Thursday, 24 February 2011

Stormin' the Castles.....Finally

We FINALLY made it to Framlingham and Orford Castles with my sister.....and it wasn't even planned! We had planned on going to Cadbury World on Presidents Day, but when I went online to book tickets, I found they were sold out!  It is half-term break for the British schools, which I didn't know until then.  So since Cadbury was out, we decided to go closer to home and finally take her to these two lovely castles, which are free for us since we are members of English Heritage.
Framlingham is a fun castle. This is where Mary Tudor, daughter of Henry VIII, was "hiding out," so to speak, before she was proclaimed Queen in 1553. You can walk along the top of it, which is lots of fun. The kids were a bit cold, though, and since we had been there before, they pretty much ran around it and then we bought some hot chocolate.  (And boy was it hot! I burned my throat on it! Not just my tongue, which I did that too, but I sucked it in when it touched my mouth because it was so hot, and it burned my throat!  Never had that one before.) 
My sister had fun with the lawn chess game.  She and Tink are "playing."

 Orford Castle is so picturesque.  Again, since we had been there before, the kids and I ran up and down the steps.  Luckily, since it was half-term break, they had fun "trails" for the kids. There were letters hidden throughout the castle. They marked them down on their paper and then had to rearrange them to find the answer.  At Orford, we found that Henry II (that was the answer) was the king who had the castle built.
 Here we are having fun in the non-moat.  No water was ever put in it. It was basically just a big ditch to hopefully keep people/animals out. 

At the top!

We had a friend go with us, too, which was nice. He drove our van for me, which helped my arm out a great deal.

Sunday, 20 February 2011


Happy, happy birthday! It feels like February is just birthday month for us. I turned the big 3-0 on the 8th. Ouch, yes, I know.  It was a wonderful day, though. The sun was shining all day--I do believe someone must have ordered that weather for me. My sister made me breakfast and lunch. A few of my good neighbor friends came over for lunch or stopped by with a gift.  Friends from church stopped by, and others called to wish me happy birthday. It was so nice.  My sister made my favorite: our homemade version of Johnny Carino's bowtie festival. Yum!!  So since I HAD to turn 30, I couldn't have asked for a better day (other than my PC being there, but that's out of the question for right now--no use dwelling on it!).
Strawberry Shortcake for lunch dessert!

Getting some lovin' from my kids at dinner.

Striped Delight for my real cake after dinner. Tink made it herself.
The 18th brought along Bucko's 7th birthday.  He and Goofy have been counting down the days until their birthdays as soon as mine was over.  How fun to turn a year older when you are that age! 
Can you not feel the excitement with that expression?  And Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake--yum.

Bucko has been asking for a violin for over 2 years now. When a friend agreed to give him lessons, I decided it was time to get him one. He's very happy.

Auntie K got him a cup that when you drink from it, it gives you a pig nose. :)

I received a notebook for my birthday and started a Mother-Daughter journal with Tink. We write letters to each other and leave the book on the other one's bed after we've written. Bucko really liked this idea and wanted to do one with me, so I bought him a notebook for us to start a Mother-Son journal.

Nintendo DS has been at the top of his wish list for the past 2 years as well.  We would never have gotten him one, but my older sister mentioned that they were going to get rid of theirs because they had bought iTouches for their kids at Christmas.  So she sent Bucko one of their DS's and a bunch of games.  Can you see the surprise, disbelief, and excitement on his face?

Goofy turned 3 on the 19th. My baby is getting so big! I mean really he's not a baby at all anymore.  He asked for spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, which was so nice for me, because that is the easiest meal in the world to make!  But so messy for him.  He loved it though!

Ice cream cake with a ball candle

All the kids have had fun with this voice changer he got.  It is pretty awesome. You can sound like a chipmunk or Darth Vader and a bunch in between.

He finally got his own Webkinz Jr.  He was so happy and Tink went with him to set up his account right away.

Friday, 11 February 2011


There was a crooked man and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked stile.
He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse.
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.
I took my sister and a friend/neighbor to Lavenham today. It is less than an hour away and a fun little village in which to walk around and explore.  The crooked man poem was thought to have found inspiration from this village because of all the crooked houses.  After doing some research, I found that the reason they are crooked is because they were built using green wood and over the years the buildings became distorted, hence all the crookedness. It does make for some fun buildings!  We walked into one little shop and when you go upstairs, the floor itself is at an angle! I was so scared the kids were going to fall down!  I also found out that Jane Taylor wrote the words to Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star while living in Lavenham. AND another piece of exciting news: they filmed part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows here last year!  I don't know which part, but I thought that was awesome! I love Harry Potter, so we love finding all the different spots where different scenes were filmed.  Too bad they kept it top secret while filming!  But they would have had to, I know, or they would have a ton of crazy fans there!

"The Crooked House" which is now an art gallery. Not a good place for little fingers.


They loved this little door that was just their size!

This was just a fun hedge down a side street where we wanted to take our picture.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Kirby Hall

Last Friday the kids had a day off, so we went to Kirby Hall. This is where Mansfield Park was filmed.  It was a gorgeous day, but still pretty cold. The kids couldn't wait to get inside. Of course, it wasn't much warmer, just not windy.
Here is the walk from the carpark up to the entry.  I love the trees. I also love how the grass is always green here!
This is the view from the back at the parterre gardens.  It was pretty.

The kids had a blast rolling down the hill on the side. It was definitely the highlight for them. There aren't any hills in the part of England where we live.
The inside was not what we expected. It was completely empty and very cold.  They were doing some restoration, but there was a lot of work to be done on it still.  I love these columns, and the bedrooms had the most gorgeous, huge bay windows.  Kirby Hall was built in hopes that Queen Elizabeth would come to visit it. She never did though.  However, we had a fun day out there.