Recipe: Spicy carrot and lentil soup

With the days getting colder and darker is there anything better than a pot of soup on the hob with the smell wafting through the house.

Today’s soup of choice is Spicy carrot and lentil soup.

Now I’ll be honest my recipes are not to the exact gram as I often just go with the flow and throw ingredients in.

Ingredients

7 carrots

1/2 sweet potato

Vegetable stock 2 cubes

2 onions

Lentils

Fry light spray

Tikka power or curry power

Method

Chop onions and fry with fry-light spray until brown.

Add 2 pints of stock

Add nearly half a bag of split lentils

Add chopped carrots

Add 1/2 sweet potato

Season with salt and pepper

Leave to boil for 3/4 hour

Blend and taste

Now you can add the tikka power or curry powder if you wish.

Enjoy…

Mini blog

Parenting / working mum life

Glad to close the door to a very busy week. Working extra days this week meant away early in morning and home late… which really stumps my parenting routine. I like to do homework and music practice straight after school or first thing in the morning, so this week it never went to plan Which resulted in tantrums/ crying, shouting and trying to get tired kids to do their homework at bed time! I suppose you can’t win at everything and this week it’s been tough to parent. Is there a good balance of both?

I’m glad @sean_dad_capt has been home this week, he’s cooked meals, shopping, food shopping, homework and even #hinched he’s been the champ in team Smith this week ❤️.

I even managed to confuse the girls swimming times and put Gracie into Ivy’s class and Ivy questioned why she was sitting at the side while her class was in swimming! I did wonder why Gracie was swimming breadths of the pool when she had only attended a couple of swimming lessons. Parenting fail!!

I think he girls are suffering from post viral fatigue so we’ve had our fair share of tantrums this week, So come 7pm every night I’ve been glad to see them off to bed. How bad does that sound but it’s true! Looking forward to a quiet weekend catching up with house work #hinching and not rushing out the door.

And to finish the busy week we had 9 girls for supper for Ivy’s 6th Birthday.

Let’s hope for a quieter week next week.

Amen to hands on dads and grannys.

The big day

It’s 05.21 on the morning of Emma and Daniel wedding I lay in bed so exited about what lies ahead. The hair the make up the laughs the tears I simply can’t wait.

We had the rehearsal last night and all the memories from my own wedding came rushing back. The whole build up to the traditional wedding is overwhelming. It’s not for the faint hearted!

In our little corner of Scotland weddings bring their own traditions.

The blackening

this consists of the bride and grooms friends planning a date for when they will surprise the lucky couple and cover them in buckets of mixed up food, or in this case feathers, cattle feed, just anything we could get our hands on really. We decided to catch them both on the same day after trying to cox them to a bbq at my house I’m pretty sure they knew what was going on. After covering them in food we jumped on the back of a trucks and paraded around the town banging and making a loud nose. It’s was great fun and a well known Scottish tradition to wish the newly couple good luck.

The henny

As well as the blackening we had the henny in Glasgow too. This I was looking forward to the most as a weekend without the kids and spending it with friends was pure bliss.

It was a lovely weekend spent with great friends with lots of laughs. Spending time with friends without kids around really is a time to cherish as usually I’m running behind Malachy and you don’t get a chance to chat. A fun packed weekend of cocktail making and eating lots! What can go wrong!

Showing of presents

Another wedding tradition in our north east corner is the showing of presents. Usually the invites go out and on them is a date in which You can visit the brides mothers house and bring your gift for the couple and it will be on display for all to see. You are then greeted with cups and tea and fancy pieces, scones and pancakes and more tea. It’s great to have everyone come at once however it takes its tole on the parents and bride herself having to entertain guests pretty much for 48hours. That’s when the bridesmaids and friends step in and help serve the tea and pieces, or in our case eat the pieces.

She’s no bride zilla

I remember thinking back to my own wedding it was all so stressful around that time! It was all just a blur. As I look on at Emma she’s so calm she’s almost horizontal! Which is the opposite to me. I’m prob too much the other way and a bit of a worrier when it came to our wedding. She’s taken the whole thing in her stride she’s no bride Zilla and made the whole thing look like a piece of cake!!

I said yes

It was nearly 1 year since I was asked to be one of Emma’s bridesmaids, now the day is here I am a little nervous about he whole thing hence being up at 5am!

I can successfully say I’ve done it! if you’ve read they start of my blog you’ll see I was carrying extra weight I couldn’t wait to get rid of so what better excuse !

I’ve lost 1stone and a half of that weight to this day! I feel happier in my clothes and more confident. Simply by healthy eating.

Today I’m not on a diet, I’m going to enjoy this special day. Celebrating the marriage of Emma and Daniel.

Emma you will be the most beautiful bride every dress you tried on was perfect on you! You are a beautiful person inside and out and Thank you I can’t wait to be part of your special day today.

April xx

The Potty Train…

 The dreaded word right?

After reading many baby books I always wanted to be on the ball with potty training, my granny always said ”back in the day your mum was potty trained at a year old!!” How could this be? Could she even walk? Statistics say 97% of children were potty trained by age 18months in 1957! Wow!!! I wonder how much of that statistic is true?

IVY

We took the plunge when Ivy was about 17months old. I followed Gina Fords book Potty training in 1 week. Sounds ideal right!? Thinking if we can crack this we can crack anything. The book is a short step by step daily guide with tips and signs to look out for to keep you on the right track. Previously I have used Gina Fords books for issues such as routine and weaning, and felt they really worked.
So we opened the book (I say we, but not entirely sure how much Sean was involved) page by page day by day she stuck to the book and she was ‘potty trained’ within 10 days…so a little longer than it says on the cover but I was impressed.  Of course we had the odd accident, and she wasn’t dry at night but it was a great success!

You think 1 week isn’t long…however it was the longest week ever! I thought she would never crack it. Its so frustrating at the time your life is consumed indoors, concentrating solely on potty training. As it states in the book they need to recognise to ask for the potty themselves to move onto the next stage and not just be reminded. I remember going to the top of the stairs with Ivy for her bath on day 8 thinking about packing the whole thing in…when she finally said ‘pee pee’ and ran to the potty and did the needful. I couldn’t believe it!  I was jumping about on the landing clapping my hands and dancing!! It had finally clicked and we were on our way!  A short while after we were on holiday with the girls abroad, and to my surprise Ivy was dry from the first night there right through the week. So it was a pretty easy journey with Ivy as she progressed in age she hardly has had an accident. To the point now at 5 years old I have to remind her to go to the toilet. As she would quite happily go the whole day and not go!

GRACIE

When Gracie became about 18months I decided to pull out the good old Potty training in 1 week book again. My girls even though they look similar they couldn’t be more opposite in personality. Unfortunately it didn’t click after a few days in or few weeks. We decided to abandon all efforts and give her a little time as she wasn’t ready. After several attempts at trying however she still wasn’t able to hold her bladder long enough. When we did get Gracie dry around age 2 it was such a relief. However she wasn’t dry at night and wasn’t accident free. There was lots of days she wet herself on many occasions and I felt we were right back to where we started. Some days she would deliberately have an accident to gain attention. I just imagined the whole process would be easy like it was with Ivy but it wasn’t. It wasn’t until she was about 3 she would go long periods without accidents. I began to worry and google for tips as now she was 3 and a half and was still wet through the night. I had tried several things however none seemed to work.
I called the health visitor for advice as she was turning 4 soon and I was beginning to get really worried as not one night had passed where she had been dry. I couldn’t help compare the girls how could they be so different? The health visitor came to see Gracie for her 4 year review and was very much pleased with her progress. So I thought It was a good opportunity to bring this topic up. I couldn’t believe when she began to discuss other situations and examples of other children’s issues at the same age as Gracie. it gave me a sense of not being the only one like this. She asked questions like if anyone in my family had been older in age before being potty trained? As it sometimes can run in the family. She advised me that unless the particular hormone in her brain is mature and released she will never be dry as she wont be ready. No mater what I try it wont make any difference until this hormone is produced she wont be dry at night.
Gracie turned 4 in February and we had the choice whether she went to school next year or waited until she was 5 1/2. We decided to put her forward for school as she is so go ahead we didn’t want to hold her back in another year of playschool if she is ready for school. Naturally I have been trying to prep her for going to school by dressing herself, toileting and zipping up her jacket independently. So with the bed wetting I was nervous of the fact that she continued to do this.
On her 4th birthday evening her granny was preparing for bed, I overheard her say she didn’t want a pull up on that night. I thought oh dear, but I let her go to bed without one since the sheets need changed anyway in the morning. Much to my joy in the morning she was dry!! She had never done this before it was a great achievement. I thought it must have been a fluke…but no she has been pretty ‘dry’ since.
I used to always lift her before I went to bed and sometimes she will shout in the middle of the night to go to the toilet. She has had the odd dribble since then so I tend to put a training mat under her in bed. However sometimes when we are having a bad week, when she isn’t getting enough attention/or her own way, like last week…for example I was working extra shifts she wet the bed for a whole week!! However usually the majority of the time she is dry.

So that was my experience with girls very different indeed. What about boys??

The average age now for potty training is 3 1/2 with teachers in schools seeing an increase in children coming to school not potty trained. 10% of 7 year old are still wetting the bed. These are facts I was glad to hear when I was struggling with Gracie’s bed wetting. Its nothing to be ashamed of and not spoken about enough. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help and advice with toilet training, and don’t feel like you’ve failed if they don’t succeed. If they haven’t realised the matured hormone they will never be ready, no mater what techniques you try at home.

”Potty training boys is so much harder than girls, they need to be at least 2 and a half!”

MALACHY

So Malachy was 21 months and he’s quite mature for his age I would say- he copy’s the girls a lot and had started showing signs like talking about going to the toilet and recognising when he’s wet! So I took a deep breath and pulled out the good old Gina Ford book for the 3rd time. To be honest I wasn’t planning on attempting it until nearer summer but I thought I would do a little test…much to my delight he knew exactly what he was doing. Sean was looking at me saying I thought we wasn’t doing this just now? But once I started and he got on so well I couldn’t stop! Didn’t want to send him confusing signals by abandoning ship.
Out of  10 days I would say we had 5 accidents/wet pants with me. Of course when I was working and grandparents had him, unfortunately not so switched on to he whole potty training thing and didn’t toilet him so often there was more accidents. He was absolutely no problem and I couldn’t quite believe how easy he was to train- even easier than Ivy.
He’s now dry for his afternoon nap, and sometimes dry at night so we’re on the right track! I must admit I was a little emotional when I began to train Malachy as he was my last and youngest in nappy’s.

What worked for me?

GINA FORD POTTY TRAINING IN 1 WEEK.
They need to be ready and show the signs.
Rewards for peeing in potty (penny sweet)
Don’t go back to nappy’s after you start- don’t confuse them!
Patients
Team work

It doesn’t mater what age they are toilet trained as every child is ready at their own pace. It can be something you don’t want to discuss with other mums as you might be ashamed or embarrassed as they begin to grow older and they have not achieved it. Speak out and seek advice. By sharing my three different experiences shows how good or how bad it can go.

Guest Writer- The Organised Mum Method

Do you want to know how all those organised mums out there manage to keep on top of it all?

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I love Gemma- she is the queen bee of the organised cleaning method! Everyday she has a plan for particular room- 30 minutes a day is all it takes! Does it work I hear you say?? Yes it does!

I use it and it makes you feel like your on top of the game!

She’s created a weekly plan to tackle the house work. Or If your house is in need for a major over hall she’s got a plan for that too!!

Check out here page in the link at the bottom! click here to download her free pintables for a week by week cleaning plan! I love it! It stays in my kitchen and keeps me right for each day!

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Prep is key!


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Top Tips For Keeping Everything Together by The Organised Mum (Gemma Bray)

There is no doubt about it, keeping everything together at home when you have kids can be challenging! I was never an organised person … until I had kids. Whilst they rocked my world is so many ways they also turned it upside down. I could no longer fly by the seat of my pants and I needed to get some structure into my life.

Over the years I have come up with some shortcuts to calm the chaos!

Always try to get up and dressed early. This is really important .. especially if you are on maternity leave and still have little ones with you at home. I find that if I am dressed and ready for the day early doors, it changes my whole mindset and makes me feel ‘together’.
Be realistic about what you want to achieve with your time. If you set yourself unrealistic targets then when you will inevitably struggle to meet them. This is very demotivating! Much better to approach fewer tasks in one day, (remembering that things always take much longer with kids) get them all done and go to bed feeling accomplished!
Be your future friend! If you follow any of my social media accounts you will know that this is a motto that I live by. The premise behind it is very simple. Always try and make your future life easier. So if you have a sink full of dishes at bedtime that you KNOW will be much harder to clean in the morning  then do them now! This will stop that awful sinking feeling when you walk into the kitchen tomorrow morning and see last night’s crusty lasagne dish! This motto doesn’t just apply to cleaning you can use it in all aspects of life and it really works!
Finally, recognise the importance of lazy days! You are not a machine and you can’t be on the go all the time. If you wake up one day and really can’t bring yourself for get dressed (see point 1) and think that you need a day on the sofa catching up on The Real Housewives of Wherever then do it! Don’t feel guilty, embrace the downtime but make sure you get back on track the next day. Relaxing is never a waste of time!

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Thank you so much Gemma for taking the time to be a guest blogger on my page!

Go on check out her page she has great recipes and videos too!

The organised mum site click here

xxx

The weekend before I turned 30.

Many people dread turning the big 30 or 40? Why because they don’t want to feel old?
I suppose people want to feel like they have accomplished something by the time they reach a certain age? Like a weight loss goal? Married? Kids? That dream job?


I was doing a bank shift recently and was given a student to shadow. As we were driving along in the car we were chatting about life and what she was doing at the weekend. As she talked I thought we sound like we’re the same age, although she wasn’t married or had kids.
When I asked her how old she was she said 18…my jaw literally dropped… I thought we were the same age….but in actual fact I was 11 years older!!! How could this be?? Even driving along the road that day chatting about life with 3 kids car seats in the back I felt not a day older than 18!
It was a reality check for me that day.. I thought she must look at me and think I’m old!! But I wasn’t I felt young! Age is just a number!! It doesn’t mater if your not married by 30 of 40 or 50! Marriage isn’t for everyone and we’re not born out the same box, everyone has different goals and views of life.
These days people aren’t getting married at 19 and Boom boom boom 3 kids. People are enjoying life a bit first before they have kids and settle down, travelling or meeting new people. Turning a milestone birthday is just another number.. has no meaning…you are just as old as you feel…and I don’t feel a day older than 18…

The last Saturday in my 20s was just another ordinary Saturday for us… usually we have a chilled out morning as it’s the one day of the week we’re not rushing to get out of the house for school or church. So on a Saturday we chill… my dad came round to finish more of the hall way floor and Sean decided to muck in too. There was a craft fate on the in village hall which I had planned to take the girls to… however my mum took Ivy away to Fraserburgh with her and my brother took Gracie away to Banff with him.


So I found myself ‘almost bored’ just me and Malachy. What were we going to do? As we were chilling I began to think.. this is my last weekend in my 20s I should have arranged a party or a get together with my friends, but life has been so busy with kids and other stuff, I guess I forgot!

When he girls got back we sat down to some lunch, Sean was always hinting ‘what we going to do today?’ To be honest I was quite happy just go to the craft fayre and come home again. However I felt Sean wanted to get out the house and kept commenting on that we needed a food shop from Lidl’s!
As the hours passed I was still sitting there in my polo neck, jeans & slippers…looking back now Sean must of been in a sweat trying to get me out the house half decent dressed.
So he mentioned something that would always make we jump… what about we go for a food shop and go out for supper somewhere nice… right he said it… let’s go!
So I decided It was my birthday weekend even though we hadn’t anything planned, I would dress up a bit and we would have our dinner out with the kids in the evening which I looked forward to as we never go out these days. The stress of eating out with kids just isn’t worth it.
So while Sean packed everyone into the car (at this point Sean was getting a little stressed at the time it was taking everyone to find their shoes and get out the door) I was thinking to myself, What’s the rush? It was 2 pm we had all afternoon to go to Lidl’s and go out for dinner.
Any ways we got into the car and off we went in the direction of Lidl’s… in the back the girls was popping out hints like when will we be at the fayre? I began to wonder what was going on.

Sean took a wrong turn. He stopped the car and pulled out a blind fold… here put this on! From then I knew my suspicions were right there was something going on. I said where we going but he would let out no clues.


He started to drive, to begin with I knew the road so I kind of knew where we were going. Later that day I got a text from someone who saw Sean driving me through the countryside blind folded wondering if we was doing a fifty shades stunt. I couldn’t help but laugh! If only!
So the car stopped, by this point I didn’t know where we were. He opened the door and lead me through the car park. I took my blind fold off to find all my family waving at me and laughing shouting surprise!!

Sean sneakily had arranged an afternoon tea for my 30th Birthday.
What a great surprise to receive. I was in shock as I sat down at the head of the table Sean began to thank everyone for coming, and thank everyone for their help with the kids ,as he did a speech for a moment I thought he was going to do a pregnancy announcement, I wasn’t the only one who thought this either.
Along with my mum they arranged this together with the help of some friends. It was lovely, food and cakes and party bags for the kids to keep them entertained in our own private room to ourselves.


I never knew my man could pull out all the stops and arrange something like that without me knowing. I did have my concerns when it must have been in the planning stages when he was continually on his phone, I would ask him what you doing and he would say never you mind!

Felt totally blessed to have all my family come together to celebrate my birthday. Made turning 30 that bit easier…

little did I know that wasn’t the only surprise that week he had up his sleeve!!

…to be continued…