Month: November 2014 (page 1 of 3)

A Little Bit of France

Today is was raining. In the states, that’s not that big of a deal but here with public transportation and 4 children it’s a different story. In North Carolina when it rains we pause and think, hmm, do I really feel like getting my coat on and getting into my car to go to my destination? My shoes might get wet and it’s a bit muddy. 

In London they laugh at the rain … not really … but they Keep Calm and Carry On into the rain. People are equipped, they have umbrellas and rain coats and I saw lots of boots. 

Today is Sunday and that means riding the bus for church, that means 4 children in the rain riding the bus. And they did it. Out we went with our umbrellas and rain coats. Lucy never misses a beat, rain or shine she smiles her way up the sidewalk and to the bus stop. 

The name of their church is Community Church Putney. A growing, vibrant church that loves the Lord. Here is their web site if you would like to know more about it.–about-ccp.html 

Here is a short video of Lucy dancing at church

At this temporary setting for CCP there is a beautiful pond right outside the front door, the kids get out of church and go explore and enjoy nature .. translation – find sticks, throw them and run through the bushes. Today our kids did the same thing they always do with the difference of the rain. Oh. Out they went and don’t you know it, down he went, into the mud. HA! New reality. No car, no change of clothes and a bus ride to make it home. Poor fellow, I bet he learned for the whole family the value of staying dry. 

Ben and the kids made that journey home but Kimberly, Penelope and I took a different bus and headed into downtown London to Harrods. 

I’m disappointed to tell you that it was uncomfortably crowded. The food court had long lines. The tea room had no open seating and it was such a large operation we needed a map, sadly, there was not one to be found. The store is like a mall with many different rooms. I imagine it would have been wonderfully fun to enjoy on a slower day. 

Kimberly and I both were ready to GET OUT of there. 

Kimberley found a place in Kensington for us to eat. It was lovely! The rain had stopped and we walked to lunch, La Brasserie ( 

Here is an internet pic of the restaurantla

Happy to be inside we were greeted and quickly seated at our table. As we sat we heard laughter and conversation. The restaurant was humming with happy chatter. AND most of it was in French! The name La Brasserie is a french expression that means a type of restaurant with a relaxed setting, serving food all day. 

Our waiter was very attentive. We shared a wonderful meal. And, yes I was that obnoxious tourist that took pics of my food. Starting out I had a dark French roast with lots of cream. Kimberly had black tea with milk, very British of her. 


Then we were surprised by our starter – Beef carpaccio Parmesan, rocket and truffle oil and pine nuts. The flavor was outstanding. The part that surprised us was that the beef tenderloin was raw! We took our first bite cautiously but after that we ate it slowly but enthusiastically. The mix of flavors were fresh, the rocket (arugula lettuce) a bit peppery, the parmesan cheese creamy and the pine nuts added a little zest. Delightful. IMG_2407

Sweet Kimberly lets me take her picture. 

This was the main course, Risotto Funghi arborio rice, wild mushrooms, parmesan cheese and truffle oil. There were a lot mushrooms I didn’t recognize. The sauce was creamy and I think I detected a little wine on the mushrooms. We thoroughly enjoyed it. IMG_2410

We had this little sweet pea with us. IMG_2412

She wanted to touch everything. Because of her sweet face she got a lot of attention. What is it about babies that makes even men stop and play with the babies? IMG_2418

We finished with apple strudel. IMG_2420

This was a fun and memorable culinary adventure with Kimberly and Penelope. IMG_2422We traveled by tube and bus and we got off at Barnes, which is near their neighbourhood so she could buy milk. Then we had a walk home that was like a scene in a movie. It was dark but the wet streets reflected the lights, people were going here and there. I could feel the cool fresh air and a little mist. We saw a lot of neighborhoods with local pubs or shops, we found sweetly fragrant hyacinths planted in pots. We chatted and walked, just happy to be together. Finally home, we were welcomed into their bright, warm home with smiles and hugs and “Where have you been so long” It’s nice to be missed. 

God is love. God’s love is so great that He gave His only Son to bring us into fellowship with Him. God’s love not only encompasses the world, but embraces each of us personally and intimately. 

—1 John 4:7-10border_graphic_with_swirls_and_a_heart_in_black_and_white_0515-0910-1419-2547_SMU-150x84

British Breakfast

Early this morning Zackary and I skipped breakfast at home and instead walked to the local Italian restaurant and Italian food shop. We hadn’t decided for sure which restaurant we would go to, Zackary wanted to check out the Thai food or the sushi restaurants but since it was early morning they were closed. We kept walking until we went to Ben’s recommended restaurant Villa Rosa. As soon as we walked in we noticed that the people were speaking Italian, the food was italian and we had a little piece of Italy.


They waitress came for our order, Zackery sweetly asked if he could have lemonade. Hey this was our special date, of course he could have lemonade .. I found out later that lemonade is not what we think lemon, water and sugar but it is a carbonated drink! Oh he was a little trickster! But that was OK with me, I love spoilin those little kids.

This is Italian roast coffee. It’s strong and dark, I will be sure to bring Don here when we come back. IMG_2363

This is a called the British breakfast, where we might have pancakes, eggs and bacon here we were served eggs ( they didn’t ask my egg cooked preference but the eggs were cooked perfectly over easy) the beans were a highlight for Zackary but he said GiGi’s were still even better. The meat was very good, I have never had sausage or bacon taste so good! They brought us 8 pieces of artisan bread. Zacakry and I left very full and satisfied. Mmm good.


I had an interesting experience in the restaurant. It seemed this is a very popular spot and there appeared to be “regulars” on this Saturday morning because it filled up with middle aged people greeting each other. I met Allen, he is a grandpa that was sitting next to us. I broached the British keep to yourself rule and asked him about how much people tip in the UK. He told me that they tip very little if at all.  Then we chatted for about 10 minutes, it was a lovely chat. As conversations do, the subject of God came up and it wasn’t me that brought it up …  he mentioned that someone upstairs was protecting him, pulling the strings in his life. I mentioned that I love God too! He asked me to tell him more about it so I explained how the Lord Jesus had come into my life and taken me from the emotionally crippled sinner to living a healthy life with a loving husband and family. He was intrigued and continued to tell me more of his experiences with God. We finished with some chit chat and then I left. I pray the Lord will draw Allen closer to Himself.



Zackary and I went to the grocery store. I liked it. It was very nice, it had everything you could want. It was clean and fresh.



The carts have a spot to hold your bag and your grocery list AND there is a calculator. IMG_2371

You can see here they call candy – confectionary. I have been told they also call them sweets. The children are steered clear of calling them candy, because that term is so … American.  (A little bit of snobby snob there)

Here are some of the popular cereals. IMG_2373



This looks like a parking lot to me but here in the UK it’s called a car park. IMG_2376

Here is where you get your -TYRES –

Lucy and I had fun trying on some hats. We look like we are ready for a royal visit. As a surprise to me, folks don’t wear hats all the time here. They generally dress nicely but just regularly. Just like you might see in any big city. I also had the wrong notion about tea time,  they don’t have tea and crumpets every afternoon. Mostly, people drink coffee. That was a bit of a disappointment. I was hoping for the afternoon tea society but I guess it’s just in literature. They do have “Tea” but it just stands for a snack time. IMG_2379

We met the nicest woman at the handmade chocolate shop. She runs the store herself and the chocolates and other candy’s are really good. Today as we were making a purchase a man came in and took some boxes away. Turns out it was the shopkeepers husband but Lucy was concerned and she told the woman that a man was taking her boxes, the woman chuckled and told Lucy it was her husband but then opened one of her cabinets and brought out a bag of chocolate pieces and gave a large one to Lucy. Lucy’s face lit up and she was thrilled. She ate it contentedly. IMG_2387

The mile marker from the 1700’s says “10 miles from the standard in Cornhill London” Imagine the guy on his horse using this mile marker and others like it to measure his distance.

Lucy and I are adding our postcard to the royal mail letter boxIMG_2389


Ben brought home some euros from Barcelona. IMG_2391

And here is our little sweetie pie .. who is currently the family favorite. And she is too, her brothers and sister are thrilled with her. IMG_2395




God is omnipresent. God is everywhere—in and around everything, close to everyone. “‘Do not I fill heaven and earth?’ declares the Lord.”

—Psalm 139:7-12


In London there are a LOT of people going to all kinds of places. For the most part I found London to be very friendly, it’s lovely. 

I also find signs of encouragement sprinkled throughout, here is one I found on the bus. What a good word. IMG_2274

We walked across the Blackfriars Bridge today. It was cold and windy but the excitement of walking around so much history almost makes you forget about the cold. Here is an old silent film about it ..


Hello theater friends, I thought of you as I got closer to the Globe Theatre IMG_2278

Here in London when you want something you fancy a bit of it. 

I was within 5 minutes of the Globe Theatre but sad upon sad, we didn’t make it. Maybe next year. IMG_2280

This razor sharp glass building is called the Shard, presented in 2012 it’s the tallest building in London



Another word of encouragement but this time painted up high on a brick wall. 

Here we are entering an older part of London. IMG_2286

This market has been here for hundreds of years. They sell the most fantastic foods. IMG_2287

The Borough Market celebrates 1000 years of existence. 1000 YEARS?! What even is that? What has even been around that long? I can barely conceive this. IMG_2288

Got a pic with my little cutie. IMG_2289

I wish I could do justice to the food system here. Everywhere you turn the food is authentic and whole. They had pictures of the farm on the walls, I asked about the butchering and they adhere to the standards of  humane treatment of animals. 

This is a great pic showing that they are selling the chicken carcasess for soup stock. IMG_2291

Same meat vendor. Wow. He is dead. Kinda gruesome but it’s what we eat.IMG_2293

The big stack of eggs. PrettyIMG_2294

Beautiful meat pies. IMG_2295

I bought one today. I am looking forward to eating it. IMG_2296

The fish vendor. The fish was fresh and I thought it would be so fun to have access to such fresh fish all the time. IMG_2297

Here is our beautiful KimberlyIMG_2300

This vendor sold olive oil from southern Italy. IMG_2302

This is for you, Elisa  <3

Aww, she is just a bundle of sweetness! 


Breads IMG_2308

Bountiful IMG_2309


Olives from Italy, sold by an italian. IMG_2312

IMG_2313 IMG_2314

Lots of love for her. IMG_2315


For lunch we had falafel wraps and ate in the churchyard  of Southwark Cathedral. As we ate I heard the church bells ringing. I can imagine year after year the bell calling worshipers. 


Here is a restaurant sign displaying their specials. I don’t even know what they are! It would be fun to go in and try it though. 

This is a restoration site. What stood out to me was the variety of stones and bricks. How many years, how many different uses? 

We walked along cobblestone streets IMG_2322


We took a bus to Covent Gardens. It’s a festive market and entertainment area off of DRURY LANE!

Christmas time. Live music, good food, fun shops.IMG_2326

A magical toy shopIMG_2328



Hand crafted IMG_2333

Christmas! IMG_2337

A tiny building among the big buildings 

The kids used my phone for the ride home .. 



What a busy day we had. I got to babysit tonight. We had dinner, read a story and then watched my fall favorite Charlie Brown’s story of the Mayflower and Thanksgiving.


Thanking God for a wonderful day. 

God is Jehovah-shalom. This name means “the God of peace.” We are meant to know the fullness of God’s perfect peace, or His “shalom.” God’s peace surpasses understanding and sustains us even through difficult times. It is the product of fully being what we were created to be.

—Judges 6:16-24

A Day in the Life


After ordering online last night Kimberly’s order was delivered this morning. Just a day in the life .. 

After a few buses through the streets of London we came to this old church for our homeschool support day. 


First we ate lunch with a happy group of homeschool families. Kids from all ages chatted with each other, moms caught up with each other. After lunch we broke into groups. This homeschool group is set up to study a subject the week before they go on their field trip. Next week is Portrait Gallery of the kings and queens. Here Henry and Lucy are listening as they are taught. 


This is what the kids are hearing

We made a time line with historical artifacts the students brought to tell about.  The teacher laid out a long strip of paper and each child wrote their name with flourish just as the king or queen would have done. 


Just for fun after class 


On our way home we saw a fun old carIMG_2261


Next, I found some funny things along the way … 


I guess diapers are called nappies IMG_2250

Zackary pointed out to me that these are not pickles, these are cucumbers that are pickled. 


I feel this is false advertising .. these are not how we eat our hot dogs. IMG_2236

If you need hot water you turn your faucet FULLY anti clockwise. IMG_2254

I thought this is well said ..

Energy instead of calories … Fat of which saturates … carbohydrates of which sugars … fibre with and e … IMG_2247

Just fun to see the differences. Just another day in the life .. 

God is Jehovah-jireh. This name means “the God who provides.” Just as He provided yesterday, He will also provide today and tomorrow. He grants deliverance from sin, the oil of joy for the ashes of sorrow, and eternal citizenship in His Kingdom for all those adopted into His household. 


—Genesis 22:9-14

The National Gallery

One of my favorite places in all the world is a beautiful art museum. I walk in there and see the order and feel the peace. The marble walls, columns and floors, the fresh flower arrangements sending fragrance through the passageways. The images. The color. Ahh, lovely. 

Today we went to The National Gallery of London. It is filled with art from, golly, I don’t even know what some of the oldest pieces are. There was art from then till now. 

We packed up the kids and out we went. First a bus, then  the tube. Here is a picture of our next generation map guy. Map loving started with Papa, was picked up by Kimberly and now lives in Zackary. Looks Like Lucy wants to learn too. This picture is Zackary following the train schedules and figuring out where we need to get on and off. Not exactly a map but he likes to know where he is and where he is going. Just like Papa and Kimberly. 

This next picture is for you, Elisa. I’m pretty sure you would heartily agree with this. 


This is what you see when you come up the steps from the underground tube. The streets of London! 


Between the buildings is a little fun. 


There it is! The National Gallery. Beautiful inside and out. IMG_2187

We found a statue of George Washington. I sang a patriotic song 😉 IMG_2189

One of the two fountains that are out front. This fountain has been there years and years. Trafalgar Square. 

There is our handsome Zackary with the blue rooster in the background, it’s a temporary statue  for that spot. 


We went through beautiful rooms, the art is inspiring. You have to remember that we are at the museum with a 7 month old, a BUSY 4 year old that loves to touch as she learns, a 7 year old and a 9 1/2 year old,  we were not taking to long in any one place. Kimberly found a sticker book with stickers of the art and a place to put them. As we walked through the museum who ever spotted the painting that was in the book got to put the sticker on the page. It was a big hit and we all enjoyed it. 


In one room we found this painting by  Murillo, Bartolome Esteban We had been sitting on the bench in the center of the room discussing a few paintings, talking about what stands out to us and any thoughts we might have on it. This one in particular stood out to me. As Henry and I sat on the cushioned seat we looked at this picture. I told him I really liked that one, we talked about that the boy had old clothes on but looked happy. He was happy with his lamb. In that art period all the paintings had been about Jesus so Henry connected some dots for me, he pointed out that the lamb is Jesus, the Lamb of God. I was amazed! I said “Yeah! I can see that” then I added, as the boy’s clothes show that he is poor, his face still looks happy. Then Henry and I recognized that we as people are poor because we have difficulties in life but when we are with Jesus we are happy, no matter if we are poor or not. We learned from that painting that being with Jesus makes us happy! 


We chuckled to see that the painters hand was OUTSIDE the frame! 

I dedicate this to all the moms that are exhausted from their kids disobeying. There is the cross representing this cross she must bear. Hang in there moms, it gets better, when they are adults they are wonderful! IMG_2208

We had lunch in the cafeteria. Pumpkin soup with lentils and fresh artisan bread loaded with butter. Mmm it was good! 


Fun on our lunch break 



I found this frame and told Henry to get in so I could take his pic, he put his hand out so he could be just like Murillo’s self portrait. Haha! What an sharp kid. 


There were MANY different cultures at the museum. Many muslim as well. It was fun to hear all the different languages. 


We finished our visit with a trip to Van Gogh and his beautiful sunflowers. IMG_2217

It was time to go outside to the square. When we got out we saw a rainbow, lovely. The building is St. Martin in the Fields church. 


We saw Aslan in the square 


And this cutie! She saw the money in there, ooh, money! 


There is Big Ben down the road. IMG_2223

Here I am with an elevating Yoda IMG_2230

I tried my Starbucks card and it works internationally. My always ordered tall soy latte no foam decaf was not the same as the states. It was good but not AS good. I also went to McDonalds, the Quarter pounder tasted the same, maybe needed a little salt.IMG_2232

Then back to the tube, a bus and a short walk home.

What a perfect day! Thankful! 

God is good. God is the embodiment of perfect goodness, and is kind, benevolent, and full of good will toward all creation.


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