Thursday, 27 September 2012

Super-fast Kid Noodles

Let’s be honest, there are times when preparing yet another 5pm dinner can be pretty annoying.

To help save my sanity during this slot I meal plan, try to prepare our evening meals during the day, always cook enough for leftovers and use my slow cooker as much as possible.

However, as most things in life when kids are involved, this doesn’t always go to plan. And so we generally resort to beans on toast, Jamie Oliver fish fingers (no nasties, lots of fish) with whatever veg is available (always, always broccoli) or, I’ll whip up my super easy, always-have-the-ingredients-in-the-house kid noodles.

It’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s always a crowd-pleaser where my children are concerned.

Oh you want the recipe? Well then read on…

What you need.

: Egg noodles (fresh or dried, we usually use the latter given this is a last resort dish)
: A selection of stir-fryable veg (we always have peppers, carrots, green beans, courgettes and broccoli in the fridge. But pretty much anything can be thrown in)
: Chicken (if you have it and want to use it)
: Honey
: Soy Sauce
: A lemon
: Knob of fresh ginger (if you have it)
: Sesame oil (but olive would also be fine)
: Coriander (if you have it)

What to do.

: Cook the noodles according to the instructions. Drain and set aside.

: Chop your veg (I like to julienne as it looks nicer – I know, lah-de-dah!).

: Halve your lemon and chop your coriander and ginger.

: Chop your chicken into (kiddo) bite-sized pieces.

: Heat a glug of sesame oil in a wok.

: Fry the chicken for a couple of minutes until it starts to cook.

: Add your veg and the ginger and fry for a few minutes (it’s up to your children how long you do this  for. Lila eats this dish, so I fry for a little longer to soften). 

: When the veg and chicken are cooked, add a good few slugs of soy sauce, a big drizzle of honey and squeeze in the juice from half the lemon. Keep adding more of all three of these ingredients until you feel there is enough sauce in the pan.

: Stir to combine, then add your coriander.

: Give it a big mix, then add the noodles and stir until everything is coated with the sauce and the veg and chicken are mixed through.

: Done.

: Serve in cute little bowls with training chopsticks.

What are your sanity-saving, child-friendly recipes? 

Wednesday, 26 September 2012


Today was one of those days.

I had lunches made by 7.30am; two kids breakfasted, dressed and out the door at the perfect time and heck, I even managed a shower. I unpacked the dishwasher and packed it back up again; mopped floors; vacuumed floors; cleaned the kitchen, including the microwave; had a baby who slept twice for an hour and a half; walked our dog for an hour in the rain (which was just so lovely); did some life admin; read a few blogs; played with Lila; ate lunch with Lila; folded and put away washing; made beds; called my Mum (twice); cooked dinner; did the pre-school pick-up (in the rain); enjoyed some wonderful post-pre-school cuddles on the sofa with Ollie; read to Ollie; played trains with Ollie; served dinner; cleared it all away again and had a clean kitchen before bath; bathed, brushed teeth, read stories and got two littlies into bed before 7.30pm.

My goodness what a difference a week makes.

Thank you all for your wonderful comments on my post last week. It certainly made me feel so much better to know that I am not alone when it comes to messy houses, dirty floors and unfinished to do lists.

I guess the constant mess and mayhem makes you appreciate perfect days like this one even more. 

Wishing you all productive days and clean houses all week long. 

How's your week treating you so far? 

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Twelve {now you are one}

Oh I am so very late with this post. But what the heck. Little Lady Lila deserves her ode to one, just as her brother deserved his ode to three. Three and one. Wow.

So Lila… now you are one.

I remember your incredible birth like it was yesterday and will never forget a minute of bringing you into this world. You came out relaxed and calm and have stayed that way ever since (give or take the odd bout of teething, which you are not so very good at).

Right now, one-year-old you is cheeky and funny and you’ve developed some serious one-year-old attitude. You are a drama queen through and through and your Daddy and I think you may well be a star one-day. The histrionics that happen when you drop a toy, want a cuddle or knock yourself (which is often) are quite something. And that bottom lip. You even laid yourself flat out on the floor at the park the other day, with your little legs behind you, your arms stretched out in front and your forehead on the floor. Practically a tantrum. All because I hadn’t put you on the right bouncy thing. Did I say you were relaxed and calm? You are, I promise, but you’re really developing a sense of self, and we love it.

Your understanding of the world is developing at such a pace. I couldn’t love this stage more. Watching those little cogs turning in your brain is incredible. You love any books with animals and proudly tell us the right noises for the right ones (most of the time). You excitedly point to everything and anything and have a name for them all (your very own names, of course). You love exploring and opening and pushing and tipping and flicking and chewing. I can’t leave you alone for a minute any more. And your words. ‘No’ is a good one Lila. That started young. ‘More’ is also still a firm favourite and ‘uh oh’ is the cutest.

I love watching you try to brush your hair, talk on the telephone, cuddle your dolls in the crook of your neck as you say ‘ahhh’. I love finding you sitting quietly in your bedroom or the playroom or Ollie’s room, happily flicking through a big pile of books all by yourself. I love the look on your face when you get caught doing it. I love it when you want to play chase around the house on your hands and knees and how it brings on that gorgeous hysterical baby laughter. I love the way you always suck your two fingers when you’re tired, the way you rub your ears and your eyes when you drink your bottle and the way you snuggle in and pat our backs when we hold you. Like you’re the one cuddling us, not the other way round. 

Honestly Lila, do you know how loved you are? From your first sleepy moments with Daddy each morning, to cuddles from your doting brother at every single opportunity, to Mummy love all day long, you are definitely one well-cuddled and uber-loved baby.

The past twelve months with you have been an absolute joy and we are so lucky to have you in our lives. I can honestly say there has not been one moment where I have felt challenged by you as a baby. You bring a balance and calm to this family that I could only have dreamt of. You are the total opposite to your brother and you take it all in your stride. I think you will be so good for him as you grow, a calming influence, and I think he will be good for you too, showing you some great adventures. He will dote on you and protect you and always be there for you. As will we all.

I can’t wait to watch you grow over the next twelve months and can only imagine what an amazing little girl you are about to become. Although, I’m not wishing away one single minute of this time. I am more than happy to soak up every day of this precious baby time. Precious baby you.

You are one special little girl Lila Clementine and we do all love you so. 

Friday, 21 September 2012

Please tell me this is normal? {and when do you blog?}

I’ve been pondering something recently. Nothing overly new or exciting - just that annoying old ‘time’ thing again.

You know, where you feel like you never have a minute, how you’re always running behind yourself and never quite catching your breath?

Just a few short months ago I was living happily in smug-land, blissfully unaware that I was doing so. I had a baby who slept two or three times a day for a good chunk of time, a toddler who was at daycare three full days a week and who still slept for 1-2 hours at lunchtime and a husband who left the house at eight and got home around 5.30pm. I even managed to hang-on to the cleaner we had when we were both working. Life was good.

I didn’t realise it then, but I had a lot of time to do all the things I needed to do – including blogging till my blogging heart was content. In a clean and tidy house. 

Now? I have a little boy in pre-school for half days only, who doesn’t sleep in the day at all; a baby who is still a pretty good day-sleeper (although this week has refused it all), but makes just as much mess as her brother; and a husband who leaves the house at 7am and gets home at 7pm. And, shock horror, this one-salary family now has me as its cleaner (oh the first world problems). 

Actually, writing this makes it all sound so much worse than things feel. We’re all very happy, loving our UK life, having a wonderful time with the kids and even Paul’s commute isn’t too terrible. I’ve also had a lovely, lovely week (despite Lila’s sleeping), Ollie is loving his new school and I have finally found a decent yoga teacher.


When oh when do I blog?! And how on earth do I keep the house tidy when there are two children running around behind me making a mess everywhere I go?

No, I’m serious… please tell me it’s normal to start off in the morning with a (relatively) clean tidy house and end the day in an absolute hovel. I’m talking, breakfast/lunch/dinner things still left out, a crumby kitchen floor, toys all. over. the. place. Not to mention washing in the washing machine that I haven’t had chance to hang out, shoes scattered by the front and back door, clean washing to be put away etc etc… It drives me mad. Some days are better than others but there are times (like today) when I would actually die if anyone knocked on the door. I'm a clean person at heart!

So your suggestions on being a better housewife, or solidarity in telling me your houses are like this too would be much appreciated.

And then the blogging. When do you blog? I’m interested to know. Blogging when Lila sleeps would mean ignoring all of the above, blogging when she and Ollie are awake would mean ignoring them, blogging every evening would mean ignoring my husband. 

I have blog posts coming out of my ears and no time to write them. Sigh. 

There it is, a ranty rant about first world problems.

Give me some inspiration people – how do you manage time in your life? When do you blog? And please god tell me your houses are messy too?!

(and because I had no suitable photos for this post, you can have some of Oliver making a mess. As usual). 
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