Views, scooting, and tea.

1) We live on one side of the (river) Forth Valley, and on clear days we can see from Stirling to Edinburgh and further. Today was such a day, and I deliberately walked home from school a way that I knew would afford good views.

As I appreciated the scenery, I was reminded of a little incident that occured when I was coming down the front stairwell in the kids’ school last week. From the top of that stairwell, you can see over the top of all the houses across to the other side of the valley and, as I was coming downstairs I happened upon two little boys who had paused in their errand to admire the view:

“Wow, you can see the whole world from here!” said one to the other 🙂 .

2) On the walk home from school, I turned the corner away from the school into a quieter lane. Away from all the people, the dad who had been walking a little ahead of me pushing his child’s now empty scooter, suddenly jumped on it and sped off into the distance.

3) I very much enjoyed a cup of steaming hot tea, after a cold walk through the winter sunshine.

Autumn, three boys, and new needles.

1) We rounded the corner and were greeted by late afternoon autumn sunlight, reflecting on the russets, crimsons, golds and greens of leaves on the trees.

2) A came out of Rotakids happy and excited – he was the only boy in the club last year, and this year there are three :-).

3) Some new knitting needles arrived today – they are just as smooth and lovely to work with as I was hoping. I’m looking forward to knitting with them 🙂 .

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…

Science experiment, lunch, and changes.

1) A and I went over to Grandpa and Grandma’s house to bake a cake. This was a scientific experiment – to test their oven and see if it was working correctly. We made a coffee cake (A’s current favourite), and I’m pleased to report that the oven is fine… and the cake was delicious!

2) Dad and I shared a bagel for lunch – poppyseed, topped with butter and Ardennes pâté, with a glass of cold water, and followed by a slice of coffee cake. A light lunch, perfect for such a sunny day.

3) I finally reached the point in my knitting where I was able to try out the changes to my pattern that I’d envisaged several days ago as I lay awake one evening, unable to sleep in the heat. I had to make a few subtle changes to my idea, but on the whole I’m really pleased with how it looks.

Forecast, starling, and recovered.

1) To look at the weather forecast and realise it’s sun all the way for the next few days 🙂 – keep this up for much longer, and I might think I’m not in Scotland.

2) I had to refill the bird feeder again, and it reminded me of the lovely Spotless Starling we saw bathing in the water fountain at the weekend.

3) A friend popped round this evening with a computer problem. Thankfully K was able to recover the mostly-completed job application for him 🙂 .

Loch, happy children, and cake shop.

1) We took five excited children out for a walk around the loch – they all loved it, and there were very few complaints!  We finished the walk with a picnic lunch on the shore, followed by icecreams, sitting on the sun-warmed rock.

2) The kids have spent the last few days running in and out the lodge, playing, cycling, scooting, enthusiastically counting the relatively tame bunny rabbits (last bunny sightings count was 201!), and generally having lots of fun.

3) To celebrate Father’s Day, we ended our trip up north with a trip to our favourite Norwegian cake shop at Inshriach. The tea room is situated on the side of the hill, with a viewing area of the bird feeders hanging in the trees just outside. We saw chaffinches, coal tits, blue tits, great tits, sisikins, and five red squirrels – the kids were fascinated. (And the cake was wonderful, as always!)

Weekend fun in the sun

1) We had a lovely weekend at home – time to garden, time to relax, time to cook, time to walk/cycle, and time just to be together.

2) We went out on a couple of walks, both from home.  A and M chose to ride their bikes both days – they had lots of fun.

45 min: LauristonOut for a bike ride

3) On Sunday evening, A decided to assist with cooking dinner – he made pork stir-fry. Here he is carefully cooking each piece of meat and putting it on the rack to avoid overcooking. Check out the concentration, and I can assure you it was worth it, as the meal was delicious!

Aidan - cooking pork stir-fryAidan cooking dinner

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.

Picnic, colour, and camp.

1) It’s a lovely sunny day, so the kids and I share a picnic lunch out on the deck.

2) The garden is, if anything, more colourful than it was when I left on Tuesday 🙂 .

3) Waving my big boy off, as he goes to his first every Scripture Union camp. Two nights away – he’s never been away so long before!

I miss him already.

A Lake District weekend.

We enjoyed a lovely weekend break in the beautiful Lake District…

1) Both our journeys, north and south, were unmarred by bad traffic, bad weather, and badly behaved children! Consequently, they were fast, fun, and relaxed.

2) A lovely walk around Buttermere, including a stop for a picnic lunch, a midway point stop for icecream, and a stop for afternoon tea on the way back to the car! Such a beautiful location 🙂 .

3) There’s something very special about visiting with friends who have been around for more than two decades 🙂 .