Improvement, cake, and fun.

1) Yesterday my Pilates teacher came over and asked me to try a trickier exercise 🙂 – the one I’ve always done is too easy for me now.

2) At my meeting this morning, a birthday cake complete with candles appeared. Thank you to the lovely ladies who pulled off this complete surprise 🙂 .

3) K and I spend an enjoyable evening cooking and baking. Tomorrow is my birthday party 🙂 .

Coffee morning, non-walk, and surprise meeting.

1) A huge dining room table, laden with plates of cupcakes, layer cakes, muffins, shortbread, chunky chocolate chip cookies, and pots of tea and coffee. The room was full of laughter and chatter.

2) It started to rain, and we were both tired, so we abandoned our walk and went back to the warmth of the house, a comfy sofa, and a cup of hot tea.

3) K has been in Bangkok all week.  Before he left we were surprised and delighted to learn that our brother-in-law (resident in New Zealand) was going to be there at exactly the same time. They had dinner together on the day K arrived.  A couple of days ago, we learned that a friend of ours (resident in Zambia) was just leaving home for a few days in Bangkok!  Imagine our surprise!  They met up for dinner this evening 🙂 .

Experiment, happy, and thoughtful.

1) The apple-cinnamon cake wasn’t my most successful experiment (although I feel there is hope for the recipe with some tweaking…), but everyone enjoyed it anyway.

2) M talks non-stop all the way home from her first night at Juniors (Girls’ Brigade) – I think it’s safe to say that she enjoyed it.

3) I catch a lovely moment between the kids, as A arrives home from cycling club and asks M how she enjoyed her first evening at Juniors.

Practise, drying, and buttermilk scones.

1) A has been practising his cycling diligently over the summer, and his practise sessions have definitely started to pay off – he was very happy with his performance at tonight’s cycling club race night!

2) The weather was warm and windy today, perfect for drying towels. So I washed them this morning.

3) When making scones, I’ve always used the recipe given to me by my Nana – it’s simple, easy and quick.  Tonight, when making cheese scones to top a mince cobbler for dinner, I substituted buttermilk for milk, and the result was awesome 🙂 . I think I’ll be using buttermilk where possible from here on…

On the move, tasty meal, and aroma.

1) Three children were playing happily on the floor.  I glanced towards them and suddenly realised that there were only two. It took me a moment or two to realise that the missing one was the 9-month old baby who has very recently stopped staying where he’s put – he’d speedily backed his way out of the room and into the hall!

2) We’ve recently started planning our meals a week in advance again – the advantage being that we can actually cook more interesting food again because we’ve shopped for the ingredients. Tonight’s offering was Jollof Rice, with fried plantains. Delicious 🙂 .

3) The aroma of chocolate brownies baking in the oven is emanating from the kitchen.

Paying attention, treacle tart, and out for dinner.

1) a) As I walked this morning I wished that I’d put some music on my phone, something to listen to as I stomped along. Then I started listening to what I could hear – all sorts of bird song. I don’t know much about bird varieties, but I saw magpies darting from tree to tree, pigeons surveying the land, a crow flew imperiously across the road ahead of me, a flock of swifts took to the sky, some tiny great tits played on the fence beside me, and a large bird of prey glided overhead.

b) A herd of horses grazed peacefully in a field of buttercups, and a herd of cows lazily chewed the cud as they watched the world go by. I feel so blessed to have all this right on my doorstep.

2) “You’re making treacle tart!” was the accusation I received when the kids walked into the kitchen. They were somewhat mollified when they realised it was to take with us when we went out for dinner.

3) We were invited out for dinner this evening – it involved a paddling pool, a swing, kids playing and splashing in the sunshine, a barbeque, yummy food, chilled wine, a cute baby, and time to chat.

An upside-down weekend.

With A away for the weekend, we wanted to spoil M a little – she was missing her big brother a lot 🙁 .

1) We made doughnuts for breakfast on Saturday, using my Nana’s recipe. They tasted as good as I remembered them tasting, even though we didn’t have a silver thimble to make the hole in the middle, and had to use a tiny cookie cutter instead.

In the evening, we went out for dinner, and then a walk along the canal. It was all very grown up, even if M did forget to bring her coat – she looked very cute dancing along in Daddy’s fleece though!

2) During the day, M helped me make Lemon Drizzle cake and Malteser slice, for church youth group on Sunday. We had a beautiful walk at Plean Country Park too – the rhodedendrons were blooming, and were glorious.

3) At Youth group this morning, we had a visit from a couple who spent 17 years living and working with a tribe living in the jungles of Papua New Guinea. During that time they translated the New Testament into the local language – quite a feat, considering the language had never been written down before!  It was an absolutely fascinating talk – I could have listened to their stories for hours!

4) A arrived home mid-afternoon, having had a wonderful time at camp. My brother came over, and we took advantage of the lovely weather and had a barbeque for dinner. Two tired children are now in bed 🙂 .

Tablet, afternoon tea, and packing.

1) Last night we made a batch of tablet to give to some of the people we’ll be visiting over the next few days… For the first time ever, we made it with no stress, no fuss, and it all just worked perfectly!!  And we’ve perfected the taste – it now closely resembles my memory of “Cookie’s tablet” – the lady at camp who made most amazing tablet ever… 🙂

2) Friends came round for afternoon tea – we had heaps of fun creating it, and even more fun eating it! And it was a lovely relaxed way to spend an afternoon.

Afternoon tea

3) I love to travel, and enjoy going on holiday, but normally I hate packing to go away. Today, for some reason, it goes more quickly and with a whole lot less stress than usual 🙂 .

Happy, me and my boy, and evening light.

1)  The look on the kids’ faces when I pulled freshly baked rolls out of the oven for lunch. They were very happy!

2) M is away for the afternoon, so A and I have an afternoon together. We play Battleships, and chat, and later on we go out for a run. It was a fun way to spend an afternoon 🙂 .

3) Dinner is over, and it’s light and sunny outside. We head on out for an evening walk/cycle/scooter.  The longer lighter evenings are already making me feel full of energy and hope!