Monday, September 28, 2015

UK Vacay: Stratford-upon-Avon

Since I was in High School, and we took our Senior Trip to Stratford, Ontario, Canada to see The Three Musketeers...  I've always wanted to  make the pilgrimmage to Stratford-upon-Avon, England.  This summer, I got to check it off the bucket list and make a lifelong dream come true!  Here are some pics of our time there.  The first few are from the Shakespeare Memorial.  One of the best parts of seeing this memorial was the statue of Shakespeare in the middle, in a thinking pose.  This statue was in my boy's first introduction to the Romeo and Juliet story... the movie Gnomeo and Juliet!  
Prince Hal
Lady MacBeth


THE statue my kids actually recognized!

We took a few tours.  Loved seeing the Tudor buildings, with the bowed timber.  Look below for an example of a "maintained" tudor building and a "replicated" one!  

It's hard to see on this one pic, but the coffee shop is the "new" building, and the shop on the left is the old.  
Awesome architecture!

Shakespeare's birthplace

The wall covering inside one of the rooms

The placard that hung above the Public House owned by Shakespeare (attached to his home)

All the world's a stage...

In the gift shop.  I loved this idea, and think it could be replicated pretty easily.

This is the back yard of the Shakespeare birth home.
It was once a tannery yard.  Not quite so pretty as a garden!

They had free activites for kiddos.  They made crowns.

This was the delivery door.  Home on the right (where hubby is), workshop on the left, and a "street" where a horse and cart could drive through to deliver/pickup whatever a glove maker/tanner might need. 

Name a Shakespeare play, sonnet, character, and this man would give
a soliloquy or song on demand!

A 1611 King James Bible!  My favorite part of the Church of the Holy Trinity.

Church of the Holy Trinity, where William Shakespeare is buried.  

Shakespeare's baptismal font.

Sites for everyone to appreciate 
They really love each other!
We stayed at the Faviere Guest House for our time in S-u-A.  Enjoyed a Full English every day, and truly had great service from Juan, the proprietor.  
This is the back side of the B&B, from the walking path that led straight to the City Centre (10 minutes easy walk).

He begged me to put this on the blog! ;)

The highlight of my trip was going to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and watching a performance of The Merchant of Venice.  My mister stayed back with the boys and did laundry.  It wasn't an ideal setup, because if we would have planned ahead, I could have arranged childcare and gotten two tickets.  But, I comfort myself with the fact that we saved over 100 POUNDS by making my date a "seat for one" kind of evening.  Next time... NEXT time, we'll go together!  

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


As a child, when I imagined myself as an adult, I imagined writing checks with lots of numbers... spending all kinds of money on things I couldn't afford as a kid. I just never imagined myself writing checks to a handy-man for a sliding door replacement. Today, I'm glad Dave Ramsey taught me to prepare for stuff like this.  Still not touching my emergency fund!

There are two more that will need replacing.  But I'm holding off on that, because it's time to replace our ROOF this summer.  It wasn't something we had on our radar, (I honestly thought we'd get new carpet and windows first), so we'll have to dip into our emergency fund for most of the cost of that.  BUT... It's not the end of the world.  I know how to SAVE money like never before.  But I'm also opening up my options to beginning to WORK again to throw more cash at our mortgage.

I've been in prayer about when to work, and what job I might take on. I've even had dreams about it.

My goals are simple.  Pay off the mortgage in less than 10-years.
I've had some good bosses.  This time I want to be my own boss (liked that SO much better)!
Be able to take my work with me when I move.
Have it make a difference in others lives.

Massage Therapy is what I'm trained in, but my license has long-since expired due to my many moves, and the babies I waited so long to mother.  They're my most important gift, and I am happy to forfeit my professional life to be their mommy.

But, they're not babies any more!  One's nearly a decade old!  The other one is just a few years behind!

So.  I'm praying, and open to whatever is around the corner!  Will I do direct sales?  If so, I want the organization I'm working with be more than just a "money maker," and I want it to be a business with whose philosophy I wholeheartedly agree.  Will I go back to Massage Therapy?  If so, I'll have to go back to school to make up deficencies and re-test for my license.  Will I go into ministry?  If so, I'll have to start thinking about Seminary...

Who knows what life will look like in just a few months.  I just have a feeling it's not going to look the same as it does now.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

UK Vacay: Warwick Castle

We spent a day at Warwick Castle, and it was one of the most enjoyable days for the boys.  Good weather, and a ton of interactive things to do.  Shows, Midieval history, falconry, archery, Knight School... to name a few!  We booked our tickets several weeks in advance, and were able to save 30% on the price of admission by doing so. We spent about 4.5 hours outside of the castle before we finally made it in, and that was just to use the facilities and get a few pics.  It was a pretty important piece of real estate in it's time, but the family couldn't afford to maintain it, and it was sold to Madame Tussaud's a few years ago, and is now managed by the Merlin Entertainments Group (Legoland, Sea Life Aquariums, and other attractions across in 25 countries).   They've done a great job bringing history to life.  If you're in Warwick, GO!  You won't be disappointed.

Dying for the Archery show

Audience Participation! 

Falconry Show 

The Castle

Archery Lessons

Knight School! 

Little Brother was Knight over Western US

Big Brother was Knight over Eastern US

These guys catch a lot of shots--some are actually good!
Little Brother took this!

A really pretty, DRY day!

The Hunting Cottage is in the distance.

Usually 4 men would do the job of ratcheting down the Trebuchet. 


At the end of the day, this is a beautiful site!