Friday, 31 March 2017

Links!

Some good book tips for the next generation.

Funny.

Changes to make in your 30s.

One of my favourite new recipes.

I couldn't stop looking at these.

Good communities.

Interesting parenting read.

Love this, actually.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

March Goal Review

Great progress this month:
  • Do our tax return. - done!
  • Write two letters. - done!
  • Try two new recipes. - done!
  • Host brunch. - done!
  • Book our summer flights. - done!

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Bike tour!

At the weekend, we tried out our new toy, the kids' bike trailer.

We just had a short ride around some nearby, quiet streets and cycle routes.

The kids loved it - Joshua slept and Isabella had fun.

It wasn't as arduous as I was expecting, not having cycled for so long, never mind the extra kilos.

These trailers are quite common here and double up as a pram!

The weather was glorious and I'm really looking forward to cycling more this year.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Garden Time!

 Having Dad here this week has meant that we can make the most of the glorious weather and sort out the garden.

Today Dad cleared the above flower bed from crazy overgrown grass and all the dead growth from last year.

I cleared this smaller flower bed and cleared the terrace from weeds.
Nico painted the house to seal it from damp and mould.

All in all a productive day. Hopefully it'll be a productive week!

Monday, 27 March 2017

Make it Monday: Lavender Pouches

Last week I made these lavender pouches as a gift for my aunt's birthday.

I made something similar but heart shaped for Valentine's day a few years ago. This was even simpler.

I cut two rectangles, folded them in half, right sides together and pinned. I sewed around the open edges, leaving a four centimetre gap.

I turned them the right side out and used a rolled piece of card to funnel lavender into the pouch.

Finally I sewed up the gap on the machine. (Don't overfill the pouch or this won't work.)

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Weekly Wisdom

Rule your mind or it will rule you.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

The Saturday Update

We had a nice weekend, seeing family and relaxing.

On Monday, I got my crochet and Project Life done among the usual routine.

Joshua and I took the bus to Bremen on Tuesday to have lunch with a friend and her girls. It was great to catch up with another mum of two - she really 'gets' it. Isabella went swimming with her friend.

After a bad night with Joshua, we had a quiet Wednesday (and rest of the week). I did my knitting and wrote a letter to my American penpal.

Thursday was also quiet. I've been working on my photography, reading and watching Friends.

Yesterday's highlight was our new bike trailer for the kids arriving and I'm really looking forward to trying it out today.

We're looking forward to Dad's visit next week and hoping this weather holds out.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Links!

I can relate to this.

Always looking for tips and ideas.

Love this pretty table.

A wonderful symbol of girl power.

Made me laugh.

There are many parenting questions I refuse to get drawn into - each to their own but I couldn't do this.

I absolutely have days like these.

Tips for time management

Breathtaking artwork.

A lot of this hit home too.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

My favourite crock pot recipes so far.

We recently bought a crock pot and it is so practical! I love that I can get dinner, or a dessert, ready on a morning and be more relaxed in the afternoon. Here are some of my favourite recipes so far:

Chilli

I remember my Mum doing chilli in the slow cooker when we were little. This one is full of veg and healthy goodness and we made enough for two meals.

Apple crumble

I love that it's just as easy to do a warm, hearty dessert, although this wasn't as crispy as I would have liked.

Chicken curry

This isn't the exact recipe I tried but it incorporates the changes I would make. The only downside is that it doesn't keep for the next day.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Reading Review

The Last Battle - C.S.Lewis

I finally finished off the chronicles of Narnia this month. The Last Battle rounds off the series perfectly, reuniting many characters from the series for one last adventure.

The moral and religious parallels continued in the seventh and final installment, which sees the end of Narnia and the move to a kind of afterlife.

I'm looking forward to the kids reading these in a few years.

The 33rd marriage of Donia Nour - H.Z.Ilmi

This book was a gift and something I wouldn't normally have picked up but I actually really enjoyed it. It's sci-fi, set in a very modern, Islamic Egypt in 2048.

It follows Donia Nour from the eve of her 33rd marriage and through the consequences thereof. It involves alien abductions and is a very extreme view of how wrong modern society could become.

The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

Another of my children's classics from home (my very first in fact), this made a lovely quick read this week. It's the story of Mary, a sour little girl born in India who comes to live in Yorkshire with her uncle when her parents die.

She discovers a secret garden and the story follows her time there and how it changes her. It's a lovely little story and it really made me want to get out in our garden - I just need Joshua to let me!

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

German bedding

I first realised that German bedding was different when staying with Nico's family. It's typical here for double beds to have two duvets (somewhere between the English single and double in size) and two big square pillows.

At first I hated the idea - not very romantic, one step away from seperate beds. Well, we recently made the switch and I wouldn't go back. No more tugs-of-war in the night and a much wider choice of bedding at local stores!

Monday, 20 March 2017

Make it Monday - Knitted Cushion Update

In between all of my ongoing projects and life in general, I haven't got a complete new project to share this week. Instead, I thought I'd update you on my knitting.

For over two years now, I've been following the Simple Stylish knitting course. In each issue, they provide materials and instructions for an ongoing project.

For two years, this project was a blanket which is now complete. Now, I'm working on a matching cushion. I especially like that the patches are all different shapes and sizes. I love that the colours match, and so far, I'm really enjoying it.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Saturday, 18 March 2017

The Saturday Update

This week:

we've booked and planned a christening.

I read a whole German novel.

I had a lovely catch up with work friends.

our old car was declared not roadworthy.

Isabella went to her first friend's birthday party.

we baked chocolate crispy buns.

I knitted, crocheted and journaled.

I survived on less sleep than I've ever had

we ordered a bike trailer.

Nico got out in the garden more.

Pete stayed out overnight.

I ordered Isabella some summer clothes.

I got to grips with my photography course and Nico's camera.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Recipe: Sausage and Kale Risotto

Ingredients:

  • 300g risotto rice
  • Onion
  • 150g kale
  • 2 sausages
  • 1 litre stock
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Seasoning
Instructions:
1. Chop the onion and fry with the rice until glassy.
2. Add the stock to the rice, one ladle at a time until absorbed.
3. Chop the sausages and add to the rice with the kale.
4. Stir in some parmesan and season to taste.
5. Serve woth more parmesan on top.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Reading Review

The Silver Chair - C.S.Lewis

Another fun, adventure story for children. Full of moral lessons again. It tells the story of Eustace and Jane's journey to Narnia to rescue a lost prince, held captive by a witch.

I like the continuity of the characters and setting while enjoying a new story.

World Without End - Ken Follett

This novel follows on from Pillars of the Earth which I read a few years ago but works well as a stand alone novel.

It follows a group of characters from their meeting as children, through various trials and tribulations, into old age. Follett has a real talent for bringing a long gone era to life.

The history and politics are accurate and interesting. The caracters are very engaging - both good and bad.

I loved this story, along with Follett's other works.

The Railway Children - E.Nesbit

Another choice from my collection of children's classics and my favourite so far, this one tells of three siblings and their adventures in a new home in the country.

It was easy to read and the stories were fun and engaging, and as typically moralistic as many children's books of the time.

It really takes you back to a simpler time.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Make it Monday: Drawstring Bag


Continuing my efforts to make as many birthday presents as possible myself this year, I made this drawstring bag for a little girl we know last week.

It came from my Fun with Fat Quarters book and I think it's great for a little girl, especially in the colours I found in my stash.

Lately, I've been struggling to find time to sew and a half hour project like this took me a week! I'm glad I'm sticking with it though.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Weekly Wisdom

She needed a hero so that's what she became.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

The Saturday Update

It's been a relatively quiet week here. We've been in all the usual routines - nursery for Isabella, work for Nico, feeding on demand for Joshua and me. Playgroup was cancelled due to illness.

So what did we get done? Planning Joshua's christening, making lots of social plans from next week up to Summer, and preparing for Isabella's friend's birthday party this afternoon.

Next week we're catching up with friends, booking flights and family are coming to visit at the weekend. Looking forward to it all.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Links!

A new craft site to explore.

What a brilliant, green idea.

The smallest penguin - so cute!

Funny.

It's the season for this.

This explains a lot.

Love this idea.

Some good environmental advice.

A future project.

Love.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Recipe: Apple Crumble

We recently bought a slow cooker and I love it! While it will be more useful when I go back to work, it's quite practical to prepare meals early as Joshua tends to be fussier on an afternoon.

Last week I tried this apple crumble recipe as a nice warming dessert. I loved it and ended up eating most of it. I love fruity desserts.

On the downside, the crumble top is not as crisp as you get in the oven. I'd like to try a traditional fruit crumble in the oven.

However, it did work as a gluten free recipe an I enjoyed the addition of walnuts.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Spring is springing.

 On a rainy day like today, I love to see the flowers in the garden starting to bloom - a sure sign that Winter is over and Spring is here!

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Currently...

...apreciating the extra daylight.
...working on my photography.
...reading an epic Ken Follett novel.
...making lots of social plans.
...enjoying cuddles.
...creating with joy.
...having tickle fights.
...laughing at Friends reruns.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Make it Monday - March birthday cards


My new thing this month was trying to write numbers with stamps (that's a six and a three if you can't tell).

As some friends may be insulted if I put their age on the card, I used an old favourite technique of cut out shapes. 

I'm really pleased with both styles. Now to work on some gifts.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Weekly Wisdom

Creativity is intelligence having fun
 - Einstein

Saturday, 4 March 2017

The Saturday Update

Another mad week around here but thankfully no bloody injuries!

We had a great time catching up with Nico's family. Isabella especially enjoyed socialising and charming everyone. Sunday was quiet to recover.

I was quite poorly on Monday, I don't know if it was flu, a virus or an allergy but it really knocked me and I'm still recovering.

By Wednesday I was well enough to do a big clean on the house and Joshua was good enough to let me.

On Thursday we hosted this month's yoga mums' brunch. It was really nice and the morning flew by.

Yesterday we went to the talent show at Nico's school. We just stayed for the first half but enjoyed it a lot. Isabella was very social again, helping the PTA and even getting up on stage!

Lots coming up including a catch up with a good colleague, voting on Sunday, parents' evening on Monday and Isabella's first kids' birthday party next weekend!

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Recipe: Vegan Moussaka

Last week I tried a new recipe from one of Nico's vegan cookbooks.

Moussaka is my favourite Greek dish but I haven't had it since going gluten free and I thought I'd give this alternative a try.

It's made up of three repeated layers: aubergine (delicious but the skin was tricky to cut), lentil filling (nice but couldn't replace the meat flavour for me) and a binding sauce (tasty but not as creamy as the usual recipe.

Overall I enjoyed it but it took a lot of time and effort. I'd like to experiment more with vegan recipes and with gluten free moussaka but not this one.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

March Goals

Here are my goals for this month:

  • Do our tax return.
  • Write two letters.
  • Try two new recipes.
  • Host brunch.
  • Book our summer flights.