Friday, July 31, 2009

When we do the best we can...

I've been here in England a little over a month and I have to say that I'm feeling truly blessed. Sure, not everything has gone as smoothly as I would have liked it to, but at the end of the day my family is together and that's what counts!

As this quote by Albert Einstein really sums it up well...Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

After taking part in the key spouse training at RAF Alconbury, knowing and feeling very comfortable with the role I will play in this program- I'm ready, willing and able to help wherever I can. I hope and pray that other spouses will hear the calling to help out and do what they can in this fantastic program- be it an hour or more, every little bit helps! And here's a quote by Helen Keller that sums up my feeling on volunteering...When we do the best that we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.

Are you ready to be a positive spark in someone else's life? Are you ready to be a part of a miracle? The miracle you witness may be your own transformation into something more than you could ever imagine. Become a volunteer!

Ps- in my next life (that's life after the Air Force) I plan on becoming a motivational speaker;-)

Quote of the Day

Friendship makes prosperity more shining and lessens adversity by dividing and sharing it.
Cicero (106 BC - 43 BC), On Friendship, 44 B.C.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

a different point of view

I find it exceedingly humorous and sad at the same time when actors go on and on about their wages and life style and how they want privacy. Here we are in the military, many families are having hardships due to deployments, some having hardships due to being overseas like - having a family member back home sick with Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease, Alzheimer's (like my Dad), Heart Disease( I can go on and on with this) back in in the states and are unable to afford the airplane ticket home. I'd like to see these multi-millionaires set up relief funds to help out our military families. Heck, I'd like to see these same actors and actresses spend money on feeding the hungry and the homeless in the USA or where ever their Home Country is- the people that are really responsible for those actors being millionaires in the first place.

I find that I can't look away from the train wreck called "Jon & Kate plus 8". From the first time my husband and I watched this show we saw Jon for who he really is- a sneaky responsibility shirking worm. He's about himself and always has been. Look at his current actions and to me it's just plain obvious that Kate was dealing with his cheating ways for quite some time.

I suppose our observations are due to us seeing military families and how they interact after a long separation to seeing civilian families and how they interact in general. Military families (for the most part) are caring and loving and support one another through the thick and the thin. Military families cherish each moment together since they can be sent on a deployment at the drop of a hat and the part that makes you have a lump in your throat is that sometimes they don't come back from a deployment. And to be honest, I don't know of a single military husband that does not take time out to help his wife with the kids and household chores.

Just from watching the show and taking general observations from it, Jon was always shirking his responsibilities and was great at making his wife out to be "the bad guy-all of the time". Jon would come home and want to be "the FUN parent" while leaving Kate to be the parent who had to take care of enforcing the rules. I see this a lot in civilian families.
Taking care of 8 kids plus take care of a household, taking kids to various doctor appointments, cooking, cleaning, doing the laundry etc- I don't think there's a single woman out there that could have come off looking graceful and fresh after a day spent in the company of 8 very active children. Then top that off with a husband that's been cheating on me with pictures of his infidelity that's all over the news and printed in the tabloids, I think that Kate shows great self control, dignity and class.

At the end of the day, I'm happy and proud to be a military wife. I like the life I have, it's a good life. I feel that I've been blessed...through the good times and the depolyments, we military spouses stick together and support one another.

Quote of the Day

If there's anything unsettling to the stomach, it's watching actors on television talk about their personal lives.
- Marlon Brando

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Just another day in the neighborhood

As I'm having a cup of coffee it dawned on me...I'm no longer on vacation mode, how sad is that? No longer can I get by with saying "but I haven't got my British drivers license/driving permit yet" when my husband would ask me to pick up his dry cleaning or to go into town for some other errand. So here I am running here there and everywhere. I have a "to do" that keeps getting longer by the minute. I've got about a dozen phone calls to make, at least half as many places to stop by on base, plus the stops downtown.

Then there's the trip planning. My son's friends are coming for a visit and well since my boy is clueless about which sights to see I'm afraid it's all left up to me to take care of. My husbands full work load is leaving me with the kids during the weekdays and I hope that he can squeak in the weekend to spend with us as I want to take the kids to Stonehenge, Bath and London. It's going to be nonstop touring while these teenagers are here. None of that playing X-Box all day long crap going on while they're hear visiting. I think that we all had enough of THAT in South Dakota, LOL! We're now in England a place that is full of awesome historical sights, with all of these of great places to visit and sights to see why would anyone stay at home and want to play X-box? I mean really, why would they?

Quote of the Day

Vacation used to be a luxury, however, in today's world, it has become a necessity.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Doing my part

I'm finally feeling like I'm in my always makes me happy! Yesterday I made six of my mini 4 inch classic New York cheesecakes. I loved how it made the entire house smell, when you opened the front door a delicious aroma would waft out of the door :-)

Today is my marathon cooking day. I'll start off with Angel Food cake, then move on to my making of BBQ sauce and then cooking ribs. So where does all of this food go? It's off to church and then to the single men and women of the Air Force who live in the dorms at RAF Croughton. I like to think of myself as doing my part in helping to keep up morale. It's got to be tough being here alone, so we do what we can to create a family environment.

Now I'm off to get that Angel Food cake in the oven and then it's chopping onions time (and lots of them).

Interested in the recipe for the BBQ ribs? Check out My Cook Book Nook to see how I've changed a recipe and made it my own. And stay tuned for pictures over there...been taking pictures through the stages of cooking today which you know is a rare treat, LOL!

Quote of the Day

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.
-Harriet Van Horne

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Birthday Girl

It's official , our Hannah is 14 years old today! And if you're thinking that our son Andrew had his birthday last Monday yes, last Monday was our sons birthday....nothing quite like having your children's b-day 1 week apart. Little does everyone know but I could have delivered Hannah on Andrew's birthday- making it one big party day, but I decided to hold off as long as I possibly could until then my baby girl was born via c-section.

So for us, it's nothing but chocolate cake in the month of July!

Quote of the Day

There is nothing better than birthday cake. It's like a slice of concentrated love with buttercream frosting.
-Takayuki Ikkaku, Arisa Hosaka and Toshihiro Kawabata
, Animal Crossing: Wild World, 2005

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Stillness and Quiet

I love the stillness and quiet that the early morning brings. The air smells fresh and the only thing you hear are the birds chirping or in my case some doves cooing.

I'm up early as I awoke from a dream with the urgent feeling that I had forgotten to do something important (I hate it when that happens). As I look out the big window to the backyard I see my cat is having fun checking out "her" new territory aka the back yard. My kitty who has no front or back claws and is missing about a ¼ of her teeth- yeah she's out there patrolling her territory and is ferociously protecting her land-beware of cat! LOL!

I'm going to see if my husband is willing to take a trip to the Ikea store in Milton Keynes- I desperately need a filing cabinet for all of this paper work that's been building up around here and checking out some other items with my spouse and children in tow, believe it or not-it's a good thing.

OOh look at the time, if I want a hot shower I need to get in there now before the other wake up, LOL! If I don't get in there now it'll be like last Sunday- a cold shower :-o

Quote of the Day

Speak when you are angry--and you will make the best speech you'll ever regret.
- Laurence J. Peter

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Cinnabon and Dunkin Donuts Coffee

There are things to be thought of as special...those things are Cinnabon cinnamon rolls and Dunkin Donuts coffee. The BX and Commissary at RAF Lakenheath are awesome! I was able to get some much needed kitchen appliances-a hand mixer and an immersion blender with a ton of cool attachments the best part is that there's a food processor attachment that uses the motor to the immersion blend. Braun is the Kitchen-Aid of Europe and the UK! And the best part is that I can use these appliances and not worry about the motor burning up.

While away I had the opportunity to do some shopping- I finally bought a teapot. I wasn't able to find the ever elusive Brown Betty but I found something else that is also a wee bit on the elusive side-Charlotte Watson's pottery. See the Teapot- that's what I bought! The Henry Watson pottery company was established in 1800's- please go check out the link and read all about it as the history as it's amazing!

Now I can finally use that beautiful tea cosy that I bought at Blenheim Palace.

Quote of the Day

Never seem more learned than the people you are with. Wear your learning like a pocket watch and keep it hidden. Do not pull it out to count the hours, but give the time when you are asked.
-Lord Chesterfield (1694 - 1773)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I'm off....

I'll be away for a couple of days at a conference at another base here in England. Hopefully I'll come back with all sorts of great information on the key spouse program, the AFRC and other things that will help me to help others to make the best out of living here as American Civilians with spouses serving in the US military.

See you all in a couple of days!

Sheep Street

So our shopping trip to the Bicester outlet mall was a bust...Sheep Street shopping on the other hand, now that's where it's at! From butcher shops to bakeries. clothing stores, charity shops (thrift shops run by various charity organizations) and more! Tons of sales and realistic prices too! There are jewelery stores, grocery stores, pharmacies, and even a hallmark greeting card store (a bit of trivia here folks-Hallmark originated in England). Sporting goods, kids toys, dry cleaners, there's a candy shop a yarn and needlework shop (this place is especially cool), an alterations shop for those that need to hire the talents of a seamstress, an appliance store, florist shops,book store, Realtors, attorneys,dentists, eye doctor/optical shops...I'm telling you everything you need is right there! Oh and lets talk about restaurants- oh there are more types more than you can shake a stick at! And on Friday there's this wonderful outdoor market going on.

It was raining and at times it was really pouring down hard during our shopping trip. Did we let that ruin the trip for us us? Not in the least! We enjoyed every moment of our shopping experience! It was even better once I introduced Hannah to a bakery/tea shop. We dined on these delightful potato and cheese pasties which would melt in your mouth, they were delicious! Later on we went back and bought some pastries and we brought back a chocolate covered eclair for Andrew-he has no idea how close his sister and mother came to eating it, LOL! Oh the temptation!

There were loads of people shopping there while we were there but we didn't come across anyone being nasty or rude to any sales clerks. We saw loads of people in the shops, everyone was polite, greeted you when you entered the shop- even in the wet rain, it was a very pleasant shopping experience to say the least!

Between the Bicester Garden Center and the shops there and Sheep Street and the shops there- I'm quite content! Yup I'll let the tourists shop at the outlet stores and I'll stick to the places where the locals shop ;-)

Quote of the Day

There will be a time when loud-mouthed, incompetent people seem to be getting the best of you. When that happens, you only have to be patient and wait for them to self destruct. It never fails.
-Richard Rybolt

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

the rudeness of some shoppers

Hannah and I went to the outlet mall in Bicester and to tell you the honest truth we were rather disappointed. From the ultra packed parking lot to the rudeness of fellow shoppers and the outrageous prices at the shops. In my honest opinion there weren't any great deals to be had in any store, nothing anywhere tempted me, not even Starbucks. You know it's bad if I can't be tempted to buy my girl and myself a Mocha at Starbucks. So there we were saying to ourselves...This was a total waste of time.

We decided that we're going to stick to the regular malls and save the outlet shopping for the tourists and the rich folks. As we were walking past one of the two the Dolce and Gabbana outlet stores a pair of ladies were walking out of that shop, they were talking very loudly to one another and it was clearly obvious to me that it was with the soul intent that the sales staff working in the shop and anyone right outside of it could hear them. They were making the most awfully rude remarks about the merchandise carried in the shop. I looked at them thinking to myself...yeah uh huh as if the pair of you are fashion trend setters. Why some people have to be so darn mean is beyond me.

After that we went over to Tesco to get some groceries...we were in line behind this awful lady who just ripped into the grocery clerk because her package of raw chicken was leaking. Well maybe just maybe 1-she should have put it in a plastic bag so it wouldn't leak all over her other items and 2- maybe she should have picked up a different package of chicken since she knew it was leaking in the first place. The ignorance of some people is just amazes me. And to be honest, it makes me nuts when I see shoppers berating the sales clerks-like they are there for them to yell at. Come on! Show some respect for those working in the service industry. After that rude lady left and I stepped up I let the sales clerk know that she did nothing wrong and she need not apologize to me for that other shoppers rude behaviour. I saw a look of relief wash over this young ladies face.

How horrible to be at a job where people think that they have the right to yell at you-especially for things that are not your fault nor in your control.

Quote of the Day

It's not that some people have willpower and some don't. It's that some people are ready to change and others are not.
-James Gordon, M.D.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Happy Birthday Andrew

As insainly busy as my day has been I've not forgotten that today our son Andrew is offically 17 years old.
Happy Birthday Andrew!

busy busy busy

It looks as if I'll be going out of town for some sort of conference in a couple of days. I may be able to post but most likely I won't have the time. I love how this stuff pops up at the last minute just as I'm in the middle of something. Well I can arrange to have things done and ready but it's going to take a little bit of work. Please keep me in your prayers as I need all of the help that I can get in working my organizational magic!

do what you need to do

I bet that you're wondering where am I going with today's quote. You will never be able to make everyone happy, realize that some people will take offence at everything and some at nothing. No matter what though- be who you are, do what you need to do to get the job done and you're going to be fine.

I'm an organizer and have my own way of getting people together as a group to help out the cause. If some take offence to that then so be it. I'm here to encourage, motivate and give advice when asked and I'll even hold your hand when it gets really rough. I am not here to stroke anyone's ego or to kiss ass-I don't have the time nor patience for that sort of thing. Now with that said, I feel as if I can get on with the tasks at hand and get 'er done!

Quote of the Day

Never offend people with style when you can offend them with substance.
- Sam Brown

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Shopping at TK Maxx

TK Maxx is just like TJ Maxx in the U.S., yup they are the same thing owned by the same company. We went shopping in Oxford yesterday and as it so happened, there was a TK Maxx store. Hannah and I went to check it out, I made her try on a dozen shoes (she soon tired of that), then we ventured upstairs to housewares- oh yeah! I had hoped to find a tea put but no such luck, then I turned the corner and found something even better! Portmeirion pottery. And since we are in need of some plates, I bought some :-)

We're going to be having house guests in a few weeks and I wanted to have enough plates, I still need to get some bowls and more glassware, but I've got a little bit of time before our guests arrive to get that stuff. I even found a nice large serving bowl- I'm in heaven! The things one does when they are living in temporary quarters and having to use borrowed housewares. I bought some inexpensive stoneware when we went to RAF Lakenheath but alas it's a set of 4, now that we're having house guests (2) well 4 plates, 4 bowls and 4 glasses are just are not going to cut it! If ever there was an excuse to shop for dishes that was it :-)

Quote of the Day

Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway.
-John Wayne (1907 - 1979)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Market in Bicester

I had a blast with my new friend Carina today. She took me to the Friday market on Sheep Street which is the center of town- talk about FUN! She showed me about and I have to say that we are two peas in a pod! We're both quilters, love to do paper crafts, have a fondness for Clarks Shoes! Believe it or not, but we happened to have stumbled upon a 70% off sale on Clarks Shoes this morning...oh yeah baby, life is good! I meant to check out the farmers market with the fresh fruits and veggies...Carina and I did manage to look at some flowering plants but soon got distracted by hunger pains and had to stop in at a tea shop for lunch.

Lunch, all I can say is YUM! Of course all food served in the UK is hot and I mean HOT! S Also, it's not as bland as I've been told as some needs seasoning and some doesn't. But there's one thing that every meal I've had has in common- it's all served nuclear hot so it's best to let it cool down a bit before you even attempt to put your fork into it. I once burned a good sized spot on my tongue so badly that I couldn't taste anything for nearly 2 days. So and beverages here at seriously HOT!!! Pastries here are very YUMMY! I love buying treats in the various bakeries here in Bicester, everything I've bought has been really good...which reminds me that I should get out and walk around for some exercise once it stops raining.


I'm going to the friday market in Bicester with my friend Carina...bringing my camera, umbrella and my new rain jacket!

Quote of the Day

I'm kind of jealous of the life I'm supposedly leading.
-Zach Braff

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My latest shopping experience

Yesterday, in a nutshell was simply wonderful!

I was on the phone for a while with a girlfriend...getting the skinny on the area, airline deals and that sort of thing. OH am I ever going to love being able to travel out of the country for CHEAP! I want to get the spouses together for a trip someplace fun this fall :-)

Speaking of spouses...having lunch today with the leadership spouses. I look forward to getting to know all of the ladies and gentlemen who make up this small group. I want to get with them to see what interactive programs we have in place for the deployed spouses group. I want to see if any more needs to be added or if others have ideas on what else we can do for the families with a member that is currently deployed. Enough thinking out loud, note to self...bring notebook to meeting today so you can jot things down.

Went to the Bicester garden center, yes again. I went alone this time and I'm not afraid to admit that I'm seriously addicted to that place! Just walking around that place is so relaxing to me. And trust me, I walked around for over 2½ hours, just looking at things. I didn't go into the health foods store and that's one place I now regret not going into. I should have gone there instead of the shoe store, LOL! Read below about my shoe store experience.

Here's something that kind of peeved me (made me feel as if I was back in the US) I walked into the shoe store that is this shopping center, must have picked up and handled 20 or more different pairs of shoes and not one single sales person ever looked at me, approached me, or even bothered to greeted me with a simple "hello" or "can I help you with anything?". These women were so engrossed in their personal conversation (they were being rather catty about another employee) that they never bothered to greet me or the women who came into the store right after I did. I know that won't be going back in there again, I'll stick with shopping at the Clarks shoe stores- they know how to greet their customers and ask if they need help with something.

Now other than the shoe store that has poor customer relations, I was in 2 different clothing stores and was promptly greeted, one lady helped with an exchange that I had and was ever so pleasant to work with. Lots of great sales going on out here at this shopping center, and 99% of the shops (minus a shoe store) would love to have your business!

If you want a really great shopping experience go to the Laura Ashely store! You will see tons of great merchandise (most of which is on sale-what a bonus!), you will find very knowledgeable and helpful sales staff and an over all pleasant shopping atmosphere. Here's another bonus- it smells good in there too!

Now to get ready for the luncheon...I hope to have a fun time!

Quote of the Day

Each moment is a place you've never been.
-Mark Strand

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Insanity- it's inherited from your kids

If anyone was to come over this morning, they'd be in for the shock of their lives. My hair resembles the coiffure of a famous woman- Medusa, and we all know what that looks like, LOL! Don't ring my door bell because if I answer it you will see that I have scary hair this morning, LOL!

I had wondered what our narrow street would be like when moving trucks were parked on it...I got to see this up closer and personal yesterday and this morning. My neighbors directly across the street from us are moving and the truck is rather large, the street rather narrow and well it makes for an interesting driving situation to say the least. Looking out of the window in the living room all one can see if a big blue truck (by the way, trucks are called Lorries out here).

I'm relaxing a bit with some glorious Dunkin' Donuts coffee (2 mugs down more to follow) while searching on line for airline tickets for my sons 2 best friends. I promised Andrew that we would fly Drew and Tyler to London from Rapid City...then again I thought that our house would be sold by now too. But I'm not going to renig on bringing the boys out here for a vacation. I know that Andrew misses his friends and that they too miss him. I want to show the boys that life out here is pretty darn nice. I want to take them to my kids new school...they will fall over when they see it! I'll take them to various tourist type places around here- heaven knows that every place here has at least a 300 year history (If not more), LOL! I promised Tyler's mom Mary that her boy would bring back something really nice for her...time for me to go to Stoke-on-Trent and check out the pottery scene. You see, Tyler went to China last summer and while all of the other school kids brought back silk scarves and pearl earrings for their mom's, well Tyler being 100% teenage young man- brought his mom back - nothing. Needless to say she was rather hurt by his lack of thoughtfulness (how do I know? I'm a Mom and I just do that's how). So I have a redemy- I will have something nice here waiting for him to take back to his Mom, same goes for Drew. All Mom's like thoughtful gifts from their sons :-) Heck, I may even box it up and ship it to her. I say that a trip to the Laura Ashely store in in order!

Now for me to get on with my search for reasonable airline tickets for a couple of 17 year old teenage boys.

Quote of the Day

We secure our friends not by accepting favors but by doing them.
-Thucydides (471 BC - 400 BC), Peloponnesian War

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

another Tuesday

Didn't I just go grocery shopping? And here I am again buying food. One word- "teenagers", yup that about sums it up.I just got back from the base commissary and there are so things that I'll end up buying in town, but for now the commissary is supplying everything that we need. Although I could use a good butcher for those items that our commissary doesn't carry...any recommendations?

Quote of the Day

What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but, scattered along life's pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.
-Joseph Addison (1672 - 1719)

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Bicester Garden Center

My husband I and went to the Bicester garden center yesterday- oh my gosh I have found MY PLACE out here in Bicester! So there we were, both thinking- lawn and garden stuff, plants and so forth right? This place is a shopping mall and the garden center is the anchor store! J Oh yeah!!! I went into all of the shops up the left side and one store on the right hand side. I WILL be going back there very soon! The Laura Ashley store is to die for! One thing I've been looking for and can't believe that I didn’t send to myself is(of all things) an apron. Yes I wear aprons when I cook, I just love the things! Apron’s can be pretty as well as functional and I bought myself one from the Laura Ashley store. I've saved many an outfit from ruin because of my wearing an apron. Oh the other things I bought- curtain tiebacks. I can see myself shopping in there on a regular basis. Did I mention that the Laura Ashley store sells scrapbooking kits? OOh whee I liked those patterned papers, may have to go back and buy some :-)

There was a cooking store (pots, pans and other cool kitchen gadgets), a health food store, a craft and hobby store (for those wondering, I’d say that it’s a cross between a Michael's and a Hobby Lobby) just with 10 times the amount of security cameras watching you and the merchandise, LOL!!! The was a handbag store, but I elected NOT to go in there –as I said to myself…lead me not into temptation Lord, as I have other things I need to buy.

Now I can just kick myself for the deals on the camping and hiking equipment in the 2 different outdoors stores that are there in the shopping center. I could have saved us probably £75 to £100, no joke. I feel sick. But what’s done is done and there’s nothing much I can do about it now, and even though I didn’t know about this place, it doesn’t help to take away the sick feeling I have about it. I suppose that I can just chalk it up to experience right? UGH! What a hard lesson to learn. But now if anyone asks me where to shop, I can point them to the Garden Center. I may just decide to take my son there for lunch this week as there were 2 different restaurant type places in Wyvales (the Garden store). I think that I have found my new favorite place to be out here in Bicester...wondering where I am? Try the garden center in Bicester, I know that's where my husband will be looking when he notices I'm not at home, LOL!

Quote of the Day

Gardens and flowers have a way of bringing people together, drawing them from their homes.
-Clare Ansberry,
The Women of Troy Hill

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Waddesdon Manor

The tour of the inside of Waddesdon Manor was wonderful. The artwork, furnishings and rooms were lovely. I loved the display of China dinnerware on display (the sign of a true pottery/china collector). Now I was a bit bummed at the fact that we were not allowed to take pictures inside, but I do understand the reasons why we weren't allowed. I wish that there were pictures of the china collections and the rooms available for purchase in the gift shop (I would have definitely bought some).
There was so much to see and the weekday tours offer so much more than the weekend tours. Plus the fact that it was raining off and on, well this time we decided not to tour the grounds. We'll come back during the week to see more of the house and the aviary and other wonderful things.

To think that this was the "weekend" house to the Rothschild family- simply facinates me.

This pond is the first thing you will come across on the long pea gravel driveway before before tunring your head to set sight on the lawn going up to the great house. I love the Merpeople sculptures.

Is this not an amazing view? The walk up to this Grand home gave me a sense of awe and delight.

As we got closer, the details of the house become more obvious.

There are several of round garden spots which are located in the lawn area.

The extensive front lawn


My love of PG Tips tea started soon after I married my husband. You see, my mother-in-law is from Scotland and the ONLY tea she drank was PG tips. It was a nice tea, not bitter and well I soon started to prefer it to any other brand. fast forward nearly 19 years later and well here I am living in England. I was at a Tesco store (I liken it to be a cross between a super Walmart and Super Target) and I came across the biggest box of PG tips tea I've ever seen in my life...a 240 count box- WOW!!! I've only ever seen the tea come in an 80 count box. Now what was the price of this yummy tea you wonder- not as expensive as you might think. To be perfectly honest, the price difference between the 80 count and the 240 count box was (with the £ to $ conversion) was about 59¢ and the 240 count box the less expensive of the two. So, are you laughing yet or what? I know I was when I realized the price difference. My Mom will fall over when I send her a box of this tea- you see, I have got my mom hooked on the stuff and now that's the only tea she drinks :-D

Quote of the Day

You must be the change you want to see in the world.
-Mahatma Gandhi

Saturday, July 11, 2009

It's Saturday, apart from "sleeping in" and getting Hannah packed for her trip that leaves tomorrow (we thought that it leave on Monday-aren't we observant parents), we plan on touring an attraction in the local area.

Waddesdon Manor is on our list of places to see in the local area. I included a link to the place so you can check it out and see what it's about. Taking a clip from the introduction- Four generations of Rothschild family have shaped the house and gardens into the spectacular show piece that it is today. The pictures and description are drawing me in! I want us to tour this beautiful home and I can see that we need to get ourselves a membership for 4 to the National Trust!

Quote of the Day

Little by little, one travels far.
-J. R. R. Tolkien

Friday, July 10, 2009

With a little help from my friends

With the help of a couple of friends here in the UK I was able to find out I needed to buy for my daughter for her camping trip in Wales...and where I needed to shop for said items :-) So with regards to that, Thank You Tasha and Julia, I appreciate you both very much!

Hannah and I enjoyed "our time" together at the Castle Quay mall shopping for items for her camping trip. She even got a new handbag AND lunch out of our mother/daughter shopping experience. What did I get? Well besides the bill? Quality time spent with my daughter-priceless!

I even managed to get over to Tesco -that parking lot has to be the worst of any shopping center parking lot I've ever been to -it's worse than the Abilene Mall in Texas and trust me that one is really bad! But we got in there, I topped off my cell phone minutes, bought the biggest box of PG Tips tea I've EVER seen! I bought a 240 count box of PG Tips tea bags and doing the math on the exchange rate it's about 59¢ LESS than the 80 count box that I'd buy back in the states- no joke! I plan on sending my mom one of these enormous boxes of tea at Christmas time with a Brown Betty tea pot- won't that just surprise the heck out of her! Now to find the Brown Betty Tea Pots.

I was able to pop into a sewing shop while in Banbury,while they had some Janome sewing machines, none was what I was truly what I was hoping to find. I saw one that was interesting but it lacked a few features that I am needing/wanting - mainly the needle threader, the drop in bobbin, the automatic needle up/down and of course the ability to drop the feed dogs. I plan on checking out a couple more shops, one in Milton Keynes and another in Witney. I'm planning my trip on google maps UK and each place is a little over 20 miles away- in opposite directions of course, LOL! We shall see what I am able to find. I'm going to see if a girlfriend or two would like to come along with me on this journey as I'm sure we'll all laugh ourselves silly.

Yesterday was amazing as I was also able to pick up the curtains we had ordered. I can't believe that I was able to accomplish everything that I set out to do-wow! The Lord had sent some of his Angels to watch over me and Hannah, that's for sure!

I find myself blessed with new friends in this new place. I look forward to many more new adventures here in my new host country. Stay tuned as I get this memory card loaded and I will update this post with some pictures today...whilst doing many more loads of laundry, LOL!

Quote of the Day

Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.
-Mother Teresa

Thursday, July 09, 2009

today's new adventure...

Since I got to the base and back so well yesterday (10 miles each direction) I'm going to try a new destination...Castle Quay (pronounced key) in Banbury (it's a 15 or so mile trip one way). It's the mall that my husband took us to the first week we were here. Hannah and I am on a quest to get the rest of the stuff on the list of items that she needs for her trip to Wales. I'm also planning to pop in to a couple of different stores that are also in that general area...Tesco (need to top off my cell phone minutes/moola) and the place where we bought the curtains (need to see if the others are in yet). Nothing like getting into doing things on my own- darn work getting in the way of my husband taking me places.

I'm bringing my small camera along this time in case there's anything to take pictures of can never tell. Even Wilson the Travel Pig is coming along for this trip.He's not had his picture taken in quite some time and is very over due for a photo shoot, LOL!

Wish my lick on my journey and keep me in your prayers that I make it there and back with my nerves in tact and that we finds everything n Hannah's shopping list for her trip.

Quote of the Day

"The Internet is the world's largest library. It's just that all the books are on the floor."
-John Allen Paulos

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Driving in England and other things

I drove from Bicester to RAF Croughton and back with my daughter as my co-pilot. We had a blast! Our commissary is a small one BUT it carries just about everything that we usually bought when we lived State side. Granted I can see myself buying meat from the butcher shop in town and buying fresh fruits and veggies from the local farmers market and well, I'll have to buy my beloved PG Tips tea bags at a local grocery store because our Commissary doesn't carry it. Food shopping here is not bad at all.

About driving here in the UK...Once you master all of the different kinds of roads signs and figure out what they all mean, figure out the differences between the 4 different kinds of cross walks that are out here and know what you're doing with your turn signals on the rotarys...passing the driving test is a snap (yes, I'm being a tad sarcastic). The road signs are very different than the kinds we have state side. But seriously, get the handbook AND the DVD and practice, practice, practice! Take your time, plan your trips and you'll be fine...oh and having a GPS is highly recommended (even the locals use them).

We bought some of the things that Hannah will need on her trip to Wales next week. We'll have to go out again tomorrow morning and see what else we can find that's on the list. Who of my friends here in the UK knows what synthetic trousers are? I haven't a clue and I'm afraid of making myself out to look like an idiot by asking a clerk in a store.

Quote of the Day

Strong lives are motivated by dynamic purposes.
-Kenneth Hildebrand

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

what to do, what to do :-)

Here I am contemplating what I shall do today. Part of me really wants to go to Bicester Village and check it out and another part just wants to stay home and veg. AAAhhh, what to do, what to do...what a dilemma

Quote of the Day

The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind.
-William James (1842 - 1910)

Monday, July 06, 2009

Licensed to Drive

It's official, I'm now licensed to drive here in the UK. I only had to take the test twice...not bad when you consider all of the differences in driving here and the USA.

Quote of the Day

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
-Dr. Seuss

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Blenheim Palace

Since getting here we've done shopping and community service stuff but nothing truly "touristy" in any fashion. So today we toured Blenheim Palace- home to Winston Churchill. What a truly amazing place, the estate is huge, no one could possibly see everything in one day. We're planning on going back a few more times and why not...we've got passes that will last us a year!
I had no idea how large this estate is, and it's massive in scale! The Secret Garden and the Rose Garden were my favorites, simply breathtaking examples of gardening at it's finest!

Side view of onw of the "wings" of this gigantic home.
Here's the front view of the entry way into the Palace

a closer view of the entry area

Clock tower

and this is above the gateway to come into the immdiate grounds into Blenheim Palace

Quote of the Day

People are where they are because that is exactly where they really want to be-whether they will admit it or not.
-Earl Nightingale

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Independence Day

We're London bound today and before you ask, no it's not for anything touristy- it's to break our kitty out of the Kitty Jail! (aka the quarantine kennel). We've been missing our kitty ever so much since we arrived and we get to spring her from kitty jail today on (America's) Independence Day- which is an appropriate name for our cat's release day.

Time for some coffee, then off to get ready to head to London. The traffic shouldn't be too bad ( use that term lightly) as it is a Saturday.

Quote of the Day

I define joy as a sustained sense of well-being and internal peace - a connection to what matters.
-Oprah Winfrey (1954 - ), O Magazine

Friday, July 03, 2009

Shopping in England

Wow, what a Friday! I went with my husband to get his car a front end alignment and some shopping in a town named Kettering. I saw so many great and wonderful stores, seems that everyone is having a sale too!

First stop the Clarks Shoe Store...I was lucky in the fact that this store had those brown sandals and yes I bought them and I also bought myself a very smart looking pair of white loafers (talk about comfortable and CUTE). We went into an Antique store (believe it or not my husband took me into that store)- WOW! We plan on going back there (with the minivan), there were many beautiful items there and we both fell in love with an antique desk that was there in the store. The crystal chandeliers were amazing, and I'm not a crystal chandelier kind of girl but I tell ya what...I'm changing my opinion of them. The Estate jewelery pieces were unlike anything I've ever seen before. Unusual and beautiful are two words I'd use to describe the pieces that I saw. Oh yeah, we'll be going back there that's for sure!

We ate lunch at a charming little restaurant in Kettering, picked up my husbands car and went on to the place on our list of stops...

We stopped off at RAF Alconbury, went to their BX, got a few household items there and off to our next stop at RAF Lakenheath. I have to tell you right now that I was seriously bummed out that they no longer sell the Portmeirion pottery- that was the reason why I went with my husband, to add start my collection of this beautiful pottery. Now I was surprised to find that the BX at ARF Lakenheath sells Polish Pottery, I did manage to pick up a couple of serving bowls and a utensil crock since I won't be seeing my own Polish Pottery until sometime in October :-( I'm starting to have withdrawal issues from my kitchen items (I'm missing them terribly)

Now trust me, I'm not the only one shopping, my husband did his fair share too. We bought a DVD player (funny thing is that we only have 1 DVD at the moment- the rest we'll see in October with everything else in our house). The coolest purchase has to be the electric tea kettle. It heats up an entire liter of water in 2 minutes-oh yeah! No more having to boil water on the stove! Another great find was getting some replacement dishes for cheap (I'm tired of the ones we've borrowed from the AFRC).

All in all it was a great day spending one on one quality time with my husband. Now to spend some quality time with my family while we watch our 1 DVD on our new DVD player, LOL!

Quote of the Day

Never be bored, and you will never be boring.
-Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 - 1962)

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Life in England...

Is anything but boring. I'm keeping pretty busy and have had something going on every day this week. The rest of my week is full too...

Thursday-This afternoon is the 4th of July celebration at the base, then a little break in which my DH and I return home and get changed for dinner out this evening as we will be escorting a dignitary and his wife from one of our local communities.

Friday-Tomorrow has us going out for something or other for my husband's Corvette and he's lured me to go with him with the promise of some shopping while his car is being worked on (we leave at 7:30 am, it's quite far this place) Shopping! (I said with an exclamation), I'm in! After we pick up the car we will head off for RAF Lakenheath for some more shopping then home back to Bicester. It will be a full day away from the will they ever got one without us? LOL! With the freezer loaded with pockets and their computers hooked up to a wireless system...why would they ever leave their rooms? Heck they probably won't notice that we weren't here anyway.

Saturday- The entire family is headed to London to break our kitty out of pet quarantine! I wonder how mad she will be with us for her having to be in a quarantine kennel for so long.

Sunday- There's Church and then another trip to Banbury to pick up our curtains that are on order and maybe I'll get those cute sandals in Brown this time! I could have used brown sandals at least 4 times since I bought the Red ones last Sunday and I've been kicking myself ever since I passed on buying them! Note to self...when in doubt...BUY IT!!!

Quote of the Day

We are told that talent creates its own opportunities. But it sometimes seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents.
-Eric Hoffer

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


Our situation with Bee infestation is finally being addressed. I hate the fact that I'm so allergic to bees, my allergy to theirs stings has had me put a damper on many a family vacation/holiday when I was a child. We really do have a terrible situation here with bees and in the end they are being exterminated. I had hoped that a bee keeper would be called in and the little things could be harmlessly removed but alas that is not the case. So I am to stay inside today until they start to die off as the exterminator said "they will be quite angry for a while". I've never been afraid of bees, but I have to tell ya that hearing them buzzing around sounding so angry makes me a little nervous.

Welcome Day at Kingham Hill School

My new friend Alicia and her son Xander (short for Alexander) and myself with Andrew and Hannah went to Welcome Day at Kingham Hill School. It was only after we (Alica and myself) were there for an hour that we realized that Welcome Day was for the kids and NOT the parents. Unfortunately the school didn't make that very clear in the numerous e-mails or the phone calls I had received from them making sure we attend Welcome Day. Alicia and I were ale to amuse ourselves at a local Organic Garden Center for a few hours. This was VERY different than anything we have in the US that's for sure! They serve meals at the place PLUS all kinds of organic produce, meats and cheeses, there also sold pottery,cookware, clothing, bath soaps and lotions and more! This place even sold plants and chicken coops! We both enjoyed our time at the Garden Center- we better have because it sure was expensive as it cost us £40.48 for lunch (eek).

The kids had a great time and at the end of the long day they had all made friends of their same age group (thank you Lord for another blessing). I think that the kids will be able to make a good transition to thier new school. I took pictures while at Kingham Hill and that reminds me that I need to get the memory card out of the camera and plug it into the computer. I'm going to be able to make some great scrapbook pages with these pictures- that is once all of those supplies arrive in our household goods shipment this fall.

Quote of the Day

Since we cannot know all that there is to be known about anything, we ought to know a little about everything.
- Blaise Pascal

I feel this very way about things,lets pull out trivial pursuit and see who wins, heh heh heh