Callendar Park, projects, and good things.

1) We head out to Callendar Park for afternoon tea in the tearoom, which are now situated in the beauitful Morning Room of Callendar House. Enjoying the lovely room, we also had a lovely view out across the park and over into the woods beyond. Afterwards, we walk along the paths we saw from the window.

2) The kids are hard at work on their various projects this afternoon. M is making a painting-by-numbers dolphin picture, and A is building Big Ben from a Lego kit.

3) A and I make brioche, for tomorrow’s lunch. K and I poach a chicken and freeze the meat and stock, ready to be made into a pie for Tuesday’s dinner.  I make candied orange and lemon peel, ready for K and M to add to the hot cross buns they plan to make for afternoon tea. K makes us a delicious citrus drink from orange and lemon. I make an orange drizzle cake, for dessert tomorrow.

Black Loch, us time, and Good Friday.

1) After our drive last night, we are keen to go back and explore in the daylight… We discover the beautiful Black Loch (Limerigg), hidden in the hills behind Slamaanan, and enjoy a lovely walk along the lochside and on through the forest. A wrote a lovely description of our trip here – it comes complete with photos.

2) A and I crunch through the pristine snow, and talk about all sorts of interesting things. It was nice having some two-of-us time.

3) K and M make homemade hotcross buns, which we eat warm from the oven.  Their flour-paste crosses symbolic of another cross

Baking, Found! and making the best of things…

1) I made homemade custard creams and jammie dodgers, sandwiching together little vanilla shortbread biscuits with either custard buttercream or jam, to feed the hungry hoarde on Sunday. They were a huge hit… including with A and M, so I think they will be made again in the very near future!

2) I had two leftover bananas today and decided to make them into a banana cake.  However, the recipe I wanted to use was one I remembered using three years ago, but which had been lost from my computer in the hard-drive crash.  After a bit of thought, and searching, I managed to find the right blog, with the recipe, and made the cake 🙂 .

3) The cake was a disaster! I’d followed the instructions precisely by putting all the ingredients in together. Unfortunately this resulted in the butter not being blended in very well (I should have put it in the food processor of course, but I was too busy worrying about the flood on the kitchen floor from the tap failing at that moment in time!) and, as the cake cooked, the butter melted and well… the result was not very cake-like.

However, K pointed out that it did retain the delicious flavour we remembered, and it made a wonderful banana pudding, some of which M enthusiastically ate for her supper!

A catching-up weekend…

Another weekend… and it’s just flown by! But here are some of the highlights:

1) K and I (and another leader) took some of our church youth group to Powerpoint (Scotland’s largest Christian youth gathering) on Friday evening… With about 1000 folks there, it was an incredible experience 🙂 .

2) a) On Saturday, we progressed our 45 Minute Project when we went for a lovely sunny walk through the Carron Valley Forest.  If you like, you can read more about it over on A and M’s blog, Two Adventurers.

b) Having watched the final installment of The Great Comic Relief Bake Off last week, I realised that I was failing in the education of my children in that neither of them knew how to transfer a sheet of rolled out pastry from the board into a tart tin… In response to that we made treacle tart on Saturday.  M learned how to make sweet shortcrust pastry, and make the filling. A learned how to roll out pastry, transfer it to the tin, and then make a proper lattice for the top.  Next weekend, we get to repeat the process reversing the techniques!

3) Having been away most of last week, today has been a catching-up sort of a day, not terribly exciting, but the sort of day that you feel good at the end of, and ready to face the week ahead.

Snowflakes, inside, and Making Monday.

1) From inside, the snowflakes swirled and whirled making beautiful patterns, as they slowly drifted downwards.

2) The reality of being out in the snow was less than beautiful however, and I’m extremely glad that I can take my boots off, safe in the knowledge I don’t have to go out again this evening.

3) It’s been another weekend of, amongst other things, baking and making.  I made dark chocolate brownies, once again for the youth group at church. They didn’t quite manage to finish them this time, but they made serious inroads! I made a Italian toasted pine nut cake, a new reecipe on me, but smells delicious!

I’ve made some progress with my Jupiter Clapotis, and I’m making Megan’s Big Sister dress longer…  She loves it, but has had the sheer ingratitude to grow over the last six months, and the dress is really too short now 🙁 . So I’ve ripped out the bottom band and added a few extra cms in length. I worried that the yarn would look different, but it actually looks okay, so I’m reasonably hopeful that it will be okay once I’ve re-blocked it! Here she is when it was just completed a mere six months ago!


Right, now I’m off to see what other people have been making over at Natalie’s YarnYard

Cookies, bacon, and square.

1)  Yesterday I made twice a baker’s dozen worth of soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies. They were gone within a matter of minutes. Eaten (for the most part) by a horde of hungry teenagers… we did save four though, one for each of us.

2) The smell of cooking bacon permeated the house, rapidly bringing the children to the table for dinner.  I had to cook the whole packet though, and a couple of extra rashers somehow managed to sneak their way into the top of the fridge before anyone else noticed… I see a yummy brie and bacon sandwich lunch in the near future!

3) I used up some odds and ends of yarn, making a stripey square.  The result is a very pleasing combination of muted colours.

Nativity, afternoon free, and getting there.

1) My two small people were in the church Nativity play this morning… M made a beautiful and solemn Mary, A was positively angelic (Gabriel).  In typical A fashion, he had his back to the camera the whole time…


IMG_9978 IMG_99832) After church, Mum takes A and M off for the afternoon to go for their annual trip on the steam railway – the Santa Express. It’s lovely to have an afternoon of solitude after the busyness of the last few days.

3) I’m taking a quick tea break from gradually work my way through the house, preparing, washing, baking, tidying. It’s not quite there yet, but it will be, and then I intend to go over to my parent’s house and relax.

Christmas Tree, party, and tablet.

From Saturday:

1) K and the kids brought home our Christmas tree – it sits in place, unadorned as yet, but somehow its piney freshness and luxuriant deep green appearance brighten up the room.

2) We took the kids to K’s work Children’s Christmas Party… they had heaps of fun, running around, playing games, having stunning face painting, dancing, watching the magic show, eating delicious food, balloon art, and a visit from Santa.  A was delighted with his LED Bike Lights, and M loves her Letraset Manga Drawing starter set*.

Aidan**, and Beautiful Butterfly Megan

3) We made a start on some of the Christmas baking…  we feel that we’ve finally cracked our tablet recipe – this batch just melts in the mouth.  I’m now wondering if any will be allowed to find its way to the intended recipients…

Tablet Mountain

* A commented afterwards that he always got such good presents at this party, and wondered if we had anything to do with the choice… 😉

** Just how tall is my boy getting?! 🙂

Shopping, afternoon tea out, and mince pies.

1) K and I have our annual shopping day – we don’t go far this year (most of the shopping is already done), but find everything we need in one store.

2) We take the children out for afternoon tea. They choose the table furthest from the door, in a corner of the conservatory – because of the view, they say.

3) Making mince pies…  the kitchen smells of cinnamon and citrus, hot fruit and warm spices.