Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"It's A Girl" Heartbreaking Trailer...

The woman who laughed about the murder of her eight beautiful treasures, broke my heart.  Although before we condemn this woman, we must acknowledge that governmental pressures, social pressures and financial pressures are largely what motivates these women or their family members to take the lives of their newborn daughters.  Though that the fact remains that murder is a sin, no matter the pressures.

But consider if you will our own societies; do they encourage such brutality against defenseless babies?  Yes!  Our governments and societies do encourage us to perform acts of unmentionable horror on our unborn children.  They also encourge us to snuff out their innocent lives, through the use of the birth control pill and early abortion pills.  Just because these children are not yet born, does not mean they deserve less protection...life isn't subject to location.  We must stop feeling only sorry for those women, in such countries as China and India, and realise that we should also be feeling sorry that it is happening also right under our very noses and that our children are also in danger.

While this video is indeed heartbreaking and highlights a critical issue, we must not foregt that babies of both genders are being brutally murdered everyday across the globe, because their arrival is considered inconvenient.  We must remember that God considers all children a gift and a heritage and so should we.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Apricot Scones Recipe

The kids and I made these about two weeks ago and they were SO GOOD, that I just had to share the recipe!  I just wanted to point out that when making these, make sure to buy the unsulphured dried apricots...they are the ugly looking brown ones, next to the golden toxic ones!   These scones are the nicest I've ever tasted, and were not in the least bit dry, I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Ingredients - (makes approx 18 scones)

450g - Self-Raising Flour
Pinch Salt
2 Tsp - Baking Powder
100g - Butter
100g - Dried Unsulphured Apricots (finely chopped)
300ml - Full Fat Milk (plus extra for glazing)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F or gas mark 4. 
  2. Sift the flour into a bowl with the salt and baking powder.  Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs, and then stir in the apricots.  Make a well in the centre and gradually add the milk, stirring with a knife until the mixture comes together.
  3. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead lightly for a minute, then roll out to 2cm (I did ours to nearer 3cm so we could split them easily).  Cut out your scones using a round or fluted edge cutter, careful not to twist the cutter in or out of the scone mixture as this will discourage a good rise.
  4. Place scones on a lined baking sheet and brush the tops with a little milk and bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, until risen and golden!  Cool on a wire rack.  Then EAT THEM!! Yummmmm!!


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Christmas In August

Yes, I know Christmas is still months away, but I am already planning out my lists!  Brian and I have a lot of nieces and nephews.  Most of them do not like to read...so being the kind and generous aunt and uncle that we are we love to give them books!  You can tell that they just LOVE opening our gifts!  The logic is, is that we won't give them anything that will kill their brain cells or imagination!   We do want to give a gift that will hopefully spark a love of reading and stimulate their brains; perhaps one rainy day when the electricity is out, and there are no batteries for their nintendo's, they will go to the basement where they keep all of the books Uncle Brian and Aunt Sarah have given and read up a storm!

...That's the theory anyway...

Amazon.co.uk have a rather large sale (up to 70%) on children's books in October each year, with free delivery to Ireland.   So my aim is to have all my lists made out by then, so I can avail of the great bargains and have most of my Christmas shopping done early without having to battle my way through the shops!

At this stage I have all the nieces and nephews done, as well as the children of close family friends and any close relatives who haven't any children.  I LOVE picking out gifts for people!

Brian and I have been discussing Christmas traditions just recently, when I suggested buying "Keep Christ In Christmas" bookmarks to add to the books we give to our relatives, as a reminder of the real reason we celebrate Christmas.  Brian thought it was a great idea and said to go ahead!  But then I began to wonder...what about our own children?  How are we showing them that it is important to keep Christ in Christmas?  Usually in our home, that jolly idol Santa brings most of the children's gifts, leaving both Christ and us out in the cold!  This year we will phase out the commercialised Santa'mas and bring in a joyful, meaningful, fun filled Christmas!  We want our children to see that God gave us the greatest gift anyone could ever give and we intend to show that this year!

How does your family keep Christ in Christmas? 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Perfect Plumfield Pizza!

Friday night is usually our family's pizza and movie night!  As a huge pizza fan, it is one night of the week that I look forward to!  We used to buy frozen pizzas, even though we knew that they were bad for our health, we reasoned that it was only a once a week 'treat'.  We then became convicted that this attitude was wrong, and that a disgusting junk food once a week was too much!  So Brian asked me to begin to prepare fresh homemade pizzas for our family, like I had done before switching to ready made.

The things I love most about preparing fresh pizzas at home are:

  • The children can help prepare the dough and they love adding the toppings!
  • We can use some of our home grown produce.
  • I can give Meg pieces to chew on and know that it is not bad for her health.
  • I can load them with organic veggies, that are beneficial for growing bodies!

Plumfield House Pizza Dough 

Water - 2 Cups
Any Healthy Oil - 2 Tbsp
Brown Sugar - 2 Tbsp (You could use honey, but I choose not to so Meg can munch on them)
Salt - 1 Tsp
White Flour - 2 Cups
Fine Wholewheat - 2.5 Cups
Fast Action Yeast - 2 Tsp

This recipe gives enough dough to make 4 huge pizzas!  In my bread machine I would add all these ingredients in the order listed and put it onto a dough cycle, which takes about 1.5 hours on my machine.  Which gives time to prepare all your cheese, veggies and meats ahead of time.  One of Dylan's favourite jobs is to shake dried herbs on the top of each pizza before we pop them into the oven.  Bake them until golden brown and gobble them up as fast as you can!  Be sure to make plenty for a leftover lunch the next day! ;)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Catholic Parish Churches Broke?

Oh yes you read  that heading correctly!  The following report has been aired on television and ran through the newspapers this week:

Dublin's Catholic archdiocese is close to a 'state of financial collapse' according to a leaked consultation document from its Council of Priests, details of which are printed in today's Irish Catholic newspaper.  The document says many parishes are in a precarious financial position, close even to a state of financial collapse.

The document blames decreasing levels of collections due to the economic downturn and declining participation at mass. It also cites the ongoing cost of compensatory settlements made to victims of clerical abuse.  This, the document says, has led to reserves the diocese has built up over decades being spent.  It suggests that all central administration posts must be assessed and pay cuts in line with public service pay reductions must be considered by diocesan agencies and parish workers.  The document proposes the possibility of a parish based levy on Catholic families in the parish, which could raise up to €3m a year.

A spokeswoman for the archdiocese confirmed the existence of the document, saying it was aimed at addressing the economic realities facing the archdiocese.  She said to make no changes would have serious financial consequences.

It is understood that members of the Council of Priests, which advises the archdiocese, have been asked to consider the document, speak with priests at parish level and report back on their findings and proposals to a meeting in September.   Already, diocesan staff have seen a significant reduction in their pension provisions and have had their pay frozen over the past three years.  Priests' salaries, which are tied to collections, have also reduced by 6%.

Doesn't this make you mad?  The idea of victim compensation being partly to blame really takes the biscuit, as the Catholic church has managed to organise it so, they have only to pay 10% (mainly comprised of dilapidated property) of the total due to the victims of clerical abuse (estimated at this stage to be in the region of €1,000,000,000) the rest is to be paid by the Irish taxpayer!!!

I also read a report made by the editor of the "Irish Catholic" saying "Collections are down because of the economic downturn, and also there is no real indicator of how much to give to the church"  Can he really so brain-washed?  The Bible states clearly the concept of tithing and indicates what is an appropriate percentage to give.  Perhaps if the Catholic church actually encouraged its members to read the Bible for themselves then there would be no confusion.  Such a radical idea I know!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Canning Query...

I know the "canning" method of food preservation is very popular in America, but here in Ireland it is relatively unheard of!  As you might remember from this post, Brian and I were thrilled to find screw cap Kilner jars at a fantastic price, especially when considering I had previously only seen them for sale at €10 a jar!

Now that the harvesting season is approaching I would like to ask you kind ladies, to please share any recipes, links or tips with me!  The one fruit I will definitely be preserving by canning is pears, as all other methods tend to spoil the fruit.  I also once read something about placing the canning jars upside down to ensure freshness?  Thank you all so much in advance!

I promise that that this will be the last ofthe short and sweet posts for a while, I am working on a few 'meaty' posts but they are slow coming!  In the meantime I'll try and get some photographs uploaded...I have been putting this off as my blogger photo uploader is not working so well and usually just leaves me frustrated!  We have been so busy lately that, if and when, we get some spare (ha!) time, we are choosing to spend it playing board games with the kids, watching sermons together or simply loving on each other! ;)

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Story Of The Little Mole - A Book Review

I just had to post a book review on this funny little book.  We have borrowed this from our library too many times to count.  There are other editions of this book (hardback, paperback, pop-up...etc)  but the one we love is the sound edition!  ;)

If you are easily offended, then this is not the book for your family, but we think it is just hilarious.  But if you can appreciate some light-hearted, if not somewhat gross humour, then buy it immediately!  You'll just love the sound effects that accompany little mole on his travels, as he sets out to find exactly whose business it is!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Hauling Hay and Market Day!

What a busy weekend!  Just a few weeks ago we harvested our hay and had it baled up ready for the winter.  A local man (he was paid for his work in hay) baled and transport it to our shed, and was supposed to come back and stack it up properly...but he hasn't and isn't going to!  This has caused some stress for Brian, as even though they were out of direct rain many of the were still laying flat on the ground and have soaked up some moisture which had caused small patches of mould on some of the bales.

Saturday was our long awaited day to take some cattle to the market.  But we couldn't put the cows into the shed ready for transportation because it was full of bales that needed to be moved!  Brian had been sick with a chest infection since last Sunday and had been working for the rest of the week.  So Friday evening we all had to help move the bales into place.  Of course as we are only hobby farmers we do not have a loader or any other machine that could stack the hay, so had to do it by hand!

It was hard work!  The idea was to use one of the gates to create a ramp up unto the first row of bales and then Brian would drop a bale onto it with the tractor.  Then with my mother, father and I holding onto it he would back up and lift the gate higher on one end.  Then my mother and I would push the bale and run it up the ramp!  After doing this two or three times the men would climb up and wrestle the bales into place!  It was hard work, but such fun!  Sweet Amy stayed home and minded Meg, who was in bed for the night.  As this was a little dangerous Dylan was allowed only to sit on a bale out of the way and watch!

We finished just before it got too dark.   We then headed home and started our normal evening chores.  Dylan wasn't in bed till near on 10pm!!  When Brian came in from feeding the cows about fifteen minutes later, he went up to give Dylan a goodnight kiss...he was already fast asleep.

We were all up early as usual the next morning.  The cows needed to be moved into the shed ready for our friend to come and load them up into his large trailer, and be taken to the market.  So at 8am Brian and my father went out to get the first lot moved in, Amy helped them also.  I got myself, Dylan and Meg ready as fast as I could and headed over to help...but alas, they had already managed to do it all by themselves!  Then it was back to our house for a breakfast of leftover homemade pizza from the previous night and a fresh batch of granola!  Brian and Dylan went off to the market to sell the cattle.  Brian rang home often to keep us updated on what was going on, which was lovely!  Our cattle got a good price at the market, which we are so incredibly thankful for!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Recent Happenings And A Little Ranting...

Here are a little collection of goings on within the O'Neill household and beyond over the last few weeks!

  • A Few nights ago, Dylan decided to eat about two tablespoons of Herbamare whilst I was taking a bath with Meg.  Upon discovering the copious quantities of salt does NOT taste good, he came up to tell/show me, he mouth agape and a frantic look in his eyes.  I was trying to get him to tell me what was wrong, when he proceeded to vomit the Herbamare (and a lot of what he ate for dinner) all over the bathroom floor before moving to finish off in the toilet!  I then had to get out and clean him and the bathroom up!  Lovely!
  • I have just this week finished up reading "To Train A Child Up" by Michael and Debi Pearl.  It took me a long time to get through it, as private reading time has been a bit thin on the ground lately.  I hope to get around to posting a book review over the next few weeks.
  • Our local libraries are hosting a "Islam Explored" exhibition.  From what I could make out, it seems to be a PR tour, in the hopes of proving that not all Muslims are terrorists!  There was even a caption stating that Islam supports "womens rights"  Amy was handed a "Islam Explored" quiz sheet by one of the librarians as part of their bookclub...she brought it straight to me.  It wouldn't actually be that bad if it wasn't for the fact, that I'm pretty sure, if I began handing out gospel tracts to children at the book club then I would be asked to stop, lest anyone become offended!
    • Thank you to all the ladies who contacted me on Swimsuit Advice Sought, I appreciated all your advice and links that you kindly provided.  
    • Dylan has learnt how to drive nails into timber this week too!  He is so very proud of himself and I was so happy when he showed me what he had been taught!  "Daddy teached me what to do" he explained, as he held the nail straight and just gave two tiny taps to set the nail in place before removing his hardworking hands in order to drive the nail fully in!   
        • We started back to school just last week which was exciting!  We had become a little unorganised and unmotivated...so it was time to kick back into gear!  Amy tells me that she is enjoying her work more this year!  
          • Now that our dear Meg is 7 months old, people at the health department and our local doctors office, have begun to notice that she has not had any vaccinations.  We received two letters in the space of a fortnight, one of which asked for us to sign a form indicating whether she had, had them or not.  We did not sign nor send the letter back, simply because we are wary of putting our signature to paper that may come back to bite us later on.  Then a receptionist from our doctors surgery called, and asked me to confirm a few things (Meg's d.o.b, gender, my name...etc) then she asked "We don't have her down for having any vaccinations, is this correct?"  "Yes that is correct", she went very quiet for about one full minute!  "Well don't you want to have her vaccinated?"  "No, we don't thank you" I replied, at that point Ms Receptionist spoke rather snappy and our conversation ended!  Ha!
          • This article featured in our news recently.   I don't know where they got the figures for the "allowed" class sizes for this report, but I can say with 100% certainty that the average class size for primary schools in our area is 35-40 children per class not 27-28!  What an insane number!  Education for the masses just got even better! 
          • There are so many blog posts that I wish to write at the moment, plus ones that are already started and are waiting patiently for me to finish them!  I actually love posting ones like this, which allow me to touch upon several topics in the one post.
          • Just two days ago I have noticed that Meg has oral thrush.  I remember Amy having this as a small baby, and being young and very inexperienced I simply took her to the doctor and applied the antibiotic ointment he perscribed.  Now, I hopped onto the computer and googled "natural oral thrush remedies"!  So for the last two days I have been treating the thrush with raw virgin coconut oil, both on her lips and coating her dodie/pacifier with it when she is napping.  I've read that it can take about a week to start to disapear.  I would be grateful to hear from anyone who has used it and has sucessfully treated oral thrush in their babies.
            • I have been trying hard to get out of the habit of preparing quick breakfasts and really making sure that we eat something substantial.  Eggs are great because we usually have a lot of them.  One of the nicest breakfast days over the last few weeks was Baked Oatmeal and "Swamp Smoothies"!  The smoothies were delicious!  We gleaned the idea for the smoothies from Zsuzsanna's blog at Are They All Yours?!??

             Hoping You All Have A Wonderful Weekend!

              Friday, August 5, 2011

              Hopefully This Is The Last Time...

              ...I'll ever post about David Norris!  I am delighted to announce that he has now pulled out of his presidential campaign!  This comes after the following news broke in Ireland, just a few days ago:

              Yesterday, it was revealed that the Senator wrote a letter to the Israeli authorities pleading for clemency for his ex-partner who had been convicted of the statutory rape of a 15-year-old boy.  The letter, which was released to the Sunday Independent, was written on Seanad (Senate) notepaper and in it Senator Norris pleads for clemency for his former partner Ezra Yizhak, who was awaiting sentence for the statutory rape of a 15-year-old Palestinian boy in Israel in 1992.  In it he described Mr Yizhak as a trustworthy, good and moral person for whom the present difficulty was quite uncharacteristic.  He said he had been lured into a carefully prepared trap, and had unwisely pleaded guilty to the charges.  A number of people on Mr Norris's campaign team have resigned, including his directors of elections, communications as well as people working on his online campaign.

              Hooray! :)

              Tuesday, August 2, 2011

              Swimsuit Advice Sought!

              Our family have not renewed our membership for our health club swimming centre this year.  Due to the fact of the large financial cost and that swimming with a newborn in tow can be incredibly stressful!  Please note that our climate is too cold for a private swimming pool, and there are no private lakes in which our family could swim, so the only option is the hideous public pool or a health club. 

              However we have quite a lot of free token lefts over from last years membership.  The rules of our health club state that you cannot use them if your membership runs out BUT you can use them if another member signs you in...my mother just re-joined!  Unfortunately that brought a little dilemma...

              What to wear?

              Up until last year we had been wearing regular bathing suits to swim in even though we were not happy about it.  We wrapped our towels around us and removed them just before entering the pool and vice versa when we got out again.  However Amy had come to me, after one of the last times she went with Brian and Dylan, and confessed of how self concious she had been, swimming when there were teen boys and men about.  I of course could completely relate to her problem. 

              I have visited some modest swimwear sites and often didn't like the styles at all, and felt that they would attract more unwanted attention, simply because they were old fashioned and weird looking!  I since have found these swimsuits at  Simply Modest Swimwear.  We think they are just lovely and they are just what we have been looking for.  It was important for our family that we found a suit that, fully covered the thigh to the knee, bottom, and chest area.  The fact that these suits also have a skirt attached means that the material skims over, rather than accentuates the bottom area!  There is however one snag... the price tag!  $150 for one bathing suit is a lot of money.  I personally think that it is reasonable considering that a regular bathing suit may cost us €25-30 (approx $35-40?) here in Ireland and I would guesstimate that one of the Simply Modest swimsuits, probably uses the same amount of material, that would make up 2 or 3 regular bathing suits.  But it is just not possible for our family to spend that amount of money at the moment on swimsuits.

              So I am hoping that some of my dear sweet readers may have some suggestions or links to other companies who sell swim wear close to the image above for a lesser cost.  I would be grateful of any help or suggestions and I thank you all in advance!