28 September, 2013

TWO






I am in awe of my children.

They're tender, adventurous, and bold. Today they're two, and I am sure they're braver than I was at two.


They're deep and intelligent and put together pieces I didn't know were missing.

They're the children we longed for and prayed for and every day are thankful for.




Sebastian is thoughtful, tender, and observant. He's gentle and the kindest big brother our girls could ask for. He's eager to help and share. He asks to hold Philippa and voluntarily hugs Katharina and holds my face to pulls me close when he wants a kiss.

He loves the moon, yoghurt, backhoes, new clothes, and dogs.


And Katharina is a fireball. She's is a mini mother hen. She's passionate and hilarious and makes me pull my hair out. She's been caught pinning her brother to the floor for diaper changes and loves counting, reading and helping in the kitchen.



She sings and hops and twirls just about everywhere she goes and hates her hair in her face.


She has an opinion about her clothes and the colour of her nail polish and never wants my hair tied up in a bun.


I swear they stand taller today. Their faces aren't quite so round and now they speak in sentences. They've changed our lives for the better, and we couldn't be more thankful.

Happy second birthday, little treasures!



(You can read a bit about Sebastian and Katharina's births here).

25 September, 2013

WEDNESDAY


This week is a busy and super one.




Monday mornings we walk to a playgroup about 3 minutes from our house. We sing, read, share snacks and have free play. Sebastian and Katharina love it, and Pippa is now becoming big enough to enjoy it as well.

Tuesday Philippa and I were invited to a "Mama's and Babies" picnic. Sebastian and Katharina tagged along and had fun play time with the other older siblings.

Wednesdays we have a music playgroup that meets at the first church we attended here. It is nearly all local or other foreign ladies and run by several older British women. 

Our twins turn two on Saturday. T W O. I am so excited to have two-year-olds. This is one of my favourite ages.

Sunday we're planning a party for Sebastian and Katharina's birthday and this week we tested out the cake recipe to be sure it passed. We all had a piece or two and Peter suggested a few changes; the leftovers we took to share at playgroup this morning. 


We have a couple special gifts hiding for  Sebastian and Katharina, and the piƱata was just delivered yesterday. We'll be making chocolate cupcakes and a sugar-free coconut flour cake frosted with honey buttercream. And ice cream of course, and double cream for the Brits.

Happy Wednesday. Hope your week has been great, too!




20 September, 2013

GOOD LIFE


10AM story hour.
blanket fort.
post-lunch giggles.
 

new centrepiece.



papa's dinner prep assistant.

MOM'S APPLE CAKE

Probably the healthiest thing in this recipe was the 4 free-range eggs I whisked in at the end. But it was as moist and tasty as I was hoping. This was such a delicious treat!



Mom's Apple Cake  


6 apples, Mom uses McIntosh apples
1 tablespoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons sugar

2 3/4 cups flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a tube pan (I don't own one, and used a bundt instead). Peel, core and chop apples into chunks. Toss with cinnamon and sugar and set aside.

Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla. Stir in chopped walnuts. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ones, then add eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.

If you are using a bundt pan, prepare as follows: Toss a handful of cinnamon apples into bottom of pan, pour half of batter over, pour remaining apples, followed by remaining batter.

If you are using a tube pan:
Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of apples over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top. 

Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a tester comes out clean.




(from Debra at Smitten Kitchen)

17 September, 2013

RECIPES TO TRY

Here are some recipes I can't wait to try this autumn:

This APPLE CAKE looks moist and meaty and a perfect use for all the apples falling here.

I made these FRUIT SNACKS early in the summer and they were a hit. Perfect for on the go.

I had a variation of these SPICY CHICKEN LETTUCE WRAPS  at my parents' house this summer and  have craved them ever since. The lettuce wrap is a delicious idea. I think I'll add these to next week's menu. Maybe even a beans, rice and cheese variation one night?

I'm not a mayo eater, but my darling husband is. I hope to give this MAYO recipe a shot this fall.

We've been wanting to incorporate more PESTO into our meal rotations.

Lastly, these LEMON & VANILLA CREAM SANDWICHES look other-worldy-ly. I don't care if they're summery. (Also this blog is gorgeous. I found the recipe for our twins' birthday cake here).

Happy Tuesday, everyone. It's sunny in St Andrews!

THE LADE BRAES

This year we live on the Lade Braes, a beautiful and coveted path winding through St Andrews. And so our "street" really isn't a street at all, as there is no access to the houses by vehicle.

We've been thankful to live so much closer to the things we do on a day-to-day basis. We're a four-minute walk to the grocery store, two minutes from our Monday and Wednesday playgroups, and a hop away from the St Andrews Botanic Gardens, which we have yet to visit but are eager to compare with our trip to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh.

Peter's first seminar is tomorrow, so we've been spoilt having him around the first couple days of this week as well as most of last week. Tomorrow a new routine begins. We'll miss having him around so much but we are all ready for a new normal.





15 September, 2013

600 YEARS







Late last night we walked to the East Sands to join the masses of people celebrating the 600th anniversary of the University of St Andrews. The University put on elaborate celebrations and dinner parties all weekend long, complete with a visit and special address from Hillary Clinton, who received an honorary degree from the University.

We were able to steal a peek and hello from Hillary earlier in the weekend, and the fireworks were quite an impressive show, over the North Sea to boot.

It's been a great weekend!

THE OLD COURSE









Here I am, catching up and going backwards on a Sunday afternoon.  Things have been a bit crazy with unpacking and sorting finances and turning on internet and filling our empty fridge and visiting all the favourite people and places we have missed.

In the many times Peter and I have moved together, we've consistently purged at the beginning and end of each move. This time, we've made half a dozen trips to charity shops, dropping off stuff that we don't need.

We were without internet here until yesterday morning, but now that things are golden I hope to get back on track with blogging. Thank you for being patient! Coming back here is always joyous, but a huge transition with lots of gritty, time-consuming logistics to untangle.

A week ago today, we spent the sunny afternoon roaming the Old Course [photos].

It is so very good to be back.

11 September, 2013

10 MONTHS || 4 AUGUST

A bit belated, our Pippa turned TEN months a week ago today. Amidst the chaos of Peter returning and packing up to return to Scotland, we couldn't squeeze in pictures. 

Today she cut her third tooth.  She's becoming a bit more troublesome, and by that I mean she wiggles her way out of her highchair and empties bookshelves and refuses foods at unpredictable times. 

But then she's still happy and content and peacefully quiet. She loves sharing kisses and touching faces and gives sweet bedtime cuddles.  She loves snuggles and giggles at books and in the mornings two big toddler voices greet her-- "morning, Pippa!"-- and her face lights up with smiles. 

We're pretty sure she thinks she's princess of the world (princess, because Katharina is queen).

Happy 10 months, our little Byrde.

(more blogging to come, I promise. Apologies for the crickets!)