Another week

Another attempt at feeding my offspring actual proper food.

It was… neutral.

I made a stew:

Which I turned into soup:


I really could do with a stick blender. I would be more than happy to review one should some kind reader belong to a blender company and be willing to send me one – worth a try right?


Which I managed to persuade each child to eat roughly half of. TT was half enough after I bribed her with the prospect of apple juice.

#1 Son? We fought, prevaricated, and in the end I fed him a large portion of it myself.


These issues were not much improved by TT shouting “choo choo” and “train” whilst I was trying to do this ๐Ÿคจ


However by doing this we did settle on half of the bowl.

Today’s Meal:

  • Fingerling Potatoes (rainbow)
  • Beef
  • Squash – it was from Mexico and looked similar to an acorn squash but roughly double the size and squatter. I roasted it with maple syrup again.
  • Leek.
  • A 500g bag of frozen “Italian blend” vegetables: including courgette, carrot, cauliflower, green beans, Lima beans
  • Vegetable stock – which I made the last time of soup making.
  • Left over store bought chicken stock with a sprinkle of good quality beef bouillon.
  • Salt.

I made way too much, so I ran a litre or so down to H – who apparently loved it โ˜บ๏ธ


So did the hus-creature, and soup isn’t a thing of his – so yay me!


I also made more stock:

But unfortunately in an attempt to condense it down to concentrate the flavour I boiled off a bit too much water, so I only have 3 cups/ 3/4 of a litre of it this time.

Ah well, it’s still tasty and useful.

Self Care

I think we can all agree that it’s important.

We’ve had a bit of an… intense week here.

It started on Monday when we received a debt collection letter for less than ยฃ70 from a company. Addressed to the hus-creature.


Fret not dear audience, we paid it. It wasn’t worth hassling to that level over


For energy in our old property.

For the record this was down to the incompetence of Co-Operative Energy. Do not use them. Ever. They are worse than useless.

See, when we informed them that we were moving and paid off the balance they somehow decided that we were tenants. And so did not keep my details on file for the time between moving (July 15) and the house sale completion (October 13).

However instead of contacting us by name as, you know, the debt was in our names, and so having those letters forwarded, they decided in their infinite wisdom to address them to The Occupier. Which Royal Mail do not forward.

So the first we hear about it is the debt collection letter. Now, interestingly, the debt should have been in my name, as I paid all household bills out of my salary. But it was addressed to the hus-creature only. So we aren’t sure whose credit it might potentially have trashed.

But we paid it before making enquiries. Because, according to the hus-creature:

Co-operative will have sold this debt on to this collection company for pennies on the pound so I would rather they not get a penny of our money.

A sentiment I couldn’t really argue with and either way we did owe the money.

We’ve not taken it lying down though – a politely furious twitter campaign highlighting their incompetence has been ongoing and we have complained about the fact that my online account still showed a ยฃ0 balance owed when this letter arrived

In a move that shocks no-one the company “cannot explain this”

They’ve doubled down on the “oh but your wife told us that you were tenants” which is a total lie, but they have assured us that it won’t affect our credit ratings as it never reached legal proceedings stage.

I do not believe them. At all. And so we will be paying to check our credit and paying for more Royal Mail redirection.

I’m furious, but we didn’t exactly have options – we don’t live in the U.K. right now so we can’t deal with it in person. We might move back, so we cannot afford to have our (previously perfect) credit histories trashed. So if they have messed with it, I will rain down hellfire and brimstone.

So that was a fun Monday.

Then on Tuesday we received communication from the landlady that she suddenly had concerns about a swing set that she had previously agreed to and we had ordered

And to be brutally honest we only checked out of courtesy – there’s nothing in the lease that said we couldn’t, and there was already play equipment (but no swing set) out there and she had okayed it.

But there was suddenly concerns that:

  • The children might hurt themselves – well I wasn’t going to leave #1 Son out there by himself was I? Let alone TT
  • Children might walk in off the street and use it – Well first off if they did they are badly brought up, and secondly how’s about you install the blasted fence you promised when we moved in
  • We might sue them (the landlord) if the kids hurt themselves – see the first point.

We measured up before we bought it. We got permission. And it’s a 2018 swingset.

There are a minimum of four kids going to be out in the backyard in any one day once the weather warms up/the summer holidays start. We needed something that could accommodate that.

So that was an aggravation.

Oh and she suddenly wanted proof of Renters Insurance. We have it. We sent it. But it was another irritation.


Please don’t misunderstand me. I know we need it. Of course she wants to see it. But, in my opinion, that should have been made clear when we moved in. Not six months down the line.


Oh and the air conditioner needed it’s filter replacing. So I got a lecture on where to buy a ($3) filter and how often to change it, and not to use the wrong size (I am 35 not 13) and you know what? As we technically share the apartment with said landlady, it is not solely our responsibility. But whatever. It’s three bucks every 3-6 months. I’ll deal with it.

So that added to my levels of pissed off-ness.

Then TT decided that going back on hunger strike would be fun, because why not. And #1 Son is, as ever, a totally fussy swine.

However this week I officially met his harem. I’m not kidding. My not-quite-six-year-old Son has a group of 5th Grade girls (at least 5 of them) completely devoted to him. They are eleven. I am by turns both amused and terrified about what this implies for the next decade or so!

That cheered me up. Then we tried to get TT to actually say her brother’s name:

She has… views on this though ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ

She does prefer her OWN version

But yeah it’s been a trying week. So when the lovely H said she was getting her nails done, and did I want to come along? I leapt at it, as I haven’t had them done since before my operation and I was feeling sad about the state of them.

Why yes, yes they are colour changing. I’m fascinated by them ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ

We have a standing fortnightly appointment now ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

Self care – it’s important y’all.

I am in shock.

Total shock. I am stunned. I am speechless.

Tonight I made (another) soup.

  • Rainbow new potatoes – 1 bag
  • Rainbow carrots – 1 bag
  • 1 boneless pork chop
  • Acorn squash – roasted with olive oil and maple syrup (and I tipped the maple-y juice back into the pan)
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 apples
  • A good handful of kale
  • Veggie stock from the last two soups
  • 2 cloves of garlic

Did the usual 6-7 hours in the slow cooker and blitzed it down:

#1 Son’s is on the top,TT’s is underneath.

I used some leftover baguette from yesterday’s lunch as the dippable item. TT yummed that up.

#1 Son was much more reticent, but that’s kind of standard and expected these days.

He actually dipped the bread though. And ate it. He told me “I don’t actually like it mom, but I want my sister to eat it, so I am saying how yummy it is”

I could have burst with pride.

And this was what was left:

The bowls are in the same order. Yes TT practically wiped hers out, which is great, but look.

He. Ate. Food.

Real food.

Food I cooked.

And, and and he asked to have it again tomorrow!!! I damn well nearly keeled over in shock.

And I may have been *this* close to crying tears of happiness and shock.

I canโ€™t not share this

I made a meal that both kids ate!!!!!

I am astounded and amazed and slightly scared to be honest.

It was another stew/soup thing made of the following:

  • Fingerling potatoes – white, russet, purple.
  • Sweet potato/yams.
  • Rainbow carrots – orange, yellow, white, purple.
  • Red onion.
  • Beef.
  • Roasted Acorn squash – roasted with olive oil and maple syrup.
  • Frozen peas (because it needed something green!)
  • Two cloves of garlic
  • My homemade vegetable stock from the last batch of soup, leftover store-bought chicken stock (yes, yes, I know it’s not normal but it’s what I had on hand)
  • A sachet of posh beef bullion to deal with the above.
  • A good dash of salt

And I don’t mind admitting it tasted bloody awesome! Heck, I had some for my lunch today.

I decided that since there was so many carbs in it, that I wasn’t going to add pasta to it. However, based on observation, I felt it best to blend it down and turn it into potage for them.

And wow am I glad I did!

Now admittedly #1 Son’s bowl is the one on the right, but look – it’s half empty!!!!

Okay, it took patience and cajoling and persuasion to get him to do that, but it’s homemade and nutritious and he ate it!!!

I’m not foolish enough to believe that it’s any kind of breakthrough, but it progress!!!!

Pass the whiskey

No. Really.

It’s 17:30, mom is starting her third beer, I am drinking my first (which is actually yesterday’s first – since my op I haven’t really drunk much in a go).

In the first instance mom kicked me out of the house, gently persuaded me, to take TT to the park.

She refused to wear her snow boots. Or indeed any boots. And there was snow.

Not vast amounts, as it is melting, but it was there. She got wet.

But there were moments of cuteness

She then found (and ignored) a stick

No. There was no stick song.

We stayed out for about 45 minutes, and she had a whale of a time. But she did end up soaking wet due to snow and falling down.

I had to bribe her with candy to get her back in the pram! She totally charmed the man behind the counter in the grocery store though ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ

Then came dinner. Sigh.

Yes, it went about as well as expected.

Take a guess, dear audience as to which bowl on the right hand side belonged to which child….

Go on…

I’ll wait…

She scoffed it. We are having the leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Honestly, even though I am tooting my own horn more than a little, it actually tastes really good!!!

#1 Son on the other hand? I basically begged him to eat three mouthfuls. Total bust.

I’ll keep trying…

Domestic Goddessing

No really. I have been.

Stop laughing at the back there!!!!

My wonderful momma is returning to Blighty a week tomorrow (๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ข๐Ÿ˜ฐ) so I’m having to actually make a concerted effort to pull my finger out and get back to normality.


Right here and now I cannot promise to maintain standards of ironing for anyone beyond #1 Son – he likes “smart” so let’s see how we go.

God help me!!!!


So today, _I_ have thrown together the dinner for the children.

It is a stew of my own invention (and therefore probably lacks seasoning)

Order thrown into pot:
  • Fingerling potatoes – three colours
  • One small turnip
  • One parsnip
  • Three carrots – one orange, one purple, one white
  • One acorn squash
  • One boneless pork chop
  • Three (peeled) apples
  • Remains of a bag of frozen green beans that #1 Son has been refusing to eat
  • A bunch of fresh sage (I have since been informed that I shouldn’t have used that much and only used the leaves – these have since been extracted)
  • A pint of ready made chicken stock (like lamb, pork stock does not apparently exist)
  • Pinch of salt

Chucked it all in the slow cooker on high, been in 2.5 hours at the moment.

I’ll blend it down for their dinner and call it potage. TT will eat it. #1 Son? Almost certainly not.

Sigh.

Food decisions

Since mom has been staying we have been trying to expand the food repertoire of both children. On Monday we made home made pizza.

Yes on these pizzas were:

  • Tomato paste
  • Taco cheese
  • Ham
  • Pepperoni
  • Peas
  • And on TT’s only – mushrooms

He tried everything before putting it on the pizza. Everything got the thumbs up.

Then once cooked? Nope. Nothing. Nada. Outright refusal. We then had to persuade him to eat 3/4 of it based on the fact that he had made it himself.

Iโ€™ve reached the end of my tether with #1 Son now. Since before he turned two heโ€™s been beyond ridiculously picky about food. It’s been four years.

His sister (who is two) was, I thought, just as picky. But no. Sheโ€™s just been copying him. I cannot deal anymore.

So weโ€™ve decided that we cannot simply cater to the lowest common denominator anymore, as she is suffering for it.

Iโ€™ve had a rule in place for at least the last year, that if you just try the thing on your plate, and you cannot eat it, I will make toast to replace it BUT YOU HAVE TO TRY.

So last night he went to bed both early AND hungry, because he refused to try potage. It was basically just highly blended down slow cooked beef stew with pasta. We had made it into a sauce dammit.

He just had to TRY IT. And he refused. While his sister wolfed it down. Followed by a dessert of oven baked banana, with a topping of natural yoghurt and a shall amount of melted (Hershey) chocolate. No, he didn’t get any.

Iโ€™m at the end of my rope. Itโ€™s not purely sensory as he eats things of various consistencies.

I also feel guilt because heโ€™s been recently complaining that meals are โ€œboringโ€ but what am I supposed to do?

This morning we had a breakfast treat of chocolate cherry pie. He REFUSED. Then when finally argued into it claimed it made his tongue โ€œmintyโ€. It wasnโ€™t a sour cherry pie, heโ€™s eaten frosted cherry pop tarts and loved them.

He has particularly been grumping about breakfast being boring. But when I actually try and get him out of his rut? Meltdown.

He did have cereal first, so it’s not like he has gone to school hungry – that would be academic suicide – but lord.

I’m just exhausted from the daily battles. If it’s not food, it’s school, if it’s not school it’s some other perceived unfairness.

Can I have booze yet?

Insert Clever Title Here

So, I have been home 24 hours.

Momma is amazing and is (as I hoped knew) whipping my children into shape. She brooks no crapulence* and the Tiny Tyrant doesn’t seem to have realised what has hit her!!!

(I’m not loving it at all oh no ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ)

Things That Have Been Achieved:

  • She has sorted out my house – and I am so grateful. It’s hard to see the wood from the trees with small people underfoot. It wasn’t a mess when she arrived, but there is now significant organisation!
  • She has pushed the children’s respective bedtimes back by an hour – and they are not waking up earlier!!!!
  • TT’s tantrums and attempts at manipulating Mommy-Nanny (her name for my mom) are mostly met with a raised eyebrow or a laugh – and the affront is hilarious
  • #1 Son is eating new things! I cannot begin to describe the relief. Today as a “just got home from school” snack he ate three rounds of cheese spread and turkey ham sandwiches and then at dinner time ate: pasta (plain with some butter and grated cheese), cucumber, and chopped up frankfurters. Okay, he didn’t eat the carrot but we didn’t expect any so this is amazing!!! TT will eat regular food if she isn’t distracted, but this is such an amazing occurrence.

Basically, as my Mothership has seen it all before and hasn’t lived with them, (and therefore beyond the SEN concerns with #1 Son) doesn’t have my “tried it, it won’t work” fears, we are losing nothing by trying. And really its mostly TT – #1 Son is a good boy at heart and not a demon wearing human skin ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ

Today I have managed to get up and have a little wander four times. The remaining post-surgical wall has been breached** and I have only taken two doses of Motrin and one of Percocet (and if it continues this well, I have hopes of not finishing my Percocet prescription.)

I learned a lot from my laparoscopies, and the main thing was DON’T BLOODY OVERDO IT

So, as yet I have picked up nothing heavier than my phone, the 3DS or the Switch. I have attempted to knit/crochet through the power of my mind, but sadly my powers of telekinesis remain dormant.

I also have only napped in two 1-hour stretches as I want to sleep at night!

I received this beautiful bouquet from my in laws today:

Flowers

THANK YOU ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜

And my knitting group have banded together to bring me meals every so often over the next week or so – home cooked at that! Tonight’s was vegetarian lasagne and this confirmed carnivore thought it was delicious ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

*My Daddy coined that term in a phone call earlier this week ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ

**This is my polite way of indicating I managed a #2

School dinners

Are very different here.

Admittedly, it’s really difficult to get out of #1 Son what he’s had of a school day – he tends to forget.

But yesterday when I asked, he was adamant it was cereal. I shrugged it off because it was a half day and maybe he was overexcited. But today he told me he had French toast with syrup.

๐Ÿคญ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ˜ฏ๐Ÿ˜ฆ๐Ÿ˜ง

So I thought I would investigate.

10 January 2018:

Now, you know what? This isn’t too bad. I mean, there’s yoghurt and cheese. I’m shocked that he apparently ate Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but hey this is good.

Now for today,

11 January 2018:

This? This I am less impressed with. Again it’s a one off, and most days he has a blasted peanut butter and (grape) jelly sandwich, so as a treat fine.

But it has definitely reminded me that I am in the country where pizza is considered a vegetable. I’m not taking his choice away from him though. He’s eating so much better at school than he was. The agency of choice there is vital.

I’m just going to mumble and grumble about options.

Having a meal out

Is not easy. We’ve mostly taken to having the kid’s tablets with us wherever we go.

In the main, this means that we can eat out, as they keep the children occupied. But, as previously documented, TT managed to shatter the screen of hers (๐Ÿ™„)

Therefore we are back to one tablet between two children and, rather unsurprisingly, #1 Son is more than a tad miffed that he is having to share.

So, we took them out for their first trip to Wendy’s sans tablets.

I am very impressed with Wendy’s I admit. For all it’s being a fast food burger joint (and for its burgers to not be a patch on Wayback) it’s more tasty than Mc Donald’s or Burger King.

It has pretty good kids meal options – with no pickle on them ๐Ÿคข๐Ÿคฎ๐Ÿคข๐Ÿคฎ๐Ÿคข๐Ÿคฎ and, most importantly – you can replace fries with a baked potato.

I have occasional cravings for a good old jacket – especially as the hus-creature apparently does not like them ๐Ÿ™€๐Ÿ™€๐Ÿ™€


As well as:

  • Blueberries
  • Rice pudding
  • Fruit in pop tarts/toaster pastries generally
  • Hot Pots
  • Stews with dumplings

In fact, anything that could be termed “Boring British” in cuisine terms.

He will eat roast dinners but hates cooking them (a fair cop guv’nor) and loves Yorkshire puddings.


So it’s a treat for me to get one when we go out, especially if they replace fries.

So the kiddies both have cheeseburgers. #1 Son chose apple pieces instead of fries (and he actually ate them) and so did the hus-creature. TT ate some of her brother’s apple and some of her fries.

The lack of tablets caused a few issues I admit. Firstly, TT wanted to sit on a chair at a 2-person table and would not move. Then #1 Son could not be persuaded to sit still. And, perhaps more importantly when finally corralled into place, began pulling his t-shirt (long sleeved) over his head.

So, bearing everything in mind, we settled on the following:

  • Only walking around our table
  • Leaving his sister alone
  • Keeping his clothes in place

You would think that these were neither difficult nor unreasonable requests.

๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚

๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ซ๐Ÿ˜ข

Ah well. This is why we don’t go out often. #1 Son is hard to contain, TT then feeds off of his energy, and I’m meant to be watching my stress levels and my blood pressure.

Oh, and it is -13C out there right now.

Even the small furnace that is my son is starting to complain of the cold.


Not that he will wear a winter coat – the best we manage is a winter-suitable-for-the-UK one. It is at least fleece lined though.


Yep these were all taken today on the way for lunch. Welcome to New England.

It’s like Old England but on steroids.

But, you know what? For all my complaints and dread, the two of them are at least capable of some cute moments.

And there was the moment where TT demanded “Nanoo KISS”

Where I just about died of the adorable. Despite the fights (which get louder and more physical much quicker these days) these kids do adore each other.

I also let her play with crayons today. Both regular and bath type.

She completely covered several sheets of paper (both sides) and while in the bath declared that several independent and separate drawings were “dinosaurs”.

So I’m a proud mom tonight.

(There was also no poop ๐Ÿ˜‚)