Thursday, 27 November 2014

Meal Plan 27th November 2014

We are trying to make food go a little further this week so buying a packet of 500g mince and making it do at least two meals the same with two chicken breasts and making sure the roast can do two meals.

Thursday - Homemade Chilli with Baked Potatoes for everyone

Friday - Waitorse Treat

Saturday - Chicken Burgers - Chicken to be flattened out and coated in spicy mix served with lots of salad and a few chips. Boys will have homemade crispy chicken, chips and salad

Sunday - Cola Roast Gammon for the whole family

Monday - Thai Chicken Rice again lots of veggies in with the rice to make the meat go further. Boys will also be having this.

Tuesday - Milaniase style left over gammon served with spaghetti the boys will also be having this.

Wednesday - Gnnochi with Bologniase Style sauce using up the mince beef from Thursday.



Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Meal Plan 20th November 2014

It's been a manic week hubby on holiday but feels like I have less time. This meal plan I must admit has been thrown together in a rush but here goes

Thursday - Broccoli, Mushroom and Gnocchi from Jo Pratt Madhouse cookbook. Boys will have gnocchi with tomato sauce

Friday - I am out with my special needs mums night out cocktails and tapas boys will all have fish chips and peas

Saturday - Fahitas the boys will have homemade pizza

Sunday - Roast Pork with all the trimmings

Monday - Mushroom Bougnion from Amuse your Bouche boys will have mini roast chicken

Tuesday - Slow cooker Lasagne for us all

Wednesday - Take out as a treat the boys will have spaghetti carbonara

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Meal Plan 13th November 2014

Last week we had some new and really lovely meals thanks to  re discovering Rachel Allen's easy meals and I must admit I am going to be using that book a lot more and a couple of good mid week meals have come out of it. This week I have been re looking at the Madhouse cookbook by Jo Pratt

Thursday - Homemade mixed bean chilli with jacket potatoes - totally made up ala Mud Cakes and Wine I may write it up but worried it's just too simple - boys had simply Jackets with cheese and some salad

Friday - doing a cheesy nacho dish with chicken be interesting to see what I make up for this one. I will do the same for the boys less chilli though

Saturday - Beef pies I must admit I brought these in with chips and peas for the boys homemade pizza and chips

Sunday - Roast Chicken boys will have the same

Monday - Meatballs with Olives - Madhouse cookbook by Jo Pratt. Boys will have mince sauce with pasta

Tuesday - Chicken, Potato and Spinach Curry - Madhouse cookbook by Jo Pratt. Boys will have homemade chicken nuggets with peas and mash

Wednesday - Bacon and Tomato Penne. Boys will have the sauce OB will not have the bacon just a simple sauce.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

The diabetes yo-yo

We have had type 1 in our life for coming up to six months now and we have come along way. From those paranoid first few weeks where we were almost scared of food, not helped by the fact our little boy had re discovered his appetite and wanted to eat all day long, I am not sure how many bags of carrots, cheese and cucumbers we brought. Learning to do finger prick tests and the joys of trying to sort repeat prescriptions out with the doctors surgery. The laughable way I thought I would easily be able to rotate his blood tests, one inside and outside each finger moving along his hand. What the hell was I thinking I am lucky now to grab a hand and keep him still long enough to do the test and the that bloody E4 honestly I think it's one of the most annoying reading and that bleep ringing in your ears. We both look at the monitor and shout oh no E4 and OB says silly mummy.

We know roughly what we are doing, but what I have come to witness is the level of constant stress. When people see me it's the first thing everyone asks how are the levels? Have you got them under control and it's very hard not to take this personally questioning if people are judging me about how under control OBs levels are. When you say we have had a few high days the normal response oh dear what's happened, what's he been doing. I take a deep breath tell myself they are not questioning you and attempt to answer that we just do not know the answer to. We wish we did  but it can just be a totally mystery, you try to analyse everything did he eat something different, less running around can it be associated with stress or the most common one, is he coming down with something.

But what I have found is that it's just constant and does not go away, your checking so regularly each day that the stress become normal, the wait to see what the monitor is going to pop up with. You think we have been good no carbs between meals and boom a high reading hits you, do you re test, do you leave it, do you need to correct every question enters your head. Even during school they may call you and your having to have these thought with someone else giving their opinion. I was not expecting this at all, I thought the stress would decrease as we got to grips but it just does not.  It's just always in the back ground teasing you.

Then to top this off you have the three monthly hospital appointment, please do not get me wrong our team are kind and caring, easy to talk to and always there to help us. But on that first apt my husband and I felt like two naughty school children and waiting for the results to come back I almost felt sick. We had done well in fact the best all day then you feel like jumping up and punching the air. But however when you leave it's the pressure of the next apt will the reading go up was it a fluke.

So it starts all over again......

Monday, 10 November 2014

Food Fails Part One

We have been a little quiet on the mud cakes and wine postings but believe me its been very busy. I have lots of sen related blogs to come up. However I have been reading some wonderful blogs full of amazing food I look at them and read with wonder at how they do it. This blog is not too long but very true and I am sure you know exactly where I am coming from.

In the mud cakes and wine household I thought for a few days that I had totally lost the ability to cook, now let's be honest here my ability's are very basic but we do tend to get some tasty meals. So what have we had in the last few weeks that have made me question my cooking ability.
First was yet another stuck to the bottom burnt on the top yet soggy toad in the hole. I try, let's think about this, about once every couple of months to cook a successful toad in the hole and about once every two months I say never again, as we sit down to a meal covered in gravy as we have dry sausages and batter that's slightly burnt but also manages to be soggy on the bottom. I always prepare a lot of veggies and gravy for this meal as I know what I cook will need it.

The next food fail was a lentil ragu, I was making two meals out of the ragu, for the boys a tasty soup and for my husband and I a hearty ragu to serve with spaghetti. I wanted to pop the ragu in the slow cooker once done for the grown up ragu, last time I attempted lentils in the slow cooker they were hard and uncooked after several hours. Bubbling away on the hob was a lovely smelling pan of lentils, vegetable stock, garlic, red onion along with bay leaves I was a happy girl, the disaster then unfolded while I was building Lego with the boys and started to smell something not as lovely in fact something burning. Running out with the boys attached to my legs to find the lentils stuck and burnt to the pan. Thinking I was clever I ladled out what I could making soup for the boys and the rest in the slow cooker.  Problem was, yes you have guessed it had that hint of burnt about it no matter how much cheese you put on top. As for my saucepan, it took me two days of soaking and scrubbing to get those burnt on lentils of the bottom.

The final food fail story is an attempt at a chicken and potato bake. This was meant to be a quick meal to pop in the slow cooker in fact it took me forever and then tasted awful. I decided to par boil my potatoes ensuring they are cooked later on. Made the chicken and mushrooms with a white sauce flavoured with some tarragon and layered it up in the slow cooker. It looked nice and smelt OK. Upon serving up there was no sauce left and in some ways that was not a bad thing. We ate all I can describe soggy yet dry potatoes with dry chicken in a sauce that tasted like I had put a can of cheap mushroom soup rather than go to the effort of a white homemade sauce. Good job the broccoli was tasty and we were hungry.

As you can see it goes wrong and I am learning from this, I will be re reading all the advice on toad in the hole, lentil ragu is lovely and I will investigate how best to cook in the slow cooker, as far as the chicken and potato bake is concerned I will go right back to the drawing board in maybe a month or so I need to erase that one from memory. We have had some great successes including spicy chicken burgers and a slow cooked topside roast that was melt in the mouth. I am sure I will have a food fail series being featured in the blog.....


Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Meal Plan 6th November 2014

It's been a while as we have just been manic with school and special needs and type 1 issues all needing to be addressed, so here is next weeks meal plan and I will try and do a recap on the last few weeks high and sadly low points for food

Thursday - Spiced beef pittas taken from Rachel Allen's Easy Meals - boys having spag Bol

Friday - little treat a ken hom meal kit so no cooking tonight. Boys will have tortellini 

Saturday - Cajun chicken burgers with bacon, avocado and general yummy times boys will have home made chicken nuggets and chips

Sunday - The inlaws are over so a lovely farmshop piece of beef with all the trimmings

Monday - Tomato and Goats cheese tart with new potatoes ans salad again from Rachel Allen's Easy Meals the boys will also have a tomato and cheese tart

Tuesday - Fried potato, cabbage and chorizo - Rachel Allen Easy Meals the boys will have mini roast potatoes with tomato sauce and green veggies

Wednesday - Bacon, mushroom and potato gratin with a large salad - Rachel Allen Easy Meals - boys I am going to try the grain but no mushrooms.

As you can see I rediscovered my Rachel Allen Easy Meals cookbook it was not the plan to do most meals from it but they all sounded lovely and I want something new.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Thinking about some me time

I drop OB at school explain his levels for the night, give instructions about the day and when to call me, discuss how he has been with in himself. I then negotiate with ATM taking yet another one of schools play cars, telling myself I will promise to bring it back in the afternoon. Drive round to pre school grab ATM, drop him off jump back into the car to drive over to Aldi wondering if I am going to get parked or will have to wait for a space (which I just hate and always think maybe just park in the children's spaces, no I never can bring myself to do it). Get home with enough time to put it away and then tidy up ready to collect the boys.
In theory I have three mornings to myself one is shopping, one is cleaning and the other is running errands that I can not do with both boys or need to look at something where ATM will get bored or going to look at the pre school website for some reason I said I would write.
I have come to a decision that I need something for me that I can lose myself in, nothing to do with house, children etc I honestly think my mental state needs it. So the hubby and I are first joining our local golf club gym, they have a swimming pool yoga classes and aqua aerobics to name a few classes, I have told myself to do two things a week. I need to get fit, I run around after the boys but I am awfully out of shape and I know that exercise is great stress relief  and that's what's needed. Something to lose myself in, get my mind on something else, and trying to breath and not collapse will I am sure do that, but let's hope I see results which I can focus on.
Secondly and I must admit I am more excited about is I want to learn to sew, OB is at school and will need outfits for school plays and it really interests me. So I have been looking into doing a complete and total beginners sewing class, I have had a few responses and will be booking something up. I have lots of ideas and for the first time in a long time I am excited by doing something new, this is what is needed an escape from everything so that I can feel refreshed and I hope able to deal with the day to day a little better. So come on where do I buy a sewing machine :0)

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Last week while doing the weekly shop I was thinking about the joys of Saturday lunch, trying to find a meal that all four of us can eat which is also quick and easy to prepare. The change in the season has already had a large impact on the food I am cooking, the slow cooker is out for so many meals from Caribbean chicken to sausage casserole. 

Then I walked past the humble butternut squash it's sweet so the boys would like it and they do so love soup add a bit of spice to make the husband happy.

The soup bowls were empty and in ATM words it was lovely mummy so the recipe is as follows, you may want to increase the spices, I was trying to make sure it was OK for a 3 and 4 year old.

1 butternut squash peeled and cut into chunks
1 red onion peeled and cut into chunks
2 cloves of garlic whole and skin on
1 medium potato peeled and cut into chunks
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp olive oil
1 litre of vegetable stock

Heat the oven to 200 ours is not fan assisted.
Peel and chop the butternut squash, potato and red onion.
Mix the cumin, coriander and chili with the olive oil and pour over and mix with the potatoes, butternut squash, red onion and garlic put into a roasting tin and roast in the oven until the potatoes and squash are cooked through it took ours about 35 mins. I did it so they were slightly caramelised to add to the flavour.
I gently heated the stock on the hob when the veggies are cooked add to the stock I squeezed the garlic out of its skin as it had gone all sweet and blitz everything with a hand held blender.
Add more stock if a little thick and taste to see if you need a little more spice.
As mentioned I did it on the mild side for the children and they like a thick soup. 
We served ours with homemade cheese scones.

I have added a picture below, it's from the boys plate which was very soon empty. 



Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Dear teacher

know all parents struggle to find out about their children's days at school I talk with all my amazing friends who say they ask what they have done at school and get "humm can not remember" or "I did so much I can not remember" they all ask leading questions did you play with sand etc again nothing. 
However I can not gleam anything, one day I thought I had cracked it "did you play with sand" I asked yes he replied OK I thought, did then do some counting? Yes came the reply OK thought mummy lets try a third was counting fun? Yes came the reply OK thinks mummy we have gotten three yes answers did you fly to the moon? Yes came the eager response. OK thinks mummy where do we go from here. 

This is it, my wish from teachers, I know your busy you have lots of children and parents who all need your time and attention but I need to know something about my boys day. He goes to school at 9.30 I collect him at 2.30 and I will know nothing about the whole day but my situation is that I never will get anything other than a one or two word description. To show this in its reality he went to a farm all I got was the word bus for the next three days, nothing else just the word bus. It's great he loves the bus I am very happy but I know nothing more.

I just wish our teachers had the time to spend a little time with me and talk about his day, that he played with sand and enjoyed the feeling in his feet that at lunch he sat and ate it all. That he loved doing the numbers. That he ran around outside enjoying the rain. Those little gems that can make me know he is happy at school, that he is progressing well. These small observations can mean the world to a parent of a child with special needs. We concentrate on the behaviours, the worries all the time but hearing the joys of our children can light up our world and we know that they are happy and enjoying their time. It's the small observations that make such a difference. 

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Meal Plan

Thursday 4th September 2104

I have been finding food tough recently with a fussy eater to think about and being a little shattered food has slipped and all I want is easy meals. I had a good look through my books and found my woman's weekly slow cookbook which contained a few gems to at least try this week

 Thursday - omelette's and chips for everyone lots of cheese and mushrooms and maybe I should throw in a little bit if salad

Friday - Mexican meatballs I found this one in the book it said to serve with tortilla but I have gone for tortilla chips and going to make tiny meatballs.  Going to try out a little chili for the boys well spicy mince.

 Saturday - having in laws over going to be lazy and get some ready made pies etc from Waitrose so we can all have a catch up

Sunday - we are going to Richmond for a christening so it's a tesco meal deal that night as the next day is also OB first day at school

Monday - waffles, poached eggs, oven roasted tomatoes and salad for everyone

 Tuesday - Spanish cooked chicken again from the women's weekly slow cookbook going to do mini roast for the boys

Wednesday - Fish Curry from the women's weekly slow cookbook boys will have gnocchi with hidden vegetable tomato sauce

Monday, 1 September 2014

Blue cheese and mini roast potato salad

I am not very good at making up recipes, I do tweak ones in books but that's mainly due to the fact I have forgotten something in the shop meaning I have to change bits.

For lunch I was cooking the boys mini roast potatoes with a homemade tomato sauce, they always love this lunch but I for some reason had only done enough for a tiny serving for myself so needed to improvise. This is what I came up with and I must admit it was very very tasty.

To prepare the mini roast potatoes most people would cut them not small chunks and roast them in the oven, to be honest I par boil mine for a couple of mins it's extra work but I think it makes them fluffy and lighter. Then pop them into pre heated olive oil and cook in the oven at 200 for approx 35 to 45 mins depending when crunchy and lightly roasted.

I then made up a salad of tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, peppers, grated carrot or what ever you have left in the fridge. I made up a small amount of mayonnaise mixed with yogurt and got out my stinky blue cheese.

To prepare the salad I mixed the little roasts with the salad and mixed through the dressing then crumbled  my blue cheese on top. It was just lovely and I am considering it for a evening meal with some fresh bread.

As you can see it's very simple and easy to do but sometimes they are the best meals. 

Friday, 29 August 2014

Fancy a garden tour?

With everything going on I have discovered more and more the delights of our garden. The garden is a mess and it's taking a lot of back breaking work but it's just what I need at the moment, digging and then weeding you can get lost in everything. Most of the time I have my boys with me so have a combination of gardening and being invited to a tea party of muddy water and a mint and basil cake or pulling all the flowers from any shrub or rose and telling me it's party time.
I thought I would post a few photos to show what we are working with and how we are moving forward, be it very slowly.

A image of the borders I am trying to clear out.



This is my amazing but very small part of our bramble jungle that needs to be gotten rid of, though not before we have lots of blackberrys to put into vodka. I also need to rescue our sloes from the brambles, need to get my prioritys right, sloe vodka is amazing.



This is our front border at the moment, as you can see I need to continue digging along and weeding. Please note the blue spade is my boys and not mine. My main concern is just weeding and digging in some life to the soil. Though with all the garden I am amazed at the number of worms I have found, I am sure this must be good. The front I am going to try and get some spring bulbs planted for some colour in the new year, but I must admit its a hard ask as there is a lot to do.



This is our well, we live on the plot of an old farmhouse there are two wells and ours is 50ft deep and when we moved in it was not covered apart from some old rotten boards!!!! As you can see we have had it covered by a professional company and now in theory you can park a car on it. But it's a lovely area  that is crying out for plants and colour.



The last area for tonight is in front of our dining room again the picture just shows the issues we have but how we can change the whole garden and make it our own. This little area catches the sun for a long time during the day but needs massive of weeding and TLC. I think I need to buy in manure by the truck load.


I hope you have enjoyed a little stroll around parts of the garden. I have so many plans but trying to rein myself into get the basics right first. But the grand plan is veggies, fruit, chickens, bee friendly and a family space where we can all find solace and peace away from our hectic and stressful lives. Not just our family but my friends I want this to be a space all our mums of special needs children can come for a coffee we can sit and just relax. That's my dream I just need the time to make it happen.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Meal Plan

Our meal plan for Thursday 28th August 2014. As mentioned we are starting from scratch with OB food to see where things are going wrong.

Thursday - broccoli and mushroom gnocchi from the madhouse cook book by Jo Pratt - boys are having plain pasta with cheese grated on top carrots and broccoli

Friday - Homemade Burgers with blue cheese - boys are having gnocchi with a tomato sauce but I will purée down the sauce so there are no bits.

Saturday - fahitas - boys are having homemade pizza using left over sauce from yesterday.

Sunday - lasagna

Monday - Chicken Potato curry in a hurry again from the madhouse cookbook by Jo Pratt - boys are having mini roast chicken, roast potatoes, carrots and broccoli

Tuesday - Jacket potato with tuna mayo or baked beans everyone is having this

Wednesday - smoked salmon pasta - boys are having carbonara

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Meal time blues

It's been a long old week in our household and yet again it's food that is making us want to bury our heads in the sand. OB has always had issues around food mainly involving texture and the look. But now he has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes this means when I administer his insulin I need him to eat or he can hypo which means blood sugar running to low and he will not feel very well (putting it mildly). We inject before meals as it's to easy to forget after and I feel have your injection them yummy food is a good way round.
So when you have given the injection and for the fourth day running he looks at the meals he normally eats says yuck and demands cake you wonder a few things. Is it the food are the issues regarding texture and look increasing or is he in fact thinking if I do not eat i get something sweet so let's cut straight to sweet or is this a normal child development and it's a phase.
Tonight I got to a point we had given him his insulin and sat him at the table he looked at the gnocchi and tomato sauce said yuck but instantly said cake. My mother instincts told me this is a cheeky little boy who has learnt if I do not eat my main they will give me food as they know I have to eat. So tonight he did not eat and I gave him for pudding a banana and yogurt my husband and I watched him like a hawk for possible hypo symptoms. He wanted to go outside but was told in simple language no dinner no outside we could not risk a possible hypo. 
So this week my meal plans will be changing we are going to try the following to see what's a success 
Plain pasta and sauce completely separate
Pasta mixed with a tomato sauce that's been blitzed and has no bits
Plain food so carrots, broccoli, potato in some form and meat all separate 
The reason for me having to go back to basics is that he can not tell me what he does not like as he does not have the understanding or language. This is where the speech and language disorder combined with autism traits and compounded by type 1 mean I have to work hard to figure out what's going on in his mind and try to get him eating his food again. Let's hope next week update is a little more positive and we have moved forward.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Meal Plan

Thursday 21st August

The other half is off work for a week so I have gone for some mega easy meals please do not look down on me but here we go

Thursday - bacon and tomato pasta

Friday - hubbies choosing meal from Waitrose boys having gnocchi

Saturday - £10 dine in from tesco boys having homemade pizza

Sunday - roast chicken with all the trimmings

Monday - gammon eggs and chips

Tuesday - Chinese box boys having tortellini

Wednesday - chicken, mash and green veg

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Meal plan Thursday (updated on Saturday)

Sorry not quite sure what's caused the delay or where the time has gone maybe it's been my slight obsession with Pinterest

Thursday - Quick fried rice ala BBC good food http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/6350/fastfix-fried-rice

Friday - Honey and mustard sausages with fried onions in baguettes boys having homemade pizza

Saturday - Tacos the boys will have spaghetti bolognaise using the mince

Sunday - Party time at the brother in laws

Monday - Calzone we are having mushroom and goats cheese boys to have a tomato and mozzarella 
http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1267638/mushroom-and-goats-cheese-calzone

Tuesday - baked spaghetti http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/12693/tomato-and-mozzarella-spaghetti-bake

Wednesday - risotto with peas and topped with baked fish there is a little bit of cheating here I am using the birds eye fish that's flavoured with herbs and I just have to pop in the oven and risotto will be cooked all in one not the official way (sorry but a girls gotta eat before 9pm) they boys will have fish fingers, peas and mash

As you can see I love bbc good food many of my most used receipes are from this site and the magazine 

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Meal plan Thursday

Meal plan 7th August 2014

Thursday - gnocchi with cream sauce broccoli and mushrooms from madhouse cookbook

Friday - Fish, Chips and peas

Saturday - curry box (need a days rest) boys will have gnocchi and tomatoe sauce

Sunday - roast beef and all the trimmings

Monday - Pork stir fry - I have to admit to using a shop sauce

Tuesday - Tagatelli with cheese sauce ham and mushrooms

Wednesday - tuna pasta bake

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Meal Plan Thursday

Here we go for 31st July 2014

Thursday - Easy Risotto - bacon, peas, spinach baked in the oven

Friday - chilli in the slow cooker must admit a cheat of old El Passo packet with rice and tortilla chips the boys just want tortilla chips and the meat mix

Saturday - mummy and daddy are having chicken burgers with bacon, avocado and chips boys are having homemade pan pizza

Sunday - mummy and daddy toad in the hole boys are having chicken and roasts made using extra chicken breast from Saturday meal

Monday - Ham and Blue cheese Filo tarts with salad and new pots

Tuesday - Cheesey Broccoli pasta bake

Wednesday - chicken with rice

That's us this week I am happy to report that risotto has already gone down well with the family and cooked in the oven was an easy option


Sunday, 20 July 2014

In an English Country Garden

Shhhh I have found something that takes me away from everything, I am wanting to read books and I am getting fit.... My secret is I have discovered gardening.
Three years ago we moved to the countryside I had these visions in my head of chickens, fresh grown fruit and veggies, a wonderful English country garden sipping my white wine sat looking at the amazing garden I had created. The reality has not been quite so romantic, over three years the garden has gotten more and more messy, please do not get me wrong we have a lovely lawn, is 90% clover classed as lawn? My husband mows this at least once a week but that's really the extent of our work.
There have been many reasons this has happened, let's be honest two toddlers and OB who eats everything does not lead to time or energy to garden, my evenings tended to be collapsing on the sofa not wanting to do anything. But something has changed in the last few weeks and it's changing my life. Firstly OB though still eating everything has started to play much better on his own and with his brother. This allows me small chances to weed or dig while still keeping a close eye. This has then lead to me researching plants and vegetables and paths in the evening it's awakened my mind.
My mum used and still uses gardening as a stress relief she would lose herself in her design, digging or slugging she would come back physically tired but she had time to either think any problems through or just lose herself not thinking about anything but the garden. That's how i feel, I can go out in the evening and just do some weeding or bramble destroying, I can read a book or search the internet. My mind is focused in something else not blood sugar levels or have we had any new words or concentration problems.
Maybe soon I will be able to tackle my bramble forest, our dying and dead trees and over grown borders that means I actually make an impact, not just tinkering. My current thinking is looking at where the sunny areas are and where our shady areas are so that as we start to make our own garden come to life we do things correctly, maybe I will become a gardener and sit with my glass of wine looking out on my English country garden, it just may take me some time.

Below the dying tree and although looks like plants it's all weed.


Below the bramble forest....


Monday, 23 June 2014

Puff Pastry Pizza - Quick and Easy Lunch

We went to see friends today and arrived home at 12.30 giving me half an hour to get lunch ready, thinking to myself I need to start using up food and thinking about what Ollie likes to eat. So I pop on the oven knowing a have a section of puff pastry left over from lunch yesterday, but what to do with it.
So this was our lunch and it went down very well, I am pleased to report

I cut the puff pastry into two squares using a sharp knife scored a square outline leaving a cm border, then scored the middle section making sure I did not go all the way through.
One can of chopped tomatoes, using a slotted spoon I drained of most of the liquid and put a couple of spoons full into a bowl added a squeeze of tomato ketchup and some basil then popped it on to the scored part of my pastry square. I then topped with lots of grated cheese using mature cheddar and some gruyere I had in the fridge.
Put them on a baking sheet and cooked on 190 for about ten mins.
They were very tasty they had it with baby plumb tomatoes and cucumber and it was a massive success. 
It would be so easy to do lots of different toppings from ham, chorizo, cooked chicken, sweetcorn even some cream cheese dotted about would be nice. The key though is to keep it simple things you can pop straight on top no preparation and will cook in the ten mins or so.


Thursday, 12 June 2014

Dinner re think

Our life has been rather turned upside down since OB was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, it has led to a roller coaster of emotions, but the main area has been food. He is only allowed what's classed as free foods between meals these contain no or very little carbohydrates, consisting of items such as carrots, hard cheeses, processed cheese, sugar free jelly, cucumber, meats. Then for main meals I need to get carbs into him so he has energy for the day. When your dealing with a fussy eater who has a limited vocabulary it's a lot to manage.
The food I have been feeding my boys for the last week has made me shudder, I almost feel embarrassed to be admitting it on the blog, they have been having far too much processed food, fish fingers to chicken nuggets the good thing for me is they do not really like it. I sat down tonight after they left their nuggets and croquet potatoes but both bless them ate their broccoli, feeling awful, what has become of me. I cook from scratch, my boys love home cooking.
So here I am deciding on my plan to move forward, I must admit that a couple of glasses of red wine has helped me think and step back again. With all the various things we have going on from type 1, to diagnosis apt with the paediatrician to the countless apts for OB transition to school. I am not sure if I knew if I was coming or going, together with a brain that felt like it could explode at any point.

My first area to consider was what carbs does he like? He is a small growing boy our aim is never to limit the carbs he eats just to give insulin in the correct dosage. Please note at the moment we are not carb counting and this is purely a mums perspective.
Pasta any type 
Spaghetti
Gnocchi
Mashed potatoes
Roast potatoes
Chips
Pastry esp puff pastry
Well I think that's not a bad list we can get many a meal out of this combination of what we have here. My next line was what sauces does he like with his food
Cheese sauce
Tomato sauce
Beef mince sauce
Gravy
Now the hard part the meat or protein elements, meat he is very fussy with sausages are a no no, roast chicken he likes. A meat sauce he is ok with, fish fingers he likes and sometimes crispy chicken. But other than that meat is not fun for us stews do not go down well. Lentils he likes but beans and pulses are a no go. Quorn mince is good good chunks are not his thing. He likes tinned tuna made into pasta dishes and sometimes a fishcake.
He loves his veggies, broccoli, carrots, peas tomatoes, cucumber 
Other items he likes to eat
Pizza esp homemade
Tortellini 
Soup
So in fact when looking at the food he will eat there are a lot of individual meals that I can cook for him and be confident that he will get the variety he needs so not to become bored with a meal, the mixture of carbohydrates that he need for his energy to help him grow and stay the active little boy we love. The added advantage of brainstorming these foods is that you can see different ways of putting food together. Lastly I think some bulk cooking is needed and freezing portions of sauce ready to go with different meals. So I will tackle my weekly meal plans with a new spring in my step and will be sharing what works and I am sure more of what does not.
I will come back to this on our meal plans and talk in more details about how we are using this to get a healthy mixed weekly meal plan. 










Wednesday, 21 May 2014

What a difference a day makes

I am sorry for my silence over the last week. We as a family have been through one of the toughest weeks of our lives.
On Wednesday I took OB to see our GP for an emergency appointment, we were worried about him in many ways but the real decider that something was wrong was when he awoke two nights in a row just screaming for water like his life depended on it. I took him to the GP with a heart sinking feeling that my little boy had diabetes, he has lost weight, drinking and weeing all the time, funny smelling breath. I wanted to be wrong maybe he was growing, had a bladder infection I took a sample just in case.
Seeing the doctor when he tested his wee I knew by his face we were not in a good place. He apologised he had to tell me this way but OB had type 1 diabetes, I knew it but the tears just fell and that's when the other side of my brain just took over. Where are we going to, ward name, hospital, what do we need to bring.
Calling your husband in tears to tell him your little boy is diabetic is not easy, understanding me was even harder, a mix of sobs, sniffs and a laugh to try and keep OB calm.
So the family team took off to hospital, mummy, daddy, OB and ATM. When we arrived we seemed to enter a strange whirlwind of events though sometimes the whirlwind just dropped us down and we sat there not quite believing this was real. 
So the four of us troop into the ward, where we re greeted by such a warm welcome we felt instantly safe. The nurses were amazing though they were reeling of numbers to us which mean nothing, to be honest trying to stop ATM from running away while they take OB bloods and vitals is not easy, I grew an expert at listening while a Small child bite into my arm, shoulder etc I nodded and smiled thorough gritted teeth. 
We somehow managed to send a day in the ward, I think most of the time was waiting around for local annasetic cream to work, or to see a consultant who tried to explain diabetes to us while we chased two children around a play area. Time came for OB and I to be transferred to the hospital who could take us over night, we were given a bag of items and paperwork, getting my boy strapped into the ambulance and saying goodbye to my husband and ATM was hard and I suddenly felt very alone.
We arrived at our new hospital, OB slept the whole way, I knew this was not the best start as it was 5.30pm and I felt extremely sick from the ambulance it was like being driven in a boat.
We chose our bed and OB got busy, up and down the corridor in every room, temper tantrums as every exit was sealed, seeing my husband enter the room I have never felt so relieved. It was now gone  8.30 OB was wide awake and we had still not eaten all day. Come 11pm he was still up we took it in turns to walk him up and down. Countless times we were told with his readings he should not be so active, he is defining medical experts. Finally Hubie has to leave, I virtually pin him to the bed and get him to sleep, they check him every two hours I wake every two hours, he is up at the 5.30am check. Oh my it's going to be a long day.
Today we at least manage to eat, we get a DVD player, we bring the iPad and connect it online. We start to learn how to look after our boy, checking his blood doing his injections learning his readings are as bad as they sound. He is asleep it's 9pm. I hear them check his bloods but can not open my eyes, they leave the 5.30'check phew.
Next day a new nurse, new news two diabetes nurses re sick you may not be able to go home, I collapse the thought of keeping him in the ward was too much to deal with. This seems to do the trick, people are coming to see us as they want to get us home. The day passes in a blur of meetings,am dietitian, the consultant,countless injections, visit from the diabetic nurse. Then 7pm we can leave.
We we are taking our boy home both scared we would break him, as he collapsed in his car seat we knew it was right for him no matter how scared we were.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Is Sand food

Part of OB issues is eating non edible items, when I say non edible items I am talking sand, mud, leaves and the most favourite item that tasty treat known to all as playdoh.
This condition is probably the most unrecognised and taken the least seriously of all of them however for us parents it's one of the scariest. We had a trip to Sheffield park and OB tried to do a walk by eat of a leaf, when your at a beautiful  NT property and your son try's to eat a leaf that you have no idea what it is or if it could possibly position him it turns from a lovely walk in the sunshine to one littered with dangers. It's not only the NT gardens that worry us it's our own garden.
We moved to the countryside and have a lovely garden, let's clarify this it was lovely when we brought the house, after three years of neglect it's a rather weed dominated borders but the grass looks good. OB will eat anything he eats mud all the time, the worst one is trying to keep an eye on him with leaves, he picks them and wants to eat it, you can not do anything other than watch and dive in when needed.
I have spoken many times with professionals about this and we have the following, we need to know if it's sensory seeking or a compulsive action. My problems with this is that as a mum I do not know the difference between the two types of behaviour which is why I seek help to clarify why he has this desire to eat none edible items. Trust me I watch him all the time, that's all I do, but I do not know the difference between the behaviours. I change my mind everyday from one to the other as I watch him and try to stop him eating mud or sand. 
So what have we tried to stop this, we have tried giving him food items next to him eg raisins to chocolate biscuits when he is playing with playdoh but believe it or not he prefers the playdoh. We have tried taking him inside the moment he eats something I tried this for two weeks I ended up shattered and achieving just going inside and out again and still him eating.
I am hoping when we see our consultant on Thursday that finally  we are taken seriously about how distressing this can be to a parent. We have been turned down for NHS OT once and told not to re apply as they are so short staffed and would not be able to see us. If not as with salt it will be down the private route. 

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Meal plan week commencing Thursday 8th May

Sorry for my late meal plan list I am not sure where the time has gone...

Thursday - Green Spaghetti - http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipe/secret-green-sauce-spaghetti

Friday - homemade chicken burgers - in ciabatta rolls with avocado,salad and Harissa Mayo

Saturday - cheat meal of aldi Chinese bag. Boys to have pizza and salad (it's shop brought pizza)

Sunday - roast turkey, roast pots, carrots and broccoli

Monday - Monday night pie - http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/10310/monday-pie

Tuesday - Courgette Lasagne - http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4716/creamy-courgette-lasagne

Wednesday - omelettes and chips

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Please may I talk to......

Since I started having a feeling over two years ago that OB development was not right I have had to become that mother who is always on the phone. You know that feeling when yet again you pick up the phone to chase an appointment or some information that was meant to be sent. You reel off your child's details each time and your contact number for someone to call you back, you become expert at leaving short messages on answer phones to try and chase those answers.

Today summed up this constant stream of phone calls, we last had a catch up with our NHS SALT in March and OB has not had any SALT from the NHS since January. We were told yes he will have another six sessions but will not be until after Easter. As Always on the day I ask why we have to wait so long can he not have any sooner, I get that look of please do not go there again. So Easter has been and gone and still no appointments. Today the appointments arrive and we are only down for four sessions, yes you heard that four sessions we have had nothing since January.  This is not right, but the sessions were meant to be a pre school as they need the support, I have mentioned this twice and it's in his notes, but this has not happened. Yet again a parent has to get on the phone and find out what's going on and put it all right.

This then brings me onto our Early Years service, when OB was just two years old they were very supportive, we had meetings, targets and even extra play therapy. Fast forward two years later, post EHP plan which I will write about soon. This is where we are, a visit to pre school after comments made in the EHP meeting. They introduce a traffic light system for pre school to implement, his 121 half mentions it to me as I was trying to get two children together with lunch bags and coats out of the door. I then get a report in the post. No phone call to talk it through just a report. How as parents can we be constant with methods of helping our children communicate if we do not have a full understanding of methods being implemented at pre school,or if I have a opinion that the new idea may not work and want to talk it through. A system is being implemented that I have no idea about other than a google search, with out my thoughts on if it will help OB. As you can tell it means I will have to call and talk it all though to make sure I understand the reasons why it's being implemented, together with how we work this at home.

OB will be starting his transition to school this term, there is a meeting planned for June 16th at 9.30 apparently. I know of this but his 121 is already saying she can not attend and reeling off the reasons. This meeting is in June and the only time we as parents will be involved with all the professionals in one place, for a very important time in OB life. We have to pay our private SALT to attend as the NHS SALT  will never have met OB, I have been told I have to decide who will be lead salt in the meeting. I can not believe I have to tell them who it would be let's think about this someone who has never met him or someone who seems him every two weeks...who would we choose. 

As a parent I have learnt I have to be the co originator of my child's care and support,that I have to battle to get him what he needs and deserves, but also I must step in and voice opinions on subjects that I personally have very little knowledge on but know in my heart it's not right for my boy. I have to have the strength in my opinion to stand up against professionals and fight a little boys corner, to question why. Aother week will start with me on the phone, leaving messages and hoping all my battles are ultimately helping my little OB.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Meal review

It's been OB birthday this week so everything has been a little hectic but a quick review of last week and a quick guide to this weeks meals....

Thursday - a BBC good food recipe courgette and bacon pasta - not a success would eat pasta when all sauce has been removed. I think it's to do with the look of the sauce too many bits in. However the rest I us loved it.

Friday - big bowl of salad I have seen one in a busy mums cook book of leaves, avocado, bacon and egg on top think I am going to do something along that line. Boys will have carbonara as salad is not that well received. Did just the simple carbonara and it was eaten all up, I put nothing extra and peas on the side. Simple seemed to work.

Saturday - fajitas for parents the boys will be having tortilla pizza. Massive success was eaten all up with smiles. 

Sunday - lasagna busy mums cookbook version with garlic bread and green salad. Another success after a wary start. All eaten up esp the pasta.

Monday - busy mums cookbook chicken and broccoli gratin. Ate the broccoli but nothing else. Did not like the look of the breadcrumbs on the top.

Tuesday - honey and mustard sausages busy mums cookbook with green veg. The potatoes were eaten all up the sausages as always were left behind untouched.

Wednesday - smoked haddock and potato bake not sure the veg but thinking runner or green beans. This was not liked at all by OB. But the rest of us loved it.

At this moment I am not getting anything that clear other than bits and fussy looking food. I shall keep watching and reporting to see if I can get any clues and to why and what he will not eat. I am determined to figure something out. 

This week it's sunday already 

Friday - tuna fishcakes

Sat - pizza and chips for OB party with the family

Sunday- chicken pie

Monday - spag Bol

Tuesday - quorn a la king

Wednesday - baked potatoes - beans and cheese

Monday, 28 April 2014

Small steps

After being told by the NHS speech therapist we are going to get 12 sessions of salt a year and they will consist of two six week blocks, despite my going on and complaining that salt is what OB needs and it's his main area of concern there was no shifting. We have bitten the bullet and gone private.

We met our new lady not in the most conventional fashion, the Hubie was up in London Town it's very rare he goes to town, he met someone he had not see in ages, they decided to catch a later train and he sat where he would never normally sit, I think you can see something was meant to be. He was chatting about OB when he got a fact wrong and a lady kindly advised him. They got talking she was a early years salt and just moved to where we live. After a few calls you had guessed it, she is now our new speech therapist.

We now have therapy for OB every two weeks for a half an hour session. We are starting to see results, as mentioned before a lot of OB issues relate to poor concentration, we have been working on this now for over a year with input from our early years team and various NHS speech and language therapists. 

The one key to getting OB to concentrate better is motivation and his motivation needs to be high, if you find something he will sit and play for a least five mins (this to us is a minor Miracle and is always applauded). Last week our private salt found such a simple game but it works, a card upside down with a paper clip a child's magnetic fishing rod, he catches it we look and say what the activity is and he does it. I know it sounds simple but we managed to extend it to him making dolly do the activity. We got him to do eight of these and I only needed to say the magic just one more phrase only once.
Anyone who knows children with additional needs knows how much these small improvements mean and how they light your whole day. Let's hope our next session is as productive or if he has decided he does not like that game anymore.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Different paths

On Friday ATM and I went to see the animals at a fantastic animal rescue charity called Raystead. He was very excited as he informed me he was going to see tigers and elephants, luckily he was more than happy to see the donkeys, cats and sqeeled with delight at the bouncing dogs. As the sun shone down, ATM tottered about chatting away, interested in all the animals and as always putting the coins into the twirly donation tin before we go home.

These trips with ATM does make me think about the different way the boys are developing.

ATM is your classic 2.5 year old you know the one with the attitude of a 13 year old already. We get comments all the time on his clear speech,though he is now doing speech therapy everyday with his brother in some form and we are so used to talking in short sentences it's helped him develop even faster.

OB is not your classic development path, he will be four in May and we are only just starting to get two or maybe three words together that are not learnt phrases. But I digress we were talking about a trip out. The same trip with OB would still be a fun trip just a different trip, OB is a runner he can put Usain Bolt to shame and I always wear trainers just in case I need to sprint (please be aware I am 37) sprinting does not happen quickly anymore. So hand holding is needed he is getting better but I need to be on my guard. He is not that interested in the animals we have a lovely walk but it's a walk until we get to the playarea where I can just let him go, he climbs, plays and has a truly wonderful time. I talk to him about everything we see, I know some of it is going in as everyone and again a little gem will come out from him that I know he has heard from us.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Meal plan Thursday

As promised here is our meal plan for the next week. 

I do my shop Thursday as it means both boys are at pre school and I can just shop in my own little world. It's not much but it's my time so this week we are trying

Thursday - a BBC good food recipe courgette and bacon pasta

Friday - big bowl of salad I have seen one in a busy mums cook book of leaves, avocado, bacon and egg on top think I am going to do something along that line. Boys will have carbonara as salad is not that well received.

Saturday - fajitas for parents the boys will be having tortilla pizza

Sunday - lasagna busy mums cookbook version with garlic bread and green salad

Monday - busy mums cookbook chicken and broccoli gratin

Tuesday - honey and mustard sausages busy mums cookbook with green veg

Wednesday - smoked haddock and potato bake not sure the veg but thinking runner or green beans

I will be watching to see how OB eats this week and updating accordingly, I have my ideas about foods he will not be so keen on but I am going to be keeping an open mind to see what happens.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Thinking about food

Having a little boy with severely delayed speech and understanding who is also very fussy about food can be a times heartbreaking and other times beyond frustrating. What your trying to do is figure out why your child does not want to eat something with no information other than a plate that's not been touched.
My Miss Marple skills are tested regularly since OB started weaning. I remember thinking deep down he had issues, we would go to a friends house and she would do some lovely little snacks in pots her little boy ate them all beautifully, OB would I can only describe that he would hamster cheek his... So you think he is eating his food then a few moments later he would open his mouth and the food would drop out. Completely unchewed, he had just put it in his mouth and stored it.
I have been asked on several occasions by professionals why I think he is not eating well and I have to say I am baffled. He will eat pizza, chips, roast chicken with roast pots, carrots, broccoli and gravy, tortellini, Pasta with tomatoes or cheese sauce. He also eats many and I mean many non edible items    He will eat playdoh like it's sweets or sand and mud like a main meal, this will be a post all on its own. Give him as I did yesterday a plate of slow roast lamb, roast pots, carrots and broccoli nothing just pushed it away strange as he will eat it with chicken.
So please join me on my game of will OB even try.... Each week I will upload our recipe plan and then the results. Maybe with putting it all down I can figure it out or as with so many things it will continue to baffle me :0)

Sunday, 2 February 2014

This is us....

I have been thinking of starting a blog for some time now but what is typical of me is that, I sit down in the evening with a glass of wine and collapse in my comfy sofa, watch something extremely dull on the TV. But I have decided that new year (well Feb) means a new start and I will write.

My reasons for starting this blog are simple, I would love families of children with special needs not to feel alone, to see that there are families going through the same and to talk about it. You will learn that I like to talk.

This is us, we are a family of four mummy, daddy, OB and TM. Daddy works full time and I am a full time stay at home mummy. OB is 3.5 years old severely delayed speech and understanding, poor concentration and well other areas I will talk about in the future. TM is 28 months and is a little bundle of trouble.

We still have no diagnosis for OB but are on the 9 to 12 month waiting list to see a paediatrician. We are in month 9 now so hoping the letter will pop through our door any time now with the date of our appointment. When I hope that we finally will get the diagnosis we have been longing for.

We are in the process of trying to get a EHCP for OB, so he gets the help he will need when he starts school in September. This process that's been hard and I will write a dedicated post to this.

This is us in a few short paragraphs, I will be writing about our lives from the food we try, to the lessons we learn in salt and try to put into practice at home. Please join me I hope we can start a small community where we can help each other through the highs and lows that will come.