Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Holiday Mode

The Easter holidays are in full swing here.
We are spending the first week of the holidays at the house of friends of ours while they are away on holiday themselves. Don't they live in a beautiful spot?
The weather has finally been playing ball, and apart from some rain today, it has been warm and sunny since we came. That's right, not just sunshine, but there was warmth in the sunshine, and so there has been lots of outdoor play.
And indoor too!
There is a countryside ranger centre in the village here, where Ally (5) dressed up like a forestry worker and did some lovely Easter colouring in.


Fraser (1) also tried his hand at colouring in, with a little help from Calum (12).
We spent our Easter holidays here two years ago, and that time the boys took part in an activity at the centre where they made animals out of willow and tissue paper. The ranger said that they would use some of them to decorate the centre. We couldn't believe that James and Calum's animals were still hanging up in the window two years later!




We have been making the most of the good weather by getting out to the many beautiful forest walks round about.
On Saturday dad had some work today so I took the boys on one of the hill trails. I was thankful that James (15) was able to help carry Fraser in the backpack!
















It's been quite a stormy winter this year, with a lot of high winds, and you can see this in all the forests around here. The boys' most favourite walk through a gorge has been closed because of the damage caused to the trees and paths, as have some other walks. Even in the walks that are open you can see lots of fallen trees.






While staying at our friends' house, Calum has been left in charge of looking after the sheep - a job that he is relishing, as is his little helper!


Fraser loves the sheep and stands at the gate shouting at them. The sheep come right up to the gate because they know they are about to be fed and he isn't scared of them at all. He just stands his ground shouting his sheep noise.








Every time we holiday up here we spend time with my husband's uncle who took us out to dinner last night.


It was also catch up time today when my flatmate from uni days, who was my chief bridesmaid too, came round for a visit. I can scarcely believe that it will be 20 years this autumn since we first met, when I moved to the city to start my music degree. Back in those days we would sit up chatting about anything and everything until far too late into the night. It was good to catch up today. We don't see each other very often but when we do get together it's like it hasn't been that long at all, if that makes any sense!


And that's been our holiday so far.


Tomorrow the sunshine is set to return and we are planning another day with great uncle Willie. We might do a spot of fishing with him so perhaps there will be fish on the menu for dinner tomorrow!

Monday, 30 March 2015

Make it Monday - Crochet Spring Wreath

Last week we had a little promise of Spring.


It was that week when you begin to think that winter really might finally be over.


We saw some blue skies.


The boys got to play with their friends at the park.


Daffodils really opened up properly.


And I noticed the blossom on the trees for the first time.
Today, however, it feels like we have stepped right back to winter, with snow showers on and off all day!
Still, back to last week and that glimpse of Spring weather.
After making this snowman wreath before Christmas, I decided he was too cute to have up for just a Christmas decoration and made him into a winter decoration rather than just a Christmas one.


But as we got into March I felt that I needed to make a Spring wreath to hang up instead.
I bought the same size of foam ring, crocheted a rectangle in green this time rather than the blue and stitched it around the back of the ring.
Then I added some daffodils and a couple of extra little pink flowers. The pattern for the daffodils can be found on the Attic 24 blog.
I'm so pleased with how it turned out.


I've decided now to make one for each season. I'm aiming to make a Summer wreath to hang up round about June, an Autumn one for September time and then the sweet snowman can go back up in December!


Now please Spring, can you come back again?

Friday, 20 March 2015

Things I'm loving

Since Meghan had to stop her linky for Things I'm Loving posts I got out of the way of writing them, but I miss the little reviews of the simple things in our life and so have been meaning to get my own posts up and running again. After all it's in these simple little things that memories are made.


This week got off to a flying start with Mothers Day on Sunday. My star baker, Calum (12) made up a batch of pancakes for breakfast entirely on his own.


Not only that, but he had also baked a chocolate cake for later on in the day! The recipes for both of these can be found under the Allergy Free tab at the top of the blog.
We don't really do Mother's Day presents as such, as I would far rather something handmade - like pancakes and chocolate cake! - and so I was presented with four handmade cards.
I love how each boy's card shared something about their personalities.
For example, James (15) is a great artist who has a rather crazy sense of humour...
His drawing is of Phteven the dog, whose real name is Tuna and who is found in memes all over the Internet.
Being a busy mum of 5, married to a husband with a very hectic work life, it is so easy to find that days are ticking by and we haven't had any proper time together. Time set aside for just us, without children to see to, jobs to be done, work to be dealt with...
So it was lovely one afternoon this week when he had the afternoon off work to be able to grab a cup of tea and some cake before school pickup time, in an amazing Italian coffee house that we haven't been to since before we were married. Of course little Fraser was with us, but we managed to time it right so that he slept in his pushchair the whole time we were there.
This week we had parents meeting at the Primary school.
This little man did us proud.
Before he started school in August I was really unsure how he would be. He had always been such a quiet mummy's boy and he never really settled in to his couple of mornings a week at nursery.
Only a couple of days into his new school routine and we could see that he loved it. Even now, long after the initial excitement of starting school has died down, he is always the first boy up out of bed in the morning and the first dressed for school.
His lovely teacher is really pleased with how his first year in school is going. Of course it does also help that he is the only person in his class who has Gaelic at home and who always understands what the teacher is saying to them!
Anyway, he wanted to show off his new Transformer to everyone.




Sports mad David (9) also got a good report this week too.



He's loved the opportunity to help daddy with some shinty coaching in a different school. The shinty coaches were asked if they would teach a block of lessons to a couple of other primary schools nearby to introduce the sport. David asked his dad if he could go along too, they asked his head teacher and she said he could. So, for an hour or so a week, for a few weeks he has gone along with dad to share his love of shinty with other children. Apparently it was a big hit and these children were sad to have their last session this week.
Today I loved the fact that finally it felt a little bit like spring is on the way.
Fraser loves to be outside and it was a bit more pleasant sitting out with him this afternoon. Don't be fooled by the short sleeves that David is wearing in the photo above though! It wasn't quite that warm, although he didn't notice!





And finally, I couldn't let today go by without sharing my photos of this morning's Solar Eclipse.
It was a beautiful sunny morning at first and then some clouds rolled in about half an hour before the eclipse. They actually made it easier to see the eclipse though, as it wasn't so bright against the sky.
The clouds look really dark in my photos but they weren't that dark at all. I also thought that with a 93% eclipse it would be a lot darker than it turned out to be. It was as dark as a big rain cloud passing by. It did however get an awful lot colder while the eclipse was taking place.
Anyway, here's my view of it.







Apparently when the next one is viewable from the UK my boys will be 26, 23, 20, 16 and 12!


I'll be glad we have this little Things I'm Loving to look back on and remember by then!


Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Prizewinning Selfie!

A few weeks ago, in the half term holiday, we took a trip to Edinburgh Castle.
While we were there I remembered that Historic Scotland were running a selfie competition on Twitter.
All you had to do was take a selfie at any of the Historic Scotland properties and post it on Twitter.
I gave the responsibility for our entry to Calum (12) as he's always taking selfies, and this was the result.


It was freezing cold and quite windy, and I'm not really sure what kind of face David was trying to make!


Anyway, just last week we found out that our rather silly selfie won joint first!


James, who at 15 is mortified by all his brother's selfies, couldn't quite believe it!