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Six super-fast family recipes made from the most versatile pantry staple

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Photo by Nerfee Mirandilla on Unsplash

As a young mum, I had my four children across a span of 6 years — and nope, no twins. I remember those early days where I felt that I was literally running from the time my feet hit the ground in the morning until I fell into bed exhausted at the end of the day. With my little ones at home, it seemed like I spent most of the day in the kitchen preparing meals and snacks to alleviate the constant whine of ‘mum, I’m hungry.’

During those years, one thing I became very good at was preparing quick, budget-friendly meals. I developed a range of recipes that my family enjoyed; however, my pantry's standout superstar staple quickly became the humble jar of pasta sauce. I discovered that this one little jar is an absolute lifesaver and can be used in so many ways for fast, delicious meals. I also went through a phase where I made up my own jars of pasta sauce from scratch using organic ingredients; however, I have zero guilt about using the store-bought variety. …

Is it you, or…is it me?

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Photo by Victoria Strukovskaya on Unsplash

It’s almost his birthday. When we started this journey, I told myself that we wouldn’t be like the rest. We will know when to stop and when it will be enough for both of us. Some would say that two years, measured in sleepless nights, frustration, tears of joy, and memorable mental pictures, should accomplish my duties, ambition, and role.

It is called liquid gold. I needed to be able to provide this to my baby. I had to know I can do it for him because, as difficult as it was, to begin with, he was worth it. …

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Photo by Fernanda Greppe on Unsplash

Long story short: it might sound obvious, but if you are typically the “fun parent,” you should consider actively making time for your partner to be the “fun one.”

My wife and I have been married for over 10 years, and we’ve now got 2 daughters, one who has recently turned 3 and another who is not yet 1.

I’m naturally more energetic and playful. As a result, I would come home, play with my daughters, and just sort of ended up being the fun parent. This meant that when my oldest daughter wanted to play, she always wanted “daddy” to play with her. She wanted me to put her to bed at night and tell her stories. …

“Daddy…”. The small voice floated down the corridor. My 5-year-old boy was calling once again.

My wife had already completely blown her top at him earlier in the evening and left him a screaming, crying mess, after a solid 30 mins of him shouting, running around naked, being rude, rolling around on the floor instead of getting ready for bed… in other words, normal 5-year-old behavior I guess.

I was tired after picking up the pieces of my broken little boy and putting him to bed. I wanted to eat dinner. I wanted to watch some Netflix. …

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Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

So I have a bonus child. She is going to be 7 soon and is constantly sucking her thumb. I have talked with my husband about it, and he just kind of says she’s a kid she will grow out of it. The problem is that when I say constant, I mean it is constant. It isn’t just for sleep or when she’s nervous, she has her thumb, or piece of clothing along with her thumb, in her mouth.

Now at first, I didn't notice how bad it really was. I figured she’s nervous, and I had a lip picking problem, and whenever people acknowledged it, it made it worse and made me feel embarrassed. …

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I have no doubt that many parents by now have heard of the Kids YouTube star Blippi. The notorious man is known for pooping on someone’s face (in the past), now the entertainment for our kids. Also, if you don’t know about this, look it up. I’m not lying.

My son (3yo) is absolutely obsessed with Blippi and has been watching his content for some time, no matter how hard I try to avoid it. I thought he would get bored of it because, for a while, the YouTuber wasn’t making any new content… until of late.

Now, I’ll admit that the content isn’t “that” bad. Some videos are not that great, but he has the energy to keep kids occupied and never really seen anything alarming. However, his voice annoys me more than a whining dog. But when he starts making toys for kids, that’s where I’m drawing the line. Of course, there were some ads between his videos, so my son knows they exist and are absolutely horrible. …

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Photo by The Nigmatic on Unsplash

Prior to covid, I was perfectly content with our small family of 4 (8yr daughter and 5yo son). My wife and I were busy with work, kid activities, family outings, and everything seemed to be just right. My wife has always wanted a 3rd, but I was adamant that 2 was enough for me. Finances were in order, everyone was happy, healthy, and loving life.

These good vibes continued through the first part of 2020 until one morning, my 8yo daughter suddenly looked so much older to me. I can’t put my finger on exactly what it was, but something about her seemed to have significantly matured overnight. …

I was making dinner last night and decided to wear my 14-month-old son since he has 3 molars (2 bottoms, 1 top) coming in right now, and he’s been understandably extra clingy. No problem. While I’m doing the “bend and snap” to my asparagus, he starts crying and shoving his fist in his mouth. So without much thought, I gave him the bottom hard part of the asparagus stalk I just snapped. Y’ALL. He HAPPILY chewed on that cold out the fridge, hard stalk for 45 MINUTES while I finished dinner. THEN he started crying again halfway through dinner, so I gave that boy another stalk to gnaw on while me and my husband peacefully finished our dinner.

If birthday parties recommence in 2021, let’s revisit the ground rules

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Image courtesy of Canva.

There is a lot I’m looking forward to in a post-COVID world. No more face masks, for one. School that takes place (gasp!) at school. Movies that we watch (gasp!) at movie theaters. Karaoke night with my girlfriends. The return of food samples at Trader Joe’s.

Then there are some things I’m not looking forward to. Frantic mornings. Commuter traffic. Frantic evenings. Midweek laundry. Frantic weekends. School lunch assembly. Frantic preparations to get out of the house; frantic transitions back to the house. So many events — fundraisers, happy hours, playdates, potlucks, parties.

So. Many. Parties. When my son began preschool, the Birthday Party Onslaught began in earnest. My two kids were each in classes with around 15 other kids, not to mention that they were also friends with a smattering of other children. In our pre-COVID lives, we were averaging about one birthday party a weekend. …

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