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Thursday, 20 December 2012

The Magic Stone of December

Today, I was taking some photos of food. That's because the website I've been writing for, Weekend Notes, has just started a new website, RecipeYum. I decided to make a fruit salad, because, well, do I need to explain? Yes?

Here's why:

1. It's healthy (this is Josie's reason, proffered as she read this post over my shoulder).
2. It's the perfect Christmas tea (Lori's reason).
3. It's colourful (another idea of Josie's).

I tell you what, let's forget my reason and go with theirs, shall we? They're ever so much more fun than mine, and a lot less lazy-sounding.

Anyway, I took my camera through to take a picture. A few minutes, I heard a call from Lori. She had made her own recipe from her dinner, and wanted me to take a photo. I wasn't expecting much. Lori's recent school report claimed that she was "particularly artistic". I scoffed slightly. At 5? How can they know this? Perhaps I should have listened to the teacher. I was expecting a rubbishy smiley face, drawn on with the tomato sauce. I got this:

She has even unrolled an individual leek to make a surround.

I went away to do a bit more on my salad and she had transformed it into this. It is "The Magic Stone of December".

I tell you, if +Andrew Law has ever doubted Lori's parenthood, he should stop right now. She is clearly a child of an obsessive, artistic Law, if ever I saw one.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

A Crafty Advent

One of my most popular articles on Weekend Notes has been one about advent calendars: 5 Unusual Advent Calendar Ideas, to be more precise.

Given I was suggesting all of these different ideas, I thought I'd better have a go at one myself. This was our first try:

Each present is created with a sponge, dipped in paint, and then finished with ribbons of different coloured paints. Unfortunately, on the first go, I only had a sort of murky, dark-green and so it's quite a muted calendar.

The idea is that every day you stick on a sticker in the middle of the present and write on a Christmas message or a Christmas wish.

Here's the second attempt. It's a bit more colourful, but we didn't leave all the room around the edges for the Christmas trees and other decorations. We're a few days behind, so we're going to have a lot of sticking and writing tomorrow on the last day of school.

Josie and Lori's requests are somewhat different. As the quality is poor, I've transcribed a few below:

Day 1: Dear Santa, I don't know what I want for Christmas, love Josie
Day 2: A toy cat, by Lori
Day 3: Quite simple, a present...please, by Josie
Day 4: I want a magic present please, by Lori
Day 5: Please! We wish you a Merry Christmas, by Josie
Day 6: I want a Barbie doll please, by Lori
Day 7: I hope you have a nice time! By Josie
Day 8: --Lori descends into completely undecipherable words. She assures me that "Santa will understand". You think, kid?--

There's a theme building. Lori makes demands, sometimes incomprehensible, of Santa, and Josie talks sweetly to him. I wonder which will yield results. I have a feeling Santa might not be bringing a Barbie doll. I don't think he approves of such unrealistic bodies on dolls made for children. Just a feeling, though.

I'm not sure that my aim to move away from constant consumerism as Christmas time was entirely successful, given Daughter No, 2's focus on presents, presents, presents.

Still, better than chocolate!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Lori Tells the Truth

Lori: Why did you want to marry, Daddy?
Me: Because I loved him.
Lori: No, but why did you want to do it when you just saw him?
Me: Because I fell in love with him.
Andrew: Because I am awesome.
Lori: No, it's because he looked nice.

Now you know!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Time some food

Last week I decided that I would write up a recipe for Weekend Notes. It's a particular favourite in our house, especially with Andrew, and I thought it would make a great article now that autumn is here and people's thought start to turn to hearty roast meals at the weekend.

Basically, it's a different way of preparing roast potatoes that doesn't have all the steps of parboiling, shaking to ruffle up the edges, heating up the fat and all that faff. Nor it it just buying a frozen packet from the supermarket.

No, this is something quite different involving garlic, vegetable stock, amd a little touch of whatever vegetable oil you have in the house.

I prepared my potatoes, took photos at various stages, started to write the article, took them out of the oven, and promptly forgot all about the article, heaped them onto the plate and had pretty much eaten them all before I remembered I was supposed to be taking a picture of the finished product.

What an idiot.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Lucky Unicorns

Josie has inherited my raffle luck. Or maybe it's just that I wrote her name on the ludicrous number of tickets that I bought. It's not luck, so much as sheer weight of Law tickets in the raffle bucket. Yesterday we won a unicorn and a head, shoulder, and neck massage. Woot woot! Three raffles, 5 prizes. Good going.

Josie also had other news for me:

Josie: I like Daddy better at somethings
Me: Like what?
Josie: Cuddles. He does picky-uppy cuddles, bouncy cuddles, slow cuddles, fast cuddles. But, Mummy, if the bed does break it won't be just our fault, because sometimes you give us bouncy cuddles too.

She also expressed her concern about a household appliance:

Josie: I have been observing the washing machine for some time, and it has been spinning slowly, then stopping and spinning the other way. Is it broken?

She also had an opinion on her sister:

Josie: Wow, look at your hair Lori, you look like a scraggle-bumpkin.
Lori: What is a scraggle-bumpkin?
Josie: You, Lori.

Basically, she is now a proper human with her own opinions, ideas, and worries. It feels like only yesterday she was freaking out because she thought the Pinky-Ponk would crash into a hedge.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

I win at life!

Further to delivering 28 pints of milk to school, by foot, in preparation for tomorrow's Christmas Cafe, I am now making my savoury contribution: filled rolls.

My thought process on discovering something unusual about the cheese:

My pack of pre-sliced cheddar cheese is supposed to have ten slices in it. It has eleven. I win at life! I need to make 12 rolls.  I need to open another packet. I saunter into 4th place in life. I'll count the second packet too. It also has 11 slices! Should I got to the shop and buy all the packs they have available? No, I probably don't need that much cheese. It wouldn't help me win at life.

Andrew's thought process:

Her pack of cheese has 11 slices in it? It is probably sold by weight, and so it needed the extra slice. She has exactly the same amount of cheese as she would have had anyway.

He didn't greet my suggestion to "go out and buy all the cheese" with much enthusiasm. I have since checked the packet. 250g. He is right. I do not win at life. Except I do, because I have amused myself for the past 20 minutes whilst undertaking the otherwise boring task of preparing rolls for other people and their children to eat.

I win at life again!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012


I continue my winning streak in raffles!

Last time it was a bottle of wine and a make-up lesson. This time it was a miniature bottle of whisky in a raffle down in the Risk team.

Clearly the "Gods of Raffle*" think I need more alcohol, and then some cover-up to hide the bags under my eyes.

Anyway, it was quite a strange coincidence. What was strange about it?

They were exactly the same numbers on both sets of tickets. Random chance for the win!

*I had to put the "Gods of Raffle" in inverted commas because Josie was reading over my shoulder and thought I should make it more obvious that I didn't actually believe in these "Gods".

Monday, 10 December 2012

A Flying Visit

I spent a lovely weekend in Forfar. Surprising, I know, to hear "Forfar" and "lovely" in the same sentence, but it was. From discovering Strawberry Bouvrage at a Farmers' Market to catching up with an old friend, and fellow Weekend Notes writer, over a delicious dinner (which you can expect to see on a Recipe article near you soon).

In fact, I will be very disappointed if I don't see that article, because it was so good that I feel compelled to plan it into my festive menu.

Josie and Granddad Cook watching the birds.

Talking of which, do you do festive menu planning?

Mine leaves much to be desired:

Christmas Day: Turkey and stuff to go with turkey. Essentials: no sugar cranberry sauce, bread sauce, my roast potato recipe Optional: Everything else - whatever falls into the shopping trolley

Boxing Day: Turkey pie with a cream sauce and puff pastry

Lori's Birthday: Chorizo stew

New Year's Day: Roast Ham

All the other days: chocolate, left-over cheese and biscuits and anything else we can find.

Last year Santa brought me a festive recipe book, and I feel that I should make some of the recipes rather than leaving everything to chance and whim. I'm going to start looking through it tonight, and planning recipes and shopping lists. It's either that or the ironing.

Thursday, 6 December 2012


It's really difficult to make a surprise anything when you can't remember the surprisee's preferences. It's even more difficult when you have a family who find it very difficult to keep secrets. I am not referring to the 5 and 8 year-old. I am referring to the me-year old.

It was Andrew's birthday today, and my ability to make a surprise breakfast in bed when he expected me to be at work was hampered by:

a). Me blurting out the night before that I had the day off
b). Trying to drop into conversation a question about whether he preferred smoked, or unsmoked bacon (also: should you use salted or unsalted butter in a hollandaise sauce?) without being completely obvious about it.

However, he still enjoyed the Eggs Benedict, even if it wasn't quite the surprise it should have been.

In other news, Josie and Lori had an preliminary audition at the Edinburgh Music School. It was successful, so they are moving on to a full audition in February. Josie was incredibly excited after the audition was finished. She had been a bit unsure about it all until she saw the grand piano she would get to play on, a Steinway. She muttered breathlessly,

"Is this where I would get to play? Oh Mummy, I could get used to this."

Thankfully, it looks like she will at least get a chance to get used to it. The next audition is in front of a bigger audience, but I'm hoping the worst of her nerves will be over. As for Lori, she sails on, blithely unaware of the hilarity that cascades from her mouth at any given moment. She was happy to get through, too.

What a lovely birthday present for Daddy.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Radio Silence

Apologies for the radio silence that has fallen over the blog recently.

It's been a hectic week. I had a lovely weekend: Hotel Missoni on Saturday night, two dances to perform in the Dancebase Christmas show, and then on to Vegas afterwards.

This week is also chock-full of family busies: Josie's concert for choir tonight, audtions for them both tomorrow, and then off to Muir of Lownie for the weekend (so Andrew can do some much-needed Christmas shopping).

The children (me) are desperately hoping for Muir of Lownie snow, so that we can do some sledging. I know just the hill to do it on.

Let's hope the weather cooperates. But not too much, we want to actually get to Muir of Lownie!