29 January, 2014


A friend gave us some of these knives. They are amazing.

tiny house can be so appealing.

Have you ever seen so much love?

Peter and I are watching Justified and I am hooked.

We're also reading this book together. So suspenseful!

My mother-in-law just introduced me to this online herb shop based in the UK. You can imagine how thrilled I am.

I needed this about life's conversations this week.

I'm thinking about this swimsuit for our next holiday.

Happy Wednesday, everyone! It's been a tough one for me and a nap is in order. Peter got home from London late last night and is Edinburgh today and I'm so very thankful for all we have but eager for things to settle down a bit.

My littles are down and I'm off to massage my temples with valor and take a rest. Peter and I have a date to talk about our future tonight. He restores my soul; be still.

27 January, 2014


Sebastian Grey// making use of the new easel.
Katharina McCallum// recently asked if she could get her ears pierced.
Philippa Byrde// got some proper shoes and now walks outside rain or shine.

Be sure to check out Ashlee's and Kristin's portraits this week.

24 January, 2014


The little ones and I made these for a snack yesterday and they are perfect!

There are various recipes floating around with all sorts of different ingredients, and that's what makes these awesome-- you can whip them up with whatever you have on hand. I wanted to make these with flax seeds but didn't have any in the pantry.

Recipes substitute 1/2 cup of oats for 1/2 cup seeds (flax, chia, etc), some call for unsweetened coconut, less peanut butter, cranberries instead of chocolate chips, etc. The options are endless.

Peanut Butter Bites

1 1/2 cup oats
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup raw honey (next time I will do less)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients together in large bowl, paying special attention to incorporate the seeds and chips that have sunken to the bottom. Pack together bite-sized balls and enjoy.

We keep ours in a glass jar in the refrigerator and they'll keep a week if they last that long.

22 January, 2014


I am so excited to share what happened with my tallow balm adventure.  If you're a vegan, I can't promise you'll like this because I'm not a vegan and I cringed at first.

Tallow is the hard fat on a cow, rendering is simply melting it down.

I was inspired to make this because Sebastian was suffering from some of the driest winter skin I had ever seen. After reading about how this can cure eczema I thought we should give it a shot. It also makes sense using something so biologically compatible with our skin and I love that I know what is in it.

We now use this all over our faces and bodies and after one application Sebastian's skin was noticeably softer. I love spreading it on my face before bed; my skin is soft and glowing in the morning and I wish I had made it sooner.

I was able to purchase already rendered tallow from local, grass-fed cows at our butcher in town. If you're needing to render your own tallow (which also is super easy) follow this link. However you do it, it should be really cheap-- even from local and grass-fed cows. I bought 500g for less than £2.

Here you are. A recipe for super easy, healthy, and inexpensive body balm. You can even eat it, and that's the kind of stuff we like to put on our bodies.

Tallow Balm adapted from Vintage Tradition
(Makes about 1 cup of balm)

tallow (I used about 250g or 8oz)
1 oz extra virgin olive oil
15 drops essential oil of choice (I used citrus)

Melt tallow gently in oven at about 120ºF/50ºC.  

While tallow is still liquid but not hot, stir in olive oil. This makes the tallow spreadable once cool. I used 8 parts tallow to 1 part olive oil for a soft butter consistency. Add essential oils. These scents should be noticeable and will mask the tallow's strong smell but your balm will most likely still smell like beef (I've found this fades pretty quickly after each application).

Pour into a glass jar and place in refrigerator to cool. Keeps at room temperature for 6-12 months.

20 January, 2014


Sebastian Grey// loves to sing the abc's - ". . .h i j k, l m n o p, n p t, q r s, t uuu, doubley-beu x. . .zee"
Katharina McCallum// "na'ina not work Goldman Sachs, no. just feed babies". [photo this week by Peter]
Philippa Byrde// our little peanut, standing tall at 14 months in Janie & Jack's 3-6 months.

Be sure to check out Kristin's and Ashlee's portraits this week.

17 January, 2014


I've kind of had a flop of a day, or according to my own standards.  It was a morning where I just woke up tired. Do you know the kind?  The bedroom was too light, too hot, too cold, my pillow was too high.

The truth is, I was up too late watching movies with my husband. We went to a new pub in town after the little ones were in bed and came home to watch a cop comedy about a stolen diamond.

Today Katharina and I had a homemade mayo fail, my tallow balm smells like roasted potatoes, and our dirty laundry has overtaken the dining room-- a result of the several-day vacation I granted myself this winter break.

Internships for the summer are weighing heavily. Peter's been away a dozen times since finals week, to London, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, on the phone with Hong Kong here and Zurich there. We're thankful to have opportunities (and so many of them!) and I have had to lay my expectations for this 5-week holiday to rest, because him flying out of the country a dozen times wasn't what I expected.

This is good. God is good.

While I'm complaining about being so tired because my husband has traveled nonstop this month, he's been the one to pack and prepare and travel and interview. He's clocked a couple dozen hours at the library over his break and some days his phone and email blow up because he's just that great at it. And I haven't heard him complain in the seven years I've known him.

Philippa pointed to purple last night and said "puh-ple" but her favourite colour is blue. 

Whenever we're on our way out the door Katharina will call, while sliding her arms into her coat, "Alright, chickadees! Let's go." (That's all of us-- we're chickadees).

Our twins painted their bedroom in poo.

Sebastian got a '-gatti' at the toy shop on his way home from his Papa date and I don't know if I've seen him happier than when he walked through the front door. He dug deep in his coat pocked and pulled out the biscuit half he'd saved for Katharina and proudly showed her his new Bugatti. Katharina squealed, "Wooow, Sebby!". He tried hot-cocoa for the first time but wasn't a fan. Peter said it was too sweet for our brussel sprout king.

Philippa has started walking all over the place and her vocabulary has expanded exponentially this week. She likes our reactions when she says a new word almost perfectly.

This weekend we're starting an extensive list of our favourite things about this season and the hardest things that we've faced since coming to St Andrews so wherever we are we'll never forget the good, the bad, and the ugly.

We've moved the girls together into one bedroom so Sebastian now has his own. It was an attempt to eliminate the bed stripping, bed-hopping, and poo-painting altogether, because twins sometimes encourage each other to do such things. I think you can imagine.
The girls are tickled to be together, but I look forward to being able to move them all together-- Sebastian and Katharina have shared a bed for more than half of their lives and Philippa insists she's older than 14 months so it seems natural to let them all have slumber parties every night.

If you don't follow me on Instagram, you probably missed our family finger paint night and our family walk at the creek.

Tonight I'll have a pot of tea with Mr Hopkins and read another chapter in the novel we're reading together. I'll probably nibble my toddlers' toes and file my nails too. And fold the towels.

Happy Friday, friends. Be sure to kiss your husband when he walks in the door and squeeze your littles so tight they grunt. 

16 January, 2014


1. missing this lady's company around here.  2. oink.

15 January, 2014


These gummy snacks are exactly what I was hoping they'd be. I love fruit snacks, but not the food dyes, citric acid, syrups, and sugars that come with them. So I have been determined to find a healthier version. 

There are enough gummy recipes out there that I really didn't need to try to recreate my own, and this recipe is just what I was looking for. Most of the recipes I'd seen had to remain refrigerated and therefore didn't travel well. These keep well at room temperature and travel beautifully because they're firm and don't stick together.

They have just a touch of sour, and the citrus oil adds a nice sweet finish. We'll make these again and again.

Sour Fruit Snacks adapted by Mommypotamus

3 tablespoons grassfed gelatin
1/3 cup lemon juice (lime would be great as well)
3 tablespoons local honey
3 drops food-grade lemon or orange essential (I use this)

Whisk lemon juice, honey, and gelatin in sauce pan over low heat until there are no lumps. Stir constantly.

Add essential oil and stir thoroughly.

Pour evenly into silicone molds (or a casserole pan, and cut into cubes or use cookie cutters once set).

Place in freezer for 5-10 minutes, or until cool and firm.  Once set, they will remain firm at room temperature. 

Store in airtight container in fridge for ~2 weeks.

13 January, 2014


Sebastian Grey// dancing in the sunshine.
Katharina McCallum// less and less like a toddler and more like a little lady these days.
Byrdie// insists on being treated like a big kid.

Be sure to check out Ashlee and Kristin's 52 Weeks projects this week.

09 January, 2014


After spending a large portion of today outside (we had sunshine!) I was in a serious mood to bake and these muffins had been on my mind. Plus, the littles thank God for muffins at bedtime every night, and seeing as they have only had them once, I thought it was high time to change that.  These were delicious and we'll definitely make them again.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins adapted from Averie Cooks

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
pinch salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar or 1/2 cup honey 
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup coconut milk (almond, rice, cow, etc, work as well)
2 tablespoons treacle/molasses
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup mini dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 200ºC/400ºF. Grease and flour non-stick muffin pan and set aside.

In large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, spices, and salt. Set aside.

In separate bowl mix sugar, pumpkin, oil, treacle, and vanilla until well combined.

Pour the wet pumpkin mixture over the dry and stir just until combined. Do not over mix. (Batter is quite thick).

Fold in chocolate chips.

Divide batter in prepared muffin pan., filling each cavity just under 3/4 way full.

Bake for about 18 minutes, or until tops are domed, puffed, and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool in pans.

Store in airtight container.

08 January, 2014


this house is lovely.  I adore Courtney's Instagram feed, and was excited to stumble upon this post done quite a while back on their London home.

Courtney is also a founder of Babyccino Kids, an awesome blog for tips and products for littles and mamas.

I love sale dresses.

we are having these fluffy coconut flour pancakes tonight. we've had them a hundred times; they're delicious.

this gin + ginger cocktail looks divine.

I have heard philomena is a good film.

I am excited to try the oil cleansing method.

in the same vein, who's tried oil pulling?

we hope to go here after graduation.

copper pots and pans are on my wish-list for our forever home.

my little ones would love this ride on.

Happy Wednesday!

07 January, 2014


1. a new cookbook for christmas.  2. stairs off the Lade Braes.

06 January, 2014


A new venture on this blog in 2014 is a weekly portrait challenge; at the end of the year I'll have 52 portraits of each of my little ones. My sister and aunt are joining in as well, so be sure to check out their littles' portraits too!

Behold, week 1:

Sebastian Grey// one of my favourite things he says: I love you, mama. Hold me?
Katharina McCallum// was spotted nursing her baby during church today.
Byrdie// loves to walk, just don't look or she'll pretend she can't.

05 January, 2014


The second part of our drive around Fife last Sunday was to show Ruby and Gabriel the East Neuk-- a handful of fishing villages close to St Andrews.  There are craft shops and art studios, cafes and coffee shops, and fish + chip bars, all situated at the bottom of a hilly seaside village.

04 January, 2014


Last week a friend took Ruby, Gabe, and I for a drive outside of St Andrews.  I was so thankful for the opportunity to get out of our small town and see things nearby.

If we ever have the opportunity to leave St Andrews it isn't usually to drive around Fife, but Scotland is so gorgeous and I am glad to have been able to see beauty so close to home.

We saw bits of Fife's countryside, then hit Kellie Castle and its breathtaking gardens.

I would love to go back with Peter and the littles in the spring/summer when the flowers are in bloom and seasonal events are happening. 

photo by Gabriel.

01 January, 2014


Last Friday Peter and I took the train to Edinburgh to celebrate my birthday and our fourth wedding anniversary. 

Every winter the city puts on a huge festival with German and Scottish Markets, fair rides, and outdoor ice skating rinks. The weather was cold, rainy, and incredibly windy, but we still explored the market and kept warm with bratwursts and mulled cider.

Later we had drinks at Tigerlily, a trendy cocktail bar Peter was introduced to over the summer, before catching a taxi for our 8:30 dinner reservation.

This was the first time I had ever spent a night away from our little ones, and it was overdue. I expected it to be rough on my heart, but it was so good for my soul. And now that our baby is weaned, we would love to do this more often. . .  I almost thought we were honeymooners again.

We are thankful for Peter's brother and sister that held down our fort and gave us the opportunity to get away. But it's good to be home.