31 March, 2014


Sebastian Grey// the farmer's tractor-- possibly the highlight of his holiday
Katharina McCallum// she can recite almost all of Psalm 23 from memory.
Philippa Byrde// hoards a stash of pacifiers that she goes to when we take hers away.

If you missed last week's portraits, you can see them here. Also, be sure to see Ashlee and Kristin's portraits this week. 

28 March, 2014


We're home safe and sound after a long but uneventful journey home. We all hated to leave the warmth and sunshine, and I especially miss friendly strangers loving on our babies without even asking, but we are all happy to be home. Sebastian and Katharina missed their toys and Philippa was so happy to have her bed back she slept until 11am.

First morning in Cyprus Peter caught a baby lizard in the house and they put it in a glass on the kitchen counter. I can’t help but feel so overwhelmed with gratitude when I think of him— making this holiday possible for us, seeing how badly each and every one of us needed some rejuvenation. 

We piled into the car not having plans of a destination, but the sea was on everyone’s minds.  We packed a loaf of homemade bread purchased from a market, hummus, local cucumbers and oranges — the sweetest, juiciest oranges we have ever, ever had -- a wheel of cheese, and a box of some sort of tahini pastries, and we drove. 

Past a pasture of grazing goats through another village, we found a rocky beach off the beaten path and the kids swam. Peter and I laid on a blanket in the sun, relishing the fact that the littles were old enough to enjoy the beach and young enough to not run neck-deep. I thanked them all for being my family.

Sebastian announced that he peed in the Mediterranean and Katharina couldn’t stop squealing “this is so much fun!” There isn’t anything Katharina has wanted more than to swim in that Mediterranean naked, so naked she did swim. I think she belongs at the beach, the little Amphitrite.

We headed home for the littles to catch up on the naps they hadn't had for four days, and Peter and I sunned ourselves on the terrace in swimwear for optimal D-absorption.

Until the weekend, we were the only ones staying in the cluster of 7 villas on the hill at the end of the village Kormakitis. Quiet and remote and no high-rise buildings or traffic anywhere even near, we only heard birds and the occasional Turkish Cypriot woman shouting for her child. 

Both the Greek and Turkish Cypriot people were very friendly and welcoming, and especially kind to children. All week long strangers would squat with their arms stretched out asking one of our children to run to them for a squeeze, young men volunteered kisses for the girls everywhere we went, and the young people found their blue eyes and blonde hair comical.

Even on the plane ride you could pick out the Cyprus locals-- without question, picking up the children from their airplane seats and squeezing their cheeks tight shouting endearing words in Greek.

Every morning a shepherd walked his flock up the hill outside our kitchen window, past the pool and over the mountain. 

The littles were in heaven. As if speeding up and down narrow winding mountain roads in a car that wasn't our own wasn't enough excitement, they were often heard talking to each other, “We in Cyprus! We are!!” Peter and I agree we'd never seen them so happy before.

One night we set off to find a market where we could stock up on staples. We drove about half an hour along the coast and found a place, where the baker quickly pulled Katharina behind the counter and stuffed a chocolate pastry in her mouth. 

The produce section was a separate shop off the side, and all four walls of the hut-like building were stacked with wooden produce crates, pile upon pile of locally grown fruits and vegetables. We bought green-top carrots, snap peas, cucumbers, bell peppers (the crunchiest and sweetest peppers I have tasted), grapes, bananas, and two different round foreign-looking things, which I assumed were fruits.

The old man that owns six of the villas on the hill invited us to move to Kormakitis permanently. He is looking for a young couple to run his wine bar in the village and we half considered except that we're sure salary for running a wine bar in Cyprus would send Sallie Mae after us in no time.

On a separate beach day we drove our tiny 2-wheel-drive car on rocky dirt paths that were meant for jeeps and trucks to find a remote, white-sand beach. An intended five-minute drive turned into 55 minutes of hills and giggles, but we found the beach and it was worth every bump and bottom-out. We all swam naked and shared some exotic fruit on the trip back up the mountain; I'm so impressed Peter got us back up all in one piece.

More on our trip throughout this week. I promise not to do a 9-part series, but there are more photos to come. 

Happy Friday!

24 March, 2014


Sebastian Grey// last play on the beach in Cyprus.
Katharina McCallum// giddy over her bouquet of wildflowers.
Philippa Byrde// having her fill of homemade bread from our village (photo by her Papa this week).

Linking up with Ashlee and Kristin.

21 March, 2014


Hello from Cyprus! I'm in a wee cafe-- the only one in the village-- sharing tea and wifi. The people here shout, and it took me a bit to realise they weren't yelling at me.

We're in the North now, in our tiny village called Kormakitis, but we spent our first day here in the South, exploring the city of Nicosia where Peter's aunt and uncle are living.  

Sebastian loved the friendly but feral cats everywhere. Katharina's favourite part was dancing for the camera in the Happy in Niosia video (see Happy in ParisHappy in Beijing). Philippa was the star of the day and received over a dozen hugs and kisses from smitten men.

The centre of Nicosia is split directly through the middle between the Greek South and Turkish North. We walked through the South and had our passports stamped to cross to the north for lunch. We feasted on stuffed grape leaves with sheep's milk yoghurt, lamb meatballs, spinach pastries, and Turkish coffee at Büyük Han.

I'm headed home to get some sun on the terrace, but here is a taste of our journey here and our day in the city.

17 March, 2014


Sebastian Grey// picking fruit and flowers in Cyprus.
Katharina McCallum// exclaimed "Cyprus has a moon!" when we got off the plane.
Philippa Byrde// was kissed by thirteen Cypriot men today.

Linking up with Ashlee and Kristin

11 March, 2014


Sebastian Grey// this boy will do anything-- I mean anything-- to make his sisters laugh.
Katharina McCallum// says she's "goin' to Tesco". Purse and all.
Philippa Byrde// teething stinks.

Linking up with Ashlee and Kristin.

08 March, 2014


Yesterday morning started off sunny and gloriously bright and before we'd even made it downstairs for breakfast it was dark, cloudy and spitting rain. We decided to spend the day baking cookies.

In typical Scottish fashion it only lasted five minutes and the sun was pouring through the windows and kissing our faces come 10:45 breakfast time. We decided to spend the morning outside, picking up eggs from the Butcher and cotton buds at the chemist.

Fast forward half-an-hour, 8 feet stuffed into shoes and coats zipped and now the pouring, horizontal-flying rain. Nearly three years and we now know better than to undress and settle back down, so we hung bedsheets to dry from the doorways and by time the last pillowcase was hung the sun was back.

Welcome to Scotland. (It really is beautiful).

We headed down the Lade Braes, Katharina's umbrella proudly in the air, Philippa tucked snugly in the buggy under her favourite blanket. Sebastian let out an unrestrained "ohhh, yuuumm" as we passed the bakery and I was half-tempted to buy him his first ever yum-yum.

At the butcher on South Street we bought three dozen eggs and slowed down for a peek in the toy shop's window. They change their display every few days, and it is always important to notice.

By our second and final stop Philippa was fit to be tied with the giant molars forcing their way through her tender pink gums. She's been restless and sad these past few days and just wants snuggled; teething is the pits, but snuggle I can do.

We shuffled home and put her down for a late morning nap, but not before she was smothered in kissed and offered a frozen apple slice, orange segment, whatever-her-tiny-heart-desired; we even looked for the moon.

In that same hour, the littles and I whipped up these hearty biscuits. That was our morning and suddenly I have a new favourite cookie biscuit.

We ate these for lunch (with green drinks. Come on!), because obviously a slightly-firm biscuit is exactly what darling Pippa Byrde's gums needed.

Jam & Sunflower Thimbles adapted from Green Kitchen Stories
(For dairy-free, substitute butter with softened coconut oil)
Makes approx. 15-20 biscuits

1 cup / 120 g sunflower seeds
1 cup / 90 g rolled oats
1/2 cup / 60 g spelt flour
1 1/2 tablespoons arrowroot or corn starch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons / 75 g butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup / 80 ml honey
1 egg, separated
1/2 cup jam

Preheat oven to 350ºF/175ºC. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread out the sunflower seeds. Roast seeds very quickly in oven (3-5 minutes).

Put half of the sunflower seeds in a blender or food processor with oats and mix until you have a coarse flour. Add the remaining dry ingredients and stir to combine.

In separate bowl whisk together butter, honey, and egg yolk (saving white for later). Beat until fluffy. Add dry ingredients to bowl and mix until dough comes together. (Since this is basically oats, seeds. and a certainly healthy egg yolk, we say lick the bowl).

Scoop about 15-20 portions of dough and roll into balls.

Whisk egg whites in small bowl and coarsely chop remaining 1/2 cup sunflower seeds.

Dip and roll each ball in egg white, then in sunflower seeds. Repeat with remaining dough. Place balls on a baking sheet and use your thumb to carefully press into the centre of each cookie.

Fill indents with a teaspoon of jam and bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before transferring to cooling rack.

Enjoy for lunch with a spinach smoothie.

07 March, 2014


Our new favourite place to visit Saturdays is the Duck Pond. We bought a giant loaf of bread and walked a beautiful half-an-hour down the Lade Braes.

Despite what some days say, Spring is on its way and the snowdrops and crocuses are in full bloom.  The birds were singing and that is one of Sebastian's favourite sounds and Peter was off and he's my favourite person; the day was perfect. 

The littles even got their first taste of white bread.

In other news, Peter's last piece of coursework before Spring Break is due Sunday and Katharina and I are wondering how early we can start packing.

If all goes as planned, there a couple fun posts coming next week along with 52 Weeks and a delicious cookie biscuit recipe, so check back! 

And happy, happy Friday, readers!

03 March, 2014


Sebastian Grey// feeding the ducks.
Katharina McCallum// she's ready for Cyprus.
Philippa Byrde// still loves her morning nap.

Linking up with Ashlee and Kristin.