Happy Birthday John

It’s late in the day here in the U.K. but I did mention in my earlier post! High days and Holidays. And today, January 15th is in fact a ‘High Day’, My partner John’s Birthday! Hip hip hooray! So to celebrate, a little footage of our celebrations…

The mornings gifts! Lucky Fella!!!
What a Fab vanilla and raspberry cake!
Happy Birthday Daddy!

Merry Christmas

Santa’s Mince Pie and Rudolph’s Carrot

Merry Christmas all. And wishing you a Happy New Year. I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. We had a lovely day.

High days and holidays… After feeling compelled to post something for Thor’s Birthday on December 22nd, I now feel compelled to show something of our Christmas Holiday 2020.

I might not be blogging at the present time, but every now and again, on special occasions! That’s alright, isn’t it?

Christmas Morning
Thor coveting Santa’s mince pie
Our Christmas Dinner
Merry Christmas to All.

Amanda Henderson (Guest Post)

getoutwiththekids.co.uk

How to Survive Winter in the Age of COVID-19:

A Parent’s Guide.

As a parent, winters were long, cold, and painful well before the pandemic hit — but there were still plenty of opportunities to take the kids to museums, indoor theme parks, and movie theaters. But now that winter is on the horizon and we’re in the midst of a pandemic, many parents are wondering how they’ll survive the cold weather months ahead while being cooped up at home with nowhere to take their children. Andi Webb from Diary of a Gay Dad shares some survival tips for parents in the sections below. 

Prepare Mentally

Winter is fast approaching, and it’s important to begin your coronavirus preparations now if you haven’t already done so. The earlier you can begin to prepare for the difficult months ahead, the more mental control you’ll have once you and your kids are officially cooped up indoors for the winter. Parade recommends thinking about what worked and didn’t work for your family when COVID-19 orders were first issued last winter — and then beginning your preparations from there. 

A few things to cover in your winter preparations include:● How you’ll structure each day, even on the weekends. ● The types of activities you’ll plan for your kids in the morning, while you’re working, and in the evening. ● The items you’ll need to stock up on now, like board games, coloring books, crayons, and finger paints. ● How you’ll take time for yourself and your partner, even when it seems impossible. 

Get Out Your Screens

Your family’s digital screen time should be moderated during quarantine, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t let your little ones disconnect from the world for a while with online games and activities. From online multiplayer games such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons, to kid-friendly YouTube channels like Sesame Street and Ted-Ed, the digital world has been a godsend for parents and their children amidst COVID-19. 

To get the most out of your screens this winter, it’s important to eliminate any obstacles that may be present — such as old tablets or laptops and slow internet connections. If your kids will be learning or playing online while you’re trying to work, the last thing you’ll want is to hear your children complaining about a slow internet connection! However, the solution is as simple as upgrading your tech before winter officially arrives. 

If you live in the US, for instance, Verizon’s fiber-optic connections are worth looking into — especially if your kids will be playing online multiplayer games this winter. With a fiber optic internet connection, you’ll experience smoother gameplay, faster download speeds, and minimal lag and buffering. In the UK, however, gamers can enjoy fast speeds with the Full Fibre 100 from BT Broadband or Big Oomph Broadband from Virgin Media. 

Make the Most of Your Family Time

Until the world returns to normal and you’re back to meeting the demands of modern life, the best thing you can do is make the most of your family time at home. There are so many fun waysto enjoy your time together this winter, like playing indoor and outdoor games as a family, starting a new hobby, and making arts and crafts. 

If you’re looking to brave the cold this winter, some family-friendly outdoor activities include:● Skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and snowshoeing. ● Making a backyard snow maze for your kids to enjoy. ● Shoveling snow together for the neighbors.● Stargazing, camping, and winter hiking. ● Visiting a winter farmers market (depending on local COVID-19 restrictions).

While movie theaters, science museums, and other indoor attractions may be out of the question this winter, this doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun as a family as the pandemic continues on. With a bit of planning and strategizing, you’ll reduce some coronavirus-related stress and anxiety, maintain your sanity, and keep your family happy and engaged as the snow falls and temperatures continue to drop. 

Looking for more parenting advice and personal experiences from Andi Webb? Visit his blog, Diary of a Gay Dad, or send him a message at contact@andiwebb.net!

My Final Diary Entry, At Least For Now!

It is with some regret that on the 2nd anniversary of my diary blog diaryofagaydad.net, I have to explain, that after these past 24 months of sharing the ups and downs of parenthood, my musings on this forum have (for now) come to an end. I will of course leave the archive online and intact if you ever chose to relive the ups and the downs of 2 years of parenting five small children?

A message from a fellow blogger tonight that ‘I am bored’, has lead me to the conclusion that it is now time to step away!

No pictures, no finale, no fanfare, just goodbye for now my friends…

On other social media such as Facebook, I do not post often. But if you found any part of my blog something positive to muse over (btw predictive text just flashed up ‘pissup’ lol) just search ‘Andi Webb London’ and I will surely follow you back!

The other option is Instagram of course! http://www.instagram.com/mybigcrazyfamilylife

I am certainly considering ‘Diary of a a gay Dad, the teenage years’ though 4+ years away at this point! Another time altogether, maybe it will be a great time for us both to catchup once again.

Thank you for listening these last 2 years, thank you for being there and ultimately thank you for caring. I am very happy to know you.

And for those that I am not connected to on other social media platforms, good bye and take care.

Two Years on Worldpress

A moment ago I opened the Worldpress app and to my surprise I found a ‘Happy 2 Year Anniversary’ text!

Has it really been 2 whole years!

I started blogging back then in order to have a presence on social media. A diary blog seemed like a great idea to help promote my recently finished manuscript entitled ‘Eighteen Moons’. So my ‘diary of a gay dad’ began.

At first I was just blogging out there into the ether. I then shared to my Facebook page and attracted a few readers from there! Not many likes at all but I noted a readership after a few months of 39.

I joined Twitter so that I could share my blog to that platform and later on Instagram!

I thank Twitter for bringing many of my current readers. You know who you are! And I thank you for sticking with the ‘Diary of a Gay Dad’.

I have since stopped sharing to Facebook! And if any of my Facebook friends are still reading this, then I believe that you are indeed true friends.

As you know my mojo has waned in recent weeks. The blog didn’t really sell any books but a couple and I would like to thank the few of you who have enjoyed the story of ‘Eighteen Moons’.

Also did you know that there was a follow up book called ‘Thirteen Moons More’ a kind of ‘who we are now’ opposed to the ‘how we became’ of the original book. Both are available on the Amazon platform. The latter book is a kind of edit of the first 11 months of this diary! A time when thirteen moons passed!

But for now, two years on, the diary of a gay dad continues! So, Happy anniversary to me today! Two years hey! Who’d have thought it.

I thank you for your support.

First Fire of the Season

Late in the day and the rain has finally given up and moved on from its 300ml weekend downpour!

The children all presently spinning in a circle, dancing to ‘don’t leave me this way’ by The Communards. No, strike that, they are doing a conga train through the living room, kitchen and both hallways.

That’s one way of tiring them all out before bedtime I guess. Tara and Amritsar now screaming at each other as one pushed the other! Song finished now all left panting and out of breath!

Sunday family dinner of roast chicken finished and at this point, I’m thinking an early night for daddy and dadda! Which is very odd for me as I usually head for bed around midnight!

Roast Chicken, roast potatoes, glazed carrots, braised Savoy cabbage and broccoli

All now settled, if not slightly tired out! About to dress for bed! Wish us luck, won’t you. And best of luck if you have little ones. It’s not the easiest time of the day, is it? I hope you had a great weekend.

So, What’s Been Happening with you, with us?

After a short while away from my diary posts, today I find myself back on worldpress with a little catchup to be done!

The first Autumnal blush of our Canadian Oak

So sorry if I haven’t reached all of your blogs out there on my feed, I have missed so much of your writings and on a personal level, I have also missed many of you fellow bloggers. This is a writing community after all! Where ever we reside on this planet, we have our mutual blogs, opinions, histories and hobbies that we share with one another! And that is a great thing.

It is true that I have in some way defected to Instagram, a more visual media and that I enjoy. But I have missed hearing all of your opinions and day to day experiences! That is what blogging excels in, isn’t it’

So what’s been going on with us?

Vine leaf releasing its red pigment before its decay

Over the last weeks we have enjoyed the last of the Autumn sun and indeed the first of the Autumnal rains. We have also had a massive declutter around the house! The children are presently enjoying a lunch of peanut butter and damson jam sandwiches and black currant squash. All shouting around the table as I have left them to their own devices whilst I finish this post!

They got a bit too rowdy, so I had to stop writing and come back to this! Haha, they can self manage well at this age, if they want to that is! A chasm away from the screamy threes and fours! However they all still have their moments of course! Especially at bedtime…

Last weekend saw the annual grape vine harvested and juiced. Now bottled and frozen for making ‘Dadda’s Jam’ or rather jelly at a later date. Daddy also pruned it back along with the yew hedge.

Last of the grape juicing post roast dinner

All of the children are back into the rhythm of school now. And Johns two days a week at the office has demised to but one, given government advice on a return to work from home! Troubled time ahead I fear, but I will do my best to keep upbeat for you. It doesn’t pay to dwell on the negatives, especially to perpetuate them, does it?

An exotic fruit salad was made up from fresh pineapple, kiwi fruit and mango. Just the taste of mango always takes me back to my time spent during ‘Eighteen Moons’ in India, Nepal and indeed my time spent serving in the Thai Army a little while after Thor was born!

So, diary entry at an end! I promise to be a bit more regular. All the children send their love to all who may be reading this. As ever thank you for your time. I know we all lead busy lives.

Tara enjoying freshly picked grapes last weekend

Daddy and Dadda’s Dinner

Memories of Marrakesh
Chilli and rice with a Sriracha smothered fore rib.
We held off on Sunday Roast and went all Moroccan
Lamb Dhansak
Yet another Shrimp Noodle Tom Yum
Beef Massaman
Curried Chicken, Mutter and Chapatti
Moules Et Frits
Ham roast and fine beans with Dadda’s Apple Jelly

Hoping everyone is well and thank you for browsing my diary page. I have been a little absent of late! If you don’t already follow on Instagram, our page is http://www.instagram.com/mybigcrazyfamilylife

I’ve been spending a little too much time on there! Have a lovely day…

The Last Sunflower

Beautiful aren’t they? But it is only this year, upon the final wilting days of the children’s homegrown sunflowers, that I dared to take a closer look!

We tend to see the rays of petals and consider the plant as a whole to be the magnificent sunflower! We know that the inner disk is a nursery for seeds, but have you ever taken a really, really close look?

Once the petals have wilted, what are we left with? A thousand small flowers, those mass producers of nectar are in fact mini flowers at the base end of the seeds! Fascinating I thought!

I believe we should hang them upside down in the shed over the winter with a paper bag tied around them in order for the seeds to mature and fall!

Maybe a thousand seeds for the children to sow next springtime. The humble, yet majestic Sunflower…

Going Out

So I sit on the terrace, way past the children’s bedtime to take a moment’s breather! Nikki our babysitter arriving soon. The children are all still up and the Google smart speaker is blaring out Tammy Wynette’s D.I.V.O.R.C.E. (Hmmmh!) at John’s bequest!

Haven’t been out on a Saturday night in quite a long time. It’s just a meal out in a favourite restaurant in Woodspeen, oddly called ‘The Woodspeen’. Sadly not a club or rave! Lol, what did you imagine after seeing my choice of images!!!

Tara was rather insistent earlier that I teach her the mime motions of ‘being inside the box’! You know the one where the palms of your hands mime touching the invisible box sides! All now doing it to the song Jolene! Quite the sight.

Well it beats the 80’s robotics moves of earlier today to Soft Cell’s Tainted Love. They call it muscle memory, don’t they? And NO, there will be no video.

The hounds are now whining! Personally I don’t blame them as Islands in the stream has now come on. Oh dear – hurry up Nikki, hurry up…

Thank you for reading. Have a lovely day/evening!

Fungi Friend or Foe

Our return from holiday saw our lawn littered with various autumnal fungi. Yellow boletes were in abundance, one variety edible…

Another quite poisonous!

If a blue hue appears after cutting or breaking! Steer clear, not good to eat!

I ended up binning the lot sadly, I just couldn’t get John in on the idea that the edible ones might just taste nice!

All destined for the bin!

Though on the other hand I also found a good amount of field mushrooms in the orchard!

I enjoyed these fried in butter on a piece of sourdough toast!

John on the other hand went for the shop purchased chestnut mushrooms. Also very tasty however.

On the subject of foraging still. My blackberry jelly that I made yesterday has set to perfection overnight. The recipe is certainly to follow!

Oh Dear Blackberry

Yesterday afternoon saw an 11th hour rush for the last of this year’s blackberry harvest. We all ventured down the driveway and into our small area of woodland to pick what was left of the crop in the hedgerows. I didn’t mind that many berries had already spoiled or been lost to the birds and insects as there were still many a kilogram deep frozen in the chest freezer from last year. Then I only made a small amount of jam, but this year I plan to make perhaps 14 x 320ml jars.

The kilo or so that we collected yesterday went into a large blackberry and apple crumble with apples collected from the orchard in the kitchen garden. We all enjoyed the crumble last night, warmed through with a good splosh of double cream. Enough left over for the children’s dessert tonight!

This morning I wrestled out the said frozen blackberries whilst defrosting the freezer and half have now been stewed and perhaps 50% of the pips removed. When it comes to jamming them with apple pulp and sugar later this week, I want a velvety texture with not too many pips! I am reminded that I haven’t done a jam recipe in a while, yet I have made a few jams of recent, however unreported as I believe I have covered the likes of damson and plum and Calvados in my writings already! However blackberry jam is pretty seasonal, so prepare for that in the next day or two!

Amritsar is home from school today due to feeling sick this morning. Tara shouted down this morning at 6am ‘Amritsar’s been sick Dadda, Amritsar’s been sick, Will she get the day off’? And yes indeed, she is at home today! We plan on scrumping for a few more apples a bit later before the others return home from school with Sindy.

Whilst defrosting the freezer, I noticed the sheer volume of frozen damsons this year! Our tree has been extremely bountiful! I am almost dreading the grape harvest next month as there is still a good amount of frozen grape juice frozen from last year too.

Ritzy is lying on one sofa playing with her iPad and I am lying on the other writing this diary entry, both dogs sprawling out beside me.

Lunch was a home made pea soup, very light, no potato to thicken and a piece of sourdough toast. Amritsar has been feeling much better since this morning, I think something light again for dinner and she should feel as right as rain for tomorrow’s classes.

Listening to Mozart’s ‘Eine kleine Nachtmusik’. Feeling relaxed, perhaps a bit sleepy even…

Hope you’re having a good Monday all.

Thank you for reading.

Baby Boxes of One Year Ago

Twelve months ago tomorrow we decided it was time to open up the stash of baby items that we had kept from all of the children’s ‘baby years’!

We had talked about putting together the ‘Baby Boxes’ for such a long time.

Items ranged from tiffin boxes purchased in Goa, India, to baby spoons, teething toys, pyjamas, swaddling, you name it, it was there.

If you want to smile, you might want to scroll back on my blog entries to 8th September 2019. The full length movie is around 10 minutes, but it is a real laugh. Thor excels in his unique comedy and Caleb insists that Aaliyah’s dress, a 1st birthday present is his!

But if your visit here is a fleeting one! Here is a very small snippet of what they got up to.