Wednesday, 29 February 2012

First Gaelic Lesson - Saying Hello/Goodbye

Since I have been neglecting my Gaelic word of the day recently - not through choice, I just hit the publish button every time I post and then think, 'oh, I've forgotten it again' and then don't get round to editing the post -  and since plenty people have been saying they enjoyed learning a word or phrase of Gaelic, I thought I'd take things a step further.

On Friday mornings Alasdair and I go to the Gaelic parent & toddler group at the boys' school. My official title on a Friday is playleader, which basically means I set out the toys, organise the craft, organise the snack-time, lead everyone in some Gaelic pre-school song fun and then ensure that everything gets tidied up again. All the while with Alasdair as my little helper.

I also often make up sheets of phrases to give out to the parents, usually related  to whatever subject I might be basing the crafts/story/songs on for those weeks (like just now we are doing clothes followed by body parts), as most of the parents are just learning the language and not native speakers.

So I thought, why not share some of these?

And I thought 'hello and goodbye' would be a good place to start.

First, you can download and print out your own copy of the sheet below.

I have the middle column as a sort of pronounciation guide but it really helps to hear the phrases too, so I rustled up a wee clip below that of me reading out the phrases to help you out a bit. It's a bit rough, but I was too shy to read it to the camera :0)

Who knows, we might have pockets of Gaelic speakers springing up across the globe now!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Make it Monday

I picked up a book of cute little crochet animals in the post-Christmas sales. Calum was one of the first boys to have a flick through it and requested that I make this wee fellow first.

He has added him to his growing collection of crochet animals.

Yes, that is a snail. He requested him from another book.

Now that 'Lumpy' is all finished and tucked up with his animal friends (and Calum) I can get working on my next project.

My cousin and her husband had their first baby, a little girl, last week. She is the first of my cousins on that side of the family to have a baby. If my grandparents were still living they would now have their first great-grand-daughter after 7 great-grandsons.

So since she will be bombarded by clothes, as first-borns usually are, I thought I would get making a granny square blanket for them instead.

But I just don't 'do' overtly pink things (just as well really!) and so have chosen these colours instead.

It also means that once the baby pink stage has passed the blanket can still be used!

Has anyone else been crafting this week?

One of these days I'll get a proper linky tool up and running. If you saw my post about eczema last week you will know what has been taking up most of my time! I'm pleased to say it's settling down a bit the last couple of days.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Sore little hands (and arms, and legs.....)

I hesitate to put photos of eczema on here too often, as it really isn't the nicest thing to look at, but I also feel that my brave little (and not so little) soldiers need some recognition for what they go through.

I have said it over and over, eczema is so much more than just the dry, sensitive skin that many people think it is.

It affects many aspects of our daily lives, and has a huge impact on our sleep!

Even on good days it is always there. None of the three boys with eczema (or their daddy either, for that matter) have ever had a time when they have been completely clear of it.

I'm not sure if it is the weather just now, but the three boys have had bad flare ups over the last few weeks. I know the icy cold outside can't help. I can even feel my own skin drying up as a result of it! And then there is the contrast of the heating inside houses just now. Not the best combination.

Alasdair (2) is better this week than last week, at least the broken skin is drying over now and not so weepy.

He has really bad patches like this on his ankles, front of knees, back of knees, arm pits and torso just now too, although the torso is easier to keep covered up and away from little fingers.

He hasn't been so keen on his bath time these last couple of weeks either because all those cuts sting like crazy - and getting his creams on is no fun either.

Here he is showing the 'bandages' garment to keep the creams on his tummy and back.

If you have never experienced eczema, it's hard to imagine an itch so strong that you keep on scratching even once the skin is broken. The blood starts to pour out and it's like they can't feel the pain. Getting rid of the itch is the one thing they focus on. Their eyes will kind of glaze over and they forget about whatever else they were doing. It's horrible to see, and once that skin is broken it's going to take a lot longer to heal, as well as be a lot more susceptible to infection.

Alasdair's little wrists take quite a battering when he gets the chance. The skin there is softer than on his hands and so breaks more easily.

At the moment, when Alasdair wakes through the night there is no way I can just leave him to settle himself back to sleep. He will already have started to scratch in his sleep and so I try and soothe the itch by rubbing rather than scratching. It settles him for a while anyway, but he will still wake up at least twice, on a good night!

When he gets the itchy-bug through the day-time distraction is the key. I also keep  Mr Bump and Mr Happy bruise coolers in the fridge and we get them out and place them on the itchy part. The coolness helps, as does the distraction of playing with Mr Bump and Mr Happy. 

Even James (12) does untold damage to his hands through night time scratching (as well as day-time). So much so that today he was almost struggling to bend his fingers enough to hold a pencil.

At least he and Calum are long past the stage where they need help settling again at night, but they often wake in the morning having broken their skin through scratching in their sleep.

Gloves/mits aren't the answer either as they just make their hands hotter and heat is the enemy of eczema!

One of these days I'm just going to have to write that book on looking after children with eczema and food allergies.

When I get the time!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Pancake Flipping

Although we don't observe Lent, that is no reason to not participate in Shrove Tuesday/Pancake Day.

Any excuse for some pudding, right?

And let's not get too pedanctic about the fact that what most people eat on Pancake Day are actually crepes.

They're still pudding, they still taste good and they are lots of fun for flipping!

The discount store, Aldi, had a pancake flipping challenge - film yourself guessing how many times you could flip your pancake and then go ahead and try flipping it.

These are the boys' efforts. 

James had a go on his own too, equaling Calum's record, but this one is very sweet.

I've saved the best till last!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Recipe of the Week - Pizza Swirls

Homemade pizza is a nice easy dinner, especially if you make the pizza dough in your bread maker or food mixer like I do.

A few weeks ago we saw these Pizza Rolls in the bakery section of the supermarket and that got me thinking about how we could just as easily make them at home.

The end result was even better than I had hoped. These Pizza Swirls are great picnic or packed lunch food and make a nice change from sandwiches. James is now always requesting in his packed lunch for school.

To make the swirls you will need:
~quantity of pizza dough
~tomato sauce (ketchup) and tomato puree
~grated cheddar cheese

When your dough is ready to roll out, instead of rolling it into a circle, roll it into a rectangle.

Spread a good few dollops of tomato sauce and puree all over the dough. I like to use the puree as well as the sauce as it thickens the sauce a bit.

Cover this tomato layer with a layer of cheese. You could use a traditional Mozzarella if you prefer but I don't want these to be too messy to eat by hand.

Now roll up like a swiss roll, starting from the long side.

Cut up the roll into slices about an inch thick and place on a baking tray.

Add a little more grated cheese to each slice.

Bake at 180 - 200°C for around 20 minutes.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Tea & Cake

It's the half term school holidays here just now and for once the weather is actually playing ball. February is often our harshest month here weatherwise but the last two days have seen the temperature go from freezing to the dizzy heights of 12°C.

I'm under no illusion that it will last though, as the forecast is for snow and ice to return by the weekend.

The boys have had a good holiday so far.We agreed that if they helped me with my Monday chores then that would mean I could do more stuff with them for the rest of the week.

Yesterday we spent the afternoon at the swimming pool. It was lots of fun but poor Alasdair's eczema is suffering a bit from it today.

Today the older two boys went to an archery class, along with one of their cousins.

And then tonight we got the table all laid out nicely for supper as my mum was coming down for a holiday.

Before heading out to the airport we set out my granny's china....

...added some flowers to the table (thanks to my beloved for these)... the teapot ready....

...and set out the cake

Then when we were back from the airport, and the boys were done showing granny all the new stuff they have got/made since the last time she was here (August), we added some freshly made bread to the table, filled up the teapot and had a lovely cosy supper.

Then it was time to show granny a few more Lego things that she might not have seen before!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Make it Monday - Wall Art


Well, I think that's what you would call it, but now that I think about it a bit more, it might not be!


I saw this phrase doing the round on Facebook recently and had it on my to-do list to make it prettier than Times New Roman so that I could hang it in the house.

I also had it on my to-do list to print out a few up to date photos of the boys, as well as some of them together with their cousins, to frame and also hang up in the house.

Then I had the lighbulb moment that the two would go perfectly together.

I used picnik (which is soon to be no more) to type up /the phrase using different fonts. Then I just saved it to my computer and printed it out.

All it needed then was a frame...........

.......and to be placed in position between the new photos I had printed out.

They sit very nicely above the biggest sofa in the living room.

What has everyone else been making this week?

Thanks to Keri-On for joining in so far, in fact even beating me to it this week!

Friday, 10 February 2012

What I'm loving this week...


Some of my favourite things in our household this week.

Story time with big brothers.

Actually the 'story' in the above picture is the Argos catalogue, but it's a popular piece of reading material in our house!

Football in the garden, despite the fact that it was only 1C outside and the ground was frozen solid.

Calum's entry for the design a t-shirt competition for the local Mod (Gaelic Music/Arts Competition).

Watching the ducks by the canal. Alasdair found them absolutely hilarious!

The reason for being at the canal was that my husband has booked a canal barge restaurant for dinner to celebrate his birthday in the spring. You only turn 40 once!

Some of the Vaelntine's cards we made at Gaelic mother & toddlers. (No photos of the pop up hearts inside though, but they worked!)

Evenings playing chess by the fire. I'm really no good at chess. It took me 45 minutes to beat 6 year old David - and then he won the next game we played!

Alasdair discovering the frozen water in his car......

........and water table.

And finally, getting to grips with a few more photo editing techniques!

These are the little man's favourite vehicles.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Some Valentines Planning

I explained my thoughts about how I like to spend Valentine's Day in a post last year, which you can read here

While I think that the whole Valentine's thing has been totally over-commercialised, I do think it is important to take time out and appreciate those that we love.

I'm not suggesting that this should only be on Valentine's Day (in fact we really do try and set aside a time especially for each other over each weekend, even more important with a husband who works away through the week) but if there is a day ear-marked for romance then why let it pass you by?

The whole of blog-land is filled with ideas for Valentine's Day and so here are a few of my favourites.

Last year I also shared these children's printable crafts here. I'm planning on doing the Mickey Mouse Cupcakes, Sweet Boxes and Flowers again this year with the boys, for daddy. Alasdair is a big Mickey Mouse fan now so I know he will enjoy making these.

Tomorrow morning at mother & toddlers I'm planning on making pop-up love heart cards (in Gaelic) with the wee ones. I found this great demo here.

As with last year, we are planning to have our Valentine's Night on Saturday evening as when the day falls my beloved will be working away.

Just this week I discovered this website, Love Actually, which is choc-full of ideas for a themed Valentine's Night. Just click on the 'Ideas' tab. 

So many ideas, in fact, that I struggled to choose one!

I think, though, that I have settled on a fondue night. I love a cheesy fondue, and it's been so long since we had one. Food always has to be first thing planned with me, so I'm thinking cheese fondue with a side of parma ham/pastrami/salad and then a chocolate fondue (or I may even dig out the chocolate fountain!) with loads of fresh fruit (and marshmallows). That would keep us both happy as my husband likes fruity puds and I like chocolate ones!

I'm just wondering if we will get some LEGO presents from the boys as we did last year! 
(See here)

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Make It Monday - On A Tuesday

Better late than never is a philosophy I rather like!

For today's Make It I would like to hand over to my littlest man who was busy icing some cupcakes this week.

All by himself.

There was a fair amount of 'one spoonful for the cake, one spoonful for me' going on but the cakes were just for ourselves anyway!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

A Few Self Portraits

While no1 son was sensible and downstairs doing some trombone practice, nos 2, 3 and 4 sons were wanting to test out the self portrait setting on the phone camera.

No3, you will notice, is by far the silliest! :-)

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Even More Excitement For The History Fan

Well firstly, well done to Wendy for knowing what a Turnbrochie was from last night's post! The turnbrochie was a little kitchen helper who had the job of standing by the fire all day long and turning the meat. He would have been about Calum's age and parents would feel very pleased to have their son doing such a job. It used to be said that you could spot a turnbrochie as one side of his face was red from standing so close to the fire.

As a continuation of their class history project about Mary Queen of Scots, Calum's class were today visiting Holyrood Palace. They had a guided tour which included them being shown the room where David Rizzio was murdered, amongst many other things.

The tour guide sounds like she really told them lots because Calum has done nothing but tell me about Mary, her husbands, her son, the palace, the paintings, the culture at the time, the Stewarts in general etc from when I picked him up from school until he went to bed nearly 6 hours later! 


He says the whole thing about Bonnie Prince Charlie (who he studied last year with equal amounts of enthusiasm) makes sense now as he realises that Charlie's claim to the throne came from being Mary's great-great-grandson. 

He has also just realised that Guy Fawkes was trying to blow up Mary's son with the gunpowder plot. He knew it was a king but not where they fitted into the whole family history. 

He (Calum) is off to sleep now. Hopefully not dreaming about Mary's gruesome end - as he brushed his teeth he asked me if I knew it had taken the executioner four attempts to chop off her head as he was so nervous. I didn't. 

That's him finished with historical trips until after Easter, when they go back to the castle again to film the drama again but this time in Gaelic.

That's my little history fan, second from the right, in his lord's costume.