Saturday, December 9, 2017

Michaela on the Shelf

Mom sent us matching pajamas for Christmas morning.  Michaela put hers on and immediately said, "Mom, I look like the Elf on the Shelf." She then ran off and I heard, "now come find me..."

(On a side note, Jamison said he did not look like an elf, but rather a large candy cane.)

Tuesday, December 5, 2017


Back in June, Assia and I planned a quick escape over to Germany to see the markets.  We had heard so much about them and wanted to see them first hand.   There were tons we had heard about but we settled on Duesseldorf and Cologne as we could fly there out of Southampton and save a ton of travel time. My father gave me a hard time saying, "you act like you are going to the mall."  With only an hour and half flight and going out of a regional airport, it's really not much farther than going to the Galleria.  It still boggles my mind that in less than two hours I can be in a different country.

I would say by awesome planning we were in the heart of the markets, but the truth is we were lucky. Our hotel was a short walk from 2 of the markets in town. Since we took a late flight in, we wandered out to see the markets at night even though most of the vendors were shutting down.

The Local Church

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Winchester Science Center

On our quest for all things that are English and Christmas, we went to the Winchester Science Center for a day out. There was a Science Show by the elves, followed by a movie in the planetarium on finding the reindeer. Truth be told, the show was geared for preschool aged kids, but my kids enjoyed it anyway. 

Before the show, the kids enjoyed the current exhibit on science and sports.  Races, rowing, tugging....they were in heaven.

Here's a view from the show and our hosts. Mainly we learned about alkalines and bases and in the process made a "chemis-tree."

We did get a one on one opportunity to talk to Father Christmas.

After the show we ventured over to the Winchester Cathedral and our first winter market. It was cold! The lines were long and Grayson was fighting a cold, so we didn't stay long.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Christmas in London

I am trying to fit in as many Christmas things as I can. After all, it is my favorite time of year. Assia and I planned a day into London for a show, a good steak dinner, some Christmas shopping and of course to see the lights on Oxford street. I call  it my cultural day since we went to a musical.

First stop, the Lego store.  Oh my word. It was so neat. I am always impressed with how they can build life sized Lego sets. The clock was two stories tall. I took it from the second story. The tube was life sized and you could even sit in it. I will definitely have to take the kids back to see this. ALthough I am not sure that my pocketbook could handle it. The way it was, I walked out with 8 free gifts. It may/may not be a Lego Christmas at our house!

Right across from t was M&M world with the world's largest wall of M&Ms. This is only a third of the wall.  Very fun and fattening.

42nd street!  One of my all time favorite musicals. Hope has been asking to see it and since I couldn't remember how appropriate it was I needed to "preview" it.  The show did not disappoint! If you like tap dancing, go the next time the opportunity presents itself.  I will definitely have to plan a girls day back with my girls. Although I am sure Grayson would love it as well.  I love the music - 42nd street, Lullaby on Broadway, We're in the Money....

We topped of the day with viewing of the lights. London was spectacular.  It was cold and clear. Normally I would complain but it made it feel like Christmas.  Oh and the fact that we had a clear day in London, is a miracle. Perfect day!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Celebrating Thanksgiving

Since we did not have Thanksgiving Day off, I spent all day Friday preparing for a dinner that we would share on Sunday with Assia and Alain and our English friends, Chris and Chrissie. We had them over to share in a Thanksgiving feast. We taught them about "gobble til you wobble" and the phrase, "put your fat pants on."  Jamison also told them that they would have to play the Indians since we were obviously the Pilgrims

Giving Thanks! 
Assia, Ava, Alan and Alain

Lucy, Chris, Chrissie and Sopie
 The biggest challenge was finding all the ingredients to make the meal. At the last minute, I found fresh cranberries, so we were able to have Jamison's traditional "red stuff."  Our meal was complete with turkey, dressing, broccoli rice casserole, homemade rolls, green beans, salad, pumpkin and pecan pie.

 Afterwards we turned on some American football and told Chris that this was the time that the men pretended to watch a game, but really took a turkey induced nap.  In reality, we played pictionary with the kids.  It was different, but fun all the same.

One of the few pretty sunsets I have seen here.

Afterwards we turned on some American football and told Chris that this was the time that the men pretended to watch a game, but really took a turkey induced nap.  In reality, we played pictionary with the kids.  It was different, but fun all the same.

Happy Belated Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 25, 2017


The one thing I have learned here is that you have to be on the ball when it comes to planning things. Back in September, we started getting information on Christmas things to do in England. Even with sorting through all of it and choosing what we wanted, some of the activities were already booked, in September!  Amazing to me.

One of our favorite activities in Texas is to go on the hayride and see the lights at Santa's Wonderland. The kids love the lights. Apparently here you get to see lantern displays. We chose the one at Longleat where the lanterns were done as famous story books.  It also had a safari drive through. Unfortunately Grayson was feeling rotten the day of so we didn't get to enjoy it as long as we wanted, but it was amazing! Different than Texas lights but amazing none the less!

A few highlights from safari.

Our favorite part was driving through the monkeys. We were cautioned that they would climb on your car and pick at things. The kids giggled and giggled at the monkeys climbing all over the car

look closely, a baby and it's mom
 The Longleat estate driving up. Inside it was decorated for an Edwardian style Christmas. No cameras allowed though.

A cup of hot chocolate and away we went on the lantern walk.  These Texans were bundled up and still froze!  Since it is dark at 4pm, we could make it a short day and get Grayson in out of the cold.

the musical Christmas tree

dragon from Sleeping Beauty

Cinderella's shoe

the Ugly Duckling

mushrooms Alice in Wonderland

Snow White

Hansel and Gretel

Little Red Riding Hood

Little Mermaid