Friday, July 30, 2010

Visit from the cousins

Emm had a great day on Tuesday when her cousins came to visit. Danny will be 4 and Megs is 8, and they all got on like a house on fire! We went to the beach and had fun building castles, collecting shells and digging Megs into the sand, making a lovely mermaid tail for her. Emm demanded 'more water!' for her castle and her big cousin obliged, carrying bucket after bucket from the shore.

Afterwards we desanded the kids as much as possible and went for a little walk, aren't they cute together? I'm so glad Emm has cousins, we always loved hanging out with our cousins when we were kids.

Back home the kids were all put into the bath and we ordered Chinese. I thought I'd managed to pay for it after a long discussion, but the SIL and BIL hid money before they left the next day! What is it about (irish?) people not being able to let anybody else pay for anything? Why does it always have to be an argument, and even if you think you've won it, they trick you afterwards! It's the same in the pub, in the restaurant, in the shop... They wouldn't even let me make them sandwiches for their trip to the zoo the next day, even though I'd already bought the bread and ham and cheese... I mean, the food in the zoo is overpriced and manky, and there are long queues for everything! Back home people, especially family, would maybe say "oh, don't go to any trouble", and then "are you sure" and then gracefully accept! How many "no really I want to"s does it take in Ireland? Five? Ten? Maybe I'm not persistent enough? Let me go watch some "Father Ted" and learn from Mrs. Doyle... But I really don't like making such a big fuss, if I offer something I mean it!
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Thursday, July 29, 2010

New Charity shop in Skerries! Yippie!

While running some errands in Skerries I discovered a new charity shop, for those who know their way around, it's just opposite of 'Frock exchange'. It's in aid of children with autism and opened just two weeks ago. I'm delighted! I've always put off going to Swords, to the charity shops there, as parking is such a nightmare, and I generally don't do my shopping there. But Skerries, now there we go a lot, to the beach, for lunch, for walks, the bank, the library... you name it! I'm delighted!

I got Emm this beautiful lined grey tweed dress with bright crochet embellishments. For 4€!

And that's not all, the price included this matching cotton blouse!

So, people of North County Dublin, go check out this wonderful new shop, and donate your unwanted clothes, bric-a-brac and books, the next time you're going for a 'walk around the Head'!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

a reminder of a lovely present

isn't this ring just gorgeous? it's by

it reminds me of a ring P bought me years ago, a costume ring, is that the word, that had lots of blue beads attached, and they moved, too! Unfortunately I lost the ring over the years, but I still have one of the beads that fell off before that. The ring usually left a dark mark on my skin but I loved it. I'd admired it in a shop and he just got it for me, I think it might have been one of the first presents he ever got me. One of the first times I'd realised how generous and observant he is...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

sunday baking - apple cupcakes (no icing)

upon browsing some blogs i came across this recipe for blondies, and it looks absolutely delicious! Instead, however, I'll made my mum's simple apple cake recipe (but in a cupcake tin) to use up some cooking apples!
I'll be added some wholemeal flour, to make the cakes a slightly healthier treat. I've tried it last week, but they turned out a little too dry, so this time I added a spoonful of natural yoghurt, to get a moister consistency. Anyhow, the basic recipe, about right for an 8 or 10 inch round tin or 12-15 cupcakes, goes like this:

125g butter
125g sugar (I use some brown, some white)
3 eggs
some vanilla sugar (I include this in the 125g)
175 g flour mixed with 1/2 Packet (about 1 tsp) of bakind powder
   (I usually use selfraising: when I'm making this in Ireland)
2-3 cooking apples or sour eating apples, cut into wedges then into slices

you beat the butter until fluffy, add eggs and sugar alternately while beating. Fold in the flour (already mixed with the baking powder), and finally fold in the apples.

I used 100g white self raising flour and 75g wholemeal flour, plus a tablespoon of natural yoghurt. This made enough batter for 12 cupcake papers and 2 buttered ramekins. At 200C (no fan) the cupcakes were done after about 20 minutes, the ramekins after another five. The top should be golden and an inserted skewer should come out clean.

For dinner I made Lakeshore Pork from one of the Avoca Cafe Cookbooks (Avoca Cafe Cookbook: Bk. 1 / Avoca Cafe Cookbook 2), first time I've tried it, it's soooooooo good! Emm was stuffing her face and demanding more and more sauce, we obliged, of course, and mashed her potatoes with lots of the appley mustardy goodness.

We're lucky she didn't puke up all that dinner, because this is what she got her daddy to do, soon after!

The laundry basket swing, great exercise for P!

He's off to Italy for work tomorrow, I'm not looking forward to being a single mum for 3 days! And I'm always nervous when my loved ones are flying... In fact, I'm kind of nervous for anybody that I don't have right in front of me, you never know what is going to happen, like those horrible deaths at the Love Parade in Duisburg, and I'm trying to be grateful for and aware of every happy moment I have with my family and friends. My thoughts are with the families and friends of those injured or killed. I've only just heard about these sad news.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

peanut butter button cookies

Today I made these peanut butter cookies from 'like mam used to bake', thinking they might turn into a total disaster. I didn't have enough butter so added a little oil and milk, then I didn't have enough peanut butter (and only the crunchy type, I always go for crunchy!) so I added some dark tahini. I also decided to use less sugar, 6 oz instead of 7.5. I used mostly white and a little wholewheat flour, and it was selfraising. I know, I know... it's a much better idea to try a recipe to the letter, first, before making any adjustments, but I was in a rush, and not very organised, and you know, I can blame pregnancy brain for adding the flour to the mix before actually mixing it! Aargh!

Well, the first tray got a little too dark, as I was distracted by Emm coming in from the garden, having covered herself in soil, asking to be cleaned! Thankfully that was the tray with only six cookies on it. The other one had twelve, and they turned out perfectly! I froze dough for another 8 cookies, so my yield was 26 cookies.

I'd sneakily eaten one of the giant chocolate buttons, and lucky me, there were exactly 19 in the bag!

Anyhow, we had a great morning/lunch playdate at a friend's house, with the delicious biscuits (could have done less sugar again, they were still quite sweet), lattes, later some pizza for lunch, and then some of my friend's delectable chocolate chip cookies straight from the oven to go with cups of tea. At the end of this Emm was thoroughly tired out and asked for 'auto, home, soother, bed'. And true to her word she went straight to sleep, bliss!

It was great to catch up with my friend, after being away for so long! we're planning to go swimming and we might go and see 'his and hers' in the cinema, and i'm going to look into antenatal yoga classes for us. my social life is taking off again! It's always strange having been out of the loop for a whole month!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Happy News!

We're expecting a baby at the end of Januray! This photo is obviously not today's (13 weeks), but one from when I was pregnant with Emm!

I've felt a lot sicker with this pregnancy so far, and the heat in Germany wasn't helping, nor was the stomach flu... I thought I was over the worst but got sick again last night. But of course I know that I'm lucky compared to many! I mostly feel really nauseous, and gag a lot, but I'm able to keep it down almost all the time, apart from maybe 5 times so far. Still, the constant nausea is kind of annoying!

We had our first hospital appointment and official scan last friday, so it feels OK to tell! It's strange though, having a toddler to run after means I don't have time to worry as much, and I don't feel as attached to this baby yet. I that normal for a second baby? It's becoing more and more real though, some days I even look like I have a little belly already! Although I still don't weigh as much as I did when I got pregnant with Emm, I just about got back to my usual weight of ten stone, while I was nine and a half for most of Emm's life. I lost all of the pregnancy weight within the first three months of breastfeeding, and then another three kilos (half a stone) soon after, she was just a very hungry baby I suppose!

It's strange, I was kind of worried during my pregnancy with Emm, about my breasts sagging, my waist disappearing, the dreaded jelly belly, but I was very lucky, and while I wouldn't mind my breasts being a little fuller, I actually like the softness of my belly. Proof of what my body did, grow a baby, cell by cell...

Well, I better finish this post so I can get some sleep, letting my body do its good work!
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Friday, July 16, 2010

the little one's pursuits during our holiday at the grandparents'

mostly exploring... on her own,

or with her cousin!

And playing hide and seek with the kittens!

Apart from that she spent a lot of time learning new words (by turning into a little parrot), eating, visiting the hens, the rabbits and the dog, and of course charming everybody around her. We also both got the stomach flu, suffered through a humid 37C degrees in the shade, and lost a bit of weight, but I'm sure it's not going to take us long to put it back on. Due to the heat and the flu we didn't do as much as we might have liked, but still, it was lovely to spend the time with family, and the weather meant there was a lot more hanging out time for everybody, anything non essential was put on hold as none of us were used to it and everybody was very mellow!

It's good to be home, I have so much more energy in about 20C degrees less, and while P was with us in Germany for the last 10 days, it's so nice to be back in our house, it's always a bit weird being in your parents' house with your own family...
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Monday, July 12, 2010

Waiting for the flight home

While we were waiting for our delayed flight home, Emm and I went for a few rounds with the stroller, in a vain attempt to get her to sleep. This storage building was transformed into a jewel by the setting sun, nearly imperceptibly the pattern on those window panes changed, ever so slowly...
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