Monday, 10 December 2012

Health Issues

What a month this has been!  Sorry it's been so long since I've blogged.

We've all been sick and had various health problems.  We are, hopefully, making some headway and taking control of things better.  We've had to make some fairly major dietary changes.

Little Lady and I are doing a gluten elimination   It means that we have to be gluten free for two weeks and then slowly try to re-introduce it into our diet.  My test for celiacs came back negative, but I had been gluten free by then, so I can't say it was entirely conclusive.  It also might be an allergy instead of actually damaging my intestines.  Little Lady is night and day different on this diet; and it makes me wonder if I shouldn't have my son tested as well, with all the things he suffers from.

I get the feeling that we are in this for the long haul... maybe I should see a dietician!  

Monday, 5 November 2012

The Eden Project and Cheddar Gorge

I know it's been a long time since I've posted!  Sorry!  It was 1/2 term week here, where the kids get a week off of school, and we took the opportunity to show some friends of ours from the US around England.

First we took them to Cheddar Gorge and to the Eden Project!

 In the Eden Project, they had a tent where it was setup for kids Halloween projects.  To begin with, they had to stick their hands into a hole and they didn't know what they were feeling on the other side (mushed pumpkin!)   Then they were able to make their own wands, get their faces painted, cook up a potion, listen to a story, and make a charm bracelet.  They also had an amazing pumpkin carver there showing her work!

The biomes themselves were ok.  They are amazing to think that they were made, and things grow; the power of greenhouses was awesome.  However, coming from Florida, I didn't feel like the atmosphere in them was all that great.  I was expecting the Amazon, but got Tampa.  It just made me homesick.  :)  If your from the UK, this is bound to be amazing; but if your from somewhere tropical, then it'll just feel like home.  

We were a little disappointed in the lack of hands on kids activities (other than the Halloween tent, and the ice skating rink) that there was for the kids to do.  While there were some interactive displays and signs telling us what things were, it wasn't as educational for the kids as I expected it to be.  We withheld judgement until after visiting the education center, and found that although the kids had a good time, it wasn't as education focused as I would have liked it to be.  I don't think they really LEARNED much.  

Lastly:  Food in the Eden Project.   The food was good, and there was a good selection of it.  However, if you have an allergy, beware, they are NOT equipped to handle it very well.  Nothing is labelled with ingredients, and they don't have other options if you have an egg allergy (it was a good thing we brought other food for our little guy with an egg allergy!)

We were greeted with a beautiful rainbow!  

 On the way down to the Eden Project, it was recommended to us that we stop at Cheddar Gorge.  We are SO glad we did!  There are AMAZING caves there!  And guess what?  Cheddar (the cheese) was invented there!  Way cool, huh?  They store it in the caves (hence the name) and it is so good!  They have shops in the little town where you can buy the cheese.  The cheese shop has been there since 1170!  We were very impressed!

All in all, we are glad we went, and it was a great 3 days out.  

On a side note:  We stayed at the China Fleet Country Club when we went down there.  It's about an hour drive from the Eden Project (30 miles), and it was the place that booked for us when I booked our Eden break through the Eden website.  I would not recommend this place.  It LOOKS amazing on their website.  But looks can be deceiving.  They weren't friendly, and they are like a wanna-be country club.  Sure, they are big enough, and have the ammenities for the name, but they skimp on everything.  Their large slide in the kids pool?  (A HUGE Attraction for our little ones) is only open for 10 minutes each 1/2 hour.  And then they shut it off and don't let the kids down it.  And if there aren't enough kids in the pool, they won't turn it on.  They require parents in the pool with kids under 8, and there are NO watching seats or anything to sit on.  You have to be IN the pool (we sat on the side).  No adults (like fathers?) who can just sit and watch their kids swim.  You have to bring your own towels (from your room) to the pool, they don't supply them. and the towels are skimpy, small and very thin.  If you try to get in (not knowing, and it wasn't told to us ) they call SECURITY on you!  (we know this first hand!)

Anyway...  We weren't very happy there, as nothing was disclosed to us beforehand (we showed up with 4 excited kids to the pool and they got 10 minutes of slide time, and that's it!) with no towels and disappointed fathers who couldn't go in to watch the kids play.  They had conflicting rules (one person said, yes we could eat our pizza delivery on premises, and then after we sat down and tried to feed the kids, we were told no, we had to go to our rooms.  

The rooms themselves were ok.  We stayed in a family room, which had a small kitchen, bathroom, living room (with a pull out couch bed ) and a couch, and a bedroom.  It took some figuring out how to connect the two single beds into something hubby and I could sleep on, and rearranging the small room was a pain.  There were spare towels and sheets and things to make up the beds for the kids, but we had to hunt for these things (no one explained it to us) and there was no bell hop to help with any luggage.  Also, we were not given a map to find out rooms, so we had to navigate in the cold with our tired kids through lots of buildings to figure it out.  

Friday, 2 November 2012

Plymouth UK

Two years ago we took the kids to the Plimoth Plantation and the Wampanog village.
We learned about the first settlers from Europe, where they came from, why they came,
how the First Thanksgiving was celebrated and we learned all about the Wampanog people who helped them to survive.  

This year, completing our Mayflower journey (backwards!) we visited the Plymouth on this side of the world.  Here is the plaque that sits in Plymouth UK in Devon.  

The kids didn't remember much of the Plimouth from the US side, we may have to do it again!  

The site where the original settlers embarked upon their epic journey!

Monday, 29 October 2012

MAD Museum - Stratford-upon-Avon

We stopped into Stratford Upon Avon to see Shakespeare's houses, and came across the MAD museum.
MAD stands for Mechanical Art and Design.  What a cool museum this was, and although it was small, it packed a punch.  Alot 30 to 60 minutes for this museum.  

Every exhibit had buttons for the kids to push to make the object move, make sound, or otherwise interact with.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Stratford Upon Avon

My Sister-In-Law came to visit us, and we decided to take her out.  She wanted to go to Stratford-Upon-Avon to see Shakespeare's birthplace, so we drove over there!  What a great day out it was.  Little Man wasn't to interested in the old houses, furniture or anything, but he did like the gift shops.  Little Lady, who happens to have a bit more experience with Shakespeare was a bit more interested, but I think she liked the period costumes the employees were wearing and their period speech the best.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Thanksgiving - Be the change board

I was inspired by a pinterest board that I saw on Thanksgiving.  It is a board with little envelopes that the family writes the things that they are thankful for on each day.  I love the look and feel of the board, and have had it stewing in my mind for a little while.   The only thing is, we always do a big thanksgiving tree each year (the kids paint the tree on paper and we hang it on the wall) and then we gather leaves from outside and write what we are thankful for on each leaf, each day, with a sharpie marker and stick it to the tree.

The kids are really excited about the tree, and have already been asking (It's not even Halloween yet!) to do it again.  So I don't think I can scrap that for something else.  So....  while I think I'm going to do paper leaves for the tree this year (last years one looked pretty badly shrivelled by the end of the month), I'm going to stick with it.

As for the Thanksgiving board, what if, in stead of using it to write down the things we are thankful for, we use it as inspiration to do or say good things?  

So, here's what I decided to do.  I've  made the board, as shown...

But inside, I'm going to have business cards that each have something on it for us to do that gives thanks, shows thanks, shows love or appreciation to others.
I made a publisher doc with 30 different  cards for us to do.
The idea is that we pull the days card at breakfast, and do that thing during the day.
We will talk about our efforts and what we did at dinner each night.

*Note - I'll arrange the cards so that things we do with family members or requiring extra time fall on the weekend days!  *

Here is a list of what my cards say...
1.  Tell an immediate family member how much they mean to me
2.  Call an aunt or uncle and say "Hi!"
3.  Write a letter or draw a picture and mail it to a cousin.
4.  Send an email to my parents telling them about my day
5.  Phone up a friend I haven't talked to in a while and ask them how they are doing.
6.  Talk to a new person in school or work.  I will make friends.
7.  Tell a good friend how much they mean to me.
8.  Be extra nice to my boss or my teacher.  I will find something nice to say to that person.
9.  Hug my mother.  If she's not near me, I will make sure that she knows I love her.
10.  Hug my father.  If he's not near me, I will make sure that he knows I love him.
11. Treat my pets with extra love and caring. 
 12. Help out around the house, maybe doing something that I don’t normally do.
 13.  Tell my sibling(s) something nice about themselves.
 14. Donate something to charity (used clothing or toys)
 15.  Research opportunities for volunteering in my area and sign up for something.
 16. Write a note to an immediate family member telling them all the things you love about them.
 17.  Play a board game with my family.
 18.  Read a book with my family.
 19.  Bake something with my family.
 20.  Have a movie night with my family. 
 21.  Do a random act of kindness
 22.  Write a secret thank you for being you type note to a friend.
 23.  Remain content and happy all day.   I will remember all that I am thankful for.
 24.  Draw, paint or create a picture for someone I love.
 25.  Write a story that includes the people that I love.
 26.  Bake something nice and bring it into work or school to share
 27.  Write the names of 10 friends and write down something good about each of them
 28.  Remember our loved ones that have passed on, and talk about things we loved about them.
 29.  Do something I love doing.  Share it with someone I love.
 30.  Choose a family member; do something one on one with that person.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Fairies and Angels

It's Autumn Photo shoot time again!  The kids and I took a walk in the woods with the dog, and the camera.
Here are a few of our photos that we took.

And look what we turned some of the photos into!

My beautiful fairy.......

My handsome Angel..............

Friday, 12 October 2012

Create, Live and Enjoy

The kids and I have started a new Blog, it's called Create, Live and Enjoy.

The object of the blog is for our friends, family and school mates to join us in our explorations of the world.  These are things that we do weekly in our house, and it would be nice to share these things with others!

So.. If you have free time and want to join us learn about Art, Cooking, Science and play with Lego, then head on over to Create, Live and Enjoy!

Pick your challenge (or why not try all of them?)  and send me a photo with the challenge only (no photos of people will be uploaded) .  Put the challenge name and number in the subject line please.

Lets see what we can Create!


Thursday, 11 October 2012

Rice, hamburger and steamed veggies

What started out as rice, hamburger and tomato soup ( a big staple from my past) ended up as something different, but equally as yummy. I realized after browning the hamburger and cooking the rice that I didn't have any tomato soup, so I decided to steam some veggies instead and mix the ingredients together in a bowl.

While it tasted fine, I was missing some cohesion... So I whipped up some beef gravy in my TM. I added just enough to the dish to get it wet and coat it, but not so much that it was dripping with sauce.

The end result was a surprisingly good dish, easy to make, and easy on the wallet.

To duplicate, you will need
1lb ground beef ( or 500 g beef mince)
1.5 cups cooked rice
3 packages steaming veggies ( peas, carrots, green beans, corn)

Brown the meat, season with season salt or salt; drain.
Cook rice
Steam the veggies to package directions.

Mix all ingredients together.
In a separate container, or a TM bowl, add hot water and beef bouillon or beef granules, and mix until gravy consistency. Slowly pour onto rice mixture and mix until coated but not soaked.

Serve while hot with crusty bread.