Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ham 'n' Eggs

We had a visit today from one of my old school friends and her family. She had a baby in September and little Alexander is getting on so well. He looks way different from when we saw him in January (pre-Zachary) and is a really speedy crawler! He's also saying a few words now and wants to be up and walking around ALL the time. Lovely, but probably extremely exhausting for the parent holding his hands! Gave us a good view though as to what we might have to look forward to in a few months...

It gave me a chance to pretend I'm a real housewife and I actually prepared lunch rather than leaving it for L to arrange. Spent the morning doing a bit of cooking and tidying up and even Z was helpful by falling asleep for an hour (after two nappy changes and a feed!). I made Rachel Allen's ham and egg pie which actually came out quite well. I was a little dubious when the custardy mixture didn't appear to be filling the pie dish at all but it came out okay. Didn't take a piccie but here is the recipe (quite eggy - I think I've now had my week's allowance!):

200g shortcrust pastry made with 125g flour, 75g butter, pinch of salt and 1/2-1 beaten egg (mix flour, salt and butter using the rubbing in method, use egg to bind and then chill in clingfilm for 1/2 hour before use)

15g butter
1 onion, peeled and chopped
6 eggs
75ml double cream
150g cooked ham or cooked bacon rashers
1 tbsp chopped parsley
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 180c (350f, gas 4). Roll out the pastry and line a 25cm (10") ovenproof plate. Trim the pastry so that it is a bit bigger than the plate, and then fold up the edges slightly so that you have a slight lip all the way around. This will prevent the cream from running off the plate when you put it in the oven. Place the pastry on its plate in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

Filling - melt the butter in a small saucepan add the onions and cook over a gentle heat until soft. Whisk 2 of the eggs in a bowl, add the cream, the cooked onions, chopped ham and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour this in the pastry case. Carefully break the remaining eggs onto the tart, trying to keep the yolks intact.

Bake for 25-35 minutes in the preheated oven (just under 30 mins worked for me) until the custard is set in the centre and the eggs on top are just cooked (hmmm... mine came out well cooked!). Serve warm or allow to cool.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Quick! He's making a dash (all right - a slow squirm) for it!

Z has learnt a new trick - how to evade his rocky chair...

Give him a good twenty minutes and he'll be out, on his tummy, licking the leg of the chair...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Mosaic meme

Saw this on a friend's blog and thought I'd have a go...

1. What is your first name? (Kathryn)
2. What is your favourite food? (roast chicken)
3. What high school did you attend? (Caister High School)
4. What is your favourite colour? (blue)
5. Who is your celebrity crush? (John Cusack)
6. What is your favourite drink? (banana milkshake)
7. What is your dream vacation? (Australia)
8. What is your favourite dessert? (apple crumble [and custard!])
9. What do you want to be when you grow up? (a musician playing film scores - orchestral musician?)
10. What do you love most in life? (music)
11. One word to describe you (sensible)
12. Your Flickr name (hurrah - newly created (previously I've secretly been stealing L's - beaglebrown)

Some of the photos do not seem connected at all - should I have been running the search in Tags only rather than Full Text search?

1. Kathryn's Gee's Bend quilts, 2. Getting into British cuisine, 3. JELLICOE BRIDGE, 4. End Of The Day, 5. Being a John Malkovich Nesting Doll, 6. You're one second from being mashed...., 7. Cute Tiger Moth Caterpillar, 8. White and Blue, 9. up close, 10. My Inspiration , My Life ... My City ... my ... Vancouver, 11. ♦ Nostalgia..., 12. zzzzzz

Friday, July 25, 2008

Oh yes...

...and he's covering everything in drool too.

Week off

Well...L's had a week off work - he'd been saving holiday for when we move, but as that didn't seem likely for a while thought he'd make use of some for his birthday week!

Been pretty busy so far - visited his family in Derby over the weekend and also managed to catch up with uni friends which were great. We also talked long and hard about the house. One viewer we had is looking to buy the house as an investment property and made what we initially thought to be a frankly ridiculously low offer on the house.

However, since the house we want to buy has also gone down in price and given that if we leave ours on the market much longer it's going to have to go down again we decided to accept the offer - but try to get it upped a little. So the buyer came round for a second look on Tuesday and we did manage to get his offer raised slightly which we've now accepted!!


Had a great day Wednesday with L for his birthday - I even cooked. I know. Stand back in amazement. Sadly the meal went almost too well and we've agreed to start sharing the cooking more. Damn. Going to have to increase my repertoire now! Here's L's summary of the day.

Thursday we travelled over to see my sister and brother-in-law (BIL), stopping off at my mum's for lunch first. Amazingly z went to sleep first time in his travel cot (after a ropey night in Derby), and we think it was beacause the room was nice and dark compared to L's mum and dad's room. We're going to experiment with a blackout curtain (aka blanket) over our window to see if it helps...

Z off to bed easily left the way clear for a BBQ and a few games so we had a great (if late and tiring) evening.

On the house front, agreeing the sale meant I've had to officially notify workt that I'm not going back and that we're moving...I want them to do our conveyancing and it'd be a dead giveaway when the particulars of sale arrive...

And finally (after some wranglings and shenanigans involving us being not quite brave enough to hold out for the price we wanted) we've agreed a price on the house we want to buy! Hurrah! So it's all going ahead. The best news is that because our chap's buy-to-let and the people we're buying from are moving in with family, the chain's tiny. All systems go.

So we're home. L's off to a stag do tomorrow and I'm off to my mum's. Z? Well he's still busy putting everything he can get his hands on into his mouth - yesterday hewrithed his way out his rocky chair (he has now perfected the 'there's no way I'm staying in this/going in that body shuffle), managed to tip forward onto his front and then spet a happy few minutes licking the leg of the chair. Nice.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Baby Topgear?

Zachary - 0 to screaming abdabs in less time than it takes to put on his dungarees.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Dear Diary

Mummy says I am coming on leaps and bounds now. Something to do with the fact that I've 'found my feet.' Duh. I knew where they were all along, it's just that now I choose to hold them. Mummy seems to like it when I play with them...

..except when she's changing my nappy for some reason. I can't understand it - if I play with my feet then my bottom's in the air which makes things easier doesn't it? Of course can now get my hands down to all those areas which are usually covered by my nappy. I like to play a fun game with Mummy by seeing how many times I can get my hand down there while her back's turned and then quickly try to get my hand in my mouth before she spots what I've been doing.

At baby group today I saw my friends Holly, Samuel and Emily. Holly's only a little bit older than me and she has TWO teeth already! She's says she plays games with her teeth on her Mummy when she's being fed - I can't wait until I can do that. What fun!

Mummy said I was going to help her make a card for Nannie and Grumps by doing prints of my hands and feet. That's all very well, but if Mummy thinks I'm going to let her mess with my hands - their proper and rightful place is in my mouth. Creating dribble. Silly Mummy.

Still she managed to get a sock off and paint my foot with this cold stuff before I realised what was happening. So I thought then would be a good time to show off my skills to the other Mummies there. First I put my hand all over my painted foot. Then while Mummy was fumbling about for a wipe and trying to stop me touching it again, I put my feet together (I still had a sock on the other foot). Then I got a bit bored waiting for Mummy to get me wiped up and tried to stand on Mummy's leg at the same time as putting my hand in my mouth.

I heard Mummy mutter something about why she only had 2 hands, but I wasn't listening - I was too busy charming the pants off the other Mummies with my smile and new raspberry noise. Eventually I think we managed to get a print of my foot. Silly Mummy though, instead of giving up while the going was good, she decided to do the other foot. So I just repeated my skillz.

By this time I was totally exhausted so I moaned at Mummy for a bit until she put me on her lovely comfy shoulder and rocked me to sleep. Happy days.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Friendships pt 2

Hurrah! I was brave and asked another mum out for coffee - had a lovely time in town on Tuesday with her chatting about life, the universe and babies. She's in Scotland for 3 weeks now visiting family but said she'd get in touch on her return. So hopefully I wasn't too much of a weirdo!!

This season's must have item...

...muslin square!

Sunday, July 06, 2008


It's been a mix of a weekend - highs and lows. L's done a great summary of how Zachary's getting on here, and this summarises the lows of the weekend neatly (along with lots of really great stuff Z's been doing). As he says, we've had a bit of a nightmare with Z over the past week and had real problems getting him to sleep in his cot. Last night was absolutely awful until we finally managed to get him to sleep (with another feed) and his cries were real screams. I tried to give him some skin to skin time but that just seemed to make things worse. So we bought a dummy today and it seems to have worked.

It's really strange - I know plenty of mums who've probably had no qualms at all about using a dummy but I really felt we'd be able to managed without one especially as Z had started to suck his hand to self-comfort. It felt like we'd given in when we bought them today but he had trouble dropping off again tonight and the extra comfort seems to have worked. We had thought it might be his tummy (eczema) causing the problem, but you could quite often get him settled on a shoulder (tummy therefore rubbing against you) but he'd complain as soon as he was put in the cot. And in fact I think we've talked through every possible reason for this sudden dislike/discomfort in his cot and it seems as though it may just be him growing and changing in his needs. So we'll see how we get on.

Otherwise Z's been a real joy recently and the daytimes are lovely with him - full of smiles and so alert and wanting to interact. He's also got a new noise now which he's been trying out today - an almost raspberry! It's producing more bubbles and saliva than rasp at the moment but he sounds lovely trying it out.

The other question that's been bugging us is whether it would be mean for us to teach him the wrong pronunciation of words...yes I know it would! But it might be funny for a while...see I knew there was a reason we shouldn't be parents!

Apart from the nights, the weekend's been great and my sister and brother-in-law stayed last night and played board games by the bucket load with us. Ralph won the most games of all of us - bah! My Ticket to Ride performances was abysmal (because I was left piddling about in Europe - sorry Western Europe as my playmates were quick to point out!) to say the least, but we did have fun being mad scientists for It's Alive. Like Beetle but building a Frankenstein's monster. Despite L's claim that he would out-mad-scientist us all, Ralph won both of those games.

So now it's off to the Geek to record some game playing!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

'n' custard

There's a great new sweet shop in Ipswich. It's called Mr Browns and is filled to the brim with bottles of sweets to buy by the 100g - every kind you can imagine. They've also got a wide selection of 'children's' sweets and pick 'n' mix which I adore!!

But I love hard sweets with a custard stripe through them - we've had rhubarb and custard, apple and custard and yesterday I tried the banana and custard. Lovely. But what else might there be? In my mind, my query went thus :

"Pardon me my good shopkeep but what other delights do you have in your 'n' custard range?"

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

GP appointments - bah!

Went to the health visitor drop-in today. The chubster now weighs in at 18lbs!

Also asked about all the dry red skin on his chest and tummy - apparently eczema and I need to go to the GP for some stuff. Rang the surgery straight away but they only had 2 emergency appointments left for today. And the next bookable appointment I could make is on Tuesday 8th July!

I didn't really want to leave it until then so I need to ring after 8 tomorrow morning (or the day I want the appointment) although the receptionist did give me the warning to ring early because 'it gets a bit mad.' Wonder why...

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

4 months on

We're nearly 4 months in and I'm starting to think and read about weaning. I'm not intending to start until Z reaches the magic 6 months, although I know from speaking to other mums that sometimes babies aren't that accommodating!

We've already realised that if we want to give Zachary drinks other than my milk or expressed milk we may need to try using a cup - L has tried twice recently to give Z a bottle of my milk. Not sure whether it's the smell of the teat or Z isn't really hungry or what but he seems really reluctant to take the bottle and either just plays with the teat in his mouth, or takes a bit of milk and just spits it out again! We're persevering though and will keep trying.

The current NHS guidance is that babies should be fed exclusively on breast or formula milk for the first 6 months, but apparently this has only recently been changed from 4-6 months. It may well be that Z is ready for solids before 6 months (in that milk feeds no longer seem to be satisfying him and he needs more, or he becomes more interested in our food etc) but I don't see any reason to start before then if we don't need to. He can't sit up on his own either yet and I'd rather wait until he can if possible.

But I'm trying to get read up on it so I have some idea what to expect! The NHS Birth to Five book has a helpful section on weaning and my friend recommended me to Annabel Karmel - the website is here.

So I've bought AK's New Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner to have a look at and it seems really good and backs up the information in the NHS guidelines. Lots of background and introductory information as well as lots of recipes to try - okay it's mostly pureed things (!) but it does give good advice on what sort of foods to start with, how and when to introduce new foods and a list of foods which could cause allergies and when best to introduce them. Must go check out what pureeing equipment we have ...

Mummy time

(btw I'm sitting here typing this watching Zachary trying to stuff the feet of his toy caterpillar into his mouth - happy days!)

I managed to get out of the house for some Mummy time on Saturday and it was great. I'd had a couple of hours to myself earlier in the week, but I'm not really counting trying to collect a parcel and visiting the dentist as 'me' time!

It was the Ipswich Orchestral Society concert - soloist Julian Lloyd Webber. I missed the concert he played at a couple of years' ago because of a friends' wedding and was really keen to go to this one. The concert was fantastic - and he really is a great cellist. The sound he produces from that instrument is beautifully sonorous. And no problems at home either - L defrosted some expressed milk in case of emergencies but Z was put to bed before I left and didn't wake up until I was back home (and I even got to catch up on Dr Who before he woke - thank you Zachary!). I missed them both but it was lovely not being Mummy for an evening.

L did send me a text message about half an hour into the concert saying 'OH. MY. GOD' but I correctly deduced that this related to Dr Who and not to Zachary! OMG indeed.