Rian’s 5th Birthday

Rian turned 5 a few days ago and we had a little celebration. These 5 years have been the best. It’s lovely to see how he has grown into such a kind and funny person. He keeps me entertained all the time, imagining stories, chatting about things he has learned, asking a million questions. He is so caring, always saying how he loves me and his brother and sister, how he loves animals and wants to help them. I’m so proud of him. Raising him has been the greatest things I’ve done so far, but no matter how grown up he gets, he will always be my baby.

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Our Vegan Christmas 2017

I haven’t blogged in ages so wanted to share a post about our Christmas as a vegan family.  Being vegan doesn’t stop us being able to celebrate with family and friends or stop us eating nice Christmassy food!

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Our Vegan Halloween

 

What do vegan kids do for Halloween?  That’s something that a few people have asked me.  People have this idea that vegan kids will “miss out” on so many things, but I’ve found that they can have just as much fun as other kids do!  This is what we did for Halloween this year, and some ideas for the future.  (And some cute photos of Síofra!)

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Sun, Sea and a Vegan Picnic

We finally had a few sunny days in Ireland so took our first trip to the beach this year.  We live about 40 minutes drive from the beach so don’t get there that often but love going when we can.  It was still pretty cold on the beach, so we were dressed warmly and didn’t go in the water or anything, but it was still really lovely.  The sun was shining and sky was almost completely clear.

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Rian having fun on the beach

 

We went for a long walk and Rian had so much fun running around.  He watched kite surfers and kept yelling, “the kite is flying away!”  He loves pirates at the moment so brought a roll of cling film which is his telescope so he could look out for pirate ships in the sea!

 

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Oran exploring on the beach for the first time

 

Oran went for a walk around and loved having so much space and flat ground to run on.  He’s almost 11 months now and is walking and running around really well, but it was handy that the ground was soft if he fell over.

 

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A picnic of creamy dill pasta, falafel, rocket, cherry tomatoes, houmous, vegan cheese, oaty yoghurt bread, apple and blackberry muffins, vegan chocolate and coconut water

 

Then we had a really lovely picnic that I prepared that morning.  I love picnics and the boys find it really fun to eat outside.  It was all so delicious and a perfect meal.  We got these Great Food vegan and gluten-free falafel in Aldi, which are really, really good!  We also got the Roisin’s handmade chocolate in Aldi.  It’s vegan and so delicious, with bits of honeycomb in it (did you know honeycomb doesn’t contain honey?  I didn’t!)  We got the houmous and Vita Coco coconut water in Aldi too.  Coconut water is so good for drinking on the beach, very hydrating (not that it was that hot).  We also had Violife vegan cheese which is amazing.

 

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Apple and blackberry oaty muffins

 

These muffins were so yummy, moist, slightly sweet and tart from the berries.  I have the recipe for them here.

 

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Creamy dill pasta

 

This creamy dill pasta was also so yummy, filling and comforting.  The recipe for this is here.

 

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Such a delicious plate of food!

Vegan food is so delicious!  It definitely doesn’t have to be boring.

 

 

 

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The picnic blanket becomes a shawl

After the picnic me and Oran were getting cold so I put him in his sling and wrapped the picnic blanket around us.  I had been silly and wore a maxi dress and didn’t bring a cardigan or anything.  The first sign of sun and I had forgotten that it was still April and this is Ireland!  But we were so cosy and warm inside the blanket and it was lovely to walk in the sun.

 

 

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Windswept but happy

Rian could have kept walking for ages.  He was having so much fun even though his nose and cheeks were red from the wind.  He was so incredibly happy.

 

 

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Our collie friend

 

Just to be the perfect idyllic Irish day we had to see some sheep, horses, donkeys and even made friends with a lovely collie.  He was hanging out near the cars and going to see everyone.  We saw him later helping a man to herd some horses.  That’s the first time I’ve seen a horse dog!

 

 

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One of my favourite things about going to Kerry, cute lambs!

We also saw lots of really adorable baby lambs and ewes.  I love going to see them in the Spring time.  Where I live there are more cattle, but in Kerry there are sheep everywhere.  They are so beautiful and it’s lovely to watch them, but tinged with sadness as well because I know they’ll be killed in a few months.  I’m not looking forward to the day when I have to explain that to my kids.  Still I love that my kids can see them and learn about them.  I want them to get to know all different species of animals.

 

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Friends, not food

 

 

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Beautiful horses and hills behind them

 

I’m so grateful all the time to live in such a beautiful part of the world.  It’s so peaceful, with amazing views and lots of places to explore.  If only we had more sunny days like this!

Why I’m Raising my Kids Vegan

People sometimes ask me why I’m raising my kids vegan and not “giving them a choice” so I thought I’d write a blog post about it.

First of all I’d like to say that my kids aren’t really vegan (yet) since they can’t understand what that means yet, but are being raised on a vegan diet (or plant-based diet if you like) with a vegan lifestyle.  Being vegan is an ethical choice that we make, and until my kids are old enough to make that choice for themselves, they are not really vegan.  They just don’t use animal products.

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The reason why we’re raising them vegan is because it’s what their dad and I believe is the right thing to do.  Simple as that, really.  Parents often try to instil their values in their children, teaching them what they believe to be right or wrong, like not to lie, steal, or hurt others.  And being vegan is what we believe is right, so of course we’ll want to teach our kids to believe the same.  And if we don’t agree with eating animal products, it makes sense that we wouldn’t cook them and feed them to our children.

Some people say that it’s not right to make the choice for our children, but I am just feeding them vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.  It’s no more making the choice for them than a parent who feeds their child animal products is.  As parents we can’t let our children have total control over what they eat, or my 3 year old would only eat Jelly Tots!  Though of course you can’t force a child to eat either, you can only offer them food and hope they eat it.

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Also, our kids aren’t old enough yet to make ethical choices.  We wouldn’t let them do other things that we don’t agree with, like hurting people, so we don’t let them eat animal products.  As parents, we have to make some choices for them when they are too young to do it themselves.

When we think the kids are old enough to decide for themselves, then they can decide if they want to be vegan or not.  We’re not sure what age this will be.  We’ll play it by ear.  Of course they’ll get to an age where we won’t always know what they’re eating outside of the house anyway, so it would be impossible to stop them eating non-vegan food.  But we won’t buy or cook non-vegan food for them, and would prefer not to have it in the house, since there’s no need to.  We provide them with an adequate healthy diet and I definitely don’t want to have to cook two separate meals!

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Of course I wouldn’t raise my kids vegan if I thought it would harm them.  I think a vegan diet can be very healthy and provide all the necessary nutrients, and that it has some health benefits too.  For instance, my kids are growing up with a love of fruit and veg, that many children don’t have.  I hope this will start a good habit that they’ll have for life.  I know that non-vegan kids eat fruit and veg too, but being vegan does help since it does usually mean there’s a lot of veg in their diet.

While I said that we will try to teach the kids what we believe to be right and wrong, we also want them to make up their own minds.  We want to teach them what we believe, and then ask them what they think about it.  We want to teach them about where food comes from, what happens on different kinds of farms, and in slaughter houses (in an age appropriate way).  And we want to teach them to be compassionate people and to love animals.  This way they have all the facts and can decide for themselves.  We won’t have to lie or exaggerate anything.

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Of course I hope my kids will decide to be vegan.  I won’t lie, I would probably be a little disappointed if they don’t choose to be.  But, of course, I’ll always love them just as much, no matter what they decide.

 

Rian’s 3rd Birthday

My oldest son Rian turned three a few days ago and we had a small party with our families.  Both of his sets of grandparents were there, as well as three of his aunties, and one of his uncles.  It was lovely and not too much work or pressure to prepare for it.  We had wanted to go for a day out and bring a picnic but the weather wasn’t great and I think we actually had a better and more relaxed time at home.

He had such a great day.  It’s so much fun now that he’s old enough this year that he knew what was happening.  When he came into the kitchen in the morning and saw the cake, he said, “Mommy make me choc cake!” and was talking about how the biscuits were for his birthday party.  When he saw all his family arrive he was so happy to see everyone and to open his presents.

I really can’t believe he’s three already.  He’s talking so well now and is so funny, sweet and caring.  He’s also really adventurous and has a wonderful imagination.  And he’s an amazing big brother.  I’m incredibly proud of him.

It made me so happy that he had a lovely day.  This was his face when we sang happy birthday to him.  He was so excited.

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He had requested a chocolate cake so I made him an “Oreo” cake.  Oreos in the EU are suitable for vegans anyway, but since my sons and me have to follow a gluten-free diet, I used a gluten-free Oreo-type cookie that is also suitable for vegans.

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The cake was based on a Ms Cupcake chocolate cake recipe, and I made vegan vanilla buttercream, with crushed cookies mixed in to the icing on top of the cake, and cookies to decorate.  It was very sweet and delicious!  I don’t like my son to have too much sugar on a regular basis, but for his birthday he was allowed all the sugar he wanted.

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I actually wish I was eating the cake right now.  I’m so happy with how it turned out.  Nobody can say vegan kids are deprived, right?

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And the other treats on the table are ginger cookies, jammy biscuits, vegan chocolate buttons, Jelly Tots and banana and chocolate mini-bites.  There were a lot more Jelly Tots but Rian was snacking on them while I cooked!

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Rian’s auntie also made this amazing vegan gluten-free and refined-sugar free banoffee pie.  It’s made with oats, almonds, dates, almond butter, banana and coconut cream and was delicious!

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We also did have some non-sweet stuff.  Here is a selection of what I made for the day.  It’s all vegan of course.  From top left clockwise, there are raw veggie sticks, home made houmous, houmous and vegan sausage wrap rolls, salad leaves, grilled red pepper rolls with vegan cream cheese, grilled courgette rolls with coriander pesto, roasted stuffed peppers and the stuffing is spiced rice with chickpeas, raisins and fresh coriander, grilled aubergine and sun dried tomato rolls.  I made up all the recipes and luckily they turned out quite well.  Almost all the food was eaten even though I made so much for just a few people!  I love making vegan food for people and showing them how tasty it can be, as well as how it’s healthy and that we’re not missing out on anything.

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Of course it wasn’t all about food.  Rian loved opening his presents and playing with his new toys.  He even liked his new clothes!  But I think the best part for him was getting to see his “best friends” as he calls everyone.

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Oran also had a lovely day and had so much fun crawling around and having cuddles with everyone.  Rian even let him play with some of his toys!

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It was a lovely and happy day and I’m so glad that Rian loved it.  Thanks everyone for coming!