Friday, 20 September 2013

Quick Mid-Week Supper: Trying out a Wagamamas Stir-Fry Cooking Sauce

I generally don't use cooking sauces and prefer to make my own sauce from scratch, but I was pressed for time last night and remembered that I'd bought a Wagamamas cooking sauce last time I was at Sainsbury's, so thought I'd try it out! I used some chicken breasts and leftover vegetables from the fridge to make a quick stir fry.

It was very tasty, although quite a small quantity in the jar. I used half a can of coconut milk to bulk out it out for all three of us. I would recommend trying this out for a quick and fairly low calorie family meal.

Wagamamas fragrant ginger, coconut & lemongrass stir fry sauce
Half a can of coconut milk
3 cloves of garlic
1 onion, finely chopped
Sharwoods dried noodles
3 carrots sliced long ways
1 bunch of asparagus
4 chicken breasts

It was as simple as frying of the veg until cooked, boiling the noodles for a couple of minutes, then adding to the pan with the veg, coconut milk and cooking sauce and warming it all through.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Our lovely holiday in Kefalonia

Hi again all! Sorry it's been a while, but it's been pretty hectic here with it being the summer holidays - Jack is off school of course and we had Lyndon to care for to, so not easy to think of ways to keep them both entertained! Plus last week we went on a gorgeous holiday to Kefalonia, Greece - more on that later! 

Caring for Lyndon was a pretty full-on job, and very different from our experience with Lucy. he was a lovely boy but understandably had some difficulties from the tough start in life he had. Lyndon has moved on to a more permanent home now, where I really hope his new carers will have the opportunity to help him with his school work and to feel more settled and happy generally. 

We have a few weeks spare before we foster our next child, so last week decided to go away on holiday just the three of us. We haven't spent much quality time with Jack on his own since we began fostering, so we decided this would be the perfect opportunity to do so.

A pretty view from the harbour 

Tim and I were a little concerned that Jack might be getting too old to still enjoy a family holiday with us, but luckily he seemed to have just as good a time as we did. 

We took it easy while we were away, taking some trips to picturesque parts of the island and eating lovely food. The beaches were beautiful and it was nice to just relax after the busy few months we've had.

Our favourite day of the holiday was our trip to Fiskardo. This is the only part of the island that wasn't affected by the earthquake, and is absolutely beautiful. You can see some of the pretty little houses below. It is the most upmarket part of the island and apparently Johnny Depp has been known to holiday there - I kept my eyes peeled but unfortunately no sign of him!


We also went to the bay where some of 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' was filmed. This was beautiful too. I read the book while I was there, as I always meant to but never got round to it. I thoroughly recommend it if you haven't read it already.

The bay where Captain Corelli's Mandolin was filmed

Have you and your family been away yet this year? If so I definitely recommend Kefalonia for a relaxing trip. Have any of you been there? Let me know whether you enjoyed it as much as we did.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Welcoming Lyndon to our Home

Sorry it's been a little while, but last week we welcomed Lyndon to our home and today was my first chance to sit down and tell you all about it!

Lyndon is a lovely child, but of course has had a tough start in life and has some behavioural problems as a result, as well as ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). This makes it difficult for Lyndon to concentrate for long periods of time and he has a lot of energy.


We are making sure that Lyndon is keeping up with his medication, and we're trying to avoid giving him too many sugary foods, as these can make symptoms worse. This is a bit of a battle however, as he's a fussy eater who prefers junk foods.

Jack likes having a boy his age in our home, but does find Lyndon's behaviour a little challenging at times. When Jack's friends come round Lyndon plays video games with them, which he enjoys and gives me and Tim a bit of a break!

As Lyndon is a short term placement we are working together as a family to care for him and make him feel at home as best we can, for the small amount of time he's joining us for. We are aware there probably isn't a lot we can do to change his life for the better when he isn't living with us for long, but hopefully we can offer him a sense of stability while his permanent adoptive parents prepare for him.

Are you caring for a foster child with behavioural difficulties? Or even have a child or teenager of your own with ADHD?

I would love to hear from you with any advice you might be able to give.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Preparing for a new foster child

welcome mat

Yesterday we heard the good news that we will have a new foster child moving in with us in the next couple of weeks! While we are still missing Lucy it will be wonderful to have a new child to help and focus on, and we are looking forward to it.

Lyndon is 12 years old - which makes him a great age to be friendly with Jack. Hopefully they will share similar interests so our family trips will suit both of them, and perhaps Jack can take Lyndon out with his friends a couple of times.

Lyndon will be staying with us for three weeks before moving on to a more permanent home. This makes him a different type of placement to Lucy, who was fostered on a long term basis. Find out more here if you are interested in learning about the different types of foster placement.

We are busy getting our spare room ready, and removing some of the girly pictures off the walls and decorations that we had while Lucy was staying with us.We hope to make Lyndon feel at home for the short time he stays with us, and hope he enjoys our company.

I will keep you all updated, and let you know how it goes when Lyndon arrives!

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Our Last Weekend with Lucy

Yesterday Lucy returned to her birth parents. This was tough for us, and Jack especially, who had started to think of Lucy as a little sister. We put on a brave face for Lucy’s sake and enjoyed a final weekend together.

While she was happy living with us, of course it is best for Lucy to be with her mum, and I think she was pretty excited about being able to return to her.

On Lucy’s last weekend we took her to Alton Towers. We wanted to have a day trip that Jack could enjoy just as much as Lucy, and it certainly proved to be a hit!  Lucy had never been to a proper theme park before and was a little nervous but she loved it.

Air Alton Towers

Lucy enjoyed a lot of the children’s rides – it was only Jack and his Dad that went on the scarier ones! I’ve included a picture of Air. I don’t know how they did it! 

We had a trip into Birmingham on the Sunday and went to Ed's Diner in Selfridges. Both Lucy and Jack love it there, and although I try to eat healthily most of the time burgers really are my weakness! We had a lovely couple of days as a family and Jack didn't ask to see his friends once! 

It was a bitter-sweet weekend however as we know it will probably be our last with Lucy, but we have spoken to the agency and they said it will be fine for us to exchange christmas and birthday cards which we look forward to doing, as we would like to see how she gets on over the coming years.

There is at least a light at the end of the tunnel – we are hoping our next foster child will move in with us in the next few weeks. Other foster parents have told us that saying goodbye to their first child was the most difficult, so hopefully we will get used to the process and it will get easier in time. 

We are looking forward to having the chance to help another child and do what we can to shape their future.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Saying goodbye to Lucy: The end of our first foster placement

When we agreed to foster Lucy we knew how difficult it would be to let go of her, but we have always had to bear in mind that this time would come and prepare ourselves mentally for it.

Achieving the right level of attachment can be very hard when fostering, and as Lucy was our first foster child the process was really a learning curve for my family. 

We treated Lucy like a member of our family and did our best for her, as we wanted her to feel loved during her time with us. However, it was important to keep a certain amount of emotional distance, and accept that although we feel an emotional bond to her, she won’t be a part of our family forever.

Lucy’s birth mother is now in a position to care for her again, and we know that it is best for Lucy to be with her real mother.  It has been wonderful to see her flourish and grow in confidence since she came to live with us, and I hope Lucy will continue to do well at school now that her mother can care for her properly.

We know it is important to stay positive for Lucy and talk about how wonderful it will be for her to return to her home, as her well-being must come before our own. We would like Lucy to email us and stay in touch if her mother is comfortable with this, as we would love to keep up our bond with her.

We were lucky to have such a lovely, well-behaved child when we fostered Lucy, but we are ready to accept that our next fostering experience may not go so smoothly.

Our family will be very sorry to lose Lucy, but we wish her well and hope that she is happy when she returns to her biological mother. 

If you are considering fostering, I recommend you read some fostering stories, to get a better idea of what the everyday reality of foster care might be.

Have you fostered? How do you cope when it is time for a child to move on? If you are a foster parent I would love to hear from you.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Weekend Treat: Chorizo and Haddock Sandwich

I like to treat the kids and Tim to a more exciting lunch when we're having a lazy day at the weekend and have the time. Usually they have rushed packed lunches that I make in the morning, and it can be difficult to make varied lunches all the time. 

This is the first time I tried this particular recipe out - adapted and simplified from a Jamie Oliver recipe. it proved to be a hit with Tim especially!

I try to get some fish into the kid's diets but they're not too keen on it, so mixing it in with lots of tasty ingredients in this way is a good way to make them forget they don't like it.

Ingredients for four:

2 haddock fillet
1 piece of chorizo
some rocket/lettuce
Fresh loaf of bread
1 large red onion
1 lemon, zest grated
red wine vinegar
greek yoghurt/creme freche
1 tablespoon mustard


1. Cut the chorizo into thin slices and fry briefly, then set aside
2. mix the chroizo-infused oil from the pan with the yoghurt, lemon zest and mustard, then spread on the bread and season
3. mix the sliced red onion with sugar and vinegar, then add to the sandwiches with the rocket
4. Fry the haddock over a high heat for a few minutes each side.

You could serve up with some home-made chips as I did, or a salad if you're trying to make it a little more healthy.

Me and Tim enjoyed the meal with some pimms - it was the weekend after all! We gave the kids lemonade with fruit in it in the same style, and enjoyed the first relaxing lunch time together we've had for a while.