22 April, 2014


Easter for us was quiet this year. We had a delicious top-cut of beef rubbed with garlic and sea salt, with butter-garlic mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts, and peppercorn sauce. 

We've enjoyed discussing Easter with the children this year, watching them absorb far more than before. If you ask them why we're celebrating, they'll tell you. They stand up in their chairs and shout that the tomb is empty and He is not dead and Jesus is Risen! And that good news is reason to be glad.

The joy that fills their hearts when we exclaim it together. The questions that come from their lips because they don't fully know what sacrifice and redemption mean, but do they ever want to know and their tiny lips will pray it anyway. 

Saturday morning the littles and I went to our first Teddy Bear Birthday Party and in the afternoon when Peter was home, had an egg hunt in the back garden. Peter made them each paper cones as their baskets, which we would have embellished had we more self-control and weren't so eager to wake them up. 
The egg hunt had been talked up all week and was cuter than words-- three toddlers scurrying for eggs, opening each one to eat the contents before moving on for the next.

This Easter we rejoiced over an empty tomb and victory over death and hope for those who believe, and this year we mourned.

Thursday night one of my best friends and mentor passed from this earth. She was one of the most influential people in my life. When Peter's hours were longer than I was expecting, she knew what to say because she had been there exactly, she was the person I called when my little ones were sick and I wasn't sure how to treat them.

She questioned me and challenged me, and with her husband, was the most instrumental person in encouraging us to take the leap in moving to Scotland. She was the best one at helping me see the light at the end of the tunnel when days were long, and shortly before her death, she and her husband legally named us as potential guardians, should anything happen to both of them, of their three young children. 

Her style, her values, her lifestyle, I admired -- she was what I hope to be someday. To say she's influenced my life would be an understatement. 

Our hearts are broken and my life is changed. We mourn, but not as those without hope, and for the certainty we have, I am eternally grateful.

This week I'm finding balance in grieving and living; this blog will potentially take the back burner as Peter and I prepare to return to Ohio with Philippa for the funeral. We'll be leaving Sebastian and Katharina in the absolute best of hands here. 

How meaningful Easter is; we are so thankful He has risen indeed.

21 April, 2014


Sebastian Grey// when asked whose family he would belong to if he could choose another, said, "Just Papa, prob'ly."
Katharina McCallum// says she would really like to have pink eyes.
Philippa Byrde// sings the last word to every line of Do You Wanna Build a Snowman? 

As always, linking up with Ashlee and Kristin.

14 April, 2014


Sebastian Grey// said when walking past the toy shop today, "Oh, I really do think I should go in there!"
Katharina McCallum// shoots her fermented cod liver oil straight every morning. 
Philippa Byrde// started saying 'I love you' unprompted this week. It comes out sounding more like 'I-ya-eww!' but it melts me every time.

Linking up with Ashlee and Kristin as usual!

11 April, 2014


Shortly after  meeting Peter I was struck by how frequently he suffered from nosebleeds, how long they lasted, and how much blood he lost throughout the bleed. They would come every few weeks and were difficult to stop.

They seemed to intensify when we moved to Scotland, which we believed was due to the cold climate and mold in the house we were in at the time.

But we've discovered a cure that dries up a nosebleed within seconds, and for Peter, they haven't returned in over 9 months.

Oregano has a strong and spicy aroma that creates feelings of security. It supports the respiratory system and has strong immune-enhancing qualities (we love oregano for killing viruses, but more on that at another time).

Here's our simple method:

  • oregano essential oil (please be sure you're using therapeutic-grade oils. These are the only kind I endorse. You can read why here).
  • cotton wool

Place 2-3 drops of oregano essential oil on cotton wool (Americans, read: cotton ball). Rub over blood vessels on forearm for 30 seconds on. Remove, and repeat with fresh cotton bud and oil.

10 April, 2014

10 ON 10 // APRIL

1. my favourite souvenir from Cyprus  2. struggling to wake up even at 9am  3. morning doodles  4. afternoon chat with my baby sister  5. spontaneous playdate  6. groceries delivered  7. selfie  8. Mr. pancake maker  9. new matching rain jackets  10. post-dinner family shenanigans. 

Be sure to check out Holly's 10 on 10 today.

07 April, 2014


Sebastian Grey//  asked to pose with his Land Cruiser for this week's portrait.
Katharina McCallum//  in perfect Mother Hen fashion, she is always caring for her dolls or her animals. Sometimes she makes beds for all 30 of them.
Philippa Byrde//  said while looking at photos of herself, "preeeetty bebe."

Linking up with Ashlee and Kristin.

04 April, 2014


I made these yesterday as a treat for Peter and I post-littles'-bedtime. I'd give them four stars, and I think the one lacking was my error.

A few notes:

1) use the 8x8" pan. This was our biggest dislike with the bars. I only had a smaller casserole dish and made the assumption the dough sandwiches would just be thicker and I can't believe I'm saying it but there was too much cookie dough. I'd stick with the 8x8".

2) the ice cream. We used regular dairy vanilla bean and it was delicious. If you can't do dairy or are looking for a healthier alternative, her recipe for vanilla bean also looks good (see link below) though I don't know how I'd like them if it tasted like coconut.

3)  I didn't have enough cashew butter so used mostly cashew butter with about 1/4 cup of peanut butter. They tasted fine, and I would even say you could use all peanut butter if you don't mind a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie, though I realise this isn't Paleo.

Cookie Dough Ice Cream Sandwiches via Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind

For cookie dough:

2 cups organic cashew butter (I used this. Alternatively you can make you own-- see link above)
1/2 cup browned grass-fed butter
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup honey, melted
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
dash of cinnamon
3/4 cup extra dark chocolate chips (or I chopped a couple bars of this)

Place the butter in a sauce pan on medium-low heat, whisking frequently until it becomes dark golden brown and smells like toffee.  Remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium bowl combine cashew butter, browned butter, and coconut flour and stir together. Add honey, sea salt, vanilla, cinnamon, and stir. Batter will be thin.

Place bowl in freezer for about 20 minutes or until slightly firmed and still pliable.

Remove from freezer and fold in chocolate chunks (they will settle at the bottom if you add them before).

Line an 8x8" casserole dish with parchment paper. Divide dough in half and press one half evenly into the pan.

Grabbing sides of parchment paper, carefully remove layer of pressed cookie dough and set aside.  Lay another sheet of parchment paper in pan and repeat process with remaining dough. 

Gently lay the layer of dough that you previously set aside on top. Place in freezer for 20 minutes, or until both layers are hardened.

At this point you may want to pull out your ice cream to soften a bit.

Once the dough is ready grab the sides of the parchment paper and remove the top layer. Set it aside and scoop ice cream over layer that is still in pan, spreading with a rubber spatula. Once you've finished spreading ice cream, flip remaining cookie dough layer upside down on top of ice cream, carefully remove parchment paper, and press down evenly.

Place back in freezer for 30 minutes until ready to serve.

To serve, run large knife under hot water and cut into bars.

02 April, 2014


As I try to wrap up our holiday photos with this post, it does feel a bit sad to review them all on my couch back home, wrapped in my new Turkish blanket and suffering from toes that won't stay warm. But life goes on and too much of a good thing is a bad thing (except chocolate ice cream and sunshine). 

So we've jumped back into life as we knew it (which, indeed, is pretty good), and I've limited myself to just 15 photos.
















1. singing with Papa 2. the field across from our house at sunset  3. sunset from the terrace  4. first ice cream cone  5. hey there, hottie  6. my favourite day-- Kyrenia Harbour  7. with a rose picked by an old man from the village  8. baby by the sea  9. roadblock  10. at Bellapais  11. last photos before hitting the road to Nicosia  12. visiting 5-day-old lambs and a day-old donkey  13. no visit to a farm is complete without driving a tractor  14. the Kyrenia Mountains  15. nudists for a week