One Year Ago Today!

The biggest birthday cake I have ever made. Yes four layers opposed to my usual three. Home made chocolate ganache and not just home made black current jelly, but home grown, homemade black current jelly lavishly spread between each layer.

We had a great party in the garden and invited around 30 children and their parents. We even hired a children’s entertainer to occupy them for 2 of the 3 hours.

You might see in this next picture, how nicely piled and ordered the children’s gifts were.

But this next photo shows you what I awoke to. John had allowed them to play in the garden before I arose and this is what I came down to!

This was just the beginning. I managed to tidy up as the day progressed, again and again, in different areas, but it was like a landslide, completely fighting against the laws of nature and physics. Aaliyah had even ripped the head from her doll in the frenzy to release it from the packaging!

By 1pm I had had enough and escaped to the bedroom for an hours resbite. What I returned to was a house, completely trashed… whoever gave the sticky mosaic craft gift, well, I would like to know your name as I will gladly reciprocate in good time. The sticky mosaics are everywhere. I am reminded of the forensic tidy and clean up after the kinetic sand incident…

It’s now late and John has just managed to get them into their jimjams and up to bed. I have locked myself in our bedroom, refusing to see anyone or say goodnight to anyone at this point. I feel like a broken man. I do not want to venture back to the ground floor due to the amount of mess, destruction and pure, unadulterated chaos that still permeates there.

I completely give up and I prefer not to leave the relative sanctity of my bedroom. I am sure that I will update you as to the situation tomorrow and can only celebrate in the idea that this is the last birthday party in our immediate family for the next six months. Enough is enough, today I really draw the line.

Please remember that this post was one year ago today. Hahahahaha…

Some Birthday Clips of Yesterday

A few days quiet, just enjoying family life really. Children’s birthdays are always a bit ‘Crazy’. But if you plan well, you can make things easier on yourself. Mind you, I was quite busy and left the cake decorating to the last minute! It was quite an exhilarating 10 minutes, but post barbecue and the consumption of the sweets from the piñata, I thought a birthday isn’t a birthday without the cake! Deep breath, 18.39 it said on the microwave clock, camera, lights, action…

18.49 and one frosted strawberry and vanilla birthday cake was served up to not just Aaliyah and Caleb, but our neighbours daughter Peppy was included on the birthday wishes as she has just turned 4. So, in the end, happy birthday to all three of them.

Phew, what with 7 birthdays to consider in our house, I can now take a 6 month respite as our birthday season is the end of December – early July. Haha…

That was a frenzied 10 minutes

Don’t worry, no accidents occurred

I might reblog ‘The Aftermath’ later from this day a year ago! It was quite a different day altogether… as ever, thanks for reading.

Birthday Cake

What with 5 children, though 2 sets of twins and Daddy and Dadda’s Birthdays, I do find myself baking birthday cakes quite a lot over the year. I have been known to bake twice on Amritsar and Tara’s birthdays, as they generally have an official birthday on the actual day and then another for the day of their party.

Of course, this year the girls just had their birthday with the family on the day itself, due to lockdown. And the same will be so of Aaliyah and Caleb’s special day, this year falling on Sunday.

So just the one cake to bake today. All a bit last minute as I usually bake a week or so before and freeze the sponges x 3. This cake however will be just the 2 layers as I only had 6 eggs and there’s clearly less people involved, just a neighbouring family.

The second sponge is almost done. I’m just waiting on Alexa to ping the 22 minute alarm. The ‘All angels’ are singing through Alexa, something or other from the musical ‘South Pacific’.

I am now remembering our Lū’au earlier in the spring when we had such magnificent weather. I did homemade Hawaiian Pizza on that day. A barbecue for us however on Sunday! I think more grey weather is forecast sadly, so cooking it all on the Aga inside might just be more appropriate.

Okay Alexa is telling me the cake is now done, so I had better wrestle it from the oven!

The children are presently in the park beside their school with Sindy and 5 x packed dinners, celebrating a friend Nancy’s birthday. Possibly appropriate given my afternoon bake. I should really thank Nancy’s mum for buying Eighteen Moons and Thirteen Moons More a few weeks ago. I believe she loved both books so I’m hoping for a review perhaps on Amazon.

Did I say that the audiobook is now live? So, for those of you who don’t really read books or novels, it’s the perfect escape with nothing to do, just close your eyes and join me on my journey of ‘Eighteen Moons’.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B08B73G6L3/ref=tmm_aud_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Back to birthday cakes! The request this year was Strawberry and Vanilla opposed to the usual chocolate ganache. And that’s what they’re getting. Though I can almost hear Caleb’s bleats of ‘But I want chocolate Dadda, I want chocolate’, just before he throws a tantrum…

No doubt more on the Birthday celebrations on Sunday. As ever, thanks for reading.

Three Obscure Memories, Memory 3. Nepal.

I had almost forgotten the third piece of music that I found on my iPhone a few days ago. So today we ultimately come to my third melodic, early family memory! A memory of Nepal, a place where I found things extremely difficult to be honest, but it was a place that was pivotal to our becoming a family. In my book, Eighteen Moons, I only devoted one chapter to the five months spent there! As a matter of fact, I could have written an entire memoir just on that span of time spent in Kathmandu. So here is that piece of music accompanied by some images of my time, post earthquake, in 2015.

A Trip to the Opticians

Guess who had a trip into one of the local towns for an eye test today? As you can see, Tara is now the proud owner of a pair of glasses! Seemingly she has a slight problem with her left eye!

Post dinnertime now for the not so famous five and things are slowing down. Aaliyah and Caleb have headed upstairs with Amritsar to tidy their room! My, wonders never cease and Tara and Thor are playing ‘Crossy Road’ very loudly beside me. Now they are arguing… oh dear! Now Thor has stormed out and wants to do ‘drawing’! Time to join he others upstairs I think!

Nite nite all.

Guest Post from Single Dad to 2 young Children ‘Daniel Sherwin’

Image courtesy of rawpixel

Affordable Tech Tools to Help Your Kids Prepare for School Reopenings

It’s no secret that the coronavirus pandemic has thrown a wrench into children’s education, disrupting the lives of students and parents across the country. As a result, back-to-school prep may look a little different this year. Your kids may be returning to school virtually, so make sure they’re prepared with the tools they need to succeed! And if the lockdown has kept your kids home from school for a while already, they may need some help getting back in gear. Here are some budget-friendly tech tools that can give your kids a head start as schools reopen!

Online Resources for At-Home Education

Encourage your kids to keep learning over the summer break by setting them up with some online educational resources.

 You can find free educational resources online for kids of all ages.
 Parents can make math interesting with hands-on learning and real-world applications.
 Take your kids on virtual field trips from the comfort of your couch.
 You can also find fun ideas for DIY home STEM activitiesand lab experiments online.

Educational Tech Gadgets

Tech gadgets can help make learning fun for your kids, whether in the classroom or at home!

 Get your kids a tablet with screen time limits and parental controls.
 Make sure your kids are equipped with a good laptop for researching class topics and completing homeworkefficiently.
 Smart notebooks are great for taking hand-written notesand then saving them digitally. 
 Help your kids concentrate on their studies with noise-canceling headphones.

Connecting with Your Kids’ Classroom

Tech tools make it easy for parents to stay connected to classroom life.

 Monitor the school website so you can stay up on the latest news and information.
 Take advantage of free apps designed to connect teachers and parents. 
 Google Classroom allows teachers to assign work and keep parents in the loop.

As many businesses start to open up again, schools are slowly following suit. Some states are reopening schools for summer programs while others are planning on cutting summer vacation short to make up for any missed class time during the lockdown. Regardless of when your kids return to school, you can help them adjust back to school life with the right supplies!

You can connect with Daniel directly through his website http://dadsolo.com/

(A great post Daniel, thank you so much for delivering such an interesting and informative read for us all today. You have my full respect!)

Daddy and Dadda’s Dinner

Moules Mariniere and frits

Roast Beef, garlic French beans and boiled potatoes

Salmon with clams and muscles with mash, sugarsnap peas and a white wine and cream reduction

Nutloaf with bubble and squeak and a tomato sauce

Roast Duck leg, potatoes and beans

Steak and onions, chips and Dijon mustard

Fish Pie with sautéed vegetables

Today’s Instagram Pictures

As today’s title would indicate, here is an assortment of images that I chose for Instagram. Please follow for a follow back!

Some toddler pictures of Tara and Amritsar today, plus some foodie related images! I want to hold onto them for a moment as I am sure that my diary is about due an update on Daddy and Dadda’s Dinner! Perhaps tonight!

Thank you for stopping by.

Three Obscure Memories, Memory number 2. Thailand.

After yesterday’s three melodies found on my voice recording app, this second piece of music from my time in Bangkok was recorded in a shopping centre on the Sukhumvit road. It was a big festival of all things Thai. Ameena who helped to nanny, her nephew, Thor and myself spent an evening enjoying the music, the dancing and the amazing food of Thailand. Yes, she is the Thai lady featured in this compilation of images. I do miss Ameena. She was very kind.

Sunday Morning

Lou Reid and the Velvet Underground, great track… though I’m sure that his Sunday mornings were never quite the same as mine tend to be!

At present Daddy and Amritsar are engaged in a game of chess on the living room coffee table. Aaliyah is trying to line up dominoes on the bellows for the fire, in an attempt to achieve what Tara has just done! Make them all topple in sequence. Remus is standing besides her, looking on in wonderment! She’s getting agitated now! I have just asked Thor for the tenth time to put a pair of underpants on! He is still refusing. Aaliyah has lost her temper, now screaming, she has flung every domino to the four winds.

Finally Thor is heading upstairs to find some underpants in the draw, Aaliyah now running up behind him screaming.

Gracie is snuggled beside me and Remus now stands at the bay window, eyes closed, pointing his nose into the warm sunlight that is beaming through.

Caleb gets up from the large cushion in front of the television. The one that used to be the dog bed. The dogs never used it however, favouring the comfort of the sofas! He heads upstairs also.

Aaliyah has returned with two of her toy dogs and has snuggled up with Gracie. Thor returns with his underpants and joins Tara, now sat at the television, watching Mr Bean.

The sound of a chainsaw outside! A neighbour is having their overgrown eucalyptus tree trimmed. The chess game over now! Amritsar has won. But did Daddy allow this to happen? She is good mind you, but she shouldn’t let it go to her head now, should she?

Three Obscure Memories, Memory 1. India.

Well, after my earlier vocal finds on the voice recorder on my phone, I decided that wasn’t really enough!

The chants and music was randomly recorded, so sadly I cannot credit the Vedic’s or the musicians by name. So instead, in honour to them and my contextualising of the melodic relevance of these three pieces, I have spliced together some images of my journey, in order to bring those times to life for you!

Memory number 1. India.

When Words and Pictures are Not Enough

A thought came to me this morning after yesterday’s blog, in which I remembered a moment in time. A moment that was part of the story of ‘Eighteen Moons’.

Like the smell and taste of food that transports you back to a place and a time, sound can fill you with a memory also.

Today’s blog is just about that! Sound in the guise of melody.

I had a voice recording app on my phone whilst living in Mumbai, Bangkok and Kathmandu. And these three recordings have this morning, transported me back to these three great city’s.

The first I believe were Hindi Vedic’s blessing the apartment next door to where I was living at that time.

The second melody was a Thai group of musicians with beautiful lady dancers.

And the final melody I recorded in a small restaurant / bar in the area Lazimpat where I lived in Nepal.

A Luncheon of Samosas

Well, I am back after my two day break from blogging. And rather than give you an update on what’s been going on, I have decided to take a trip down memory lane as I am frying samosas for lunch. Well drained of course and dried with plenty of kitchen paper!

I am reminded of a blog entry that I made a little over a year ago, all about my regular stops to eat samosas (and drink sweet tea), whilst living in Mumbai, India.

It’s funny how food transports us back to a moment or a place, isn’t it? Just by making the choice of samosas rather than the usual sandwich and crisps, I find myself back in the hustle and bustle, the thronging streets of Mumbai. Towards the end of my time on the Indian Sub Continent, I often shared my time with a taxi driver known as Ram. He was a ‘kind hearted’ fellow, something that was very sadly in short supply in those times. On our many trips to the ‘Foreigners Regional Registration Office (F.R.R.O), he would show me both sympathy and support. He would also sing ancient songs in Hindi that, with his whispering, reedy voice, had the effect of halting my tears and making me stop worrying of what was happening in the ‘NOW’ and transport me to a mindset of relative serenity. Maybe more about remembering the trips to the F.R.R.O on another occasion, but today it’s all about samosas. Ram and I would always stop at one or two street vendors and enjoy a lunch, or afternoon tiffin of samosas with a small cup of extremely sweet, milky tea. He had a very good heart. And I will never be able to eat a samosa ever again without him in my thoughts.

A Day or Two Off!

Just a pictorial blog tonight and again, very few words. No real ups and no real downs thus far this week! I did want to mention a few days off however from blogging, Tweeting and Instagram no doubt. I will certainly be back at the weekend with a fun family update. Wishing you all well and hoping happiness finds you in whatever guise that it takes! Be well my friends.

Some Pics of the children as toddlers. And yes, only Caleb is in colour!

Amritsar in the window

Aaliyah eating spaghetti

Tara eating her foot

Caleb sat next to Aaliyah eating spaghetti

Amritsar has such a happy smile

Finger in the mouth, oh Aaliyah

A very smiley Tara

And finally a boy on a mission in Wexford Ireland

Thank you so much for stopping by!

Nitty Nitty Nit Nits, Yep All Gone

Welcome back to the ups and downs of family life. The children back at school now for 2 weeks and guess what Aaliyah, with the longer hair brought back from school with her? You may have guessed what with tonight’s title!

It really upsets me that with our longer than 3 months indoors and other families from the children’s school, locked down nearly as long, how on earth do parents allow nits to linger, untreated for such an extremely long period of time! The offenders house must be completely infested after such a long time! And then to send their children back to infest the whole dratted school!!! It beggars belief really.

Well Aaliyah is now free of the unwanted visitors. I really hope the offending family at school get their act together! Or this will just drag on and on and on!

Anyhow, I did a small video around a year ago for Instagram before I deleted my account. I still have the video in my library however. Maybe I should reload it to my new Instagram account! Well, here it is. I will, like Caleb’s small video a few days ago, record the ‘moment’ 4 times, just for that Instagram effect! Lol