Saturday, 30 June 2012

Things I'm loving....

School's out for summer!

What more is there to love than that?

This week saw my oldest boy finish up at Primary school. While some mums were a bit emotional about it, I must confess to not being so! It helps to see that he is so ready for the next step, and that he is so looking forward to it.

On their last day the Primary 7s went round all the classes and had their jumpers signed by all the other pupils.

The school also had t-shirts printed up for them with just the signatures of the Primary 7s printed on the back of them.

When they left school on the last day, the Primary 7s were piped out of school.

James was a bit embarrassed by the fuss that was made over them all!

In other things I'm loving news this week:

We saw a deer in the woods at the back of our house..



Alasdair continues to be mammy's little helper.....




...and I decided to be a bit radical when I had my hair cut this week and have a fringe (bangs) cut in!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Carried away...

I came across this old photo recently.

It was taken by my husband's sister back in the days when we were 'courting'. I'm pretty sure we weren't engaged when it was taken so I was probably only 18.

My husband's sister is an avid hillwalker and a group of us were accompanying her on one of them. I don't recall why I was picked up, and he didn't carry me all the way up the hill! The photo was snapped, and then that Christmas my husband was given the framed photo by his sister as a present.

I love the photo and when I came across it a few months ago I hung it up in the hallway. The other day I moved it to a lower location and today Alasdair seemed to discover it for the first time.

He stopped and said 'Sinn babee's daddy' - 'That's babees daddy' (he calls himself babee) but then I could see him puzzling over who the girl was. I picked it up and turned it round and then he realised who she was!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Weekend Fun

The weather (here she goes again!) threatened to put a dampener on things once again this weekend.

We were due to have our annual Sunday School picnic to a country park on Saturday, but given the huge amount of rain that had fallen towards the end of the week, and the fact that more was forecast for Saturday, the decision was taken on Friday to change plans and just spend some time playing games in the church hall instead.

This worked out fine.

We played parachute games, team games, party games and the children got to go on the bouncy castle.

There was even some face painting by my brother's wife.

And all good Sunday School picnics need to have Top Hats!


These have been a Sunday School tradition since I was a wee girl.

David had his best friend round for a sleepover on Friday night and they were only too keen to make them, with Alasdair making a dairy free batch.

I did have to keep reminding them all not to lick their fingers or the spoons until we were all done though!

Friday, 22 June 2012

Things I'm loving.....

Well I don't want to go on about the weather, but it is what we British do best, and it's certainly NOT something I'm loving just now!

Aside from a couple of dry and sunny days at the start of this week, it's been the usual mix of either constant rain or intermittent heavy rain showers. Sigh.

Still, despite the disappointing summer weather, it cheers me no end to see one sign of summer at our front door.

I usually grow my Sweet Peas along the back fence in the garden and cut regular bunches of the flowers for the house.

This year I thought I would try growing them in a big pot by the front door so we could appreciate their lovely aroma as we go in and out of the house.

Just this week they have begun to flower.


On our way down to the train after our evening at Edinburgh Castle the other night (see a couple of posts below if you missed it) the boys enjoyed seeing the Olympic Rings sitting high above the city centre.


Finally, my biggest boy has had his induction to high school this week. For three days he and his classmates went to high school and followed their new timetables. As the high school starts earlier than the primary school he has had to get the earlier train into town than the one we normally take. The first two days dad was able to take him and then walk him part of the way to school. On the third day he had to take the train entirely on his own for the first time ever. He has grown hugely in confidence!

He loved every minute of high school and can't wait to start after the summer. I am so proud of his growing independence and his sensible attitude.

I'm also loving the fact that despite the fact that he is on the verge of starting high school, he isn't too big to send me a text that says.....

...every day!

Things I'm loving has a new home now over at MNMs. Pop on over, say 'Hi' and enjoy Meghan's beautiful photos! (Clicking on the button at the top of the post should take you there.)


Recipe of the Week - James' Banoffee Pie


It's been far too long since we had a Recipe of the Week on here so let's get it off the ground again with a suitably decadent one.

Ever since he first tried making it at Easter time, this has become James' signature dish. It's not really all that difficult to make, but you do need to be prepared to stand over the pan of caramel stirring it all the time lest it stick to the sides.

For the base you will need:

12 digestive biscuits, crushed

3oz margarine or butter, melted

For the caramel you will need:

1 large tin condensed milk

2oz margarine or butter

2 tbsp golden syrup

You will also need about 3-4 bananas, sliced, and a carton of double cream, whipped (although the cream on the top is optional)

~ Mix the crushed biscuits with the melted margarine/butter and then press down into a flan or pie dish. Chill while you get on with the caramel.

~ Put the condensed milk, butter/margarine and syrup in a good saucepan and melt slowly over a low heat. You don't need to be stirring it all the time yet, just now and again, but do keep a good eye on it.

~ Once everything is melted, turn the heat up a little and bring to the boil. This is when you need to be vigilant with the stirring. It can start to stick in no time at all! As long as you patiently stir with a wooden spoon you will be fine though.

~ Let it boil for a few minutes. You should see it start to thicken, just slightly, and then take off the heat.

~ Give it a quick, thorough beat with your wooden spoon.

~ Quickly spread your sliced bananas evenly over the biscuit base and then spoon the caramel on top.

~ Return to the fridge for a few hours before covering in a layer of whipped cream.

~ A generous sprinkling of crumbled Flake or grated chocolate finishes this off nicely!


Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Gaelic Junior Tour Guides at Edinburgh Castle (and a return of the Gaelic word of the day!)

Tonight we were all up at the castle again watching Calum's class 'graduate' as Junior Tour Guides.

I'm obviously so accustomed to going to the castle these days - notice how I am calling it 'the castle' and not Edinburgh Castle!

Before the ceremony.

I know I've mentioned this amazing project a few times before.

Last year James' class took part and I shared the pictures from their 'graduation' evening. Just as a reminder, they studied the great hall of the castle and King James IV. You can see some photos of the castle in this post from a couple of months ago, if you missed it.

Calum's class have been studying the Royal Appartments and the story of Mary Queen of Scots, especially the events surrounding the birth of her son, the future King James VI of Scotland (and King James I of a united Scotland and England)

Back in January when Calum's class were busy filming, I showed you all some cute wee Lego figures Calum had made up to look just like the film crew. You can see them here.

I met the cameraman tonight, and Calum's wee Lego man looks just like him!

The film crew took a wee shot of the Lego men but what Calum didn't know is that they would make it into the official Historic Scotland DVD! Tonight we all watched the film, which really was excellent. The children all played their parts so well. These are just ordinary children, not children from any sort of drama school. 

Calum was the turnbrochie, and well done to Wendy who knew back in January what that was. The turnbrochie was the boy who stood by the fire in the kitchen all day long, turning the meat.

When the film was finished the children all enjoyed watching their names in the credits and then at the very end came the shot of the three Lego men. They had been animated to look like they were waving!

When Calum went up to get his certificate the teacher told the audience that the Lego men had been made by him.

After the ceremony.

With his best buddy.

With his second best buddy.

I wish there was some way to share the film with you as, like I said before, it was sooo good! They really set out the story of the events so clearly. The film is in English but they teach you loads of Gaelic words along the way. 

We do get copies of the film, but they won't be ready until after the summer. When I get them though, I think I may just have to have a giveaway of one of them!

Gaelic word(s) of the day:

righ (ree) - King
ban-righ (baoon ree) - Queen
Mairi Ban-Righ na h - Albannach (Mairi baoon ree na h - alabanach) - ??? I think I'll leave this one blank and see if anyone can work it out. It's pretty easy!

Testing, testing.....

I have a new app for blogging so please excuse me while I test out what it can (and can't!) do.

Yesterday we stopped off at the play-park on the way home from school. The sun was shining and so to celebrate we treated ourselves to ice-creams.

We were also celebrating James' first successful orientation day at high school - he absolutely loved it! He said he has never enjoyed a day of school so much, and this is from a boy who generally enjoys school anyway! He is there today and tomorrow too.

Anyway, at the park Calum leaned on a tree and the next thing he was covered in greenfly! A closer look at the tree and we discover that what looked like moss was actually masses of greenfly!

We also spotted lots of ladybirds, no doubt feasting on the greenfly. You can't see it too clearly in the photo below, but one ladybird was different from any we have seen before. Instead of red with black spots this one was black with red spots!


Reminds me of the zebra in the film Madagascar who wonders whether he is white with black stripes or black with white stripes :0)

After school today (the sun is still shining, since you ask) we are heading across to Edinburgh Castle again, where Calum's class 'graduate' as Historic Scotland's latest group of Gaelic Junior Tour Guides.

More on that later.

Herein ends the testing too!


Monday, 18 June 2012

Weekend Fun - who cares about the weather?!

The best way to kick start any weekend is....

.....freshly made pancakes, always made on the griddle I inherited from my granny. I think of her wonderful scones every time I use the griddle and I love that I am able to use it to feed my family just as she did hers.

Saturday was a truly miserable day weather-wise.

However, inside our house we had our own little bit of sunshine.

We had arranged to meet up with friends at their local village summer fair on Saturday, and so despite the dark gloomy skies and constant rain we stuck to our plans.

We are hardy Scots after all, and every Scot knows that the essential wear for a summer fair is.....

...a good pair of wellies and some waterproofs!

The village fair was actually quite fun.

We all enjoyed the tea tent, even although we also all agreed it could have done with some heaters!

While we ate our scones and cakes, and drank our tea, we were entertained by some local musicians. I'm sure the irony of them playing 'On the sunny side' wasn't lost on many!

The highlight of the fair for David was winning at the Coconut stall.....

...while the highlight for Alasdair was having a ride on the miniature steam railway.

When we finally surrendered and decided it was too cold, we headed back to our friends' house and spent the rest of a really enjoyable day with them.

We even had a barbecue for dinner......

........although we ate it inside!

Friday, 15 June 2012

A trip through the centruy

The boys' school celebrates it's 100th anniversary this year so they have been having some special events over the last few weeks. 

 The highlight of this was the concert the pupils put on for parents and friends last night. 

Each class has been studying one of the decades out of the last 10, and for the concert they did a little performance about their decade. It was such a good concert. Everyone was having so much fun and put every bit of effort into their part. 

 James' class started the concert off with the 1910s. They sang a Gaelic song about the first world war while a slide show of the events of the 1910s played behind them. Then they sang a Horrible Histories song about the Suffragettes. 

 After that we were entertained by some very cute Charlston dancers from the 20s; some Jive dancers from the 30s; watched a class act out some news reports from the 40s(accompanied by 40s music); laughed at a very cool Elvis and his dancers from the 50s; laughed even more at the super-cute, and perfectly acted, little primary 1s who played the Beatles (accompanied by dancing and screaming girls) for the 60s. 

 When we reached the 70s, David's class told us some of the inventions of the 70s before singing a medley of 70s rock songs. 

 The class who studied the 80s told us of the great invention of the mobile phone and other 80s inventions and songs.

Calum's class were studying the 90s.They told us some of the political events of their decade, all the parents in their class who had married in the 90s; they introduced us to the Boy Bands and the Spice Girls (who were 5 of the boys in the class dressed up, and very funny!), and then ended with their version of a great Oasis song.  

The boys have loved learning about their decades. 

David (6) has been coming home from school and saying 'Do you remember this from the 70s?' and I have had to tell him that I was born at the end of the 70s and don't remember any of it! Then the next day he would come and ask me if I remembered something else! 

 Calum's class had a homework assignment a few weeks ago where they had to ask their parents for their memories of the 90s. He asked me first. Some of my answers were - shell suits, New Kids on the Block, Reebok pump trainers, high school. When he asked dad his main answers were - the fall of the Berlin wall, the fall of Communism, the first Gulf War and a whole host of other political events! I like to think that this isn't because I am far more shallow than he is, but because at the start of the 90s I was just starting high school and he was starting University.

 It was great having a journey through the decades last night. The teachers and pupils all worked so hard and I hope the school continues to do as well as it does now for the next 100 years.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Train tracks

My biggest boy is looking even bigger since yesterday.

It hardly seems like that long since I was having my own braces fitted!

I might not be too wrong about that though.

You see, when we first met the Orthodontist a few months back, he had finished examining James' teeth and turned to me. He looked at Alasdair, who was sitting on my knee, and asked was this James' brother. I told him it was and then he asked me what relation I was to James. I then told him I was his mother. His reply was, 'Seriously? I would never have thought you were old enough. I thought maybe his sister. You must have been very young when he was born!'

I couldn't really reply to that!

James has known he would need braces for a couple of years now and has been really looking forward to getting them fitted. It is so much easier to get them just now before the teenage angst kicks in. 

Everyone at school today was really excited to see how he looked.

I did tell him that getting them fitted wasn't sore but that the next day or two was strange feeling. Sort of tight and sore to bite. I was never warned of this when I had mine, but he was given a really good talk about how it would be from one of the dental nurses.

Today the soreness has kicked in and he has only been able to eat soups and yogurts but hopefully things will have settled down by the weekend. Being a typical boy, he loves to eat!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Make it Monday - yes, I know it's Tuesday!


This past week's makings were some more Jewellery.

Everything below is available in my Etsy store. I also have a craft fair lined up when we go home to my mum and dad's in the summer and so I'm making a nice early start on stock for that.

I suppose working on the new look of my blog counts as a making too, so there has been much creating going on!