Word Search Mania

Last Wednesday was my birthday—and the kids had made it an event to look forward to, and one to enjoy. Enjoying getting older is a great feat at my age! The day was started with the usual opening of presents first thing in the morning. Hazel and Kieran were bursting at the seams all week with excitement and both were great at keeping it all a surprise. Well, if you don’t count all the giggling and whispering going on right in front of me for weeks! Presents are usually small around here for us two—but it’s amazing how wonderful the kids think it is. I got the usual few bars of Green & Blacks—because they know they’ll be shared. Isn’t that kind of them? Hazel made me a potholder and some lovely pictures. I also received a pair of—get this—-binoculars! Yes, they got me binoculars. Go on and laugh if you must—but they are really good and will be used. I know, can I get any geekier?—probably!

The last present, a word search book, was Hazel’s idea. I had found her some junior word search books (in our favourite bookstore in Buxton) and I keep telling her how much I used to enjoy doing them. So she decided I should have one. So of course I was doing it the next day and she got her junior book out and we sat together doing word-searches. Of course this meant Kieran wanted to do it as well. I promised that we’d go look for some for him. Well, this past Saturday we went to town, a very rare occurrence, and found and bought some that were a bit more advanced for each child. They were a bit too advanced for Kieran, so Hazel gave him her junior book, and she started on the more advanced one. So there we were, all three of us searching for words. Kieran took to it very quickly and enjoyed it, and Hazel proved she was more than ready for the advanced version.
Back to the day—we went out for the day to Blenheim Palace, yet another place on mine/our huge list of ‘want-to-see-places’. I’ve been to the grounds before for an arts and craft fair, but hadn’t gone into the palace. It is the home of the Marlborough family and the birth place of Winston Churchill. It was stunning. It’s a very large house with wonderful gardens and has acres of gorgeous land surrounding it. The kids were good and we went on a guided tour. I’m not a huge fan of tours in museums, but I do like them in this type of attraction. I like the ‘gossipy’ bits of a houses history. We learned a lot—and Hazel really enjoyed it. She was quite taken by a portrait of Consuela Vanderbilt-Marlborough—Hazel just thought the dress she was wearing was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. She bought postcards of the painting to send to her grandmothers, and one to keep. We had some tea and cakes in the café and then wandered around the water fountains and a bit of the garden before heading to their butterfly house. We didn’t spend too much time in the many gardens, which is a shame as they are gorgeous. As it is the end of summer they wouldn’t have been at there best anyway—so that’s my excuse to go back next year a bit earlier in the summer!

We drove over to the butterfly house and maze. We all enjoyed the butterflies—one landed on Michael. I think my two were more amazed by all the money dropped into the fish pond in the centre of the house. Hazel thought it’d be enough to buy a car with—I think we need to work on her understanding of money a bit more. We then wandered over to the maze. Well, my children definitely take after their father. They just whipped through that maze without a single ounce of hesitation— we were out in minutes. They were very proud of themselves.

We then headed off to Oxford for dinner, as I just wanted a decent burger that I didn’t have to make myself. We went to Maxwell’s—an American bar and grill. It’s the closest you can get around here to going out and getting a burger—well a good one! (To any non-UK readers—if you come here and want a burger—ask for a ‘beef burger’—because trust me—there is a huge difference!) So we had a simple, but delicious dinner before heading back home. Where we had some cake–the three of them baked a cake the evening before–what can I say, you can’t go wrong with Betty Crocker!

The weekend was fairly quite. We went to town on Saturday and went to a few shops. We finally found a nice waterproof for Hazel at Millets; they never seem to have her size when we go. We also did the obligatory shop in The Works for books! We went to the regular market there to try out one of the vegetable stalls. We spend a fortune on veg and fruit and are always looking for nice stuff. This vendor sells in our local small town as well as the larger one so we decided to try a few more of his veg and fruit as the few I’ve picked up before were nice. It looks like we’ll be paying him some more regular visits.

Sunday was the Farmers Market—so we did our usual stock up on meats and chicken for the month. Hazel was very insistent on purchasing her own sausage sandwich at the market. So we gave each of them the money for it and they went and each ordered and paid for their own. They looked and felt very grown up! We were happy to find out that they will be holding the Farmers Market twice a month starting in October. This means I’ll have to freeze less, which is a good thing as I hate freezing food, especially meats and chicken. We then spent a fairly quite but busy afternoon at home. We got a bit of everything done—so felt like it was a productive day. Michael and I were very happy to plonk down in front of the TV Sunday night—the final season of the Sopranos was finally on! I love trying to spot places I know—they film near my sisters’ house—once they even wanted to film in front of her home—she turned them down as she hadn’t heard of the show!

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