Friday, October 30, 2009

It's the little things....

That have me loving living here in England so much! I attended an indoctrination ceremony for the new honorary commanders at our base. These are local British folks who are outstanding members of their respective communities who have been nominated for these positions. It was WONDERFUL to read their biographies. It was even better getting to talk to them and engaging them in conversation. What charming and delightful people! I look forward to being in their company in the future.

Quote of the Day

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

git 'er done

It's the kids break from school and all I seem to have on my list is things to get done, ones that include them.

Flu Shots- if you haven;'t gotten yours you better get on it! With all the illnesses going on in the schools here, and how we've all had some sort of flu bug...well the flu shot is something to now cross off of my list!

Grocery Shopping- another thing done and checked off of my list of things to do! I got it out of the way- hooray!

Library- turned in my book

Post Office- picked up today's mail

AFRC- picked up my pie server

Bowling Alley- took the kids there for lunch

I also did a quick pop in at my husbands office to day hello then off we went to go home. Full day of hanging with my teens...UI deserved a nap and I dare say I took one!

Now for me to plan out what I'm going to take to Venice.Oh and now something to make you laugh...Ryan-air luggage restrictions...

Strictly one item of cabin baggage is permitted per passenger (excluding infants) weighing up to 10kg with maximum dimensions of 55cm x 40cm x 20cm (your handbag, briefcase, laptop, shop purchases, camera etc. must be carried in your 1 permitted piece of cabin baggage).

Quote of the Day

Creativity is a drug I cannot live without.
Cecil B. DeMille (1881 - 1959)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow...

Some days are just a blur. Yesterday was one long day...took the medical shuttle to and from Lakenheath. Hannah had her orthodontic appliance taken off and in a few weeks she'll a different orthodontic appliance put on in place of the old one. Poor kid!

Today I had coffee with my girlfriends in town, went shopping came home and did some domestic work. While talking with a girlfriend I realized that I had agreed to speak at a conference on the same day that I'm leaving for Venice. OOh bad move there, yeah I feel like a heal. I know that they were counting on me big time for it and I hate the fact that I had to back out but hey- it's VENICE need I say more?
I've not been out of the country since arriving here in June, I've been pretty darn patient waiting on the other house to be finished and well frankly I feel worthy of the trip. Meanwhile all of my friends here have been somewhere other than England over the summer. Heck even our daughter went to Wales. So Venice here i come!

Tomorrow- I'm going to get some groceries, get some research and more paperwork done, get flu shots for all of us and get a flier done up for the spouses group. I lead a full life...most of it's filled with paperwork, LOL!

Quote of the Day

What we see depends mainly on what we look for.
-Sir John Lubbock

Sunday, October 25, 2009

waiting to get crafty

I find it rather ironic how I've been waiting all these months to get into our permanent house, waiting to get back into full blown hardcore crafting and how there is a huge craft fair coming up here in soon. And wouldn't you know it, it's the same weekend I'm going to Venice. I really can't complain, I've been wanting to go on trips for such a long time and I can always buy crafting items on line when I need to. Not to mention, I'm going to Venice, LOL!

I'm finding a renewed desire to start teaching the art of card making. There are so many great stamp companies out there how can anyone limit their usage to just one? Autumn is my favorite season. I first fell in love with it when we lived in Maine. The colors of the fall foliage was remarkable! Here in England the trees do the same thing, turning brilliant shades of orange and red. But alas, the bulk of my crafting supplies are in storage. I'll have to content myself with making some Christmas cards for a handful of friends as I really won't have any time to truly dive into crafting until I get the house put together. But for now please check out my friend Kim's blog for some fresh ideas (her link on my blogs of note).

Quote of the Day

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

Saturday, October 24, 2009

preview of my calendar for next week

Here's what's on my planner for next week...

Monday- going to Lakenheath as Hannah has an orthodontic appointment I hope to make it over to the craft center and buy some fabric for a quilting project I've been planning for the last month and a half. I want to take a peek at what's in at the BX and a quick lunch from BK for Hannah.

Tuesday – I’m taking a car-less friend shopping in town. I want to introduce her to the antique store. It may or may not be her thing, but I do want to share it with her as I just LOVE that place!

Wednesday is free for now (which is amazing)

Thursday - I'm attending a luncheon at the base for all honorary commanders

Friday- another open day, I'm sure that I'm missing something. If not, then I'm headed for market day on Sheep Street!

Saturday- pick up commanders wife from the airport

Busy is as busy does

Am I busy these days? Oh that goes without saying, LOL! From going on a tour of our soon to be new to us house, going to meetings, talking to new comers to our base and organizing a dinner for 20 and ending the week with taking in a Musical in London, yes it's been a busy week!

My goals are to get as many people that I can touch involved in volunteering their time to worthy causes within our small military community here at RAF Croughton. My first goal- getting folks involved in Hearts Apart dinners...
All of us are far from home, many of which are away from "home" for the very first time. Many spouses are now going through deployments for the very first time, and on top of that they are in a foreign country. It's hard being away from family and close friends, I know because I've been there myself. But I hope that through encouragement and motivational programs that we help these families through these tough times. I genuinely care about these people and no one will be left behind.

Thursday -I put on my super woman cape (aka my apron) and cooked up a storm! I made dinner for at least 20 people (along with dessert) for the Hearts Apart dinner. My dear friend Alisha stepped up and helped out by taking care of all of the children coming to the event and made a kid friendly meal and dessert.

Friday - The first part was spent going to Sheep street looking for scarves and a new pair of black pumps (I knew that I would need a new pair after letting Hannah wear mine to school). Mission accomplished, the Clarks shoe store on Sheep street hasn't failed me yet! I found a super cute pair that was on the markdown rack (they always have great shoes on the markdown rack), I also found a black scarf that worked great with the outfit that I wore last night, plus a few more... all at great prices!
Oh side note on the shoes...they were super comfy, especially when you consider all of the walking I did last night in London.

My husband and I took in our first Musical theater production in London, we went to see "Wicked" and as they say in New was wicked good! I can tell that this is something that we will continue to do so as long as we're living here in England! We had dinner in a french restaurant in London and the food was delicious!

Today it's clean the house, write a couple of letters (the snail mail kind) catch up on laundry and later on...a nap.

Quote of the Day

You have got to discover you, what you do, and trust it.
-Barbara Streisand

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

One month and counting...

So here I am on the last month of my 5 month ordeal of waiting for our permanent quarters. Keep in mind that it will be a 7½ month wait on my husbands side of this "waiting" issue. I've got pictures, some of which make me scratch my head. Bathroom design was no ones priority here I can tell you that for sure! I've got pictures to go with this post but they will have to wait as I am literally running out the door.

Quote of the Day

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.
-Steve Jobs

Monday, October 19, 2009

a lovely place to visit...

Stratford-upon-Avon has to be my most favorite place to visit. It's got plently of parking and the town is simply charming to walk around in. The shopping and dining are great, so are the tourist attractions. It's the kind of place that feels like home- well to me anyway.

perfecting recipes

So I can't really create any cards or scrapbook layouts due to the fact that I have just about everything in storage for these past few months. BUT I can create with food and I've perfected my Chicken Cacciatore recipe (check it out on my cooking blog).

So I've started gathering things together for the cook book I've been writing off and on for the past couple of years. Of course it will have my own spin to it and I'm sharing some of my recipe exploits on my cooking blog...My Cookbook Nook.

Back in August my husband and I went out to a charming restaurant in a local village, Ever since then I've been trying to recreate and perfect the meal that my husband had ordered. It was a simple enough kind of dish but as you all know those so called "simple" dishes can be rather tricky. It all comes down to timing, how long to leave the steak to brown on each side is the cincher to this recipe! but first and foremost the steak must be at room temperature before you cook it! Now you're wondering why I'm not trying to recreate the dinner that I had...well I had Duck and I'm the only one in my family that would probably ever eat it, so why bother trying to cook something that I know the other 3 people in my family would not eat. Fillet Mignon, now that they WILL eat!

Alright, now for me to get with the program and get ready to go meat the contractors that are doing the remodeling on my soon to be new to me new home.

Quote of the Day

Play: Work that you enjoy doing for nothing.
- Evan Esar

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Quote of the Day

I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
Isaac Newton (1642 - 1727)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

My week...

I can't begin to tell you all of my week- it's been a rather trying week ay best. I'm sure that you could tell from my post yesterday. I like to see the good in people, but some make that rather difficult for me.

Our friends had their baby on Monday- a little girl. She's an Angel! A petite little 7 pound baby who they have yet to name. Funny story there as my friend is on the way to the hospital and is in labor her husband tells her that he hates the name they picked out. I think that he's lucky to be alive, LOL! Now my friend was released from the hospital only a few hours after giving birth-wow! Now I must admit that she looks fantastic for just having given birth.

Monday was also Columbus Day, our chldren went to school and my husband and I set off for Stratford-upon-Avon to do a little sight seeing. Which reinds me that I should take the memory card out of the camera and upload it. Stratford was lovely! We ate lunch at a lovely little place in town, the building we're sure was quite old and full of charm! We walked all over the place, taking pictures everywhere we went. we were even able to accomplish a bit of Christmas shopping!

Quote of the Day

To punish me for my contempt for authority, fate made me an authority myself.
-Albert Einstein

Friday, October 16, 2009

My life...or something like it

The twists and turns of my ordinary life...there are days and then there are days. My biggest desire is to have a positive effect on others, to leave a person or a place better than when I came across it.

Since arriving here in England a number of circumstances have occurred, none of which I can go into great detail about. But there have been people that I have had to deal with that are simply impossible beings. Some are British and some are American, neither are what I would call a good example of the kinds of people from either country-pompous, arrogant, self centered and simply full of themselves. I abhor the kind of people that think that it's alright to belittle others and especially those that act as if they are more important than anyone else, in all honesty, it disgusts me.

Quote of the Day

Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous.
-Albert Einstein

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What a BUSY week!

This week has really kept me on the go! From cultural events at the base to being the personal escort to the wing commanders wife,to driving my kids to school and Key Spouse training, lunches with friends and buying clothes to keep me warm yet fashionable.

Tuesday- I went to the home of a military spouse whose husband is gone on a 365 to Iraq. I heard that she's been ill and from the description it was the same crap cold that I had. I let her know that I would be there at a specified time and to have her crock pot ready! I brought all of the items I needed including spices and my own knife, kitchen towels and cutting board. I made the soup in front of the spouse and talked with her while putting it all together. I had even gone as far to bring a crusty loaf of rustic bread to go along with dinner and a bouquet of flowers to brighten her day. Some times all we need for someone to take the first step- especially when we don't know how to take it ourselves. I know that she was appreciative of what I did, I hope that I was able to make a difference in her day.

Wednesday- This was my run run run go go go day. It starts with my children missing the bus and my husband having to be at another base for the majority of the day, not to mention that I had things going on that it's perfect for my kids to miss the bus to school right? Kind of mandatory I think (God likes to see me flustered). It takes a hour to drive the 28 some odd miles to the school with all of those twisty turning roads here in England, and about 45 minutes back home-ugh! Then I have to get ready for the day's events...
It was Hispanic Cultural Day at our base and our key note speaker was our neighbor Jose (he did a great job). The wing commander and his wife came out for this event and we had a great turn out for the luncheon. Our little base club turned out another fantastic meal! After that I attended the commanders call with Mrs. C, then I took her to the Brackley Antique Cellar. I can honestly say that she enjoyed the place. All of the lovely items there were just that- lovely! That's where I found my latest little treasure a Cameo Brooch dating to the early 1900's (I'll tell you more about it later) and I bought Hannah the pendant that she had been long admiring.
After that it was back to the base and then home. It was a long day as I did not realize that I didn't get home until 4:30 pm-ugh! I felt as if I had gotten nothing done in my house and was too tired to care.

Thursday- Lunch with girlfriends before our 4 hour long Key Spouse training session. Again another long day away from home.

Friday- spent in the company of my friend Alisha. I wanted to go to Sheep Street because I wanted to get something that would go with this one purple skirt I own and to get a 2 piece suit. Well I found bargains galore in this shop PLUS I had a 20% off coupon for all I bought that is good! I found a 2 piece suit (blazer and skirt) plus some other really nice items that can mix and match. I came out of there feeling like a million bucks! Always bring a girlfriend with you when shopping for clothes, one that you know will give her "honest" opinion and in case you didn't know this...those are the best type of friends to have! After that we were off to have some lunch, do some grocery shopping at the base, then to the library and back home before the kids got home!
Hannah stayed late at school (until 9pm) for A girls house event. The house mom Mrs H. got the school minibus and drove the girls out to the base so we parents didn't have to drive the hour long trip to get to the kids and then back home. You bet that I made sure to thank her for doing that drive! I was back home a little after 10 pm with my tired but happy teenage girl.

Today- we plan on taking a trip to Stratford upon Avon to visit some of the Shakespeare homes.I hope that the fogs burns off before we leave for our trip.

Quote of the Day

One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.
Jane Austen (1775 - 1817), Emma

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Quote of the Day

“Make it a rule of life never to regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy, you can't build on it it's only good for wallowing in.”
- Katherine Mansfield

Monday, October 05, 2009

The Bazaar

Saturday we went to RAF Lakenheath for their big Bazaar. For years I've been hearing from my friends about how the overseas bases have these great "Bazaars" with all these great vendors out selling their wares. So I finally got to attend one of these "Bazaars" and this is what I found...

Pashmina Shawls- must have been at least a half dozen vendors selling these things. I bought a handful when we went on our last cruise. At the Bazaar there were ones in every color of the rainbow plus extra fancy ones! I admit it now, I bought 2 of the extra fancy Pashminas, the floral designs were amazing and the fact that they had a bit of gold and silver thread woven through them that gives them this iridescent shimmer...WOW!

Wine, Beer and Food- oh my! Yes there were vendors selling all sorts of food items. from imported cheeses, wines and beers, to dried pasta form Italy and chili fixin's from Texas. There was one booth that had a chocolate fountain and they were selling skewered fruits dipped in chocolate- oh that looked sooo tempting! But knowing me, I would have managed to find a way to get it all over myself.

Antique Furniture- several vendors there selling unique pieces, but dang were they expensive! The furniture looked great, but to be honest I could buy similar items from an antique shop for less.

Home is where the Air Force Sends You Signs- I've wanted one of these for years but never knew where to get them. The line around this booth was over a mile long. There was no way I was going to wait in that huge line...maybe I'll see them at another one of these Bazaars.

Jewelry- Lots of great Sterling Silver, and handmade jewelry items to be had here and all at great prices! From original handmade glass pendants to charms for charm bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and rings! Andrew has been wanting to buy his girlfriend Samantha (she lives in SD) a Claddagh ring. We've looked high and low, found one at an antique store but it was very expensive and way too big. So I was looking around at the items the various jewelery vendors had for sale and there they were Claddagh rings! I found one for Samantha's petite hand- Andrew was happy (of course that was only temporary). Hannah bought herself a ring and well in the end, I bought a Claddagh ring for myself- as you know, a girl can never have too many rings!

Rugs- there were some really nice looking imported rugs at affordable prices. But alas, we're still in temporary quarters and I have no idea what size rug I'd need to go under the table in for the breakfast area. So that will have to wait for another time.

Artwork- Loads of artwork to be had! From water colors to oil paintings and all kinds of wall art! There was something for everyone, there really was! From African Art to Indonesian Art to Americana Folk Art and French Country Art!

Knick Knacks/Brica Brac - There was tons and tons of this kind of stuff available everywhere! Again, it depends what you're into collecting. One of my most favorite things to collect is Matryoshka dolls, those nesting wooden dolls from Russia. And there was a vendor there selling them- yes I bought one. I kick myself for not getting a couple more to have on hand as Christmas presents. I'm wanting to go to the next Bazaar in hopes of finding the Matryoshka vendor there so I can get my niece one of them for Christmas. The Faberge Eggs were breathtakingly beautiful! These were exquisite masterpieces to behold!

British Bone China and Polish Pottery- Only one vendor had an all Polish Pottery booth, although there were a handful of booths that had Polish pottery pieces available for purchase along with many other kinds of items. I could not believe that there were so many different Polish Pottery designs, all of them beautiful! I fell head over heels in love with two pieces that have the hand painted Lavender design on them ( an over sized mug and a 9x12 rectangle serving dish). Talk about unique looking! When I first looked at them it made me think of Texas Bluebonnets, but once the shop owner started telling me about the unique pieces he had for sale and how he goes to Poland and has gotten to know some of the the various pottery company owners and their artists it really made me love this pottery even more! There are designs done for the English market, American market, there's even a line for the growing Canadian market and lets not forget of course the traditional Polish designs we all first fell in love with. I do not have dishes per say other than a couple of mugs and of course tea cups and saucers. I'm concentrating only on serving pieces and bake-ware. In my honest opinion, nothing cooks food so well as stoneware.

Now the bone China was nice, but there was nothing to grab my attention. I looked at it but thought that I could do better with buying this stuff at the local antique shops since the vendors wanted to sell me an entire tea service and not just one teacup and saucer.

Children's Toys and Collectible Toys- There were oodles of toy vendors at this event! From dealers in the collectible toy market to actual toys kids could play with, LOL! Again something for children of all ages! I suppose that you could put my Matryoshka dolls in either of these categories ;-)

Direct Marketing companies- There were independent sales consultants from Longaberger, Pampered Chef, Stampin Up, Discovery Toys, and a few more that I can't remember the names of at the moment.

There were a handful of vendors selling their handmade items- my favorite one being the booth manned by these 2 little old ladies that sold their hand knitted items. One of them was spinning and making her own wool yarn while the other was knitting away making an adorable child sized sweater! This was simply incredible in my book! They had so many beautiful items there and I fell in love with the little hand-knitted sheep- so much so that I bought myself a small herd. I plan to e-mail her and put in an order for 20 more of them so I can give them out at Christmas time as presents rt maybe I'll keep them for myself and tie little strings to them and hang them all over my Christmas tree, LOL!

So there it is, I'm sure that I didn't even cover half of the stuff that was there. The event was held in an aircraft hanger and the place was HUGE!

Be Ye all warned...

The TODDLER years were NOTHING as compared to the TEENAGE YEARS!!! The terrible twos and trying three's, those were a piece of cake as compared to what you will go through with your kids when they are in their teens!!!

Our son does not want to be here, he argues with me near daily about leaving here. Telling me how it's a waste to time to have to ride a bus a hour each way, how school here is a waste of time and so forth. Meanwhile I know that my children are getting a top notch education at this school- much better than what they could have received in South Dakota.

I tell you, this child of mine is stubborn and believe me when I say that we are not about to give in to him and send him back to South Dakota (although at times were are tempted). Unlike the laws here in the UK, in America we are responsible for our children until they turn 18 tears old and they are required to be in school until the age of 18. I could not for the life of me see him being "done" with school at the age of 16, not at all!!! Now I do see in his future that he would be great in politics because he can argue his point like the best of them!

Now for Hannah it's "other" stuff...I see this girl going on to get her PhD in either Mathematics,Physics or Engineering...but she'll drive me crazy with her perfectionism in the process. And lets not forget about teenage girl hair issues...dear Lord what I go through in the morning around here, ugh! I thank the Lord daily for those school uniforms here in the UK, because we've knocked out "I have nothing to wear" go around in the morning before to work some more on the "hair issues".

I'm, not complaining, I do lead a full and interesting life, just not one that I thought that I would have had over 20 years ago. Truly, If it wasn't for my kids and husband I would have had earned my PhD in Archeology/Forensic Anthropology, my ultimate goal was to be involved in a great dig and to be a museum curator. It would have been a deeply rewarding career but a lonely one at the same time. Instead, the Lord chose a different path for me to take and I went on to develop my talents in designing things such as window treatments, counted cross stitching patterns, scrapbooking layouts, greeting cards, tote bags and garden landscaping. There's my gourmet cookery (I love cooking) that I use to make meals for our young Airmen who live in the dorms on base, the Hearts Apart monthly dinners for the spouses and families of our deployed service members, there's all of that training that I took so I could counsel the spouses of our deployed military members, and lets not forget my talents at interior design because of all of those moves me do with my husbands military career. Over the years I have taken classes to enrich MY life and now it's time for me to share what I have learned with others.

Quote of the Day

Complaining is good for you as long as you're not complaining to the person you're complaining about.
-Lynn Johnston

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Sheep Street

I have to say that I had an awesome time shopping with my girlfriends. The vendor with the Indian clothing booth was phenomenal! Many oooh's and aaahh's with the Pashmina shawls they had on display- they were available in a rainbow of colors! This gentleman and his wife were so wonderful and so obliging, we (each of us) bought 3 Pashmina Shawls- it was hard to choose which ones to buy as they were all equally lovely!

Edinburgh Woollen Mills- I've passed by this store so many times, why I never stopped in until now is beyond me. I bought myself a new jacket- this pink jacket you see here :-) Believe it or not, it's machine washable! Isn't it adorable?!!! I also bought a button front cardigan

And here's my new cardigan-cute city! The feel of these items was remarkable and the prices- not bad at all! I think ladies...I have found "my clothing store" in the UK :-) The styles they are carry are sooooo me, the staff was helpful and friendly, even the customers were nice! I look forward to my next shopping experience in that shop!

Quote of the Day

Most people would succeed in small things if they were not troubled with small ambitions.
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Friday, October 02, 2009

Friday Market- Bicester

I'm meeting some friends for coffee on Sheep Street in Bicester. While there we will peruse Sheep Streets friday Market! I'm bringing my camera for extra fun!

Quote of the Day

A little knowledge is dangerous. So is a lot.
-Albert Einstein

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Happy October!

Wow, I dare say that September went by rather quickly! Before you know it, the kids will be on school break- at least the ones attending Kingham Hill School here in the UK will. I do hope and pray that time goes quickly this month and I'm getting a bit itchy to move out of this house.

Being organized in a temporary house with little storage for said organizing materials is challenging. I dislike the fact that even after being here for 3 months, that our house looks like cardboard city. I've not had very many people actually "in" our house because of the packing boxes that are in every room. The small type room that we used as a guest room is packed wall to wall with cardboard boxes (some empty, some not). I can't stand the fact that the kitchen is so small and awkward that I have to keep my plastic storage containers in said cardboard boxes because there is not room to store them- again because of limited storage space. The refrigerator is so small that I HAVE to go grocery shopping twice a week- that frustrates me to no end! But on the lighter side...only 50 more days to go in said "temporary" house, that is if there aren't any more set backs.

Quote of the Day

"A healthy human environment is one in which we try to make sense of our limits, of the accidents that can always befall us and the passage of time which inexorably changes us."

-Rowan Williams