Thursday, 6 December 2018

Christmas is coming

With December's arrival there is little denying the Christmas is nearly here. Excitement levels are already unnecessarily high in the house. As we're going to be out of the house from a few days before Christmas we tend to get the tree and decorations a bit earlier than many, so this past weekend it was time for the usual trek to get a tree.

Queueing for a visit to Santa, funded by a very generous Granny.


We usually get a Forestry Commission tree as the seem a bit more ethically and environmentally sound. We realised that there was a place at Aberfoyle, a wee bit closer than the one we usually go to, so we tried the new place. It's great - and definitely will be worth a visit in the summer for some picnicking....
Forest related activities!

With Christmas coming ti's definitely time to clear the thank you letters for Miriam and Lydia's birthdays. Here are most of them.

We decorated the house too!




Outside as well.

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Fireworks

Our house is well sites for a quick wander up to the school playground to watch the spectacular Bridge of Allan fireworks. So that's what we did!

The girls had a great time, though a bit oddly they weren't all that keen on the sparklers, so we now have some spare ones if anyone wants them.






Naomi would also like to share her amazing stash that she got for knocking on people's doors and telling jokes.



Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Decorating

We've well and truly moved in now. Jay was away last weekend with Esther, so the remaining girls and I filled up our weekend with a bit of decorating. Lots of old carpet on the floor and some old clothes on, and we made Lydia and Esther's room pink! Lydia is very pleased with the result.

As a side note - all of the girls did a very good job of the tricky edge parts - and Naomi did a particularly good job of the awkward behind-the-radiator bit that I dislike so much. Well done!





Friday, 9 November 2018

To my beautiful, wonderful Miriam

Miriam, you have been waiting for this day for *so* long. So many of your friends turned six a while ago and yet you have been waiting your turn. I'd say patiently but despite your many wonderful qualities patience is not one of them.

You have always been a wonderful child with such a sense of fun. You continue to have a laugh that comes from deep inside your soul and it brings me so much joy to hear you use it. This year you have very much grown into the young girl you are. You are learning so much and so fast and you are growing taller as well as maturing.


You love to be outside. You love to be in nature. And you continue to love a stick.



You like to be doing whatever Naomi is doing and actually, for the most part, the two of you are really good friends. I love that and pray that this will continue for the rest of your lives. You look out for each other and that makes me happy. I am so pleased you have each other.



You love to learn. About anything. You're ability to read has massively come on this year and so there is little to hold you back now. You love to find out how things work, I imagine you turning out to be some sort of engineer or scientist of some sort.


You are the most determined child I have ever met, some might call you stubborn, and we are daily learning how to work together to use that as a power for good. Some days I don't get that right, I am sorry for those days. I love you so much, the thing is, I am pretty "determined" too.

I will be praying this year that as you grow and mature more that you will be sure of who you are and that you will learn whose you are. I will be praying that when people look at you, they will see something of the likeness of God, after all you are created in his likeness.  I will be praying that you learn not to "let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity." (1 Timothy 4:12) because you have the potential to influence so many things around you.

Keep being you.  Love you! Thankful for you.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Fabulous Four

Oh my goodness, another birthday and, Lydia, this time it is your turn, and you are FOUR.


You are awesome, Lydia. You are the girl wearing a princess dress, welly boots and a superhero cape. You are the girl who doesn't care what anyone else is doing, you are doing what makes you happy.  Often what makes you happy is doing what other people are doing (by people, I mean you (big) sisters), you love to be in the thick of it.  You love to join in the big girl games and are revelling in the fact that you are getting to be a big girl and often you really can join in the big girl games.



You love to have an adventure. Trees are to be climbed, streams to be crossed, hills to be climbed (then, ideally, rolled down) and rocks to be made into some sort of structure. On our recent holiday you had an amazing time building a den, you were so happy and I loved spending that day with you.


I have to confess, that sometimes with all the busyness of life, sometimes I feel like I forget you a bit.  I had a bit of a stress in the run up to this birthday feeling like I didn't know you because I didn't know what to get you for your birthday. I have since decided I don't know what to get 4 year olds as I remember having the same struggle with your big sisters too, but I am sorry that sometimes you get a bit forgotten. We've never left you anywhere but sometimes you just get dragged to things your big sisters are doing. I don't think there is much I can do about that, but I really am sorry.

You are so kind to your sisters (when you aren't fighting with them, you are sisters, after all).  You like to make sure that I know if anyone is upset and you are quick to dish out a cuddle to anyone who needs. You love to play with Esther and you get very sad if she needs to go for a sleep after you get home from nursery. I love watching you play together and I think you're going to have a brilliant time in the next few months when she starts to get better at playing.


Mainly, you are you. "I am NOT four, I am LYDIA!" You are the princess dress, welly boot wearing girl who knows what she wants.



My prayer for you this year, is that as well as knowing who you are, you will start to really know that you are God's princess, adopted into His family and that He loves you so, so much.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,which God prepared in advance for us to do.                                                     Ephesians 2:10

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Drawers

We finally shifted all the decorating stuff out of the play room cupboard, and got ourselves some drawers to put in there instead. Miriam and Esther helped me out with the construction - in fact Miriam really did put in several screws herself, and did an excellent job otherwise of fetching things. Well done her!



Esther also got a couple of things quite effectively.


Deservedly pleased with herself!

Saturday, 6 October 2018

New office

I've been in my new job a few months now (proper teaching starts for me in a couple of weeks!), and one of the perks of Stirling is that all lecturers get a pretty generous office to themselves. This is apparently because the university was built with the intention that staff would host small tutorials of a few students in their rooms, but higher education changed pretty soon after that to the larger groups we have today. It is still useful to have space for meetings with project groups, and frequent meetings with other researchers though. If one is having a hard day it's also good just to shut the door and have a lie down! I know one person who had an easy chair for such things, and another with a full hammock, but I'm not quite there yet.

I had one of these rooms before, but shared with my Greek chum Michael (now at Lancaster University) - but this one is all mine! I posted a few pics before, and here's me now all settled in...

First up, my old office door. That's my poster to the right, it's now moved to my new room.
I had - rather by accident - spread out to fill two desks in my old room.

Research Fellow no more!

See?

The view out of my window
 Now the new room... first, in its empty state pre-moving in.


and now with all my stuff! 
 
Look at those lovely fast machines behind my chair. Great.

Umbrella collection behind the door.

I didn't have a photo of my Japanese umbrella before. Here it is.

Thursday, 27 September 2018

More Baking

Time for a delicious post... a delightful mixture of date night baking and cooking with the children. This lot spans October 2016 to last week so some of the child pictures are a bit on the young side!

Little comment here except to say that most of the below did taste as good as it looks.

This has become the indulgent meal of choice. Waffles with everything.

Battenburg!

Next up, we had a go at crumpets...


Making biscuits

Some kind of sponge. We forget exactly what....


more biscuits!

and cookies!

My favourite is profiteroles...



These coconut bites were brilliant.
I remember them going very quickly indeed.


Bakewells. One comment we received was that they "really taste like Bakewells".
I think that's an endorsement.





Home made breadsticks.

These were legendary...




Roulade (this was just last week)

Swiss roll.






More profiteroles!
This time with creme patissiere filling rather than cream.




Obligatory Yorkshire puds for roast chicken

A couple of years ago we got a cake pop maker for Christmas. Here are some cake pops!
Usually they go on a stick but they taste as good without one.

A waffle stack bookend to the deliciousness.