A supper party

The Cylonettes played with crayons for the first time today. They really enjoyed scribbling with them so much that they came to the table along with a few superheroes, periodic table blocks, and supper itself.

I know that the given wisdom is no toys at the table when eating but I think you get a pass with twins. It’s hard keeping both girls engaged in the business of eating through out a meal. Naomi eats well at the beginning and then by the time Zoey has warmed up to concept of eating something other than air, and is willing to taste a tiny tiny portion Naomi is almost done. So meal times need to stretch to fit both girls otherwise mealtimes are bookended with crying.



A week in food: Monday

It’s probably a good job that I enjoy cooking so much since that is what I do for most of my day. It feels like I bounce from one meal to a snack to the next meal to a hearty rendition of ‘Little Blue Truck’ to some laundry to a squabble, and back to a snack. This is the type of multi-tasking I can handle. One eye on the kids and the other on the stove. Though to be honest if I’m in the kitchen they are in the kitchen so most likely they are trying to scale the oven. Why are we buying a house with so many rooms when they are glued to me like I’m their mother or something…

I thought that since feeding toddlers was such a lark I’d write about it. A week in food – such fun! Actually it is, after a year plus of not being able to eat properly I’m now eating three meals a day, and all at a table! Woo hoo.

Breakfast: Cornflakes, and wholewheat apple sultana mini-muffins

This is the easiest meal as Alex is there to co-wrangle. The showmanship of pouring cereal is still a winner with the girls. First the flakes, then the milk and then we pretend to sprinkle on sugar! Squeee – such fun when you are 17 months old.

Morning Snack: Mini-cheese biscuits, and milk

Gobbled up in seconds. I’ve started making them in mini form on the weekends when we are out and about.

Lunch: Lamb meatballs in veggie stew with pasta (leftovers from Sunday lunch)

Meatballs. Vegetables. Zoey’s nemesis -real food! Okay, she is not that bad she is just particular, and I refuse to turn it into a “thing” so if she doesn’t want to eat something fine. She will taste everything though normally that ends in her wrinkling her nose, and spitting it out. Which is fine. I’m not going to beg her or sprinkle hundreds and thousands (sprinkles) on her mince (ground meat) – this is what my mum did with me.  Nor am I going to make something else. Going hungry for a few hours will do her no harm, and it will make her more willing to scoff down the next meal. Needless to say that Naomi munched her way through lunch only stopping to spit out the dried apricots in the stew.

Mid-afternoon Snack: Wholewheat apple sultana mini-muffins, and milk

Leftovers from breakfast. Win-win for all.

Supper: Butternut squash mac-and-cheese, broccoli pieces and a banana

Since Zoey didn’t eat lunch I wanted to make supper easy on us all, so I made my go-to mac-and-cheese, or rather Bethenny’s go-to. I’ve made it so often I have the recipe committed to memory and since there is no roux it’s quick. I keep a stash of roasted and pureed butternut squash (measured out in one cup size) in the freezer in ziplock bags (best time saver). Both girls wolfed down their pasta, and Naomi and I ate our broccoli pieces. Naomi really has a taste for broccoli and she eats it out of a little bowl like it’s candy.  Which it is!

Sixteen Months: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

I’m am soooo behind on these posts. When I started drafting this it was ‘Fifteen Months’, and now we are halfway to seventeen months.


Urban hoody sisters (and teddy)

The last four months getting us from twelve to sixteen has been an amazing developmental learning curve – for all of us. The girls have pushed us with not wanting to wear bibs, use plastic cutlery and at one point not wanting to sit down in the bath. Stand-up baths – hurrah! Times two! Hurrah!

Viva the revolution!

Viva the revolution!

They’ve switched to only eating regular food – no more buying baby or toddler food of any kind. This does mean they eat less veggies and fruit than if they still had the pouches but we’d rather they eat what we eat (way cheaper). The number of bottles we wash is TINY and they happily drink their day-time milk out of straw cups and water from sippy ones.

Nursery supper: Cauliflower feta fritters, cocktail sausages and butternut squash mac-n-cheese

Nursery supper: Cauliflower feta fritters, cocktail sausages and butternut squash mac-n-cheese

During the week the Cylonettes only power down once. A late morning walk-nap that seems to be carrying them through to bedtime. Yes, they are grumpy and overtired but not having to schlep around the neighborhood twice a day means that I am less grumpy and overtired by the time Alex gets home so that’s a trade I’m willing to do.

Zoey is the more affectionate of the Cylonettes. She awkwardly tries to give Naomi a hug or a kiss, or grabs her hand when we are out for a walk. The best is when Zoey tries to sit on Naomi’s lap, like she does with Alex or I, except Naomi is slightly less welcoming. She yelps and tries to get her to move but Zoey sits there calmly waiting for her cuddle. They are equally aggressive and at least they are evenly matched when it comes to fisty cuffs.

"Hug me!"

“Hug me!”

They enjoy squishing themselves into tiny spaces, and are veering towards OCD. They spill milk or food and go get a cloth (or any item of clothing to hand) to wipe it up.  They point and grunt at crumbs on the floor. There is a set order in which things are done, and we are not allowed to veer away from the rituals. I guess at sixteen months they can’t control that much in their universe so they cling to order.

Naomi is a fainter. She holds her breathe when she takes a rough and unexpected tumble, and faints. This has happened twice and it’s scary but it passes. Zoey has night terrors. This has happened 3 or 4 times in the last few months. It’s scary but I had them (they run in families – sorry, Zoey) so that makes them some how less scary and she will grow out of them. It’s just part and parcel of none of us (except Naomi) getting an uninterrupted nights sleep.

Pixie "cuts" times two

Pixie “cuts” times two

The girls still don’t have much hair, and I am grateful as having to deal with hair on top of everything else would have sent me over the edge. I told my mum that if they had had thick long hair I’d have trimmed it into a pixie or at best a bob. As it stands I’ve trimmed Naomi’s bangs, and evened out the back so that it will grow into a bob (eventually), and Zoey has lucked out with her crew cut growing naturally into a pixie cut.

"I'll figure it out in a moment.."

“I’ll figure it out in a moment..”

Zoey is trying very hard to dress herself and us. She is getting better at putting her legs into her trousers, and an arm into a top. She also has a thing for cardigans; which she clutches to her chest to indicate she wants it on. In fact if any clothing takes her fancy during the the day she wants to put them on. Sometimes switch over and others layering.  One night Alex came home to find her wearing three pairs of pants, and three tops. Zoey is also persistent about us putting on clothes and shoes too. Naomi is not into cardigans but loves having her sleeves rolled up. This took me ages to figure out but she is emulating Alex. Alex tends to wear t-shirts in the flat whilst I favor a more layer look and a cardigan (ahem, Zoey!).

Both girls are trying to copy words we say. In the last week Naomi developed a sing-song babble. Very cute when she is “reading” a book and less cute when we want her to go to sleep. My mum said she is emulating how I read to them, and the sing-song is because so many of the books are in rhyme. Naomi also has a talent for mugging for the camera when we FaceTime. This generation is so aware of cameras it will be interesting who they turn out and use them.

As well as pointing at pictures in books, and things in the house the human body is proving to fascinate both girls. I wouldn’t be surprised if their first proper word (outside of “hi ya” and “bye bye”) is vagina. I can just hear them chanting that through the aisles of Target, and then it will only be a short journey to them reading gender studies at Sarah Lawrence and making vegan soap to sell on Etsy.

"We are women hear us roar!"

“We are women hear us roar!”

The Cylonettes are continuing to want to be helpful, and I welcome their help even if it takes longer to do things. Tidying away their toys at the end of the day is a must. They are really good at emptying the dishwasher and know where everything goes. Nothing like seeing a toddler with ceramics in their hands to get their heart racing. Give them a wet wipe and they get to cleaning. How long will this last?

At breakfast last week Zoey started handing out the mini-muffins. You may think that is cute, I see that as Zoey putting herself in charge of rationing! They are very bossy. Insistent about where we sit, and we are trying to shake things up as we don’t always want to sit where they want us to sit.

A few weeks ago my brother remarked that Alex and I were looking more relaxed. It’s the little things like not having to prep and give +24 bottles in a 24 hour period, or not having to go on three walk naps regardless of the weather, and being able to have a cup of tea in bed goes a long way. That said, last weekend Alex remarked that this weekend he’d do all the cooking so that I could sit on the sofa with a Hulking Naomi. In the same way not being able to crawl or walk was frustrating the lack of verbal skills and not being able to communicate smoothly is wearing on them and us. I look forward to them screaming “vagina” in Target.

Sixteen months

Sixteen months

Feeding the Cylonettes: Cheesy biscuits

My cheesy biscuits are legendary. Everyone that comes into our family’s orbit knows about the cheesy biscuits. When we are out viewing houses, and I tell our realtor I’ll give the girls a snack to get them through the fourth and fifth house she says to me “Cheesy biscuits!”. I tell everyone about them.

Hell, we got through the aftermath of Sandy thanks to the cheesy biscuits!

They are one of my go-to-snacks for the Cylonettes, and I bake them at least once or twice a week. They are super simple to make, and happily eaten for days and days. I roll them out on the thick side, and like all cookies whip them out of the oven early (8 minutes on the dot).

‘Cheese Stars’ from Nigella Lawson’s How to Eat

1/2 cup all purpose flour (I’ve made them with white, and wholewheat both come out well)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

pinch salt (I skip this)

pinch cayenne (skip this too as I don’t have any)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2/3 finely grated orange cheddar

1/4 freshly grated Parmesan

  • Set the oven to 400F
  • Mix all the ingredients together in a mixer until the dough comes together, and give it a little knead
  • Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and rest in the fridge
  • Roll it out on a floured surface. Not too thin but not too thick somewhere between 1/4″ and 1/2″. After you’ve made them a few times you’ll figure out your preferred thickness. Nigella uses a star cutter but I use a train (as Sheldon likes trains) and I get about 12 train biscuits out of the dough.
  • Bake on a non-stick or greased or lined baking sheet until they begin to puff on top but are hard underneath, about 10 minutes BUT start checking at 8 minutes.
  • Cool completely on a rack and enjoy!
Cheesy biscuits in IKEA

Cheesy biscuits in IKEA

Cheesy biscuits in Eataly

Cheesy biscuits in Eataly

Cheesy biscuits being cut out

Cheesy biscuits being cut out

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