Birthday Traditions

Birthday Traditions

While (slowly) making my way through the 30 Day Writing Challenge set by @MyTalesFromTheCrib (on Instagram) I came across this writing theme and it really stuck out for me. Birthday traditions are my favourite traditions. As early as I can remember, I have always cherished birthdays. My mum used to go out of her way to make birthdays an extraordinary event for us. This in itself is a tradition that has carried on with my own children.

I have always tried my hardest to make birthdays in our house unique celebrations. Like everything else in our orbit, they are often done on a budget. This is, however, in no way a suggestion that they are anything less than magical. My superpower is, of course, to make a lot from a little.

Next week, I have not one but two birthdays. The Little Fairy is set to turn 9 on the 13th of April and The Master of Mischief turns 5 on the 14th of April. A timetable even I never saw coming. Some call it bad planning; others call it convenient. I know that I had serious doubts about my time management in April 2016. I spent the day before birthing a 9lb baby waddling through a children’s indoor ball pool and activity centre. It wasn’t the most fun I’d ever had. Managing two birthdays in two days has never been easy. Over the years however, I have mastered it to a fine art.

In this post, I share a few of the birthday traditions practised in our family home.

Birthday Pancakes

Birthday pancakes have been a tradition in our house since my eldest child’s first birthday after weaning.

The birthday person wakes up to balloons, presents, and PANCAKES!

We pile them high with fruit, chocolate chips, whipped cream, and sprinkles. We top them off with a candle and gather around the breakfast table to belt out an uneven pitchy chorus of Happy Birthday. This is the ceremonious and somewhat sickly start to birthday shenanigans.

Funny Cards

This is one of my favourite traditions. It started after I met my husband. Most couples share sentimental and meaningful cards with one another on special occasions. Not us. My husband (in all his childishness and immaturity) goes out of his way to find the funniest and often most inappropriate card he can. The results are never disappointing. It provides a good laugh and has become a competition between us to see who can find the daftest card. Even the kids have joined in with this. Their card choices are getting funnier each year. Birthday cards with poo, boobs, funny animals or inappropriate jokes are the best kinds.

A Homemade Cake

This is a tradition that started when I had children. This was because as a young single mother, I struggled to afford fancy shop-bought cakes. Instead, I would make them myself.

As the kids got older, my skills improved, and I found that I was actually quite good. Ten years in, and I am still making birthday cakes every year. What started as something for my children has spread to friends and family too. The kids will always pick a theme, and we design the cake together. It’s a fun activity as well as something unique for them to remember.  

Whether you make something elaborate or a basic sponge, a homemade cake is so much nicer because it’s made with a little extra love.

These are just a few traditions that we practice for birthdays. Do you do anything differently? Have you changed any of your customs due to the lockdowns?

I have seen some lovely ideas from families who have had to spend birthdays apart, from letter writing to pre-recorded video messages.

I hope everyone is staying safe and enjoying their birthdays regardless of lockdown. While it has been hard celebrating with limited visitors both last year and now. We have all undoubtedly had at least one birthday in lockdown. I think it is lovely how people have adapted and overcome these difficult times.

Hopefully, we can all be back to celebrating with friends and family again soon.

Until next time…

Hannah XO

Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup

Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup

I love soup season. This soup, with it’s seasonal veg, warms my very soul. ‘It is absolutely yum’ (the Master of Mischief, age 4) and when served up with warm and buttery crusty bread it is always a hit with the kiddies. Even my husband (Mr ‘I’m not bloody eating that’ gave it a thumbs up) Enjoy!

You Will Need

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed (I prefer to use 1 tbsp of garlic granules)

1 tsp ginger

½ tsp cumin

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp tomato puree

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, deseeded, and diced

3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

600ml chicken stock (you can use vegetable stock if you want, I prefer to use chicken)

1 can coconut milk

Chilli flakes to garnish, if preferred

Method

Over a medium heat, start by cooking the onion for 1-2 minutes until soft. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin and oregano and continue to fry for a few seconds while stirring.

Add the tomato puree, butternut squash and sweet potato chunks and fry for a further 2 minutes.

After this, add the stock and bring the whole pot to the boil.

Reduce to a medium heat and simmer until the butternut squash and sweet potato are cooked. (I usually give it 30 minutes; you may wish to leave it longer or less depending on the size of your chunks)

I also like to give it a stir halfway through.

Once the squash and sweet potato are cooked, add the coconut milk and simmer again for a few minutes.

Using a hand blender (or food processor) whizz the soup until smooth.

Serve with a sprinkle of chilli flakes and a side of warm crusty bread.

Other Ideas

I love the flavours of this soup. I serve it with a sprinkle of chilli flakes to add a dash of heat, but not too much, as I usually serve it up for the kids. If you wanted to add extra kick you could add a deseeded and chopped red chilli at the same time you add the garlic and herbs. If you’re really brave, bung a second one in there.

If you want to bulk up the soup and add some extra hidden veggies (its all getting blended so why not eh?) you could add things such as mushrooms, peppers, carrots and celery with the onions to create a veggie base for the soup.