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.

Colour, out to play, and summery evening.

1) Everywhere I go there are bursts of colour, lining roadsides, framing gardens, hiding in hedgerows – I’m enjoying this lovely weather while it lasts!

2) The kids are just finishing their afternoon tea when a noise outside causes them to glance out of the window… It’s two of their friends. Minutes later, the bikes are out, the helmets are on, and they’re off out to enjoy the sunshine.

3) A crisp, buttery, poppyseed pastry shell, filled with roasted butternut squash, blue cheese, and pecans. An ideal summery meal to match the summery evening.

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 🙂 .

View, gardening, and substitution.

1) After the P3 Open Afternoon, K and I descended the stairs and were once again struck by the stunning views from the school stairwell. We paused for a moment and enjoyed the view.

2) The kids and I did some gardening after school.  A did an amazing job of clearing one of the raised vegetable beds of weeds, M carefully trimmed dead stalks off lots of plants, and I potted up a bunch of geraniums, pansies, violas, and a couple of hanging baskets 🙂 . The garden feels like it’s bursting with colour now.

3) We’d run out of runny honey, a fact I hadn’t realised before I’d started cooking dinner – poached chicken with a lemon sauce. I substituted maple syrup for the honey, and the result was a resounding success, with a depth of flavour that dish has never had before.

Cycling, home again, and wet feet.

1) The kids went out bike-riding yesterday morning. Just after they left, it started to pour with rain. They stayed out though, for a good while longer, getting wet, but having fun.

2) My parents came back from holiday last night. I picked them up from the airport, and then we cooked dinner for them at their place. It’s lovely to have them home again!

3) The little girl submitted to having her shoes tied on for her. Afterwards, she went into the hall and promptly took them off again. Before anyone else realised she ran off outside straight onto the wet grass, in her socks.

Inspired, compliment, and calm.

1) I discovered this morning that the pattern they used to make an A-line skirt in the Great British Sewing Bee is the very one I have earmarked for making a couple of summer skirts. I found the material I’d bought for that very purpose, and went out and bought the zippers and thread I need, so now I’m all set…

2) While I was saying good night to the kids, A suddenly pipes up with “that red top really suits you Mummy!” 🙂 .

3) K and I sat down for dinner, just the two of us. It’s ages since we last had time to do this – I have a real sense of life calming down a little.  (Probably the calm before the storm of May/June, right enough, but I’m enjoying it while it lasts!)

A fun weekend.

We had a lovely weekend – mostly fairly relaxed, but with a dose of fun halfway through 🙂 .

1) I went to a Women’s breakfast meeting on Saturday morning, which was a lovely way to start the day. I was especially amused when the hostess described part of the breakfast: “It’s pancakes, bacon and maple syrup – apparently some people actually like it.”.

2) Grown-up dinner for eight – largely uninterrupted by small children 🙂 .

3) M realised that she could, in fact, remember how to ride her bicycle.

Take-in, home, and bed.

1) Mum called and asked if I wanted to bring M over so that she could teach her how to make M’s favourite dinner – beef olives.  We did so, and came home bringing dinner with us 🙂 .

2) A day filled with busyness, meetings, and appointments. To arrive home from the last meeting, and sit down and relax.

3) My laptop had been hijacked while I was out at my evening meeting, so I couldn’t blog (or do any of the other distractions I would have done while the computer was on). I went to bed instead 🙂 .

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.