Caleb Enjoys His Lū’au

You just might have seen that Caleb is feeling just fine this afternoon in the afternoon sun. He slept well last night, not a peep and hasn’t flinched or grumbled all day, what with the preparations for our long overdue Lū’au.

Sadly the one remaining inflatable palm tree and the crocodile have been broken by, yes you guessed it, Caleb. He doesn’t quite realise that taking a bite out of these things will break them. Maybe there is an irony regarding two broken arms in this last 13 months! Yes the number 13, unlucky for some it would seem!

Seriously though, as you saw on this afternoons Lū’au video, he is feeling fine. Still a little too ballistic for my liking. One has to constantly shout for him to be careful and it just goes in one ear and out the other!

Anyhow, our dinner this evening of home made Hawaiian pizza for the children was enjoyed. Pepperoni and anchovy for me, and just pepperoni for John. A tasty treat and yes, I did make the pizza base!

We Remember VE Day

11am 8th May 2020 – we remember the countless lives lost in WWII. 2 minutes of silence to acknowledge the end of the war in Europe 75 years ago.

Mind you keeping the little ones quiet was quite a battle with ‘shhh’ then ‘shhh’ and ‘shhh’ as they all piped up one by one except that is for Amritsar.

Thank you to the allies who fought alongside one another to fight for our freedoms! Those freedoms we seem to take for granted today! Lest we forget their sacrifice.

Caleb is Just Off to Hospital with Another Broken Arm

Caleb broke his arm whilst playing on Tara’s bed. Just a little over a year ago now, It was April 18th 2019. I was so upset. He came downstairs holding out a horribly contorted left arm.

One hour ago today, Tara and Caleb were playing on the trampoline in the garden. Today is 7th May 2020. He has just come in from the garden, holding out a horribly contorted right arm. Another break. It looks terrible.

John has rushed him to the hospital. I have just taken the other children up to bed. I am sitting at the kitchen table, almost in tears. I just poured a gin and tonic. I must now wait for John’s phone call, then his and Caleb’s return.

Not the end to the day that I had been expecting. Sorry for this less than happy blog tonight. The photo is of him last year, the day after breaking his arm. I will post a picture of this new break in the morning. I really hope he is not in too much pain, he was screaming rather a lot. And of course I am slightly worried about Covid-19 being present at the hospital.

I can hear Tara crying upstairs. I had better go up and see how she is taking it. I’m still not too sure of what actually happened. Thank you all for reading.

This new photo (below) is Caleb’s new ‘fracture’ look on opposed arm! Oh dear…

Dadda’s Strawlime Berry Jam

9am this morning saw 6 x 320ml jars of Dadda’s Strawlime berry jam sat in the steamer, sterilising away merrily. Now sat in the provisions cupboard alongside a few of Dadda’s classic combos, the likes of Bluecherry berry and Melango jelly.

This classic combo is super easy to make and sets itself apart from your regular strawberry jam, leaving a ‘plucky’ flavoursome zing on your pallet. Okay, let’s get Jammin’.

Ingredients:

750g Strawberries

350g Apple Pulp

150ml Lime Juice

1kg Sugar

25g butter

Method:

Prepare and rinse your strawberries. Add the lime juice and strawberries to a heavy bottomed pan on a medium heat. Pummel with a potato masher, but leave a few chunky bits. Boil for 5 minutes then add your apple pulp. Cook a further 5 minutes, then add your sugar and butter. I usually avoid using butter. Though it helps reduce the scum that clumps at the side of the pan. Strawberries do generate a lot of froth (that’s an odd word isn’t it)? Stir occasionally to avoid any burning at the base of the saucepan. However there is relatively little pith. Your mixture will become ruby red and velvety in appearance. Cook your jam on a rolling boil for 15 minutes. Don’t forget to stir every now and then. Skim at the end of the cooking time. Quite a bit of apple pulp in this recipe and believe me, it is needed as strawberries yield a lot of juice. You never want your jam to be runny and liquid. The apple pulp will guarantee a good gel. As I said there is a lot of bubbles / froth with this jam. But the butter will help solve this problem. Your kitchen should be heavy with the heady aroma of strawberries and limes. As ever prewash your jars, jam funnel and ladle in your dishwasher. Fill your jars carefully and finally re-sterilise in a steamer or pan filled with boiling water (with a lid on please), for around 20 minutes. Simply bliss on a piece of buttered toast.

A Cut (of potato) Above The Rest

A year or so back I wrote a diary entry about Mangoes, Melons and Papaya and the ability of food to take you back in time! I remember that these three tropical fruits returned me to hotel breakfasts, namely the more recent experiences in India and Thailand, not so much Nepal. The hotel there prided itself on ‘Green’ credentials! There was just a bit of mango jam with toast. A country with few resources had to pride itself on ‘Green’ credentials sadly. Okay, these three fruits brought back many memories of living in Mumbai and Bangkok.

Daddy and Dadda’s dinner tonight was an embrace of fried food. Don’t worry, well drained and lots of super absorbent kitchen towel. Just chicken and chips really! A few alterations however. Definitely use boned chicken thigh meat, so much more flavoursome than breast meat, maybe a bit cheaper too. Firstly you need to marinate it. This is just my basic marinade for Indian, North African and Chinese food. Garlic, ginger, chilli (the holy trinity of spices), coriander, salt and lemon juice. Leave for a few hours. Now you want to breadcrumb the thigh filets, firstly a douse in flour, beaten egg and finally fresh breadcrumbs. Leave to dry out a little before shallow frying.

Right, now for your potatoes! This is going to take me back to my mothers kitchen as a child, many years ago. I know she wouldn’t mind me saying this, but her talents lay not in the kitchen! But she always had excess boiled potatoes in the fridge on a Monday after a Sunday meal of overcooked roast brisket of beef (cardboard), melt in the mouth carrots (eek), tinned peas (also melt in the mouth – yuk) and extremely dry, rather hard roast potatoes. She is in fact the reason I put myself through catering college in my late teens to qualify as a chef. I did my degree a bit later on!

Okay, back to those cooked potatoes in the fridge. She would slice them and simply fry them. These potatoes, she called ‘fried potatoes’. Simple enough and always a treat.

Tonight I think of her. She sadly passed away shortly after Aaliyah and Caleb were born. She also sadly never met our three youngest children, due to her living in Australia.

Fried food is a real treat. I spent most of my life avoiding it in the home place! Though we finally purchased a deep fat fryer a year or so back! Remember, high days and holidays as the general rule people! Lol.

So I am shallow frying the breaded, marinated chicken thigh and deep frying my mothers ‘Fried Potatoes’ tonight.

The children now in bed, a hectic enough day. So, a glass of wine and comfort food me thinks. I haven’t done any exercise in the last 6 of these 8 weeks of self isolation and lockdown. I am 5kg heavier as a result, I will address this situation very soon. But as for tonight, my take on ‘chicken’n’chips’ and a memory of my mum, Jean Eve Paradise. May she rest in peace!

Little Dadda and His Friend

Little Dadda has existed for maybe 3 years now, a pass me down gift of Batman’s cave and a ‘bat’boat. This gift included 4 or 5 small plastic characters. Thank you auntie Sara for that. There was no batman however (who cares), just the instantly hailed ‘little dadda’ and friends. Now, all of the children have played with him lots over these years. He disappears for months on end and every now and again they scream ‘little dadda, we’ve found little Dadda’. He originally came with sunglasses and a small jazz beard. They, like all children have chewed his head, legs, arms, umpteenth times. His painted on glasses are gone, though the little beard remains. I was quite moved this morning when I found out that Thor had brought him and his astronaut friend down and placed them on the kitchen sink. He had positioned their hands as so in the photo. He piped up ‘little dadda, I’ve found little Dadda, I brought him down for you Dadda’. I smiled!

Quite late in the day now, not a lot has happened really. We are contemplating another lū’au sometime this week as our last attempt failed miserably on the blow up palm tree front! So, I have since purchased a real pineapple (we’re not trashy) and a few Hawaiian garlands to dress the scene. Kind of sunny today, but a bit blustery. If tomorrow shows us the rays! Move over Elvis, we are gonna need some room!

Caleb is Looking For a Mint Leaf

Daiquiri’s and dinner. Well, Caleb has just returned to the kitchen inquiring about my mint leaf! It seems that daddy gave his up and now Caleb looks to me!

I’m sat here writing this as the children enjoy a movie before bed. Daddy is still working from the living room table, sipping his frozen strawberry daiquiri. A taste of heaven.

My morning encompassed the making of 3kg of Damson jam, made with the frozen pulp of last years damson crop, a bit of home schooling and a luncheon of ‘Dadda’s Club Sandwiches’. You’re either in the club, or not! So we all joined The Club’!

Slightly more laid back this afternoon, though the odd meltdown was to be had as per usual. But come 5 o’clock I figured another strawberry daiquiri was in order. Remember, I should have been sipping it to the music of Cuba, the sun, the sea and South Beach today.

Tonight’s dinner for the little people was a homemade cottage pie with peas and a Danish pastry for dessert. However, when it came to dessert, a major incident happened as poor Caleb went to put his plate in the dishwasher. Remus, who knows Caleb is the littlest, snuck over to the dinner table and wolfed down his raisin and cinnamon twist. Not the first time that this has happened I might add and I imagine, it certainly will not be the last.

Naughty Remus. And I smile now as predictive text popped up with ‘Remus’ as I was writing the word ‘Naughty’. He scarpered and Caleb screamed. Caleb was easily settled with a chocolate and raisin granola bar. But he was muttering that he hated the dogs and they hated him for a good 5 minutes.

Okay that’s almost the end of our day. Better go find their Jim jams.

May The 4th Be With You!

I couldn’t resist it. However, I have to thank fellow blogger Josef Havelka, who is making it up as he goes, for his blog theme today. He noted this annual ‘Star Wars Day’ tribute. I remembered it a few days ago and then completely forgot all about it. So may I repeat myself and say ‘May the 4th Be With You’. It is wasted on my crew, as they are all still a little bit too young for Star Wars! Have a great day won’t you.

Holiday Photos of 20 Years Ago

In my childhood of course we took photos as all families did. But like all family ‘snap shots’, my pictures were just that, a small blink of family life, mostly with a family member doing something or just relaxing. I suspose I never really considered what I was photographing. Now, it seems that all I ever take are family ‘snap shots’.

Sat at my PC today, not my iphone that I generally blog from, I had access to my bigger photo library, the one that did not start 7 years ago, as did the one my iPhone. That one started when the girls were but small babes.

This collection of tropical flowers, I believe were my first real, considered images, taken whilst on a tropical holiday. Looking back at them, I can see that I was clearly playing with the idea of cutting in close, not bothered with the larger picture, just a small part of it.

I am no professional photographer, but I do appreciate form! Please note, a couple of the images have been tweeked in Photoshop. 20 years seems an awfully long time ago. But seeing these pictures again, I am reminded that the way I consider things (on a visual level), irrecoverably changed on this holiday…

 

 

The Swinging 20’s

No, I am not talking of the 1920’s, rather these present day 2020’s. But am I referring to frozen strawberry daiquiri’s on the terrace or ‘The Swing’? Or indeed both!

Post dinner time now, the children all reunited with their screens. A simple family roast chicken meal with roast potatoes, braised Savoy cabbage and sweet butter roast carrots. Almost time for bed. Sorry, gotta go, Caleb on the loo screaming for me to go wipe his bum! How glamorous these swinging, roaring 20’s are, hey!

A Bit of Fun to Say a Little Bit More About Yourself

A very big thank you to Paul Chiddicks for nominating andiwebb.net for the Liebster Award.

I was nominated by;

https://www.chiddicksfamilytree.com

RULES
        •       Thank the blogger who nominated you, and provide a link to their blog.
        •       Answer the 11 questions given to you.
        •       Share 11 facts about yourself.
        •       Nominate 5-11 other bloggers. (But I chose to nominate 3)
        •       Ask your nominees 11 questions of your choice. I did not as they already have the same 11 questions as I did.
        •       Notify your nominees once you have uploaded your post.

My Answers for Paul are as follows:

        1.      Have you or do you ever want to write a book?

Yes, I wrote a book entitled ‘Eighteen Moonsavailable on Amazon.com. The story of how my wonderful family came to be. A story of heartache and frustration spanning eight months estranged in Mumbai India, five months denied a passport in Bangkok Thailand and finally five months, post the terrible earthquake in Kathmandu Nepal. On each occasion, We rode the final wave of international surrogacy in that territory.

        2.      How long have you been blogging and what is your favorite subject to write about?

I have been blogging now for Eighteen months. Well there’s a coincidence! I started blogging in order to raise awareness of my first book ‘Eighteen Moons’. As a diarist, it is fairly clear that I write about my family and their various antics, living life here in ‘The Shires’ of England. There is a second book, also on Amazon, ‘Thirteen Moons More’. I guess you can work that one out by the title! It is the story of just who we are now! An edit from my diary, the year before the little ones fledged the nest and started big school!

        3.      If you could move to a different town, state or country… where would you be?

After most of my adult life being spent in London Town. I find my pace of life now quite a relaxing one. I am not sure that I would change that for the world. However, my younger self craved the bright lights of NYC. Also back then, I visited San Francisco. There’s always a place in my heart for ‘The Bay’ area. In fact, if I had not met John when I did, I would have made the move. So, ‘If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair’!

        4.      What is your favorite quality about yourself?

I am committed, or sure as hell should be!

        5.      Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert or even both?

I think both to be fair! We are a complex breed, humanity.

        6.      What is THE JOB of your dreams?

I spent 20yrs designingI love to create. Surely that has to be the perfect job?

        7.      Other than blogging/writing what is the one favorite thing you LOVE to do?

I LOVE to… now, that would be telling, wouldn’t it!

        8.      Where is one of the first places you plan on going after quarantine is over?

Definitely London and alone! Completely alone.

        9.      Speaking of Covid-19, is there anything that you learned about yourself or will be changing about yourself when ‘life moves on?’

I would like to say that I have become a lot more patient both with myself and with others. But, I still get stressed, it’s hard not too when it’s usually me that has to play ‘Bad Cop’ with the children. That is fine though, it’s part of the human condition after all. I would like the rolls of ‘Good Cop/Bad Cop’ a bit more 50/50 though!

        10.     Is there anything as far as food that you will absolutely NOT eat?

Insects! Definitely not. I’ll leave them for the birds.

        11.     Do you own a website for your writing?

That’s easy – you’ve found me here, out here in the ether of worldpress!

Right, those were the pre-laid out questions. Now some ‘Facts About Myself’.

        1.     I began shaving my head at the tender age of 24yrs old.

        2.      My favourite colour is blue. Also Amritsar and Thor’s favourite colour.

        3.     I am ambidextrous, though I might have mentioned this on my blog in the past.

        4.     I have liked classical music since the age of 16. It started with listening to Gregorian Chants. I later went on to date a (ex)Gregorian Monk for a short while.

        5.     Dadda loves to make jam! And one day I want to publish a part recipe book / memoir. Full of jam making, served up with lots of witty banter! Possibly using excerpts from my blog. Dadda Gets Jammin’

        6.     John and I met in an infamous bar in West London (more years ago than I care to remember).

        7.     I often sunbathe in the nude!

        8.      I was once a licensed doorman in Westminster’s Soho and Covent Garden (London‘s West End)!

        9.     My Degree was ‘Silversmithing, innovation for a Industry. Oh! And I did year 1 of a Geology degree. That being cut short, due to our choice to start a family.

        10.     I lived above a brothel the 3 years before I met John.

        11.     My blood type is ‘Opositive. That makes me pretty normal, right?

Maybe we can just copy and paste the initial 11 questions asked of me guys? Just delete my answers and replace with your own!?!

My Nominees A

1. Anna Desseau https://homeschoolguru.org

2.  JJ’s Real Talk https://jjrealtalk.wordpress.com

3. Ingrid https://experimentsinfiction.com

I am only going to subject these 3 lovely people to this challenge not the 5 – 11 as recommended.

You don’t have to be nominated however to join in on the discussion and sharing. I’d love to see everyone’s answers! And thank you Mr Chiddicks, you really have made me think about a few things today! I don’t think this exercise will get registered with the Liebster Awards. It’s only a bit of fun really. Lol

Enjoy – let’s have some fun with it.

All my best wishes – Andi (and all the others who have played along with this thus far)!

Mathematics Before Breakfast (Oh Dear)!

None of my doing, I assure you. But John in his wisdom, decided that this was a good idea on a Saturday morning. It was met with a certain dissatisfaction however!

The little ones of course looked on blankly and just scribbled over the sums with their pencils. Amritsar applied herself as she usually does! A far cry from the shenanigans of last night! Out of all of the crew, she was the one to go completely ballistic over not getting her iPad privileges back today. Well, now quite the opposite, she is being as good as gold today. For now at least at any rate. Tara on the other hand, saved her tantrum for the breakfast table this morning and let off steam before running up to her room, refusing to do the sums. After screaming lots, she finally came down to find out that Caleb had eaten her hot cross bun as Remus had, in turn, eaten his! Naughty Remus. She ultimately calmed down and did the sums when I pulled two pieces of fruit bread from the bread bin.

All is a lot more sedate now. They are contentedly watching ‘My Little Pony’ on Netflix. Aaliyah also playing with her new ‘My Little Pony’ board game that arrived in the mail this morning.

Remus is lying on the sofa opposite, his whines for mealtime apparent! Is it that time of the day already? I cooked yet another vat of puttanesca this morning. It’s heady, aromatic bouquet lingers, reminding me that it is almost time for our luncheon also.

The blue skies and sunshine have finally returned this morning. Though the clouds are desperately trying to reclaim the skies as we speak. An afternoon in the garden is planned, where we hope to learn and play a new game that a lovely blogger JJ explained to me a few days ago. Last played by her in childhood, whilst living in Oklahoma! I hope we do her justice. All will be explained later on! It is called ‘The Pie Game’ and I can tell you that there is a ‘chaser’, some ‘pies’ and a ‘wolf’!

Midnight Nit Repellent

And before you ask, no we have not got nits! Well, we haven’t been anywhere, not met anyone and the children have certainly not rubbed heads with any of their schoolmates. It would seem that a bottle of lice repellent was left in one of the draws in their bedroom.

Tara took it upon herself to de-“lice the three little ones as well as herself. She claimed later that it was because her head was a bit itchy. Amritsar fended her off. Good for her!

So showers were had ahead of breakfast this morning. All except for Amritsar that is.

This week has shown no end of breakdowns where Thor is concerned. I almost expelled him from homeschooling this morning, but I restrained myself. I will leave that course of action for another day!

I also barred them from using the living room coffee table (again) as I am just too narked off with picking up fallen pencils and scraps of paper. Again and again and again and again!

Some advice from a lovely fellow blogger Macey. ‘Find a place to homeschool and stick with it.’ So I decided to stay with the kitchen table option for all of their homeschooling dilemmas.

Where Might I Have Been Today (Chin Chin)

I haven’t spun many words these last few days! So, what’s been going on? I can report that it has been raining lots. The children have all been playing up a bit before bedtime, even with going up slightly later. Thor Was the first to have his iPad privileges rescinded, until further notice I explained. Well, since then, each and every one of them have seen their screen time reduced to nothing. Mind you, daddy has allowed them to watch his big iPad. This means that at present Thor, Aaliyah and Caleb are watching ‘powder puff girls’ on the iPad and T and A (Tara and Amritsar) are gorging on ‘my little pony’ on the TV. This is where I am today.

We have avoided lessons thus far. Any mention of them has been seen off with the children’s scorn. Daddy taps away at his computer screen, moaning at me ‘why aren’t the children doing their lessons’! In a short while I explain. Tara is now crying. Don’t worry (a minute later), she is now smiling again!

John and I should have been sunning ourselves on South Beach, Miami today as yesterday’s flight would have seen us say goodbye to the children and our nanny Sindy and we were to jet off to South Florida. Sadly alas, in the event of the lockdown, a second holiday for us has been cancelled. We have not been away without the children since Hawaii three years ago. That’s if you don’t include the 3 nights in Venice. We are now pushing Virgin Holidays for a refund. They seem rather reticent.

Here’s to a time post lockdown and social distancing. This holiday might be several months in coming now, a bit further down the line, but things will turn around eventually. Don’t get me wrong as I love the children enormously and look forward to many sunny international beach holidays with them in the years to come. But that’s not to say that I wasn’t looking forward to 8 nights off with John, sipping cocktails in the hotel or perhaps a beach bar. So I raise my virtual glass of frozen strawberry daiquiri to you now! Here’s looking to the future!

A last minute moment! Caleb has just come into the kitchen and said ‘Alexa, please play Baby Shark’! Eek, yes, he has finally mastered control of the smart speakers! We are all doomed.

It’s a Dogs Life

Today I pay homage to man’s (and woman’s and children’s) best friend! Our family would not be complete without Remus and Gracie, our rapscallion hounds. Sadly no pictures of Daddy or Amritsar snuggled up to them, however I searched my camera roll for images of the dogs this morning. They are both very happy dogs and within that happiness, they share those feelings with us, their family! Incredibly emotional creatures, dogs. I know that I have published a few of these pictures before, but a collection of images works too right?

Breakfast Crowns

Every so often we have a small ritual in our house at breakfast time. When 2 or so cereal boxes are empty on the same day, Dadda gets out the scissors and we celebrate with ‘Breakfast Crowns’. They are so easily constructed. You can work it out by simply looking at today’s second picture! Go on, have a right Regal time!

A small video from last year when ‘Breakfast Crowns’ were quite the thing.