Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Special memories

Today I dug around at the back of the cupboard and pulled out a precious box.

I took it downstairs to show the boys what was in it.

It doesn't come out all that often and so they always enjoy seeing what is inside it.

I'm talking about our Wedding Photo Album, and the reason for its appearance is that today we celebrate our 14th anniversary!

We have two albums actually. One is of informal photos taken throughout the day, and also of our honeymoon in Paris. It lives with all the other photo albums and so has been viewed by the boys quite often. The one I took out today is our official album, a soft white velvet covered album of professional photos. The soft white velvet being one of the reasons I don't want little boys' hands coming in contact with it too often!

This photo was the one the boys all chose as their favourite from the album. Beside me is my dad and beside my husband is his dad. Both are ministers and they split the wedding service up between the two of them.

I remember speaking to a married couple in our church around the time of our wedding, who said that they treasured their wedding album because it contained lovely memories of relatives who had since passed away.

Today as I looked through it I was struck by the same thought.

This photo below is precious to me.

My bridesmaids were: (on the right) my great friend and flatmate, Mary - who was such a help and encouragement to me in those early days at University in the big city (and the not so early days!); and (in the middle) my cousin Ann Marie - who, as I only have brothers, was the closest to what I would consider to a sister as we grew up.

I knew that one day I would treasure the photos because older relatives may have passed away. I didn't expect my cousin to be one of them.

The photo is precious because less than 6 years later, aged only 20, my cousin was killed in a road accident.

Looking through the album now reminds me to treasure what we love.

I thank God for giving me my husband. For giving us 14 years to build our lives together. For blessing us with 4 handsome sons. For families who love us. For dear friendships that last a lifetime. And for a whole host of other things.


The heart of the home

Since I have written so many posts about food, cooking, baking, cakes etc I thought I would invite you all into my kitchen where it all happens.

Follow me :0)

First you have to come through the dining room....

Behind the dining room door is 'my' bookcase. So called because it houses my favourite books. Well, my favourite non-reading books, although that doesn't really make sense does it? It does to me anyway!

On the bottom shelf are some of my piano books; the shelf above this one I have kindly donated to my husband, who owns far, far more books than I do; the middle shelf is where all the home baking lives (the glass dome isn't usually empty!); the shelf above is where my collection of cookbooks are found; and the shelf above this is where I keep all of my craft books.

We have two whiteboards on the dining room wall. One for drawing on and the other for our menu plan. If you have never tried menu planning, I highly recommend you give it a go. In fact I plan to post on it soon.


So, onto the kitchen.

Now before we go any further, I must remind you that this is a family kitchen. I purposely didn't tidy up those dishes on the drainer so that you got to see what it's like every day rather than how a show home would look.


I love my kitchen. We had new units put in about 5 years ago and I still love them as much as I did when they were new.


Those are some Blueberry & Raspberry Muffins cooling down on top of the cooker.


James was busy working on an animation using the iPad and some foodstuffs. It's a good one (aren't they all?) and I promise to share it soon.

At the back of my cooker sit this cute little family of owls. They came from a friend all the way across in the USA. Sweet and practical.

Before we finish up our wee visit, I must share my two favourite gadgets in the kitchen.

First, my slow cooker. Every family kitchen needs one of these!

And equally important, my food mixer. It also has a food processor, blender and juicer attachment. Where would I be without it?

If you're wondering, that is a tray of flapjacks cooling on top of the toaster!

So, thanks for calling in. I only wish I could share some of the muffins or flapjacks with you too.


Tuesday, 24 July 2012

A boys day out

Seven little boys, and two big, busy digging for worms...

....then with worms ready to go.....

...nets, rods and tackle too....

...they headed off for a boys day out on the moors by a loch...

....before returning home in the evening....

....tired, but happy....

...and bearing these....


Monday, 23 July 2012

Make it Monday - 'Grown-up' crochet

A couple of months ago I decided it was time to take my crochet up a step from blankets, hats and scarves.

Last summer my brother's wife had seen a crochet book in a charity shop and bought it for me. It was kind of as a joke though, as the book dated from the early 80s and was full of quite frilly sort of 'granny' crochet!

Anyway, as I thought ahead to the local agricultural show, which took place last week, I thought I should enter something a wee bit fancier and so I looked up the 'granny' book.

I found the perfect doilly in the book, bought some fine crochet cotton, dug out my tiny 1.75mm hook and got started.

Boy was it tricky at first! The cotton was so fine and the hook so small that the loop kept slipping off until I got the hang of it. It was also one of those patterns where each round was different so I had to really concentrate on each one. Not like granny squares where they fly off the hook without you even thinking about them!

Here is my finished doilly at the front of the show table.

The winning doilly is the one with the red rosette on it. It was the same size as mine but with a really frilly border. Second prize went to another similar one, this time with tiny crocheted butterflies round the side. I'll need to up my game even more for next year!

Even though I didn't win anything this year, I'm really pleased with my doilly. I think it will look just perfect under a vase or bowl, and I have more than enough cotton left to work on a few more - whenever I have the time to concentrate that hard again!


Saturday, 21 July 2012

Things I'm loving...

Best make yourself comfortable before I get started. There were quite a few things to love this week!

There were some forts with granny's family room sofa cushions....

Walks to the shore with Roscoe, Granny & Shen's dog....

Football fun with cousins and Roscoe....

Fun and games around the house with brothers and cousins...

A few more trips to the beach...






And family barbecues...

(that's my cool and trendy youngest brother in the middle and my mum and dad at the back, by the BBQ)

Have a great weekend :0)

Thursday, 19 July 2012

A kind of recipe of the week...

Normally on a Thursday Is when I would post a recipe of the week here, but since we are still on holiday at my parents' I thought I would instead share with you this wonderful cake that Calum (9) made today for his Auntie.

My brother, sister in law and their three boys arrived at my parents' today for a holiday as well. Last week was my sister in law's birthday, but as we didn't see her on her birthday Calum made this for her today instead.

He did it entirely on his own, even adjusting the quantities needed to make a bigger cake.

The recipe is my Victoria Sponge recipe, which you can find on the 'Wheat &Dairy free recipes tab' at the top, with some purple colouring added. He tried to make each layer slightly darker than the previous one. The decor was all his own work too - pretty neat lettering, don't you think?




It tasted just as good as it looked, and with 7 young boys, 8 if you include my 15 year old brother, it didn't take long to fly off that plate!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Show Day

On Saturday it was the local agricultural show day here.

The boys spent most of the day on Friday preparing their entries. When I wasn't helping them I was helping my mum do some baking, as she was the organiser of the teas and cakes for the show.

Calum made a rainbow cake for the under 12s baking competition. Gluten and dairy free, of course.

James made some chocolate octopus biscuits and some coconut mice for the 12 - 16 baking competition.

He also made some lovely vanilla biscuits (cookies) and you can see them in the photo of James from yesterday's post.

David made some little truffles (for the under 12s baking competition). His favourite part was definitely scraping out and scoffing the leftover condensed milk in the tin!

David also entered the 4-6 year olds art competition with this drawing of daddy.

And Calum had fun making up this cauliflower sheep for the kids 'scene or animal made out of fruit or vegetable' competition.

We went along to the show ground the night before to hand in our competition entries, and also to help granny and her helpers make sure everything was in place for the teas.

The boys were happy to muck about while they waited!


The day of the show was beautiful.

I was excited to have a craft stall in one of the marquees and my mum did her bit of free advertising for me by wearing one of my bangles! If anyone asked her about it when she was serving the teas she could send them in my direction :0)

As soon as the judging was over and the competition entries were open for display, the boys went off to find their entries.

They were all excited to see tht Calum got a third for his cauliflower sheep!

There were a lot of entries in the kids' baking competitions and so they didn't get any prizes for their creations but they were all winners in my eyes.

They were excited when anyone in our family won a prize though, and came running to tell me that aid had got a second for this photo I entered. I'm sure you all remember seeing it first on the blog last week!

My youngest brother won a first for this lighthouse lamp that he made at school (he's 15, if you're wondering!)

Apart from all the excitement over who won what, the craft stall, the tea and cakes, the candy floss, there was the biggest excitement for boys, farm vehicles....


....and rescue vehicles!

When we got home we put all the rosettes together (although one was missing for this photo).

The prizes were: 1st for my mum's jam and my brother's lighthouse

2nd for my photo, a photo my dad entered, my dad's cut flowers, my mum's pancakes and a wooden box my brother made.

3rd for another photo my dad entered and of course for Calum's cauliflower sheep!

Next year we aim for one of us to come home with a best in show rosette, something none of us has won before!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

MOB Blog Hop - Meet the boys (and me!)

Feasgair math a' charaidean, that's 'Good Evening Friends' in Gaelic, and a warm welcome to my houseful of boys for any new visitors, and of course to my faithful bloggy friends too!

I recently discovered the MOB blog (Moms of Boys) and this week they are holding a Moms of Boys blog hop which I thought would be fun to take part in, hence the welcome speech.

So, let's get started with the introductions, or a little recap for those who have been friends for a while.

I'm Kirsteen, in my early thirties, and about to celebrate 14 years of marriage to my rugged handsome Scotsman. OK, so we are both Scottish, and live in Scotland, but I think he is very much your stereotypical Scotsman and that is one of the many things I love about him.

This photo below is the most recent I can find of myself, taken just a few days ago. (Closer inspection of it shows quite clearly that my legs are not generally exposed to as much sunshine as the rest of me!)

You can also see from the photo that we have been blessed with four sons (no1 son really is in the photo too, he's just digging a really big hole!).

Our boys are aged 12, 9, 6, and 3.

I have a degree in music and trained as a music teacher, but soon after I qualified, our oldest son was born and I have stayed at home with the boys ever since. I have a few piano pupils now who come to the house once a week for a lesson while the boys busy themselves with LEGO in the background.

I also love to craft and have a little Etsy store that you can find on the right hand sidebar. I love to crochet, make glass cabochon jewellery and make cards.

I also love to cook and bake, which is just as well when you consider how much boys like to eat!

Let me introduce you to the boys.

This is James, the sensible big brother.

He is caring, thoughtful, very expressive and extremely arty.

He loves to draw, paint, make comic strips, make animations with LEGO men or plasticine, and play his trombone and chanter.

When he grows up he wants to be a missionary, an animator or an illustrator.

This is Calum (the quad bike isn't ours!), the quiet second oldest.

He is the bright cookie in the family, excelling in his academia.

He absolutely loves to play with his LEGOs. He also loves all animals, birds and nature. He is very musical and plays the accordion and fiddle.

When he grows up he wants to be a vet or a farmer, and also to be in the voluntary Search & Recue Service!

Now meet David, the whirlwind of energy with a huge personality.

He would spend all day long kicking a football (soccerball) around if he could.

He is both extremely cute and exhausting at the same time. You know those books with the stereotypical boys like 'Just William'? Well he pretty much fits the mould.

When he grows up he wants to be a footballer.

And let's not forget wee Alasdair, the sweet little man that everyone loves.

He is still very much mammy's little boy, and is very shy.

He loves to play with his fire engines and trains.

I have no idea what he wants to be when he grows up!

James (12), Calum (9) and wee Ally (3) all suffer from eczema, asthma and food allergies. Alasdair's eczema is still pretty severe, as was Calum's at this age and James' to a more moderate extent.

So, add in caring for their skin; sleepless scratchy nights; and keeping on top of a dairy, wheat and egg free diet for Calum & Alasdair to my daily to-do list and you will see we have a very busy house!

I am so looking forward to 'meeting' other mums of boys and finding out all about your households and what sort of things everyone else's boys are up to.