About us

We are a hard working, family of eight. Swimming in the sea when we aren't busy on our small holding. Daddy dragon has to work away a lot, so this blog is to let him keep up with our adventures at home.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Halloween in photos


Hatchlings in costumes,


spiders galore,


and spooky buns for lunch.

Happy halloween!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Our Stoptober results


She knit a tie to wear, and made one for both her brothers.

Hatchling no4 told me, 'Busy working hard for my monies, no picture!'

Hatchling no1 sat down with my bank statement that came through the post.

Gulp!

How is that for being honest with my hatchlings eh?

Anyways, she has laid out our budget for November.

Seems she has come to approve of my Stoptober approach.

She wants us to press on through November, and see if we can make it until our trip to the mainland.

She has list you see...

A list of items only available on the mainland,

and she wants to be certain

that there are funds available when the time comes.

She has even written in a weekly allowance just for me.

Generous hatchling that she is. 

I do not mind though, because it is tough to go from a fully functioning household,

to a home of your own.

Suddenly, faced with so many choices and budgeting seems awfully vague.

Until your bank balance looks red and angry.

(Before daddy dragon faints, a rather revised version of this hatchling's budget will be put into effect,.... with a significant departure from the original 'shoe shopping' allowance she had stipulated.)

Thus I am keen to involve these hatchlings in seeing what comes in and out of our bank account, so they can understand it is not magic. It is rock solidly painful if we become careless.

Not that we have anything to complain about, but we don't have room for large blunders, or simply denying the truth, that money is a limited resource.

One that needs balancing, and careful tending.

Stoptober has been good for us.

We have really given reducing, reusing, and recycling a fair try.

Unlike how I thought we'd feel, we actually feel energised and ready to try even harder.

Quite fun really.

I suppose that says it all, it is fun because it is a choice, and I am very very thankful, I have the choice.

Our stoptober results have seen us make our target of spending £9.98, £8.87, £10.04, and this week £9.56. (The goal was £10 a week)

We managed to make £91.24 by putting stuff we don't need on ebay. I'd love to say we did well, but we shifted 84 items. Sigh, a little less than my hope for £120.00 but still, there is a little more room, and a few more pennies in the kitty.




Monday, 29 October 2012

He started it!


Incident: Fish fight

Location: Kitchen

Weapon of choice: Poached haddock

Result: Stinky mess!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Cold, wet and windy


It has been a cold day.

The wind has blown hard, and brought in hail over and over again.

We've had a lot of snow and sleet.

For a fair part of the day it has been so dark and grey it hasn't really looked like daytime at all.

Sounds miserable doesn't it?

Not to me!

It has been a beautiful day, one of my favourite kinds of day.

We've stayed inside, mostly, and baked, and knitted, and played train set.

We've read stories, and made paper mache pumpkins and listened to hatchling no1 play the piano.

It has been a snug and cozy sort of day.

Hatchling no5 has been fretful and clingy as he breaks in his new teeth.

This weather has made for the perfect excuse to stay home and cuddle him for hours.

Our dear boy puppy was put out to play and what did he do?

He spent the afternoon curled up fast asleep in his little house. 

Even he felt it was day to spend in bed. 

Which is pretty significant given he had steadfast refused to go into his house up until now. 

Spoiled pup.

Not my crate. No Blankies??? No thanks!

Well, he was pretty happy with it today!

Today has been a wonderful day, and I do hope that your Friday has been a good day too.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Late morning sun rise


The sun finally began to show its face around half past nine this morning.


The turkeys stood in the mist and watched.


A fog has settled all over the island, and the hatchlings are singing 'Five little pumpkins sitting on a fence.'

It feels appropriate, this fog.

There is a northern wind blowing in and we are supposed to get snow this weekend. Which means we have a lot of work to get done outside today.

And as such I will leave you with hatchling no4's quote for the day.

'Don't shower me! You wash away all my ideas!'


Wednesday

Worry does not empty tomorrow

Monday, 22 October 2012

Habits die hard


We must become the change we want to see

It takes roughly three weeks to break a habit, according to random google searches.

And now three weeks in, this habit is starting to feel a little more natural.

The habit of not shopping that is.

It is so easy and normal to just buy stuff.

When we moved from the city to the country, I lost the habit of just popping into the shop to pick up an item or two, and it was freeing.

Though, being completely truthful, I replaced it.

I started shopping online.

Anything and everything, on Amazon, right at my finger tips. So much cheaper than at Tescos too!

A good deal, I told myself.

Which is true to a point.

I am not actually anti stuff, I love my stuff.

And I have so many people to buy for.

People that I love to spoil, and show my affection for. My desire to full fill their needs, and often their wants, through purchasing.

That, I think, is part of the problem.

The, I love my stuff and the purchasing, part. Not the people.


The flip side is I want to spend my time and money intentionally, and I want to consume consciously.

I don't want a completely minimulist lifestyle. ( Paws off my holiday decorations... and craft supplies, and ....)

But I need to have a plan, and be the one in control.

A sort of budget of how much can my home hold?

How much do I really use, and need?

It is difficult to part with what you have. Perhaps, not acquiring it in the first place makes it all just a little bit simpler.

Maybe.

Either way, 21 22 days of not buying stuff, and I am pretty happy about that.

habits and excellence quote


Sunday, 21 October 2012

Bagels

We have been adjusting to a life without shopping, 

more to do with being a ferry ride from shops, than because of Stoptober,

if I'm honest.

Anyways, there are a few treats we miss, and bagels have been on the hatchling request list for a while.

So today, we tried our hands at making bagels.

So easy!

And honestly, much more chewy, nommy, and like the ones from the cafe on west fourth or in the UBC sub building, than the (coughs) Tesco's 'New York' bagels.

Anyways, just try making them.

Bagels

2 1/2 cups bread flour

1 tbs olive oil

1/2 tsp sugar

1 pkg dried yeast

pinch of salt

1. Mix everything but the flour together and then add to the flour. Kneed well, and let double in size.

2. Divid dough into 8. Roll into balls. And then poke your finger through and twirl to make Os.

3. Place a couple in boiling water and boil for 2 minutes. Then flip the bagels and boil for 2 more minutes.



4. Dip the bagels in topping if you so desire, and put in a preheated oven 375/200 for 30 - 35 minutes.


5. Leave to cool, and then enjoy!

Junk begets junk


Through the cupboards I go,

and as I take items out

I am determined

to put a few less back in.

I thought this would be hard.

But I have been surprised 

by just how many duplicates I have.

How is it that I have 3 or 4 of so many things?

Even if I keep two, I am still getting rid of 2...

And these breeding t-shirt collections. 

I gave away 48 t-shirts that belonged to Hatchling no3, in February!

How and why does she has over 30 t-shirts today?

Not exactly austerity over here.

Work changes are making me look deeper than this surface level stuff.

New opportunities present themselves 

and I am frustrated,

because I can not reach up and touch the stars

with my hands full.

Full of stuff,

often used and broken,

full of stuff,

no longer important.

I am seeing how I sometimes make decisions because of habits.

I thought I had made enough hard decisions this year. 

And yet I see I have often simply made the same choices over again.

I need to let go of my pre conceptions, 

and then maybe,

I can chase a few dreams that flutter past like butterflies on a breeze.

So, to the loft, you are my next physical hurdle to over come.

And to my many time wasting habits, I am focusing on you, and my self doubt.

Even if I never catch them, I would rather have tried, then to have sat and watched them go past.

20120926-133112.jpg



Saturday, 20 October 2012

Saturday morning


Look at that face! Is it any wonder he gets all the treats?


Down by the bay,


where the peedie 'neeps grow...

(I seriously heard someone sing that this week. I laughed so hard. Perhaps, I ought to get out more.)



And these, my very first attempt at making slippers.


This week we have been making all sorts of hand made gifts for December, and so I'll do a series of posts on these, so that if you feel so inclined you could do a few quick and frugal gifts for your loved ones.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

A chilly day

These are the hatchlings dressed in their self made witch hats,


all ready to go out and play


down by the sea


on this damp and


chilly day.


Sweeping the shore,


while a puppy hunts seafood


and snacks on a crab,


they stop and ponder


just how deep the water.



When wet through, this hatchling drove us home,


where they ate doughnut


after doughnut


and smiled.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Fast food gone mad

Bon app├ętit!

I'm not trying to knock the occasional meal out or what have you, but seriously some things are too easy to make at home and really shouldn't be needed on a mass market scale.
Who buys this stuff:
Pre - peeled banans?
Pre-Peeled, Re-Wrapped Bananas Sign of the Apocalypse


Seriously folks, lets take a little pride in preparing what we eat.
Having read on another blog about a return to food rationing, I started reading up on food market trends. There does seem to be a fair amount of evidence to suggest food has, as we are all well aware of, gone up drastically in price, and is set to continue for as long as we can predict. One paper suggested that this was inevitable due to a lack of knowledge in basic cooking skills. 
Apparently, we as a society have lost the ability to prepare simple home made meals on budget.
Now that is just rubbish!
Unless, of course, there is truth in market research, and in which case the proof is in the photo.
So, given it is autumn, go out and make home made soup, and put those opposable thumbs to good use - peel your own bananas!



Turkeys dine al fresco


Each morning we wake up, and the turkeys are waiting just in front of the kitchen window.


They watch us eat breakfast and wait for the hatchlings to come pour their extra porridge out, because turkeys are impatient. 

They watch, and gobble, which actually sound a lot more like a wobba wobba wobba churip churip.

 As they look all forlorn waiting for their breakfast.

It has been a busy weekend over here, which I'll post a bit more about later in the week.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Looks like Poo?

Do you ever get really excited to try a recipe out?

One you have been looking forward to for months, and you finally get all the ingredients together and 

then your children say,' Blurgh, looks like Poo!'

'Ginormous dinosaur poo! Hatchling no4 chimes in.

Talk about a mood killer, eh!


It isn't that bad... is it?

Maybe a little...


Anyways, should you be interested in attempting to make this look a lot better than I did, I can testify it was delicious...

Chocolate amaretti pud

200g amaretti biscuits

250g dark chocolate

400ml double cream

75ml brandy 
(I made two, the second I used caramel hot chocolate for hatchings - that was yummy too)

Cocoa to dust

1. Melt chocolate in a bowl and whisk in cream.

2. Pour a little chocolate mix into the bottom of a pudding basin.

3. Dip amaretti biscuits in brandy, and arrange them in a layer.

4. Cover biscuits with chocolate.

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until done. 

6. Put int he fridge over night.

7. Put pudding basin in hot water for 5 seconds before turning out onto a plate.

8. Dust with cocoa




Thursday, 11 October 2012

Why so impatient?

Pinned Image

Turn up the radio, and chill out a sec.

There is no need to practically mow down hatchlings to get ahead of the tractor.

Or new brain wave, leave a little earlier next time....

(I mean seriously, where the heck are you going that is so urgent on this peedie island?)

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Pumpkin is Good

Here is the thing: Pumpkin is good.

I know, particularly in this part of the world, pumpkin is looked upon as dubious.

But really just try it....

To get your love of pumpkin started, try this pumpkin cake.

Yes,  I did have help icing this cake. Why do you ask?


425g of cooked and cooled pumpkin

4 eggs

200g of butter salted

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsp bicarb of soda

2 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp each of nutmeg, ginger, and salt

Zest of a citrus fruit  and 1 tsp of its juice (Orange is meant to be used, but we used grapefruit this time, as it is what we had, and it was lovely.)

300g brown sugar

300g self raising flour

1 cup raisins/ sultans 
(What is the difference? Apparently a random google search tells me sultanas are made from seedless white grapes and are some how more plump, juicy, sweet, and generally special. Where raisins are just regular joe sort of grapes...Huh? Classist dried fruit...)


1. Mix the first 3 ingredients until creamy, and then beat in the rest.

2. This is a whopping great big recipe so you may want to split it into two pans, either make a layer cake, or give one to friend.

3. Place in pre heated 180/350 oven for about 40 minutes' ish... check for done'ness and all that jazz.

4. Top with cream cheese icing... so yummy, refuse to share spoon licking with hatchlings....

Just in case you you need it here is cream cheese frosting:



200g cream cheese

200g butter

1 tbs vanilla bean paste
1 cup icing sugar

Whip and spread.






Tuesday, 9 October 2012

When in doubt throw it out!


I have too much junk.

That seems to be my mantra these days. I don't know when I woke up, looked around me and thought holy moly where did all this stuff come from!

Maybe, I could blame the countryside. The wide open fields, the sea that meets the sky, so it really does look like the earth stretches out forever.

Inside though; is clutter here, clutter there, clutter clutter everywhere!

And I have come to an eery realisation, every object we own, we have to take care of.

Each object I spend my time on, is time I am not spending else where.

Well, I want to spend time caring for people, not stuff.

So, to reflect this I am going to throw out/ give away 100 items for 100 days.

That is my goal.

100 things.

Because then I will have 100 moments more to spend where they are most important.


Sunday, 7 October 2012

Gentle morning


The sky is so blue, and the sea is calm.


The fields have been cut and baled, and the year is winding down.

When we go for our morning walk there is this feeling that everything is in a state of acceptance. The best that could be done, was. Now, it is time to rest and wait for the next year to start again.

We have been dreaming about next spring, and browsing seed catalogues,  but the sunshine keeps bringing us outside.

Another gentle autumn, and we are enjoying every moment of it.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Little dude


Hatchling no5


likes to have his photo taken.


'No way,


you are not going to let them,


crash my photo shoot,


are you???'


'I am so out of here.'