Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Christmas Lights Switch On

Firstly, Happy St Andrew's Day!

Now onto those sweet schoolchildren singing last night.

As I'm sure most of you know, our boys attend a Gaelic Medium school, where they are taught in Gaelic. They have no English at all until the end of Primary 3 (age 7).

The only Gaelic school remotely near us is in the city, about 15 miles away, and so we take the train in every morning (which only takes about 15-20 minutes). Alasdair and I then head home again before returning for the other boys at 3pm.

OK, I'm digressing here.

Every year the school choir is asked to sing at the Christmas Light Switch On in the area around the school. It is right in the city centre, with Edinburgh Castle looking down on them from less than a mile away.

It was absolutely freezing last night but the children all did the school proud, as they always do.

The biggest excitement was when the local councillor announced the lights would be switched on by the two youngest choir members, and our Calum was one of the two! He was so chuffed. I do have a film of that, but as I was using my normal camera, I hadn't thought about the fact that if you take a video long-ways, you can't flip it round on your computer like you can with a photo, so I won't make you all watch it sideways!

I have three other video clips for you though - it's OK, they aren't too long :0) - of the three songs they sang.

Firstly was Seallaibh an t-sneachda (shallav an shnechga) - Look at the Snow.

Then they sang the lovely Leanabh an Aigh.

They finished with everyone's favourite, Glacan Binn - Jingle Bells. Only James and Calum are in the choir, but for this last one any younger brothers and sisters were allowed to go up and join in so you can see David at the front with his best friend Ruaraidh. (David's the one with his jacket open, even though everyone else is wrapped up from top to toe!)

Oh, you will also notice in this one that the school is very close to the Fire Station - And that isn't the school behind them but the main offices of the Bank of Scotland!

I hope that has everyone in the festive spirit and ready for the start of advent tomorrow!

Etsy Shop Launch!

It's late, even by my standards - we were home late tonight because James and Calum were singing with the school choir at the switch-on of the Christmas Tree lights near the school - but I couldn't wait any longer to 'officially' launch my wee shop.

Anyone who was visiting my blog earlier today may have noticed that I have added the shop to my side-bar. 

Just click on this to visit the shop.

So far I only have my Christmas cards on there but I'm working on some cute Christmas decorations to add, as well as some crochet and hand sewn gifts.

As an opening offer for all my blog friends, if you are interested in buying anything you can get 15% off the total price by typing in LAUNCHOFFER when you checkout.

I will be taking my crafts to the boys' Boy's Brigade Christmas Fair this Saturday morning and have just heard that I have been allocated a stall at a bigger Craft Fair at the Arts Centre in the afternoon, so it looks like another busy week ahead!

Oh, and one final thing, if any of you are on Facebook then I would love to get some new 'likers' for my Cornerfulofcrafts page, which you can find here.

Right, I must get some beauty sleep now!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Another busy week

OK, so most weeks are busy when you have four boys to run around after, but this past week seemed busier than usual.

There were three main reasons.

Firstly, I finally have my Etsy shop up and running, as my Facebook friends will know, so I was working on setting that up. I'm hoping to 'officially' launch it on the blog next week. Very exciting. 

I also had a biggish order of Christmas cards to make for the Gaelic Book shop in Glasgow. These are some of one of the designs. 

And then at the end of the week I was busy baking for the cake stall at the school Christmas Fair today.

I made: 

two batches of chocolate fudge

 two batches of Gingerbread Men

 three batches of mince pies

 and I also made a Banoffee Pie for our Ladies Evening at church on Friday night.

So, that's why it's been a bit on the quiet side on the blog this week!

Oh, and I hope all my US friends had a lovely Thanksgiving too!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

The Birthday Boy

Although we were all sick last week, I was so thankful that the bug hit us when it did and not a few days earlier.

Had it done so, then this little man,

or should I say big man, as he is sure he has grown a few inches since turning six, wouldn't have had such a fun birthday!

He loved the bike. 

It's a touch on the big side for him. I told him it will be the perfect size for him by the time proper cycling weather comes round again, but he is determined it is the proper size for him right now and whenever the weather suits he is out in the back garden trying to master it! 

That pretty much sums up his character.

He loved all of his presents in fact.

This game below is so much fun. I would definitely recommend it if anyone is looking for a game that suits all ages. 

It's the Playdough Potato Head game. 

You have to get your potato, made out of playdough, round the board without getting chopped/sliced up/turned into chips (fries)/crisps (chips).

If you land on one of the squares in the machine, you have to wait nervously and hope that no-one else spins the square that destroys you. Meanwhile everyone else is hoping that they do get that square - well, that's how it goes in out house anyway!

James was my kitchen assistant for the cake. 

He did a marvelous job of colouring the white fondant icing green and then rolling it out. He also piped on the icing, although stopped before doing the name, and added the footballers.

He's a big fan of Ace of Cakes.

To celebrate David's birthday we went with the cousins to Soft Play, out for dinner to the Carvery Restaurant, then back here for cake and another game of Potato Head.

Here are the boys and their cousins with the birthday boy. He is wearing the Scotland football top that he got from his cousins.He loves it so much that he would sleep in it if he could. I almost have to wrestle it off him to get it in the wash!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Another day, another walk!

Let's start this week off with another walk. A bit different from the last one I posted, I promise.

We spent Saturday afternoon walking in the Pentland hills with my husband's sister and her trusty collie dog Cuilean (coo-lan, which is the Gaelic for 'doggy').

A crisp, fresh walk was the best medicine for us, as myself and the boys had all been laid low last week with a vomiting bug - bleugh, not nice trying to look after 4 sick boys when you are sick yourself, but at least having it all together meant that we got over it quicker, rather than the bug slowly making it's way through everyone.

So, by Saturday we were all recovered, and since my husband was working away when the worst of the bug hit us, he has so far remained clear of it. 

My sister in law and her dog are avid hill walkers so this was very much a gentle stroll for her. Most Saturdays they can be found climbing the Munroes around the country but with the days getting shorter she will be taking things a bit easier for a while.

The Pentlands are her nearest hills, a 5 minute drive from her house (about 20 minutes from ours) and lie just on the edge of Edinburgh. The loch you can see in some of the pictures below is one of the reservoirs for the city.

Can you spot Cuilean swimming in to retrieve his stick?

Little legs get tired after a while and need a helping hand.....

.....that's what daddys are for!

I'm thinking this will be on our Christmas cards this year.....

....or this.........

....or this one is quite fun too.


Finishing our walk as the sun was setting added to the adventure for the boys!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Some more remembering.

Photo from the British Armed Forces page.

On Sunday the three oldest boys will take part in the local Remembrance Sunday parade with the Boys' Brigade where poppy wreaths will be laid by local organisations.

Today they wore their poppies with pride to school, where a dignified minute's silence was held at 11am. I know when we were at school, although we wore the poppies, the schools didn't observe the minute's silence and it's great to see them doing that now.

We won't forget.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Recipe of the Week - Toffee Apple Pudding

I adapted this recipe from one I found on the BBC Good Food website. It's my go-to website whenever I'm looking for any ideas. Last week they had a whole host of cosy Bonfire Night recipes and it was in this section that I discovered this delight.

It's a self-saucing pudding, like our old favourite, Magic Chocolate Pudding.

I had to adapt it just a little, taking out the nuts and making it wheat and dairy free. You won't need to alter the quantities to make it non-allergy free, and if you want you could re-add a handful of pecans.

Perhaps one of the reasons I love Autumn and Winter so much is that the weather makes a perfect excuse for puddings like this one!

Toffee apple pudding
The photo isn't mine. 
Once again I forgot to photograph the pudding until we were all half way through, so this is the one from the BBC!

You will need:

140g wheat free self raising flour (I love Dove's Farm)
100g caster sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
200ml soya/rice milk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
75g melted butter
2 cooking apples, peeled and sliced
140g brown sugar

~Mix the flour, caster sugar and baking powder together in a bowl.
~In another bowl or jug mix together the milk, egg, vanilla and melted butter.
~Now add the wet mixture to the dry and beat together until smooth with a hand held whisk. It will look a bit more like a batter mixture than a cake mix.
~Arrange the sliced apples in the bottom of a pudding dish and then pour over the cake mixture.
~Mix the brown sugar with 250ml boiling water and then pour this over the cake mixture.
~Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for around 45 minutes.

You know, after writing all this out and looking at the pudding again, I think I might just make this for pudding again tonight!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

I ♥ ebay

I've been a fan of ebay for many years now and have discovered loads of great bargains.

I thought I'd share my latest, and perhaps one of the best bargains, which we picked up at the weekend.

Our David turns 6 at the weekend and when I asked what he wanted for his birthday he said he didn't mind at all.

He's our roughest and toughest boy, who took to riding his bike without stabilisers in the summer on the very first go. His little bike was getting on the small side for him, but Calum wasn't ready to move up to the next size and give him his one yet, or James ready to move on and give his to Calum, so I had a look on good old ebay.

A rough and tough boy needs a rough and tough bike and I found the perfect one for him.

Front and rear suspension, 6 gears, fancy brakes (I think!), and a cool look.

And the best part was the price.


Told you it was a big bargain!

It's hiding in the shed until the weekend. 

I'm pretty confident he'll love it!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Autumnwatch 2 - A walk in the woods

We're a traditional bunch, who like our routines in the houseful of boys.

Sunday lunch is almost always a roast, and it is almost always followed by a walk through the woods to burn off some little boy energy before the evening service at church. Mums of boys will know where I'm coming from here!

Some of you might remember back in the Spring-time that I invited you all along on this stroll to share the loveliness of Spring.

Today I'd like to invite you back with us to enjoy these woods in their Autumn splendour which, although chillier, in my opinion is far more splendid.

First my official Autumnwatch photo for this week. I got a better angle of the leaves this week.

This time I stood right at the end of our little street. The woods where we are headed are on the right hand side of the picture above.

Once you cross the road, you see this:

A picture perfect autumn wood.

One of the first things we spotted was not so much a sign of Autumn but had us thinking ahead to Christmas - and how nice a sprig of this would be on top of the Christmas pudding!

But then we continued into the magical land of Autumn.

The boys were imagining all sorts of creatures, real and make-believe, who might live in here.

Then on to meet our little friends, the ducks.

Since I was paying close attention to the foliage and looking for the colours, I noticed that there are actually quite a lot of trees in the woods who have completely lost all of their leaves already.

After reaching the duck pond, we usually head up the hill......

.........where there are no proper paths...............

.........and you become thankful that you wore your big winter boots!

There are a group of volunteers who look after the woods, and so in some places there are these little wooden walkways over the worst of the mud.

To a little boys eyes, these walkways are most definitely 'choo-choo' tracks. Alasdair is pretending to be Henry here. To a slightly older little boys eyes, the mud surrounding the walkways is far more appealing and you can also see Calum, second closest to the camera here, ankle deep in mud!

At the top of the hill we get back to the more solid paths.

But going off-road is far more fun.

While mummy looks for some more autumn colour....

.....David helps Alasdair over an obstacle.

Now, this next photo I'm quite pleased with.

I got a new camera last month and decided to test out the self-timer feature. Since dad had had a busy week we left him at home having a wee post-dinner snooze when we went out for our walk. I found a tree stump at the perfect height and managed to jump into the photo just in time!

Brrr, a clear blue sky with the moon out and the sun setting fast.

Time to head home and have a slice of this,

(Apple and Bramble Pie)

and a cup of tea.

Thanks for coming along with us!