Monday, August 30, 2010

Plans this week...

I have been so busy lately, and most of my spare time has been spent keeping on schedule with the 90 day Bible Challenge. As life has gotten busier, it has been harder to keep up with the hour-a-day reading.

This week Darren is presenting a paper at the Patristics (Church Fathers) Conference in Durham, England. The kids and I are going to join him, making it a little family trip. I figured this might be my only chance to see the English countryside.

All that to say, I will be offline for another week. Maybe next week I'll get back to some regular posts. I still have pictures to share from the Jousting Tournament and several castles that we visited in July. And we'll add lots of pictures from our week in England.

Have a wonderful week! See you when I return on next Monday.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Last week was weird, trying to get back into the routine of school and a regular schedule. Hopefully this week will be a little more predictable.

Finally to the menu for this week!
Check out more great meal ideas at Organizing Junkie.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Headband Give-Away!

My friend over at Adventures of Miss Mommy is hosting a give-away of these adorable headbands from a great shop on Etsy, Hailey's HalosCheck out her give-away post. Just leave a comment to enter the drawing and please let her know that I sent you.

Good luck!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Spanish for Toddlers

On of our friends and fellow expats, Emily, here in Scotland was a high school Spanish teacher. She offered to teach a little weekly class for our little toddlers (hers included).

Above is a picture of Joshua dressed as Skippy Jon Jones, the kitten who thinks he is a Mexican chiwawa.
Each of the children took turns wearing the mask while Emily read the storybook.

Our first class was on Monday. There were seven little kids in attendance for the first lesson (though one of them is not talking yet ... only just a year old). It was great fun! Emily gets lots of gold stars for being flexible and enjoying the chaos of kids playing while learning.

Emily first introduced the idea of language and different languages in different countries. Then we learned how to say hola (hello) to each other and introduce ourselves, Soy Joshua (I am Joshua). We closed our lesson with a song about colors lead by Rachel; we learned the color rojo (red).

This week we also learned how to say muy bien (very good), amigo (friend, boy), amiga (friend, girl), gracias (thank you), de nada (you’re welcome), manzana (apple).

Emily posted her lesson plan and more pictures at Teaching Spanish to Toddlers & Preschoolers {Lesson 1}

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Much better week this week. It was extremely busy with the kids at Holiday Camp (like VBS in the States), and I still had several migraines, but by the end of the week I was feeling much better. I am still carefully watching my sleep habits, regular exercise, and other possible triggers, but a week of serious, careful attention seems to have gotten them under control.
I have a new favorite ... the sauce for the Talapia Parmesan this week was amazing. It doesn't even have to be used only on white fish. This sauce would also be great on a chicken breast.

Finally to the menu for this week!
Check out more great meal ideas at Organizing Junkie.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Starting week 7 - Bible in 90 Days Challenge

Read the Bible in 90 Days: Week 7 - I am right on schedule for today's reading.

We are staring week seven of our intensive reading through the Bible in 90 days. This week we started the book of Psalms and will take a full week to read through it.

There are a few things that have struck me during my reading.
  • Having all the chaos of Israel and Judah fresh in my mind, it makes the reading of Psalms a little different. Now when David makes statements about "inheriting the land" or other related references, I see in my mind the fighting and struggles that Israel had trying to possess their inheritance, and never really succeeding.
  • I was also struck by the description of some of the kings of Judah, doing what was right, but not like their father David, not with the whole heart. God wants everything, whole-hearted, reserving-nothing commitment.
  • I enjoyed reading more clearly about the temple and all that David established before handing it over to his son, Solomon, to build. He established the worship standards for the temple, with songs of praise continuously before the ark. Some of the psalms seem to be specifically written to encourage the priests who were working through the night (Psalm 134:1).  Now, as I read Psalms, I picture the scene set by David for worship prior to the building of the temple.
This last week has required much more commitment to keep going. I fell behind several times because of migraines, but was able to catch up. I am so excited that Tuesday marks the half-way point in this challenge.

Friday, August 13, 2010

St. Mary's Kirk

On our way home from Glenbuchat and Kildrummy Castles, we took a little detour through the countryside to visit an old, little country church, St. Mary's Kirk, that hasn't been used for about 100 years. 

All of the walls are intact, but the roof is entirely gone.
The kids enjoyed the chance to stretch their legs, while we wandered around.

Darren and I tried to explain that long ago this church was used for Sunday church services, like the ones we attend.

This church is set in beautiful country. I loved looking out the windows to see white sheep dotting the lush, green pastures.

I also enjoy how the church's architecture is constantly drawing your eyes to look up!

Beautiful kirk! I enjoyed the feel for how life was in the church in this rural area of Scotland years gone past.

There are a few more pictures on Facebook at St. Mary's Kirk - July 2010.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Black Bean and Corn Salad

We had a great BBQ at a friend's this week. I decided to make a black bean salad, but didn't have everything I needed for my normal recipe. Instead, I combed and combined a few. I received so many complements on that salad so I thought you might enjoy the recipe, too. I'll share my additional tweaks in brackets.


  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice {I squeezed one lime and used lemon juice for the rest of the 1/3 cup}
  • 1/2 cup olive oil {extra virgin}
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup dried black beans {follow package directions for softening -- makes about 2 cups total}
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 1 avocado - peeled, pitted and diced
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped {I used 10 baby plum tomatoes}
  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 teaspoons of coriander paste {found in the refrigerated produce section} {or use 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro}


  1. Place lime juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, cayenne, cumin and coriander in a small jar. Cover with lid, and shake until ingredients are well mixed.
  2. In a salad bowl, combine beans, corn, bell pepper, tomatoes, and green onions. Shake lime dressing, and pour it over the salad. Stir salad to coat vegetables and beans with dressing.Gently stir in avocado.
  3. For best flavor, let sit in refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours before serving.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

We have several repeats from last week. My hubby did much of the cooking and chose easier meals. It was a rough week for me. I have had constant headaches for almost two weeks, and at least 3 full migraines this week. Whew! I'm wiped! This is only the second time that my migraines have gotten this bad ... that I have felt this desperate.

I will be, once again, starting a pretty crazy regiment for the next few weeks and months to get this under control again ... including, the eye doctor, the migraine doctor, natural remedies, diet change, strict sleep habits, exercise, etc. The only problem is that changing everything at once... I won't know what worked to fix things.  I effectively stopped (or at least slowed) my migraines about five years ago, but have become too lax on my habits. I'll let you know how it goes.

We will hopefully get a chance to try the new recipe the from last week for Talapia Parmesan. I got the link from McReal Estate, the blog of fellow-expat's parents. We'll be trying it with frozen cod, instead (there is no talapia in Scotland).

Finally to the menu for this week!

Check out more great meal ideas at Organizing Junkie.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Glenbuchat Castle

After our time at Kildrummy Castle, we drove a few miles further toward the Cairngorm Mountians to Glenbuchat Castle.

This castle was built in 1590 by John Gordon of Cairnburrow when he married Helen Carnegie. Many of the stones used were hauled from the burned Kildrummy Castle.

This castle is managed by Historic Scotland, so it is well maintained, but it is not a manned site. To enter the castle, you park your car and wander though an odd, little gate designed to keep sheep in a pasture. Through some of our friends walked through a flock of sheep, we just walked through a grassy field with signs that sheep had once been there (some patches of wool and other deposits).

You have to walk all the way around the castle to the far side before finding the large entry door. The bottom floor was dark and damp, but the upper floors were bright (mostly because of the missing roof).

We enjoyed wandering this small, 'Z-shaped' castle. We had the entire area to ourselves, except for a few minutes when a young couple stopped and took a few pictures.

Some people mentioned that the door up the stairs was locked when they visited, but we were pleased to be able to go up to the very top floors to see the watch towers and more residential rooms.

Abigail wanted to see out the window. When I lifted her up, she spotted Daddy in the room across the castle and yelled out, "Daddy, what are you doing?"

Take a look at the rest of our pictures in our photo album: Glenbuchat Castle - July 2010.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Kildrummy Castle

More stories of our second "car-rental-weekend," (back in mid-July, before Abigail's haircut)... On Friday we visited, Edzell Castle and Arbroath Abbey and for Saturday we planned a few castles to visit.

Our first stop was Kildrummy Castle, about an hour west of Aberdeen.

Kildrummy is a wonderful ruin, high on a hill overlooking the beautiful valley.

When this castle fell into ruin, many of the stones, doors, etc were carried a few miles up to build Glenbauchet Castle (the next castle on our tour... stay tuned).

In the picture above, this kids are climbing in the old kitchen (which was over old the prison). Much of the kitchen walls are black from the long-past fire that destroyed much of the castle.

The kids climbed into the bread over (that is missing its top) and were very amused at the idea of being bread in the oven. "We're bread!"

The kids loved this castle because of all the climbing opportunities it provides. Most of the interior walls are now only piles of rocks. There are very few heights to be reached, which makes me a little more relaxed with the kids and their exploration.

This was definitely a family favorite. Everyone enjoyed our time at this castle and I have already had requests to go back again soon.

Check out the rest of our pictures at: Kildrummy Castle - July 2010.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I am trying a new recipe this week for Talapia Parmesan. I got the link from McReal Estate, the blog of fellow-expat's parents. (Thanks, Gayle.) Of coarse, we can't get Talapia here in Scotland, so I'm going to try it with Cod.

Here is the menu for this week!
Check out more great meal ideas at Organizing Junkie.

Happy Monday!

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