w.w.a. a few days late

I’m posting this late because I was far too busy friday night. Normally my Friday nights involve mustering up the tiny bits of energy I have left after a long week to put my kids to bed, and then plopping down on the sofa to download the weeks worth of food photos, and then watch some mindless entertainment. Exciting, right?  This past Friday was different though, I got to go see Ben Folds with my favourite guy, and it was fabulous. I have never in my life seen someone play the piano like that, completely amazing.

Well here are the photos from last week, Monday through Thursday this time, Friday we ordered in pizza from this little take-out place across the way, Casa Blanca, the best thin crust pizza around.

Monday

Monday: Waffles with white sauce and sausages. I realize this is not the most nutritious meal, but it is delicious, and a family tradition. I grew up eating these waffles, and they are a treat for our family every once in a while. The ‘white sauce’ is a creamy custard mixed with whipped cream, one of my favourite substances on earth.

 

Tuesday

 

Tuesday we had {leftover} sausage, mushroom and green onion quiche. Apparently i was  wanting brunch foods for dinner at the beginning of the week. I don’t make quiche very often, but when I do I absolutely love it!

 

 

 

Wednesday

 

Wednesday we had a group of people over from church so I decided to cook the huge silverside beef roast I had in the freezer. Wanting to go with a mexican themed dinner I slow roasted the beef in stock with jalepenos. We ate it in tortillas with rice and cheese and salsa!

 

Wednesday's Dessert!

 

I can’t take credit for this dessert, my guests brought it, but it was so pretty I had to post the picture. Vanilla ice-cream, cinnamon sugar crispy tortillas, with chili-chocolate drizzled over top & sprinkled with cinnamon. Such a great finish to our Mexican themed meal!

 

Thursday

A few weeks ago I mentioned I had an amazing Risotto, with red peppers. Well I tried to re-create this Thursday, and it turned out pretty well. I definitely think Risotto is a new favourite food. Unfortunately I mistakenly opened up an expensive bottle of wine {that my husband was saving} to put in the Risotto. Woopsie. I’ll need to be more careful!

 

Well now I feel caught up! Enjoy your week! I hope it’s filled with sunshine as ours is supposed to be.

a few of my favourite things

In the wake of all the heaviness I shared yesterday, this morning I got to read about a new baby boy, born to a dear College friend. Life is so precious! I wanted to lighten things up a bit today so I thought I’d share a few of my favourite things, and definitely topping that list is newborn babies. The way they smell, the way they curl up in a tiny ball, the way they know and need their mamas. I’ll stop now before I make Mike nervous.

Stella just a few weeks old

Border Collies. I am a total dog freak, I love them. Every dog I see is my best friend, and I can’t help myself, I have to give their ears a scratch. Now living in the city, and in a flat {that we do not own}, means that for the last 6 and a half years I have gone without a dog. Someday our family will be complete, and we will have another border collie.

our dog Maggie looked just like this

I love this lotion {couldn’t figure out how to get the picture any larger, sorry}. It has just the right scent combination, a little bit of vanilla, a little bit of flowers. I’m obsessed, and have all the co-ordinating bath products to prove it.

I have a pair of these ballet flats in blue, they are SO comfortable {I think they look great in silver too}. I can’t wait for Spring so I can wear them again!

Coffee. Coffee dates. Cappuccionos. Iced Coffees. Coffee ice-cream. Americanos. I love it all. I most often drink Starbucks coffee. It’s one of those places and always feels familiar, no matter what country I’m in. It was Olivia’s first landmark she recognised just after we moved to Glasgow. I’m not sure, however, how I feel about the new logo, which was on my tall cup of filter coffee I had today.

new logo

Knitting. I love how relaxing it is, the repetitive motion and the sound of the needles ‘clinking’ together.  All the lovely colours and textures of yarn. I’m not sure if it’s the actually knitting or the yarn that I love more.

Granola and yogurt with {frozen} blueberries on top. I eat this everyday for breakfast, and would probably eat it for lunch and dinner too if I lived alone, and didn’t need to provide nutritionally balanced meals for others. I love the crunch of the granola, mixed with the tang of the yogurt {I usually use plain or greek and honey mixed in}. The addition of frozen blueberries came after my brother visited this past fall, they are so delicious.

Well that’s all for today. Just thought I’d give you a wee glimpse into my favourites.

old friends

I found out this morning that an old friend of mine died last night in a car accident. His wife is in critical condition, pregnant with their first baby. He was an old friend-of-the-family kind of friend. I haven’t spoken to or seen him in years, my memories are from long ago, family camping trips and meals together, that type of thing. All I can think of is how horrible it would to lose a husband, or a son.

Last week I found out another old friend of mine had a baby die in her womb, she was 9 weeks pregnant. Again I haven’t seen her in years, but my heart hurts for her.

Yesterday I found out there was a devastating earthquake in a city in New Zealand where another friend lives. I haven’t seen her in a year, since she moved away from Glasgow. They are a family of five, with 3 young girls, I can’t help but think of how terrifying it must have been.

Trying to make sense of it all I look for a reason, a connection, a lesson. Of course it’s not about ME, I don’t need to make it so, but I wonder how, in the midst of these tragedies, do I help? I am a helper. It’s how I’m wired, and I think it’s how I cope. My first instinct is to try to think of anything that will be even slightly helpful. I can’t bring the grieving family a meal, I can’t take care of my friends other two kids so she can have some quiet time to process. I can’t offer any sort of assistance to friends on the other side of the world.

Putting myself in their shoes, I have been praying. But the first question that comes to mind… do they feel comfort knowing that God is sovereign? Even in these tragedies? I will continue to intercede, it’s something i can do. All day my heart has been heavy, the depth of loss these people and their families are feeling is overwhelming. Life is so fragile. I don’t have any answers, or even good insights, just heaviness, countered by hopefulness that God will use this for his glory, somehow.

W.W.A

What We Ate only includes 3 meals this week, Wednesday I ate at a friends house so the family had Costco’s oven chicken fingers and oven chips {fries}, hence no picture. Today I spent the morning at the spa, and was far too chilled out for the rest of the day to cook a proper meal, so we had veg and fruit plates and porridge…

Monday

 

Monday: Lasagna and salad with french bread. This lasagna was made with my Mom’s tomato sauce, the best sauce ever, in my opinion.

Tuesday

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday: Chicken Taco Salad. This is a favourite of ours {or at least for Mike and I, my kids don’t exactly ‘do’ salad}, the simple dressing of thousand island with a big of sugar and taco seasoning added is a great topping.

 

Thursday

 

 

Thursday: Thai Coconut Noodles with Chicken. I made this a few weeks ago, it’s becoming a staple for us and I absolutely love it!

 

 

 

 

I mentioned earlier I was too chilled out to cook properly today because of a visit to the spa. I used my Valentine’s Day gift from Mike, for a body scrub, massage and facial, an hour and a half of bliss. I also received a sweet gift from my kids, thought I’d share it with you. Happy Weekend! x

a different hair day

I went to this salon yesterday, for a morning of bliss. I love going there. My ‘hair lady’ {saying stylist sounds way too posh for me} doesn’t try and chat me up, we just decide what she’s going to do and leave it at that. It’s calm and relaxing, and they keep bringing coffee! Well I went in thinking I’d like to do something a bit different with the colour. I used to play with the length all they time, I would grow it out ’til just past my chin just so I could chop it all off into a pixie cut. I’ll go back to that eventually, but this last year or so I’ve been just letting it grow, adding in a fringe {bangs} also. I had a dark auburn colour in mind something like this:

 

 

 

 

 

I ended up with colour that looks more like this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think I’m ok with it. It’s bold, which is what I want to be, but it also makes me uncomfortable because it draws attention. That’s kinda how I roll, trying to be confident and bold, but fighting insecurity along the way. Don’t we all fight against insecurity in one way or another? I hold myself to this unrealistic standard, ie. self-confident, ‘together’ {as in has it all together}, patient, outgoing, organised, fit, healthy, etc etc etc. I set myself up for failure when I compare myself to this fantasy woman who is all of those things. She really is just a fantasy, and I am reality. My reality is that I am an imperfect wife, mother, friend and daughter, but I am trying my best and growing into myself. Maybe I’m not always confident, or patient or a healthy eater {I love carbs!} and I certainly don’t have it all together, but I’m loyal, and I love my family and friends dearly and I’ll do anything I can to help you in your hour of need. And that’s enough for now. So I’ll wear my slightly-darker-than-expected hair colour with my version of confidence, and try not to take myself too seriously.

valentine’s day

first casualty

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day, I’m sure you knew that already. Well it didn’t seem like a day for romance and celebrating love around here. The kids watched Star Wars: Clone Wars, over and over, and I spent hours working on the chair. I had great plans to make heart-shaped, pink-iced cookies with the kids, but alas, the chair and Star Wars took over. I did manage to make a nice meal {lasagne – a favourite for both Mike and I} and dessert. I then proceeded to fall asleep on the sofa at 9. How romantic is that?

I got the back cushion of the chair {mostly} finished. It involved a few mistakes {okay maybe a lot of them}. Pictured above is the needle I bent while trying to sew in the zipper, without using the zipper foot. I tried to sew over the zipper tab thingy and that’s what happened to my needle. I also had some crazy seams going on {I’m pretty certain using the zipper foot would have helped with that, for the second cushion I plan to locate and use said zipper foot}. I attached one of side pieces of the cushion the wrong direction and had to rip that out as well. The cushion is also slightly over-sized, I added a bunch of batting to it today and I’m hoping it’ll look fine once I’ve tufted it. I bought a mega-huge needle to do that with today, it’s kinda scary! Tomorrows plan includes getting my hair done {priorities} and then starting on the bottom cushion. I’m going to try and sucker sweet talk Mike into painting the frame for me, we’ll see how that goes. x

back cushion finished - sort of

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh one more thing, I discovered a new addiction today… I heart them.

WWA and swimming…

Week 2 of what we ate was another adventure! Day 1’s meal didn’t get quite enough time in the oven {slightly crunchy potatoes anyone?}, day 2’s meal was eaten before I remembered to take a photo, woopsie {but I did get a photo of the amazing carrot cupcakes}, on what should have been day 3 Mike & I went out for a date {here}, I had the most amazing risotto which was totally photo-worthy, but I didn’t bring the camera, and days 4 & 5 had a bit of a mexican flair to them…

Day 1:Honey-lemon-garlic Roasted Chicken with Root Veg. Not exactly photogenic, and I sorta ‘lost’ the photo… Don’t ask.

Day 2: Broccoli, Chicken and Cheese casserole with Salad and The Hummingbird Cafe’s Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese icing {I don’t often do casseroles, they make my children cry, literally, but this was the 2nd half of a double batch I made for friends who just welcomed their first baby boy, that’s also why there was dessert}

 

Day 4: Chicken Tortilla Soup, another one of my favourites from the Pioneer Woman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 5: Keeping with the Pioneer Woman theme {and because I had some cream to use up from day 2, and some green chilies to use up from day 4}, White Chicken Enchiladas. I love food containing canned green chilies, it’s such a pity they don’t sell them in this country…

 

 

The other big event today {aside from enjoying White Chicken Enchilada deliciousness with a dear friend} was swimming. If you know me, you know I don’t exactly enjoy swimming. Especially indoor, cold water, children splashing you in the face swimming. In my opinion pools are meant to be enjoyed as an optional cooling off place while sunbathing. Seeing as I live in Scotland my preferred poolside enjoyment is not exactly an option, and my children {especially my oldest} happen to think splashing around in cold-ish water is good fun. Since there was no school today, and Mike was able to join us, we went swimming. I have to admit, once I got over having my faced splashed repeatedly, I had a great time playing with Olivia and Noah. Stella preferred to only go in the pool where she could touch the ground at all times, the baby splash area. Noah jumped in off the edge over and over again, Olivia and Noah and I raced across the pool and generally splashed around. I’m not saying I want to do it again tomorrow, but I surprised myself by enjoying our time at the pool, and it was good to get over myself and do something purely for my kid’s enjoyment. We’ll see what adventures tomorrow holds…

i’ll pencil you in

This week has been the first of introducing the new homework schedule at our house. Homework gets mixed reviews around here, Olivia resists it, Noah loves it, and Stella demands it {what’s new there?}. It’s a bit late in the game to introduce a schedule {6 months into the school year} but it’s something I’ve been meaning/wanting/needing to do for a long while. I love a schedule, I need the structure or else I waste time days so easily. Ours is pretty simple, Monday is Maths, Tuesday is Topic, and Wednesday is Words{or spelling}, and Thursday we finish up whatever needs doing. Monday I sat down with Olivia to work on multiplication tables. This has been at the back of my mind for quite some time, I knew she needed help, and I’m SO glad I took the time. I found this great website that helps to explain the little tricks to learning the times tables. When I spent a few minutes with Olivia working out of a book she said “I never knew what they meant when they said ‘times’, now I do!”.  Aside from the fact that I was shocked no teacher had properly explained this to her, I’m glad I took the time to start. She’s been excited to do maths ever since.

I’ve been trying to do better with time management in general this last while. Along with the kids homework schedule I’m trying to implement a schedule for myself as well. I’m constantly struggling to muster up energy between 3 and 6 pm, probably the most demanding hours of my day {aside from the morning rush hour before school}. The problem is that, as with most people, it’s my lowest point of the day, low energy, low blood sugar, low emotional strength {ie. self-control to deal calmly with demanding children}. I have no problem spending time with people in the mornings, but I’m finding that if I’m using up my “reserves” meeting with people {or shopping, which I may or may not enjoy/waste mornings doing}, I’m often neglecting the home tasks {ie. grocery shopping, tidying, prepping supper}. When these tasks are neglected, and I’ve used up all my people energy before the kids are home from school, disaster often ensues. When I’m tired {shopping tires me out}, hungry {don’t always eat the best lunches}, and overwhelmed {breakfast dishes still out?!}, I am not the best mommy to my little ones. And so I am trying to make wiser choices. I want the few hours my kids do get with me each day {they’re in school for SO much of the day} to be quality hours. Even as I’m writing this Noah has come in wanting me to lay with him…. Do I ‘pause’ the writing to go snuggle with my little boy {yes! yes!} or do I push through to finish the task?

I’m afraid my task-drivenness will have to be discussed another day, I’ve got a wee boy who needs a cuddle… x

the luckiest

Mike’s taking me to see Ben Folds in a few weeks… I’m so excited! Here’s one of my favourites {don’t think there’ll be an orchestra with him when we see him.}.

Every time I hear that song I get a bit sappy… but it also helps me to remember that I really do have so much to be thankful for. Sometimes I get stuck in my own head, bogged down with the tasks of everyday life, and I forget to be thankful. I literally have to make my own thankful list. This is also something I have Olivia do when she’s stuck in complain mode, I have her write down 5 things she’s thankful for {and I’m sure I’ll use it on Noah and Stella too once they can write!}.  So this week I’m on the quest to be thankful, to remember that I am the luckiest {although I don’t think it’s got much to do with luck!}.

w-w-a aka ‘what we ate’

Welcome to the first installment of what we ate! It’s been an eventful food week around here, the pressure was on knowing that I’d be taking photos of what we ate {we must have veg!}. We happened to have guests for dinner twice this week so there was the awkward pause before eating where I tried to take a decent photo {still need that dslr lesson – thankfully I have a dear friend willing to teach, photos should improve soon!}. I only missed one day, Tuesday, when Mike put a chicken breast roast in the oven for me {along with parsnips and chips(fries), his choice} since I was in a meeting that extended into our usual 5.00 eating time, I got home later on, scarfed it down and forgot to take a photo. Yes I know that’s a ridiculously early time to eat, I get flack for it regularly from my Continental European friends who don’t eat until 7 at the earliest. We started eating supper early when Olivia was little, and haven’t looked back. *Confession* I often end up eating a second mini-meal around 9. Well, let’s get to the photos.

Monday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Monday: Butter Chicken by the Pioneer Woman, the photo doesn’t do it justice, although it was that orange, it was delightful.

Wednesday: Mushroom & Leek Pork Chops with mash & green beans. This sauce is creamy and infused with port, so yummy.

Thursday: Thai coconut noodles with peanut butter sauce. We were eating with a vegetarian {who eats fish} so I added in cooked prawns, usually I serve it with chicken. I love the sauce, I want to take a bath in it, I realise that would be very gross.

Friday: A quick easy staple in our house, Pancetta with Leek Pasta, also by the Pioneer Woman. I love her.

It was a fun week of cooking, like I said earlier knowing I was going blog about our meals made me plan just a bit better, which is part of what I was hoping for.

Here’s a quick shot of how we ended our Friday night {before the kids went to bed and I watched a scary movie}.

Noah's new book "Manfred the Baddie"