Sunday, 6 December 2009

Visit to Northumberland

  We recently had a weekend getaway, and went to Northumberland. Trust me, with two children in the car, this was no easy feat!! But they are great travellers, and we managed well.
  We stayed here:

A beautiful hotel surrounded by countryside.

  We went out and explored some of the area, where we visited some ancient Roman sites. The weather wasn't great, and we got drizzled on a bit, but all in all, it was a wonderful trip.

  These are the remains of a Roman village. I really think it's cool that you can walk all through it.

  I really love history. In a museum display, we learned that Romans used keyrings. That might not sound like such a big deal, but! Look at the picture below, and you will get a whole new meaning of 'keyring'!
  I enlarged the picture, so that the comment card could be visible enough to read. Isn't that cool.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Mmmmmmm mmmmm good!

Well, I made this today.

It was another experiment, that turned out exceptional!! Garlic pizza bread.
Made from scratch. Ok, I cheated a bit, I let the bread machine do the kneading. However, when I removed it, I covered it, let it rise, punched it down, let it rise again, punched it down again, did that about three times. Then I rolled it out, brushed it with melted butter, and sprinkled it with garlic salt. Smothered it with shredded cheddar and mozzarella, sprinkled some dried parsley flakes on it, and let it bake. The dough was rolled out very thin, so it was a bit crunchy, and gooey at the same time. Total deliciousishness!! (is that a word??)
  With the leftover dough, I rolled out a bit, wrapped it around a hot dog, baked it, and daughter had that for lunch.
  Finger food RULES!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Goodbye Summer.........!

Wow, I think this has been one of the best summers we've had in the seven years I've been here! It's been just gorgeous! Last weekend, we managed yet another bar-b-que, it was a brilliant, sunny, warm day. We keep thinking, ok, this is it, our last chance to get out for a picnic. Even after school started, we have still managed a few.
  This is where we often go, when we don't want to go too far from home.

The little village is called Lapworth, it's built around a canal, and at Kingswood junction there's a picnic area, right on the edge of the canal basin. There are several locks, and loads of canal boats are moored there. It's quite a busy junction, and the kids love to watch the boats go through the locks.
    Then there's this cute little cottage.

   It's so pretty, with it's rounded roof. There's a sign that says the roof is rounded, because the canal builders were so used to building rounded bridges, they just automatically made the roof in the same manner.
  We also met a delightful older gentleman, working the locks while his wife steered the boat through. He and I started talking, and he proceeded to give me a little history lesson, all about the canals! Apparently, before engines, the boats, which were loaded with cargo, were pulled by horses!!  I was fascinated, and just had a lovely time, chatting with him. All in all, it was a lovely day out with the kids, and I shall miss this particular summer very much!  Here's to hoping that there will be many more to come.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

One Project Finished.....

......and a shed load more to go! This is a completed choker I crocheted, I just loved the pattern that allows you to wind a ribbon through. And the ribbon ties behind your neck, so no fasteners needed!  The pattern was a freebie online.  I did it in beige thread, so that I can use ribbons of different colors, therefore changing the whole look!

Imagine it with crimson, or bright pink, or black.....I think black would bring out the detail of the stitching really well.  Now if  I could just get on with all the other unfinished projects I have!

   Here's another little 'mini' project I completed awhile ago. My son just lost his front wobbly tooth, so we got out the little felt pocket 'tooth holder' I made for him when he lost his first tooth. We tucked the recently lost front tooth in, and waited for the tooth fairy to arrive! Needless to say, he looks goofy with his big gap-toothed grin!

By the way, the tooth fairy left him three pounds!! He was happy!

Sunday, 30 August 2009

If the shop is a rockin'.........

Every once in awhile, when I feel I am totally disenchanted with England........I stumble across something like this. And I just get enchanted all over again! We were driving back from our last visit to Wales, when we happened to pass this shop. Needless to say, I was tickled pink, and had hubs stop so I could take a picture. If or when, I ever leave England, I will totally miss these small villages, with their unique pubs, shops, churches with gravestones stood around the front like sentries, and the total surprise when coming across a shop with a funny name.

Speaking of funny names, there's a salon in a small town near's name is BLOW. Trust me, I did a second take when we passed THAT shop!

It sometimes seems that, although something keeps tugging at my heart, and wants to pull me away from where I am, life has a funny way of sticking something totally interesting in front of your face, telling you, you're ok, stay put for a bit. Enjoy. And that's what I'm trying to do. Enjoy, and find the funny, of course!!

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Experiments with leftovers.

Can you say YUM! I had a bit of a dilemma, a BIG bowl of leftover biryani that all the meat had been picked out of, and nobody was going to eat. If you aren't familiar with biryani, you can check it out here.

If you don't want to follow the link, basically I had a huge bowl of spicy basmati rice.

We hate to waste food around here, so I decided to turn it into chicken soup. I used frozen chicken left over from a grill we'd done, the rice from the briyani, chicken stock, a few dashes of flour, to make it thicker, a bit more seasonings, and a splash or two of milk, for creaminess. Then I topped the whole thing off with homemade dumplings. Really interesting result! Because the rice had loads of flavor, and a bit of oil in it, the dumplings soaked up all the briyani yumminess. Not something I had expected, but the whole thing turned out delicious!

Leftovers RULE!!

Monday, 24 August 2009

Oh, wonder, where art thou??

Not wonder, as in awe......but wonder, as in I wonder........? Perhaps having a six year old is leaving me pun intended! How did I get started on this? Woodstock. Ok, Ok, I was like, two! But I was recently viewing some newly surfaced photos, and one of the comments made about the photos was, 'Just hanging out and waiting, that's what everybody was doing. No texting, no instant gratification.' THERE. THAT THERE. No instant gratification. No wondering. When I was little, if I wondered about something, I would wait to go to the library with my mom, or I'd ask questions, which would lead to me going to the bottom of the bookcase, that was reserved for TONS of Encyclopedia Brittanica, and browsing through several volumes for the answer. However, because of my curiosity, I was often led astray and ended up reading about something else, not at all related to my original wondering.
That's gone, isn't it? Nowadays, with just a click, we are left with no chance to wonder, no small flicker of imagination creating fun, sometimes goofy answers to our questions. Before we can even finish the 'Why is/does/' .......we've googled the answer. (I hate that term, google, I rarely use it, so from now on I'll refer to it as a search.)
Every once in awhile, I have a wonder mind you, this is rare, and a search can't instantly gratify me. Let me for instance you. When I lived in Florida, Tampa Bay area, I remember once hanging out by the bay, waiting, and saw something curious in the shallow water. Thinking it seaweed, and watching it gently sway back and forth, I reached down and touched it. SLUUUUUURRRRRRRPPPPPP!!! It quickly sucked itself under the sand. Ok, never having seen anything like this before, I reached out to touch another one. While this one was slurping under, the first one was sneaking back out. Well, I never said it takes a lot to amuse me, so I had fun WONDERING what this was, and generally poking these thingys back under. They are hard to describe, sort of reminded me of bamboo, in that they were tubular and hollow in the middle. Ok, now what were they? How to search? Tubular, underwater, hollow, seaweed thingys that suck back under the sand when prodded?? Google THAT, my friend! (ok, I know, but 'search that' just doesn't have the same effect.
So now, ten years or so after the wonderous discovery of some weird sea life under the bay, I am still left WONDERING what they were. Are. Whatever. I'm pretty sure they are still there. And I don't know if I want to know what they were. Are. I might just leave it alone. Keep that sense of wondering, not knowing.....
After all, it's very little that we have to wonder about today. I think I'll leave the searches alone for a bit, get out my imagination, wipe off the cobwebs, spruce it up, and let it run for awhile.