Tuesday, February 23, 2016

From the Outside

One of the places on my list of places to go on our outing the other day was the Southwell Minister. I enjoy wandering through old churches and it is free so why not stop and wander. We drove through Southwell and found the pay and display parking. I still didn't have many coins. I was hoping that machine might be one that takes a card. Well, the parking lot was full so we drove through town and ended up parking in an area that wasn't a pay parking.

We then walked back through the town to the Minister. It is difficult at times to discover the history of a building because it is often built where there was a previous building. This building has some history going back to Roman times.

We arrived just as a funeral was beginning and so we couldn't go inside. We wandered around.

As we walked around the corner there were some ruins of a previous building. Why is it that ruins here look historic while in other places of the world they just look like a building has fallen down?

We walked around the outside. I think it would be interesting to go inside. Maybe our next time there.

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Saturday, February 20, 2016

Day Out - Air Museum & Civil War Museum

 I decided we needed a day out. I originally planned to go to the Holocaust Museum which is about an hour away but when I looked at what else was in the area I found about 5 other places. I put them all on a list. We decided to begin with the Newark Air Museum. 

We arrived around 10:45 which is not bad considering we left 30-45 minutes later than I had planned. I have learned that it takes longer than SatNav will say just because of the narrow roads and slow traffic. 

The big attraction at the Newark Air Museum is the Vulcan and the museum was literally built around it. I enjoy talking to the volunteers at museums as often they are people with stories to tell if you will just pause and listen. The gentleman at the Vulcan told us how the Vulcan flew is with just enough fuel to land and taxi to the area and based on where it ran out of fuel is the land the museum received. 

You could get a time to go up in the Vulcan and so while we waited for our time we wandered around looking at the planes and in the buildings.

Here is another view of the Vulcan. Miss K did not want to go up as you can to climb a ladder to get up so J went up. He had some interesting facts to tell us about what he saw there. The Vulcan was developed after World War II and the beginning of the Cold War.

It was a nice day for walking outside a bit cold but not raining.

There were a few cockpits and planes that we were able to go in. Here are the kids being the navigators in this plane.

She is looking at the buttons and maps and wondering what to do next.

We just finished a few weeks on World War II. We didn't make it to the Holocaust Museum but we did see some World War II things at the Air Museum.

We then went to the National Civil War Museum. I was feeling a bit pressured because I didn't have as much change as I would have liked to have for the parking so we had about an hour there. We have studied the Civil War a bit though I think quite a bit of our learning came from Horrible Histories.

The dress-up area is always a favourite.

Look out -- she has a gun.

Trying the hat on for size. I really need to figure out what to do with her hair.

Here is some graffiti on the wall in the attic.

There was a short movie that we watched. We spent our hour there and I honestly can't say that I learned much about the Civil War.

I am glad that we were able to have a day out. The kids thanked me for taking them. I think it was good to get out and explore.

That was my first time driving on the Motorway even if it was only about 5 miles. That gave me confidence to do it again. I did learn that I need to have lots of coins in the car for parking.

I am beginning to plan my next outing.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Unfinished Projects 2016 Edition

In 2015 one of my goals was to reduce the number of unfinished projects that I have. I kept a list of the projects here. It is time to update the list for 2016. I pulled out the box and went through the projects.

1. Fall table toppers/runners - One of these has been quilted and just need the binding. The other one needs to be quilted or finished in some way. That is one of those projects that would take an afternoon if I just sit and do it.

2. Good Night Moon - When my mom visited in autumn, we bought some border and backing fabric. I even sewed the border on the quilt top. I just need to quilt it.

3. Sugar bag quilt - I have to finish the sashing and then quilt. I bought some fabric and I think it might be for the binding. That is why you finish things right away because you forget what you were planning to do or you keep a detailed notebook of sewing projects which I had at one time.

4. Le Petit - Another one that is ready to be quilted. I need to find some backing for this and that means finding a fabric store as the one I went to previously has closed.

5. Amish Spools - I found a piece of backing so now I just need an afternoon and I think I can finish quilting this.

6. Prayer Flag - I think I am just going to finish this and forget that it is not sewn correctly. Just a reminder that only God makes things perfect.

7. Give Thanks bunting - This is a bit of a project. I need to look at what I have done and figure out how I am going to finishing this project.

8. Jesse Tree ornaments - I actually have more of these cross stitched so it is a matter of finishing the cross stitch and then sewing them together. This might be the project in the bin that is the oldest.

9. Summer House quilt - this is one that I began last year. I love the bright and cheerful colours.

10. Name pillows for my children - These are just pillows with their names on. I have made these for nieces and nephews and need to make them for my children. I have J's ready to be stuffed. I need to make Miss K's.

That is the list. Just 10 projects. When I look at the list, I have matters for a number of these and most of these could be done in a day or two. In most of these it is a matter of sitting down and doing it. My first goal is to finish the name pillows. I am halfway done that and then it is something to cross off. I think at the same time I should begin working on the cross stitch considering that is the oldest project in the bin, first in, first out.

The goal is less projects at the end of the year. On your mark, get set, sew, finish.

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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day & Happy Birthday

We celebrate both of those events on the same day at our house though this year it worked a bit better to celebrate my husband's birthday an evening early.

I made a delicious chocolate cake. It was a new recipe and it was moist and rich. J told me not to lose the recipe as he wanted that cake. For some reason the cake looks like it is slanted but it didn't look that way. Now there is only about a quarter of it remaining.

My husband gave me some beautiful flowers. I love lots of colour all put together. This are just what I like. I also like the variety of flowers mixed together.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Happy New Year

Xin Nian Kuai Le

No, I didn't read the calendar wrong and miss a month. It is time to celebrate Chinese New Year.

I think I first celebrated Chinese New Year in the late 80's when I was working in international purchasing. The offices and factories in Taiwan shut down for two weeks so it was two weeks to catch up on things at work. Then in 1992 I left Taiwan just before Chinese New Year. When I was single and living in Asia most of Chinese New Year was an opportunity to travel. The office would close for a week or so and it was a great time to travel except that everyone else did so the planes were full and the resorts crowded.

When we were married, we spent Chinese New Year enjoying a bit of quiet. I can remember Taipei being very quiet during the day as so many people left the city either to travel abroad or to return to their home town. Then at night it would get loud with fireworks.

Hong Kong had a bit of a different feel at Chinese New Year. The shopping malls would be decorated. Usually to reflect the zodiac animal.  Here it is from the year of the pig.

In Hong Kong we lived in a rural area. Yes, there is such an area. Not far from our flat they would sell oranges at this time of the year. It is hard to believe that little girl is now 11.

This was one of my favourite photos of her. We walked up to look at the oranges and she was pointing to them.

The market would have all kinds of decorations for sale.

The area around the Star Ferry was usually decorated and so from there you could look towards the island. I miss Hong Kong.

Well, I decided to celebrate Chinese New Year a bit this year. We invited some friends over and made dumplings. I made my own wrappers which was the first and last time to do that. I am guessing that I made 4 recipes of wrapper dough and that was a lot of rolling. J was the master roller and cutter and he did a great job of getting thin wrappers which is what you want. We probably made about 100 dumplings.

We ate them boiled and fried. Fried are my favourite. I also made some fried rice to go with the dinner. We had oranges for dessert.

We had a fun evening making dumplings and then eating dumplings. The kitchen was a mess when we were done but it was worth it.

Happy New Year!

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Friday, February 5, 2016

January Review

I know it is now the 5th of February and I am taking the time to reflect on January.

My word for the year is challenge. My plan is to challenge myself in a different area each month. January I challenged myself to do the Whole30. I did it -- yeah!!--with no cheats or slips. I learned quite a bit about myself and the struggle during those 30 days. There is so much that I could write about that. I will say now that I learned that I need to be alert so that I don't lick my finger when it was something I was not to eat or just finish something remaining on Miss K's plate. I did have the self-discipline to do it. Now I need to continue that self-discipline in the coming days and I will tell you it is difficult.

That was January's challenge.

One of the goals for the year was the Reading Challenge. In January I read:

- Finding Myself in Britain by Amy Boucher Pye - This was an easy read and one that I could relate to in some ways. Amy is American married to a Brit and living here. She writes about culture and live here but also weaves faith into that. - I don't know where this fits in the reading challenge.

Awe by Paul David Tripp - Who and what controls our heart? This book was a challenge to see God and allow him to have every aspect of my life. This was my Christian Living book.

Jack Ballads from the Hearth - by Chautona Havig - I have read most of the books that Chautona has written. This was not the usual book but I enjoyed as much as the others. This was just published in 2016 so I am considering this my Book published in 2016.

Morning Breeze by Folung Lo - This was a bit of her life during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. It was one girl's story of how she survived that time.

I read four books in January and started a few others. Yes, I normally have a few books at a time that I am reading.

Less Unfinished Projects - I didn't start any new projects and I didn't finish any so I am at the same place. I do need to go through my unfinished projects and see what I have.

I continue with the goal of less stuff. I sold some home school books and things that we are no longer using. I sewed some sandwich wraps which used some fabric. I have a few boxes of things that I need to take to a charity shop.

We did not go hiking this month. I did put my hiking boots on the other day to go to the park because I knew it would be muddy up there.

We really didn't have an outing this month. We went to Manchester but that was for the monthly prayer meeting. We went bowling with friends last weekend so maybe that counts. Considering that I won both games I think it does count as our outing.

I have my list of goals in my planner which is a place where I can reference them as I plan. I need to spend a bit of time just reviewing and doing some further planning.

That wraps up January. I am looking forward to February.

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Monday, February 1, 2016

Hosting a Tea

Most Sundays our church hosts a tea for international students. We are involved with the international student ministry and so we have hosted the tea a few times. The first time I hosted I did have to ask what kind of tea this is -- is it a tea with sandwiches and little foods or is this an evening meal. Here where we live the evening meal is called, "tea". It is sandwiches and finger foods. I was told I could add American food.

We hosted the international tea yesterday. It is always a bit uncertain of how many people will come. I wanted enough food but not too much.

I made Snickerdoodles which are rolled in cinnamon sugar. I also made pumpkin muffins -- with cinnamon in them. A friend told me that British use more ginger in their baking and Americans use cinnamon. I guess I proved that true yesterday.

I made chicken salad, egg salad and put fruit and nuts on the table. Someone brought some scones with butter and raspberry jam. I used some of my dishes that my mom and I bought when we went to Stoke-on-Trent. Some are some dishes that I have had and brought with us.

We had a few students and had a nice time visiting with them. We had a few leftovers which didn't last long.

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