Shortbread and Dresses

The kids are on fine comedy form at the moment.


The other day I picked up Mini Minx from nursery. She came barreling out waving 2 round pieces of paper. “Ohhh”, I cooed, “You’ve been drawing! What are they?”

“That’s your face, Mummy. See? This time I drew you with a smiley mouth”, Mini explained.

“Riiiiiiight”, I said, remembering Wooden Spoon-gate.

“And that one is your big, fat tummy!” she beamed.

“Oh”, I said wittily, to a playground of sniggers. “That’s lovely!”


Today I was trying to persuade Mini to wear one of the dresses I made for her.

“But it fits you, and it’s pretty, and it’s ironed, and it’s clean. All those other dresses you want need ironed. I’m too tired. Don’t you like it?”

“Yes, I DO love the dress you sewed me, Mummy; I only hate it a tiny, little bit”, she reassured me.


Right, enough of the humour; back to moaning. Midi has been pressing my buttons All.Day.Long. I think today was a backlash from her broken sleep the night before last. She sneaked into my bed and kicked and shoved and smothered me all night. In the morning, she didn’t even attempt to pretend she’d had a nightmare. When she said she’d just fancied a Mummy-Cuddle because she was cold, I explained (again) that if I didn’t get more sleep that I’d die. She just shrugged.

So this morning she lay about on the living room carpet, refusing to put on any socks, and rejecting any I shoved on her big duck-feet. “They’re Maxi’s!!” she wailed: “Ewwwwww!!” Which is a cheek, because *she’s* the one who’s just had 2 verrucas finally fall off.

She refused to eat breakfast. She dawdled to school. She refused to kiss Mini goodbye.

At lunchtime, she decided to run into the wall in the hall, big heavy shoe first, bringing down all 4 canvasses and bending the hanging frames at the back, and leaving a dent and a big scuff-print. Her rationale for the damage was “I was bored”.

Give me strength!!

She fell asleep quickly tonight, so with luck she’ll wake up her happy self tomorrow and be at less risk of being strangled. And she suddenly has a new back tooth, as well as an extra front lower incisor. Shark Mouth. I remember she was a terribly grizzly teether as a baby, so perhaps all these things are related?

Talking of dresses, Mini’s Challenge to me of not wearing jeans for a month is going well. I unearthed all my “Big Girl” clothes now that I’m a couple of dress sizes fluffier (ahem…) than this time last year. Last time most of them were worn was after Maxi was born (yep, 8 years ago) and some of the big swooshy dresses haven’t seen the light of day for 20 years. Today I waddled on the 4 school runs in a swishy 50s style circle skirted effort with a ruched top that Mini calls my Bra-Dress. It looks like a bridesmaid’s dress. I don’t give 2 hoots ūüôā

At nursery Mini made shortbread with one of the other wee girls for their morning snack. I think the kids do baking once a week, and everyone takes turns to help bake. Mini explained how to make it:

“You need this much buttuh”, she said, holding her arms very wide apart.¬†“And you need to mix, mix, mix in soogah. Not too much”.

“How much?” I asked, taking notes.

“Just not too much. And then you need to squeeeeeeeeeeze in de flowah. Lots n lots. An then you roll it an cut out starfish, an bake an bake an bake. In de oven. Then you eat it aaaaall up. It’s very yummy”, she monologued.

Quarter of a 500g tub of Total Greek yogurt (full fat - none of this namby-pamby low fat nonsense); sliced strawberries; hazelnuts; pumpkin seeds; drizzle of maple syrup. Hoover up.

Quarter of a 500g tub of Total Greek yogurt (full fat – none of this namby-pamby low fat nonsense); sliced strawberries; hazelnuts; pumpkin seeds; drizzle of maple syrup. Hoover up.

So what’s a greedy Mummy to do? We made our own. God, it was delicious! I meant to take a photo of it, but I scoffed all the leftovers. Oops. Never mind, I’ll leave you with a photo of yesterday’s healthy breakfast instead. And the recipe for the shortbread: cream 100g butter with 50g caster sugar. Combine with 200g flour by hand. Roll. Stamp out. Prick with fork. Bake at 170degC for 30 mins.

One last thing:

The Boss got Honduras in the office World Cup sweepstakes. “Are they any good?” he asked nervously. (No, dear).

The Shortest, Biggest Minx

Have you ever wondered if you’re a bad influence to your kids?¬† I don’t wonder; I know I am.¬† I have proof…

I know that I can be¬†a bit attached to my laptop: I run my little business from it; I talk to my friends and family by email and Skype from it; I write my patterns and build photo albums on it; I blog and even sometimes actually write-write from it.¬† Poor Mini sometimes feels a bit neglected, even though she’s right beside or behind me.¬† We have an old PC on the table to the right of this one.¬† My youngest minx has learned that misbehaving generally means I’ll ignore her, but if she can make me laugh, well, she’s got my undivided attention for, ooooooh, 3 minutes at least!¬† So she’s taken to sneaking up to the old PC and¬†bashing

Shhhh¬†– I workin’, Mummy!

industriously on the keyboard.¬† When I ask her what she’s doing she says:”Shhhhhh! I workin’!”

If I bug her some more, she glares at me and hisses: “Shhh, Mummy! I p’tendin’ do workin’!” (I’m pretending to work)

Aye – she’s got my number, alright…

I watchin’ TV (and engaging my transverse abdominus. Ish)

Me, I¬†like a hard chair.¬† I don’t like squashy sofas and prefer something more wooden stool-like.¬† But Mini’s preference for no seat at all has nothing to do with me.

I bonkers

Her latest speech upgrade has included some really useful phrases.¬† Well, they must be, because she now uses them all the time when she’s not biting us (that’s another story…), especially if she feels she’s not getting an equal share of the “hotcorns” (popcorn) The Boss has made the family:

“That’s not fair!”

“Daddy smelly!”

“Not like Mummy”

“My turn!”

When she’s not making me laugh, she likes to stand on her head.¬† Midi liked to spend as much time as she could on her head at this age.¬† I’m guessing it’s got something to do with newly-emerging back molars (bottom right is through, bottom left is just cutting).¬† I’ve no real idea why, though; I’m not bonkers.

That’s it, I’ve had enough: bring out the buns!

I’m not starting the holiday updates just yet as today’s been a wee bit trying.

Mini Minx woke around about Oh.My.God.o’Clock cutting her second big molar; then Midi decided around an hour later that she’d slide into my bed and kick me in various sore and skinless¬†bits, just for the hell of it; Maxi capped it all by wetting the bed for the second night in a row about 45 mins later, so around 0500hrs. It was haaaaaard¬†not scolding her, and I had to remind The Boss (through gritted teeth),¬†“Look, make her up a *proper* nest on the floor – this isn’t a punishment, she didn’t pee on the bed on purpose”.

So the colours in my world were rather muted today. And there was me moaning only yesterday that I was so tired that I wasn’t safe to drive. Still, I had to laugh when my day got worse – my business email got hacked and apparently sent 1/4 million emails before my host suspended it. Great! Wonderful day. So I made saffron buns. I’m munching my 5th now and I’m feeling much better. Fancy the recipe?

Saffron Buns

450g strong white flour
1 teaspoon dried yeast
good pinch each of mace, ground cloves, ground nutmeg
50g caster sugar
100g butter (salty or not, doesn’t matter)
300ml diluted sherry (you decide the proportions of water to sherry Рjust make it 300ml total)
100g currants
1/2 teaspoon saffron
Heat up the diluted sherry and steep the saffron in it for as long or as short a time as you like. Make up the dough with the ingredients (For the breadmaker, that means put all the dry stuff in, add the butter, splosh in the sherry mix, put the currants in the dispenser and hit the ‘raisin dough’ setting) (To do by hand, melt the butter, add to the sherry mix. Mix the dry ingredients. Mix in the currants. Add the sherry mix. Knead like hell. Leave to rise for an hour.)
When the dough is ready, split it into 24 pieces. Plop each into a little muffin hole in a muffin tin (I find the mix doesn’t stick to the tin, so just plonk it in the bare tin, no need to grease or line. Though that might just be the texture I personally make it at, so don’t hate me if yours sticks). Leave to rise for another hour. Bake at Gas 6, 200degC for 20 mins. Leave in the tin 10 mins to cool, then onto a wire rack. Eat, eat, eat!

I’ll add a photo later this week, or you could make them and add a photo of yours…? That would be very cool. Anyway, I’m off to bed. Via the kitchen, for my 6th bun. Oink!

Quick Update

I hadn’t realised, but after 3 little girls born so close together, you get a bit blase about their achievements and milestones.¬† Or I apparently do, anyway.

On Monday¬†I asked The Boss if he’d noticed Mini Minx (14 months old) posting her shapes in her letterbox before.¬† Nope – how long had this been going on?¬† I admitted I’d no idea.¬† Blimey!¬† She’d sat quite happily picking up her circle, triangle and square and pushing them into all the holes in turn till they hit the right hole, then chortled with the rattle of each shape finally being posted.¬† I gave her the toy again tonight (Thursday) and she merrily sorted her shapes.¬† Yikes, there’s maybe a bit of clever-ness hiding behind that fluffy little head.

Tuesday was a yucky old day, so I’d had high plans of baking with the girls.¬† They had other ideas – Maxi Minx drew most of the day, Midi Minx happily cut every piece of paper she could lay her hands on, into tiny little pieces.¬† Mini, meanwhile, made a few scrawls with her crayons, then had more fun wrapping the paper round the crayons and pretending to eat them.¬† So maybe not so smart after all…

Mini Minx cut her 6th tooth on Wednesday: her upper outer right incisor.  So her raggedy little mouth and her temper are both a bit more even, now. 

Remember me honking on (and on) about the wonderful beaches round here?¬† (most of the posts in the category ‘Out and About’).¬† Well, the lovely striped sandstone pebbles have been inspiring me for months, so I knuckled down and¬†spent the last 8 weeks or so knitting a wee range of booties in traditional creams, browns and blue.¬†¬† You can see more pics now on my Rainbow Knits Facebook page¬†or from tomorrow on my website

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Mini Milestones

Our cheekiest minx has had a brain upgrade these past few days.

She cut her 4th tooth yesterday – her upper right incisor.¬† So soon she’ll no longer look like Fang.¬† The 2 teeth either side of it are microns below the surface.

Remember I said I was in denial about her walking?¬† Well, she walked 3 definite steps towards her beloved eldest sister, Maxi Minx, on Saturday.¬† Then 7 little tiny steps yesterday.¬† Today she screeched and shouted every time she stood unaided and I wasn’t watching.¬† When I turned round, she’d smile winningly and start to teeter forward a step or 2.¬† Obviously she is becoming a little applause junkie!¬† I don’t mind – I find it endearing that mine and The boss’s approval and attention are so important to her.

I was updating Mini’s little My Baby’s Journal book¬†with how I felt about her walking, and a big blank paragraph hit me: “I first pointed when…”¬† Crikey!¬† I’d never noticed her pointing before!¬† She kind of waves in the general direction of things, but that’s it.¬† Today, though, she made up for it, pointing at everything and decisively declaring: “At!”¬† It’s such a ladylike little point, unlike Midi Minx’s thuggy jab-point with her middle finger: she holds her hands in a perfect little EMP hand gesture.

While waiting 45 minutes for the car that was “just going to be another 15 or 20 minutes” (bloody garages…), me and Mini had a lovely play and chat.¬† At home I have too many distractions and things I have to be getting on with; when her sisters are home, I’m too busy with them.¬† So it was really wonderful just to ‘be’ with my baby.¬† She was really working her cuteness and trying so hard to make me laugh.¬† She is as obsessed with hats as Maxi Minx was mad about shoes at the same age.¬† Maxi’s 3rd word was “shoe”; Mini’s 3rd word is “hat”.¬† Well, ‘at.¬† She pats her head to sign ‘hat’ and had a lot of fun hauling her sunhat on, off, behind her head, on my head, trying to insert it in my ears…¬† And tonight she thoughtfully repeated, “‘at. ‘at. ‘at”, comparing her sunhat and Daisy the Cat.¬† She kept trying to copy my overly-enunciated Hhhhhhhattttt.¬† Cccattttt.¬† And she’s pretty close to saying her sister Midi’s (real) name, to Midi’s delight.

Grouchus Maximus

I suspected it was going to be a rough day when Mini Minx woke me at 5.30am and I couldn’t get her to sleep.¬† I *knew* it was going to be a rough day when the entire family had yelled at Midi Minx for tormenting / hitting / choking them, before 6am.

Mini’s top¬†3 teeth are finally cutting through, but all at once.¬† I think one’s coming in perpendicular to the right direction, though.¬† They’re causing her so much pain, poor baby, but thankfully Nurofen is working pretty well.¬† As is plenty of Cheerios.¬† She saw Midi eating it this morning and indicated delicately that she also wished to partake of this delicacy (ie she screeched, bared her gums, wrinkled her nose, swiped her own porridge off the table, flung her spoon at the window, threw herself back in her high-chair damn near giving herself whiplash, and roared).¬† Hungry baby – she ate 5 handfuls of the stuff, one after the other.¬† Every time her bowl emptied, she bashed it on the table, yelling in time with each clatter.¬† I can see I’m going to have problems teaching this one ‘please’ and ‘thank you’…

Nursery phoned me at 9.40am to tell me that there was a Liaison Committee (kind of like a mini Board of Governors) meeting at 10am.¬† Gosh, if I drop the baby on the floor, abandon the girls and jump in the car right this second, I’ll still be late.¬† Great amount of notice – well done.¬† Once upon a time I chaired the Committee, but now that I’m a stay-at-home mum, I’m just the Parent Rep.¬† Who doesn’t get told about the meetings.¬† Hmmmm… I wonder if the new Chair is a little intimidated by me?¬† Through an intermediary she claimed to have emailed me through work about the meeting – right, that’ll be the work email that was turned off over a year ago?¬† Maybe she’ll wet her pants if I give her a¬†call tomorrow to find out why her meeting prep is so appalling?¬† Depends how evil I’m feeling.

I took the girls with me when I went to vote.¬† A nice policeman in a stab vest (?? maybe they’d had reports that the local WI members were going to attack anyone not voting for A Very Nice Man) held the door open for us to get out.¬† Or maybe he was ushering us out – Maxi does ask a lot of questions…

I’m sure I’ve already explained about the local primary school: Maxi starts there in August and I requested Midi a place there in the pre-school nursery, so that both girls start at the same time.¬† I requested morning sessions for Midi (both would start at 9am, I’d pick up Midi at 11.30am, then Maxi at 2.35pm.¬† Easy!)¬† They gave me afternoon sessions.¬† So here’s how it’ll work:

  • Get all girls up and out the door to walk Maxi to school for 9am
  • Walk back
  • Do something useful for 2 hours
  • Walk Midi and Mini so Midi can start at 12.35pm
  • Walk back
  • Do something useful for an hour
  • Walk back to pick up Maxi at 2.35pm (finishing time for the next 3 years)
  • Hang around with Mini and Maxi outside in the hail, rain, ice and snow for half an hour (no shelters and not allowed inside)
  • Pick up an exhausted Midi at 3.05pm
  • Walk back

Bonkers.¬† Bloody bonkers!¬† Apparently their policy is to put the 4 year old pre-schoolers in the morning sessions and the 3 year old pre-schoolers in the afternoon sessions.¬† Um, call me old-fashioned, but don’t 3 year olds get tired faster than 4 year olds?¬† Or do they think that my 3 year old will have a lie-in and spend all morning in bed, conserving her energy for nursery?¬† Do they think I have the time to spend 2 hours total every day walking up and down a bloody hill, plus waiting around?¬† Or am I the very first parent to have a kid in primary 1, 2 or 3 with a child in nursery, too?¬† Must be, eh?¬† I’m so cross because the afternoon sessions only started a year or 2 ago.¬† I think I really need to go have a chat with the headmaster to find out what the reasoning behind those hours was and how they allocate the kids.¬† Perhaps once I’m educated in their rationale I will be more understanding.¬† (Aye, right!)

Ballet this afternoon was a trial.¬† Me and Mini got soaked in the downpour, so both of us wailed a bit.¬† Midi decided to face plant on the floor and waggle her bum at her teacher rather than go in and dance.¬† After studiously ignoring her wails for “A Mummy Higgle!!” I insisted she change out her ballet dress and slippers and put normal clothes on.¬† I got some sniffy looks from some other mums at my hard-heartedness, but as I tell Midi and Mini every single day, I don’t do tantrums.

The woman at the post office marvelled at my ability to cope with all 3 girls.¬† As the double buggy can only just get in the door and no further, I had them all¬†in one spot by the shop-counter doing various ‘jobs’ while I was at the other end of the shop, posting parcels (“Mini, you sleep.¬† Midi, you’re in charge of sitting down so¬†that baby R stays in her seat and can’t¬†topple out. Maxi, you’re in charge of watching Midi and Mini sitting down.¬† If they or you are naughty, shout me over!”).¬† They were good till I came over, mainly because I kept leaning over and pointing a threatening finger at Midi.¬† “You’re so calm and laid back with them!” she praised me.¬† My jaw dropped and I shook my head dumbly.¬† “It’s all a big act!” I admitted.

Despite me and Midi seriously falling out numerous times through the afternoon, she still only wanted cuddles from me, every 15 minutes all bloody night till I went to bed.¬† Even when I had a bath to wind down enough to sleep.¬† The problem was, so did Mini.¬† She wouldn’t go to The Boss at all, wanting to snuggle on my chest and weep on my shoulder.¬† I can’t wait for those horrible teeth to cut through – I tried rubbing her gums and she screeched in agony, so back to the Nurofen and Bonjela it is.