Archive | April, 2012

Beef and Vegetables: A recipe for babies to adults

29 Apr

I do not want my kids to adopt the same eating habits I had as a child.  I was pretty much the worlds fussiest eater. I survived on: milk, macaroni and cheese, cheese pizza, turkey hot dogs, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (on processed white bread), McNuggets, and of course, junk food (as if the other stuff wasn’t junk food…). Seriously, I’m not even joking. That is what I ate. All. The. Time.

Even when we went out for dinner, my parents would have to go through the drive through of McDonald’s to get my my nugget happy meal.  Then we’d take my bright red box with yellow arch handles into the restaurant with us. I’d eat that, they’d eat the restaurant food. How embarrassing. For them. I was little, I didn’t care.

Hannah is proving to be a lot like I was when I was little. Sigh. Not as bad, by any means, but still picky and it’s hard to get her to try anything. She doesn’t like meat, except hot dogs (hmmm….sound familiar?), and the occasional chicken nugget. But, she does like vegetables (especially from the garden), fruit, and nuts, so she’s not doing too bad.

Daniel, he’ll eat pretty much anything. I’ve been giving him Rafferty’s Garden flavours of the world so he gets used to all different tastes and hopefully won’t turn out to be a horrible eater like I was.

I don’t know how to cook meat. I don’t like red meat. I think it tastes disgusting. But I still want my kids to eat it because I know it’s full of protein, vitamins, and iron. Aaron loves meat. Occasionally I attempt to cook it for him, but it always ends badly. Think chewing on a bit of car tire. Yeah, pretty much like that.

But, I’ve been asked to test some meat recipes that can feed the whole family (except me of course, because I don’t like it!), so I gave it another go. You can easily adapt the finished dish into puree, lumpy, finger food, and/or toddler fare. Awesome. That is just the sort of thing I need since I don’t have a lot of time cook. Well, I would, except that when I am in the kitchen, Daniel is not impressed. He stands up holding onto the baby gate, shakes the daylights out of it, and screams bloody murder whilst yelling “MUM, MUM-MUM, MUM!” So yeah, quick, easy recipes to feed the whole family would be a welcome change.

This is the fist recipe I tried (more to follow in the weeks to come). You can find the entire eBrochure, which is full of information and recipes for the whole family at The Main Meal. Keep reading below to find out how I went with the recipe.

When I glanced at the recipe, I saw that it said “prep time 15 mins, cooking time 8 mins.” Awesome. Quick, easy meal. But then, as I got everything out to start cooking, I realised they did not include the pumpkin in those times. You need the pumpkin to add to the blender to make it baby food, but it’s not actually included in the recipe. Kind of annoying.

That made my whole schedule a bit off, as the pumpkin takes longer to cook then the other stuff, but I continued with it anyway. I decided to roast the pumpkin, and also added some carrot in there as well since roasted carrot is so darn delicious. You could also cut them into small pieces and boil them instead (that would be faster and more easily mushed).

I thought I had skewers, but I didn’t. Sigh. So, I decided to just stir fry everything instead. I used red capsicum because that’s what I had in the fridge, and cut up a regular tomato instead of the cherry ones. It’s all about using what you have!

If it weren’t for the pumpkin, the prep and cook time is accurate, and it’s  pretty darn easy to make too.

To make it Daniel (8 months old) friendly, I followed these instructions:

Daniel absolutely loved it. Scarfed it down like there was no tomorrow.

For Hannah, I followed these instructions. Minus the skewer, since I didn’t have any:

Much to my dismay, I have never gotten Hannah to try beef. Ever. Except for salami sticks. For some strange reason she loves those. Usually, she looks at it, turns her nose up, and declares she doesn’t like it. Yeah, before she even tries it (just like I did when I was little…Sorry Mom and Dad, now I know just how annoying that is!). So I didn’t really have high hopes.

But she did try it. She grabbed a piece of that meat and took a very decent sized bite, tearing the bit in her mouth from the bit in her hand with her teeth like a seasoned meat eater.  And then she chewed. And swallowed. She didn’t even spit it out! I was flabbergasted!

“Do you like it?” I asked her.

“Yeah, it’s good!” She told me.

She didn’t eat any more of the meat, but she tried it. And that’s major progress, so that’s good enough for me!

As for Aaron? He liked it too. I think that’s the first beef thing I’ve made that he’s actually liked. It wasn’t like chewing a tire, and he ate it all. “It’s actually good.” He told me. Um…thanks.

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The impossible shopping trolleys

26 Apr

Only the front two wheels of a car can turn left and right. Can you imagine driving a car whose four wheels would all turn while you drove? It would be insanity!

So why then, do all four wheels on Australian shopping trolleys (carts) turn? And not just a little, they all turn 360 degrees. Everyone here seems to think this is normal. Sigh. I suppose they don’t know any better.

Turning from one aisle to the next involves the front of the trolley staying pretty much still, and the back part, the part that I’m pushing, swinging around in a very wide semi-circle, with me chasing after it whilst trying not to run any old ladies down.

When I’m all finished with my shopping, I push the trolley full of groceries AND two rambunctious children outside, towards the car. I have to go down a hill between the shop’s front door, and the car park. A nice, paved, under cover, side-walked hill. But it also slopes just a tiny, tiny bit to the right.

Since all four wheels can turn 360 degrees, the shopping trolley then tries to go sideways down the hill as well as forward.  To avoid maiming people, or having the trolley fall over on it’s side, spilling groceries and giving the kids brain damage, I have to actually stand next to the crazy trolley, one hand on the front, the other on the back, just to keep it on my intended path. Ridiculous.

Then we get to the botton of the hill and the back of the trolley kicks out and I have to use all of my might to stop it, and then turn it toward the direction I actually want it to go.

I know people who have had these ridiculous trolleys actually tip over on them. With kids and groceries inside. Can you imagine the embarrassment? And I’ve heard these stories from more than one person. It’s actually not an uncommon occurrence.

Who thought 4 turning wheels would be a good idea? I think said person needs a swift kick in the rear. And then why was this ridiculous idea implemented on every single shopping trolley in Australia? I wonder if they have ever had proper shopping trolleys over here. You know, ones that have back wheels that don’t turn left or right (but go forward of course), and front wheels that do. Trolley’s that you can turn without pulling a muscle in your back. Trolleys that don’t try to kill your children and/or damage all of your food.

This is just another reason I love Costco. Finally, there is a Costco here. The first time I went there, I had slight nightmares about pushing around a giant sized crazy Australian style shopping trolley. Thank goodness Costco has brought with them the American style shopping trolley. It’s such a relief to go there and actually be able to push the trolley properly. Not to mention I can look at all the American things I grew up with. Peanut butter cups, Hershey’s syrup,  those delicious muffins that Costco makes themselves.  It’s like being back to the U.S. while I’m in there. So I really like it. And no, they didn’t pay me or give me anything to write this, we just went there the other day. And by mentioning this, I can put up the adorable photos I took while I was there. Yeah, my little man loves to smile for the camera. Hannah, not so much.

Let’s hope the American shopping trolleys catch on.

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Best. Wedding Speech. Ever.

22 Apr

Aaron and I don’t celebrate Valentines day. Instead, we celebrate Aaron and Sheri Day. The anniversary of the day we first started going out, 11 years ago yesterday.  Last year, I wrote about how we started going out.

So this year, I’m going to leave you with Michael’s (the best man) speech from our wedding. We didn’t even know if Michael was going to make a speech. I mean I know that’s what’s generally done, but we’d never spoken to him about it.

And boy did he pull it off:

Ok, well there was supposed to be a video here of the awesome speech, but I CAN’T FIND OUR WEDDING VIDEO ANYWHERE! Or any of our videos prior to 2008. Crap. That really, really sucks.

I guess I’ll just have to leave you with the two photos we took before going out to dinner last night. Sigh. I really wanted to show you the video.

Ok, so it's hard to get a photo without at least one child photo-bombing.

I'm not actually taller than Aaron (and neither of us are taller than anyone). He must be slouching.

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Hannah hates tangles

19 Apr

Hannah’s hair is long. Really long. Halfway down her back long (and she’s only 2 and a half years old, so it’s been long for pretty much her entire life). Well, it was until the weekend, when I took her to the hairdressers for a trim and they hacked 2+ inches off. And they cut more hair into her fringe, after I SPECIFICALLY told them not to. Why don’t hairdressers ever listen? Anyway, that’s so not the point.

“I DON’T WANT TO HAVE A BATH!!!!!!!!!!” Hannah would scream when it was hair washing time. She used to be fine with me washing her hair. She’d lay down in the tub and I’d use my hand to gently rinse out her tear-free conditioning shampoo. Occasionally it would get in her eyes. But that didn’t matter, it was no more tears. She didn’t care.

As her hair got longer though, conditioning shampoo just didn’t do it for her. It was fine for the shampoo part. But she needed a stand alone conditioner. Something to nourish her hair and help me comb her awful tangles out. 2 year olds get a lot of tangles.

I went in search of a baby/toddler product to use. But I found nothing. Not one stand alone conditioner for babies or toddlers.

So I decided to just use my conditioner on her. It was going great for a while.  Her hair was strong, healthy and shiny and non straw-like.

But then one day whilst using my hand as a cup to rinse out that lovely conditioner from her hair, the tiniest little drop of mostly water with a little bit of conditioner in it  got in her eye. Worst. Clumsy Moment. Ever. Sigh.

She screamed.  The white of her eye went an angry shade of red. Tears flew out of her eyes. Snot descended from her nose. Her mouth emitted way too much drool. And it lasted for ages.

Ever since that day, she has been terrified of getting her hair washed. I had to hold her down in the bottom of the bathtub (which obviously wasn’t filled very high) while she screamed and kicked just so I could wash the days gunk out of her hair.  I started forcing her to wear her hair up (she doesn’t particularly like it up) so it wouldn’t get food, glue, paint, playdoh, etc. in it.  I only washed it once or twice per week to avoid melt downs.

And then I got a wonderful email. There is now a conditioner for toddlers. A no tears, toddler specific stand alone conditioner. And, they wanted me to try it for free, along with the shampoo, and detangler. YES THANKS!

When they arrived, I told Hannah the package was for her.  I told her she would have her very own hair stuff that wouldn’t hurt her eyes. She was very excited.

She still screamed for the next few baths.  I got some in her eye accidentally.  She screamed for about a bit, but then realised it didn’t actually hurt. Now, she doesn’t scream in the bath at all.  Instead, she has fun in there like she used to.

Her hair is so easy to comb out now. When I was using my conditioner on her, it still took a few minutes to comb out the tangles. Now I put the Johnson and Johnson No More Tangles Conditioner in her hair, and it takes about 20 seconds to comb it out in the bath. And the best part? If she doesn’t want to rinse out the conditioner, she doesn’t have to. You can leave it in.

I was skeptical of leaving it in. I thought it would make her hair look greasy and yuck. But it didn’t. It looked and felt exactly the same as when we rinsed it out.

And the detangler? That’s great too. When Hannah wakes up in the morning, head full of tangles from sleeping on it all night, I just spray it with detangler, and quickly and easily brush it out. Simple. And awesome. I use it on me too for the same reason. Plus it smells nice.

I’ve always used Johnson and Johnson shampoo on her hair, so there’s nothing to compare to with that one.

Hannah’s hair was a tad bit shinier when I was using my conditioner in her hair, but I’d trade a bit of shine for easy to comb and doesn’t make her eyes red any day of the week. Plus, she’s 2, she doesn’t need super shiny hair.

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Fight with the sun

18 Apr

We were driving home from Grandma’s house when Hannah started making a fuss.

“NOOOOOOO!” She shouted

“NOOOO, GO AWAY SUN!”

I looked in the mirror and tried not to laugh. Her arms were flapping around like she was attempting to defend herself against an entire swarm of mosquitoes.

“GET OUT OF MY FACE SUN! LEAVE ME ALONE SUN!”

It was the afternoon and the sun was getting lower in the sky. Hannah’s car seat is right in the middle of the back seat. There is no front seat to shield her poor little eyes from that blazing Australian sun shining through the wind screen. Sure it would be easier to actually get her in the car if her seat was to one side, but then if Aaron and I wanted to drive Grandma somewhere, we couldn’t. Because how would an 82 year old woman climb over a child’s or baby’s car seat and then manage to fit in between them?

Home wasn’t far away, only a couple of minutes. But Hannah was getting increasingly unsettled.

“Shut your eyes sweetie, then the sun won’t be in them.” I told her as she flapped about.

“IT’S STILL IN MY EYES!” She yelled while they were still closed.

“Put your head down and look at the floor, then it won’t be in your eyes anymore.” I told her.

“GO AWAY SUN, I DON’T LIKE YOU! GET OUT OF MY EYES! GO AWAY! GO AWAY! DON’T BE MEAN SUN!”

She started crying. Crying and flapping and screaming for the sun to get out of her eyes.

I felt bad for her, but at the same time, it was pretty hilarious to glimpse in the rear view mirror.

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I knew this day would come

17 Apr

I knew this day would come. I’ve heard the stories. They say it happens at least once with every child. But of course I was hoping my child wouldn’t do that.

“Mommy, I have to go pee pee.” Hannah told me.  I opened the bathroom door for her. We used to keep it open, but now Daniel seems to have this dire need to go in the bathroom and stick his fingers in Hannah’s little toilet and/or pull himself up on the big toilet whilst shoving his little hands under toilet seat.  So yeah, the door stays closed now.

After I opened the door, I went to the kitchen to get her beloved little stool with the monkey face on it. She likes to stand on it to wash her hands.

“Mommy, there’s my poo nugget.” She told me when I re-entered the bathroom.

“Your poo nugget?”

“Yeah, my poo nugget is in the toilet.” She told me as she stood next to the big toilet with her undies around her ankles, holding up the lid in one hand.

Why was I not rejoicing? Why was I not ecstatic at the fact that my child finally pooped in the toilet? Easy. She can’t get up there all by herself.  Not without her monkey stool.  Which happend to be in my hand.

ICK!

“DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING!!!!!!!!!” I told her, a little too loud and crazily. I didn’t want those poo hands contaminating anything!

And then I washed her hands like she had the plague.

“Hannah, just for future reference, we don’t touch poop. Poop is icky.”

Sigh.

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8 annoying things kids do

14 Apr

Everyone loves their kids. But lets face it, sometimes they do things that drive us nuts. Here are some of them:

1. They ask a question. You answer it. But then they want to know why. You tell them. But then they want to know why to that answer. And so on, and so on, and so on, and sooooooooooo oooooooonnnnnnnnn….

2. You go to put your baby in his car seat. And he suddenly wants to play I’m-a-completely-stiff-tree. Helpful.

3. Toddlers like to dress themselves. They like to choose their clothes. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean just going to the closet, nicely browsing through the choices, and then choosing one. Nope, not like that at all. Sigh.

4. Every time you attempt to put on your baby’s clothes, he thinks it’s time to see how much he can flap his limbs. Not only that, but he also enjoys throwing his head back with a gusto, whilst turning into a little human pretzel.

5. Parents put so much effort into preparing healthy delicious, kid-friendly meals for their toddlers. We serve it up to them in creative ways. But what do they do? They turn their little noses up and declare they don’t like it. Before they try even try it.

6. “No! No! No! No!” Ick, the terrible twos.  Defiance is rife, and often makes me want to scream and run for the hills.

7. You can’t wear your hair down, or wear any sort of jewellery, otherwise giant clumps of hair will be pulled out, earrings will be painfully ripped from your ears, and necklaces will half choke you before being completely broken.

8. When you’re changing a nappy, they seem to thoroughly enjoy playing rodeo. I.E. their little bottom is the out of control bull, and you have to attempt to wrangle it back onto the change table long enough to actually get the nappy on.

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What annoying things do your kids do?

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What is bomit for?

10 Apr

“Mom, what’s this?” Hannah asked me as she held up a small yellow plastic mixing bowl.

“That is in case you vomit.” I told her. She was sick for a couple days, and I hate vomit. I had delusions of her actually getting the vomit in the bowl if she needed to chuck. But you know, they were just that. Delusions.

“Can we eat bomit?” She asked. I nearly died choking on my laughter, but I couldn’t let it out and make her feel stupid. That is a legitimate question when you’re 2.

“No sweetie, vomit is icky.”

“Why?”

“Because it’s full of half digested food.”

“What is bomit for?” She wondered.

“It’s for making your tummy feel better when you’re sick.”

“Why?”

“Because when you’re sick, your stomach doesn’t like having food in it.”

“Why?”

Sigh.

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I hate spew

7 Apr

Oh. My. Goodness. Remember when Aaron and I were at the Gold Coast  and Hannah chucked all over the rental car. And then YaYa’s house, and then had to go to the hospital? You can read about it here.

Well, that pretty much happened again this morning, without the hospital part. Only this time, it was our car. Yeah, our WRX that we only just got paid off. The one that I referred to in my post  only a week ago. Specifically I referred to the car saying that when I take the kids to the doctor I hope they don’t vomit all over the leather interior. Sigh.

Oh, and this time, I had the kids all by myself. I had just pulled into the parking lot at the gym when some dodgy sounding burp-ish noises erupted from the back seat.

“Are you ok?” I asked Hannah.

“Yeah.” She told me.

And then the vomiting started. Just like the Gold Coast. Not once, not twice. Three times in quick sucession. It was everywhere. Ick. Churns my stomach just thinking about it. Did I mention that I have a vomit phobia? I looked it up once, it even has a name: emetophobia.

Oh. My. Gosh. What was I going to do? I was all by myself with 2 kids in the car, one covered in vomit. I don’t like dealing with vomit ever. Not even when it’s mine. Ick.

But even if I wanted to deal with it, what would I do with Daniel while I cleaned Hannah up? What would I do with Hannah while I cleaned the car and car seat up? Sigh. I can’t just put them in the house (er..apartment). You can’t see the garage area from our apartment, it’s at the back and we live at the front. I can’t just put Daniel in the house by himself.

Nope, I couldn’t do it on my own. So I called for back up.

“Boo (that’s Aaron, my husband in case you’re new here), I need to pick you up. There’s vomit everywhere and we’re in the car.”

Luckily he was only about 2 streets over, running. 17kms finished from the 22 he was intending to run. Oh well, more important matters at hand.

“I think my unicorn pillow needs a little wash.” Hannah told me as she sat there, covered nearly head to toe in her own disgusting vomit.

Then the front car seat was covered in Boo sweat, the back covered in vomit. Ick.

Thanks Boo for cleaning it all up.

Maybe next time, when Hannah tells me her stomach doesn’t feel well, I’ll turn around quick smart and high tail it home.

Ok, I don’t want to talk about this anymore. Ever.

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Fear of the septic tank

5 Apr

I can’t believe it was a whole year ago that I visited my parents in the U.S.  On one hand, it feels like years ago that I was there, but on the other, it feels like it was only a couple of months ago.

Recently I signed up for Timehop, a free service that you link to your social media accounts. Each day, you get an email with your status updates, tweets, etc. from exactly 1 year before.  Since I was in the U.S. at this time last year, I’ve been enjoying re-living a little bit of my trip each day, and seeing the funny things Hannah used to say before she could speak so well.

But, the daily re-living has made me remember the septic tank. Yeah, you read that right, the septic tank. My parents have one. I grew up with one. And well water. Whenever the power went out, we’d have no water either. But that’s another story for another day….

Back to the septic tank. The septic tank is toward the back of the side yard. That doesn’t make a lot of sense, but, I mean to the side of the house, more to the back than the front.

When I was little, I used to avoid (as much as one could) playing near the septic tank. I gave that side yard a pretty wide berth. When I could help it. When other people were around and walking/playing/bike riding/horse riding through the area, I’d go there too. I didn’t want them to know that I was scared of the septic tank. But I was. Wuss.

I always imagined it to be this gigantic deep cylindrical thing, with a very thin lid on top, and dirt and grass on top of that. I thought that if I stood there too long, or jumped too high, or ran too fast, the lid would collapse and it would swallow me up.
RID-X Septic System Treatment: 2 Dose Powder

I’d fall in with spectacular fashion and be stuck in a huge pile of thick poop, trying to swim, but barely able to even hold myself up.  There was no ladder, and the walls were so high, there was no way I could pull myself out.

I was terrified of drowning, all by myself, in a pile of poop.  No one would find me, I’d be totally swallowed up by the crazy poop monster.

When I visited my parents last year, my Dad said he needed to open the lid of the septic tank.

“How are you going to do that?” I asked him, visions of huge tractors in my head. How else would you open a gigantic lid?

He looked at me funny. Like I was stark raving mad. “Come on, I’ll show you.”

We piled on our coats, hats, and boots (it was very cold over there!) and went outside.  I held Hannah particularly tight. I certainly didn’t want her to be gobbled up by the poop monster.

My Dad grabbed a shovel, dug up a tiny bit of dirt and grass, and then stopped.

Imagine my surprise, when the gigantic septic tank lid that I was scared of all those years turned out to be this:

Not even my leg would fit in there. And then I googled septic tanks, and found this:

Septic tank before installation. Image courtesy wikipedia

That is what I was afraid of all those years?!  I could stand up in that and not even get my head wet! Sigh.

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Copyright 2012 Sheri Thomson

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