Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas 2006

Well Christmas came and went and we had a lovely time. The tree looked lovely with all the presents under, there were so many! Ethan was really excited and loved having other children around who he could play with all his toys with etc. This photo is of Ethan infront of the Christmas tree before we started opening presents. What does he look like in those PJs - we got them a few days before Christmas!

I got an IPOD for Christmas alomg with some books, DVDs, scrapbooking stuff and other cool bits. I just need to get some music loaded to the IPOD once I get home as I only had a couple of CDs with me. I also got a thing for it which allows you to listen to it through your radio, that will be great when we are in the car as I don't have to have loads of CDs.

Boxing Day was spent chilling out and a little shopping (they don't have Boxing Day over here in America) in the sales. Last week we also vistited Maymont Park, Pony Pastures, Williamsburg and lots of other things as well as shopping! I will upload photos when I get back as everything is packed now.

Today I have been packing and we have done some last minute shopping. We are off out for a meal tonight at a pizza resturant near by which is a eat all you want. Then we leave my Auntie's around midday tomorrow to drop the car off. Our flight is at about 8pm and we'll land in England around 7am on Thursday. I just hope it all goes smoothly and there are no delays.

Great Wolf Lodge

On Friday 22nd December we headed out to Great Wolf Lodge which is a huge indoor water park. It's in Williamsburg about an hour and fifteen minutes away from my Auntie's house. We could use the pool from 1pm so planned to arrive for that time but stopped off at IHOP on the way. We all had a fab late breakfast with hash browns, egg, bacon, sausage, pancakes and fruit.

The place was fantastic, like a huge log cabin - the photo is of the main entrance. We went straight to the water park and spent about three hours in there. We went in the wave pool, rapids, the big water fun house, on all the various slides - and there were a lot. Some of the slides you went in little dingy's, single or double, others had rafts that four people could go in and then little children's slides. Ethan loved all the slides especially the fast ones, he was not able to go on the fastest though - the Howlin Tornado. It was fantastic fun but a little scary at times especailly if you were sitting backwards in the raft!

We then went to the room which was great, it had a log cabin within the room with bunk beds and single bed for the children - they loved it. In the evening there were a few activities for the children to do and a little arcade so we spent some time doing that. Santa was also there so Ethan went and had his photo taken with him. Then the me and my Auntie went shopping to the local Warmart whilst everyone else went back into the pool.

The following we were back in the pool, although we had to check out by 11am we were able to use the water park till 10pm. We managed to stay till 3pm by which time we were all exhausted. On our way back home we went to the Yankee Candle Store in Williamsburg where they have ahuge store and it's made up just like Christmas inside. You were also able to make your own candles which was lots of fun. Ethan loved dipping them into all the different colours. We then drove through Colonial Williamsburg which looked lovely, lots of historic buildings and colonial sites. We are hoping that we will be able to vist there before we go home.

Whilst at the water park you could hire a water camera for free then have the photos put on a CD at the end. These are some of the photos:

First few days in Virginia

Our first day in Virginia was very busy with lots of things to fit in. It started off with walking my cousins to the bus stop as it was their last day at school. Ethan thought this was great, especially the yellow school buses - he spent the rest of the day looking for and counting the school buses. It was my cousins birthday so we then went to get donuts to take into school for her friends. We then went to the school had lunch with her and she gave out donuts to her friends, Ethan really enjoyed this.

We then went and did some shopping, we needed things like shampoo, toothpaste, shower gel etc. Whilst in Target John and Ethan spotted a load of Spongebob Squarepants stuff so they stocked up on a few things. I then did some shopping in Old Navy, getting a few bits for me and for Christmas presents. On our way back to my Auntie's house I nipped into the local scrapbooking store and had a look round and got a few bits.

That evening we went out to The Califonia Pizza Kitchen for my cousin's birthday tea. It was great food and we had a lovely time. Here's Ethan enjoying his Ice Cream Sundae with caramal sauce and Oreo's!

The following day we went to Sunday Park which is a local reservoir and had a lovely walk round there. There were lots of squirrals running around in the wooded areas and ducks swimming in the reservoir. There was a lovely park which the children had a great time playing on, especially the tyre swing.

In the afternoon I went to the Mall with my Auntie to do some more shopping and get a few last minute presents. I got some great bargains from Old Navy for myself and it was nice to have a walk around the Mall. Later in the evening John went and out to do some "shopping" and took some photos in to be developed for me and I stayed home and wrapped some presents.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

New York

Well we had an amazing time in New York and didn't want to leave. We didn't have that long there but definately made the most of it. We landed in Washington DC then drove up to New York and arrived around 8.30pm and went to bed.

We woke early the following morning, around 6am, so we got ready and went out for breakfast. We then went to the Empire State Building which was so windy at the top but the fantastic views of New York. We also went on a helicopter tour (fantastic views again), to Ground Zero, shopping and much more. In the evening we went to Times Square and did a little shopping in Toys R Us.

The following day we had another early start and went ice skating in Bryant Park which Ethan had really wanted to do and had a great time. We then went to Macy's, FAO Swartz, Central Park, the Natural History Museum and a little more shopping. In the evening we went to the Rockefeller Centre and to The Top of The Rock to see New York by Night which was breath taking.

The day after that we did a few things before we left including the ferris wheel in Toys R Us which Ethan wanted to do earlier in the visit but the cue was too big. On our drive down to my Auntie's we stopped at The Rain Forest cafe in New Jersey for lunch. We had a lovely meal and spent a little money in the gift shop after!

Friday, December 15, 2006

And we're off.....

Tomorrow morning to America.

Very nearly packed just a few last bits to do and waiting for washing to dry so it can be ironed.

It's been a busy week so it's flown by. Ethan had his Christmas play and we went to watch that on Wednesday, it was great and Ethan sang really well and looked great all dressed up. Ethan also had his football presentation on Wednesday and he was so pleased to get a trophy and certificate, he has really improved since he started and is going to start back in January.

Anyway must go and finish off plus we have friends coming over and we're getting take away.

Will update my blog whilst I'm away and include some photos, will be next Tuesday/Wednesday though as won't have internet access whilst we are in New York.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Its been so long

Can't believe how long it has been since I last posted. It's not a bad thing time is flying by though, means our holiday is getting closer. I have been so busy getting getting the last few presents (mostly John's), presents wrapped, cards wrote, buying things we need for America and putting things in suitcases that we are going to need for the holiday. I'm going to need the holiday by the end of next week.

The next few weeks are going to be even busier with all the finishing off and delivering of presents. We also have Ethan's school play and disco, football presentation, a birthday party, meeting up with friends, family round for an early Christmas, and so much more. I also have my work meal out this week and John is out for a meal with his friend too. Then next week I'm having my hair coloured and cut which I'm looking forward to but will take up a whole morning the day before we fly.

Haven't managed to do much scrapping apart from a few pages in my America journal, I really need to get the last few pages done before we go so I don't have any catching up to do whilst I'm there.

I have been ordering a few things and had them delivered to America ready for when I get there. My Sweetwater Christmas Kit has already arrived and is all ready for the Christmas layouts. I also ordered the Jenni Bowlin Kit this month along with a few other bits from her new site. I also have a couple of stamps from Catslife Press that will be waiting for me too - I love these stamps and only just had some delivered last week! Think I am going to order form A Peek Into Yesterday too so I have cardstock and a few extras ready. Then I will go scrapbook shopping too :)

It's late soI'm off to bed but I'll update again soon - before I go away. I will also update my blog whilst I'm away with photos etc.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Another layout

I did this on Thursday night and have finally got round to uploading it. It's another layout using this weeks Pencil Lines sketch by Carole Janson which I'm loving. The photos were taken last Christmas when I went to London to see Chicago. I have been meaning to scrap them all year but have never got round to it. Used Bazzill cardstock, Scenic Route paper, Heidi Swapp chipboard letters, Sweetwater letter stickers, brads and ribbon.

I went to the Hobby Horse crop yesterday and evening and today. Had a great time as always and managed 2 12x12 layouts, 2 6x6 layouts and a page in my America journal. I will upload them sometime this week as I haven't unpacked and photographed them yet. Made a few small purchases whilst there! Rachel had some lovely new stock so I got some of the American Crafts felt flowers, Prima flowers, cardstock, ribbon and some fab gel pens that work great on black paper - perfect for my America journal.

Ethan has had 2 parties today so it has been very busy. The first one was at lunch so I left the crop to take him and the other was this evening. He had a fab time at them both and is now in bed.

We've had some work done on the house this week which should have been sorted ages ago but we had some problems with the company. It is now done and we can now sort out and decorate the spare room and use it for something else other then a junk room!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A few layouts

I have done a couple of layouts the past few evenings, both using this weeks Pencil Lines sketch by Carole Janson. I loved this sketch and it was so easy to use. My layouts are very simple and I've not used all the elements from the sketch. Both layouts are from this years Goose Fair in Nottingham. I took my new camera and got lots of great photos so decided to do two pages. Used Bazzill cardstock, Sweetwater papers and rub on, Making Memories and Heidi Swapp chipboard letters, brad and white Signo gel pen. (sorry not the best photos, there has been very little natural light by the time I'm home from work the last few days)

Work is really busy at the moment, I'm not only busy with home visits, clinics and groups but paperwork too which is taking up so much time. There are also lots of changes happening so that doesn't make things any easier!

Ethan is doing well at school and really enjoys going. He loves to get his homework on Monday's and wait to complete it - wonder how long that will last! On Wednesday's he goes to reading club straight from school and is enjoying that. After reading club he has football, there are only 4 more weeks left of his 12 week course so Wednesday's will be a lot less rushed once they've finished. Dancing is also going well and he is improving with all the dances etc.

On Saturday it's the Hobby Horse crop so I'm really looking forward to that, although I have to leave at lunchtime for a couple of hours as Ethan has a party. He also has another party in the evening so it's going to be very busy!

Creative Keepsakes arrived last week, I think. Seemed very strange receiving a Christmas magazine even though I am quite organised for Christmas! I haven't really looked through it properly yet so might save it to read on the plane when we go on holiday.

Countdown time - just over 4 weeks till I go on holiday to America :) We booked the holiday back in March this year and its come round so quickly.

I have been busy buying the last of the Christmas presents and only have a few left to buy. I will be wrapping most of them this week so they are ready to be delivered at the beginning of December. We also have to sort out Christmas cards and we always get the photo ones done at Costco. Just need to take a Christmassy photo photo of Ethan - last year was easy as we went to the Snowdome in Tamworth and took a photo of him in the snow play area on a sledge.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Catch up

Its been a while since I blogged, it's just been really busy with Halloween and Ethan starting back at school after half term.

Ethan loved Halloween this year and for the first time I took him out trick or treating. We went with one of his school friends and he loved it visiting friends, family and houses with pumpkins etc outside. He came back with a bag full of sweets and chocolates, it will take a while to get through them all. Here he is dressed in his skeleton outfit and with the pumpkin we did:

On Friday I met with some other local scrappers for coffee and it was great. We met at an Outlet Centre and took our scrapbooks along to share with everyone. I was a little late meeting everyone as I had an appointment at the hairdresser's but it wasn't too far away so worked out well. I also did a little shopping whilst I was there at the Cabury's shop and The Papermill!

On Saturday we went to watch some fireworks a short walk form where we live. They had a huge bonfire and the fireworks lasted for about half an hour. Ethan only just lasted to see them all as he was getting really restless - I think they went on a little too long really but shouldn't complain. Then yesterday John and Ethan had a little bonfire in the garden burning some old wood etc that has been lying around. We had jacket potatoes, marshmallows and spiced apple cider drink.

Ethan started back at dancing on Saturday, it was the first lesson since the show. He had a great time as always and has to practice his little solo routine that he does in his private lesson. I also ordered the DVD of the show so will hopefully get that this Tuesday or Saturday.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


It's been a quite a busy week especially with it being half term. I only worked two days this week and it worked really well as John had Monday and Tuesday off work and I had Wednesday off and don't work Thursday and Friday's anyway. So Ethan has had great week with us both and has been to sift play areas, to the park, helping John in the shed etc.

I've enjoyed making some winter soups this, I just love homemade soups. I found a recipe for Butternut Squash soup on Morgan's blog so thought I'd give it a go as I've not had that before. It was lovely and as I had some butternut squash left over I did another soup the following day but added sweet potato, carrots and parsnips. It was delicious and I'll definitely be doing it again.

I also made some spiced apple cider which I always have when I go to America. I have never found anything as good over here so found a recipe and changed it around a little. I love it and it leaves just a lovely smell around the house - very American.

Spiced apple cider recipe

1 1/2 pints apple juice
3/4 pints water
60ml honey
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp ground mixed spiced
6 whole cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
125ml lemon juice
1/2 orange sliced

Mix together the apple juice, water, honey and all the spices and bring to the boil then simmer for around 30 minutes. Leave to stand over night and then strain. Add the lemon juice and orange slices to the drink and reheat - do not boil. I just reheated it as I wanted it.

I'm just about to make some more now as it's all gone - Ethan really likes it. I will only leave it to stand till this evening though as I can't wait for the morning!

I went out last night to a local pub with a few friends, had quite a lot to drink but had a good night. My friends got up and did karoke but I didn't - I just can't sing and refuse to embarrass myself, especially as I saw quite a few people that Have known me since I was a baby!!!

John also bought, me home 4 big bags of Bonfire Toffee this week, I haven't been able to find it anywhere local and a friend at John's work managed to get us some. It's not a great photo but I just love this stuff.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Dancing star

Dancing show
Well the dance shows are over and its been such a tiring but fantastic week. Ethan was definitely the star and everyone who came to watch him thought he was great. He tried so hard on all three nights and his confidence grew the more he did it. He danced to the Superman song and especially loved the bit where it's speeded up and when he ran forward as Superman :) Here he is in his costume:

I went to the Hobby Horse crop on Saturday and had a great time, although I had to leave a little early as I had to get home and get ready for the show. I managed to get these to layouts done, sorry for the poor photo quality, bad lighting. The first one is of me and Ethan taken on his birthday at TGI's. The second one is of Ethan on the bouncy castle at his birthday party.

I did this layout a while ago but was missing an S, Claire very kindly gave me one - thank you Claire. This layout is of all the presents, money, cards etc Ethan got for his birthday - thought it would be nice to have a layout to show him in years to come how luck he is!

Hoping to meet with some friends this week with it being half term, I think Ethan was definitely ready for half term especially with having the dancing show over the weekend.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Matlock Illuminations

Yesterday we went to Matlock Bath to see the Illuminations. It was really busy when we arrived and had to park in Matlock and walk into Matlock Bath. Before we walked into Matlock bath we had a picnic in the car, me and Ethan had been shopping earlier and bought everything. It didn't take us too long to walk in and it was quite a nice walk. We had a little walk round and got Ethan a little light up toy and went to stand by the river. Unfortunately we didn't get to see the boat parade as us, along we hundreds of other people were in the wrong place, apparently it no longer comes up the river. We did however see the fireworks a little later on which were great and Ethan loved them. Here are some photos from Matlock Bath, as you can see Ethan was shattered by the end of the night.

Yesterday morning Ethan had his last dancing practice before the show next week. He also did the show dance in his private lesson too so hopefully that will have helped - just hope he dances on the night!

Today Ethan has been to his cousins 6th birthday party and had a fab time. With his late night last night I don't know where he gets all his energy from.

Here is a layout (click to enlarge) I have finally finished using the Pencil Lines sketch. My first attempt just wasn't flowing so I changed photos and really enjoyed doing it. It's not a great photo of the layout as I've had to use the flash!

Friday, October 13, 2006

New car

John finally got his new car, a brand new Volkswagen Passat. He got it on Monday so we all went out for a little drive in the evening to give it a test drive! It's a lovely car but very big, not sure I'm going to be driving it on a regular basis.

It's been another busy week with dancing practice and it's only a week away till the first performance now. I've still got a couple of bits to get but have all the main things for me and Ethan. There is a dress rehearsal on Monday and another rehearsal at the theatre on Thursday so they'll probably be late nights.

Managed to do a layout yesterday, not able to post a photo of it as there are 17 children on there. It is from Ethan's party and I'm hoping to get a few more layouts done this weekend from his party.

Had a friend round for coffee this morning which was lovely, nice to sit and have a chat whilst the children are at school. Then I went into town to get some money changed into America travellers cheques for our holiday. Also got a new bag from Gap to take my hand luggage in (as you can see), I did have a little suitcase but with the new restrictions I think it'll be far too big.

Here, at last, are some photos of the bathroom, it is very nearly done just the last few finishing touches.

Here are a few photos of Ethan busy doing his homework last week. I love the look on his face, he's really concentrating. He is really enjoying his homework and looks forward to doing it. His writing and colouring have really improved since starting school. He also enjoys reading his reading books and doing his bear words which we do most nights.

Another photo of Ethan taken a few weeks ago fast asleep in bed with his rabbit- doesn't he look peaceful.