Thursday, 30 January 2014

Renew the Menu: Tuna Patties


Tuna patties. Can you believe I've never cooked these before? Truth be told I'm late to the party with tuna, I've really only started eating it in the last 15 years or so, well knowingly anyway. Let me explain...

Like most kids growing up in the 80's Tuna Mornay made a regular appearance on our table. To make things difficult my brother and I had made it clear to Mum that we did not like tuna therefore like all Mums she was forced to become inventive and so in our house we knew it as "Chicken Casserole". It always went like hotcakes especially when topped with cheese AND Smiths Chicken Chips! (Seriously what kid could resist?!)

Then one day my world came crashing down, I walked into the kitchen mid dinner prep and there on the bench I spotted a large tin of tuna, in shock I asked what was for dinner.
“Chicken Casserole”, Mum casually replied.
"Ok, so what's with the tuna tin?" I retorted.
Mum started laughing, "Well chicken casserole is actually tuna casserole!" she admitted.
"But we don't eat tuna!" I protested.
"Yes you do", she said.
Touché Mum, touché.

Since coming to terms with this revelation I've come to love the versatility of a tin of tuna. It's such a great ingredient to have in the pantry and can be used in so many ways. One of my favourite tuna recipes is Justine Schofield's, Tuna Arancini balls and this has similar elements but much quicker.

I have to tell you the kids were in meltdown mode when I served these up and it took over half an hour before they calmed down enough to actually eat them. (Miss M's constant "Yucky, something else!" did not help my ego or my stress levels) but they eventually ate them! I made the patties in the morning and fried them up just before serving, an easy way to get most of the mess cleaned up before cactus hour. Husband and I ate them on their own as I had no energy left after this meltdown to make an accompaniment but with a generous squeeze of lemon they made a great starter, we ate hummus and bread later on (that’s a meal isn’t it?!). Next time I’ll add a load of veggies to the dish to make a full meal, other than that I was pretty happy with the result.
 
Don't you love our holiday house crockery?!


Tuna Patties

Makes approx 12 patties

Ingredients
250 g potatoes
425g tin tuna in springwater
2 tsp parsley chopped
3 tsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tbsp whole egg mayonnaise
2 tbsp lemon juice
Sea salt

Coating

1/4 cup flour
sea salt
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 tbsp grated Parmesan
2 eggs
Olive Oil to shallow fry

Method

1. Peel and chop potatoes. Boil/microwave until tender.
2. Drain water and mash potatoes. Set aside to cool slightly.
3. Flake tuna into bowl and mix in finely chopped parsley, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, lemon juice and season with salt
4. Combine tuna mixture with potato and form into patties
5. Place patties in fridge for 20 minutes
6. For crumbing place whisked egg in one bowl, flour and salt in another and breadcrumbs and Parmesan in the third.
7. Coat pattie in flour, shaking off excess, dip in egg before coating in breadcrumbs.
8. Heat oil in frypan on medium heat, fry patties for approx 3 mins each side or until golden and heated through.
9. Serve with lemon wedges

What was your favourite childhood dinner?




Sunday, 26 January 2014

Renew the Menu: Banana Pikelets

Today's Renew the Menu is a breakfast revamp and came into being when we woke up this morning and I realised there was no bread, no oats and no cereal.
 
To be honest breakfast at our house is really boring. Up until recently it was oats all round but in the last few months Master Q has decided he will not be fed by anyone and since he isn't too proficient at using utensils at the moment I try to give him as much 'finger food' as possible, to save everyone's sanity. So it's been toast for breakfast for a while now, I'm not that happy about it since our family's carb intake seems to have increased exponentially in the last 6 months (something I am intent on working on) but it saves lots of tantrums, and the kids behaviour is better too !
 
So after the only two pieces of crust were devoured in a matter of seconds this morning and our holiday house pantry items are limited, banana pikelets it was. Of course baking powder or self-raising flour are not staples in our holiday house pantry so I had to make these without either, they were still yum but if you have either of these ingredients on hand it would make a fluffier pikelet and I have included this in the recipe below.
 
Banana pikelets: Simple, quick, finger food and not toast- all the pre-requisites for a tantrum-free breakfast! (Well as close as you can get with toddlers!)
 
 
 
Banana pikelets
 
Ingredients
1 cup plain flour 
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon raw sugar (or any sugar/sugar-substitute you have on hand)
1 banana, mashed
1 egg
Butter, for frying
 
(Note: You can use 1 cup Self-Raising flour instead of the plain flour and baking powder)
 
Method
 
1. Using a fork, mix flour, baking powder, milk, egg and sugar in a bowl
2. Mash banana separately and add to mixture
3. Heat a tablespoon of butter in frying pan on medium heat
4. Once bubbling drop a few tablespoons of mixture into pan
5. Once bubbles appear on surface of pikelet, flip over and cook until golden brown
6. Serve with extra sliced banana, honey or whatever other toppings you have to hand!


Saturday, 25 January 2014

Walnut and L.S.A Biscuits (Sugar-Free)


A quick decision to make some biscuits to take to my friend’s house prompted me to come up with this Anzac-inspired biscuit recipe. Our family friend, Linda, is the ‘Queen of the Anzac’ and whilst growing up, we would gasp with excitement when she appeared at our door with a Tupperware container full of them. My Mum and I have attempted to replicate her recipe over the years but cannot seem to get it quite right! (Isn’t that always the way?)
My sugar-free Walnut and Linseed, Sunflower and Almond (L.S.A) meal biscuit is based on the Anzac recipe from David Gillespie’s, The Sweet Poison Cookbook. Since going sugar-free his Anzac is a favourite in our house.
One of Master Q's first words was cookie, so its hilarious to watch him bounce up and down in his highchair repeating "Coo-kie!" over and over when he spots a container of them on the bench. At least I don't feel guilty about giving the kids yet another one of these 'cookies' as the walnuts, oats and L.S.A. make this recipe high in protein, fibre and also a great source of omega (3,6 &9) essential fatty acids.


They are super quick to make and if you are wanting an alternative to the traditional Anzac this Australia Day give them a try!

Walnut and L.S.A. biscuits (Sugar-free)

Makes approx. 20 biscuits

Ingredients
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup wholemeal flour, sifted
2/3 cup linseed, sunflower and almond meal (you could also use almond or hazelnut meal)
½ cup walnuts, chopped
½ cup dextrose
120g unsalted butter, chopped
1/3 cup rice malt syrup
1 tsp bi-carb soda
1 tbsp water

Method

Pre-heat oven 160 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Celsius fan forced)
  1. Combine oats, sifted flour, L.S.A., dextrose and walnuts in a bowl
  2. Melt butter and rice malt syrup in a saucepan on medium heat
  3. Once butter/syrup begins to boil add bi-carb and water and stir quickly
  4. Make well in dry mixture and pour foamy butter/syrup mixture into bowl
  5. Combine together
  6. Taking approx. 2 tbsp of mixture roll into balls
  7. Place on lined baking tray, leaving approx. 3cm between balls. Press balls slightly with fork.
  8. Bake in oven for 20-25 mins
  9. Leave on tray for 5 minutes (leave longer for crisper biscuits)
  10. Transfer to cooling rack

Biscuits will keep in an airtight container for 2 days –if they last that long! Or you could freeze half, wrapping biscuits in cling film and placing in clip seal bag in freezer.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Renew the Menu: Spinach and Ricotta parcels

Spinach and ricotta parcels were requested by husband this week. He forgot to tell me until after I'd made them he was thinking of feta, not ricotta and filo pastry, not puff (arghh!) but he enjoyed them anyway (his life wouldn't be worth living if he said otherwise!).
 
This isn't so 'new' of course as I have made similar pastry morsels before but it was the first time I've attempted to make my own puff pastry. I went with a rough puff pastry recipe as I wanted something simple and quick. The pastry turned out well, but for me a little too buttery (is that even a thing?!) so I think next time I would possibly add less butter. The kids ate them so I managed to double Miss M's vegetable intake for the week (going from nothing to one serving!) #winning!
 
 
Since pastry can be very difficult to get right I was prepared for it not working out, so I was surprised when I managed to fumble my way through and it was actually good!
 
The spinach and ricotta was a simple mixture however next time I would only add one egg to the mixture as it did taste a little eggy. (I have adjusted the recipe below to allow for this).
 
 
Of course pastry isn't the healthiest of ingredients but as a sometime menu item I think making your own pastry is much better for you than using the bought version.
 
Would make a great lunch time treat if you were having visitors or make them into smaller parcels for dinner party finger food!
 
Rough Puff Pastry recipe I used can be found here (the pastry makes enough for approx. 8 large parcels)
 
Spinach and Ricotta parcels
 
Ingredients
1 x 375g tub ricotta
3 tbsp grated parmesan
1 egg, lightly beaten (+ 1 egg lightly beaten for pastry)
1 x 250g frozen spinach (thawed)
Sea Salt
Pepper
 
Method
Pre-heat oven 180 degrees Celsius (fan forced)
 
1. Squeeze moisture out of thawed spinach through fine sieve
2. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl
3. Cut pastry out into large squares
4. Spoon mixture onto one half of square making sure to leave room around edges (don't overfill)
5. Fold over pastry (to form either triangle or rectangle parcels) and press edges together
6. Brush with beaten egg and using knife pierce 3 small slits into pastry
7. Place on lined baking tray in pre-heated oven for approx. 15 minutes
8. Leave to cool slightly before serving
 
(Hint: I used leftover filing to make mini muffins this morning- simple add self-raising flour to mixture, along with some milk until muffin batter consistency, top with grated cheese and bake in moderate oven for 10 minutes)
 
I'm linking up with the lovely Lila from Little Wolff for Meatless Monday- pop over to her blog for more Meat-free ideas!
 
Do you have a no fail puff pastry recipe? Would love to hear about it? 

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Renew the Menu: Kangaroo fillets with Quinoa, oven-roasted beetroot, sweet potato and feta


Yep, we’re talking Skippy for dinner. I have cooked kangaroo a few times before but thought it would be a good experiment to see if the kids would eat it. With only 2% fat, kangaroo is a great source of protein and is also much cheaper than beef fillet. Because of its low fat content it is meant to be eaten medium-rare and can dry out if overcooked so make sure you keep an eye on it.
The kids version!

So what to pair with kangaroo?  Although I have had a packet of quinoa in the pantry for over two years I have never gotten around to actually cooking it! I have eaten it whilst dining out but kept avoiding cooking it at home as I had put it in the too hard basket- boy was I wrong! So easy to cook and great alternative to rice!
 
Quinoa is a complete protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids. It is a great source of magnesium and iron and also contains calcium. It’s often referred to as a grain but technically it’s a seed. It is gluten free, a good source of fibre and easy to digest so is great for those with celiacs or irritable bowel syndrome. No wonder it’s called a superfood!
 
Adding some earthy oven-roasted beetroot and sweet potato to the meal all that is needed is some saltiness from some good quality feta.

Although this meal has a few components they are all quick and can be on the table in 30 minutes.
 
So what was the verdict? Meat-lover Miss M, gobbled up the kangaroo, I can’t get her to eat vegetables at the best of times and this was no exception but was happy to see I can add another type of meat to her repertoire. Master Q was in a bad mood so apart from the sweet potato he hardly ate anything. Husband gave it a tick of approval and I thought all of these elements put together were delicious! So one of our national emblems will definitely be appearing on our table again!

 
Kangaroo fillet with Quinoa, oven-roasted beetroot, sweet potato and feta

Serves 4

Ingredients

500g kangaroo fillets
1-2 garlic clove crushed
Cracked pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups boiling water
Sea salt
1 small beetroot
1 small sweet potato
40 g feta
Coriander to garnish

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius
1.    Rub 2 tbsp olive oil and crushed garlic onto kangaroo fillets, sprinkle with cracked pepper and place in fridge to marinate for 20 mins
2.    Peel and dice beetroot and sweet potato. Coat with 1 tbsp olive oil, place on baking tray and sprinkle with salt. Bake in oven for 20 mins, turning after 10 mins
3.    Boil kettle, rinse quinoa under cold water and drain through fine sieve. Put quinoa in saucepan with 2 cups boiling water and pinch of salt. Bring water back to boil and then turn heat to low, cover with lid and simmer for 15 mins
4.    Heat frypan to high heat, sear kangaroo fillets on each side. Turn heat to medium and cook for approx. 3-4 mins each side, turning when moisture appears on surface. Take off heat, wrap in foil and let rest for 10 mins
5.    Once quinoa is cooked (it will curl up), fluff with fork and place on plates with roasted beetroot and sweet potato
6.    Slice kangaroo fillets, add to plate and top with crumbled feta and coriander
 
Enjoy and try not to whistle the Skippy theme song as you go!

 

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

A Cup of Tea with Me

As I have mentioned in previous posts I recently completed an online blogging course, Blog with Pip, run by the lovely Pip Lincolne. If any of you out there are thinking about starting a blog or need some motivation or tips to get yours off to cracking start in 2014 I can't recommend the course highly enough. Pip is super supportive, you will learn heaps and meet some other lovely participants too!

Anyhoo, Pip has asked the students of her first course to join in with a linky entitled "Cup of Tea with Me" with all of us answering the same questions below and linking up with her blog. Make sure you visit Meet me at Mike's if you'd like to read some of my other classmate's answers!


I actually find these kinds of questions, that seem so simple, the hardest to answer, so let's see how it goes...
 
1. Who am I and what do I do. My name is Nicole, I reside in marvelous Melbourne, Victoria and at the moment I am on extended maternity leave looking after my two little ones Miss M, 2.5 years and Master Q, 15 months. Every spare moment I get (oh yeah there are tonnes of these!!) I can be found writing about the adventures of being a Mum, creating new recipes or baking some sugar-free treats- all of which appear here on my blog!
 
2. Favourite things to do. Apart from the abovementioned I love to read books and magazines, relish the excitement of finding a new cookbook to devour and spending time with my little family.
 

 
3. My favourite place to be is simply at home with the bubbas and husband. The rare moments when husband and I aren't rushing around trying to get things done and we are all just enjoying each other is what it's all about.
 
4. Whoa, favourite things to eat and drink- that's a toughie! At the moment I would say favourite drink is sparkling water with lime (very summery) and coffee of course. Favourite thing to eat...oh geez I'm struggling with this one, maybe my homemade pizza with proscuitto, mozzarella and basil?!
 
5. Favourite inspirations...anyone who has taken a leap from the safety of their regular jobs or lives to follow their passion. People who are striving to enrich their own lives and the lives of those around them despite the risks. I think a lot of us dream of being able to do something they love or to downshift their lifestyle to spend more time with their family, to feel more connected to their own world. These are the stories I feel inspired by. Hoping I am on a journey that will one day will inspire others too!
 
6. Not sure if I can narrow it down to just one thing I want to know more about, but at the top of my list is photography, I love taking photos for my blog and of the kids and am champing at the bit to learn everything I can to improve my skills.
 

7. Favourite blogs. I have to say that completing the Blog with Pip course has opened by blog reading world right up, to the point where I can't keep up with them all now! My favourite blogs to read are some well known ones like Sarah Wilson, Retro Mummy, Meet me at Mike's, Coal Valley View, Foxs Lane, Whole Larder Love, What Katie Ate. But I have also recently become enamored with some new finds such as 13acres, Cityhippyfarmgirl, Miss and Misters, Gourmet Girlfriend, Grow.Cook.Sew, I heart Tuesdays, Yellow Dandy Dreams, Indigo and Quince, Madame Clochette, oh my, the list could go on forever!!  
 
So there it is, wasn't as hard as I thought!

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Renew the Menu: Asian inspired Chicken meatballs

Ok, so this recipe didn't turn out exactly as I had hoped. The meatballs were tasty and were gobbled up by the kids (to the point where there wasn't enough left for husband and I!) but I would definitely make a side dish for this if you want to feed four people. I had great plans to make some noodle fritters to go with this but ran out of time, so it was some steamed bok choy instead and although good for you, it doesn't quite fill you up!!
 
 
 
The meatballs have some great ingredients in them and I was happy with most of it, but unfortunately sometimes sugar-free substitutes just don't cut it, this was one of those times.The ingredient in question? Sweet Chilli Sauce. Now if you are unaware sweet chilli sauce is over 50% sugar (can you believe that?!). So if you are not sugar-free then I say "Lucky You!" as this recipe will taste a lot better than the sugar-free version. I will attempt a sugar-free version of this again in the future and will update you with any improvements!

Asian inspired Chicken meatballs

Serves 2 or 4 with a side dish

Ingredients

500g chicken mince (free range if possible)
2-3 tbsp coriander, chopped
1 shallot (green onion), sliced finely
50g macadamia nuts, finely chopped
2 tsp apple cider vinegar*
1/4 tsp chilli flakes*
1 tbsp rice malt syrup*
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/4-1/2 tsp sea salt

(* these three ingredients can be substituted for 2 tbsp of sweet chilli sauce if you are not sugar-free)
 
Method
 
1. Finely chop macadamia nuts or blitz in a food processor
2. Place mince, coriander, shallot, nuts, garlic, lemon zest and salt in a bowl
3.Whisk together apple cider vinegar, chilli flakes and rice malt syrup in a small container and add to bowl
4. Mix together using a spoon (clean hands are even better)
5. Using approx. two tablespoons of mince mixture roll into small balls (wet hands make this easier)
6. Place onto a plate and put in fridge for 20 mins
7. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in pan on medium heat, cook half of the meatballs turning in pan until they are fully cooked through
8. Wipe pan out after first batch and repeat step 7 with remaining meatballs
 
Note: Chicken mince tends to burn easily, turn heat down if they seem to be cooking too quickly on the outside. The mince mixture will feel very wet, this is fine and makes the meatballs moist.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Renew the Menu: Kale and Bacon brown rice risotto


Here we go with Renew the Menu dinner #2: Kale and Bacon Brown rice risotto. I will confess I did attempt this once before but it didn't turn out too well (there was lots of swearing involved!) so I decided to take a deep breath and try it again. Result = Winner.
 
Although it is seriously easy it does take a while to cook the brown rice so make sure you leave enough time before dinner to make it. Whilst I am in confession mode I will also tell you that the kids didn’t eat it (they ate leftovers, another one of my new year’s ‘To Do’ list goals is to waste less food) and it’s probably a good thing they didn’t- husband and I ate the whole lot ourselves!
Kale, bacon, brown rice, parmesan and pine nuts, what’s not to like?! The brown rice gives a great nutty texture, the pine nuts provide crunch and the saltiness of the bacon and parmesan give great flavour. The kale makes you feel healthy just eating it and I swear you can feel your iron levels rising with each mouthful!

Double the recipe if you are feeding four hungry persons as I think this recipe is really only enough for two decent helpings.

Kale and Bacon Brown rice risotto

Ingredients
1 cup brown rice
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 tbsp butter
½ cup parmesan, grated
120g bacon or pancetta would also work well
½ bunch kale
2 tbsp pine nuts

Method

1. Bring stock to boil in large saucepan
2. Once boiling add butter and reduce heat to simmer
3. Add rice and stir
4. Leave rice to simmer for 45-55 mins stirring occasionally (you may need to add more stock or hot water)
5. Wash kale and tear off leaves from main stem
6. Slice bacon into small pieces
7. When rice has been cooking for approx. 40 mins fry bacon in small frypan

8. Add kale torn into small pieces to microwaveable container with vented lid and add ½ cup water, steam in microwave for approx. 6 mins
9. Once rice is cooked but still slightly al dente, remove from heat and stir in parmesan

10. Add drained kale and bacon to rice and stir.
11. Toast pine nuts in small frypan
12. Spoon risotto into awaiting bowls and top with toasted pine nuts

 What is your favourite way to use kale?




Thursday, 9 January 2014

Introducing... my Renew the Menu project


One of the goals on my ‘To Do’ list for 2014 is to breathe new life into our weekly family dinners. In the last few months of 2013 it wasn’t just the TV shows that were in constant re-run mode and although I attempted to describe the 5th showing of tuna bake in a month as a ‘special encore’ appearance it didn’t seem to entice the audience. Considering we eat 365 dinners a year and most of us probably cook the same 15 meals on rotation that is a lot of re-runs!!
Even though I love to bake, I do not really like to cook that much. Planning, shopping for, preparing and cooking meals takes a lot of time and energy and just when you’ve got one covered another one is looming around the corner! So I have decided I will set myself a goal of cooking two new dinners a week, now this doesn’t sound like that much of a challenge but I had to set a goal I thought was doable since I still have other things to do around here!

Twice a week I will create a meal that I haven’t ever cooked before. I’ve dubbed this my “Renew the Menu" project and will post the recipes and how they were received here on my blog. As time is a precious commodity all my dinners will be quick and easy as well as healthy and family friendly.

I hope that if you have been suffering from the same affliction as me and need some inspiration you might find some here in the coming weeks and months. Maybe you might like to take on this project in your household! Make sure you share your winners here or on my Facebook page.

Now for the first of my Renew the Menu meals: Sugar-free Satay Chicken with Cauliflower mash and Crunchy salad.
 
One of the things I miss being sugar-free is Thai takeaway satay chicken and when I first tasted Mayver’s Peanut and Coconut Spread that is the first thing that sprung to mind. So here I have made a simple satay sauce, it isn’t as spicy as I would normally make it as my kids are too young for anything too hot but if your family like the hot stuff feel free to add more chilli flakes or use a small red chilli instead.

Cauliflower mash with coconut milk was a real winner in our household. Even husband who is not a real fan of cauliflower and reluctantly put the first serving on his plate went back for more. Simple and easy way to encourage kids of all ages to eat some more veggies!
 
The crunchy salad was a bastardised version of a Coles Crunchy Asian Salad recipe and added great crunch to the meal. I didn’t make a dressing for it as I didn’t want to confuse the flavours and the satay sauce is the real hero here. Overall (apart from the expected mess) this was a hit and will definitely make it into the dinner rotation!
 

Sugar-Free Satay Chicken with Cauliflower mash and Crunchy salad

(Serves 4)

Sugar-Free Satay Chicken

½ tbsp olive oil
500 g free-range chicken breast fillets

Satay Sauce

1/3 cup Mayver’s Peanut and Coconut Spread (love this stuff!)
½ cup Coconut Milk
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp chilli flakes (you can increase this if your family likes it hotter)
1 tbsp rice malt syrup

Cauliflower mash

1 small cauliflower
½ cup coconut milk

Crunchy Salad

¼ purple cabbage, shredded
50 g snow-pea sprouts, cut in half
1 small carrot, peeled into ribbons
½ cup coriander leaves, chopped
½ red capsicum, thinly sliced
Handful of cashew or peanuts

 

Method

1. Shred cabbage, cut snow-pea sprouts in half, peel carrot into ribbons, slice capsicum into thin strips and chop coriander leaves

2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and top with cashews or peanuts

3. Slice chicken fillets into large strips (or smaller for younger children)

4. Using a fork mix all satay sauce ingredients in a jug (adjust consistency of sauce to your liking my adding more coconut milk)

5. Heat oil in frypan and cook chicken pieces until done

6. Whilst chicken is cooking cut up cauliflower and put florets into microwavable container with vented lid, add ½ cup water and microwave for 6-8 minutes or until tender

7. Drain water from cauliflower and add coconut milk, mash or blend together until smooth

8. Spoon bed of cauliflower mash onto plate, place chicken strips on mash and top with satay sauce, serve with side of crunchy salad.

 
Tip: Any leftovers are great in a wrap for lunch the next day

 

I would love to hear from any of you that have tackled a new family dinner recently, was it a hit or miss?

 

 

Monday, 6 January 2014

Bring it 2014


I’m sitting on the couch coffee in hand, watching husband torturing Miss M with kisses, she responds with riotous uncontrolled laughter. Master Q is sitting on his knees, a huge grin on his face as he watches the spectacle in front of him. Moments that you just wish you could bottle. This is a pretty good start to 2014.
my butterfly-tigress

2013 was, well, let’s just say ‘challenging’. In January 2013 I had an 18 month old and 4 month old. The next six months were tough. Upon the impending arrival of your first child people are constantly bombarding you with advice like: “You better sleep now there will be no sleep after the baby arrives”, “Nothing can prepare you for how your life changes when you have a baby”, “Your life will never be the same again” and “There will be no such thing as time to yourself”. And although all these things are true, there were none of these ‘pearls of wisdom’ or words of warning on just how difficult it would be with two. I do like to console myself with the fact that since Miss M and Master Q were so close together it was ostensibly like having two babies but this doesn’t change the fact that it was down.right.hard.
During the last year I have been plagued with moments of self-doubt, asking myself “Am I cut out to be a Mum?”, “Is this ever going to get any easier?”, “Will these illnesses ever end?”, “When will I start enjoying this?” and at times this kind of fatalistic thinking did get the better of me. But I consoled myself with one fact that I have learnt by sharing these concerns with other Mums over the last two and a half years; No one finds it easy. When you think about it why should it be? Nothing that is worth anything comes easy.
 
With 2014 still emitting that wonderful new car smell I can tell any of you out there who are reading this whilst breastfeeding a baby in one arm and haranguing a toddler with the other, IT DOES GET EASIER. (Or do we just get better at it?) Either way take it from me you will eventually get more sleep, the constant battering of viruses will get fewer and far between, the bubbas will get a little more self-sufficient and you will start to feel like a human-being again.
my two little humans
 
I certainly don’t feel like I am a pro at this child-raising gig but deep down I know that I am doing a good job. That just questioning myself means that I want to be the best Mum I can. I should be proud of myself for getting through 2013 with my sanity still intact and that as long as I am constantly learning from my mistakes and striving to be a better parent I am doing the right thing.
my boys
Yesterday whilst holding Master Q after his bath I looked at the two of us in the mirror and still could not believe that he was mine, that I am not just a Mum to one little being but two! Husband must have sensed what I was thinking and asked “Could you have pictured yourself as a Mum”, the answer really is “No”. I could not have imagined how relentless, stressful, overwhelming, frustrating and tiring it would be. But I also could not in my wildest dreams have imagined how wonderful, heart-melting, gratitude-inducing and life-changing it would be. Clichés and cornball lines aside, You are never the same person again once you have kids and I’m ok with that. I am sure 2014 will be full of more ‘challenges’ but I do feel like I have turned a corner. Bring it 2014, I’m ready.
 
What was your biggest parenting lesson of 2013?