Wednesday, June 30, 2010

School's out for the summer!

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Just some of the beautiful artwork that the boys have done at school this year. Last day tomorrow.
I am really looking forward to the lack of rushing around, the lack of need to iron uniforms for seven weeks, the lack of need to be organised and the abundance of lazy days!

For once we have a mere 7 weeks, rather than the full 10 or more we had in the US, so this will be a challenge to fit all our usual gazillion actitivities into such a small time frame and for the first time this year *gasp* we're not going to curse a music festival either, so you can all rest assured, the weather this year on bank holiday August, will be glorious!

The boys are going to play cricket next week and then they've both asked to attend a cooking course the following week. I have (dis)illusions of grandeur that week where upon I will not be cooking for the three days they're at this course, instead I will be catered for! I think I probably ought to take off the rose tinted specs right now as the sun has gone in!

LMB is going to an arts and crafts workshop - yay for making a mess in someone elses studio rather than my kitchen!

Then we're off to Kenya for two weeks later in the holidays!
This is, in itself, proving a challenge for my genetically inherited inability to pack small! We're limited with weight on the small internal planes we'll be taking, so we've decided to do as our youth and take rucksacks only. I know I won't need the third pair of shoes I'm gazing at, but in Scotland I get so little chance to wear I said, I'm still working at it but I'm pretty sure that Mr Beehive will take less clothes than me, maybe I can just squeeeeeeeeeeze those shoes at the bottom of his rucksack......

This year's elderflower cordial in the making.

Oh and finally a piece of writing from LMB's school file that I'd love to share with you:

"I leke to go with my famaley to the bitch"

I am hoping I can see three spelling mistakes in this piece!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Village Life in the city

What a lovely day!

This morning I visited the Young Mum's group that I will be teaching antenatal classes to from August. I'm really looking forward to being able to offer this group of parents to be some antenatal education and answer some of the questions that they may not have anyone to normally ask. It's not much, an hour a week or maybe two, but it's something.

The whole set up is pretty fantastic (although, as usual, it's under threat of being cut). It's attached to a secondary school and the girls are bused in from various parts of the City and suburbs to attend. There's a creche and many of the girls go on to achieve their Highers even after having had their babies.
It's a scheme that positively realises that these women can and want to be good parents and achieve for the benefits of their children and therefore provide the facilities in order for them to do that. I am there in order for them to have access to antenatal education preventing them from either attending classes designed for couples and generally attended by much older women, or foregoing any form of knowledge or information at all.

Of course, it is being threatened with closure as the secondary school it's attached to is dropping in numbers due to parental choice -the choice being - not that school!

Then I went for lunch with a friend of mine. She lives in this gorgeous rambling old manor type house - with its own folly in the garden - yup - a garden shed with ramparts!!
Anyway, she offered to show me her chicken and bee set up so that I'd be able to take notes for when we move.
What she didn't tell me, was that she owns over an acre of land, much of which is turned over to a small farm! The rest of their acreage was sold off many years ago and is now owned partly by the NT and partly by the community who have some fantastic land on which they are also growing veg, keeping chickens and bees.

It's amazing to think that this location, complete with marquee and barbecue (brick built), beautiful wooden benches (carved by one member of the village), cleverly engineered heaters (designed and built by another village member), constant supply of veg and eggs (with honesty box) is literally in the shadow of Arthur's seat and a 25 minute walk out of the city centre! A small pocket of tranquility and community spirit within the hustle and bustle of 21st century living!

Come away with a green hue? Much!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Hotchpotch dress

This was a pattern from a crafting magazine that mum sent up to me. It's made up using several panels of material. It's been challenging just because the directions were far from clear and there is an excess of material - more than was really needed.
However, with some adaptation of straps and taking in a few darts, I honed it to something LMB will be able to wear with or without a t-shirt.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Life's a cabaret!

Another weekend and what a cabaret!

LMB had her dancing show on Friday night! This time last year she was in pre-school ballet. When it came to her time to get into the line, one of the other girls had "taken her spot", so, as a wee four year old, she proceeded to stand there, with the other girls continuing to "dance" around, and put her hand up:

"Miss Balletteacher, Miss Balletteacher, so and so has taken my space"

This was followed with her wandering off to the wings to report this atrocity!

Of course to the hilarity of the audience, lots of "aww's" and "cuuuuuute".

Fortunately this year, she proved to be "able to cope" with minor discrepancies from the usual routine, allowing the pre-schoolers to take this all on themselves, and was a lovely Dutch girl bringing a real tear to my eye.

Her final routine was Toni Basil's "Hey Mickey" which coincedentally was the first single (vinyl - yes sir - how old be I?) I ever bought!

Then this morning, the music school did their end of year concert, so LMB shook her eggs to Down in the Jungle.

And the Messers Beehive both played their geeeetars!

Finally I just wanted to put my current WIP up for you to see. I'm so chuffed with how this is progressing, but, in hindsight, I probably should have used a blue fabric for the underskirt. I'm not convinced the pink is the best choice. Anyway, see what you think.

Now with all the classes and clubs done and dusted for the next six weeks, it's time to kick off our shoes and enjoy the summer - and wait for it to start raining!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Summer Solstice

My friend Sonia celebrated her birthday just before the solstice, so we went to celebrate in the Botanical Gardens on the Solstice. What a lovely treat, exploring the garden without the sound of "I'm boooooooored", "when are we going to the park?" "Can I have an ice cream"

Did you know, there are actually plants at the Botanical gardens!!

So if your smalls pull you around these places at a rate of knots, please feel free to indulge in our indulgence !!

Weird spiky plant thing!

Scottish cloud flag under the moon at 9.30pm

Poppies and wild flower garden


You don't need a label!



Five happy mamas!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Your mission, should you choose to accept it...

Ever had one of those weekends where you wake up on Saturday morning and by the time you've rubbed your eyes, it's Sunday evening?

This weekend has been one of those! I've hit the ground running without my running shoes on too!

First there were ballet show rehearsals which required gelling and pinning back into buns, of non existant hair, then there were Rainbow pwincess parties:

...with enOOOOOOOOURmous pink cakes as big as our faces!

There was a necessary trip to Camera Obscura

in order to entertain Master Beehive the younger and the teenager, whilst Master Beehive the elder was at cricket practice with Mr Beehive and a rather nice victoria sponge cake that I'd whipped up in my sleep (yeah -look at me being Mrs.
Smugmummyhomebakingcakemakerallbeforebreakfast! - marks out of 10 for taste - 10, marks out of 10 for's amazing what you can hide with icing sugar on the top, but at least it wasn't a stoned dinosaur!)

Then there was "the football" - oh, no, hang on, then there was a group of rather pathetic looking men running around a green piece of grassland flailing their legs around and occasionally managing to kick a ball! I've pretty much escaped the football scene for many, many years now having managed to marry a man who shares my sentiments of "it's only a game". However, this may just have been his secret to a happy marriage, or only comes into light when there is a world cup. NOW he has partners in crime. Two, happy to oblige with the yelling at the screen, the shouting at the ref, the assurances that "they could do better", sons. So the three of them hijacked the box and my sitting room for 90 minutes *sigh*.

Then it was Sunday, which was father's day - Happy Father's day daddies - although it did take a nano second of disgruntled grumpiness on my behalf to think why "he" was getting the lie in AGAIN this morning and why he was ignoring my whimpers for coffee! *oops*!

Then it was a couple of hours to unpick and run up the fleece in a larger size:

God, would you look at the attitude, kind of reminds me a bit of this:

Finally, the smallest rugrat was out on a bikeride with her friend and I was going to work.

Now it's nearly 8pm and as I said, it's nearly Monday morning again! Although there was time for some of this...

This weekend will self destruct in five seconds...


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Jumping through hoops and over hurdles!

One of those completely manic days today that I would be sure I'd manage better if I had a pair of roller skates attached to my feet.

Today was sports day at school.

LMB has been thrilled about the prospect of this event and woke me up to tell me so at 3.30am! Eventually I gave in and "let her out" to hone her egg and spoon skills at around 7.30 along with that god damned lark !

I've managed to not play the role of sports-day-mom in the last 10 years, but, being back in the UK, can no longer avoid this duty of parenthood.

So, armed with my camera, I set off to cheer on my tribe.

As the parent participation events came close, I realised with urgency how I needed to be at work, all of a sudden! The beds won't change themselves and I need to check levels of wee and take out a catheter or two - has to be! *wink*

So, I rushed off to work for a couple of hours.

Then I rushed back to let out the dog for a wee, pick up the ingredients for the soup, and then rushed back to school to pick up the first two children, comfort Master Beehive the younger as he is sad that his house came last and work out that "the Green Grandparents" isn't actually the name of LMB's house, rather her interpretation of "the Grampians", which is!

Then I rushed up to the next school to pick up the second two children, having texted the teenager to tell her I'd be a bit late as I couldn't get past the cheerleaders at the schoolgate of the first two children. Of course, being a teenager, she didn't pick up the text - well, not the one from me at least !!

Then we rushed home, one child needed her 80's costume finding again for tomorrow, the other decided that this time he wanted to go as a hippy and needed a purple coat and flares - oh and a long black wig - not even wonder-super-catheterchanging-sportseventattending-mom could fix this one in 24 hours, so my granny would have been proud and we "made do and mended" - well, adapted.

Then it was time to go swimming, so off we pootle again, all kids in, all costumes on, all towels, goggles, hats, accounted for. They swim, I watch and sweat - the temperature at the baths isn't kind to spectators. They change, the little miss goes home knickerless as she forgot to put them in her bag *sigh*, I make soup and fresh bread for dinner. The conversation flows, loudly, with much remonstration and wild gesticulation, in English, in German, in Gerglish. They get down and I clear up, wash up, wipe down (with some help), sing songs, feed dogs.

It's now 9.30 and I am going to bed, but not before I've made a big peace banner - shit - better get a shift on, it'll be morning soon!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mmmm, my kitchen smells lush today!

I was meant to be working down my list of things to do today, which included going to John Lewis fabric department after I'd been to a meeting I'd got scheduled. However, best laid plans and all, and let's be honest, a visit to JL, would have only increased my increasing stash of fabric for which I never have enough time to do all the projects I want to do anyway!

Master Beehive the younger came out of school yesterday looking a whiter shade of pale, which for us in the Beehive before we've seen much sun tends to make him look rather like a translucent zombie with all his veins and black shadows leaping off his face!

So he's now pee'd in his bottle to go to the lab as it looks like he might have a UTI! Hurrah!

We're now making banana muffins and banana, ginger and walnut loaf and some beanburgers for dinner tonight.
Sometimes the bananas in my house are eaten as if I've birthed three chimpanzees, other times they are apparently the spawn of the devil - the bananas, not the chimps btw!
So, with an excess or rapidly browning bananas and a houseful of hungry boys, teenagers (I always seem to have an extra teen at the moment!) and a small rugrat that just is "hungreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee" all the time - Banana muffins will go down better than a browning fruit that I'm desperately trying to sell as apetising!

I think when this time of year comes around I seem to pull out all the books on preserving, pickling and making the most of gluts of fruit and veg, so the house turns into a small cottage industry.

This week I've made my dress and a fleece for LMB, although the sleeves need removing and wider ones need making as for some reason the sleeves came up ridiculously narrow!

I've made some strawberry icecream and four jars of jam, one of which will be for my friend's birthday next week along with a loaf of sour dough bread from the starter that is just started on the windowsill (of course, this is if it all works!) and a raw cheesecake from the gazillion strawberries that LMB and I picked on Saturday after the beach.

So here are some photos and some recipes for you:


Hooded fleece for LMB that needs a bit of a re-touch!

Pretty buttons that asked me to buy them the other day along with some fun fabric that I might line some cord trousers with for a baby boy - who's baby boy is another question though.


Banana, ginger and walnut bread:

8 oz SR flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs (large)
4 oz soft brown sugar
dash of milk
4 oz butter and a dash of oil
3 mashed bananas
1 handful of walnut pieces
1 tsp ginger

Cream the sugar and fat
Add the eggs
Sieve and add the flour, ginger and baking powder
add the banana and stir in the walnuts

Greased loaf tin - I line mine, but it's up to you.
Oven at 185, pour the batter into the loaf tin and let it bake for around 40 minutes.
You know I am the "throw it in and hope" cook, so watch it go brown (if you smell it then you're nearly done) and bring it out and check with a knife or skewer for it to be clean when you draw it out.

Raw Strawberry Cheesecake

Dead easy this one:
1 pack of hobnobs (or digestives - but hob nobs are nicer!)
Around 4oz butter

1 large tub of marscarpone cheese
Around 600g strawberries - leave two or three to decorate the top
Icing sugar to taste

Melt your butter in a pan
Bash the hob nobs in a bag using a rolling pin so they become weeny crumbs.
Once the butter is melted pour the crumbs into the butter and ensure all the crumbs get coated with the butter.
Tip this buttered base into a shallow dish and press down hard - you have to do this with your hands really as it just sticks to spoons. Then refridgerate it for around 2 hours.

For the topping:
Puree the strawberries in the blender, then I add the icing sugar and whizz up with that in the blender. You can then taste it and add more icing sugar if you want.

Then you're going to pour the puree in with the cheese and stir it up well with a wooden spoon.

Bring your now solid and cooled base out of the fridge and spread the topping on, decorate with your strawberries and put it back in the fridge!