Wise Kids

May 9 2015

Féile na Tuaithe (Festival of the Countryside), Castlebar, Mayo

Posted by     No Comments    in Kids



Baby Eagle Owl and Grainne


Féile na Tuaithe (the Festival of the Countryside) is happening again this year and you really need to have this on your calendar.

It takes place on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th May in the National Museum of Country Life outside Castlebar.

This is the National Museum’s largest event, it is the biggest free family festival in the west and is literally a cornucopia of all that’s good and wholesome about country life, food, craft and art.

Entry is free, parking is free, the shuttle bus from Castlebar is free and it’s even on the Greenway so people can cycle there (and safely park their bikes for free).



Salmon a leaping

This year it’s taking a quantum leap forward and literally covering the entire 30 acre grounds.


There are over 100 exhibitors, demonstrators and attractions including:

– the Celtic Tenors

– food demonstrations with an Irish and historical twist by Domini Kemp, Catherine Fulvio and other chefs

– craft village

– food village with some amazing new tastes

– gundogs, birds of prey, farm animals, steam threshers, bee keepers, wood workers …..


Art installation Lynn brothers


The Museum remain true to their ethos and there’s not a hurdy gurdy or a cheap plastic toy stand in sight. There is lots for kids to do though – actually doing stuff rather than just watching things being done.


Claremorris Strawboy


Well, you would have to have a pretty darn good reason not to attend this one guys n’dolls …

See you there!



Special thanks to Lesley Emerson from PR West who sent me a reminder about this festival and wrote most of the text above in order to encourage me to remind everyone else about this. She is a fab lady and is doing a great job spreading the word about this excellent FREE family-Fun event in Mayo! Tell your friends please  x


Mar 25 2014

I need to know … am I wrong?

Posted by     49 Comments    in Kids, Kitchen

Todays topic is always at the epicentre of every argument I have at home with the kids, of which there are four  – ages 8, 9, 10 and 12.



Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 11.36.04

Up until recently (before they all entered the age of reasoning – which some say it is 8 years of age, and they are right!) the kids towed the line and did their daily chores, for the most part.

I am not talking hard core labour here, just chores that we consider ‘normal’ in most family households:

–   setting the table, clearing the dishes after breakfast and supper, then loading the dishwasher,

–  bringing down their dirty clothes hampers, folding and putting away their own laundry,

–  occasional sweeping of the floors

Now that the age of reckoning has arrived, we are hearing a lot of dramatic resistance to simple requests and the thing that concerns me the most is the statement they reiterate over and over again.

‘None of my friends at school have to do chores’.

None. Not even one. Nada. Nothing.

Now, I am not one of those Mother’s you can fool easily.

I am always up before breakfast so to speak … and I start my day off in a quiet reflective contemplative manner … enjoying the sunrise … like this morning …



Typically, I don’t believe a word out of their mouths if it starts off with ‘all my friends’ … because I don’t know their friends or their friends Mum’s and Dad’s all that well, so it’s just heresay as far as I am concerned.

But you know what … I kinda believe my kids. I am getting the impression, perhaps I had a moment of blind weakness this morning, that maybe there are a lot of parents out not doling out the chores to their kids?

The way I see it is as follows – if you have kids maybe you can slot yourself into one of the following three categories:

(A) you give the kids age appropriate chores (like I listed above)

(B) you never give the kids chores and you/your partner do them yourselves for a quiet life and because you feel that this is your job/responsibility as their parent

(C) Neither of the above because you pay for domestic help and no one has to do the bothersome household chores.

Readers … tweeters … peeps and pals …. I need to know – do you get the kids to help out with the chores around the house?

If you are unwilling to respond in the comment box below – will you send me an email at MonaZWise@GMail.com – thanks.

Ok – less than 6 days of classes left before I finish the MA in Journalism at NUIG.

Imagine. It only took me FIVE YEARS to get here!  Ok – technically I am not finished until I complete my work placements and write my 15,000 word Thesis – due in August … but I am no longer tied to a classroom effective April 4th.

I will have soooo much more time on my hands to do laundry and sweep the floor.

Keep the faith lads and ladies … the sun is still shining bright in Galway – FUN and frolicking will resume soon.


Oct 15 2012

The power of we (Blog Action Day)

Posted by     18 Comments    in Kids


* no need to adjust your set…this is a rare pictureless post *


A year ago, today, I wrote a blog post about what it was like to be a foster parent in Ireland. It was a short piece for the Annual Blog Action Day.


I shared a photo or two of our gorgeous little foster kids, and was promptly told to remove them, as it is against HSE policies to allow photos of children in care on FB / Twitter and blogs. The law is there to protect the kids. I get that and respect that.

It was a slap on the wrist I did not want but totally deserved. Who am I to decide to plaster details of their happy little lives all over the Internet?


This year, the title for Blog Action Day 2012

‘The power of we’

is so tempting. I want to take a huge risk and tell you how difficult the last year has been. I want to tell you that taking in a couple of foster kids is the hardest thing you will ever do and will put so much stress on your family your solid-rock stance might shatter into smithereens.


But I can’t tell you anything. I am gagged and bound when it comes to talking about ‘my girls’ …. I can’t tell you when they are happy or sad or pure holy terrors. I can’t show you photos of their new hair cuts and cute lip glossed lips and pink finger tips.

I can’t explain how easy or impossible it might be for any Mum or Dad (or Granny) to take two grown girls into a new environment and expect them to thrive.

All I can tell you is that ‘we’ are doing ok. My Mum is the third parent to all four of our kids. The terrible two (Rory Belle and Jack) that you see in the images on many of the blog posts represent the state of happiness and health of the entire foursome.

This past summer when all ten of ‘the cousins’ were hanging for the month of July, not one of us adults had to raise our voices – not once.

We are nothing without our family. The love and dedication my Mum has for our very blended family is unlike anything I have ever encountered. Mum to me, a friend to my husband and Granny to our brood.

This kind of love is what makes our world go round.




This blogpost will self destruct in 48 hours or less ….just incase

May 19 2012

A beautiful day for Rory Belle

Posted by     38 Comments    in Kaleidoscope, Kids


Sometimes photos speak louder than words so a kaleidoscope of images from Rory’s special day is featured below.

I hope you are having a lovely weekend x

Rory Belle – she who made me a Mama



Granny & Rory Belle



Could not wait to get out of her shoes xx



TWO of our munchkins


Garden salad …. there is always salad on the table



Communion Cake with 'boiled icing' …




Beautiful Bean Salad



Chocolate chunk n' cranberry cookies




Heavenly Ham


If you have already purchased our book you will have noticed that the recipe for ham is a three-pager. Yes, it takes a while to do it right and yes 0 it is totally worth it.


Extra cakes and cookies


Special thanks to all our friends and family who came to spend the day with us, eating drinking and being merry. Extra thanks to Jackie Ffrench for taking such beautiful shots of our family and capturing the fun here at Chez Wise for Rory Belles special day and to Bernie Ffrench for organizing the treasure hunt to keep the kids occupied for so long x

Enjoy the rest of the weekend y’all xx


AND – do not forget to buy The Sunday Times tomorrow for the next installment of our weekly column. Recipe for Pork Schnitzel tomorrow!

Sep 21 2011

Am I raising food snobs?

Posted by     48 Comments    in Kids


A word of caution before you scroll down to read. This blog post is a ‘Móna on her soapbox’ kind of blog post so if you are not in the mood to listen to me blather on about trying to change the way people eat and feed their kids, now is the time to bail. Before you look at all the photos.


Rory Belle – aged 3


Yes. To answer my own question. I am raising food snobs. I know it, you know, and hopefully lots of people using Google as their search engine seeking information on ‘food’ or ‘snobs’ will know it very soon.

This is the risk we take every day as we expose the children to all things food and fun.

So, how does a parent then deal with a child who has been chastised for having smelly sandwiches? Well that one is easy. You chastise the child even further and tell them it is their own fault for bringing a tuna and hard boiled egg sandwich for lunch.


Irish Food  - RB Lobster

Making peace with her dinner…


Ok. No. Maybe you do not chastise the child. That seems a little harsh. Try explaining to the child that a lot of children today do not get exposed to food like tuna (?) or eggs (?) and they are a little clueless when it comes to what real food tastes like because they are fed a diet of chicken nuggets and pizza.

OK – stop right there. Never. Ever. Ever say things like this to your child because your child will deffinelty go to school the next day and say ‘My Mum said you were de-sensitive and have no idea what real food tastes like’ and then you will have to leave the country, again, for fear of an Irish Mammies retaliation.


Irish Food - kids lunch sandwich

Ham & egg sandwich


But, isn’t it a little bit true? Aren’t there a whole bunch of lunch boxes out there with the same stodgy white bread and ham we all ate when we were kids? Aren’t parents strapped for time and money now, more than ever, so the quick and cheap method of throwing a lunch together happens all the more frequently as opposed to the healthy and nutritious option.


Irish Food - our daily bread

Waiting with baited breath for this to come out of the oven


I decided the best approach for our daughter, in dealing with her lunch time companion, was to let her deal with it herself. I told her that this was something she could handle by herself, in her own way. To remember to keep cool and explain her lunch choices to her dining companions and all would be fine.


Irish Food - Gremolata

Easy peasy. Chop chop!


Hearing “Mom, where’s your fancy chopping knife’ was not what I thought I would hear next.

She decided to make one of her favourite lunches, bring it to school, and offer to share it with her friend.


Irish Food - Gremolata

What's in your lunchbox?


Egg salad with gremolata. For those of you that have never tried gremolata it is easy.

Raw garlic and parsley chopped, mixed with olive, oil, salt and pepper. Dip your bread in it. Lovely. Rory likes to make her egg salad with this, because she doesn’t care for mayonnaise, like her Mama.



Irish Food - Family

Our salad queen. Rory Belle.


Because my kids are all adopted and fostered, there are always going to be those moments where I wonder how different would it have been if she had my genes.

Then, there are moments like this, when I realise that it is possible that environment has a lot to do with the way you shape a child.

Rory made the choice to educate the palate of a picky child. After being chastised for bring in a smelly sandwich to school, she decided to do exactly what I would have done. Bring in something smellier.

The apple has not fallen far from the tree at all.

Those are all the WiseWords I have for today,



Jul 10 2011

Caramel Popcorn Balls

Posted by     14 Comments    in Kids

How do you keep ten kids — under the age of ten — occupied for a weekend. Ah, you don’t. They keep you occupied for the weekend!

Air popped corn 

The house started to fill up close to lunchtime. Littler ones weaved in and out of larger ones leg space and larger ones wrangled their ways out of littler ones ways.

Ferocious appetites of all ten children silenced the house for all of ten seconds. No time for seconds. Outside. Play. Squeal. Run. Bikes. Animals. Fun. With the understanding that the only reason they could come back in was to use the toilet or ‘if there was blood’.

Tuna Salad makes for a vanishing lunch

Some of the (smarter) grown ups took of to visit friends and babies, others needed to have a little rest before we started getting into dinner mode and the remaining hard core units decided to crack open a few beers and come up with a cracking dessert for the children, who let’s face it, just do not have enough sugar in their lives.

The Chef is addicted to Poppycock. Now, you cannot get Poppycock on the island so I have managed to break him of this habit because he just cannot buy it anymore.

One would like to think that would be enough to stop him, but of course, it is not. He always finds a way to get what he wants.

I do not remember where this recipe came from. The internet somewhere? Maybe even a compilation of three or four recipes. All I remember about it is that it is (a) excellent (b) very messy and (c) addictive. Good luck. Our support group meets weekly on Wednesdays to discuss our addictions.

Wise Cracking TOFFEE Popcorn

  • 10 cups of freshly popped popcorn (Kelkin natural)
  • 1 cup of sugar in the raw
  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup of golden syrup (corn syrup)
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups of mixed nuts, toasted. We used cashews, almonds and pecans.
  • A few Tbsp water

Before you get started, it is best to not make this a kid-friendly project. The caramel gets too hot (dangerously so) for the kids to be involved. It is so much better if you make them some regular popcorn and let them snack on it outside and they will be none the wiser of your your efforts till after dinner and the squeals of glee will be worth all the secrecy.

Method madness

Toast the nuts in the oven on a high heat. This will not take long. Do not forget about them as they (esp. the pecans) burn easily.

Cashews, Pecans, Almonds. Use whatever you like.

Assemble all your ingredients. This moves along at a wicked fast pace once you get cracking so be ready!

My brother. Carefully assembling the ingredients. 

You will need a large pot for making the caramel. You can also use this to mix the popcorn in later. Caramel is a bitch to clean up. You will thank me for this tip.

Place the brown sugar, golden syrup, butter, salt, and 2 tablespoons of water in the large pot and whisk all ingredients together until simmering on a medium heat.

A mountain of popped corn 

Continue to simmer, whisking often, until the mixture reads 250°F on a candy thermometer, about 3 to 4 minutes.

All toasted and smashed up a bit with a rolling pin. 

If you are like us, and do not have a candy thermometer, then get familiar with the term ‘hard crack’ and ‘soft crack’. I know some of you readers out there are letting your mind be trawled through the gutter. This is food porn people. Keep it clean!

As the caramel is simmering, get a cup of cold water. Allow a few drops of the caramel to drip lazily from the stirring spoon into the cup of water and give it a few seconds to sink to the bottom of the cup. Try to fish it out with your fingers. If it is soft and slimy it is not ready. If it is hard to touch, eat it, and if it sticks to your teeth – voila, caramel is ready. This is how old the Chef is. He was around before candy thermometers were invented. Fact.

What is ‘hard crack’? 

In order to get through the rest of the steps you need to move fast. Put down the beer and use both hands.

Remove the pan from the heat, and whisk in the cayenne, vanilla and baking soda. Immediately pour popcorn (in batches) into pot with the caramel sauce and start to mix. We used a silicone spatula. Try to spread it out as evenly as possible.

A gooey mess……finger-licking good. 

Now, add all the nuts and then pour out on to a parchment lined baking sheet. You can leave it to cool now and eat it once it has hardened. If you are lazy that is.

What you should really do is make an extra effort for a better (longer lasting) batch.

Bake the whole mess for an hour. Every 15 minutes open the oven and give it a stir. This helps coat the popcorn better.

When you remove it from the oven, you need to let it cool for at least a half hour and then you can break it up and start eating it. OR before it has had a chance to cool, you can grease your palms with butter and make cute little (controlled sugar for kids) popcorn balls that everyone is going to want to eat.

A very tasty treat….

This keeps well in cute mason jars or old biscuit tins for a few weeks.

That is a big fat lie. There usually is none left by the end of the evening.

The most beautiful loaves for our supper…….French Dip Divine. 

I know that this photo of bread does not belong in this blog post, but it was just so gorgeous and got almost no attention yesterday when it popped out of the oven because the popcorn stole all the attention. So, I am just giving it a few minutes of fame right here on the blog. It might have been his best loaf ever.

Right now there are ten hungry kids crazy for coco-pops and a gracious granny waiting at the ready to take them all to mass so I must run, but you seriously need to give this a try!

Those are all the WiseWords I have for today.


Jun 19 2011

Will he make a good Daddy?

Posted by     11 Comments    in Kids

Little 'Love' carrots from the garden

Have you met the man of your dreams? Have you been schackled to the sink, barefoot and pregnant, and now find yourself staring out the window asking yourself this question?

Did it ever cross your mind during the rush of first loves fury, through those hours, days and weeks of dating desires, that he may not even want kids?

Were you forced to talk it out in ‘pre-cana’ class? Did you lay your cards on the table before you, well, got laid? Did you review if (or when) there would be children in your lives. Did you discuss who would work and earn money or who would stay home to be the slave parent and spend all said hard earned money?

Were you all that organised? Kudos to you.

I am still just winging it.

He told me he wanted kids that first night I got him drunk. He’s older than me (by a million years) and was already feeling his paternal clock ticking loudly. I liked the idea of having a few little crumb catchers but was certainly in no hurry to start a family. We had dogs. It was enough responsibility.

Poppy seed loaf ready to bake

Of all the questions I had, and I had many, the one question that neveh eveh popped into my mind, was whether or not he would be a good Dad.

He had some pretty shitty role models. His childhood was far from idyllic. He was open (but solemn) about how he had been raised. Maybe because of this, I felt he would know what ‘not to do’. I don’t know.

I just knew.

When I woke up this morning, I wanted, more than anything to write a funny blog post ripping him to pieces for all his goofball ways. I wanted to write up a saucy recipe, and take a few snappy shots and weave in and out of words, the love I have for this man, who is now ‘Daddy’ to a growing brood of children who call us ‘Mom & Dad’.

But words avoided me all day. I could not pull a syllable from the sky to save my life.

The last batch of spring carrots. All blanched and bundled in the freezer.

From the minute he got up this morning he has catered to the needs of his children (and increasingly high maintenance Wife) all day long.

“Daddy, will you make us pancakes please”. Yes.

“Daddy will you take us to the village market please”. Yes.

Daddy this and Daddy that, all day long. He should have been all Daddied out. He should have wanted to take a break and kick back and enjoy the day of ‘rest’ he has earned.

Instead, it was just like any other Sunday. He did some gardening, because the weeds were taking over. He baked sandwich loaves for the week because the kids prefer his bread for their lunches.

Butter glazed egg bread rolls

And when it was time for tea this evening he made my favourite dinner to celebrate his day.

What do you get a guy who already has it all? How do you let him know that he is everything you hoped for, and more?

Granny made a Chocolate Swissroll for the Chef.

Well, my Mum decided to kiss-ass be a real doting mother-in-law and made him a gorgeous chocolate swissroll. That was the icing on his cake today. Plates licked clean.

I, on the other hand just got him something shiny and red.

And just to keep it real for all you foodie-folks who might be thinking ‘aw, what a nice present’, the life of being married to a royal-pain-in-the-high-maintenance-egotistical-ass Chef is not all fun and frolics. The first thing out of his mouth was ‘you know, honey, this is not the commercial Kitchenaid and I will probably burn out the motor on this one in a year’.

For the love of God. You just cannot please everyone!

Those are all the WiseWords I have for today.




Apr 27 2011

What to do with left-over Easter Eggs

Posted by     4 Comments    in Kids

As a mother, I am amazed daily at the creativeness of my children. Our daughter (age 7) is a bona-fide chocoholic like her father and has figured out how to plant a chocolate seed in her Dad’s brain and has only to wait a matter of seconds before he caters to her every whim. I cannot wait till she is a teenager.

Although we did not buy ONE Easter egg this year for the kids, we were inundated by the kindness of neighbours and friends. When all added up we had 29 Easter Eggs. A little excessive dontcha think? We donated half their bounty to the Children’s unit at the hospital here in Galway. We then tried to give a few more away to our Easter dinner guests and still, we were left with, eh, leftovers?

So, daughter dear thought it time to dig out her Daddy’s recipe for fudge. He makes it at work (weekly) but never brings it home because I do not eat chocolate and it is just too rich for the kids.

Then she got everything ready for him and even set the camera up on the tripod for me. So, most of the credit due here is to the seven-year old chocolate addict.

Ronnie’s Fudge

(Small batch recipe. We multiplied this by 4)

4 tbsp unsalted butter (we used salted)

3 cups marshmallows

1 cup of sugar

1/2 cup heavy/double cream

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

12 ounces chocolate (best semi-sweet valrhona/callebeaut)

Melt the butter, cream and sugar in a large pot.

Add the marshmallows and keep stirring until they melt in. Do not let this mixture burn.

Add in your chocolate(s). We melted down all our Easter eggs and also used dark (Callebaut) chocolate chips. Add your vanilla too.

Once you add in the chocolate(s) you need to really start stirring the mix well.

Use a balloon whisk to incorporate it well.

Once you have an even colour all round then take it off the heat.

Either grease a sheet pan really well or use a non-stick baking sheet that is ‘too big’ for your sheet pan. This will stick like glue to the pan if you are not careful.

Spread it out evenly in the pan and put it in to the fridge to cool for one hour or more if you can wait that long.

Do the dishes. Do not argue with anyone that might have made the huge mess.

Slice the fudge into long slender rows and chop into bite size pieces. Wrap the rest of it (long rows) in butcher paper or parchment paper and freeze it. It will keep for forever in the freezer or until the kids find it.

Now go find those Easter eggs and get busy!


Nov 15 2010

Is it really too early to start the festivities?

Posted by     2 Comments    in Kids


I am pretty sure it is too soon. I know that Thanksgiving has not even happened across the pond in America, and here I am pushing Gingerbread House ideas in to your kitchens in the hopes that a few of you will give it a whirl. I know this looks intimidating, but trust me, it is relatively easy to bake and make.  

So, to get started, draw a template. We have used different ones over the years an if you just do a bit of digging around on the internet, you will find a gazillion different templates. If this is your first time, then keep it simple and make sure you are very accurate in your measuring.

Next – Make your Gingerbread on a Friday evening, and leave it to chill overnight.
Here is our recipe, and it really does taste YUMMY. It dries rock hard like gingernut/snap cookies and the kids fought over it last year, right down to the last crumb.

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Gingerbread House

6 cups of cream/all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
4 tsp ground ginger
4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp finely ground black pepper
1 cup dark brown (moist) sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
1 ½ cups of treacle (or molasses)
2 large eggs
1 cup unsalted butter

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Sieve together the flour, baking soda and baking powder.
In a separate bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. 
Mix in spices and salt, then beat in eggs and   treacle. Use an electric mixer.
Add your flour mixture and mix on low speed until it is mixed in well. 
Divide the mix into three parts. Wrap in cling film and chill for at least one hour. 
This is imperative. The gluten needs to rest before rolling it out and it is easier to work with a 
‘cold’ dough as it holds its shape better. We chilled ours overnight.
Heat your oven to 240 degrees celsius. 
Roll out the dough (on a floured surface) to 1/8 inch thick.
Cut into desired shape. Place your dough shapes on un-greased baking sheets.
Chill gain until firm. (At least 15 mins)
Bake until Gingerbread is firm in the center but NOT dark around the edges. (15 – 20 mins). 

(Sometimes, when one should be ‘watching’ the Gingerbread, one might get distracted 
and even  forget that this is in the oven. It is possible that the GIngerbread might even burn. 
Fear not, if this happens. Once it is fully baked, you can take it out of the oven and scrape it off
before any husbands might see it, or smell it.  Amazingly, it still tastes good! Or, so I have heard)

Whilst you are waiting for this to bake, start sorting thorough your candy stash and figure out 
what you need to get for your decorating the next day. 
Remember, candy canes, and red and green M&M’s are a must, but if you are creative, and I know you all are,
you do what we do and use up all that left over halloween candy!

Now to stick it all together. OK, before I give you this recipe, I know you can buy royal icing in a bag and ‘just add water’, so if you want to do that, go ahead. I just want you to know, that if you make your own you will have a lot more fun because it has an amazing taste and texture, and it is great to work with. There is going to be some finger licking going on. Also, if you do not get finished (like ours is not done yet!) then the icing/glue will stay in the fridge for a few days. Great stuff and you can dye it different colours too!

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The Glue
3 egg whites
1lb powdered/icing sugar
A pinch of cream of tartar
5 drops lemon juice

Mix together and spoon into a piping bag with interchangeable pipping nozzles.

Ok. So, you are baked (well your gingerbread is, right?) and ready to go. Now, find some canned tomatoes or FULL coke/beer cans to use as props. Remember, as you start to assemble the four walls of your house, that once glued, you will not be able to move your house. SO, put it on a tray or cutting board that you will NOT NEED on Christmas Day to carve the Turkey. Otherwise, you might be getting a new cutting board in your Christmas stocking for forgetting that important fact. 

You really need the emotional and physical support of a partner or friend for this part. Although you may end up doing nothing except ‘stand there and look pretty’ you are on hand incase the walls fall down around you. If you have taken care to measure your template carefully and then have cut out your dough according to the measurements, and you have baked everything on a nice FLAT baking sheet pan (not a wonky old warped one), then all will fit together like it is supposed to. If it is warped, you can wrap it in a warm damp tea towel, let it soften a little and wait till tomorrow to try again after it has dried and hardened.

Glue the interior wall joints and the exterior wall joints. Also run a nice thick line of the icing/glue around the exterior and interior base lines. 

It is best if you wait for several hours before you try to ‘roof it’. We use a nice large roof, for the desired effect, and needed to prop it up on both sides with large coffee mugs to hold it in place for a few hours. The icing/glue mix is great though and we were able to start decorating much faster than expected. If you are planning on doing this project with your kids, it really is best to try to do these few steps when they are in bed. Less stress for everyone.

Now, let the fun begin. Of course, you need some REDs and GREENS. So, the large Christmas Peanut M & M’s are in the shops right now – go get some! Everything else we used was just leftover halloween sweets. We cut up a lot of stuff to get the look we were after, and we still have some work to go on it, because I have to get some RED licorice and a few other sweeties to finish it off.

Once you start decorating, it could take as little as a few hours to get it finished and ready for display, or it might take a little longer if you let adult friends that have never had the experience the kids dive in.

Either way, this is a very very inexpensive activity for the whole family to do together. Not to mention it will also be an awesome conversation piece for all your friends and family to see when they stop by to bring you tidings of good joy over the Holiday Season. Next weekend we are making Gingerbread people to use as decorations on the Christmas Tree – stay tuned. 

It is just FORTY days till Christmas. The whole year has slipped by us in the blink of an eye. I think I have been fighting the Christmas Spirit for way too long now, mostly due to the fact, eleven years ago, that my Dad was buried Christmas Eve. I finally feel like that weight has lifted, and I think this is mostly due to the fact that our house is filled with screaming-kid-chaos and I no longer have time to dwell on my own misery, but have to put their happiness first.

There is a very cool Continental Christmas Market coming to Galway (starting this weekend!) for the next month and I hope lots of you will come to do your Christmas shopping here and stop in for some egg nog and tasty treats at our place when you are done! 

Those are all the WiseWords I have for today as I have successfully managed to avoid at all costs another evening of homework and study for my pending exams!


PS – if anyone wants the Gingerbread recipe emailed to them just email me here or find me on Facebook!

Aug 28 2010

Letting go of Bunny-Love n’ summer

Posted by     1 Comment     in Family life in Ireland, Kids


My lovely white duck Grace delivers me 
a beautiful blue duck egg every morning.
Well, it is finally here. I have come to the end of a four month long hiatus from University life and ‘Móna-Mom and Móna-Wife’ have officially left the homestead and ‘Móna-Student’ (aka mean raving bitch) has returned to roost in the Wise Homestead for the next eight months.
Try as I might I just could not get all four kids ‘clothed and booked’ for back-to-school blissfully. I had to get all worked up in a dither, run around at the last minute looking for books they will not use until November and buy a few extra shirts and ties for their uniforms just in-case they lost one. I am a martyr. I needed to put myself through all of this and make it seem like I was dying from stress so my Mother (hi Mum) and hubby (ha ha – like he will ever read something on the internet) would feel a little empathy towards me before I leave them to care for my children for what seems like an eternity.
I know I am not LEAVING per-se, but on September 6th when I return to the books I do step away from being the primary caregiver of everyone here at the homestead. The Chef has already stressed the *dislike* button a few times over the last few weeks because, quite frankly, he likes having a wife at home doing all the wifey jobs. And whilst we are all being frank, I LIKE being the wifey at home doing all the jobs.
He also knows that I live and die for my college classes.  I am entering into second year of a four year degree course, with hopes to continue and get my Masters in Writing write after that, so it might seem a little endless this schedule of mine. 

He is ready, with the helping hands and heart of my Mum, to take on the kids. He is waiting in the wings as we speak to get stuck in with drop off’s and pick ups and school bags and lunch boxes and most importantly (for me anyway) dinner and grocery shopping. I have done most of the cooking for the summer and although I do not hate cooking at all, I will be glad that I do not have to do anything but the dishes for the next several months. 
On a sadder note (and I am trying to not let this get the better of me) we lost our little Bunny Bob last night. When I say ‘lost’ I do not mean he went missing, I mean he is dead.

He is a bit of an escape artist and being a dwarf bunny with seemingly very few bones he was able to dig and squeeze through unbelievably small openings. He also chewed like a trooper to get through whatever he wanted. After reinforcing (and reinforcing) his little home area several times over the last few months we lost the battle last night. When I awoke this morning I found his cold little body out back near the polytunnel. He was unmarked, so no foul play is suspected.

Of course breaking news like this to veterinarian-girl-in-waiting was not easy as she is rather attached to all our animals, and I hated that this was the news I had to give her a few days before school. However, she handled it as well as can be expected. Remains will be buried along side his brother Leo (who passed away the day we brought him home) later today. Donations of hugs can be delivered to Rory-Belle if you can figure out a way to do that via the internet.
Those are all the WiseWords I have for this morning as we brace ourselves for the back-to-school mayhem that awaits us on Monday!


About Móna
I am a native Galway girl that seems to be drawn to professions that rhyme with 'err'. Writer, Mother, Restauranteur, Wedding Planner, Dishwasher, Grass cutter, Cocktail maker. I suppose you could say I am a well rounded entrepreneur.
You can find me here
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You might as well just come visit.
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