Tag Archives: children

Who needs television?

Really?! I mean, children are so easily amused. Take my children for instance. Plonk them onfront of the washing machine and they pretend that they are in the cinema.

What kid doesn’t love getting messy with a paint brush, paper and bright colours. This is always a winner until the kid tries finger painting. Then it is time for some disaster management!

A favourite past-time is by far flicking through the many, many books they have on their own dedicated book shelves. You know when it has gone all quiet that they are sitting happily sifting through and reading their books. Either this or they are up to no good…

When it is not raining outside, no child wants to be stuck indoors. So on with the wellies and off out with them to explore, dig for worms, smell new blossoms and generally act the maggot.

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apple & butternut squash soup

I threw this together the other night as I was stuck as to what to make for dinner. I had all the ingredients required in the back of the cupboard. There were two apples left over from the previous week and the butternut squash was a random buy. I always tend to pick up random vegetables in the shops which are on offer and I never know what to do with them.  A soup is a great way to use up unwanted veg.

So here are the ingredients:

a glug of olive oil

finely chopped onions

two peeled and chopped cooking apples

one butternut squash, peeled and chopped

one potato, peeled and chopped

1.5 litres chicken stock

salt & pepper

And here’s what I did –

Heat the oil and glaze the onions until they are soft. Throw in the butternut squash and potato. The potato helps thicken the soup. After five minutes or so throw in the apples. The important thing with making a soup is to allow the vegetables to sweat over a low heat for a good while. This allows the flavours to release and intensifies the taste. Then add the stock (homemade or stock cube, doesn’t matter). Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Blend and serve!

To garnish –

Drizzle a spoon of cream into the bowl for that restaurant look!

Scatter on some roasted pumpkin seeds.

Make some homemade cheese croutons.

I served this up with homemade quiche but would go just as well with a nice green salad.

This is a great soup for the family. Children love the sweet taste of the apples, a great way to get vegetables into them. The colour is beautiful and the butternut squash is a good source of vitamin a and the b-complex vitamins. A great winter warmer…

yum yum in my tum

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Best friends… most of the time

 

 We are sisters and we are best friends (sometimes): that is when Olwyn is not taking my toys or I am not pushing Olwyn over! I love my little sister. She is so cute. We laugh a lot together, like when one of us says a silly word like “boinkydinkitydunk”

We like to hang out in the kitchen. Usually our plan of action  is  to see how long it takes to get on our parents’ nerves while cooking dinner for us. Our secret weapon is that we both whine in unison, which is usually a winner. On other occasions, when we ask really nicely, we get to make rice crispy buns and other nice things. But really we just like licking the spoon and bowl afterwards.

I like to look after my little sister when we go out for walks. Although it is often the case that I do not know my own strength and my Mami and Daddy yell at me to be gentle. I must remember to not put Olwyn in the death grip! I can’t wait until she is big enough and we can go out and explore together.

We also like to sing and read. I am teaching my sister words like “thank you” and “please” because grown-ups like good manners and for some reason it gets you more treats. Olwyn is really good at singing songs and our favourite at the moment is Jingle Bells and Old MacDonald.

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Nicholas the Scarecrow

On Halloween, we walked up to Airfield National Trust in Dundrum. Airfield is an urban farm and gardens in Dublin city. Airfield House dates back to the 1820’s and is still standing. There is a beautiful walled-in garden that has the most amazing herbaceous borders. The trees were filled with little ghosts and lots of carved out pumpkins. The place was magical. Although rain was forecast, the weather behaved itself and the rain stayed at bay.

Animals are a prime attraction for the children who visit here – hens, pigs, sheep, cows and a gaggle of geese. Airfield was choc-a-block with scarecrows made by the visitors. Some were quite life like, although others were just downright creepy. The idea was to make our own scarecrow. I loved this idea as it really gets the kids’ imagination going. I wonder what it feels like for a little child to stand under a scarecrow, with its arms flapping in the wind and its huge grin leering down.  

Seren and Olwyn were fascinated with these creatures towering above them and even more excited at the prospect of making their own. So off we went to the designated area to assemble the scarecrows. There was a nice lady, dressed up as a cow, on hand to help out. There was a pile of clothes to choose from, although we did bring our own. We found a discarded Keith Haring designer jacket and picked up a few other pieces. We went about picking up straw. The place was a hive of activity with other families creating their own masterpieces.

There was a table set up in the centre of the tent with string, coloured paper, markers and other craft material for the children to create the scarecrows’ faces. Pots were provided to stick these onto. Seren was enthralled with the scissors and it took some enticing to get her away from it. Seren drew the scarecrow a little picture to put in his pocket.

 She named him Nicholas. This did not come as a surprise as she names everyone Nicholas! Next job was to hang the guy up. Our cow-lady friend came over and helped us find a spare post to staple him to. Although our hands were frozen, we were all proud of our new “friend”.

This was a great way to spend Halloween. We walked home full of chat about this and that. Seren even got see fireworks for the first time in her life. This was magical for her. When we got home, we lit our pumpkin and Seren got dressed up as a pirate.

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Tree-house

It was another typical rainy weekend in Dublin and I thought to myself “What am I going to do with a rambunctious 2.7 year old to occupy her?”. I had just received something in the mail the other day which came in a big cardboard box. Bingo, I thought. I am going to make a cardboard house. Ok, I lie – Pete will do it!

Well, this is way better than spending lots of money on a plastic house in a toyshop. Seren jumped at the chance and was so excited drawing on the cardboard with chalks and crayons. She drew on flowers, butterflies, spiders and trees…

This was not any cardboard house. It was her “treehouse”. This was her little haven where she could escape and read her books or play with her little monkey. Olwyn would sit outside completely forlorn at her sister’s disappearance into this structure. Olwyn would crawl in to investigate once Seren had vacated the premises. But Olwyn did not trust her surroundings and would reverse immediately on arrival!

 We have gotten a lot of mileage out of this creation. We still have it folded up and slid under the coach. It comes out on those rainy days…

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