’s Halloween party tonight. One as a witch, the other as a Knight in shining armour. Too cute the two!

You might wonder why their school has the party a week away – it’s because the kids here in Ireland will be on mid-term break and are off school all of next week.

It’s always been a fun thing for me to make all sorts of spooktastic food for Halloween. At last year’s party, we’ve had everything from eye balls to witch fingers, jack’o’lantern ice creams and all sorts in between.

For tonight’s party at the cubs’ school, I simply made some shortcrust biscuits in bat form and some as witch fingers. Normally, I’d use a shaved or a whole almond as a fingernail, but due to nut allergies in the school, no nuts at all were allowed (yes, yes, almonds aren’t really nuts, I know, I know! But they’re on the banned list!) So this time, they are tiny pieces of red onion… should give the kids a nice facial expression when they bite into those hahaha!

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To form the fingers, your shortcrust pastry needs to be very cold from the fridge, handled the shortest possible time and best shoved back in the fridge before baking. They easily flow apart otherwise while baking and turn into flat biscuits instead!

Of course, those bats just beg to be decorated with icing, but I hadn’t the time today so they went to the party all nekkid like that 😉

I’ll be putting up more ideas that I’ve used in the past soon; to give you a taster of what’s to come, here’s a pic of our Halloween party food last year:

176663_10151130534126918_1121963627_o So there we have witch fingers in the basket, a tiramisu with creepy crawlies on top, red velvet eyeballs (seriously, they looked so cool on the inside!), broken off fingers on a tray with cheese bugs, toadstools and earthworms on mud… Can’t find the picture of the rotting, amputated foot we’ve had lol

Oh, and in case it’s not obvious, the dish in the middle of the right row… it’s a ‘cat litter tray’ with chocolate poop in crunchy hazelnut litter!

Hungry yet? 😀

Recipes to follow for a great buffet, including a roast pumpkin risotto and the jack’o’lantern ice-creams.

There’s something else I read online today: something called a Switch Witch! Sadly, I cannot remember where I found that link, but it was an interesting idea to take part of the sweet bounty from the trick or treating and leave it as an ‘offering’ near the door. During the night the Switch Witch comes and switches the sweets with a little present. How wonderful to cut down on the awful sweet things the kids get!!

Mind you, ours usually end up giving away half their sweets anyway because: 1) I don’t allow them to keep any sweets that aren’t factory wrapped (so no mix bags of sweets already handled by people!) and 2) a LOT of the sweets they get contain gelatin, which reduces the amount by at least a third each year.

 

Still though, the idea of a present instead of the sweets… can’t help but love the idea! (It was on a blog, so if it was you, please comment and link to it!!!)

 

Tomorrow morning at the toddler play group we’ll have our Halloween party for the little ones. Which means that now I’m off to carve little faces into clementines. A healthy, fun treat for the tiny ones! Try it out, it looks really cool…

 

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… and the smell is delish, too!

 

 

 

Three Days of Madness: Act II

Don’t get me wrong: my children are the best thing in the world to me. When they’re up to mischief, more often than not, I’m laughing about it as much as they are. Take Cub 4, for example. His little big sister, Cub 3, came running into the kitchen the other night and shouted at me that Cub 4 is stuck. Of course I rescued him, but what kind of mother would I be had I not taken a picture of him first:

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Fun as they are, boy did they drive me mad yesterday! Every single button they could, they pushed.

After the usual, and expected, Monday morning madness of trying to get the four of them up, washed, fed, and dressed, I thought that I’d get a little break while they’re all in school, preschool, childcare. Well, if by break I meant time to clean the house, put on a wash and do the dishes, then I got it.

The real trouble started when I picked up Cub 4. He didn’t want to go in the buggy. Not having had his full rain gear and it being a rather incessant soft day out there, I made him sit in it anyway, much to his annoyance. From there we went to pick up Cub 3, who cried all the way home as her legs were tired and I hadn’t brought the double buggy (less than 10 minutes walk, but she can make it seem hours!).

By the time I had to get them out again to pick up Cub 2 from school, I decided to drive and get a couple groceries while I was at it. At least cubs would stay dry and no more crying about walking – until, at the supermarket: my car wouldn’t start again!!!! Rather inconvenient that to say the least.

On the phone, sending a message to the husband about the misbehaving car, I try a sixth time, and voilà: the car started up. Typical. (Hubby is going to check it out and fix that little snag, hurrah!)

Thinking that my bad luck for the day was all used up, I started making some bread and while that was left to rise, I dove right into Mt Washmore.

Mt Washmore, you see, is higher than Mt Everest. Believe me when I say it is. I’ve never really managed to conquer it. I fondly remember the days before the cubs, single and more or less organised. I used to wash one dark and one white wash a week. Ah – memories! It took me a solid hour to fold all the washed and dried clothes, never mind putting them into the closets.

Cub 1 returned from school with one of her best friends, and the two of them had a great time. Add another friend and still, all was well. Add Cub 3, who shares the room with her big sister, to the mix: an eternity of screaming, shouting, missiles throwing later, we had tears and tantrums with me left wondering where their tiaras were.

Only three casualties though:

  1. The clock: it fell off the wall (completely by itself, would you believe. No? Me neither…)
  2. The ceramic horse: a bad decision to use that as a missile. It broke a leg, but the husband glued it. I was ready to throw it out. Good cop, bad cop. Guess I’m the bad one again. Sigh.
  3. The beaded necklace: lovely clatter as it was torn apart by the two pulling on it, then blaming each other for breaking it.

Of course, after all that was resolved, and peace restored it still wasn’t the end of things. I’m not actually sure how much coffee I drank yesterday, but it was a LOT. You see, while holding the mug, I’ve got my hands full and can’t go strangle them. I hear that’s frowned upon anyway, so probably better I drink coffee!

I had finished the bread, and gone on to make dinner. You see, I had this gorgeous romanesco in the house still and needed to make something yummy with it. I love romanesco. So much nicer than just cauliflower. I think it’s the texture as well as the look and the slightly nutty flavour.

So I chopped and stirred and created and pre-heated the oven at 200C and then shoved the vegetable bake in. It takes around 25 minutes to cook in the oven.

When I checked it after around 20 minutes I was disappointed to see the veg wasn’t even nearly cooked through. Doubting myself, I resigned myself to having to wait. After a few more checks and at 45 minutes I realised why it wasn’t cooking: Cub 4 had taken to turning knobs and pushing buttons whenever he got his fingers on them. I found the oven at 110C. No wonder it wasn’t cooking!

What else was I to do but serve up the freshly baked bread sandwiches for dinner, accompanied with carrot sticks and a few crisps on the side (rare that I do that, but hey, it was that kinda day!).

On the plus side, today’s dinner’s already done and only needs re-heating!