Monday, November 29, 2010

Decorating our Christmas Tree

I know it is not December until Wednesday but we got our tree yesterday. The coming weekends are going to be busy so this was the best time to get it done. Plus once Thanksgiving is over it seems that people around town take it at the best time to decorate for Christmas. I used to do the whole 12 days before/after Christmas but that seems to have gone out the window over the years.

We got our tree from the same place as last year and when we got home we got out the boxes with all the decorations, lights etc in them. At the moment we have 1 medium box and 1 small box (previously Amazon boxes that we received gifts in) with the decorations in them. If we stay here much longer, or actually move into a house, then we may need to rethink the storage.

It can be a major event getting the kids to decorate the tree properly. Of course it can be a major even trying to get the kids to do anything sometimes!


They like trying to rub all the glitter off the baubles. They like playing with the hooks to hang the baubles from the tree, that is when they are not hanging them from the tinsel. The like creating light effects on the wall with the tree lights. The like running around the room with the tinsel. The like putting on the Santa hats and not decorating the tree at all. After a bit of bickering they did help decorate. For a while all the baubles were being hung in one area but we then got a little stool for them to stand on so they could reach higher.

We had bought some outdoor lights and hooks last year but never got around to putting them up. We decided to try and put them up this year. We only had 1 box of outdoor lights so it was only enough to sort of drape them around the dining room window. (We don't live in a big house so there was no danger of us doing a Clark Griswold National Lampoon Christmas) I dread to think what the electricity bill is for some of the houses in the neighborhoods near us! Of course the outdoor decorations are not just limited to lights so people must spend a lot of figures and decorations for their yard/garage/porch/driveway.

After much muttering and cursing, the lights were semi secured around the  window. We managed to get the wreath on the door and stop the door sticking on the wreath hanger. Now to work out where to put the Christmas stockings. We don't have a mantle to hang them from.

Choosing our Christmas tree!

Yesterday we went out to choose our Christmas tree at Spencer Farms. It was a bit chilly but the kids had a lot of fun running around the place and I got to buy some fudge.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Message for Z & K from Santa!

K's message from Santa. She loved it and looked so excited watching it!

Z's message from Santa. He was surprised to see the pictures of him in it and wondered how Santa got them!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Eve 2010



Today is Thanksgiving Eve. The kids are now off school until Monday. K came home wearing a hat and t-shirt she had made for a Thanksgiving thing she was doing in school. She also had a Thanksgiving Feast in her class but she has not been forthcoming with any information about it! I am assuming she had quite a bit to eat as she hasn't been raiding the fridge as much as she usually does when she gets home from school. (We think she's going through a growth spurt as she has been really hungry recently!)

I have made a cake for tomorrow. It is a Winter Fruit Cake that I saw in Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine.

It was relatively easy to make and I managed to get it ready without any major mishaps. It was supposed to cook for 1hr 10 minutes but my one ended up needing closer to 1hr 30 minutes.

It looks alright and K and I have sampled a little bit of it. You can probably see a corner missing. There is supposed to be a caramel glaze with it that I will make tomorrow just before I serve it.

Ben and I are off out tonight to see the new Harry Potter movie as not only is it Thanksgiving Eve it is also our 9th wedding anniversary.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Holiday on the Square: Christmas Lights

I mentioned in this post that Holiday on the Square was coming up and the Christmas lights in Carmel would be getting turned on. Well today was that day, so we donned our gloves and hands and headed down to Civic Square to see the lights be switched on.

We enjoyed a sausage slider and some lovely warm waffles with chocolate sauce whilst we were waiting. Here are some of the photos I took. It was the same man doing the balloons (Z chose a candy cane balloon again but K opted for a mouse!) that we saw and the line to see Santa was really long. We got some hot chocolate and a cookie just after we arrived and enjoyed wandering along the street looking at the Christmas Farmers Market.

I love Christmas and especially love seeing all the Christmas lights and decorations. I am looking forward to seeing houses decorated soon with lights as I drive around town. We will probably not decorate until after Thanksgiving and we will once again be getting a real Christmas tree. The kids loved choosing the real tree we got last year.

Some houses have very subtle lights but some have very over the top lights. I love them all. I'm hoping to take some pictures of houses decorated and of course I will take some of ours when we have our decorations up. (There won't be a lot of decorations but they'll be great all the same!)



Now the street Christmas lights are on, I'm sure it won't be too long before more and more homes are decorated. It will certainly brighten the streets and may make it easier to see where you're going at night. I'm still getting used to the dark streets when I'm driving at night.

Build A Bear (or a bunny)

K has been wanting to go to Build A Bear Workshop for a really long time. We have taken her into the store and she has looked at the bears and the outfits you can get, but she's never bought anything. Last time we were at Castleton Mall I told her next time we were there I would take her to Build A Bear Workshop and she could choose a bear and we would buy it. (I think I may have been hoping she would forget but who am I kidding? 5 year olds never forget when you tell them they can get a new toy the next time you take them somewhere!) When she was last in the store she had chosen what she wanted to get so when we did go to buy it, it wouldn't take long. The store is called Build A Bear and K chooses a Bunny!

We pick up the bunny and then go to choose a sound for it to make. K almost chooses a meow sound but I tell her that a bunny would not meow so she settles for a giggle. She then chooses a heart, makes a wish and gives it a kiss before putting it in the bunnys tummy and watching it be filled with stuffing so it is just cuddly enough. Then she brushes it and chooses its new outfit. She opts for a ballerina outfit complete with pink underpants. We then complete the information on their computer so it has a birth certificate. Her Build A Bear bunny is now complete and its name is....'Bunny'. She's a very happy girl as she walks out the store carrying her box with her new bunny in it.

She also got a $10 gift card so I am sure she'll be back to choose more outfits for Bunny real soon!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

School

Z has always liked school. He's always liked books. He doesn't always concentrate when he is there but he always likes going to school. His sister has not been the same. K only spent a few weeks at school in the UK when she was 4 before we came over to the US. She then spent pretty much a year at home with me as she was too young for school. I tried to get her interested in learning to write her name and learning the alphabet.  We did work on it and she did learn to write her name. She could even write it backwards, and by that not just in the reverse order but write the letters back to front like mirror writing. Move on to now and she can write her name. She can write sentences and recognizes numbers and can count over 100. I even heard her counting up by 5 a few days ago. She draws pictures that are full of color and it is very clear what or who is in the picture. (Her dad has taken a picture she did of herself and Z to put on his desk at work) She has been placed in the Title 1 program at school to get her reading to grade level, hopefully by the end of the year. Z was also in the Title 1 program when he was in KG but when we got his first 1st Grade report card it stated that he was almost at 2nd Grade reading level. When Z moved from 1st Grade to KG not long after we moved here, the school was great and made the whole process wonderfully smooth. It was the best decision we made for Z and he thrived in his new class.

At the moment both of my kids love going to school and I think it is a combination of the fact they are going to a great school and the teachers they have. K loves her teacher and is always talking about her. She was very excited when she found out that her teacher lived nearby and was hoping that she would see her when she was out trick or treating at Halloween. (She didn't)

Last night K was very ill. She was sick several times during the night and again a little bit when she woke up. (She had eaten something that did not agree with her. It's not a bug.) She was not happy that we said she was not going to be going to school and declared herself well enough to go to school. So she got herself dressed and ready for the school bus. I told her if she didn't feel well while she was at school she should tell a teacher and I could come and collect her. So far so good. No phone call saying she is ill. Tomorrow she has her first Girl Scout Troop meeting so I hope she is back 100% for it!

Friday, November 12, 2010

American Airlines 'Putting Them First'

There I was sitting there minding my own business pairing socks that I had just taken out of the dryer when this ad comes on TV. I admit I got a bit emotional watching it. It is happening loads and it's starting to freak me out. An ad comes on TV and makes me get a bit teary eyed! Is something wrong with me?! Does anyone else get a little emotional when watching some ads on TV or am I alone here?

Holiday on the Square

Next weekend, November 20th, is the annual 'Holiday on the Square' in Carmel. It is from 4.30pm until 6.30pm. The holiday lights will be switched on around 5.45pm.
"There will be jugglers, carolers, balloon artists, and a visit from Santa, two of his reindeer and other North Pole animals.
 Back by popular demand—The Carmel Farmers Market will be holding a “Holiday Market” during the event featuring all of your favorite holiday foods and treats, including waffles, salsa, mulled wine, caramel corn, fudge and more! 
Holiday entertainment will be provided by Blair Clark with the Carmel Voices; Central Indiana Dance Ensemble; Clay Middle School Choir; and Carmel Symphony Orchestra Brass Quintet. Refreshments will be provided by Shapiro’s Delicatessen and the CFD Auxiliary. 
The first 400 children will receive goodie bags filled with surprises donated by event sponsors.  
Attendees are encouraged to bring unwrapped gifts for those in need in the local community. They may be placed under the “giving tree” at the Civic Square Gazebo. (note: no plush toys please) These will be donated to the Carmel Fire Department’s Christmas Assistance Program."

 We went last year and the kids loved it. We hadn't been living in Carmel very long and this was the first big community event we went to. The lights were lovely. It was nice to see so many people out to watch them be turned on and all the kids waiting in line to see Santa.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

K Singing a Song for Veterans Day 2010

K singing a song she learnt at school for Veterans Day today. It's a long song but she remembered most of it!

Fire

This is really close to where we live. I woke around 4.15am as I could hear the sirens and when I turned my laptop on I checked the local news stations and found out what was happening. When I walked the kids to school today we could see the news helicopter in the air and could smell the smoke. So sad that the businesses have been destroyed but thankful that no one was hurt. About 75% of Carmel fire departments were called to the scene.








Monday, November 8, 2010

Busy Bee

Busy busy busy. That is going to be me for a little while. Somehow, and I have yet to work out how exactly this happened exactly, I have volunteered to do a whole load of stuff! I would never have done this if I was still in the UK so why am I doing it now?

As you know I volunteer twice a week at my kids school. Well now I can add to that list the fact that I am now a Daisy Girl Scout Leader! I finally got enough girls (3) to form a Troop so K can be a Girl Scout. I have just arranged the date and times of our Troop meetings between now and the end of the school year. Luckily I was able to get the use of Carmel Christian Church so there was not too much hassle there. I just need to now work out what to do with the girls! I have to go to the Girl Scout Store soon so I can get a copy of the Daisy Leaders book and uniforms for the girls. I am sure it will all be fine. It will won't it?

I also volunteered to help at The Center for Performing Arts. I have been to an usher orientation evening and on Saturday I will actually be going into The Palladium for a training session for ushers. (They want pretty much everyone to be trained as an usher even though you could be placed in the gift store or taking tickets or coat check) I have no idea how often or when exactly I will be needed there but I have given them my details so I just have to wait and see now. I have just sent an email to the guy arranging it all telling him my schedule so I can be slotted in easily to the plans. Remind me again why I am doing this!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fireworks

I like fireworks. I love the 'ooooh' and 'aaaaah' responses they elicit. I have also always enjoyed watching the fireworks displays around the world on New Years Eve/Hogmanay. I especially love the display in my hometown of Edinburgh and one day I would really love to spend New Years in New York City.

Here in the US they also do fireworks on 4th of July. They celebrate the nations independence from Great Britain. There is a whole weekend of things going on. They also have all their patriotism and flags out on display and I love that. I love the fact that Americans can celebrate their country. It is a great way to bring people together and each 4th of July celebration I have been to in the US I have seen all happy, smiley faces. If you love your country you should be able to show it without worrying what people will think about you. If people displayed the Union Jack flag in the UK they would probably be accused of being a member of the BNP. If the people of the UK asked for a day to celebrate all things British they would most likely be accused of being racist or similar and I find that rather sad.

But then St Georges Day is not yet a public holiday in England but St Andrews Day is a Bank Holiday in Scotland, St Davids Day is a public holiday in Wales and St Patricks Day is a public holiday in Republic of Ireland and a Bank Holiday in Northern Ireland. St Patricks Day is even a big deal here in the US and you can't fail to know it is St Patricks Day! For all the time I spent living in England (13 years) there were a few occasions when I did not know it was St Georges Day. I always knew when it was St Andrews Day or Burns Night in Scotland.

The UK also does fireworks on Guy Fawkes night. This is a celebration of a failed attempt to kill King James and everyone in Parliament. Bonfires are lit and the effigy of a 'Guy' is put on top of the bonfire. Is that not a bit sick? Burning something that looks like a person on a big fire?

It is rather unfortunate but I feel the need to state the following. The opinions expressed above are my opinions and my opinions alone.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Should I Annoy Everyone?

So it is almost that time of year again. The time to send out Christmas cards to friends and family. We have not done the cheesy family photo in matching sweaters but I was considering doing the Christmas Round Robin Newsletter. We hadn't really been here long enough last year to warrant sending one out. Even though I have this blog, I don't think many members of my family or friends actually read it. (I have stats so I know where my visitors come from and not many are in the UK. I don't think they would know how to block the stats either!) There is stuff I could tell them about. Probably bore them senseless but at least they couldn't say I don't tell them what is going on over here. Might also distract them, for a millisecond,  from the fact there is no gift attached to the card! Does anyone out there do these, ahem, lovely newsletters for family and friends.

14 year olds & Green Cards

Did you know that you need to get a new green card when you turn 14? Do you know the reason why? No really, I'd like to know why. ...