Caterpillar Gratin

Last week I uprooted my carrots and harvested my broccoli. However, the broccoli was covered in caterpillars. I have to confess, because I am not one of these birds that eats insects, that I was pretty freaked out. First of all I hand picked as many of the little f*ckers off as possible, then I drowned them and then I picked some more off, then today I decided to make a carrot and broccoli gratin so if the little b*stards had still managed to stay put then at least they would be disguised by melted cheese. Even after boiling the veg I was still picking out little poached caterpillars! The whole satisfaction of eating food that I had grown that wasn’t covered by chemicals was marred by the close connection with caterpillars and the infinite possibility that I might be inadvertently eating them. Bear Gryhls I am not! Should the ‘Help I Am Vaguely Famous Get Me Out Of Here’ production team run out of Z-list celebrities to appear in their show and therefore start targeting the parent blog community and perhaps even drop me a line then I shall be politely declining!!

Ever since I was very generously invited (alright begged and handed over large slice of soul) to US retail giant Toys R Us for free toys, The Grenade and I have been wetting our pants with excitement at the prospect of attending the inaugural Toys R Us Toyologist Tea Party to launch this fantastic initiative which is being trialed between now and Christmas. The Grenade has been tortured by me, the ‘yucky mummy’ by having the carrot of this day dangled in front of him, and then immediately snatched away the minute he so much as puts one toe out of line. ‘Oh the power!! Mwah ha ha ha ha!! How I love you Toys R Us.’ Professionally, I am a Strategic Marketing Communications Consultant so this gig is like a marketing wet dream for me as I get to explore from the inside out the potential and possibilities of digital online engagement strategies!! ‘Hell yes!! Hello, I am very excited.’ This is my kind of shop talk! Not to mention talking to young, trendy, digital marketing types about emerging communication technologies. This is my dream.

The Inaugural Toyologists Tea Party was held at a great venue called Buckleberry Farm, in between Reading and Newbury. A great place to go with kids for the day, there is tonnes to do and really worth the drive. Now I am fairly new to the blogosphere, with A Modern Military Mother coming to the conclusion of it’s 5th month and so I feel like a bit of a bloggy virgin. What I love about this journey so far is that I am really enjoying meeting bloggers and learning about what they do and their motivations for sharing. Although, I was fairly nervous, I tapped into 7 summer seasons working as a sailing instructor and put on my bubbly, confident, talk to everyone head and dived straight in. It was pretty clear that I was one of the only greedy, soul-less promotion blog whores with a big focus on increasing the numbers of readers and a meglomaniac ambition of complete world domination, but it was nice to know that there are still good people out there with a pure spirit.

While the blogettes sat in the marquee full of food and toys (7th heaven), with the young, trendy digital marketing types brainstorming ideas and other cool stuff, I could see The Grenade circling the tent like Jaws. He had already sneaked in and sussed out our box and was trying to calculate what was in it.

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In our box was:

Disney Princess Glow Light (I thought this was quite tacky but The Menace loves it so I am warming up)
Old Macdonald Lotto Game (This is a good rainy day game)
Tomy Aquadoodle (Awesome toy – the kids love it)
Play The Tune (Great fun. I love this)
Air Hogs Vectron Wave (Just hilarious – see You Tube link below)
Thinkfun Zingo Game (This is a good rainy day game)
Gormiti Magic Egg (Short but sweet, messy in the sink but The Grenade loves eggs an hatching)

It was a great day out and now down to business. If you would like me to come and host a Toyologists Tea Party within your military community then please drop me an email at:

A Toyologists Tea Party consists of a big box of toys that the hosts get to keep in return for some feedback of the play experience and some video blogs from the kids who have been playing with the toys.

The Grenade’s Air Hog Review – here’s our opening gambit, we are hoping that it will get better with time and practice.

The Menace refuses to be without her ‘I am a Toys R Us kid’ badge and is now sleeping with a giraffe.


  1. A smashing day out, with big thanks to the Farm hands and John the Tractor, who took us on his John Deere to feed Ron the Deer……almost surreal! I just hope the Grenade doesn’t turn into even more of a spoilt brat with all these new toys! Hagar, out. xxx

  2. Ah. Brocolli angst. My very first thought when you showed the earlier picture of your brocolli was, how did you get that far without catapillars? I figured that by some miracle, they were not a problem in your area. My only solution when the same thing happened to me…. broccoli leaf stir fry.

  3. Hey Kiddo Milly,
    Haven’t communicated with you for a while. Missed you. Bright, clear shots of your kidlets and a warm madonnaish (the mother, not the other) photo of you and your beautiful smile. Another winning blog, but you know I’m light years removed from toys and toy words so I’ll agree with your toy judgement and say “Great job.” The Grenade definitely looks like he’s a brilliant toy connoisseur.

    Funny you should mention critters in broccoli. Just yesterday my Granddaughter asked if I’ve been buy broccoli lately. I hadn’t. She said hers was filled with little bugs (dead, I think). I gave her a citrus vegetable rinse. Bad broccoli year, I take it. But congrats on your organic gardening. Way to go, girl!

    I may be asking you more on the camera advice you gave after I get my annoying real estate problems out of the way.

    The best to you and your family,

    1. I was fairly vigilant in my caterpillar removal strategy. Hence the gratin – boiled broccoli, picked out poached caterpillars, covered in cheese sauce so to avoid thinking about it!!

      You don’t need toys in Finland – nature is your playground!!! I am going to channel as many toys as possible into the milly community!

  4. I just watched a show on TV about food in Thailand where they were gathering up ants and their egg sacs to make a stir fry. By comparison, your catepillar salad sounds quite tame. Though I would probably have politely declined if you invited me for lunch. LOL.

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