Tag Archives: Fathers Day

Fathers Day 2015

It’s been a quiet and reflective Fathers Day weekend for me and a fun-filled and active one for Mike.  He and the children have been away on the annual “Dads and Kids” camping weekend with friends. A weekend to make more memories as well as looking back at precious ones of the past. Happy Fathers Day to the 3 special men in our lives:  Mike, Grandpa R and my Dad.

I also want to share this beautifully illustrated short film that takes an emotional look at new parenthood, which can be especially difficult when it starts with an unexpected stay in NICU and is a beautiful reminder that Dads are affected too. When your new baby has to be in NICU, there’s lots of focus on Mum and baby and it can be all too easy to forget about Dad and the emotions he must be facing. With Fathers’ Day this weekend, this is a poignant reminder that things don’t always turn out as planned.

A cartoonist’s journey into first-time fatherhood


Happy Fathers Day to all the Dads out there



Lemon Meringue Pie with a twist

fathers dayCelebrating Fathers’ Day last weekend meant attempting to create Mike’s all-time favourite dessert, Lemon Meringue Pie.  I’ve found it difficult to make a good M-friendly pastry in the past and I wasn’t sure I wanted to struggle with it again, so instead I took inspiration from Mike’s other favourite pudding, cheesecake and decided to create my “pie” with a biscuit base.  I whipped up a double batch of my digestive biscuits recipe, pressed it into a greased springform cake tin and popped it into the oven for about 25 minutes.

Once this was in the oven, I scoured the internet looking for an allergy-friendly lemon meringue recipe that I could adapt, if necessary, to suit us all.  I found this great vegan recipe, which needed only the smallest of tweaks and set to making the lemon filling to put on top of the biscuit base.  I was lucky to have nearly all of the ingredients in my cupboard, though I had to use gelatin instead of agar to set the filling and here I nearly failed.  I had no idea of how much gelatin to add, so I added an amount that seemed reasonable for what I was making and kept my fingers crossed that it would all work out.  The good news is that 2 (and a bit) sachets of powdered gelatin set the filling enough to create the layer I was looking for, but trust me, it was certainly more luck than judgement.  Next time I will try more as I think it really needs to be a firmer layer.


This is what I was aiming for…

Base baked, filling added and sitting in the fridge to chill for a couple of hours, I came to the final, and possibly the hardest, part of my Lemon meringue challenge – the meringue topping itself.   I have successfully made small egg-free meringues before, but I wasn’t convinced that that recipe would work as the topping for a pie.  Instead, I decided to attempt the meringue mix suggested on the vegan recipe I was following as it seemed easy enough and I had enough egg replacement powder in the cupboard to give it a whirl.  It all started well, but I then added the rest of the water needed and things started to go horribly wrong. What I really should have done was stop there and start again, but I foolishly thought I’d attempt to rescue the gloop I was holding and added more sugar and egg replacement until I reached the consistency I thought I was after.  You can find my adapted recipe here.


…this is what I got!

I doubtfully poured the meringue mix on top of the chilled base and put it in the oven, with everything crossed for a good result.  The recommended baking time was nowhere near long enough and I ended up leaving it in for a whole hour.  The end result?  Well, Mike and the kids kindly said it was delicious and for a first attempt, I would agree that it wasn’t too bad. However, it was not up to my exacting standards and I will definitely be trying this one out again with a few more tweaks along the way as I attempt to bake the perfect M-friendly lemon meringue pie.


The Secret of the Swap Box

Well, I couldn't resist just one more memory to celebrate Fathers' Day!

Well, I couldn’t resist just one more memory to celebrate Fathers’ Day!

This weekend has been a lot less manic than the last.  Other than the obligatory Fathers’ Day celebrations on Sunday, we also had 2 very important appointments to keep on Sunday afternoon.  G and M took their very first individual Speech and Drama LAMDA exams.  It’ll be a wait of another 6-8 weeks until we hear the results, but I’m proud of them both for having a go at this new challenge.

So, we’ve spent time playing games, watching TV, doing some homework and enjoying some quiet family time.  We’ve also worked on a project that has become very important to G over the last couple of weeks – her swap box.

This is an idea that was recommended to me about a year ago by a parent at M’s school.  She had overheard a conversation I was having with a fellow Mum about having to anticipate when treats might be given out in class to avoid having to deal with M’s frustration when he couldn’t have one.  She asked if we’d ever thought of providing a Swap box to be kept in the classroom.


I looked at her blankly, listened intently and then wondered why I had never thought of such a simple solution to this problem.  The idea really is an easy one.  We provided a box, decorated by M, that was filled with a selection of sweets, biscuits and other treats that were M-friendly.  Whenever M is given a treat for any reason in the classroom – birthday celebrations, leaving gifts, rewards for good behaviour, Advent chocolates or Easter eggs –  he is allowed to take what he’s been given and swap it for a safe alternative from his box.  This means that he never feels excluded from all that is going on and we can be assured that he isn’t being given any food that could cause an allergic reaction.

I had never considered the need for G to have same, but in the last couple of weeks she has been unable to have caramels or chocolates that have been brought into school to share.  I was hoping to maybe make it to the end of term (well there are only 5 weeks left) and sort G’s swap box over the summer holidays, but alas, that wasn’t to be.  G was adamant that she needed one now and so we found a box and allowed her to decorate it this weekend.  I’ve filled it with a small supply of Haribo sweets, fruit snacks and some M-friendly packets of biscuits and she’s taken it into school this morning to stash with her teacher.



It really is one of the simplest suggestions I’ve come across in dealing with M’s condition and has proven to be invaluable as he has found no need to strop or complain about being different to his friends.  After all, when you’re struggling with quite so many challenges, being able to take part with everyone else is really worth it’s weight in gold.

Happy Fathers’ Day

I couldn’t let today pass without a post to recognise all that Mike has been to us as a family.  He’s certainly had to see us through some tough times, almost from the very beginning 15 years ago.  He’s been a great Dad to G and M and I couldn’t have asked for more.  Know that we all love you very much – even if they did spend part of the day squabbling!

      Pictures July 06 051

Just a few of my favourite photos from the last 10 years.

Grandpa R with G & M

Grandpa R with G & M

Also to my father-in-law, who has been a wonderful part of G and M’s lives even though he is  a 7-hour flight away.  The kids love spending time with you and have precious memories of our last trip out to Canada that will stay with them for a long time.

Dad with G

Dad with G

And not forgetting my Dad, who sadly left us nearly 9 years ago and never had the chance to meet M or even get to know G properly.  I know he would have been proud of them both and would have loved them dearly.

You all have an integral part to play in the lives of G and M and are amazing sources of love and support when the allergy-life gets us all down.