30 October, 2014

43/52

Sebastian Grey// picked out his outfit for the day we move to London. It's a cute one, we just hope it still fits in nine months.
Katharina McCallum// we can't stage this stuff guys, this is how she sings daily.
Philippa Byrde// always the skeptic.

27 October, 2014

[ANOTHER] UPDATE



It's long overdue that I write a little bit on here about our plans after Peter graduates next June. I think I haven't done it sooner because as far as plans go, not much is established. Except for the greatest thing: Peter has a job.

He accepted a full-time position with BlackRock, the company he worked for in both London and Edinburgh this summer. When given the opportunity to choose which city of the two he wanted to start his career in, we settled on London, a bit to even our own surprise. There were a lot of variables to consider but we both felt strongly that London was the place to be.



For Peter this has been the confirmation that the hours of labour and applications and money and time and emotions and stress and sacrifice and separation we've invested in this journey have not been in vain. And I just feel so proud. And thankful of course, that he was offered a great job with his choice of location. And, this company's decision to hire Peter was the shortest process of any intern.



We're excited to start house-hunting in the Spring (just kidding. Of course I've already started). Some of our dearest friends have left St Andrews for London and aside from them, we seem to be steadily building a new community of people eager and willing to help us find our footing.  To say we're thrilled to live in one place indefinitely and choose our own curtains would be an understatement.

I'm eager to watch Peter flourish in this new adventure. As I'm confident we all will. These years in St Andrews have been amazing ones, and St Andrews and its people have given so much to us; a lot of these people will be so hard to leave. But it's been a time of confirmation as well-- that Peter's well-suited for his career and that we are walking the path we were meant to. We are thankful this time of schooling is drawing to a close and are so excited for what is to come-- blessings abound.



The advice Peter has consistently received from his future colleagues is to relax and enjoy our final year in St Andrews, so we plan to do just that. This Autumn is promising to be a full one with just this week dinner invitations, dinner guests, live folk music, pub dates, and our first 'Byron Night' (a formal Halloween party sans children) at a friend's nearby estate.

Happy Sunday! xx

25 October, 2014

THIEVES

Legend has it in France, fourteenth century, a group of thieves carried rosemary, clove, cinnamon and other spices to support their immune systems when robbing plague victims. So effective that the thieves were never sick, the Thieves essential oil blend was born. 

Thieves is packed with cloves for antimicrobial properties and cinnamon for purification, and so it smells like Christmas. It's a safe, natural antibiotic, an immune booster, air purifier, hand sanitizer, bug bite-soother.

Thieves is one of the oils we never leave home without. Here are some ways we use it around our home.

IMMUNE BOOSTER: A drop on the bottom of your feet will prevent sickness and boost your immunity, and I swear by this. We do this every day, and more religiously on the days we will be in close contact with people, and have escaped even the smallest of bugs this winter.

MOULD: Applied directly, it's a safe way to kill black mould. I know because our master bedroom was loaded with it when we moved in. I have friends who are still persisting with toxic bleach and chemical cleaners, and 4 months in after one application I am still waiting for the mould to return.

UTI: 2-3 drops in a glass of water twice daily killed a urinary tract infection in a day. I know the antibiotic prescribed for UTIs. Try Thieves.

ACNE: Apply topically to cleanse and clear acne.

SORE THROAT: Thieves is great rubbed directly over a sore throat at onset. It can cure, no matter how severe, in minutes. It should be diluted for more sensitive skin when applied to sensitive areas.

EAR ACHE: After a walk in the wind yesterday, I came home with an achy ear. 1 drop of Thieves blended with coconut oil and rubbed around the outside of my ear healed it.

GENERAL CLEANING: Though there is an actual Thieves household cleaner (which is the bomb), Thieves is so great at destroying airborne bacteria that it is also a fabulous household or bathroom cleaner. Dilute it with water and scrub away, and breathe in deep while you're at it. It's healthy.

HAND SANITIZER: 1 drop rubbed between your hands is a safe, alcohol-free hand sanitizer. I love to keep this on me when I know I will need to feed the baby away from home.

Go order your bottle of Thieves. A 15ml bottle will get you 250+ drops, and each drop goes a long way.



22 October, 2014

GRAIN-FREE FUDGE COOKIES

These cookies are so rich and dense they couldn't not satisfy a chocolate craving.

It's important not to over bake them as they dry out quickly and continue baking on the hot trays once removed from oven.



Grain-Free Fudge Cookies  (via)
makes 12 large cookies or about 20 bite-sized

2/3 cup organic cocoa powder (we use Green and Blacks)
1/3 cup egg whites (roughly 3)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup dark chocolate, chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions: Preheat oven to 350ºF/175ºC.

Whisk all ingredients together and portion batter out onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.

If you add enough egg white these cookies should spread out, so be sure to leave enough room between each one. We only used two egg whites in this batch and they retained their shape rather than becoming disc-like. Both taste great though.

Bake for 6-8 minutes or until the cookies are just set and the tops are glossy. If you are baking bite-sized cookies watch them closely as they will be done faster than a dozen larger cookies.


We preferred these warm, fresh from the oven, but they are great once cooled as well.  And be sure you have a cute mixing-spoon-licker around. In our house this one is the most efficient.

21 October, 2014

42/52



Sebastian Grey//  asked, "Mama, do you think I am a good brother and son?"
Katharina McCallum//  sings herself and Philippa to sleep every night, but never at nap time. Sometimes I just sit outside their door and listen.
Philippa Byrde//  now that her birthday is next in line she sings "Happy Birthday to Phil-pa" on a daily basis.

20 October, 2014

CHICKEN & GLUTEN-FREE BUTTERMILK DUMPLINGS

Peter asked for chicken & dumplings a while ago and I'm so glad he did because I don't think I've ever made them before. How that is possible I don't know, but buttery dough dropped into hearty, well-seasoned chicken stock is right up my alley.

This meal hit the spot and is great comfort food for a cosy night in.

This original recipe is meant to be prepared in a crock pot. I started mine too late in the day to use the crock pot and discovered my high setting had decided to die, so I improvised using the stove. It turned out just fine.

We roast a chicken every week and cook the bones in the crock pot all week long for perpetual soup to tap into as we need. This way our freezer always has a few meals worth of healthy stock in it as well. That is the base of this soup.



Chicken & Gluten-Free Buttermilk Dumplings

2.5 pounds free-range chicken (pulled from a whole chicken, diced thighs, shredded breasts, you choose)
8 cups homemade chicken stock
8 large organic carrots
5 stocks organic celery
1 large onion, diced
1 1/2 teaspoon real sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
1 teaspoon thyme or mixed herbs
_
1 cup double cream/heavy whipping cream/half & half

If you're using a crock pot, add chicken, veggies, spices, and stock to crock pot and turn to low. Cook for 5-7 hours or until chicken is falling apart and vegetables are tender. If using the stove, cook covered on medium-low heat for about an hour.

One hour before serving make dumplings. 

For dumplings:

2 cups gluten-free baking mix (we like this)
1/2 cup melted pastured butter
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Mix all dumpling ingredients in a large bowl and mix until well combined. Dough should be soft but not sticky enough that you can't easily handle it. If it is too soft, add a bit more flour, or if too dry, add water a tablespoonful at a time.

Once mixture is combined roll small balls of dough (they don't need to be perfect) the size of large cherries. The dough will nearly double in size when cooked. 

Gentle drop the biscuits on top of the soup and allow to cook covered, without stirring as the dumplings will fall apart, for 45 minutes. 



Just before serving add the double cream and stir gently. Ladle into bowls and enjoy!

(The original recipe can be found right here).

13 October, 2014

41/52



Sebastian Grey//  prays every meal and every bedtime, "pray that God you would provide me with a toy motorcycle."
Katharina McCallum//  said, "Papa, excuse me, Papa. I need to say something: please take us back to Cyprus."
Philippa Byrde//  says "I do it" about everything, and if it ends up being something she can't actually do, she immediately follows with, "Help you me, please?". And isn't she looking two?!

09 October, 2014

40/52

Apologies these portraits are late again-- I'm working to revamp my blogging schedule and in the meantime everything blog related is falling behind. I've promised myself I'll get back to it, but never at the expense of my family, so again I'm searching for what that balance looks like for our lifestyle. I'd really like to land somewhere in-between where I am now and daily blogs.

I've loved this project and will be so glad to look back at 52 photos of each of my babies, but I'll also be glad when it's done. I can't believe we are to week 40 already!



Sebastian Grey// new alien jammies and. . .wait for it. . .his cap gun.
Katharina McCallum// that's not a turban or a nun's habit, it's actually princess hair and it is "soo so beautiful."
Philippa Byrde//  when Papa says it's not paci time. (Sebastian cracks up laughing every time he sees this photo- ha).

TWO FOR TODAY

What a rainy, foggy day we've had here today! The kids and I had just gotten dressed to take a trip to the store when it started to rain, but our pantry was groaning that we should go anyway, so we did with hats on hour heads and umbrellas in hand. Everyone always loves the taxi ride back and today we spent the three-minute ride talking about what it would be like to be twelve and allowed to ride in the front seat. Conversations with these three melt me.



1) one of the most beautiful views in St Andrews can be seen from our bedroom window.
2) beautiful new books.

04 October, 2014

39/52



Sebastian Grey// never, ever, without his gun. He even sleeps with it under his pillow.
Katharina McCallum// "Bugs Rabbit Bunny" in the big bed on rainy mornings is her favourite treat.
Philippa Byrde// will never object to painting. Ever. No brushes needed.

02 October, 2014

TURNING THREE

Sebastian and Katharina turned three last Sunday and to celebrate we invited more than half a dozen of their little friends and ten of their favourite big people, plus parents, for a giant chilli lunch (which Becky graciously made all the cornbread for-- enough for 50 people!), Pin the Tail on the Donkey, Pass the Parcel, balloons, cake & ice cream.

Making the cakes is always my favourite part of birthday parties in our house. This year they each had their own ideas and so we opted for two cakes-- each distinctly different and perfect in their own ways.  We were pleased with the results.

Between desserts, their best friends, and a table full of presents, Sebastian and Katharina were beside themselves with excitement.

We strung crepe paper and balloons around the garden, set up several tables and scattered chairs, laid out blankets for the little ones, and partied in the sunshine. It was the perfect breezy afternoon celebrating our first- and second-born.

Calum and Sarah, our faithful and long-time friends (who haven't missed a birthday party yet!), brought small gifts for Philippa as well, because it's hard being the baby when it's not your party- ha! And most of these photos were taken by Sarah.

Sebastian and Katharina were given loads of presents and are incredibly thankful for each and every one. Two was fun but we're so excited to see what three holds for our extraordinary duo! We're so thankful for everyone who joined our celebration-- near and far!

Thanks for stopping by! xx









You can find the recipe for Sebastian's vegan dark chocolate cake with bittersweet chocolate + soured cream ganache right here. Katharina's was Nourished Kitchen's lovely coconut flour cake with this vanilla buttercream.