Spring

Friday, 11 December 2009

Monday, 7 December 2009

Liam's 2nd Birthday Party

Liam's turning 2 on Tuesday so we threw a big party on Sunday to celebrate. We rented out the Mount Eagles Community Centre since the kids are so active an need a nice big space to run around in. We decorated with tons of balloons and an 'In the Night Garden' theme. Before everyone arrived...
The birthday boy arrives...
The birthday cake.... this sucker took me ages to make (all from scratch), but it looked really well on the day. I got loads of compliments from the parents and the kids all loved it!
And the cupcakes (again from scratch)...
We had Jo Jingles come by for entertainment. All the kids really enjoyed playing the games and singing along with the songs.
With Oliver (left) and Matthew (right). It's hard to get the kids to sit together for a picture!
Happy Birthday! Liam tries to blow out the candle.
The tons of presents for the birthday boy. Also shows my Friday night project - the party boxes. I spent almost 2 hours sticking foam stickers on each of the boxes, personalising with names and and fun treats for the kids.
Liam helping clean up after the big party...
Here's Liam opening up some of his presents. His rosy cheeks are an indication of how exhausted he was... he slept a full 14 hours!!
Thank you to all of his little friends for coming along and making his party so fun. A special thank you to Liam's Great Aunt Linda and Grandma for sending over so many presents... and so many gadgets for helping me create such a special day for Liam.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Halloween

Liam dressed up as a skeleton for Halloween. He wouldn't sit still for any face painting and there was no chance of him wearing a hat, but he still looked pretty cute.

Here's little Anya as a kitty enjoying a biscuit...Liam and Anya together- they are really cute together... future couple perhaps?

Our friends Ruth and Sean had a kids party at their house (some of the adults dressed up too). There was loads of food (Liam tried everything) and bobbing for apples. Liam got straight in there and splashed the water all around the kitchen. He was soaked.

Fireworks, for some reason, are traditional at Halloween in Northern Ireland. ?? So there were loads of fireworks going off and Liam got to try out a little sparkler (under supervision of course).
At the end of the night... he stayed up until 8:30- way past his normal bedtime. Still up pretty early the next morning though :(

GeoTrax

Yesterday we got the stickers out and totally covered ourselves with them. For Christmas last year we bought Liam a GeoTrax. He was a bit too young to enjoy it back then (plus there are a bunch of tiny pieces that would go straight in the mouth), but we thought he was ready for a go (plus Ollie wanted to try it out). I put it all together while Ollie made dinner (bit of role reversal there). Liam placing some of the people in the train.

Choo-choo!
He really enjoyed it and I'm sure we'll be playing it loads over the coming weeks (until new presents arrive for his birthday and Christmas!)

Food

Some pictures of my latest creations:

Cupcakes for our friend's halloween party


Cupcakes for Liam's Halloween party at daycare
Homemade Macaroni and Cheese- even Ollie and Liam loved it!
Low fat fish pie- this was super tasty, but I forgot to put in the salmon so it was a little light on the fish
Chicken and veg pie- I made a little error of cutting the sides of the pastry first which meant they shrinked away from the edges. But, according to Ollie, it still tasted great.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Food, food and more food

How bad am I at getting things on this blog? I have no excuses- our computer and broadband is fully functional, I've had loads of things going on, still taking pictures... just lazy I suppose. I have been rather busy, but not THAT busy.

Afraid this post will just be text - I don't have my camera at work with me today.

Ollie and I (well I) hosted a dinner party at the end of September. I went all out- house looked beautiful and spotless, I got a new dress and wore killer heals, my hair was done, nails done, makeup... I tried a bunch of new recipes and really challenged myself. Instead of starters, I did loads of posh canap├ęs: smoked salmon, creme fraiche and chives on wheaten crackers; parma ham wrapped puff pastry sticks; baked brie with apricot jam and wheaten crackers all with sparkling wine on arrival. Main course was Fillet of Pork stuffed with homemade sage and onion stuffing, pommes fondant (mashed potatoes baked with cream and breadcrumbs), roasted carrot and parsnips and homemade apple sauce (I had baked seabass). And I made my first ever apple pie with shortcrust pastry (I didn't realise how easy pastry is to make!) Wine was flowing and we had tasty baileys and irish coffees to end the night.

We all watch this programme Come Dine with Me where 4 or 5 strangers host dinner parties and they each rate each other (scale of 1 to 10) with the highest scorer winning £1,000. Anyway, we got a bunch of texts from our dinner guests (Colin, Maire, Thomas and Nuala) saying I would have scored a 10! Everything was pretty tasty and I was completely exhausted at the end of the night.

I decided, following the dinner, that I would try to make something new each week. So far I've made Chicken & Vegetable Pie (with homemade shortcrust pastry), Steak and Onion Pie (again with the pastry), meringues, low fat apple strudel muffins (these were so tasty), banana muffins (these were beautiful), homemade macaroni & cheese (sorry Kraft Mac & Cheese, but our relationship is officially over) and Vanilla Buttercream cupcakes with buttercream frosting. I can't believe I used to do the whole Betty Crocker 'out of a box' thing... such a cheat (and the proper homemade stuff is a million times tastier)!

I'm going to continue with my experiments and each week try out new recipes and maybe invent my own! Can't wait to bake Liam's birthday cake.

Watch this space for pictures of some of my creations!

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Sunny days...

We were blessed with beautiful weather this past weekend. It was our little taste of summer. That's one of the hardest things about living in Ireland- the weather. It has gotten worse in the 8 years I've lived here and shows no real sign of improving. May and June are generally nice, but July and August are always a washout.
So we put the housework on hold and ran out to enjoy the glorious sunshine. I had Liam in about 5 different outfits trying to get a few uses out of shorts he's only been able to wear once or twice. Here he is enjoying the sunshine out the front.

After Liam awoke from his nap we headed to Lady Dixon park. It's only a short drive from our house. Boy was it busy! We stayed in the playground for about 20 minutes because it was too hectic and there are so many lovely areas to explore. Here's Liam enjoying a 'poke'... wee cone with vanilla ice cream. He had more on his clothes than in his mouth.

Lady Dixon park is huge and known for its Rose Gardens. We explored some of the well maintained gardens and stopped for a picture here and there...There are big huge trees and lovely frog filled ponds. Couldn't resist a good photo opportunity high in the trees.Liam was all about walking everywhere. He wanted to walk up high and down low and sideways and upside down. Thankfully Daddy was on hand to escort... We were all officially exhausted at the end of the day and Liam slept until 8:30 on Sunday morning (good for me since I was on 'early shift').

On Sunday we pottered around the house getting floors and windows and clothes all cleaned. In the afternoon we headed over to Great Aunt Annies house for a run about her garden and to see our old cat Cleo. Liam was on form that day. Running around and exerting more of his independence. Did I mention his new favourite word is no? That and sausage. I forgot my camera so these are off the iphone. Looking super cute... Getting ready to mow the lawn...

He ran around the front and side and back gardens getting all tuckered out. He was doing loads of singing and dancing and eating and talking back. I made beef stew for the boys on Saturday night (for use on Sunday). Not exactly the most appropriate food for the warm weather, but whatever! He really enjoyed it, had a lovely bath and went right to bed. He certainly got a lot of activity this weekend!

So how's our boy doing? Next check up won't be until his second birthday, but my scales are pretty accurate and he's topping them at around 32/33lbs. He's really tall, but won't stand still for a measurement. If I had to guess, I'd say he was around 34" maybe 35". He's starting to get too big for his US size 6 shoes and the 2Ts are getting a bit short. He is constantly talking... except for the first few minutes when he meets someone new. His vocabulary continues to expand and he is able to repeat most words we say. Yesterday our friends Conor and Siobhan were over and he said Conor to me. He has started calling his classmates and minders at daycare by their names. He doesn't say Liam. When you ask him what his name is he says 'me'. Two word phrases are coming along... 'daddy gone,' 'all done,' 'bye bye, see ya' are favorites. No 'I love you' yet, but we have time for that. He has a great appetite and is still sleeping like a dream. The only issues we are having are with his daily tantrums and saying 'no' to everything. This doesn't provide too much hassle as with gentle persuasion or simply ignoring the screaming and thowing himself on the floor he tends to stop/ listen. He's getting the 'blue steal' look down for photos. I'll have to take one of us doing our 'looks'. He's just so cute and adorable. Everyday we continue to be amazed at how quickly he learns. We have to keep buying 3yr+ toys and puzzles because he figures everything out so quickly. I bought a huge roll of paper from Ikea (he'll be getting an easle for his birthday) and some crayons to busy him while I'm tidying the kitchen or cooking lunch. He loves scribbling away.... have some pictures on my camera that I'll put up soon.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

First Haircut

Liam had his first haircut on Saturday. It was getting so long and kept falling into his wee eyes. He was a good little boy flirting with all of the girls. We tried on the smock...
But he wasn't really having it. I had the juice box and 'In the Night Garden' books at the ready to help entertain him.
He started to get a little bothered after about 7 or 8 minutes, so I just asked Martina to leave the back. We'll maybe go back in a couple of weeks to get it trimmed a bit more. Thankfully we didn't cut off all of his curls and his hair has retained the waviness.
We went to little Patrick's christening on Sunday. Liam has been suffering with very sore teeth and spent most of the service being entertained outside by his daddy. He looked really cute and trendy in a new set of clothes I got him from Next.
Playing around with daddy...
He loved playing with the balloons all day.
Little Anya was in great form and as cute as ever...
I didn't get any nice photos of little Patrick or Oliver, but the day was lovely and so much fun for all of the kids!

Monday, 10 August 2009

Let's make some pizza

Some of my fondest memories as a child were when I would get to participate in making dinner or dessert. My mom would have fish or tacos or pancakes on the menu. My brother and I would gather in the kitchen and help mom make dinner. We'd each get to flour, egg and breadcrumb the fish. We'd get to create our own tacos with a variety of different ingredients. We were each official spoon and bowl lickers when it came to baking cakes and cookies. I loved this family time and think it's one of the reasons I enjoy cooking and baking so much.

Well tonight was my first interactive dinner night with Liam. I made some homemade pizza sauce at the weekend and Liam helped to assemble his mini pizzas. It wasn't a very adventurous pizza- simple Margarita, but we had a very fun time.

Getting the cheese on the mini pizzas...


'This bit of cheese looks a bit dirty mommy. We can't use it in the pizza. I'm gonna have to eat it!'
Let's give it a try...
Mmmmm... that's good pizza!
Maybe some homemade chicken or fish goujons next time...