30 May, 2013


Sebastian Grey is something special.

He loves the colour yellow and he loves "aggs" (read: eggs). He's a helpful boy and isn't ever into much mischief. He thinks flowers are pretty and that boats and backhoes are the most exciting thing this earth holds; he can't get enough time with his Papa.

I hope he never stops protecting his sisters and still believes my kisses are magical for a long time yet. We pray his quiet and tender spirit will be used for big things.

that's a hummus-dipped banana in his hand, in case you were wondering

this is something like a little boy's heaven on earth. 

26 May, 2013


our view looking back, walking up to the farm.

proper football.
determined boy made it all the way through the castle tunnels with his Papa.

swings are always a favourite.

"no no, Pippa."
Hay is not for eating.

lunch view.

We've had some warm and sunny days here lately. Yesterday was 63°, and one of the most beautiful days yet this year, so we walked to Allanhill-- a fruit and animal farm less than a mile from our house. They're known for their berries-- not to mention the phenomenal views of St Andrews-- but have farm animals and a fantastic outdoor play area complete with a hay bale castle, seesaw, tire swing and sandbox, swings, slides, and play fort. Needless to say, our littles were beside themselves.

We spent three hours enjoying the play things, then had lunch at the little farm cafe.

A friend we ran into there said the animals are usually a hit as there are piglets and chicks and all sorts of darling farm creatures, but they were inside yesterday because of the heatwave.  

The seesaw was a favourite, and I had a teeny strawberry tart that I have a feeling I will crave. Our littles even came home with sunburnt cheeks (in Scotland, that is really saying something). It's safe to say we'll be back before the end of the season. 

25 May, 2013


This week Peter has officially finished half of his degree at St Andrews.  This week this official offer letter from Walter Scott came in the mail. And this week we are also in the final stages of securing housing for the first part of our summer.

In three weeks we'll be packing our belonging in St Andrews and heading for Edinburgh where we'll spend part of the summer while Peter interns with the investment team at Walter Scott, a global investment management firm.

I will write more on this opportunity in the weeks to come. We couldn't be more elated; this opportunity is huge.

I am thankful to my husband for doing hard things, for dreaming big, and for bringing us all on this adventure.

What a glorious journey we are on.


Sometimes when the weather is extra beautiful, I wake my children up from their naps to get outside while it lasts.

Here are some photos from the recent gorgeous weather -- short naps and still smiling. We love the sea.

Katharina followed Sebastian knee-deep into the water and fell flat on her back. She didn't care one bit.

on the hunt for sea glass and shells.

the North Sea and West Sands

we spotted 18 ducklings between two mama ducks.
two babes.

16 May, 2013


If you're like us, you're wary of dyed body butters laden with difficult-to-pronounce ingredients and potent chemical-flowery smells stored in BPA-plastic bottles.

I thought I was at least semi-careful of what I put in and on my body before. Then I had babies, and I've never been more cautious of what we bring into our house.

I made lotion yesterday inspired by Mommypotamus' recipe and was pleasantly surprised by the result.

I'd say the proportions of liquid and beeswax can be changed within reason to create a light facial moisturiser or a richer body butter, so anyone could be happy with this. Over here most of us are struggling with dry Scottish wind-related skin right now so I made ours pretty thick for faces and bodies. 

It's quickly absorbed into the skin and doesn't leave a terribly greasy feeling. Even when made thicker, it still has a light and whipped feeling. We'll definitely do it again!

Homemade Lotion

3 tablespoons pure organic beeswax, grated
3/4 cup oil (olive, coconut, avocado)
3/4 cup water, herbal tea or rose water - at room temperature or slightly warmer
3-4 drops pure essential oil of choice 

You can follow the link to Mommypotomus' video tutorial, or here are my step-by-step instructions:

  • Create double boiler on stovetop and add oil and grated beeswax. Stir until beeswax is melted and no longer visible.
  • Let cool for two minutes.
  • Pour water, tea or rose water into blender or food processor with tunnel at top. While blender is running, slowly add oil/beeswax mixture, a drop or two at a time. This process should take about 10 minutes. (If you hadn't done it before, you've just emulsified!).
  • Lastly, add essential oil(s) of choice and pulse for a few seconds more. 

Keeps at room temperature for 2 weeks or in fridge (not a good option with coconut oil as it will re-harden) for up to 3 months.

13 May, 2013


For American Mother's Day this year we packed a picnic to have after church at the cathedral ruins but were hit with rain during church, and so ate lunch on our walk home after running a few last minute errands in town. 

We napped the afternoon away when we got home and Peter later made us four cheese tortellini and caesar salad for dinner. After rough housing and story-time with our littles, Peter and I shared Turkish Delight gelato (Peter's surprise, and very different but delicious) from a popular gelateria here. Such a lovely day with my loves.

This week I'll be sharing a few of my older posts on becoming a mother and how special motherhood is to me.


Every so often I cook a big bag of dried beans in my crock pot. Because we eat them so often, it's the most economical way for us. Here's what we did with part of them this week:

Black Bean + Quinoa Burgers
Makes 6 patties

2 cups black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup dry quinoa + 1 cup water
1/2 cup gluten-free oats, pulsed
1/4 teaspoon hot chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon tomato sauce or puree
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red onion, finely chopped

Cook quinoa as directed on package.

Combine all ingredients and slightly mash with your fingers until burgers hold together. Shape into heaping 1/2 cup patties and cook in frying pan for 5 minutes each side.

We served ours on ciabatta buns topped with red onion and sharp cheddar. Of course I didn't get a picture of them all dressed up. We will definitely be making these again soon.

07 May, 2013


Today we don't even need jackets. Or jumpers or long-sleeves. We spent an hour collecting sea glass in t-shirts and tank tops, and Katharina went shoeless. There's nothing like sand all over tiny toes.

We took the long route home and had vegetables and risotto on the patio for lunch. The hot sunshine kept us outside past nap time, but now every little is sleeping, the doors and windows of the house are wide opened and I may or may not have eaten half a piece of rhubarb pie. With a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

The littles and I were on South Street one day last week when a kind gentlemen counted my children once, then once again, and enthusiastically said to me, "What a lucky lady!" 

Yes. What a lucky lady.

These children have significantly improved my day; I'm so thankful for each and every one of them.

some chubby babe getting sun on her legs at my house.

not quite a picnic, but fun nonetheless.

06 May, 2013


Aside from my children dipping their hands right into the jar and eating straight from their fists, coconut oil is our main facial moisturiser.  We use it to create rubs with our essential oils, as a body moisturiser, we add it to our green drinks, apply it to scrapes and burns, and use it to condition our hair.

Coconut oil can boost your metabolism, and lower your cholesterol. It also contains vitamin E, so it's great for your skin and healing cuts, scrapes and burns. It is highly toxic to bacteria, viruses and funguses, so eat away.  It fights chronic fatigue and cancer and lowers your chance of diabetes. Basically, if you're wondering if coconut oil can be used for something, the answer is probably 'yes'.

Coconut oil can be purchased refined and without the natural coconut taste and smell. We use it virgin and raw, as pure as we can get. This oil tastes and smells strong-- like fresh coconuts.

Here is another great article that gets more into the composition and other health benefits of this miracle oil.

This is something we never let our house run out of. Here is a great source for 101 uses for coconut oil, and I am sure I could think of 899 more.

04 May, 2013


Today we celebrate one half of a year of life with Philippa.  She's been the perfect addition to our family; life with her is a whole bunch of kisses and giggles.  She says "dada" on command now, and squeals and laughs at her brother and sister. Happy half, our little Byrde.