Experiences of an American Mommy Raising her kids in the United Kingdom

Thursday, March 1, 2012

St. David's Day

Today is St. David's Day, so named for the patron saint of Wales. Because the Dad side in me loves to celebrate and the Mom side in me loves tradition and the Jones that I married is Welsh, we decided to celebrate with Welsh traditions. (See what I did there?)

First of all, Dragon Daddy bought Princess Pie some daffodils as they are the national flower of Wales. We would have sent her to school with one in her hair, but she was sick. She lit up when her daddy gave her the plant.

Then, I decided to make Welsh cakes. I found a great recipe.
225g/8oz self-raising flour, sieved
110g/4oz (preferably Welsh) salted butter
1 egg
handful of sultanas
milk, if needed
85g/3oz caster sugar
extra butter, for greasingPreparation method
Rub the fat into the sieved flour to make breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, dried fruit and then the egg. Mix to combine, then form a ball of dough, using a splash of milk if needed.
Roll out the pastry until it is a 5mm/¼in thick and cut into rounds with a 7.5-10cm/3-4in fluted cutter.
You now need a bakestone or a heavy iron griddle. Rub it with butter and wipe the excess away. Put it on to a direct heat and wait until it heats up, place the Welsh cakes on the griddle, turning once. They need about 2-3 minutes each side. Each side needs to be caramel brown before turning although some people I know like them almost burnt.
Remove from the pan and dust with caster sugar while still warm. Some people leave out the dried fruit, and split them when cool and sandwich them together with jam.

My kids opted for no jam so they could stay on the couch. They scarfed them up while we talked about what it means to be Welsh. We had a great time.

I ended the day by finding out that my oh so Welsh Dragon Daddy husband has, to his recollection, never eaten a Welsh cake. Now, I think it's time to sit down and discuss with him what it means to be Welsh.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Coffee and Custard Creams

So, another thing I can't seem to get used to is the idea of school uniforms. Don't get me wrong. I like that they have them. After the years of torment I went through for not having Guess jeans in the late 80's, it's a relief that my kids don't need to feel brand conscious by the time they're 10. What is hard to get used to is the fact that a shelf full of clean clothes does not mean that we are ready for the day.

This morning, Bugsy was sent upstairs to get ready for school. He came down 20 minutes later wearing his trousers (pants are underwear over here) and that's it. I asked where his shirt was and he just stared at me with that look kids get when they are thinking, "Maybe if I don't say anything, I won't get in trouble.". So, I went upstairs to help him find his shirt. Now, it is important to note that he is not allowed to watch TV without a clean floor. I went in his closet to help hom find his clothes. What I found was several school polos shoved under other clothes. The shirts were FILTHY!! Remember, we have a 20 min walk to school and very little down time in the morning.

At this point, Dragon Daddy came up to enjoy the expressions I get on my face while trying to refrain from committing infanticide. It is finally decided that Dragon Daddy will drive us to the store to get a new shirt that Bugsy will pay for with his own money. Then, he will go to work and we will walk Bugsy to school from there. In the meantime, Princess Pie is not feeling well with what we think is pre-asthma. Through her barky coughs, she starts to cry because she wants a new shirt. Madman is crying because, well, he's ginger and he can. Pocket Princess is working on her third messy diaper of the morning and I still need to put on a bra. AHHHH!!!

So, we get everyone in the car and to the store. I run in leaving Dragon Daddy to put the twins in the pram (stroller) and get Drake's shirt. I come out to see Dragon Daddy standing by the boot (trunk) with a smug look on his face. I had forgottn to put the pram in the car. So, we get Bugsy dressed and I run him to school while Dragon Daddy is left to deal with 2 fussy babies and a 4 year old that also wants to go to school and thinks it's not fair that she has to stay. We get everyone home. Dragon Daddy goes to work. I look at the clock exhausted and realise that it's only 9:15. My day has not even started yet!!!

Princess Pie is growing into a very intuitive young lady. She looks at me from the couch and says, "Mommy, you need some coffee and custard creams {kind of like a vanilla oreo but the filling is more custard flavored).". I love that little girl. We sat down on the floor and had a picnic. She had milk. I had coffee. Then we shared a plate of custard creams with the twins. Then she says, "What a wonderful Day!!". Oh, how wise is my little girl. She knows that sometimes the best way to reboot the day is with some coffee, custard creams and a smile.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Resistance Is Futile!!

It amazes me how quickly the kids are picking up the accent here. On the way to school today, Princess Pie said, "Mummy (as opposed to Mommy), those tomatoes (with an a as in father) are properly smashed on the pavement (sidewalk). They still have accents that are very much American, but they are slowly but surely becoming assimilated into proper Brits.

Bugsy is making a conscious choice to become British as quickly as possible. He came home from school on his first week and announced to me that he will no longer call me Mommy because that is no longer my name. It will be Mummy from here on out. I have to say that in a strange way, I found this upsetting. It was difficult letting go and sending him to school after have full control of his education. But now, in less than a week, he was changing my name? I had to laugh at myself for becoming unsettled. However, the reality for me was that I am no longer the center of his universe. There is now a little Union Jack planted firmly in the middle and I am just left of center. I know that everyone will say that it is inevitable and a natural part of him growing up. My response to them is "so?". No one ever tells you as a mother how doing what is best for him will make you cry. No one tells you how you can feel terrified and lonely and proud and excited and apprehensive and a million other things all at once in a moment that you knew was coming and should not find shocking. It makes me proud and happy to feel so attached to this little boy. I may not still be the center of his universe, but he will always be the center of mine.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Welcome to my blog

We have recently moved to the UK from the USA. Dragon Daddy is Welsh and I am American which gives the kids dual citizenship and the confusion of two parents divided by a common language. The kids were raised in the USA until now. Bugsy was home schooled for the beginning of his education. Since moving here, he has started year 2 in a public school which is the American equivalent of first grade. Princess Pie went to preschool in the USA and will start Reception in the fall. Madman and Pocket Princess will still be with me for a little while longer. I am starting this blog to chronicle my misadventures in mothering while trying to assimilate into British culture.