Oh, the story behind trying to find a photographer here has been long and challenging… but worth it, because we found & fell in love with Magda’s work and love every photo she captured for us. Kit picked the spot (Newstead Abbey) as our family has spent many days happily exploring up there, and it’s gorgeous anytime of year. Here you go… my sweet people. (Click on thumbnails to see the larger images.) If you’re local here’s our delightful photographer, MagdaK.
I know… I may have set a record for most belated update.
* In Texas I would eat Tex-mex of some variety at least weekly. (I probably still do here, just minus the corn tortillas.) But here I eat curry at least weekly. The Pakistani and Indian community centre luncheons are my favorite, but I’ve also been fortunate to learn how to make some dishes from friends sharing their culinary expertise.
* Grocery delivery is so, so wonderful. For a £1 delivery fee they bring it right to your door, and you don’t tip (I offered a few times, they always declined.) But despite this, I still hit the grocery store at least weekly – there are little shops every few blocks, three are a quick walk from our house, so it’s easy to pop in and get fresh produce or other perishables. Continue reading “Some Observations, 18 Months In!”
In 2005 our third child decided to show up four months early at a whopping 22 ounces and give us a good scare. This blog was created to keep family and friends updated through our 4 months in the hospital. You can read a bit about his NICU story here. He started a wish list of places he would like to see and things he would like to do before his eyesight declines further, an anticipated complication due to his early arrival.
Over a couple year stretch of time we began working on that wish list and being blessed in countless ways by friends, family, our community, and complete strangers as Ben tackles this challenge with his typical passion. So thank you, whoever you may be! We’re glad you came by and we welcome your comments and messages. Continue reading “*Welcome, Welcome!*”
* I don’t miss ice in my drinks. We really thought we would, as coming from Texas we put ice in our water all year long. Drinks from restaurants or drive throughs – half ice. (I hated that, I asked for no ice in the already cold liquid.) But at home we had an ice maker and used it constantly, and I wondered how we would handle living in a place without an ice maker and a tiny freezer. We moved in August – and even that month the water was cold from our taps! In winter the water is SO cold. No need for ice.
* I don’t miss drive through restaurants, which I’ve often heard mentioned by Americans (where basically every restaurant ever has a drive through, or a spot to park and do pick up.) Here there are places that offer “take away” but the only places with a drive through are American – McDonalds, Burger King (if they’re not in the city centre), KFC. People don’t eat in their cars here, definitely not while driving. 🙂 Which I think is great, and we didn’t often eat out in Texas anyway. (Being vegetarian in Texas meant not that many food options unless you’re cooking at home – which we did.) Though interesting, we do seem to eat out more here than in the states – there are so many incredible vegetarian foods available at places! For less money than eating drive through in the US we can sit down with curry and delicious sides for our whole family. (There are very nice, pricey restaurants here – we just don’t go there. And why, when there’s countless wonderful options to try for less? Next on my list is the Pakistani community centre, we’re already fans of the Indian community centre, both serving big vegetarian meals for under £4 ($5) Mon-Fri.
* Sometimes I miss corn tortillas, but I’ve been too lazy to try making my own. We’ve tried all their local options – nope, not the same. Maybe Chipotle down in London call tell us their supplier. They do have tortilla chips so I can make taco salad, just not enchiladas the same or soft tacos unless you use flour “wraps” as they call them.
* And I randomly missed sweet vidalia onion salad dressing this week. I need to explore their salad options more. They also don’t have ranch, but I can make my own. Continue reading “Some Observations, Six Months In”
Whatever I write here about tea and tea time in England is going to be heavily disputed by any number of people if they read it, as tea opinions vary widely from one person to the next. It’s very, very amusing – you want to get people animated, ask them if there’s a correct way to make tea. Ha!
But here are some sweeping generalizations gleaned from the various times I did ask that question, and the conversations that followed with people from Wales, Scotland, Ireland, England, and Americans living here who have their own take on it…
* Real tea is black tea. (Not green, and not “herbal” teas.)
* Tea is served with milk, and you can offer honey or sugar (most people seem to take sugar, not honey.) It’s not served with lemon, unless it’s ice tea and in the american south and also a sweet tea. Which freaks out some brits, this super sweet american ice tea thing. 🙂
* Most everyplace does offer black tea and an herbal option. Many also offer green tea. I’ve not seen an iced tea anywhere, even in August. It’s always hot, year round. Continue reading “Tea Time from an Outsider’s Perspective”
One of the questions we get most is about how our diet may have changed since we moved. Here’s some thoughts in no particular order:
* The ONE and only item we’ve not found locally is corn tortillas. The shops have multiple “corn” tortillas but they’re flour tortillas with cornmeal added. I’m honestly shocked that we’ve found every other possible food here, even ones we heard may be harder to track down. (Many people heard peanut butter is hard to find here – nope, they’ve got loads of it including bulk American types at Costco, and so many seed butters as well.)
* Produce here is so inexpensive, shops have weekly sales where at least 5 produce items are ___ price (usually £.29 to £.59) which is great to try new things, but apart from that even the stuff we eat all the time is always a good price. Berries are slightly more expensive in winter, but nothing like the huge mark ups we see in the US when stuff is out of season. I love, love, love the produce. Giant avocados, like Texas sized but less expensive! I’ve not found anything missing – oh, wait, I’ve not found fresh artichokes, but I’ve also not been looking hard.
* There are two grocers within .4 miles of our house, and 3 superstore type groceries within a mile or so. Costco is 12 miles away, it’s in the next city over. So the kids can walk to the shop to buy something, or we can drive if we’re doing a BIG stock up trip. Continue reading “Random Food Post (This Got Long)”
We’ve moved to England!!
Kit’s working in the city of Nottingham (for his same company in Denton) and we’ve got a great house. We’re connecting with some neat home educator groups and making friends and we are so unbelievably excited to share this adventure as a family – and to share it with you! We’ll be posting photos and videos here to keep in touch with friends and family as we’re exploring our new home.
Though we will miss Denton and our loved ones here SO MUCH, and it does feel like our hearts are being stretched between two places. Hopefully they’ll be able to come visit (hint, hint, y’all!)
100 grams caster sugar
300 grams brown sugar
200 grams of softened butter (I do a bit less)
Cream all together and whip for a few minutes then stir in:
15 ml vanilla
In another bowl combine:
200 grams porridge oats
500 grams white flour
5-10 ml bicarbonate of soda (I did a heaping 5 ml spoon)
5 ml salt
Stir dry ingredients into wet, then mix in:
300 grams chocolate chips. More or less, I won’t judge. 😉 If you cannot find chocolate chips (we got them at Costco) then get a couple 100 gram bars of chocolate and chop those up instead.
Scoop onto a silicone baking mat/sprayed cookie sheet and bake at I think mark 4 on a gas oven… we can fit nine cookies per square baking pan, though we are use to doing a dozen on our rectangle pan in our previously big american oven but that’s okay! We’re adapting. Kit says it took 11 minutes at mark 4. Verdict is – they are DELICIOUS! Warm and gooey and the measurements worked out beautifully. Hooray!
Ben’s chosen some organizations he wanted to support and to pay it forward after all the care he received with his wish list. Here are a couple of the places he’s worked with donating to:
Our Daily Bread is a local program providing meals and other resources to members of our community. We love that it’s local and the kids have been able to bring in canned goods, produce from the garden, and toiletries they collected on some of the trips. For Ben’s birthday this year he asked guests to bring donations for Our Daily Bread instead of presents and then we went over to drop them off in person, and they were so sweet and welcoming.
Lighthouse for the Blind of Fort Worth we learned about as they provided Ben’s cane training, along with information and support for our family. This is something they offer free of charge, and it’s invaluable for anyone with vision challenges to have them as a resource. At a holiday gathering there we were told they had been receiving donations from people who had heard about Ben’s story and wanted to help others – that made Ben SO happy, he teared up. There may be a similar program in your area that could benefit from your contribution!
We hope that gives you some ideas, and there are countless other programs out there making a difference in people’s lives – thank YOU for helping make that difference!!