Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Na Seumasaich

Calum's class have spent the last couple of months studying the Jacobites. He has really, really loved this project. This morning his class were performing their play about the Jacobite story at the school assembly so the parents were invited along to watch.

Here is our Calum and his best friend before the play.

Don't they look ready for battle?

Calum was playing the part of General George Murray, one of Prince Charlie's advisers, who led them into battle at Prestonpans and who also advised them that Culloden was not a good place for a battle!

I was going to put a clip of the play on here too, but it's taking forever to upload so I'll save that for another day!

I asked Calum for a brief over-view of the Jacobites for the blog and this is what he said;

'Bonnie Prince Charlie wanted to get the throne back, and the Jacobites wanted a Scottish king again because King George II was a German. Prince Charlie and King George had the same great great grandfather, King James VI of Scotland (later known as James I of England and Scotland).

It wasn't just Scots against English like people think. There were Scots on both sides and English on both sides, as well as Irish. Gaelic was spoken by Redcoats as well as Jacobites, although Charlie only spoke French!

The Jacobites went to Glenfinnan, near Fort William, where Prince Charlie put up the Jacobite flag. Then they marched to Prestonpans, near Edinburgh, where they fought the Redcoats and won. Charlie still wasn't happy because he wanted England too so they marched to Derby. Prince Charlie had a meeting with his advisers. His advisers didn't want to go to London but Charlie did because he was convinced the French would come to help them (they didn't!).

The Jacobites then marched back to Scotland. At Culloden, near Inverness, they were caught unprepared by the Redcoats and lost the battle. Charlie fled to Skye dressed up as a woman. He then went to Italy.

The Redcoats then banned the wearing of tartan, the playing of bagpipes and the speaking of Gaelic! This lasted for about 100 years. A lot of the Jacobites fled to Canada and America. This is why part of Canada is called Nova Scotia.'

So there you go - history lesson for today, correcting romantic myths!

Gaelic word of the day:
well it has to be,
Na Seumasaich (na shay-mas-eech) - the Jacobites
derived from Seumas, Gaelic for James, which is of course where the Jacobites get their name, as Jacob is Latin for James.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Love keeps no record of wrongs.........or breakages

On Saturday we paid a visit to one of the charity shops that are run by the charity my husband works for.

The boys love going to these shops as they are big bargain hunters! James collects Beano annuals, and every time we go he is on the lookout for another to add to his collection. With the exception of the newer books, just about all of his collection has been bought in these shops. I think the Beano collection deserves a whole other post though!

I spotted this little tea-set below. Although it didn't have any side plates, I loved the dinky size of the cups and  milk & sugar bowl, and for only £6 we decided to buy it.

Any ideas where this post is heading yet?

What is missing from the photo above?

Yesterday, we had my in-laws round for dinner. Before they arrived my beloved offered to wash out the new tea-set so that we could use it after dinner. It was still wrapped in the newspaper from the day before. Being the joker that he is, he pretended to drop the first piece as he unwrapped it. Haha. He then called Calum through and asked him to help put the newspapers in the recycling. As he was unwrapping, he was throwing the papers on the floor. All very good, until he threw one on the floor and we heard a gentle s*m*a*s*h. (Our kithcen floor is slate-like ceramic tiles so anything that hits them doesn't stand a chance. :0o

Slowly we unwrapped the paper to find....

.......the lid of the teapot!

I looked at my beloved and then we both burst out laughing! He was so embarrassed. It was a clean break, and I should be able to super-glue it together.

And it was his suggestion that I put it on the blog!

Friday, 25 March 2011

Things I'm loving Friday ♥


Time to link up with PaisleyJade again. Don't Friday's come round so quickly?!

Here's what I'm loving this week.

♥ Lunches out and shopping trips with my mum, while she was down here on holiday for a few days (even though I didn't buy anything for myself!)

♥ What's better than a chocolate cake?

How about a four-layered one?

See here for the recipe.

♥ Having my beloved home on a Wednesday not a Friday (for any new followers, he works away up north Monday - Friday. See here

This meant he was able to celebrate is birthday with us. As usual little Alasdair was refusing to be in the photo as I was on the other side of the camera. Daddy is wearing his new Scotland rugby top that he got for his birthday.

♥ And finally, you have to love the question David (5) asked daddy on the morning of his birthday,

'How old are you now daddy? 98?'

For the record he isn't 98. He hasn't even hit the big 4 -0. Yet.

Oh, and he's a good few years older than me. Just so you all know :0)

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Work in Progress Wednesday - Baby Blanket, this week's progress

Earlier on this evening Calum was testing out his photography skills and took this photo of me working on the blanket I started last week.

It was perfect timing really, as I needed a photo for this week's WIP post!

I should get this one finished in the next day or two.

Then it's on with the next project.

What did I do before I discovered crochet?!

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Tuesday, 22 March 2011

The secret to how I got all my washing and ironing done so quickly!.....

Well there were two components really.

(1) A bright day and a stiff drying breeze

(2) My mother was here!

My housekeeping schedule (yes, I do have one; yes I tend to stick to it; no I'm not trying to pretend to be supermum, just explaining how I run my house relatively chaos free) anyway, my housekeeping schedule is that on a Monday I tidy up the house from top to bottom. De-cluttering the junk that seems to build up in piles after the weekend, dusting all surfaces, hoovering all carpets, sweeping other floors, emptying the washing basket (by washing the clothes in it!) and deep cleaning the bathroom (let's not even start on this one! Boys...that's all I'm saying!)

On a Tuesday I will then iron all the clothes that were washed the day before, as well as what will have been washed on a Friday and not been ironed till now. Monday and Friday are clothes washing days. Thursday is bedding washing day. Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday are nappy washing days. The poor washing machine is glad when it's Sunday!

I don't like to leave the ironing basket with anything in it past a Tuesday or it just gets too big and intimidating. It's such a great feeling to see the bottom of the basket and know that's it for a few days (or a week!) Obviously if I, or a boy, are sick then I don't stick to this, or if we have something really fun planned, or are on holiday, but as a rule I do stick to it. I try not to plan any play-dates or anything for a Monday or Tuesday so that I can then look forward to them knowing my house is (mostly) in order.

So, yesterday.

Like I said, my mum is here. While I did the house cleaning, she made a start on the first of the ironing that was left from the weekend. Then, with such a good drying day, one load of washing was about dry by the time I hung the next out and so she just kept on ironing. It was all done by dinner time!

Can you believe I got so excited by an empty ironing basket, a day early? No, nor can I. 

And also to add, I can't iron anywhere near as neatly as my mum can. I suppose she has a couple of decades of experience more than I do!

Monday, 21 March 2011

Miscellaneous Monday

It's been a while since we had one of these, so just a couple of random happenings.

My mum is down with us just now for a few nights. She spent the first few nights with my brother and family and then last night came to ours for a few more nights.

On Saturday, she, my sister in law and myself went out for lunch followed by a shopping trip for a special outfit my mum needs for a big event in May. 

A lunch with no children in tow! The boys were spending the afternoon doing manly things with daddy (like getting air in the car's tyres, and topping up the oil) and I'm sure my nephews were doing something eqaully manly with my brother!

Our shopping trip was a success and my mum found a lovely dress and matching jacket in the first shop we tried. It is a really nice fifties style dress with a belted waist. Later on, in another shop where she was looking for a shrug to wear with it too, my sister in law and I were drawn to the exact same dress. Another fifties style dress,  black with a white swirl pattern, a net underskirt and a beautiful satin sash round the waist. We joked about who had seen it first (it was definitely me!), before looking at the price. Oh well.

Now the boys are enjoying having granny here for a few more days, and I'm enjoying the fact that my washing and ironing is already done for this week - and it's only Monday!

Friday, 18 March 2011

Things I'm loving Friday ♥


Red Nose Day fun.

Alasdair's Red Nose Day picture we made at Mother & Toddlers.

(laaaa stron jarag)

Red Nosed Super Heroes

My new haircut. 
Photos will need to wait until next week, but I'm loving it!

And the best till last.

James took part in the school Talent competition yesterday.

He came third!!

Today I recorded him playing the song again for us.

He even manages not to be distracted by Alasdair at the end!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Work in Progress Wednesday - Crochet Baby Blankets

Last week I finished my first ever crochet baby blanket.

It's basically a super-giant-sized granny square, all in the one colour.

Here it is being modeled by David, who has taken rather a shine to it.

This week I have started another baby blanket. This one is a different pattern, all V-stitch throughout and it will have a picot border added at the end. I think this pattern is nicer, so any more I make will probably be the same pattern. Although, I love trying out new designs so who knows!

Our little Bible-study group has a few blankets on the go now for The Mercy House. Knowing they are heading off to someone who really, really needs them makes them all the more special.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

'It makes football look like hairdressing'

The title of this post comes from a comment I read someone make about shinty.

Shinty is the forgotten national game of Scotland. Less famous than the over-priced football, rugby or golf, but it's supporters and players are no less passionate about their sport.

Rumour has it that golf is actually derived from shinty. Long ago, shinty players would practise their swing and this then turned into golf. I'm not sure if this is remotely true but it's a nice story!

Traditionally shinty was a west highland game. Although the central belt now has teams as well, the west highland ones still seem to be the most successful.

My husband was brought up in one of the shinty heartlands, Oban, and so is a keen player and supporter of the game. His playing days have actually turned to coaching days, and he is now one of the coaches at the boys' school.

Shinty sticks are known as camans, which comes from camanachd, the Gaelic for shinty. They come in extra small sizes too so that your littlest man can get an early start. Alasdair obviously has the game in his blood, as he likes nothing better than hitting a ball around with a stick. Indoors he will find any object to use as a stick, from a pencil to a penny whistle, and any little ball he can get his hands on, and then is quite content chasing the ball up and down the living room with his stick.

He's his daddy's boy.

The three oldest boys all go to shinty training on a Saturday morning. Calum is a keen little player. David is also keen and suitably fearless for such a game. James enjoys the run around but you can see he would rather be at home making some animation or reading a book! Oh well, his mother was never really the sporty type either, so we can let him off with that!

When playing shinty, all the boys wear helmets that kind of look like ice-hockey helmets, with bars protecting their faces. The shinty ball is extremely hard and travels very fast. My husband bears a few scars from his playing days, when helmets weren't worn and when there would usually be a player or two sporting a blood covered strip! 

All the youth players wear the helmets, but plenty of the adults still don't. It certainly separates the men from the boys, in more ways than one! The clip below is excellent. The commentary is in Gaelic and just listen for the whack of the shinty ball as the keeper saves the penalty with his head with NO helmet. And wins the game for his team!

Give me a rugged shinty player over a pampered footballer anyday.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Decisions, decisions........

A couple of weeks ago it was school photo day and today the boys came home with the proofs for us to choose which we want to order.

Let me apologise now for the quality of the following photos, as they are only scans of the little proofs!

I don't usually buy the individual photos of each of the boys, for the simple reason that it would just work out too expensive.

Calum's are both very good this year though. I love his new glasses that he chose about a month ago.

If I were choosing one of these I think it would be (a)

I will probably get David's individual photo as it is his first year at school, and I bought James and Calum's first ones too.

Normally they get sent home with two, maybe three, slightly different proofs each for you to choose from but David was given ten!!!!!

Perhaps it's just because they weren't sure which captured that mischievous little smile the best!

I'm veering towards (a) again here, although I'm swithering betweent that and (b)

The photo I always choose is the one of all of them, and I know which I am going to pick no problem here, it's (b)

Alasdair, being his usual shy self, took fright when I sat him on James' knee and the photographer lady started  speaking to him!

Please also note in the photo above how neat James' tie is, as this was taken first thing in the morning.

Compare that tie to the photo below.

Obviously the school photograph the younger children first, in the hope that perhaps the older ones can remain neater for longer.

Perhaps not.

Thankfully, I think a schoolboy is more authentic with a squinty tie and his shirt half hanging out!

Gaelic word of the day:
dealbh (jalav) - photo or picture
dealbh chluich (jalav chl-ooyee) - a play

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Friday, 11 March 2011

Things I'm loving Friday ♥


This week it's all about the boys.

Firstly, James (11) found out the other day that he has made it onto the school team for the Inter-Schools Swimming Gala. He was so excited, as last week after the trials he didn't think he had made it through. I told him then that I was proud that he had even volunteered for the trials.

He has also entered the school talent competition next week, where he will play Pirates of the Caribbean on his trombone.

Thursday is school assembly day. Each week there is a pupil of the week from each class. The head-teacher reads out why their class teacher chose them as pupil of the week, they go to the front and get their badge, and then later on they go with the head-teacher and have a treat.

Yesterday, not one but two boys came home with pupil of the week badges.

David (5) was given the badge for being so good at learning his letters and doing his homework so well every night.

Calum (8) was given the badge for being always friendly to everyone, working so hard and putting so much effort into all the work his class are doing on their current project, the Jacobites.

The treat with the head-teacher was making, and eating, fruit kebabs!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Recipe of the Week - Crepes & Chocolate Sauce

It wouldn't have been right of me to post the pictures of our crepes the other night and then not to share the recipe, so here we are.

It is best to make the mix about half an hour or so before making the crepes so that it has time to settle. You might notice when it's time to make them that the mix has thickened slightly. If so, just add a little more milk. You want this mixture on the thin side or else your crepes will be too stodgy.

Neither of these recipes need to be adapted if you want to make them with 'normal' ingredients.

For the crepes you will need:

400ml rice milk
2 eggs
2oz sugar
6 oz Doves Farm Wheat Free Plain Flour

~Heat your frying pan up while you are making up the mix. Lightly oil it too.
~Measure the milk out into a large jug/bowl and whisk in the eggs.
~Add the sugar and flour and whisk by hand until you have a smooth batter.
~Pour either a ladle-full or a wee dollop into your hot pan, swirling the pan around as you do so that you have  a very thin layer of batter right round the pan.
~Once the mix starts to bubble then flip it over with a spatula and cook the other side. 
~Best served warm.

For the chocolate sauce you will need:

200g dairy-free chocolate
200ml dairy-free cream substitute (Alpro Soya or Oatly)

~Just break the chocolate into chunks and add to a pan with the cream.
~Melt over a gentle heat, stirring occasionally.

This sauce is so quick and easy to russtle up for a mid-week treat. We often have it with banana and ice cream, or just the ice cream, or chocolate puddings, or fruit salad, or..............

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

It's Pancake Day!

Never ones to pass over any celebration of food, the boys and I made pancakes tonight in celebration of Shrove Tuesday.

Technically they weren't pancakes but crepes, but that is what everyone associates with Pancake Day so that's what we had.

Here is little man with his little pancake.

Now here is Calum, eager to get to flip his pancake.

And here is the flipping.....

It was then James' turn to flip his pancake, and it was at this point that I realised that without a fancy camera, it's not really possible to take a good photo of a pancake being flipped!

In order to share their skills at flipping these pancakes/crepes I then took a couple of wee videos but first I thought I show how I had my pancake.

Smothered in warm chocolate sauce, and stuffed with bananas (and a little more sauce!)

Onto the flipping.

First Calum and then James & David.

Gaelic word of the day:
spòrs (as it looks) - fun
Bha tòrr spòrs againn a nochd (va tor spors ag-een a noch-g) - we had a lot of fun tonight

Monday, 7 March 2011

A perfect Saturday

Sun streaming through the bedroom window.

Saturday morning pancakes and syrup.

A coffee morning to raise funds for the Boys' Brigade.

The boys got a few bargains since everything is for sale for about 50p.

David went to the cake stall to buy himself some cakes and bought back the ones I had made!

Watching the first shinty match of the season.

(OK, so you can hardly see the players but I was trying to get the whole vista in!)

A bit of shinty practise behind the goals.

You need to start them young!

A walk along the beach in the dimming light of the late afternoon.

To me, this is not a proper beach at all compared to the ones from where I come from, see here. But it still has sand and sea, and that is what matters to little boys.

And then a chippy tea to finish off the day.

In my hunger, I didn't take a photo of our actual chippy, so I  looked online for a photo. When I was doing so, I found this discussion board by ex-pat Scots about the humble chippy, which I thought would be a useful explanation of what I'm on about for my overseas friends!

And if you read it, as a West Coast girl who is now living in the East, I am still horrified at the thought of that runny brown sauce on my chips that the East seems to love. We West Coasters are far more civilised with our vinegar. 


Gaelic word of the day:
teaghlach (chi-lach) - family