Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter Fairy Picnic

It's always sweet relief when your children play well together.

We've just started the Easter holidays - two weeks off of school - and this morning was a lovely start. It was my lie-in morning (Scott got yesterday's as I was working), and what a lovely feeling to wake up peacefully - not to the sounds of fighting kids.

I woke up and went to the kitchen to make myself some steak slice and potato scone for breakfast (mmm). The girls had cleaned their room according to Daddy's instruction (Fifi is actually very good at room cleaning... Lolly not so much), and then had set out a blanket for a 'picnic'. They had a few toy food items out and came through the kitchen for a bit of toast.

I will be honest here and say mornings are not my best times, and often I'm not very patient. But the kids' wonderful morning behaviour had me in a great mood. I looked at my beautiful daughters (who had dressed themselves up for the occasion) and asked if they'd like a real fairy picnic.

I got down their very special ceramic tea set that I keep out of reach so it doesn't get broken and brought the pieces to the kitchen. The girls stayed in their room to not spoil the surprise. I made them toast with their own little butters, filled the tea pots with juice and the sugar bowls with chocolate-covered raisin mini eggs and jelly babies, and arranged two Aulds cakes on mini plates.

They were so sweet! The girls have been having a great time in their room playing Fairy Tea Party. And I had a great time eating my breakfast in peace.

Afternoon plans - paint Easter eggs! (My attempt at dyeing Easter eggs earlier this week was an utter fail.)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Maundy Thursday Thought

I posted this last year, I know, but it's worth revisiting. Intellectual doubts of mine aside, if there's one thing I believe wholeheartedly about Jesus, it's this.

Jesus never waivered in his commitment to the cross. Not even in the Garden.

I've believed this for a while now, and reading the Gospels account of Jesus' night in Gethsemane recently just confirmed it for me again. This time around the big thing to stand out for me was the way Jesus rebuked Peter for trying to defend them, saying, 'Put your sword back into its place... Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?' (Matthew 26:52-54)  Why would Jesus rebuke his disciple for this if only moments earlier he was thinking the same thing - even asking the Father to take it away from him? Sounds pretty hypocritical... not very Jesus-y.

Below is the link to last year's post on this. It contains links to three different articles, which explain this far better than I could. So if this is something you are interested in reading more about, go make yourself a cup of tea, settle the kids in bed, and start reading. It could change your whole perspective on Christ's holiness.

Sorted? Then read on...

Saturday, March 23, 2013

...And So It's Begun

While driving in the car today, Fifi spotted a tall tower beside the road.  'Look, Mum! A tower!' she cried as we passed by.

'Do you think there's a princess in it?!' exclaimed Lolly.

Chuckling, I said no, it was a power station, or something like that, and without much thought added, 'Too bad there isn't a princess in it, though, or we could've stopped to rescue her.'

Fifi frowned.  'No, we couldn't.  Only Daddy or Jaguar could.'

Then it was my turn to frown. 'Why? Because they are boys?'

'Yes, only boys can save princesses from towers,' she declared.

Disturbed, and actually a bit annoyed, I replied, 'Not true.  Girls can rescue princesses from towers too.  Girls can do all the same things boys can do.'

This elicited protests from both girls.  They argued that boys were stronger, could fight dragons better, and were better fighters in general.  And furthermore, they said, only boys can go to war.

I felt a bit perplexed.  Here all this time, Scott and I thought we'd been teaching the girls gender equality, but it appears Disney got to us first, and it's message was much clearer; girls need rescued, and boys are the rescuers.

I explained how girls can do anything boys can do.  We can be trained to fight.  We can be engineers and build things that work.  We can be scientists and explorers.  We can go to war if we want.  I began giving real life examples of friends who do all these things, girl friends of mine in the army, female family members who have fought in wars, girls who are engineers.  I stated that they should never let anyone tell them they can't do something, especially if it is because they are girls.  I tried to convince them of all this but doubt it will stick.  The whole world illustrates the point much better that girls are weaker and less able; who is boring old Mum compared to everyone and everything else?

I feel really disturbed by this.  They are only six and four.  They should still believe they have the entire world at their fingertips.  They should still believe all is possible for them.  They should still want to be firefighters and astronauts and not think of those things as boys' careers.

We've always told the girls they don't have to get married if they don't want to.  We've always told them if they want boyfriends, they can have them as long as the boys don't make them want to change who they are.  We've told them they can do whatever job they want and can be whatever they want when they grow up.  We know these are discussions that will be had a million times over. I just never realised how much we were missing this point, that girls are equal to men.

By equal, incidentally, I don't mean the same.  To say we are the same is patently not true.  But we are of equal value, balanced perfectly on the scales of human worth.  We are able to do all the same things as each other, though what comes easily to one person may require more effort from another. 

But this is obviously not the message that is reaching our kids. It's a seemingly impossible uphill battle to fight, when, even now in 2013, we still have films being made for kids that show helpless girls being rescued by strapping boys, and as they get older, films and magazines showing them how to get boys and how to be prettier, and as they get older still, everything in their whole world telling them how to work in a man's world and be like a man to get ahead. 

And what's worse?  Women are doing this.  It's not just the men.  There are all these women in film, print, children's books, cartoons, advertising, and so forth, who are consciously perpetrating this concept that if girls want to be anything they either need to 1) be pretty/cute/sexy about it or 2) do it like a man.

There are so many directions I could take this and so many arguments that could be tackled that would take all night, but I just want to say this.  Somehow, somewhere, in this forever misogynistic world, there has got to be a way to get my girls to realise they are capable of achieving everything they put their minds too.  They are not just as good as men, which implies men are the gold standard; they are simply just as good as they desire and aim to be.  Yet the phrase will crop up again and again: You can do anything a boy can do. 

Boys being the goal post.

(And what's it going to be like for Jaguar?  It's not just a problem for girls.  Soon enough I'll discover the gender inequalities for my son too - schools being geared towards girls' style of learning and ways of thinking, boys being criticised for acting like boys... really, what is wrong with our society? Will we ever evolve?)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Gingerbread House Making ... In March

Two days ago was the first day of Spring.  Today we woke up to snow... lots and lots of snow. 

Fifi and Lolly were given a gingerbread house kit two Christmases ago, but we never got around to making it.  So it was Lolly who suggested, as we cautiously drove home today from school in the snow, that we make build the gingerbread house today.  Which makes sense to a four-year-old, considering snow ought to equal Christmas.

So we got our our two-year-old kit and tried to make a gingerbread house.

 We failed.

Or rather, I failed.  I had the house all built up, but one of the roof pieces was cracked (from old age, I imagine), so I thought I'd be clever and paste it together with icing.  Sadly, that just made the roof piece heavier and it collapsed, taking the rest of the house with it.  The girls were about to get really upset about it, at which point, I just burst into laughter and encouraged them to see the funny side of it.  And after all, I told them, you can still stick sweeties all over it to your heart's content!  They eventually got over the fact that their gingerbread house was not going to be a house at all, and just had fun with the icing instead.

I bought these cake decorator piping things from Pampered Chef a while ago, but never really liked them. In fact, I had put them on my list of things to sell  (please check out the list if you haven't already and BuyMyStuff!), but using them today gave me a new appreciation for them.  The kids absolutely loved using them.  Thus, I have discovered, they do indeed have a use.   So I might just keep them after all.

I'm not gonna lie... I panicked a bit about them eating the icing.  I don't know if icing sugar has a Use By date, but it was sealed, so it couldn't be that bad.  I added the water myself to make the icing, so surely it's okay that my children were eating old icing sugar and old, rock-hard sweeties... right?  Well, they haven't been sick yet, anyway.  And they had a great time.  And it wasn't even that hard to clean up afterwards, so result!

So, thank you, Devon, for the Friday entertainment, two years after giving us the kit!  Our Spring day was full of winter cheer.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Autism and My Humble, Humble Thoughts

I heard someone say once that they could spot a child on the Autistic Spectrum a mile away. Her child was autistic, and she knew the signs. So far, we have been fortunate that none of our kids seem to be any of the 1 in 88. However, I have been around many children on the spectrum, and to a degree I agree with what's been said; a child on the spectrum can often be spotted, if you know what you are looking at.

There have been moments in the supermarket or walking through the town where the mere look in a child's eye, or the gait with which they walk, or the gestures they unconsciously make, has made me take notice and wonder...

I am no expert, and these are just a few of my very humble thoughts on the subject. It's just that something happened the other day that got me thinking about this. Just in case, to avoid any possible identifying markers, I am going to slightly change the details of this story, but the point will still (hopefully) be made.

I was out shopping in the town, and came to a shop door that was shut. A wee boy, about 4 or 5, was holding the door. 'Excuse me, sir' I said cheerfully to him, as I pushed the door open. But as soon as I did, I had a bad feeling about what was about to happen. And I was right. The boy roared, ran away to his mother, ran back and squeezed himself in a corner. Shoulders raised, arms straight down, hands in fists, head down but eyes raised at me in fury, the boy glared at me and roared to himself. I glanced around and saw his mother, looking a bit lost. I couldn't help but feel bad about opening that door.

After I was finished in the shop, I passed him again, and he was still in the same pose - fists straight at his side, roaring to himself, refusing to go with his mother. People were trying to calm him down, giving him ultimatums, but he was having none of it. I wondered if I had triggered all of this, by interrupting his plan to keep the door closed. The adults around him weren't being unkind or mean to him (thankfully) but all seemed a bit, well, lost.

I could be wrong, of course, but all I could think was, 'I wonder if that poor boy has gotten a diagnosis.'

From what I understand, in Scotland, Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are not diagnosed until after five years. Autism, being so completely different from person to person, is so horribly misunderstood. A child displaying behaviours that would place him or her on the spectrum, who doesn't get a formal diagnosis until five (or quite possibly much later) may have spent the first five formative years of his or her frustrating life being horribly misunderstood or even mistreated.

I don't know a lot about autism, and I don't want to talk about it as if I do. But here's what I'd like to say:

1) I think diagnoses should be made earlier, where possible. If parents, carers, family members and teachers are able to start putting things in place to make their child's life more manageable and less frustrating early on, how could this not be a good thing?

2) ALL teachers should be trained on how to approach and communicate with children with autism. Of course each child is different and will need different approaches. But if teachers knew even just generally the basics of what is going on inside these kids' heads and bodies, surely there would be a lot less frustration in the classroom - for the teacher AND the child.

3) People passing by should think twice about judging. This is obviously 'pie in the sky' thinking; it will never happen in real life. People will always judge, whether they judge the 'badly behaved' boy, the parents who have no control and don't discipline, or both. But we as people merely passing by a situation have no idea what's going on inside the situation. I'm guilty of it, I know I am. I've seen kids acting abominably, and thought, 'I'd never let my kids away with THAT!' I've seen parents acting abominably, and thought, 'That is just awful. What kind of parent does THAT!' But who am I to judge? Have I never flown off the handle with my kids and done things I regret? Have my kids never flown off the handle and embarrassed me to no end? Now, add a bit of autism to that, and imagine what both the child and the parents are trying to deal with. In public, sometimes, no less.

Like I said, I'm no expert. I'm just someone who wishes the world understood autism just a tiny bit more. I don't mean scientifically (though I wish that too); I mean the world, as in everyday people. Imagine how you feel on those days when nothing goes right, everything you've planned gets turned upside down, you are getting frustrated, angry, and feel you are spiralling out of control. And then you try to speak to someone, and they tell you to just 'calm down', they dismiss you or they simply just don't understand your feelings at all. Or worse, they criticise you for your feelings and actions. Now take that bad day, and squeeze it into the mind and body of a small child who doesn't have the maturity of an adult with which to reason the whole situation out. Now multiply that by any number, large or small.

I imagine that's how it must feel for an autistic child. All the time.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Project Home Inventory (The Living Room)

***The following series is boring and functional. Nevertheless, if you want to buy some of my stuff, read on. Your regularly scheduled exciting, poignant and tear-jerking posts will resume after these messages.***

My April goal is entitled "Project Home Inventory". As we will be selling/giving away everything in preparation for our cross-Atlantic move in June(ish), I've been trying to think of the best way of clearing out. I've been clearing out slowly every since the start of the year as part of my Simplicity project anyway, but now it's getting close to time to get serious about it. A friend suggested on Facebook making a list of everything that will be going to be shared and passed around among friends and friends-of-friends. And it was a good idea!

I will be going through each room in my house and making an inventory of what is to be sold or given away. Some things we have a price in mind for, which is noted; other things, it's just whatever you are willing to offer. And some things we just want to give away to a good home! If there are a few unpriced items you are interested in, just offer us something for the lot, and we'll be happy for your donation. :)

As things get claimed, I'll mark them off the list. As I find things I forgot to mention, I'll add them to the top (with stars to denote new items).

Happy (even though it's also kinda sad) shopping!


- assorted photo frames - singles and multis, L, M, S - £donation
- Green IKEA tabletop lamp with shade (pictured above) - £3
- assorted vases - £1 each
- assorted adult board games and children's jigsaws - £1 each
- Multi-region DVD player -£20
- TV set (old style, not flat screen!) -£donation
- HP deskjet printer - £10
- IKEA floor lamp (square paper shade) - £donation
- black round clock -FREE
- A3 Epson Printer - £50 (includes a reem of paper)
- Shredder - £5
- Assorted Washing Baskets - FREE
- 2x Clothes Horses/Airers - £5 each
- Rose Wood/ Cherry Wood Living Room Furniture Set (Pictured Above):
...........2 units/shelves - cabinet with hutch - £75 each
...........1 corner TV stand with cabinet - £30
...........1 stand alone unit/cabinet (glass door) - £10
...........1 coffee table with 2 end tables that slide underneath - £30
.......................OR full set for £200

- 6 assorted coloured fabric baskets for shelf - £1 each
- 2x Large corkboard/message board - FREE
- 1x square purple message board - £1
- Wall mirror - £3
- silver clock -FREE
- assorted wicker baskets - FREE
- 3x BROWN square IKEA mirrors KR?
- PlayStation 2, XBOX, GameCube + games SM
- Large wall mirror (over the mantle) with gold frame KR
- large white vase MMcF
- red throw floor rug (one small defect) LDon
- purple throw floor rug LDon
- Wii + games MMcF
- Computer (brand new monitor and graphics card) AMcF
- 3x bean bags (2 black, 1 red) - £5 each KR
- A3 Laminator - £20 (includes laminating sheets) KStr
- Foot stool LCal
- hoover SM
- 8 Shelf EXPEDIT book shelf -BLACK - (has coat hooks screwed in which could be removed)
- wavy Ikea mirror - FREE LDon
- Sofas LCal
- Rabbit Hutch SM

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Project Home Inventory (The Kitchen)

***The following series is boring and functional. Nevertheless, if you want to buy some of my stuff, read on. Your regularly scheduled exciting, poignant and tear-jerking posts will resume after these messages.***

I've been giving myself a project-a-month since the start of this year, generally focusing on my 2013 Goal "Simplicity". My current project underway (Lent - giving up negativity) has been going ever so poorly these past couple of weeks as life is piling up on top of me, kids have been ill, I've been too busy, etc. Luckily, Lent is almost over and I can stop feeling like a failure soon enough.

My April goal is entitled "Project Home Inventory". As we will be selling/giving away everything in preparation for our cross-Atlantic move in June(ish), I've been trying to think of the best way of clearing out. I've been clearing out slowly every since the start of the year as part of my Simplicity project anyway, but now it's getting close to time to get serious about it. A friend suggested on Facebook making a list of everything that will be going to be shared and passed around among friends and friends-of-friends. And it was a good idea!

I will be going through each room in my house and making an inventory of what is to be sold or given away. Some things we have a price in mind for, which is noted; other things, it's just whatever you are willing to offer. And some things we just want to give away to a good home! If there are a few unpriced items you are interested in, just offer us something for the lot, and we'll be happy for your donation. :)

As things get claimed, I'll mark them off the list. As I find things I forgot to mention, I'll add them to the top (with stars to denote new items).

Happy (even though it's also kinda sad) shopping!


- Full size refrigerator/freezer - approx £100 or best offer
- 3 glass storage jars (for pasta, rice, lentils, etc) - FREE
- Kettle - FREE
- 3 black and white Coffee, Tea and Sugar tins with lids - FREE
- Wire fruit bowl and wire egg basket - FREE
- Electric hand mixer - £5
- Electric hand-held blender - FREE
- Iron - £5
- Old fold-down flaps table (only good for use as work table, unless you intend to cover it) - FREE
- 6 chairs (and a table if you want it, but it's done in) - £20 for all
- Washing Machine (4 years old) - £50
- Dishwasher - £30
- 2 black flower tea/coffee pouring pitchers, heat-containing - £6 together
- assorted glass baking/casserole dishes - £1 each
- assorted pie dishes - £1 each
- 1 almost complete set of purple dinner dishes - 8 piece - £10
- 1 almost complete set of red dinner dishes - 8 piece - £10
- assorted kids' dishes (plates, bowls, cups, cutlery) - FREE
- assorted vases - £1 each or just a £donation
- 1 "questionable" cake pan - ask for details!!! -£5
- 1 wire cupcake display stand - £1
- Electric knife - £5
- ironing board MMcF
- assorted frying pans and sauce pans -SM
- Electric full size blender - £5 JTh
- Kenmore ice cream maker - £10 KS
- Heart-shaped Waffle Maker - £5 JTh
- Cake pop Maker - £5 -LT
- Slow cooker - 1 full size, 1 miniature - LCal
- Bread machine - £15 KS
- 8 shelf EXPEDIT Ikea unit- white - £30 -LMcE
- 2x Ikea white high chair SM, RMcL
- Cake pans, all £5: Castle; Checkerboard; large springform (with bundt insert); small springform; small deep round; 2 medium rectangle; 1 Christmas mini-cakes with 6 shapes; KR
- PAMPERED CHEF: baking roller; sandwich sealer/cutter; cake decorating set (3 icing decorators); rotary cheese grater - £10; egg slicer; apple corer/slicer; pineapple corer/slicer KR, LT
-3 pink ceramic mixing-and-baking bowls: S, M, L EmCav
-Pampered Chef stoneware: muffin pan, large bar pan, square dish, round pizza stone KR, LT
- Microwave (700watt) - MKW

Monday, March 18, 2013

How's the Weather?

Phew! Well now that that's off my chest...!

There's just so much to say that I've been wanting to say but couldn't say! Yet now that I have the opportunity... I can't think of anything. So yeah.

So. It's the end of March and it's half snowing/ half raining outside. I have to admit, the number one thing I'm looking forward to is decent weather. (Sorry, family and friends, looks like you've come in second.) I even went so far as to buy a summer skirt and two tank tops today while in the mall - and get this, the tank tops are to wear by themselves. Not just under my jacket under my jumper under my t-shirt, but alone, bare-armed and all. Crazy.

And I'm looking forward to not having wet trouser legs all the time, and soggy shoes and socks.

But I'm not looking forward to overwhelming heat and humidity so thick and stifling that you can't breathe outside and the moment you open your front door, you are sticky with sweat. And I'm not looking forward to opening my car door on a summer afternoon, and having to roll down the window immediately just to let the actual visible waves of heat pour out then roll them back up quickly so the air conditioner air doesn't escape.

Swings and roundabouts, six or half a dozen, or as we'd say in Arkansas... hmm. What would we say in Arkansas?

I'm off to bed. Feeling exhausted and a bit (a lot) overwhelmed by the all the things we need to sort out in the next couple of months. Plus, Baby Jaguar has the chicken pox, and Lolly doesn't feel well, and I'm just in from dress rehearsal for a show that starts tomorrow evening. I was going to do my Tesco online shopping tonight, but methinks I'll save that for tomorrow morning when *fingers crossed* Baby J is sleeping.

(In case your deductive skills are not all they could be, Baby Jaguar is Jaguar, so named by his big sister Lolly while still in utero. She's got a thing for Dora the Explorer.)

Friday, March 15, 2013

40 Questions: Number 25

Did anyone notice back at the beginning of the year that I skipped a number in my 40 Questions?

25. What one special thing would you like to do in 2013 and what other special plans do have for this year??

I skipped this question, because the answer was too 'up in the air'. We had an idea of what we wanted to do in 2013, but we didn't know if it would definitely be in 2013 or not.

But now we know that it will be, so here I go answering it.

It's kind of a big reveal, so perhaps a drum roll is in order? Or a gong...

We are moving back to the United States.


I kind of need to take a deep breath after saying that. A BIG deep breath. This is a HUGE change for us, and for myself in particular.

There's no way to just summarise it, or blow over it. It's HUGE for me.


When I moved to Scotland, it was for life. I had no intentions of moving back 'home', for Scotland was my new home. The McFarlanes were my new family. (And I just can't go into how much I love them, because on that subject, I am in utter denial, and just refuse to go there. But HOLY CRAP I love them all with my whole entire heart.)

Yet, last Christmas, being back in Arkansas, something changed. Scott and I joked constantly while we were there that we should just move there. But it was in jest because we always say that, but two weeks back in Scotland and we are happy to be where we are.

That time was different though. We came back, settled back in - and I distinctly remember in Gaelic class one night thinking, 'I love Scotland so much, I would never leave. I will be buried here.' Then the very next day, more hurricane-like storms came and I thought, 'I need to get out of here.' And that's when we started talking seriously about the possibility of moving.

We've now decided it's happening, and we've made official steps towards it. We have submitted forms, paid stupidly big fees, and have started informing people of our plans.

It is very exciting while very sad all at the same time.

I am of course excited about doing this; if I weren't, I don't think we'd have decided to go for it. BUT. There are things here that I just hate the thought of leaving. Obviously I don't want to leave my friends and family, but it's also the Gaelic school and Gaelic education that I LOVE - and highly recommending anyone look into, as it's been the best possible thing we could have chosen to do for our kids here - that I'll hate leaving, and my new church which I wish I'd found so much sooner, and even Scotland itself, with its beauty and culture. There are many things I'll hate about leaving this home for my old home. Some things and people I'll miss so much, I just can't face it without crying.  (I think you all know who you are.  I love you.)

But we are moving to the States for good reasons. The area we are moving to is safer, cleaner, and sunnier. Our kids will get a great life out there, with the standard of living, the weather, and so many other things. We look forward to starting fresh with basically nothing (we are giving away and/or selling nearly everything we own... which, incidentally, if you need or want anything...! Just ask if we have something or if something we have has already been claimed!) and starting a completely new chapter in our lives. We are looking forward to getting to know my family again, which has changed in so many ways since 2004. The kids are looking forward to getting an outdoor pool and a dog!

I could really go on and on, as this has been a decision in the making for so long now and has taken in so many factors. But like I said, I don't really want to go any more deeply into it than that. Basically, we are just ready to make it official and talk about it openly, so here we are, revealing the McFarlane Exodus 2013.

So there it is. Out in the open. Now you know. And now I can talk about it.

NOW on a happier note, here are the cupcakes for the Port Glasgow Bulb Show tomorrow, baked on behalf of the Gaelic Nursery.

Chocolate 'Black Bottom' Cheesecake Surprise Cupcakes

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Shortbread made for the Port Glasgow Bulb Show on Saturday, on behalf of the Whinhill Gaelic Nursery. Cupcakes have been made too... just forgot to take a picture. I'll be sure to get a shot before taking them in tomorrow!

Good luck, my Gaelic babies!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mother's Day Surprises

This morning I was awoken from an awful dream in which Scott and I were fighting (and then I was complaining about Scott to Scott (he had a clone of some sort)) to two little girls standing over my bed saying, "Mummy! Mummy! Happy Valentine's Day!"

Needless to say I was a bit confused in my sleepy state and mumbled something gracious to them and rolled back over. A moment later they were back. "Mummy! Mummy! We have a present for you!"

It slowly started to dawn on me that today is Mother's Day (not Valentine's Day, despite their confusion). I'd genuinely given it very little thought this year. I pried my eyes open to see through my poor vision without glasses what they were holding. It was a brown bag with what looked like something wrapped up in a blanket. This is a thing they do: find things, wrap them up with blankets and ribbons (or shoelaces or neckties), and give to us parents as 'gifts'. I thought this was the same idea. But as they shoved it closer to my face, I realised it was wrapped in wrapping paper. Oh no, I thought. I wonder what kind of mess they've made this morning with the wrapping paper and tape.

Jaguar was still asleep beside me, so I was worried the sound of ripping open the paper would wake him, but the girls were so eager, I didn't want to disappoint them by not opening their 'gifts'. I started to unwrap, and realised it was wrapped very well. And as my eyes and brain adjusted, I realised it was not wrapping paper that I had in the house. And it wasn't a familiar shape. Slowly I realised that the kids has gotten me a real Mother's Day present! I quietly ripped all the paper away to discover they had gotten me a baking magazine with free butterfly cookie cutters and cake glitter.

"We found some pennies in our pocket yesterday and bought you a present!" Fifi exclaimed.

"The other present is cookies!" Lolly exclaimed.

"Lolly! You're giving it away!" Fifi admonished.

There was indeed a second present, a packet of cookies. I was truly surprised and delighted. What a lovely way to wake up in the morning! The girls were so pleased with themselves.

"And now we're going to let you sleep in," Fifi said. "We'll go make ourselves some toast for breakfast."

I'm a lucky mummy.

(Scott didn't make them get their own breakfast. He woke up then and took them through to the kitchen for breakfast while Jaguar and I continued to sleep for a couple more hours. And then at church, the girls made Mother's Day cards and gave me daffodils. And as a Mother's Day treat to all of us, I bought us a KFC bucket for lunch to save having to make anything or clean any dishes. And tonight we are meeting up with the family for Mother's Day dinner at a restaurant. These are happy days.)

Happy Mother's Day to all of you mums out there, and all the mums in heaven too.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Will Blog For Food - Part 2

The remaining two reviews I wrote for are complete.  If you'd like to read a bit more about my travels up north, or if you just can't get enough of my blogging, go have a look at the reviews below (with embarrassing podcasts of my interviews!).

When I heard there were actual, real-life polar bears at the Highland Wildlife Park in Kincraig (near Aviemore), my inner six-year-old sort of burst out in squeal of glee. I must see these polar bears. Now.



We couldn’t have been luckier with the weather on the day we decided to visit CairnGorm Mountain. Clear blue skies, cold, crisp air - on a day like that, from the top of the mountain, you can see some 40-80 miles in the distance, and the view was one of the most breathtaking views I’ve ever experienced. The deep snow and fresh cold air may have contributed to the taking-away-of-the-breath, but it was all a part of the experience. It was beautiful.


February Book Review

At the beginning of February I started reading a book I'd pulled from the shelf at the checkout in Morrisons that ran me only £2. I love midwifery books like Call the Midwife, so I thought this book, Midwife On Call might be interesting.

Though it did not cease to annoy me the way Agnes Light stole and simply reversed the title from the popular Jennifer Worth book.

The book was okay. It wasn't fabulously written; it was very colloquial, which for those who enjoy a book that sounds like it is literally being dictated to you by mouth might appreciate, but I found it grating. The blurb on the cover, claiming to be a book about interesting birthing stories is only marginally true. The book is actually just one midwife's memoir of starting midwifery as a mother of 2 in her late 20s in the 1970s and how her midwifery career progressed through the years. It was interesting in places, and did have a few birthing stories scattered here and there, but mostly, it was a memoir.

For the first half of the book I was unimpressed. However, I will admit that as I pushed through it, I did begin to find the author somewhat endearing as a character, once I accepted the book as a story of her life and not necessarily a story about midwifery. By the end, I did feel the author is probably a nice person, but I never got over the feeling she was merely jumping on the bandwagon of midwifery-based bestsellers.

If you want an easy-to-read book about a woman's life (who happened to be an midwife by occupation), it's an all right choice. But if you want good, exciting birthing stories, or well-illustrated ideas of what childbirth was like in the UK in days gone by, stick with Worth's Call the Midwife or June Goulding's Light in the Window or even Angela Patrick's The Baby Laundry for Unmarried Mothers.

*I am aiming to read a book a month. If you'd be interested in joining an online book club, leave a comment below. For the month of March I am reading Silence by Endo Shusako, and if anyone is interested, we can have a Facebook-based group for discussing it - and for choosing a book for April!