Saturday, 25 April 2009


When you look at for the pronunciation of praline, it says "prah-leen" first. Since I grew up in Louisiana, and have eaten my fair share of the sugary confection, I've always known the correct way to say it! Or at least I thought I did.

I can recall many times in Texas my friends saying, "pray-leen" or "pe-CAN", and we all laughed in jest at the differences in pronunciation.

My friend Luisa is having a Mardi Gras Themed 40th next weekend and I offered to help with the food. I'm having fun sourcing things from my good friends at Lupe Pintos Deli and thinking about recipes to prepare. Of course one of the first things I thought of was "prah-leens". It's easy to find sugar, butter, cream and pecans (yes, Costco has huge bags of them!). So I made a batch last weekend and it came up in conversation at a dinner party Saturday night.

You can see where this is going!

Another good friend of mine, loves her opinion. She's never afraid to speak her mind. And I love that about her. Except when she tried to correct me on the pronunciation of pralines. People, you'd have thought they were my life blood because I was telling her all about it! I'm sure the wine had a little to do with it.

I did check myself on Sunday morning. Just to be sure. And I looked on Wikipedia about the origin of the delicious said candy. They may have come from France with chocolate and almonds in them, but when they made it to Louisiana, they became what we know as PRALINEs, or PRAHLEENs.

Since moving to Scotland, we have learned the British pronunciation for many English words we have been using all of our lives. And since I live in Great Britain, I try to use those pronunciations while here. You know, tomato, tomaaato, either, eIther, and so on. When in Rome....

But when we are going to a Mardi Gras party, eating Louisiana pralines, I'm gonna call them by their name. So I'm just letting the good folks in Louisiana know that I'm spreading the word about our good friend the PRAHLEEN.

Just wait until they try the GUMBO!

Monday, 20 April 2009

Ski Camp

I can not remember whether I have blogged about the skiing here in Scotland. We have not tried the "real" skiing in the mountains of Scotland but most say that it's wet, windy, icy and not that great. We still want to go. Because on the good days, with plenty of snow, it's not too far and would be a great day out! We've never lived within driving distance of a ski mountain before.

So to train for this skiing (or for your fabulous European ski breaks), there are a few dry ski slopes in the area. And an indoor ski slope like the one in Dubai. Ethan tried a ski camp this past week at the dry slope and had a ball. It was hard for me to imagine, a dry ski slope.
Basically, it's a small hill, a tow rope and some wet astro-turf! Ethan said it's slower than real snow skiing but that it was still fun. The slope he went to had 2 hills. One for downhill and lessons and another for jumping. Ethan spent the majority of his time on the jump hill. I'm sorry I did not take my camera earlier in the week because I only took pictures of him goofing off on the downhill slope! Anyway, you can get the idea.

And guess what, when the skiers are not on the jump course, the tubes are. The boys had a chance to tube on Friday and what a laugh! They were all screaming in delight! My friends have done nights out tubing here in the past. I am definitely in for that!

Angus Vs. the Woolly Mammoth

We interrupt this program to warn you about the behaviour of one mental kitty!

I think our stuffed animals torment Angus when we are away. Because when we are home, especially in the evenings, Angus gets his revenge. He's really aggressive to a tiny monkey and this poor Woolly Mammoth.

"I've got him now..."

"Just wait until I have my way with him..."

"I think that last bite did the trick!"


Easter weekend was so relaxing this year. We attended church a few times, BBQed, went to Wagamama, decorated and hid eggs, played outside, watched some movies and read a few books.

The weather was spectacular and Scott had off Friday and Monday so we just had a swell time! Hope you did too!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Merry Time in Maryland

The boys and I have just returned from Hagerstown, Maryland. We made a quick trip to see Baby Florie, Stella, Todd and Amy. We couldn't wait until Christmas to meet Florie and as we all know, little babies are only little once!

The weather was beautiful the entire time we were there and so we stayed outside as much as possible. Todd and Amy have this great long driveway and the boys made good use of it on every ride-on toy available.

My brother Todd is a teacher and the Chaplain at a boarding school in Maryland. He and his family live on campus. Their school was not on holiday during our visit so we were able to see many parts of their day to day routine that we'd never seen before. We attended Palm Sunday service in the St. James Chapel with Todd celebrating. We ate 2 times at the refectory. We watched the tail end of a Lacrosse match. And we were able to meet many of their friends and colleagues.

We loved each part of our trip. We were there 4 nights and while it may seem like a long way to go for such a short period of time, let me tell you why. Try to imagine my family and Todd's family mixing together. We LOVE one another, don't get me wrong. We have 3 boys, spaced 3 years apart and they have one almost 7 year old girl and one 4-month old girl. Their house is quieter, cleaner, slower, better smelling, calmer and really just plain opposite from ours. And Stella and Christopher, they are like oil and water. Love and hate. Sibling rivalry even though they are not siblings. So 4 nights is just right. We left wanting more time together and everyone had fond memories of the visit. At least that was what my family said. You'd have to check with Todd to get their side of the story.

Within 10 minutes of arriving, we'd let their indoor cat out, tied a rope around a bicycle and another ride-on toy to practice our doughnuts, changed an explosive poopy diaper, and given Uncle Todd a heart attack by stopping inches from the street on the said ride-on toys. For me this chaos is normal. For Todd, it makes his heart race and just provides him with endless sermon material.

Stella and Christopher got along famously this visit and each of the boys loved holding Baby Florie. Christopher had a particular fondness for her. He sneak away inside to check on her and to ask Amy questions about her. Or maybe get a chance to hold her while no one else was close by. I enjoyed sitting outside with Amy, watching my crazy children play in the sunshine with Stella, catching up with Todd, holding baby Florie, and just being together.

The children played for hours in the corn field behind their house. They collected corn, shucked the corn, attempted to make bird feeders out of the corn and they set up a picnic in the corn field. They even "washed" their hair in the bucket of kernels.

One afternoon, we headed to a dairy farm close by for a chance to feed the calves their bottles. What a treat. One of the calves was 1 week old! I've never seen a creature drink its mama's milk that fast!

One the way home, the boys and I stopped by the Hershey Chocolate factory for a quick tour and a few yummy souvenirs. It was a fabulous trip! We miss them already and look forward to seeing the FitzGeralds at Christmas!

*Sorry for the overexposed pics. I was having a few camera troubles.

Child Protection Laws

Many things here in Scotland are a little more worldly, relaxed, or just managed differently than in the conservative south. My boys seem to have learned way more than I am confortable with. But when they do have laws of protection, they mean business. On thing they take very seriously in the UK is Child Protection. And one part of the Child Protection Law involves photographs. And your right to take them of other people's children.

My dad was asked a few times during his last visit not to take pictures of the children at their practices. You see, if every parent has not signed a release for their children to be photographed during school or sport functions, then they are not allowed to be photographed as a group. Even if 79 have, if one hasn't, we can't take a picture.

The week before the holidays, Ethan participated in the school theatre production of Bugsy Malone. Each Tuesday, during the last 2 periods of school, the P5, P6, and P7 children take part in a chosen club activity. This year, Ethan chose theatre. He had so much fun preparing for the production and playing his part as one of the gangsters. We loved watching him perform and only wish we had pictures of him in costume and on stage.

Shhhhhhh...don't tell but I did sneak a few shots during the performance. Just not very good ones. Any pictures I've had of the previous Christmas shows and other school events just slipped by and for some reason, it's okay to take pics during the games but not practice.

Here's Bronx Charlie.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009


The Scots love to talk about the weather. It's pretty funny because for the most part, it's always the same. Cold, wet and gray. But for the past month, while we've been enjoying our new digs, we've also been enjoying unusually beautiful, dry weather in Glasgow. It's like spring in Texas except maybe a little cooler. And when the weather is good here, everyone is out enjoying it!

We've had lots of sunshine, loads of dry days, and lighter evenings with the time change. So I am going to share the blame with the weather for the reason that I've not been inside on the computer! We have been outside as much as possible. These are a few of the things we do when we are outside:

Racing down the hill on skateboards, bikes, and sleds on top of skateboards (this just about gave Mims a heart attack!)

We also like to set up obstacles and ramp over them in the backyard!
And give the boys a wheelbarrow and they'll turn it into a ride as well!
Hours of entertainment.
Life is GOOD!

Tuesday, 14 April 2009


Scott and I consider it a blessing that we both have parents who are still happily married. We were each raised by parents who love each other deeply and after 34 years, their relationships continue to grow. They've each raised 3 children (who all turned out pretty normal) and are now enjoying their many grandchildren.

When you become a parent, and face the challenges that parenthood presents; it's a privilege to have parents and siblings (who are also parents) to turn to for advice, reassurance, help, friendhship, love, and laughter!

And even a for a little DIY (Do It Yourself) project/projects. My parents (aka...Mims and Gramps) offered to come and help us unpack and settle into our new home. They kept saying, "we'll only come if you promise to save us something to do." I kept reiterating that I would!

Poor Mims and Gramps. They did not know what they'd gotten themselves into. It just so happens that Scott ended up in Asia the same week they were here. So not only did I have many little projects for us to do during the day while the boys were at school, but they were subjected to the madness of homework, after school activities, dinner, bath and bedtime routines and we were one parent down! My poor parents were taking Aleve every night and waking to little boys in their bed every morning!

Mims and Gramps hung pictures, changed light bulbs, power-washed the deck, power-washed the patio furniture, stained the deck, stained the patio furniture, unpacked boxes, took loads to the dump, polished all of the silver, went to the hardware store, went back to the hardware store, took more stuff to the dump, weeded the flower beds, played with the boys, cooked dinner, went to all of the sports practices and much more! The evenings have never been so organized at our house with their extra help. We could use 2 loving grandparents around here full time! Any volunteers? We promise not to move again.

Scott made it home for the weekend and was able to spend a little time with them. He kept giving me a hard time because my dad was limping and mom was so tired! Sorry Mims and Gramps. I really didn't mean any harm! We loved having you here to work, visit and play! Thanks again, love, Gwen, Scott and the boys

Mims, are you having fun? You face says not so much.

Oh, that's better. Now you are enjoying this! I'll stop taking pictures.

The biggest helper!