Thursday, 31 August 2017

August Goals Review

  • Start a new fitness routine - done!
  • 2 letters - done!
  • 2 recipes - done!
  • Learn to play poker - done! (Though I need some practice.)
  • Catch up with friends - done!
All round it's been a great month.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Messages to our daughters

This speech followed close on the heels of this post for me and made me think a lot about bringing up my girl, and boy for that matter.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Recipe: Mushroom Risotto


Ingredients:
  • 1 onion
  • 1.5 cups risotto rice
  • 1 litre stock
  • 500g mushrooms
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 10g butter
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Lemon juice
Instructions:
1. Chop the mushrooms and fry in a pan until browned.
2. Meanwhile, fry the onion. Add the rice and begin to ladle in the stock, a bit at a time until absorbed.
3. Add the garlic, herbs and seasoning.
4. When the liquid is absorbed and the rice is no longer crunchy, add the mushrooms, butter, parmesan cheese and a good squirt of lemon juice.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Make it Monday- September Birthday Cards

I went with a bit of a theme this month, as you can see. For each recipient I chose a nice paper from either my stock or Mollie Makes and added a 'Happy Birthday' in relief on the front.

I like that each one is individual to the recipient and that it was easy to find suitable papers for male recipients too. They look simple and clean, and hopefully brighten up some birthdays.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Saturday, 26 August 2017

The Saturday Update

This week has flown by. On the whole it's been quieter than last week but somehow more tiring.

We took the kids to the fire and ambulance station open day on Sunday. It was great fun despite rubbish weather. Then we had corn on the cob with Isabella for the first time - fun!

On Monday I took Isabella to her dance class and then we did our usual shopping tour to Kirchweyhe.

I cycled to the townhall with the kids on Tuesday to buy our tickets for the children's theater at the weekend.

Wednesday was my taster session at Zumba. It was fast and difficult but good fun and I'll be going again. I cycled there and back too so lots of exercise this week.

I did a fair bit of garden work on Thursday with Isabella and mowed the lawn for the first time ever.

Yesterday was baby swimming again, followed by Joshua's first ride in a trolley and all the cleaning.

Another busy week coming up with children's theatre, visiting the in-laws and brunch with the yoga mums.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Links!

Stuck in my head.

I find this a bit strange.

This hurts my head.

Last days of Summer - no question.

I've seen a few stories like this lately.

Some good ideas here. (And some weird ones.)

This happened this week.

Glad to read more from this lady again.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Photography Course

This year I've been following this photography course that Nico bought for me. A chapter every two weeks or so.
My knowledge and confidence are growing and I'm really liking some of the photos I get.
Many of the photos are of the kids of course but I thought I would share these images with you from the chapters on colour, black and white, and light.
Next week is the last chapter already and I'll definitely be practising these skills for years to come.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Dance Class

I've always known that if I were blessed with a daughter, I'd want her to go to dance class. Isabella loves dancing and starts every time a song comes on the radio. In fact she used to dance to music in the womb!

Last week she had her first ever dance class. It's here in Leeste and for children between the ages of two and six. It's run by a lovely lady called Kerstin whose two daughters take part too.

It's not a specific type of dance like ballet, it's more like music and movement. They run around a lot. Isabella loves running, copying the moves and looking at herself in the mirror. We're signing her up officially next week.

I'm hoping that she will develop a healthier relationship with sport and fitness than I ever had.

There are both boys and girls in the group and we have since discovered that at least three of the others will be in her kindergarten group come October. I love that we are putting down roots here.

Another advantage to this dance school is that they do fitness classes like zumba and bums and tums for adults too. Unfortunately many of the classes are at tea time or bed time and I don't want to disrupt our routines but I've found a couple that suit me and I'm starting my trial tonight!

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Recipe: Sausage Rolls

Ingredients:

  • 300g flour
  • 200ml water
  • 15g yeast
  • 4g salt
  • 10g butter
  • 14 small sausages
Instructions:

1. Mix all ingredients except the sausages into a dough.
2. Roll out the dough ca. 4mm thick.
3. Cut pastry into 2cm strips.
4. Wrap each sausage in a spiral of the pastry and lay on a baking tray.
5. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes at 200℃.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Make it Monday - Crochet Pin Cushion

This was the free project that came with the very first issue of Mollie Makes sent to me by my Mum last year. At the time, I couldn't make any sense of the instructions as I was new to crochet and learning in German.

At the weekend I set my mind to it and had this little beauty finished in a day. I'm growing to like crochet more and more, partly because you see results fairly quickly and I've got a bigger crochet project coming up soon!

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Weekly Wisdom

We live in a rainbow of chaos.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

The Saturday Update

We survived our first full school week! That alone is a huge achievement. I'm feeling much better about the situation than I was a week ago.

We had a lovely brunch with my former colleague and his wife. Pancakes and bread rolls.

On Monday I took Isabella to her first dance class. It will take some settling in but she enjoyed it and we're going again next week.

We baked together on Tuesday - a chocolate smartie cake for her Kindergarten teachers.

Wednesday was busy getting ready for the teachers' home visit. There are three teachers and they are really lovely. Isabella got on with them at once and they seemed really pleased with her too.

Thursday was really busy. First we went to the library and bumped into the Kindergarten class! Then we did the food shopping and Isabella went to the eye doctor. I had my check up and then took Isabella for a playdate. Phew!

Yesterday was baby swim - I was apprehensive about going with two kids but it worked really well. Afterwards we got all the washing and cleaning done.

We're having a quieter day today before we are out and about tomorrow and another regular school week.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Links!

Excited about this!

This makes sense.

What a guy!

True.

Cats!

Wise words from one of my favourite actors.

Browsing.

I love Rachel's way with words.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Currently...

...adjusting to our new routine.
...enjoying the outdoors more.
...creating space for more creativity.
...making plans for the next few weeks.
...drining peppermint tea.
...dancing more.
...savouring time with the children.
...delving into the past.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Reading Review

Hound of the Baskervilles - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Another Sherlock Holmes children's classic, I really enjoyed this crime story. It was one story, unlike the collection I recently read but it was interesting and kept me guessing.

Pietr the Latvian - Georges Simenon

This was a gift from Nico. It's the first in the Maigret series though it's not one of the TV adaptations that we've seen.

The story follows Detective Maigret in his hunt for Pietr the Latvian a criminal wanted throughout Europe. It's not a long story but it is very descriptive and does keep you guessing.

I'm looking forward to more of this series.

Dick Whittington - Retold by Vera Southgate

This is a quick little read that my Dad recently brought over from England with some of my things.

It's the famous story of Dick Whittington going to London to make his fortune. Of course there is a cat involved and it's a fun tale.

Looking forward to reading this with the kids.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Recipe: Tomato and Parmesan Quiche

Ingredients:

  • 300g cherry tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • 60g grated parmesan
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 small pots of creme fraiche
  • Handful fresh basil, chopped
  • 280g flour
  • 140g butter
  • Seasoning
Instructions:

1. Combine the flour and butter with 1/2 tsp salt and 8 tbsp water. Roll out the dough to a circle ca. 5cm larger than your pastry tin. Gently lay the dough over the tin, push into the corners and chill for 20 mins while heating the oven to 200℃.

2. Half the cherry tomatoes, put them in a roasting dish. Drizzle with olive oil and season. Place in the bottom of the oven. Prick the pastry base with a fork, cover with baking paper and baking beans, blind bake for twenty minutes. After removing the paper and beans, bake for a further 5 - 10 minutes. Remove pastry and tomatoes from the oven.

3. Beat the eggs in a bowl. Gradually add the creme fraiche and then the basil. Sprinkle half the parmesan on the base, place the tomatoes on top, pour over the creme fraiche mix and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until golden brown.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Make it Monday - Project Life Update

It's been a while since I've blogged about Project Life but that's really because I like to have photos for my posts, I don't like to post photos of our children online and my Project Life is basically all about the children now.

I first started this project back in 2012 and I loved it. I'm not really sure why I stopped at the end of 2014 but I am so glad I got back into it this year.

I update my album weekly and I love flicking through from January each week. Seeing the story and development makes it so worthwhile.

I was in England for my friend's wedding at the start of last week so I can finally share a page in this space! While the average week tells its own kind of story, I love when we have something special going on as we tend to have better photos and it's generally easier to make the colours work.

That was really true this week as I could get in some of my favourites from the Seafoam edition to brighten up a really happy day.

If I can keep up the energy on this project, the kids are going to have something really special to look back on one day.

My process:

- Go to Rossmann and print out my favourite photos from the week (phone and camera)
- Place the photos into the layout, cropping where necessary.
- Pick a colour idea for the week and select cards that work, starting with the big date card.
- Journal on the appropriate cards.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Saturday, 12 August 2017

The Saturday Update

Wow! What a week!

Celebrated the marriage of Rachel and Rich on Monday in Alnwick. It was a beautiful day for a beautiful couple.

The day after, we headed up to Lindesfarne which I already wrote about.

I flew home early on Wednesday and it was great to see my babies. I missed them so much.

I enjoyed a nice breakfast with my Dad and the kids after Isabella's check up on Thursday morning - the first with no crying.

Dad left after a chaotic baby swim yesterday. Now it's back to Earth with a bump as we find our new routine again!

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Holy Island

After the wedding - a beautiful day and fun reunion with the amazing ladies above, we drove up to Bamburgh and Holy Island. I'd been last summer but it was exciting to go back with friends.
Bamburg Castle

My road trip buddies enjoying the view

Beautiful scenery

The abbey on Lindesfarne

St Mary's Church on Holy Island

An interesting wooden sculpture



Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Hexham

On our way to my friend's wedding this week, we stopped off for a bit of sightseeing in Hexham.

We arrived at 4pm and looked around the priory including the creepy crypt.

Here are some photos:






Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Recipe: Pretzel bread

Ingredients:

  • 500g flour
  • 250g water
  • 10g salt
  • 1 pinch of sugar
  • 20g yeast
  • 10-50g butter or oil depending on preference
  • Soda lye
Instructions:
1. Leave the yeast in some luke warm water to activate it.
2. Mix all of the ingredients except the soda lye into a dough. Let it rest for five minutes.
3. Shape the dough how you want - pretzel, rolls, sticks. 
4. Using gloves, dip the rolls in lye. Rest for twenty minutes.
5. Slit the rolls with a knife, sprinkle with salt and bake for 20 minutes at 200℃.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Make it Monday - Hama Beads

I saw this idea in a magazine a few weeks ago and I've always wanted to try something with Hama beads so I made a quick Amazon order and got cracking.

It was actually more fiddly than I thought and though I'd promised Isabella she could help and I did let her try, it's not suitable for a three year old.

I am pleased with the result though. It covers a glass with a hole in the middle for a straw to stop wasps sharing your drink in Summer. I think it works well.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Saturday, 5 August 2017

The Saturday Update

We've had a good week here. On Monday Joshua and I had brunch with one group of friends and Isabella had brunch with hers. The weather was glorious and everyone had fun.

On Tuesday we had our day out at the bird park which I already wrote about. That was a real highlight.

Wednesday was chaos with Isabella's friend visiting while the dads went to get wood. In the evening Dad arrived after a slight delay.

Nico went back to work on Thursday and I was glad of Dad's help with the kids. We got lots done including a bit of gardening.

Friday was even more productive with washing, cleaning, baking, packing, crafting, cooking...

Today I had an early start at 5am for my journey to England for my friends' wedding. So excited!

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Walsrode Bird Park

This week we had a lovely, family day out a bird park in Walsrode. The weather was fantastic.

We were there nice and early when the park opened and stayed until the early evening because it was so nice and the kids were great.

First we headed to the penguin enclosure for feeding time and Isabella was delighted to throw a fish in!

 We then wandered round the biggest bird park in Europe and visited everything from hummingbirds to the osterich. There were owls, eagles, hawks, parrots,... anything you could imagine, and a few you couldn't.
 There were also two shows, an indoor one with some tricks and comedy as well as information on illegal animal trade. The second was outdoors and a real spectacle with vultures and a bald eagle swooping over our heads. Amazing.
 When we'd seen enough birds we took the kids to the play area. There were lots of huge slides and nets for older kids. The highlight was a cross between a bouncy castle and a trampoline which we let both children loose on. They loved it!
 We took snacks and drinks with us. The kids were free and thanks to Nico's forward planning we got 10% off our tickets. It was great value and we'll definitely be going again.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

August Goals

Here are my plans for this month:

  • Start a new fitness routine
  • 2 letters
  • 2 recipes
  • Learn to play poker
  • Catch up with friends

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Recipe: Chocolate tart

I made these using this recipe. It's the same pastry as the peach tarts last week with a yummy chocolate ganash. I managed ten individual tarts from this recipe.