Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Red Lentil Curry Soup

My family loves this soup! I have been tweaking my lentil soup and am finally ready to share it. This recipe is primarily inspired by a recipe in our church cookbook and this recipe from Miss Mommy.

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 4 celery sticks, diced
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander (cilantro)
  • 4 oz (1/3 cup) red lentils, washed and drained
  • 25 fl.oz (3 cups) chicken or vegetable broth
  • 14 oz (400g) canned tomatoes
  • 1/2 to 1 pound (500g) of bacon or ham, chopped and cooked 
  • 14 oz (400ml) canned coconut milk
  1. Saute vegetables in butter for a few minutes until softened.
  2. Stir all ingredients, except the coconut milk, into the crock pot.
  3. Cook for 4 hours on high (6 to 8 on low)
  4. Mix with a hand blender, or for a chunkier texture use a potato masher.
  5. Stir in coconut milk right before serving. 
  6. Serve with warm, crusty bread. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Darren is at a conference in Edinburgh this week, so we have to plan most of our meals and our weekly schedule without him. He will be presenting his paper on Tuesday, right after lunch. We'll be praying for him!

Joshua started P1 (kindergarten) last week. He will be heading to school every morning, but they don't start full days until Sept 5. So he will be coming home for lunch all of this week and just enjoying school in the mornings.

Abigail, on the other hand, has nursery (preschool) in the afternoons. She starts class after lunch. This will be a busy week for me. Dropping Joshua off at school in the morning; picking him up for lunch at noon; dropping Abigail off at school after lunch; picking her up at the end of the day. Whew!

Here is the menu for the coming week.

  • Monday -- Homemade Mac 'n Cheese
  • Tuesday -- Red Lentil Soup
  • Wednesday -- Chicken Nuggets and Fries
  • Thursday -- leftovers
  • Friday -- Beef & Refried Bean Burritos (with homemade beans)
  • Saturday -- Loosemeat Sandwiches
Check out more great meal ideas at Organizing Junkie.

Happy Monday!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Joshua Starts P1

Yesterday was Joshua's first day in P1 (Kindergarten). How can my little boy be so big? I am left with this feeling that I am sending him off and will never fully have him all to myself again. But this is a time to celebrate and rejoice with him, not mourn my loss...

Doesn't he look so cute in his school uniform? Here all the public schools have uniforms. His school colors are grey and green, so they all wear grey trousers (skirts / dresses / etc), white shirts (primarily polo shirts) and green sweatshirts or sweaters. And all the kids has their green book bags for official communication between teachers and parents (homework, etc). He love that book bag.

Proud Daddy gets to walk Joshua to school in the mornings for a little bonding time before they both head to their separate school work.

And Mommy gets to greet his smiling face after school each day.

I have been so pleased with the joy Joshua and Abigail have expressed in each other's new classes. Joshua love to give Abigail tips about being in Nursery and they both are excited to hear about all that they have each done and learned at school that day.

And here we go... entering the school for his first day of class. They are very gradual with the schedule changes for P1. They start in small groups of 5 or 6 for just the afternoon, with only that small group getting to know their teacher and each other. Then those kids join the rest of their class (who already started in an afternoon earlier in the week) the next morning. The entire class has 1 to 2 weeks (depending on their start day) of half days until September 5, when the schedule changes to full days, from 8:55am to 3:15pm.

Joshua is thrilled about his new class and teacher, Mrs. Ritchie, and we are excited to rejoice with him as he continues to grow up...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Abigail's First Day of School

Tuesday was Abigail's first day of school. She was so excited!

She will be attending afternoon nursery (preschool) for 2.5 hours every weekday, at Sunnybank Primary school, where Joshua attended for the last 1.5 years.

She was so ready  go in and get started, but mommy wanted some pictures and a few more hugs.

Joshua was very sweet and encouraging. He told her all the things she would get to do in nursery. Abigail will be in the same classroom, the same class (OWLS) and have the same teacher that Joshua had since we moved here.

Here is Abigail showing off her new peg. They label all her stuff with her name and sticker that she gets to choose (a clown), so she even if she didn't know how to recognize her name, she can spot her sticker on her peg, her pocket, her snack, etc.

Abigail was so ready to stay in the nursery class with hardly a goodbye for mom. She has been dropping off Joshua for over a year now, and was so excited that it was finally her turn to stay and play.

Happy first day of school, Abigail!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

What a great week! The sun came out and we had some nice, almost summery days.

Abigail had a wonderful week in nursery. She started out at thirty minutes and quickly moved to the full two and a half hours. I was a little surprised at how tired she was after class, though. I forgot how much time it took for Joshua to build up the stamina to be at school all afternoon, everyday. She is one tired little girl, but loving every moment at school

Joshua is so ready to start school. Thursday will be his first day in Primary 1 / P1 (Kindergarten). The kids start one day in the afternoon, with a small group (5 or 6 kids) and spend the entire time getting to know each other and their teacher. Then they move to a few weeks of mornings only. Joshua won't start full days until September 5.

Here is the menu for the coming week.

Check out more great meal ideas at Organizing Junkie.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

We had a wonderful week last week. The weather improved, at least for a few days (though there was plenty of rain in between). Joshua thoroughly enjoyed swimming lessons. He was a little nervous that first day and got out to use the bathroom several times, but quickly found his groove. By the end of the week, he was swimming for 1 1/2 to 2 hours at a time. Very fun!

Abigail starts nursery (preschool) this Tuesday. She is very excited! Joshua does not start Primary 1 / P1 (Kindergarten) until next week, because of they way they phase in the students to help everyone adjust more easily. Sigh. Our summer seems to have passed so quickly, though there were some days (rainy days) when we were just ready to get back to school and routine.

Here is the menu for the coming week.

Check out more great meal ideas at Organizing Junkie.

Happy Monday!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Faerie Glen on Isle of Skye

We spent an entire day driving around Isle of Skye. One of the most beautiful locations we visited was Faerie Glen, just west of Uig.

The hills were beautifully textured with rolling waves of grass. And the green grass was dotted everywhere with white sheep and goats. In the distance, we could hear the waterfalls on the far hillside. Incredible!

The sheep were still covered in thick wool because it was still spring. The sheep had mostly moved to higher pastures by the time we started our hike, but we enjoyed listening to their voices echoing in the hills.

We parked our car by this loch and started hiking into the glen. We didn't have a destination, but ended climbing to the top of that rocky hill above the loch.

I loved all the rocks and moss at the bottom of the glen. But we needed to head up quickly to escape the bugs in the trees.

The kids were so excited about the climb to the top of this rock formation. The view was exhilarating!

The kids loved climbing up and down through the glen. Joshua especially felt a courage and freedom to lead and explore.

In one of the valleys between the hills there was a little fern growing on a noll; we had to take a picture of the kids admiring it.

And back to the climbing and exploring... This was one of the kids' favorite stops of the day.

After our wonderful climb, we had to get a family shot of the rock-hill we conquered. Check out more shots of this amazing Faerie Glen.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

August has come, so has the autumn weather... wait, that doesn't seem right. We have had some foggy days this week. Joshua especially loved watching the mist blow across the fields near us. It reminded me of autumn days on the lake growing up. The only down side is that it is suppose to still be summer. =) Maybe there are a few sunny days still left this month.

We have a busy week coming up. Joshua is taking swimming lessons for the first time. He is excited, but a little nervous that I won't be in the pool with him. Pray that he feel courageous and connects with his teacher, otherwise we may both end up watching lessons from the sidelines.

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

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness

Finally, here are more pictures from our trip to the Highlands back in June. We had two days of wonderful, almost sunny, weather. But our final day at Urquhart Castle on Lock Ness was more typical Scottish weather ... drizzly, with fog rolling over the hills and lake.

Urquhart Castle is a beautiful ruin, on a location with a rich history over a thousand years. St Columba visited this King of the Picts who live here around AD 580. The English seized the castle in 1296. Several Scottish clans have fought to control this fort through the years as well. This castle has seen hundreds of years of military action.

The kids loved the trebuchet that is on display. It is not original to the castle time era, but is quite impressive. There is also a video in the visitor center showing the destructive power of these weapons.

These ruins were fun to explore. The kids enjoyed running up and down the grassy hills, and climbing on the long-fallen walls. Joshua was thrilled that this castle once had a draw bridge and moat of sorts.

These ruins are spread over the entire hillside, and much of it was built at different times. The kitchens, where we are explore in the picture above, were at the lowest point of the hill, with the domestic buildings above them.

The main tower behind the kids was the primary living space for the ruling family. There were also some servants quarters closer to the kitchens.

The well was located on the lowest level of the main tower. Joshua and Abigail both had to throw in a coin. Joshua told me later he wished he could be a fireman as he threw in his coin.

From the top of the tower, you can see the beauty of this military fort. The primary defensive tower and wall is at the top of the hill in the distance.

And this view is of the tower and kitchens from the top of the defensive fort. This castle was established for defensive purposes, but it is also an amazing setting, with Loch Ness spreading to the north and south, and the highland hills stretching the entire coast of the loch (lake) on both sides.

I would have loved to spend another hour or two at this castle, but the rain discouraged the kids. We did, however, watch the video presentation about the history here twice, at Joshua's request. It was a nice presentation!

Of coarse, no trip to Loch Ness would be complete without a trip to the Loch Ness Center (though we skipped the exhibits for the kid's sake). We had to get a picture with Nessie, as they lovingly nicknamed the Loch Ness Monster.

Check out more great pictures from our day at Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle.

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