Sunday, October 31, 2010


My sister has been around this weekend with her family.

I love it when we're all together.

There's lots of noise and bickering and ruckus and fun and food and wine and so much belly aching from all the laughter.

Whilst she was here we managed to scrounge an extremely rare night out for the four of us. We went to a very small, but delightful, seafood and steak joint on Rose Street. Afterwards we headed to a pub for a drink and, being me, my eyes began to close. Soon I drifted away to places that are only privy to me - yes, even you don't get to go there ! The chaos and noise of the pub disappated and it was just me and that place and.... yes, she poked me.
I leapt! Physically! Out of my frickin' skin! Thanks sis! But heck, that's what sister's are for! We laughed so much we cried.

We took the children bowling:

We also celebrated Halloween with a small party at home, which brought about much fun with the face paints and decorating the house!

The Kiss!

 Once the neighbours and OPK*'s had gone and some semblance of calm resumed. We decided to introduce Morticia and Camp Dracula to the delights of Nurse Jackie and a glass of hard earned wine in our sweats, trying desperately hard not to "borrow" some of the kids' candy!
Little and not so little heads disappeared to the land of nod the second heads hit pillows, of course, with the clocks going back, the littler heads have decided that it's time to get up...*yawn*.

The cobwebs are going to be well and truly blown away this morning with a brisk walk up Arthur's Seat!

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Blue Boots.

Once upon a time there was a little girl who had a pair of beautiful new boots that her mummy got her in the sale the year before in the desperate hope that she'd not have grown out of them before she had the chance to wear them.
Today, she had the opportunity to wear her new boots at the beach, and what fun she had!

Playing football

 Jumping over very cold waves.

 Gathering sea snails and looking at barnacles in rock pools.

And charging down sand dunes.

She had so much fun in her boots that she didn't want to take them off, but her socks were starting to itch as they got very wet and sandy. She needed to warm her little icy toes in a nice warm bath when she got back home and her mother needed to put them in the airing cupboard to dry out so she could wear them all over again the next day.

The End!

Winter Preparations and a large helping of friends

Scooting on here quickly this morning as I feel I am abusing the time Mr Beehive has given me. It's 8am and I'm still in bed, drinking a coffee (bless him) and it's so warm under my lovely down quilt and new blanket that I can't bring myself to get up.

We've got friends here this weekend which is so lovely. We are so far north from the majority of our pals that we may as well be living back in the US for the amount of people that can visit for a weekend. It tends to be a seven hour drive for most of them!

However, it's half term in England this week, so we've got a full house for the next couple of weeks - just how I like it. Lots of noise, cooking, laughter.

Yesterday we decided to take them to Dynamic Earth. I love this place! We have an annual pass and each time we go, I still get more out of it. It's really hands on for the children too, so they always have a blast.

We also got some time to hoop together and Little Miss Beehive taught their daughter to move her hips and keep her hoop going. It was amazing how quickly she picked it up!

It's been really bitterly cold in the last few days. I'm getting our medicine cabinet together for another long cold and dark winter here. Poor Master Beehive the elder has been suffering a bit with his asthma this week, he's been using his inhaler more than he normally does. However, using the alternative medicines alongside his steriod has meant that this year so far, the potential terrible cold that usually renders him very poorly and occasionally has put him in hospital in the past, this time has only left him with a croaky voice and the need to use the inhaler. It would appear that daily prevention when he is healthy is improving his overall health.

This is our little collection of winter vitamins and preventions that we use daily and hopefully stave off much of the winter's malice:
Echinacea and elderflower for the first signs of a cold;

Sage and garlic for the first signs of phlegm and catarrah.

On a daily basis; multi vits for the kids, floradix for me, omegas for the kids and me and I take vitaming D as well due to the serious lack of light in the winter here and my hatred of the long, dark days (my mood is so seriously altered by lack of a blue sky and some sun), then we also have malt extract that I give the children daily from now until around March. This is something my mother religiously gave us through the winters when I was a child and I have to say, I think it really helped build our immune systems - or at least give them a helping hand through the winter.

Oh and lastly (blushes) the milkthistle is for the over indulgence at Christmas and with our stream of guests for the next few weeks. Lots of water and some milk thistle will help!

Although I don't actually enjoy the dark in Edinburgh, I do love the preparations for winter which probably spill over from our time living in New England through the snows. Is the shovel ready, do we have grit to get the cars out? Time to change our duvet to the thicker tog, are the sleds accessible (this is an important one in Edinburgh!!), where are the winter clothes and what state are boots in this year. Gathering and harvesting the last of the summer harvest and pickling and preserving to ensure we aren't wasting surplus and have gifts for friends. Starting preparations for Christmas puddings which I'll begine in the next couple of weeks and getting the house decorated with pumpkins and gourds for the autumn.

An older picture of pumpkins in Vermont (2006)
Living in a modern house I really miss the opportunity to stack firewood in preparation for a few months of warm fires and the smell of woodsmoke, but, this time next year we'll be in our farmhouse and finally be adding that chore to our winter preparations.

Finally, Mr Beehive has been working like a beaver this week. He offered to smoke garlic and make jars for a fundraiser for a colleague's wife. A couple of birthdays ago I bought him a smoking course which got him totally hooked. We now own a fantastic smoker/barbecue that he uses on a very regular basis and smokes all kinds of things from cheese and nuts to meats, both hot and cold.
This was a very kind thing for him to offer to do, but I don't think he fully understood the preparation involved in the early stages. Three days later and shrivelled to a prune as cold water soaking aids the removal of the skin, he had dutifully skinned and separated around 50 bulbs of garlic, all of which are now marinating around 30 jars of oil. That'll keep the colds away if nothing else does!!!

What does your winter preparation involve?

The moon rising over Arthur's Seat.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Blowing away cobwebs.

Today I decided to take a day off from the books. I'm fed up of having my head in them. It's half term and the kids need me.

I had two happy and willing volunteers who could easily be coerced with a trip to the beach and a hot chocolate at the end.

The eldest Beehive was at an outdoor assault course in the trees with his dad - as you do, so we bundled ourselves up in coats, scarves, hats and gloves as the wind has suddenly picked up in the last few days and plummeted the weather to around 5 or 6 degrees, got our bucket and spade and pootled off to the beach.

It was actually gorgeous, if you could see for the tears streaming down your face and forget about the chill factor desperately trying to create icicles with the tears. There weren't many people on the beach, which was lovely for us, but what a shame on what they missed out on. So, here are a few photos of our day:

Right at the top of the beach!

The cakes were very tempting!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tales from the Riverbank

Just a few pictures from my walk on and around the riverbank this morning. Hope you like them!

Next week when I go out for my wanderings, I will have a guest with me. Master Beehive the elder has taken to photography and we're re-gifting him my previous camera  for Christmas this year. He has asked to come out on a Wednesday wandering next week, so we may go down to Portobello for some snappy happiness.

Here are a couple of photographs he took when we were in Africa this summer with really small kodak - pretty good eh?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Belated birthday cakes.

A very belated party for Mr Beehive the younger this weekend. We had to wait for all his pals to turn 8, which took us to the end of the summer, then the next available slot happened to be this weekend - mid October, so it's a very bizarre thing I find myself doing today, some 3 months after his birthday.

Here it is though.

After lots of coercion, pep talks and studying of books that have been gifted to me by my adorable friend, Fred, to encourage me, I jumped in with both feet to make him a *proper* birthday cake. None of these appalling cake wrecks I am so renown for making! This was going to be with *grown up* icing and look how it is meant to look (sort of!). The usual way my cakes work is through evolution; I start with a plan, but it goes so horribly wrong that the cake evolves into something else.

I like to think of it as an *organic* process !

So, having plonked the kids in front of Mr Magorium's magical emporium this afternoon I've spent the time creating his cake:

Now I just have to figure out how to transport it!