Wednesday, 17 September 2014
Monday, 15 September 2014
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley.
This line from Burns, which has become a phrase in its own right, sums up last week perfectly. It means basically that whatever we plan doesn't always work out how we want it.
I had been really looking forward to last week. It was my birthday on Thursday and the boys were planning to cook dinner. We had friends coming round on Friday for dinner and then on Saturday we were due at my husband's sister's house for a birthday dinner to celebrate my father in law's 80th birthday. He and I share the same birthday!
But then the sickness bug hit our house.
Looking back it all started a week past Friday with Calum (11). He had complained of a sore tummy and head while we were out doing the food shopping and then headed straight to bed when we got home. He was sick a few times but I assumed he was suffering from a migraine. He has suffered from these since he was quite young and we have discovered that over tiredness is the trigger for them. When he gets one he has a terrible headache and needs to sleep it off. He will often be sick and the sickness is usually the turning point for it getting better. I don't really understand why, but from what I've read about migraines in children this is quite common.
Anyway, now I'm pretty sure that it wasn't a migraine but in fact the first of the sickness bug.
On the Sunday Fraser was hit with it. The little sweetie still remained his bright wee self whenever he wasn't being sick.
In the early hours of Tuesday morning Alasdair (5) went down with it next. Followed about an hour later by me. It wasn't a fun night!
Wednesday evening the remaining two boys were taken down by it too.
It took until Friday for me to begin to feel slightly more normal.
Needless to say, my birthday dinner plans were postponed and our dinner guests on Friday were called off.
We were, however, feeling ready to celebrate granddad's 80th by the time Saturday came around. So here's a wee look at the quiet celebrations.
My hubby's sister is not a fan of shopping. When it comes to birthdays and Christmas, if you can give her a link to Amazon then she is more than happy! This time round I had my eye on some new, comfy crochet hooks.
In the end, the birthday plans didn't work out too badly.
Monday, 8 September 2014
On a Saturday afternoon we sometimes like to go to Dobbies Garden Centre for a wee wander around the lovely shop followed by a stop for some hot chocolate and juice in the coffee shop.
We hadn't done this since before the summer holidays began and so everyone was keen to go this Saturday past. Actually, despite it being a garden centre we visit it a lot more in the autumn/winter than we do in the summer! Proving the point that we go there for the shop and coffee shop far more than we do for the garden centre!
As soon as we walked in the doors we were confronted with all their beautiful Christmas displays.
They did have a sign up explaining that the reason they had their Christmas display up so early is that the store is being used to showcase the Dobbies Christmas range. Whatever their reason, we didn't mind. The boys (and me!) had a lovely time looking through their range.
Once we had been round all the Christmas stuff we enjoyed some tea and cream scones, courtesy of a voucher I received from their gardening club since it's my birthday this week...
But where is the making in this post you ask?
Well, the cream scones were just for me and my hubs. The other boys had an assortment of other goodies - one thing I like about Dobbies coffee shop is that they have a decent range of free from sweet things so Calum & Alasdair don't have to miss out. James (14) was tucking into a huge strawberry tart and casually asked, 'do you think you could make one of these mam?'
On our way out we bought a tube of strawberry tart sauce (yes there is such a thing) from the food hall.
Then back home I made up a batch of sweet pastry, cut it into small sizes, baked them blind, cooled them, whipped up some cream with a little icing sugar added, spooned some onto each pastry case, added a strawberry on top and finished with the strawberry tart sauce.
And just so that the free from boys didn't miss out, I used some ready made Genius Gluten & Dairy Free Shortcrust pastry to make them a batch of wee jam tarts.
The verdict on the tarts?
I asked the 14 year old, since his stomach is the one that constantly needs filled, and he said that the pastry and cream in my ones was nicer than the one in the shop but he preferred the extra large size of the shop one!
Friday, 5 September 2014
Thursday, 4 September 2014
Tuesday, 2 September 2014
If you have been reading my blog for any length of time you will know that we are Gaelic speakers and that the boys attend a Gaelic school, where their education is all in Gaelic. They do learn how to read and write in English, but not until their third year of Primary school.
Despite attending a Gaelic school, the fact that they speak Gaelic at home puts them in the minority there. Some parents have chosen to send their children there because they themselves had a parent or grandparent who were Gaelic speakers and they want to bring back the language in their families.
Don't forget that a few generations back it was considered uneducated to speak Gaelic. English was the language of schools and to get ahead in life you were expected to speak English. Because of this belief there were many families who didn't pass the language on to their own children. I have a few friends who have Gaelic speaking parents who didn't speak it to them. These friends now wish that they had been given the chance to learn the language when they were young, as it's a difficult language to learn when you are older.
My parents both spoke Gaelic to us as our first language, and when I started school I had more Gaelic than English. My husband isn't a native speaker, although he knows a little of the language, and it always seemed natural that we would bring our boys up bilingual. I speak to them in Gaelic, he speaks to them in English. From a very early age they know the difference in sounds between the two languages and will naturally speak the correct one to any adult speaking to them.
Anyway, I seem to be digressing from my original point here!
As well as the families at the school who have a Gaelic heritage in previous generations of their families, there are also plenty parents who have chosen to send their children there because they believe in the benefits of a bilingual education. Many of these families also speak more than one language at home. One of the boys in Alasdair's class has an Italian father and a Spanish mother. They both speak to him in their own language and he learns in Gaelic at school!
This week all the children in the school are learning about the different countries that families within the school come from. Would you believe that there are actually 24 different nationalities represented in the school?!
Each class is learning about the countries that some of their classmates' families come from.
David's class of 8 year olds are learning about the United States as the mum of one of the girls in his class (the one pictured with him in the old photo of their first day at school I shared a couple of weeks ago, and who plans to marry him one day) is from the US.
He has been loving learning about the country. Today he told me that France and Germany could fit into Texas. I didn't know this, is it really true?! They have been learning all about baseball and have been playing it in the park beside the school. He has been singing the baseball song, 'Take me out to the ball game' over and over and over!
We have a jigsaw of all the states in the US that my husband bought on a trip there when David was a baby and he has been trying to memorise where all the states are.
He knows a few people from the US, other than his friend's mum, and I told him that some of the people reading my blog were from there. He knows of our friends in Washington State and his friend's mum is from Tenessee. Oh, that's another thing he learned - how to spell Mississippi really fast! But he would really like to know where any other readers are from. And not just those of you reading in the US.
I told him we wouldn't have a list of 24 different countries like there are at his school but he would really love to see where everyone is from.
So, if it wouldn't be too much trouble, how about we help him out and let him know where you are from with a little comment?
Near or far, he's curious as to how far across the globe people are reading about his multi national Gaelic speaking school!
Monday, 1 September 2014
Thursday, 28 August 2014
One of the most common questions I get asked when people hear about the boys' food allergies is, 'What do you all eat then? It must be so hard!'
I reply that we eat very well. Good old fashioned meals, cooked from scratch, and it's not very hard at all.
That got me thinking that it would be good to share some of our favourite dinners. Simple family dinners that don't need fancy ingredients or hours of preparation in the kitchen. They are dairy free, wheat free, egg free and nut free.
But certainly not taste free.
So let's get going with the first one.
The slow cooking of this makes the meat so soft and tender.
Although it takes over four hours to cook, for most of those 4 hours you aren't actually doing anything. If you don't have a slow cooker you could also make this in a casserole dish in a low oven for around the same length of time.
One thing to watch out for if you are gluten free is the mustard you use. Some types will have gluten in them so do double check the ingredients. I use Dijon mustard as it tends to be fine. You could use a whole grain mustard if you aren't concerned about food allergies but they do often have gluten in them. Like I said, and you probably always do if dealing with allergies anyway, just double check ingredients lists!
You will need:
8 pork loin steaks
1ltr carton of apple juice (cheap &cheerful is absolutely fine)
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, well chopped
2 tbsp cornflour
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 - 4 tablespoons honey
- Put your pork loins, sliced onion & chopped garlic in the slow cooker (or your casserole dish, if you don't have one).
- Pour over all of the apple juice then cook on HIGH for around 4 hours, or on LOW for about 6-8 hours.
- Once the cooking time is almost up, ladle out about 1 pint of the cooking liquid, put it into a small pan and heat it up until nearly boiling.
- Mix the cornflour with enough cold water to dissolve it and make a loose paste.
- Add the cornflour paste to the heated up liquid and mix in. It should thicken up nicely. If you think it's too thick then take a little more of the liquid from the slow cooker.
- Add the mustard and the honey to the sauce and mix in well.
- Serve the pork covered in the sweet appley sauce and put out the extra sauce in a gravy jug on the table.
If you want you can serve it with some fresh apple sauce as well as some potatoes and veg of your choice.
Wednesday, 27 August 2014
On the way to hang out the washing I walk past our dwarf sunflowers.
Today I noticed a little visitor on one of them.
We're trying to make the most of the late summer warmth and enjoy the garden before the autumn chill puts a stop to us.
My only complaint though?
Tuesday, 26 August 2014
As promised last week, here is the completed little alien.
Alongside his snoozing buddy.
I didn't plan it, but he goes rather well with the colours in Fraser's blanket!
Since completing Meep I have nearly finished another project but that one needs to remain secret for now as it's a present for someone who might be reading this.
A Christmas present actually.
I know it's only August but I'm trying to get way ahead with my handmade gifts this year because by the time November comes round life becomes a whirlwind of festive activities.
I'm planning on giving as many handmade presents as possible this year. If not handmade by me, then handmade by other crafters.
I also hope to share some ideas that I come across on here, in case anyone else is planning a handmade Christmas too. Although, as with this weeks make, a few will just need to wait until the new year before I can share them!