Thursday, 29 March 2012

I've decided that I quite like Pinterest.

I am a list maker, a collecter of photos, a person who needs reminding that, yes, that was an idea I was rather fond of.

This is not so easy when many of the ideas I like are to be found on this interweb of ours. My bookmarks tab is, well frankly, it's alarming. Even with all its little subsections. And inevitably, I forget what I liked on those sites I marked in the first place.

So Pinterest, thank you for existing. Thank you for giving me a place to store all those photos of the way I want my kitchen to look when Farm Boy finally gets his green card and we can buy a home. A place to store all the photos of food I want to make/eat, the photos of crafty things I want to pretend I'm clever enough to make, the photos of places I have traveled to and loved, and all those places I want to go to still.

I will finally remember!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Got the go ahead tonight from the Farm Boy to book our holiday. Woo hoo! So excited. We're going to Hawaii. The BIG island. The boys have never been before - of course - we lived in England. And I think it's really a perfect time to get the homeschooling thing into full swing.

Things have been a little quiet in the homeschooling land of our house. Big kid has been home since Christmas and is still going through his "de-schooling" time. They say a month for every year they've been in school. So that's 8 months - 9 if you count nursery! (Which is like American kindergarten, but they start 2 years earlier.) So hopefully, by the time everyone else is heading back to school, his little brain will be fed up with his iPod, all the rubbish telly he watches, and his general sloth-ness. Of course, I'm not naive enough to believe that some magic switch is going to flip and he will sit at the table, "Mummy, I'm ready for my math lesson now." But even just an occasional visit to Khan Academy would be a plus!

So my plan is this... Use Hawaii as a topic and run with it. Both boys (and the small one will not be returning to school in August, he'll stay home with his brother - oh, and me) are fascinated with volcanoes, hence going to the BIG island and not easy (and lovely) Maui or Oahu where I actually have family. So there's science. There's loads of history; cultural, political and otherwise. Language, food (my favorite, always), heck! we could even learn the hula! I was looking at the state flag earlier today and it should actually be the state flag of my family. It's meant to be a mix of the American stars & stripes and the Union Jack. Fitting, no? So of course, the idea is we do all this work, learn about Hawaii and then the payoff is 10 days there!

Anyway, that's the plan. Of course, the path is not always straight.

But as long as it leads to Hawaii, I'm good.

Right, I just got my new Joy the Baker cookbook so I'm off to make a Cream Cheese Pound Cake.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

So I didn't think anything could get better than Thin Mints straight from the freezer. But then I went and put the peanut butter chocolate ones in. And out they've come, one by one. Damn you Girl Scouts. I got so excited at being able to buy their cookies again that I actually bought what ended up amounting to entire case. Oh dear. It's a good thing they don't sell them year round. Wow, America thinks they have an obesity problem now? Can you imagine my sheer round-ness if I had access to them all the time in the vast quantities I see fit to buy them in? Scary.

You'd think now that I am homeschooling my kids (oldest one is 12 and home now, youngest was 7 yesterday and he'll be coming home at the end of this school year) I would show some restraint. Like, in an effort to set an example to them. But hey, I have boys. They aren't really known for their light appetites. So, I blame them. Surely it's not MY fault. Cookies are my weakness, but I can't very well have a cookie-free house now can I? That wouldn't be fair to them.

And so I soldier on...

Monday, 5 March 2012

Where I Live

So, I mentioned that I'm living out in the country? It's so very rural. Where I grew up, it was one town's boundaries blended in with another's so that the whole county was just one big sprawl of suburbia. There were some cute parts of the individual towns for sure, but it was nothing like where I am now.

Here, if you want to do your weekly grocery shop, its a half hour down the road, but this isn't cause you'll hit innumerable lights and a spot of traffic, it's cause it's 35 miles away. 35 miles of 75 mph freeway. However, if you take your eyes off the road (and surely I'm not advocating that...) you will be treated to some super cool views. The Coastal Range to the west, the snow-capped Sierras to the east. And LOTS of farmland in between. Right now the almond trees are in bloom. My allergies are in overdrive, but it sure is amazingly beautiful. All those whiteish pink blooms and then that new spring green to follow. It's my favorite color season (though I'll tell you that in autumn as well.) Especially after a few days of rain, the hills are green and meet up with that early morning blue sky. It's stunning.

The Farm Boy (as my long suffering husband shall henceforth be known - after all that is how he was first known - I was the barmaid) and I went to a dinner/dance this past weekend. It was so cool. Farm Boy wore jeans, a white short sleeve shirt and Doc Martens. Think new and trendy Docs, not skinhead. And stuck out like a sore thumb. What? No plaid? No cowboy boots? And where's your belt buckle Mr?? I was one of two girls wearing heels. The other was my friend who invited us.

We had some lovely beef - just heaping great trays of the stuff, beans, bread rolls and salad. And some divine peach or apple cobbler for dessert. Of course there were packs of almonds on the table too. Man I do love me some smokehouse almonds. And they just kept coming with the food - and wine - oh I do love California.

During the raffle, we had a laugh looking around at the people who had already won. Bags of feed lay at their feet, a few 2 gallon tubs of Round Up, the occasional shot gun. I was jealous. Honestly! When the dancing started I actually managed to get Farm Boy up for a few dances (the open bar may have helped) which is truly saying something cause he NEVER likes to dance. But that's the thing, there's no judgement here. Sure there are haves and have-nots, but everyone just seems so real, down-to-earth, so friendly! We really feel like we've come home.

Now, where's my allergy tablets...

Saturday, 3 March 2012

2 years later...

If you had told me back then, never in a month of Sundays would I believe you. But yes, here I am, writing this post from California. Where I live. Permanently. How life works, eh?

We visited family Christmas 2010, decided to move back (something about sunshine and fresh fruit I think) and seven months later we did! I still can't believe it. It's eight months as of yesterday that we've been here.

Benefits? The afore mentioned sunshine (it's early March and kid 2 is playing outside - this doesn't always happen without getting wet in England), family and friends are nearby, the beauty of where we live now (Northern California Central Valley), I can buy Girl Scout cookies again...

What do we miss... Ask my husband? Nothing. Kids are desperate for their friends. I miss family and friends very much. I will miss being able to drive to France every summer and other cool travel destinations. (The Maldives are SO FAR from SFO...) There's a lot of food I miss oddly. Golden Syrup is a key ingredient in flapjacks (no, they are not pancakes, think oaty buttery sweet goodness) and I do love me some flapjacks. And double cream. I've gone to drinking my coffee black in protest. And it was easier to get responsibly farmed meat over there. I'm not a fan of the feedlot.

So, yeah, lots of change. We're glad we did it.