Sunday, January 29, 2012

nestled under rainbows

Then boys and I went for a walk in the woods today

they held hands and ran through puddles.

I lifted Joa up to see the sea over the fence post, he let out a huge *sigh*,

and Benny, at our side, said: 'This is fresh air and peace'.

It was :-)

Happy Day :-)

Friday, January 27, 2012


As many of you already know the little village that we live in very proudly houses one of Ireland's RNLI lifeboats. We take great pride and pleasure watching it go out on a Saturday morning for it's practice from our kitchen window. Both Rebe and Benny are going to be lifeboat people when they are older. In fact, one day Rebe popped into the lifeboat station to ask them how old she had to be. Turns out she will have to wait another 11 years, but in the mean time we found a great way to be a part of and support the RNLI: Stormforce!

Stormforce is the junior RNLI supporters group and I just can't speak highly enough of it. When you join (for a mere 10 euro) you get a pack full of goodies. Above is Benny's pack that arrived yesterday. Every quarter the posties brings the Stormforce magazine full of stories and puzzles and competitions and news (I have it on good authority that Rebe and Benny will be appearing in the next issue!). Rebe's card to Stormy Stan

In the winter edition of the magazine we spotted that the 27th of January is SOS Day.
We decided to join in and do a bit of fundraising. I have enjoyed fundraising for various charities since I was a little girl and I don't think you can be too young to put yourself out to help a good cause. We did what we do best here Under Rainbows, and baked... about 60 life ring biscuits to sell for a donation on the 27th.

This is how to make them...

The best gingerbread recipe in the whole world from that I've had since I was a wee girl.

8oz plain flour
1 level tsp baking powder
1 level tsp cinnamon
2 level tsp ground ginger
2 oz marg or butter
2 oz soft brown sugar
2 heaped tbsp golder syrup or honey

(this makes a normal amount of biscuits, double this for a gingerbread house and x4 to make 60 biscuits)

First melt sugar, butter and syrup in a bowl. Mix in spices.
Take off the heat and add flour and baking powder together then knead on a floured surface for a wee while until it's come together. Roll out the dough to about 5mm thick.Using a small tumbler or a circle shaped cookie cutter cut out lots of circles.

We then used a small bottle top to cut out holes in the middle of the circles to make life ring shapes.
These were baked in a preheated oven 180 C for about 10 min's, until golden brown. Leave to cool on a wire tray.

To ice, mix icing sugar with enough cold water to make it runny (but not too runny)

Ice the rings first with white icing
then add a 4 stripes of red icing to make them look like life rings
Rebe made a special biscuit for Stormy Stan,

and a couple of lifeboats for the local lifeboat crew.
So after our baking marathon we decorated a biscuit box to hold them in and also fashioned a little money box and decorated them with stickers from Benny's Stormforce pack.

Yesterday afternoon, after school we wrapped up warm and went door to door locally selling the biscuits in return for a wee donation for the RNLI. The kids did so well, they were very polite and sweet and were so funny explaining to people what they were doing..well Rebe did that Benny just ate biscuits and told people he WAS Stormy Stan ;-)
We came home when it started to get dark and we counted up the money they had raised...a grand total of 33.44 euro! which we will take down to the lifeboat station today along with the specially made lifeboat biscuits.

If you would like to make a donation to the RNLI please go here.

Wishing you all a happy weekend x

some random stuff and giveaway winner

Our last few days have been lovely and busy: Buddies, playgroup and some very full afternoons of baking that I will tell you more about tomorrow. Our nights have been quite disturbed with one thing (or person) and another waking us, but I know it will pass and to be as patient as I can be.
But to cheer me up is some more wonderful enamelware that I ordered from Kool Kids Kitchenware and arrived a few days ago:
little milk pan
This little bowl was a MUST for Benny! And look what my dear, kind sister in law got for me, for no reason other than she's completely lovely:
eek, I love it :-)

Benny has been busy, painting (as you've seen) and he made himself this wonderful tree costume:

He's certainly the most beautiful tree I have ever seen :-)

I have also been making dolls. Yay for that! I actually have quite a lot of orders at the moment. I thought that things would slow down and that the rush was just for Christmas, but I have some really special projects on the go at the moment, including lots of sibling dolls which makes me smile and smile to think about.

I just finished this wee snuggle buddy last night. S/he is a custom order and special in that it is vegan. The person it is for has an allergy to sheep's wool so we needed to find an alternative and I decided to try Egyptian cotton. Do you know what? Although it wasn't as easy to use it gives the head and hands a great firmness and the doll has a gorgeous weight. I'm not sure how it would work making limbs of a full sized dressable doll, but I'm sure at some point I'll give it a go.

And now to the giveaway. I used the random number generator and the winner is.....

NUMBER 18.... That's you Julie. If you email me ( we can get it sent out to you. Congratulations :-)

On a wee side note Julie has a really lovely blog and hosts a really fab giveaway almost weekly so I am delighted that she is getting something back herself.

I actually wrote this post in a few grabbed moments yesterday and I'm sorry about the delay in posting it, but we had a busy afternoon and then a very early night.

I will come back later and tell you about our baking and busy afternoon.

Well done Julie and thanks to everyone that entered the giveaway :-)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Buddies ~ chinese new year

***In September 2011 6 families got together and started Buddies Home School. Each week we meet in each other's home and follow a simple rhythm: movement and music, craft/ baking, snack time, free play and story time. Each part of the session is led by a different family. We are sharing this week's session with you here...***

This week at Buddies we celebrated the Chinese New Year. It is the year of the dragon. Zoe told us a little of what she knew about the story of the Chinese New Year and Roisine told us what she knew of the year of the dragon.

For our movement and music we did dragon dances. Flo had brought a dragon costume to take it in turns to dress up in.
We didn't have any Chinese music to dance to so we improvised with a bit of Reggae instead (there's nothing like a bit of Reggae to get you moving in my opinion!)

We danced all over the kitchen and ended our music and movement by calling the dragon to us. This involved choosing an instrument and banging/shaking it as hard as we could whilst roaring. I'm pretty sure every dragon that ever was heard us!

Zoe led our craft activity, we made these fantastic Chinese dragon puppets.
Each child got a card head and tail pre-cut out by Zoe.

They coloured these with wax crayons,
and decorated them with fiery strips of red and yellow crepe paper sprinkled with liberal amounts of glitter.

Then we made concertinas out of strips of red card and attached these between the head and the tail for the body. To finish we taped a straw to the head and one to the tail. They dance beautifully and the kids are very proud of them.

Our story this week was just gorgeous:

The story is of a little girl Lin who has a pet dragon. The illustrations are simple and beautiful but what is most special about it is that the author has incorporated Chinese characters into the story.
It was so much fun to look at these and notice how clever the shapes are and how beautiful.
The boys and I listening to the story

It was fun and we have lots more ideas for next year.

But for me the celebrations aren't over yet. It's Burns Night tonight...that's dinner sorted :-)
Happy Chinese New Year and Hoots Man tae aw ma wee Scottish pals :-)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

my friends farm

Just look at this view:

I am so, so fortunate to live here and have this to look at out of my kitchen window! It makes me feel so happy!

The boys are still under the weather unfortunately (and if Rebe's grumpiness is anything to go by then she's not feeling 100% either). In fact both boys are on yet another anti-biotic for ear infections poor old things.

We have been at home a lot over the last few days. Joa is at a very trying age at the moment. He just wants to be big, and is so very frustrated when I don't let him. I read this great article last week and it reminded me about not putting myself in the constant position of saying 'no' and 'don't' and 'stop it' to him. I find being so negative constantly quite exhausting. Instead I am trying to re-direct Joa; to find him things that he can do. Mostly this means washing-up:

both boys would quite happily stay like this for hours, but it does usually mean ending up like this...
I think someone else is in need of a pinny ;-)

I am also trying to slow down. Instead of rushing through my 'to-do' list I stop and think what parts of it can Joa do? I breathe and calm myself. Instead of thinking of the 101 things that I would like to rush off and do if I can only get this washing on, or dishes done, I stop and I live in the moment. OK (breathe) now we are doing the dishes (breathe). I am doing it with my family, it is good(breathe), it is fun (breathe) , I can watch this little boy learn (breathe). He feels useful and important (breathe), he is happy (breathe)...we are happy (exhale).
But this really only works if I take the time to stop rushing through these jobs. If I take the time to remember that everything is a game to Joa, and can be to me.

So, after spending 30 minutes loading (and reloading) the dish washer this morning, we went to visit my dear, lovely friend and her kids.

She has just recently moved into her husband's family home. It is a very old house on a farm, it is just so beautiful and we had a wonderful morning being shown around :-)

the door bell

the front garden, Benny spotted the sheep

oh snowdrops :-)
Bramble and Joa loved each other
the orchard...where I am going to live

where Benny is going to live :-)

It was so much fun and they are such a special family to spend time with. I'm so lucky to have friends such as these.

Don't forget to enter the giveaway if you haven't done so yet, only a few days left to go :-)