Baking with Kids: Healthy Brownies and Muffins

Carrot and Courgette Muffins zucchini baking

Distract distract distract shout sums up my parenting method with my middle child right now. He gets very jealous of his big brother and his seemingly endless stream of playdates.  I try my best to make our time together fun in some way to make up for the fact he has to hang out with his mum and a baby. We visit cafes and the park and the nearby museum and surprisingly, bringing just two children places feels *almost* easy now. But when we’re at home, we enjoy baking together.

This is the same boy that saw a tiny brown mouse sitting on the path in the park recently, and squatted down for a good chat with it. I am not kidding, it made his week, once I had reassured him that mousey’s mum and dad were nearby and that he wasn’t scared on his own. You see, the bar for entertaining him can be set quite low, although, the window in which the day goes from ‘best day ever’ to ‘worstest day ever’ is also very narrow. He likes to keep me on my toes.

Let’s not kids ourselves now; when it comes to baking the mess and the bowl licking are his highlights, and eating the end product is mine. Everything in between runs the gamut from delightful bonding time to me grinding my teeth in stress at flour on the floor and maple syrup on the counter.

Of course you’re always going to find shiny videos of pristine parents and even cleaner kitchens with everyone wearing aprons if you look for videos of baking with kids on line. This is not that. We love Insta Stories and find it a fun way to share our baking escapades. Teddy particularly likes the camera and watching himself back – unsurprisingly. I like it for the rough and readiness  (see the dark chocolate on my face, some teary interruptions from Ivy and Ted wanting to lick things all the time) and for the feedback from viewers. I’ve shared the videos of us making these recipes below.

We made Black Bean Brownies with Raspberries, which I have made numerous times before and Carrot and Courgette Muffins, which were a new recipe to us. Baby Ivy is going to be starting solids in the next month so I’m keeping an eye out for things to try. These muffins will be great, I’ll just sub out the honey and use maple syrup instead. Continue reading

Netflix For Life: 11 Recommendations For Your Family

Netflix stream team

Is Netflix your bae? Ask any recently post-partum parent and you’ll get a knowing nod. Even more so if they have other older kids to take care of too. There’s a groove worn in one side of my sofa from the hours spent feeding my baby, and the text is wearing off a certain red button on my tv remote. I settle down with coffee, the baby and a muslin cloth and press it. The younger boy comes in from a morning in montessori and presses it. The older boy finishes his homework and presses it. The other half loads up the app while he makes the school lunches and I do the same folding laundry if someone small is asleep.

And when the last childs’ question has been answered for the night*, and the cat has settled on the back of the sofa without the fear of being hit by a Nerf bullet, we go in again.

(I mean, this isn’t each of us, everyday. We do do other things than watch tv like.)

So, safe to say we’re experts. Without further ado here are the Netflix shows lighting up our lives right now and in the near future.

Master of None.

I wrote about this last year and it’s back for Season 2 right now. We have watched the first 3 episodes and it is sublime. I cannot say enough good things about Aziz Ansari and his supporting cast, especially his real life mum and dad, who play his mum and dad in the show. And it makes me really really want to up sticks and live in Modena.

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7 Things I Had Forgotten About Having A Small Baby

Baby Ivy

I treated this baby’s imminent arrival with a small amount of been there done that jadedness. There was barely anything I didn’t know because hadn’t I done it twice before? And it’s true; I’m not nervous and there’s been no shocks nearly four months in – but I had definitely suppressed the memory of these seven things that go along with having a new baby in the house.

 1. The Early Starts

We got lulled into a false sense of security for a couple of years pre-baby. The boys were big enough to get up and watch tv for a while on weekends before one us parents dragged ourselves out of bed at a civilised hour (which is about 830am fyi). Now, 3.5 months into new babyhood we’ve suddenly hit the early starts. She’s fallen into some sort of routine and it involves waking at 530am. And chatting loudly at that time. To coincide with this change I have purchased a cup holder for the buggy. It says ‘No Hot Liquids’ on the box. Listen up health and safety people; if you don’t let me put coffee in there, the only cold liquid going in will be a G&T. Continue reading

Leaving Home

Last night, 2100

“Mammy?” he calls in from his room.

For fifty minutes I’ve been lying down shoving a boob in his sister’s face trying to get her to sleep; now she’s just about drifting off and he expects to hold a conversation through the wall with me.

“I’ll be there in a sec” I stage-whisper through gritted teeth.

“Did you know Martin McGuinness died?” he calls.

“Yes!” I hiss back in disbelief, not at the famed Republican politician’s death but at how he thinks this is a good time for this conversation.

“Yeah two weeks ago Mammy” he calls back again.

Last night, 2115

I creep out of my room and am four steps down the stairs when he calls me: “Mammy come here”

“What is it love?”

“Can I show you a magic trick?”

GO TO JAYSIS SLEEP CHILD.

Today

This isn’t unusual behaviour but today is a big day for him and I think he’s a bit over excited. It’s his very first non-family sleepover, and it’s not even just in a friends house; it’s with the Beaver Scouts and it’s happening in the den in preparation for later camping trips.

All grown up...
All grown up…

Last week I decided that he deserved better than the manky old sleeping bag in the attic that has frequented festivals and dusty floors for about 15 years now. I mentioned in passing I’d ordered a kid size new one for him. Each day he enquired as to its whereabouts, its colour, what would we do if we didn’t arrive…

It arrived. He rolled it out and he had a go in it on the living room floor. He pretended to be a mummy, scared his brother, wouldn’t let him have a go of it and it all ended in tears, predictably. Then we spent 15 minutes trying to get it back into the bag it came in.

He has been trailing round the house after me, listing the cereals they’re going to get to choose from on saturday morning. He has mused on what ‘mascot’ he’s going to bring. FYI, I think he’s chosen Icy.

Picture courtesy of world.ty.com
Picture courtesy of world.ty.com

So that’s it. My biggest boy is going out into the world, without an auntie or grandparent there to creep into in the middle of the night. Surrounded by his peers; some of who will be clutching their soft toys and wishing they could sleep so the night would pass quickly, some of who will be bigger and braver and giddy. Hand on heart I’m not sure where he’ll fall on the spectrum.

One thing is for sure; I’ll be sleeping with the car keys under the pillow ready to spring and get him if he needs me. He won’t need me. Dib dib dib.

me and my boy
Practising our duckfaces.

It’s Not Perfect

keepon-keeping-on

It’s not perfect.

Not entirely dissatisfied with life.
Not entirely dissatisfied with life.

But there’s days that run smoothly with only a to-be-expected level of whining and hitting and tears. If you’re four and you’re asked to drop what you’re playing with and get in the car to pick up your brother then it’s okay to give out a little. And if the pirate ship that you painstakingly made out of eighteen pieces of Duplo breaks when you bring it in the car, well it’s fine to shed a few tears about that. I let those cries wash over me and placate any way I can in order to get things done. Continue reading