Monday, 26 August 2013

Make it Monday - The Baking Boy

Calum (10) has been very keen to do lots of baking these last few weeks. Not just me making all the things he likes, but him learning how to bake them himself.
Last week we made some wheat and dairy free gingerbread using our trusty old recipe - and also one of the first recipes I shared on the blog, which you can find here.
He shared this photo with his friends on Instagram along with the caption 'had fun learning to make gingerbread with my mum today.' How sweet is that?


His favourite thing to bake is cupcakes, both the vanilla and the chocolate type. He has the recipe memorised and the only thing he needs help with is cracking the eggs in, as touching raw eggs will cause his hands to break out in hives.
As well as baking the cupcakes, he also takes great pride in decorating them nicely too.


And he very kindly lets Alasdair help lick the icing spoons too!


Look what an amazing job he does of the decor!


They taste as good as they look too.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

{Almost} Wordless Wednesday

Going to the park at the end of our street is such an ordinary thing to do that I never thought to photograph it before. But then I got to thinking that these are the sorts of things that childhoods are made up of, and that it would be good to have some sort of record of it, before memories fade and become a bit fuzzy. Perhaps it was the extra emotions of being pregnant that got me thinking this way, but I'm glad I snapped a few shots of the boys enjoying some 'ordinary' boyhood stuff!

Monday, 19 August 2013

Cast Free!

I can't quite believe it's been three weeks since the little man fractured his wrist but three weeks were up at the weekend and so he was able to get his cast off.


He didn't let anyone sign his cast except for his big buddy James. What did he ask James to draw on it? Why, Captain America's shield of course!



Boy did that cast get filthy after three weeks of constant playing outdoors!
I was curious to see how his skin had faired under the cast for those three weeks. After all, at least that wrist hadn't been scratched in that time and wouldn't have the usual broken eczema on it that his wrists usually do.
Well, three weeks without moisturising certainly took it's toll!


The night he got the cast off it felt like he was making up for three weeks of not being able to scratch that arm, waking up far more than usual throughout the night!


After lots of intensive moisturising his arm looks just like the other, and yes, there are a couple of broken patches of skin on his wrist again, but the bone has healed completely and he is using his arm just as before so for that we are thankful!


Thursday, 15 August 2013


A collection of sticks from the woods.


A couple of saws.


A couple of pen knives.


(A bit of supervision too, of course!)


All the ingredients needed to keep the bigger boys happy for a whole afternoon.




Tuesday, 13 August 2013

A special weekend

It's not often that we do anything fancy at the weekends. Or any other time for that matter!


But this past weekend was just a little bit different.


My husband's best man, who he has known since they were teenagers, was turning forty at the weekend and his wife organised a get together of a few of his oldest friends. The plan was for dinner in Inverness on Friday night and then everyone would attend a music concert together on Saturday afternoon/evening.


As Inverness is over 3 hours drive away from us it involved an overnight stay. With granny in place to look after the boys, we headed north on Friday afternoon.


Since we had just celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary the week before, my beloved thought it would be nice if we treated ourselves to a slightly posher hotel than the budget hotels we would normally have plumped for.



Dinner was in a really lovely restaurant. The food was delicious and the company was great. Lots of laughter over the evening. We were enjoying ourselves so much that we didn't notice we were the last people left in the restaurant!
When we decided to take a photo of each side of the table, the girls all grouped together nicely.... for the boys, well, I have no idea what they were doing....


On Saturday, after the delights of having a full Scottish cooked breakfast - complete with an unlimited supply of toast and marmalade, fruit, pastries etc - we spent the rest of the morning wandering around Inverness.
We enjoyed the simple pleasure of looking around a bookshop at leisure, choosing the books we wanted to look at rather than spending the time in the children's section. To be fair, my husband gets to do this whenever we go to a book shop but anyway...
In the early afternoon we took in a local shinty match. Or rather, my beloved took in a local shinty match while I enjoyed a very peaceful spot of crochet time. It was a good shinty game though, and I kept finding myself distracted by the happenings on the pitch!
Then it was time to meet up with the others at the concert. The concert was a rather special one as it was the 40th anniversary concert of a band that my husband and his friends all loved as teens in the 80s and students in the 90s.
Back in 1990 my husband and his future best man won a competition to meet the band backstage before and after one of their shows. Just look at some of the hairstyles in this photo!


My husband is front left and his best man, playing it cool, front right.


And here they both are 23 years later at the anniversary concert, this time hubs is on the right.



It's kind of hard to explain the music of Runrig to anyone who hasn't heard of them. They brought Gaelic songs into the mainstream, although they have just as many English songs as Gaelic. Their appeal is really wide ranging which was obvious at the concert. There was a huge mix of ages there, from those of my parents generation and older right down to teenagers.


We hadn't actually thought we would make it to the concert at first as the tickets were so expensive but then another friend of my husbands couldn't go and very kindly gave us his tickets!



We also didn't think that we would stick around at the concert for very long, largely due to the fact that being 30 weeks pregnant and standing for hours at a music concert are probably not a good combination, but it was all very civilised really. There were plenty people who brought picnic blankets along, as did we, so in between the supporting acts - one of whom was mine and the boys' current favourite bands, Manran, and who were amazing - I could join those of an older generation and have a wee seat down! Then by the time Runrig came on, three hours after the show had started, I still felt pretty good. I didn't, however, think I should join in when everyone started jumping in time with the first song!


Because we still had to make the 3 hour drive back home, we didn't stick around for the whole concert. We left at about 9ish, arriving home soon after midnight. It was a great time to leave. Later on when the concert finished, and 10, 000 people all tried to leave, it took our friends 2 hours to get out of the car park field!


The boys were all long tucked up in bed when we got home but when Alasdair sneaked into our bed at some point through the night he crawled in, kissed me and said 'I love you mammy'. It was wonderful to get some special time away with my hubby but also equally special to have these boys waiting at home for us.


Friday, 9 August 2013

29 weeks



With all the busy-ness of the summer, this second trimester has really flown by and without even noticing it we are now in the third trimester - the final stretch!


I've been so thankful for great energy levels throughout this last trimester. Although occasionally, and usually after an exceptionally busy day or two (like when we were getting ready for the agricultural show a few weeks back), I would find myself collapsing into bed earlier than usual, on the whole it was business as usual. I don't want to speak too soon, but so far those energy levels are continuing.


The only negative at the moment is that the sickness is still there some mornings. There seems to be no reason or pattern to it. Some mornings I wake up fine. Other mornings, well, not so much.


Baby has been increasingly more active over the last 7 weeks since I last updated. Lots and lots of regular punches and kicks which is so lovely.


I always think these weeks before getting too big and uncomfortable are so special. The horrible sickness of those early months is gone, baby is making his/her presence more and more felt and you still have fairly normal energy levels to keep up with the usual routines.


Now that bump is obviously a baby bump - and not at the stage where strangers are not sure whether they should comment or not as it could just be the result of too much cake - I've actually been surprised at how many lovely comments I've received when out and about with all the boys.


There have been those who ask the obvious, 'Are you hoping for a girl this time?', which I had expected and which hasn't actually bothered me as much as I thought it would. But there have been far more people who have commented how wonderful it is to see people having a big family.


Only today in the supermarket I was asked first 'Are they all yours?' and then 'is this number 5 on the way?' and then told 'good for you, that's lovely.' Which is just the right thing to say to a moderately pregnant woman, half way round the supermarket, pushing a trolley full of a weeks worth of food while shepherding four boys around at the same time!


Now that we are heading into the last 10 (or perhaps 12 given previous late arrivals) weeks or so, I suppose we as a family better get discussing names for this little one!


Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Goodbye to an old friend

We are a pet free household, for the simple reason that the boys' eczema and asthma is bad enough without the extra strains that having a furry animal in the house would cause.


That's not to say that they wouldn't love to have a pet one day. Especially a dog.


Because of their love for dogs and the fact that they can't have one of their own just now, Auntie Anna's dog, Cuilean, became something of a surrogate pet for them. I've shared plenty of photos on here of the boys and Cuilean before.



Sadly, Cuilean got really sick really quickly. A little over a month ago he was a fit and healthy collie dog, who would take part in agility shows most weekends. Those weekends that he wasn't jumping over obstacles and winning rosettes he would be walking in the mountains with my sister in law.



Then suddenly he started having trouble with his back legs. The vets thought it was arthritis at first and prescribed some medication for him. Rather than get better he kept worsening and the vets weren't sure what was wrong. This week he was seen by a specialist team who discovered that he was suffering from a really aggressive bone cancer in his spine and the best thing to do would be to put him to sleep.


The boys were able to go round and see him one last time yesterday and say goodbye to their old friend.



They are a little down at the news today, especially Calum and David, but also a little eager to help Auntie Anna choose a new puppy when she feels she is ready to do so.




Monday, 5 August 2013

Make it Monday - Rescue Helicopter!

Calum was reading my post last week about their LEGO purchases and when he came to this picture of himself and David building their new sets he asked if I had taken a photo of the completed sets to share.

Well I hadn't, but I told him I would take one to share this week instead.
He was then very keen that I point out that it didn't taken them four days to build their new sets! They were both completed on the day that they started them.
Now that's cleared up, here is Calum's new helicopter, complete with winch man. It also came with a little catamaran whose sailer needs rescuing from the shark (also included!)
And here is the helicopter in its new home on one of our LEGO shelves.


He wasn't just building LEGO this weekend though.
Calum asked on Saturday morning if he could bake cupcakes and ice them himself. Of course I agreed, but I asked him to make a double batch as I knew Alasdair would want to ice some as well.



Look at how neatly Calum piped those swirls of icing onto his cakes!


Don't worry, some of Alasdair's icing did make it onto his cakes too and not just into his mouth!


Friday, 2 August 2013

Things I'm Loving....


There's a couple of weeks' worth of photos I want to share as this week's Thing's I'm Loving!

We have been back home from our holiday at my mum and dad's for over a week now but the first half of the photos are from the last week of our stay there - since they didn't upload properly until now.

Well, you know we made the most of having those beaches on our doorstep!?

This was one of our last afternoons at the beach.

No matter how warm the weather is, that sea is awfully cold! It doesn't take long to acclimatise to it but those first steps in are a bit of a shock! 

It's not long though before everyone is enjoying running in and out of the sea.

Alasdair enjoys making sand cement...

...but then everyone decided to take it a step further and build a river to the sea.

Just practising his surfing moves...

After a while dad decided that a game of water rugby would be fun. Although, it didn't involve him going into the water!

We also enjoyed a few barbecues in our last week, complete with official photographer.

And ticked 'Toasting Marshmallows' off our list of summer things to do.

There was more fun in the garden......

...chasing Roscoe!


Onto this week.

After the jam making last week, I just had to make a batch of homemade scones to compliment the jam. A touch of clotted cream finished them off very nicely!

These two boys got new onesies. Calum loves his Monsters one but the weather is a bit hot for it just now. He puts it on after his bath, wears it until bedtime and then takes it off! I'm sure it will be all too soon that the weather will turn and cosy onesies will be the order of the day again.

Our biggest boy is away at camp this week so there have been a couple of treats for the other boys. 

Firstly, we finally got to go and see this movie. It was so, so funny!

And secondly, we took a wee train trip west to Glasgow where we met my in-laws for lunch.

The highlight for the boys wasn't seeing Granny & Grandad though, much as they enjoyed that, but hunting down Scotland's only LEGO shop!

We spent so long in there!

The boys finally decided what to spend the rest of their summer holiday money on.

On our way back to the train station I discovered my dream shop, Cath Kidston. I imagine that the way I felt going round that shop is exactly how the boys felt going round the LEGO shop! So many pretty things for the house, fabrics, clothes, more things for the house....

I must say that I was the perfect model of self restraint and didn't buy a thing! It is, however, my birthday in about 6 weeks and I got lots of ideas :-)

Once home again there was a hive of LEGO building activity.

And that's it! All caught up!

We are all looking forward to James coming home from camp tomorrow. His little buddy has especially missed him and is eager to show him his plaster cast. I have my washing up to date and the machine empty, ready for him to throw the contents of his rucksack straight in!

Have a great weekend!