Saturday, July 27, 2013

Lost In Translation



As a complete "foodie", I love that I can hop onto the Internet whenever I like, to browse for recipes that suit whatever ingredients I happen to have lying around.  Pinterest is one of my favourite haunts for new recipes; ah, so many pins, so little time!  Being English myself can make following these recipes tricky at times, due to different names and terminology.  So I thought I'd pop in with a teensy little post, that might help with some of us with those "lost in translation" moments...

Baking Ingredient Equivalents

Irish/English = American

Plain flour = All purpose flour
Self-raising flour = Self-rising flour
Bicarbonate of soda = Baking soda
Caster sugar = Superfine sugar
Golden syrup = Light corn syrup
Icing sugar = Confectioners/Powdered sugar
Muscovado sugar = Raw molasses sugar
Egg size UK large = Egg size US extra large
Mixed spice = Apple pie spice
Double cream = Heavy cream
Plain chocolate = Semisweet chocolate
Dark chocolate = Bittersweet chocolate
Treacle = Molasses
Cornflour = Cornstarch
GlacĂ© fruits = Candied fruits
Sultanas = Golden raisins
Dessicated coconut = Dry, unsweetened, shredded coconut


It is also important to note that we Irish (and most Europeans I believe) use Celsius, not Fahrenheit when we cook and bake.  Neglecting to convert the temperature of American recipes, has gotten me into trouble in the kitchen many a time!  Most recently, as I soaked and dried "pepitas"...it was only as we were finishing off those delicious snacks that I realised my mistake!  No wonder they were done super-quick!

Of course some of these were pretty self-explanatory, but some may be a help I hope.  There are also a lot of differences in the names we use for herbs and vegetables.  For instance one of the first American recipes I ever tried out from the internet called for "cilantro" - I had to Google "cilantro" before I could even start!

 Have A GREAT Day In The LORD'S House Tomorrow!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Family, Fixing And Fun




Mr Fix-It!


The "Fixing" Game, Is A Favourite For Dylan And Meg

Wow, what an intense couple of weeks!  There has been so much going on lately, and many challenges too.  Though whenever my husband and I begin to feel down-hearted and weary, we are reminded to be thankful for the loving Friend who is faithful, and who tells us:

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, 
and I will give you rest." ~ Matthew 11:28

For those who don't already know, my maternal grandmother sadly passed away two weeks ago.  She had been battling with breast/bone cancer for some time, and two weeks ago took her last breath. My grandmother was a tough, hard-working, determined, and loving woman, who will be sorely missed by us all.

I want to say "thank you", to those of you who were praying that her heart would be softened and that she would accept Christ - we very much appreciated each of you praying for her.  Although my grandmother did again refuse to hear the gospel, I am thankful that she did have several opportunities to hear and read it. 

My husband and I talked about the possibility, of all of our family attending my grandmother's funeral service - but it was simply too expensive, as well as logistically difficult due to necessary animal care.  So it was decided that I would fly out alone.  I flew over to England early yesterday morning to be with my family and attend the cremation service.  The service was non-religious, but it was still wonderful to hear tributes that different family members paid to her, and listen to funny anecdotes of her life.   We visited nearby afterwards, with tea and sandwiches for a few hours, before I flew back home. 

I must say that although I valued the time with my relatives in a time of sorrow, I was SO GLAD to be home with my children and husband - I missed them VERY much! 

This post was supposed to be much longer, but I am very short on time and still have a busy week ahead, so I think I'll cut it short here and leave you with a few pictures from the last week.  I hope you all are having an enjoyable week!


Amy Still Working Hard At Her School


I Have No Idea Why Meg Has A Blankie On Her Head
...Funny Girl!


Dylan Riding His New Go-Cart


It's A Tough Life Being A Farm Dog!


Golly's First Bath


Splash Time!



A Lovely Gift From A Sweet Friend!


I LOVE This Boy's Smile!


Summer Fun =Dirty Feet!
They Actually Were MUCH Dirtier; 

The Photo Doesn't Quite Do Justice!


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Play In The Post




A few days ago, our postman delivered a large package to our house.  Everyone wondered what it could be!  Of course I pulled out the *boring* stuff first; multiple packs of organic raisins and facial wash.  But then, o-ho! 

Two small boxes of TOYS!  Our kids almost never receive new toys outside of normal gift giving times, and so they were thrilled, as well as VERY surprised!  As I was mid-way through switching Meg's things into Dylan's room and cleaning in there, we opened one box upstairs, so the kids could play right away.






I have heard/read many good things about Playmobil, but we had never owned a set before.  I am happy to report that the little kids (okay and us too!) love their Playmobil sets.  In the days since, they have played with them for hours each day!  I am impressed with the quality of the sets, the pieces are very sturdy and I loved the little details included.  I know as parents, we can often feel the need to put the small fiddly bits away, so that they don't get lost or eaten!  However, those tiny pieces are Meg's favourite things to play with; she just loves to pretend to eat those little apples and play with the teeny mouse.




I Hope You're All Having A Fun And Enjoyable Week!


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Baby No More



 
All Tucked In!


Yes, my littlest girl has moved out of the nursery!  Just a few days ago, we moved Meg into the same bedroom as Dylan.  Also, on the same day, she swapped her crib for a BIG girls bed! 

I was prepared for a little transitional fussing, but Meg has been such a good girl and never disobeys by getting out of bed.  The two little kids are LOVING this new arrangement, and I think they are blessed to have siblings to room share with.  Though I love to see my children growing and maturing, and would never think of holding them back on my account - this poor mama is having an acute attack of "empty-nest syndrome".  Ha!


This Book Is One Of Meg's Favourites To "Read"
...It's A Teachers Key, That A Friend Gave
!
 
 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Elderflower Cordial




Last week, the kids and I decided to make Elderflower Cordial.  We have a lot of elderberry bushes around were we live, but the season for the flowers is rather short, and so it was time to harvest.  One day, Dylan and I drove up to the top of the lane with our bags and scissors.  We spent about half and hour filling our bags full to the top with elderflower heads. Once we were home, the kids spent a long time flaking the flowers off of the stems.  They listened to a sermon on "laziness" whilst they did this, which I thought was pretty funny! 

 


We froze all those fragrant flowers that we had harvested in little zip-loc bags.  *Warning* If you are using elderflowers that have been frozen, you must use them immediately after taking them out of the freezer - five minutes or more at room temperature, will turn your flowers from snow-white to brown!  As you can see from our pictures this happened to us, and even though they did look ugly, they still smelt beautiful! 

Most of the flowers off the bushes are now gone; ready for the elderberries later on in the year, but we managed to save quite a lot in our freezer.  Most of what we saved will be used in jam making, but I guess we still might make just one more batch of cordial this year.

Ingredients

 **I Adapted This Recipe From Here**

20 Elderflower Heads
1.8 kg Sugar
1.2 litres Water
1 Un-waxed Lemon
75 g Citric Acid

Method
1. Collect approximately 20 heads of elderflowers (leaving the flowers on the heads will save you heaps of time - we flaked ours off, as I thought I'd only be using mine for jam).  Inspect them carefully and "de-bug" if necessary! 

2. Put the sugar and water into a large pan and bring it up to the boil, stirring until all the sugar has dissolved.

3. While the sugar syrup is heating, slice off the zest of the lemon in wide strips and toss into the bowl with the elderflowers.  Slice the lemon, (discarding the ends) and add the slices to the bowl.

4.  Once the syrup begins to boil, take it off the heat immediately and pour over the flower/lemon mixture.  Next stir in the citric acid.  Cover with a clean cloth and leave at room temperature for 24 hours.

5. Next day, strain the cordial through a sieve lined with a butter muslin, cheese cloth or an old clean tea-towel.  Allow to cool slightly and pour very carefully into glass bottles and cap.  Store in a cool, dark place.  The original recipe did not state how long this cordial keeps for , but a quick search on the internet revealed that many people keep their cordial for months, and even 1-2 years without any deterioration in quality or taste.  I guess we'll just have to wait and see - but I doubt my cordial will last that long!


In my batch I added two lemons (as per the original recipe),
this was far too much!  I took half the slices out within an hour or two.
Other reviews of the same recipe stated the same thing. 

One lemon really will be plenty!





Perfect On A Hot Summers Day!


Friday, July 12, 2013

Summer Is Here!




A Hot And Bothered Meg,
 Snacking On Cold Milk And A Cookie!


The weather in Ireland this week is h.o.t!  Of course, it is not hot compared with many other countries and places in the world, but for Ireland it surely is very warm.  Personally I'm LOVING it!  My husband loves warm sunny weather also, as do our two oldest kids.  Miss Meg on the other hand, is finding the heat uncomfortable and is sometimes a little cranky!  Still, she is enjoying all the extra outside playtime, and is having a lot of fun bouncing on the trampoline (in the shade) with Dylan and generally messing about outside.


Dylan Trying To Learn How To Play Chess On Amy's Lap-Top...
He Quickly Learned That The "Undo" Button Is A Secret To Success!


Amy Making Cookies

Given this great weather, I am getting so much laundry done; now that I can dry so much at one time and bring it all in *dry* just hours later!  The kids have been great helpers and bring the loads of laundry in, and loads of laundry out...now I've only to find someone who would be willing to fold it all and put it away!





Dylan And I Having Fun Reading A Book
Loaned To Us By Friends.  It Is The First Book In
The "Farm Mystery" Series.  We Are Loving It!

Yesterday as my husband drove around the city on his day job, he spotted a refuse skip outside a house, with two kids ride-on vehicles in it.  Later on, as he was due to head home he stopped by that house again and spoke with the owner.  The man who was throwing them out, said he'd be happy for my husband to take them.  The little kids were SO HAPPY with their new toys!  Meg has a little JCB digger (with a beep-beep horn too!) and Dylan has a go-cart.  The go-cart did need some fixing up,  but once my husband had gotten the punctures on the tyres fixed and lubricated the rusty chain and joints - it flew around!  One man's trash, is another man's treasure!


Such A Cutie!


...Also Quite The Mischief Maker Too!

I'll finish up with this - just this week Miss Meg has begun to sing!  She still doesn't talk very much, and so I was surprised to when she asked me (in her baby-talk way) to sing "Glory to His name".  As I was tucking her into bed for the night when she asked, I sang the hymn quietly to her, and to my delight she sang along.  Admittedly she only sang two words that I understood; "gor-wee" and "app-ied" ( the rest was baby talk to the melody) but it was so sweet!  This has become a lovely nightly ritual, and now she'll also ask for "Gee-seh" which is her way of asking for "Jesus loves me".  I wish I could freeze those precious moments! ♥

I Hope You Are All Enjoying Your Week!


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Book Of Revelation ~ Chapter 1 of 22

 
 




From the makers of "After the Tribulation", comes a new 22 hour series on the Book of Revelation.  This series will go through each chapter of the book of Revelation, verse-by-verse; leaving you with a clear understanding of what Scripture plainly teaches about the coming "end times". 

We have already watched "After the Tribulation" as a family, and are certainly looking forward to the release of this new series!  We love hearing what the Word of God teaches about this topic, rather than being led by misinformation, that comes from the "traditions of men". 

As an encouragement, the makers of "The Book of Revelation" have released the first hour of the film free to view online!  Our family watched it yesterday, and LOVED it!  I would encourage you to let go of pre-conceived ideas and truly learn what the Bible teaches. :)

You can donate to this project here, or pre-order your copy now!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Rip-Off Ireland



 

When folks are talking about Ireland, you'll have no doubt heard our country referred to as "The Emerald Isle".  Usually the person has distant Irish lineage, and about the time they mention the above phrase, they'll gaze nostalgically into the distance and sigh...

Well, the Emerald Isle is indeed a nick-name for our country, that many people feel is appropriate, based upon the lovely, lush green fields and pastures.  However, in our modern day, another nick-name has been coined for the country that we live in: 
 
Rip-Off Ireland
 

Yes, the name really isn't very pretty, nor does it conjure rose-tinted images of lush green fields and woolly sheep.  Nevertheless, is a very true and accurate description of our country and it's approach to retailing. 
Don't believe me?  Just take a peep at the above and below pictures.  The price tags are from items I bought, when shopping in the "sales" last week with the kids.  In one department store, I spotted a lovely navy/white patterned skirt that I loved, and thought would go nicely with an item I already had at home.  I was disappointed to find that there was nothing left in my size; but it was so pretty that I bought the next available size up.  I was happy with my purchase, but still I knew that when I got home and peeled back the "sale" label, I would be in for a surprise...

The tag (for the skirt I bought) in the above pictures was originally priced at €56.00.  Which was then reduced to €39.20, before finally being retailed at "half price" for €28.00.  When I peeled back the label however, I saw that the original price in English pounds sterling was £32.00. 
 
At the current exchange rate, £32 equates to approximately €37 - NOT €56!
 
If I had been frivolous enough to pay full price (never would have happened) for my skirt, I would have actually been over-charged by €19!  And if I had really paid "half-price" for what it should have cost  - I should have paid €18.50.  Quite the difference huh?

Believe me when I tell you that this isn't a one-off, nor is this sort of extortion limited to that one store.  It isn't.  Some time ago my brother was trying to buy an underwater camera, he checked with a big name camera store here in Ireland and was priced something ridiculous; close to €400!  He priced the same camera ( with the same store) in England, he found that he could buy the camera for the equivalent of €200.  When we contacted the Irish based store they simply said "The current market dictates the price we sell at".  So because all other items retailed in Ireland are over-priced, you can expect to be over-charged for everything. 

Like I said, this is the norm here - so pack your bag, bring plenty of money and come on over to "Rip-Off Ireland".  Rant over...
 



 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Gardening Fun





I Thought This Picture Looked Funny - 
Almost As If The Tractor Was Towing The Laundry!

Ireland has had some rather bizarre weather of late; as you'll no doubt tell from the various array of clothing my kids are wearing in the following photographs.  One minute shorts and t-shirts, the next rain gear and winter coats.  I do always giggle when I see some of your posts, detailing "putting away the winter clothes", or similar!  Being accustomed to the Irish climate, we are used to having a more "all-seasons" approach to wardrobe storage!


Meg Enjoying A Piece Of "O-hinge"



Dylan Showing Meg How To Successfully
Splash In Puddles!


We have been somewhat busy in the garden over the last few weeks, planting our vegetables.  Normally my parents do all the planting and we help with harvesting and processing.  But this year they do not wish to plant, so we are doing some by ourselves.  Admittedly I'm not very "green-fingered", and so much of what we are doing is "learning as we go" gardening!  We have not planted very much, but we have a few things growing; items that we usually eat fairly regularly and have never grown before, so it is exciting.  You may remember me blogging last year, that we had hoped to buy a poly-tunnel to grow our produce in - but it just wasn't possible this year, so we opted to plant outside anyway.  I do hope that the slugs and hares won't eat all our veggies!
 
 
Dylan And I Were Keeping A Watch On A Labouring Cow


Our Leeks Are Growing


Sage Is One Of My Favourite Herbs
 

Turnips - An Irish Staple!

Other than that, we have had the busiest last few months I think I've ever experienced!  Just keeping up with the "essentials" keeps us going from the morning, until we collapse in bed at night!  Thankfully the rush of springtime on our farm is slowing down a little, and we hope to enjoy a "slower pace of crazy" sometime soon! 


My Handsome Helper!



Dylan, "Mowing" The Lawn