Saturday, December 27, 2008

2008 weather video link from local news station

Not sure if this is going to work, but here goes!!!

i have copied and pasted a link and if you can view this link you can click on a short video of our weather highs and lows of 2008. it is not long, about 4minutes, but very interesting when looked at from a British perspective.

let me know if this works, then I can tweak my knowledge and keep learning

Trail of lights - Austin

I mentioned on a previous entry that we had gone down to the trail of lights, and now I have some great photo's to share with you. we went with friends and Jo is a fantastic photographer, so these are of a quality you are not to get use too!!!
It is basically a walk of about 1.2miles, in Zilker park, they close the area off to traffic and you walk on the road in the park , they have decorated the trees and put music, added extra characters and they whole experience is wonderful. Even with Alex and Ben who were tired when we took them just recovering from a cold. The temperature was cold, next to 0C, so it actually felt like Christmas, we had eaten out first at a local restaurant- Green Mesquite, which had been great, nothing fancy, ideal for children and the food was delightful - if not still large portions. Then off to the cars and to wrap ourselves up for our walk on the 'Trail of Lights'. there were thousands of people there, and they run a shuttle bus to take people there from a car park over on the other side of town. As we did not want to apy the $15 parking fee we park in the local area and walked further, but it was a lovely walk and well worth seeing. there is a 'tree' at the end ( actually it is a cone- upside down- of lights in a spiral-it is about 150feet high and you are meant to swing under neather and wish) I did this of course, with My Allan, Allan Hunter and cara so i got three wishes!!!!!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Our Christmas day went well, we mixed traditions and had all the normal trappings of Christmas with the meat being Grilled by Allan outside. We all enjoyed our shrimp platter and smoked salmon starter outside before moving in to enjoy our Main Christmas meal with our crackers from UK - not something they do out here. We hope you all had a pleasant day and enjoyed yourselves.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas day

Good morning and a merry Christmas to you all. We managed to start the day at a sensible time, not sure how long that will last, but 0650 was MUCH better than expected. We have bought the children a joint present this year instead of lots of individual ones - x box 360( American) and Rock band 2, so the noise level in this house is quiet high. Alex and Ben are having lessons from there rock chic sister who has obviously played this far too much at Rhona's!!! She is goooooood. plays on the hard level and we are all trailing a long way behind on easy. I have bowed out and am now cooking the lunch-seems like an excellent option to me.
I have a new mixer to play with, so no more asking for a transformer from one of the boys games consoles before i can use my existing mixer.
must go, lunch awaits. You can tell Cara is happy on the Rockband because she is not hogging the computer so i can update my blog.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Here is a picture of Tex for you all to love her as much as we do!!!!!

What have we been up to!!

the run up to Christmas has been hectic as you would expect, with so many school activities, Allan's work do, drinks parties at friends houses and trying to see the delights of Austin at Christmas has been one long whirl, i am looking forward to the stopping of Christmas itself.
Ben has made a gingerbread house at school, which Cara went in to help with as well. I am sure Cara is grateful for all the activities I am volunteering her for at the moment.
Allan and I are still training for the marathon in February and my new activity of Jazzercise is going great, I am really enjoying those classes, I try to go at least three times a week, and I am now running the 2.6miles to the class, doing the hour of cardio and running home again, so am feeling fitter. If only I would stop eating all the goodies of Christmas as well!!!!
Jack has his Christmas present already, it is a black labrador puppy, he has names her - Charlotte Emily Cara, we have shortened that to Tex( I know many of you are surprised we shortened the name!!!) Tex is a fun addition to the house, she has been with us for about 10days, causing chaos and pandemonium as well lots of laughter. House training her is SUCH fun.

Alex and Ben had School 'Holiday' parties

They are not allowed to call it Christmas in school as that is a religious festival so they have to call it 'Holiday' as there are a number of holidays at the moment depending on your religion. They both had parties, in fact the whole school did at the same time and each class hosted there own, parents etc were allowed, so Cara went and helped in Ben's class and I went helped in Alex's class. We baked many things , and then rushed down there to do our duties as helpers.

Getting the Christmas tree

For our first Christmas we went to a Christmas tree farm called Evergreen Farm, it was near a town called Elgin to the east of Austin. We all had a fun day, having borrowed a truck, we set of to chose our tree.
You had to ride a tractor and trailer to the the area they were cutting down the trees, you selected your tree, cut it down yourself, dragged it to the edge where they picked you up again, tagged your tree and stored your measuring pole and saw back on the tractor. Very civilised and great fun. Back at the start they had swing ball, goat feeding, tree shakers, mulled wine, mulled cider, a small shop and passable toilets and a few other activities, it was all very rustic, but fun and we all enjoyed the occassion.

Sorry it has been so long

Well Christmas Eve is here, and i thought I would carve out some time to wish you all reading my blog a very merry Christmas. I hope that 2008 leaves you fit and well and that 2009 brings you health and happiness.
We are looking forward to our first Christmas in Texas, it will be very different on some levels and some traditions you manage to recreate!!
We will not have turkey on Christmas day, that is more to do with the awful oven we have, but as our temperatures will be hovering around 70F, we will grill some nice steak outside, then eat with all the trimmings at a beautifully laid Christmas table.
breakfast will not alter, Champagne, ham and poached eggs, I will be cooking the ham today, so it is all go in this house for a fun filled family Christmas.
We will be thinking of you all and will raise a glass to our friends and family in other parts of the globe, we can not be with you, but you are not far from our thoughts at all.
Have a very merry Christmas.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Cara is back in Texas

Cara and her friend Vicki have arrived and are enjoying the sun. they managed to get sun burnt when down on Town Lake kayaking on Tuesday. Today it has been colder although sunny, they have decided to shop when the temperatures do not permit sunbathing!!! They have a list of things to do whilst Vicki is out here, and seem to be working there way through it nicely.


We had a lovely time on thanksgiving, Allan and i ran in the morning and then went over to some friends house for 4pm. I took some desserts and nibbles for drinks and we spent the time eating a huge turkey, vegetables cooked differently to UK style and drinking. Lots of chatter and company, enjoyment and relaxation was had by all. the following day was more relaxed as Allan and I are not capable of drinking too much and then functioning the next day- getting old you know!!!
The Friday after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday, as the sales all start and people do their Christmas shopping, good deals are meant to be had, and the shops open at 3am or 4am, to long queues. We did venture out, but did not see any amazing deals by the time we got there.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Alex's second grade Thanksgiving concert

This evening Alex performed in the second grade concert, he had the opening speech. Alex had spent a couple of weeks learning the lines and was ready- although they gave him the speech on a piece of paper in case he needed it, so Alex just read the paper!!! It shows some sense, why remember when they are going to give you the words!! I knew he knew it, and was very proud. My first attempt at putting some video on the blog, so lets hope it works. Having sat here for ages, I think this is a large file!! Allan says 191MB is big, so not sure how it will work on the blog. [Indeed the upload failed, no reason was given. Will try again later - Allan]

Bens pumpkin pie class activity

Ben made pumpkins pie yesterday, November 19th 2008, in his class. each table had to make the pie from scratch( well tinned pumpkin is hardly scratch!!!), the pastry case and then make up the mixture for the centre of the pumpkin pie. He enjoyed making the pie, the school canteen cooked them( and actually burnt them all!!!) and today for snack time they ate them. Some children had 4 or 5 slices. Ben had the obligatory' must try it two mouth fulls' and just went on to the whipped cream. The other mums ate it, but I was with Ben. I am going to make my own - from scratch. the pumpkins are sitting on the side in our kitchen, and then we will see what the family as a whole think of Pumpkin Pie. One of the mum's said to me, "I love pumpkin Pie, but only eat it at Thanksgiving", it must be a tradition like our Christmas pudding, which I love but only eat at Christmas.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What radio station do I listen too

We all seem to listen to a different station, and I will ask Allan to let you know what he has the car tuned too, but the station I usually have on is magic on 95.5, if you wanted a taste of Austin then the link is I usually wake up to this and have it on for a few hours each day, then actually I get fed up with the adverts, or their blatant promotion of products. It is fine in small doses. I am listening from 0545, which is in the afternoon for you, so feel free to tune in and get our weather, news and at the moment Christmas songs in full pelt.
Cara listens to a totally different one again- very noisy and makes me feel old. I think her station is Kiss, but will confirm that for you as well.

My Wilton cake course No.2

I have just finished my course 2, this was all about making flowers out of royal icing and colour flow, so the only cake we made was this end one, so you have not had many pictures recently.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Our cooler Fall weather

I have not been putting the weather on recently, but thought you might like to see the temperatures are cooling down, so for those of you who prefer the lower temperatures this would be a good time of year to visit, they should stay lower now until February when they will start increasing again.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Science night

Alex, Ben and I (Allan) attended the Baranoff science night last Thursday. The school (well, the PTA probably) laid on pizza and drinks for us and about 100 other parents and children and after the meal we went inside to discover a bit about science.

Alex immediately disappeared and Ben and I found him on the science web sites on the computers, he was very enchanted by the simulation of the earth going round the sun and the effect that the earth's inclination had on the seasons. Ben and I made a rolling measure from a paper plate and a bit of wood. We also had a go at sticking a skewer through a balloon, much to Ben's disgust - a waste of a perfectly good balloon in his eyes.

We also extracted the 'dust', for want of a better name, that absorbs the dampness in babies' nappies and watched as it swelled up when water was added. We also tried to see if we could magnetise a nail, which we did not manage, much to my disappointment.

Amongst other experiments were adding Borax to white glue and food colouring to make something resembling 'silly putty' and we watched dry ice bubbles. Alex popped up from time to time, he'd been examining how not all black inks were the same by allowing the ink to be diluted in water on filter paper.

All in all an enjoyable night, even if we didn't actually find any iron particles in our iron enhanced cereal!

Election Day

On November 4th we had an election over here in The States, not sure if you had all heard back in UK!! I went with a friend to watch her vote and see what there polling stations are like. It was an interesting set up, with no ID needed, you just handed over you voting card, asked if you still lived at the same address and then issued with a 4 digit number to input into the machine. Once in the machine, you could select a party, and then all candidates for that party would be selected, or go through and individually select your candidates, and you always had the option to abstain for a selection. Once done you just hit the large button and away you went. the process was very quick, Emily and I were in and out within 4 minutes. In actual fact the votes do not go directly to the candidate, they go to another level of voters, who then make the final vote for the State, taking in to account the wishes of the voters in that state. You could vote early for the election as well, we have had voting booths set up in Randals, a local store for a few weeks before the election, to try and cut down queuing times.

Alex's first school trip

On November 3rd Alex had his first school trip which was to a butterfly farm, called wild Connections. I can tell you it was 14 miles away as I had to cycle there to join the field trip as the car was in the garage!!! All helps towards the marathon training- positive thinking is always a good thing.

They went in the yellow school buses, and all the second grade classes went( six in total). It was a beautiful day weather wise and lots of butterflies were out. The children all enjoyed the butterfly house, the nature trail and education centre where they saw a film and learnt a lot more about butterflies than already covered in the subject at school. Of course there was the obligatory shop at the end, where Alex bought himself a poster on venomous snakes of Texas- ready for you to study when you come out and visit. You can never be too careful.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

More costumes