26 November, 2013


Peter and I love to walk through cemeteries, perusing headstones and looking for names and dates that grab our attention. We've even done this looking for inspiration for our children's names.

hello, gorgeous.
When we first got to St Andrews we spent days exploring the town and making note of the various historical names throughout the town, then we'd go home for a pot of tea and shortbread, and read about those people in The Scots Worthies.

We know we're fortunate to live on the North Sea, but we feel very blessed that our children are being raised with this historic landmark also a stone's throw away.

How many toddlers can say they did this before their afternoon nap?

We're so grateful to be on this thrilling journey, in this incredible place, and meeting such wonderful people along the way.

And happy early American thanksgiving!

25 November, 2013


This weekend was awesome in all sorts of ways. We started Saturday morning with quiche, and our new-to-us table for 12 being delivered.

The littles and I walked down the Lade Braes while Peter wrapped up a project at home, then we all left for a family trip to the Cathedral. We hadn't been there since returning in September, and it was very nice to be back. Also, we had sunshine!

Sunday we napped and Peter sent off an internship application, then we finished off the weekend with our traditional family movie and picnic dinner on the living room floor.

We wish it wasn't over but are excitedly finishing up plans for our great Thanksgiving feast this week!

23 November, 2013


You could spot the sunset here at 3:48 this afternoon, and it is due to rise shortly after 8 tomorrow morning. When you hear people saying these parts get short winter days and very little sun, believe it.

(We love Scotland).

Our past two winters here, the darkness didn't slow me down in the least bit, but for some reason this year it's gotten to me a bit more.

We've hung twinkle lights in the living room, diffuse citrus fresh, take vitamin D3, and the littles and I drink liquid chlorophyll in orange juice daily. Sometimes we have dance parties or do jumping jacks to get our hearts pumping, and sometimes we shut ourselves in the tiniest room in the house and read stories in front of the heater.

Below is a list of busy "preschool" things we're tackling on our home days this winter.  Please share your favourite things to do with your toddler(s) in the comments!

  • water colours. These are a total hit. The trickiest part is keeping the water in the cups.
  • crayons & coloured pencils. We could colour all day long if there was time. 
  • read. They wouldn't mind if I read stories until my voice went hoarse.
  • play doh. My children ask for it every afternoon, and never mind if the baby chewed a piece of white doh. Katharina's favourite thing to make is a doh-baby swaddled in more doh. She brought "her" to dinner tonight and put her in Byrdie's highchair.
  • sticker books. Forever. And great for motor skills.
  • pipe cleaners. Bend them, fold them, twist, twirl. Animals, glasses, dolls. The opportunities are endless.
  • popsicle sticks. We'll create letters or houses or roads for tiny trucks with these.
  • puzzles.
  • tea parties with the twinkle lights on. We had our first proper tea party yesterday during Pippa's morning nap. It was complete with a tea pot and biscuits from the baker. Sebastian and Katharina felt like a million bucks, and they even learned to hold their pinky finger out; we will definitely be doing it again soon.
  • dry erase board/chalk board for letters, numbers & shapes. Proudly, Sebastian knows just about the entire alphabet now, and Katharina is a star at shapes. They love when I draw things for them to name.
  • bowls, measuring cups & water. Great for hand-eye coordination, measuring, and pouring skills.
  • bake. We love to bake cookies, and eat them too.

19 November, 2013


On a cold and windy day last week, Peter treated me to a morning manicure with a sweet friend. Afterwards we picked up her puppy, Poppy, and my littles and headed to the beach. 

Sarah's been a special friend to me through this journey in Scotland. She's real and sincere, and with my husband and her fiancé, we've had some of the best times of our lives. They both love our children like their own, and we know that's a treasure.

She's getting married to Calum in 2015, and Sebastian and Katharina are honoured to be pageboy and flower girl in the wedding. Precious.

15 November, 2013


This year we took the little ones to their first All Hallows' Eve party. Sebastian and Katharina were excited to wear their costumes out of the house, and by the end of the party they had "trick-or-treat?" down. (We are very thankful to the family that passed out clementines. Our little cuties (see what I did there?) knew no better and feasted on oranges).

In Scotland the kids are expected to perform a song, a wee dance, or something similar to "earn" their  treat. 

This was an attempt to win back All Hallows' Eve; and while we don't necessarily support where Halloween has gone, we have no qualms with our children dressing up, eating a few treats (or doing a jig to earn them), and having a good time with their little friends.

And it was a good time.

07 November, 2013


Sebastian woke up with a cough this morning, and straight away we were off to our health food store for local honey.

I found this recipe for a natural, homemade cough syrup. It's free from nasty additives and preservatives, sugars that suppress the immune system, and dyes that can lead to hyperactivity, brain tumours, and even cancer. So, I don't think twice about giving it to my babies.

This syrup tastes better to my toddlers than my other cure for coughs: a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar. It is a thumbs up from little Sebastian.

Homemade Cough Syrup

3/4 cup organic buckwheat or local honey 
1/4 cup organic extra virgin olive oil
3-4 tablespoons organic lemon juice

Mix all ingredients until well combined. 

Usage: take slightly warmed or at room temperature.

To really give it a kick, there are optional add-ins.

-freshly grated ginger root (natural decongestant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antihistamine. Relieves nausea and other stomach problems)
-onion (as well as ginger and garlic, increases the syrup's anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties)
-chopped garlic (powerful antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiviral, antibiotic; decongestant and expectorant for colds and flu)
-cayenne pepper (warming, circulation-enhancing, pain reliever)

To prepare with add-ins:

If you are infusing the syrup with cayenne, add 1/4 teaspoon to each dose and use immediately.

For ginger, onion and garlic:
  1. Place 2 tablespoons chopped garlic or 1/2 cup sliced onion or grated ginger in clean dish. Cover with 3/4 cup honey and allow to infuse for minimum 8 hours.
  2. After 8+ hours, add the olive oil and lemon juice.
  3. Strain syrup, pour into clean jar and store in fridge for 4-6 weeks.

06 November, 2013


Philippa's first annual birthday breakfast with Papa.

Philippa's cake was a slightly altered version of Sebastian and Katharina's. I adore this cake recipe because it is healthy, fairly quick to make, and tastes great. 

I omitted the cinnamon and added about one cup of fresh raspberries to the batter. Her icing was the same honey buttercream but with a tablespoon of coconut flour and pinch of fair-trade cocoa powder to thicken.

Her cake was made using two small, parchment paper-lined ramekins.  Once cooled, stacked, frosted, and trimmed with raspberries.

Philippa got some of her own Schleich farm animals to add to our growing collection and a Moulin Roty teddy bear from us.