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Old 10-10-2011, 07:10 PM   #106
fromscratchmom
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Originally Posted by meggiebeth View Post
Haha! I guess the grass is always greener somewhere else. I do know that parts of America are cold- but I just want to move somewhere that gets hot summers. I have heard that places like Pennyslvania (Spelling?) and the Carolinas are cold in the Winter but hot in the summer. England is cold during Winter, but summer is never hot. This year was apparently one of the coldest summers in the UK. We tend to get 2 or 3 days of 30 degrees celcius weather. A typical summer day would be 17- 20 degrees. (Sorry, I don't really know fareinheit, however you spell it! ) Accompanied by drizzly rain all day, low clouds and harsh winds, well... England just has fairly awful weather! I just want to move somewhere that has warm summers. I don't really mind about the cold winters- I have that already!
It's a shame your husband doesn't like to travel much. We don't either- but we would if we could! We would love to do a 3 month tour of America, but I don't think we ever will.
Maybe you will get to at some point. You just never know what might happen. I've only been to Britain once and the only reason I got to go was that my mother won an all expense paid trip. In the whole of my life I've never known anyone else to win anything quite so nice but I got the blessing of getting to with her.

I guess I was doubly blessed since the weather was quite nice most of the days of our trip which was in October. I actually had no idea how chilly your summers normally are. wow. The lack of heat and the large amount of rain fall sounds like our Pacific Northwest. The states of Oregon and Washington are somewhat infamous for having so much rainy drizzly weather and a lack of sunshine. But you are right about Pennsylvania and the Carolinas. In our East we have quite a number of state that have very cold winters and very hot summers.

I hope you get to have your tour at some point. There just isn't anything quite like getting to travel. Right now I'm feeling especially lucky because we have a vacation starting in a few days,,, going to Virginia, which is the state I lived in from the time I was born up until I was twelve to share some of the sights there with my daughters. It's an amazingly beautiful state, imo. AND I am planning a trip with my girls and a friend to Prince Edward Island in Canada for next summer.

I'm also working on DH to start planning our next Disney vacation. Hopefully that one is not too much to hope for on top of the other two. I'm sure everyone on the Dis can tell better then DH that I've become completely Disney obsessed just here lately and am about dying to start planning that next trip there.
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Old 10-13-2011, 12:20 PM   #107
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Originally Posted by fromscratchmom View Post
Maybe you will get to at some point. You just never know what might happen. I've only been to Britain once and the only reason I got to go was that my mother won an all expense paid trip. In the whole of my life I've never known anyone else to win anything quite so nice but I got the blessing of getting to with her.

I guess I was doubly blessed since the weather was quite nice most of the days of our trip which was in October. I actually had no idea how chilly your summers normally are. wow. The lack of heat and the large amount of rain fall sounds like our Pacific Northwest. The states of Oregon and Washington are somewhat infamous for having so much rainy drizzly weather and a lack of sunshine. But you are right about Pennsylvania and the Carolinas. In our East we have quite a number of state that have very cold winters and very hot summers.

I hope you get to have your tour at some point. There just isn't anything quite like getting to travel. Right now I'm feeling especially lucky because we have a vacation starting in a few days,,, going to Virginia, which is the state I lived in from the time I was born up until I was twelve to share some of the sights there with my daughters. It's an amazingly beautiful state, imo. AND I am planning a trip with my girls and a friend to Prince Edward Island in Canada for next summer.

I'm also working on DH to start planning our next Disney vacation. Hopefully that one is not too much to hope for on top of the other two. I'm sure everyone on the Dis can tell better then DH that I've become completely Disney obsessed just here lately and am about dying to start planning that next trip there.
That's great that your mother won a trip to England! Out of interest, where did you go... and what did you think of it? I am always interested in what people think when they visit our country.

Sounds like you got lucky when you visited! Usually Octobers are quite chilly. We had a strange change in weather on October 1st this year- it was about 85 degrees. It is usually FAR colder than that. It was my birthday too- so I guess I got lucky! We went into London and Chinatown- I have to say London is more enjoyable to me when it is warm. But- it's back to Autumn now... and the weather is getting colder. However, we don't get snow much. It's either too cold or too hot. When it snows here, it's mass chaos. Especially where I live, in a small village with winding roads... it gets very dangerous to drive. I guess England isn't used to coping with snow. I remember you saying you have to shovel lots of snow during Winter- so I'm guessing you have it quite a lot!

Travelling is great. You're so lucky- have fun in Virginia! AND Canada?! I am jealous! I would do anything to see a little more of America. It's like a completely different world to me. What's Virginia like? As for Canada, my mum grew up there in her early childhood and said it was beautiful. I would love to go there sometime. My dad has been to the US a few times with work, I believe Miami, Toronto, Chicago and San Francisco. I think he takes all his travelling for granted though! He was VERY impressed with San Francisco though, and always talks about wanting to return there. I would love to visit a different state, but we're not done with Florida yet!

Good luck with persuading your DH to start planning a Disney trip! Who couldn't love Disney, after all? Planning is half the fun! Oh, and have a great time in Virginia- I'm sure it will be a fantastic holiday for you and your daughters... and it's always great to visit the place you spent your childhood in!
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Old 10-13-2011, 05:49 PM   #108
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Thanks! It's a great resort- it was one of my highlights of the holiday. What meals do you have scheduled there? I'm sure you'll love the GF and your meals!
We're going to eat at Narcoossees and go for afternoon tea in the tearoom. I'm excited about both! Loved the parade photos! We don't see the parade every trip, but I always love it when we do.
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Old 10-14-2011, 08:45 PM   #109
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Originally Posted by meggiebeth View Post
That's great that your mother won a trip to England! Out of interest, where did you go... and what did you think of it? I am always interested in what people think when they visit our country.

Sounds like you got lucky when you visited! Usually Octobers are quite chilly. We had a strange change in weather on October 1st this year- it was about 85 degrees. It is usually FAR colder than that. It was my birthday too- so I guess I got lucky! We went into London and Chinatown- I have to say London is more enjoyable to me when it is warm. But- it's back to Autumn now... and the weather is getting colder. However, we don't get snow much. It's either too cold or too hot. When it snows here, it's mass chaos. Especially where I live, in a small village with winding roads... it gets very dangerous to drive. I guess England isn't used to coping with snow. I remember you saying you have to shovel lots of snow during Winter- so I'm guessing you have it quite a lot!

Travelling is great. You're so lucky- have fun in Virginia! AND Canada?! I am jealous! I would do anything to see a little more of America. It's like a completely different world to me. What's Virginia like? As for Canada, my mum grew up there in her early childhood and said it was beautiful. I would love to go there sometime. My dad has been to the US a few times with work, I believe Miami, Toronto, Chicago and San Francisco. I think he takes all his travelling for granted though! He was VERY impressed with San Francisco though, and always talks about wanting to return there. I would love to visit a different state, but we're not done with Florida yet!

Good luck with persuading your DH to start planning a Disney trip! Who couldn't love Disney, after all? Planning is half the fun! Oh, and have a great time in Virginia- I'm sure it will be a fantastic holiday for you and your daughters... and it's always great to visit the place you spent your childhood in!
We stayed at a hotel in London called the Strand Palace which was nice enough but not nearly so grand as it sounds as far as the luxury of the room. It was kind of small and dark and worn out. We spent some of our days seeing the sights in London. We saw Cats and Brighton Beach Memoirs in the West End. Is that what that theater district is called? I have such a poor memory. Anyway, I remember I went shopping in London and bought myself a new black dress in some tiny little hidden store that was fun just to find and explore. Then wore my new fab dress to Cats. I remember how much I loved my dress and how much I loved both of the shows we saw.

I loved wandering in the city, shopping, people watching, etc. And I remember getting a hand held, street-food pastry thing in Piccadilly Circus that had onions, apples and cheese inside and was crazy yummy. Most of the food we had on the trip was actually not very good. Not sure what was up with ALL of our restaurant choices turning out so poorly, but you always used to hear bad things about English food and now in the last couple of years I've been hearing that there is a new and much better restaurant trend in the UK. Also I love to look at buildings. (Today in Charlottesville, Virginia we toured Monticello, the home built by Thomas Jefferson that he called his essay on architecture and a historic tavern called Michies. Plus we have tickets to tour another "presidential home" that is very near to it, but we'll tour that one on Sunday afternoon.) And of course back when I was in England that love of architecture was fully satisfied.

We also took at least two tours out into the countryside that I remember, maybe three. Each was a "day tour" not a night in a different hotel. I really enjoyed them. What I remember from them is Warwick Castle, Leeds Castle and it's amazing grounds, and Stratford-upon-Avon although I also remember I had no idea where I was in relation to London or anyplace else. I'm also a lover of gardens and naturally any castle, palace or historical home with a nice garden is just double the beauty for me to drink in.

The only time I've been to Canada before was when I was really young, so young that I don't remember much. We were just over the border on the Canadian side for some camping after seeing Niagra Falls. (That was back when we didn't need passports to go to Canada.) So I remember the falls and I remember that there were millions of mosquitoes where we were camping.

From pics I've seen and descriptions I've read Prince Edward Island sounds truly picturesque. AND its the setting for Anne of Green Gables. Of course I don't know if that book is known in Britain, but it is a favorite of mine from way back and now it is a favorite with my DD13. In fact, I've been learning that it is a favorite with a lot of people I know including the friend who asked me if I want to go on that trip. So we will have a blast there for sure.

Luckily this trip is going really well so far for hubby, who isn't that much of a traveler, so that will help with my Disney scheming.

edited to add... Oh about our snowfall. Some years we get lots and sometimes much less. You just never know till you are into that winter and see it. The thing about snow is sometimes it just keeps coming. You can keep having to shovel a few inches at a time over and over every day or every two or three days so it becomes quite a chore some years!
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Old 10-16-2011, 12:18 AM   #110
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I just wanted to say that I have enjoyed reading your trip report. I think it is interesting to see Disney and the U.S. from the perspective of someone who lives outside this country. And I also like to find the differences in your use of the Queen's English versus our American English (such as the difference between the use of "line" and "queue"). I also want to say the for a 14 year old, your reports are well written. I have a 13 year old daughter, and she does not write like you do (although her passion is reading, not writing). But she does have the same passion for Disney that you possess (she gets it from her mom, but I too like things Disney and WDW). We went to WDW in August 2010 and stayed at the Poly resort, and loved it. The theming was great and it was convenient to everything. This was also my kids first time to WDW and watching their reactions was amazing. I look forward to reading the rest of your reviews. Keep up the good work.

I hope you get to come back to the U.S. someday and visit what this country has to offer. Just today, my son and I visited Gettysburg, PA, the site of a decisive battle during the American Civil War 150 years ago. Some of my favorite places (besides Disney World) would be Williamsburg, VA, the Outer Banks in North Carolina, and the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

Good luck in your studies and keep the Disney spirit alive!
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Old 10-17-2011, 03:48 PM   #111
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We're going to eat at Narcoossees and go for afternoon tea in the tearoom. I'm excited about both! Loved the parade photos! We don't see the parade every trip, but I always love it when we do.
Sounds like you've got some great ADRs! I'm curious what you will think of Narcoossees... I was considering it for our trip, but we chose Citricos instead. Afternoon tea sounds like great fun! I've always wanted to do that! Thanks! The parade is great- thank goodness I'm not the only one who thinks it is wonderful!

Quote:
Originally Posted by fromscratchmom View Post
We stayed at a hotel in London called the Strand Palace which was nice enough but not nearly so grand as it sounds as far as the luxury of the room. It was kind of small and dark and worn out. We spent some of our days seeing the sights in London. We saw Cats and Brighton Beach Memoirs in the West End. Is that what that theater district is called? I have such a poor memory. Anyway, I remember I went shopping in London and bought myself a new black dress in some tiny little hidden store that was fun just to find and explore. Then wore my new fab dress to Cats. I remember how much I loved my dress and how much I loved both of the shows we saw.

I loved wandering in the city, shopping, people watching, etc. And I remember getting a hand held, street-food pastry thing in Piccadilly Circus that had onions, apples and cheese inside and was crazy yummy. Most of the food we had on the trip was actually not very good. Not sure what was up with ALL of our restaurant choices turning out so poorly, but you always used to hear bad things about English food and now in the last couple of years I've been hearing that there is a new and much better restaurant trend in the UK. Also I love to look at buildings. (Today in Charlottesville, Virginia we toured Monticello, the home built by Thomas Jefferson that he called his essay on architecture and a historic tavern called Michies. Plus we have tickets to tour another "presidential home" that is very near to it, but we'll tour that one on Sunday afternoon.) And of course back when I was in England that love of architecture was fully satisfied.

We also took at least two tours out into the countryside that I remember, maybe three. Each was a "day tour" not a night in a different hotel. I really enjoyed them. What I remember from them is Warwick Castle, Leeds Castle and it's amazing grounds, and Stratford-upon-Avon although I also remember I had no idea where I was in relation to London or anyplace else. I'm also a lover of gardens and naturally any castle, palace or historical home with a nice garden is just double the beauty for me to drink in.

The only time I've been to Canada before was when I was really young, so young that I don't remember much. We were just over the border on the Canadian side for some camping after seeing Niagra Falls. (That was back when we didn't need passports to go to Canada.) So I remember the falls and I remember that there were millions of mosquitoes where we were camping.

From pics I've seen and descriptions I've read Prince Edward Island sounds truly picturesque. AND its the setting for Anne of Green Gables. Of course I don't know if that book is known in Britain, but it is a favorite of mine from way back and now it is a favorite with my DD13. In fact, I've been learning that it is a favorite with a lot of people I know including the friend who asked me if I want to go on that trip. So we will have a blast there for sure.

Luckily this trip is going really well so far for hubby, who isn't that much of a traveler, so that will help with my Disney scheming.

edited to add... Oh about our snowfall. Some years we get lots and sometimes much less. You just never know till you are into that winter and see it. The thing about snow is sometimes it just keeps coming. You can keep having to shovel a few inches at a time over and over every day or every two or three days so it becomes quite a chore some years!
A shame about the hotel! A lot of hotels in London are worn out, unfortunately. And the prices don't necessarily reflect that- even Holiday Inns far out from the centre of London are over £150 a night! We DID look at a weekend away in London, but the hotels we liked were probably £200 a night, at least. The Hilton in Trafalguar Square looks nice. Once, we were in Leicester Square (a part of central London) and we walked into a hotel... which looked quite upmarket. My dad asked at the desk how much a room would be in mid-November. The lady then checked on her computer- each room is $1000 a night! And for us, needing 2 rooms, that would mean $4000 for a 2 night break.

Yes, the theatre district is called the West End. We were there just the other day. You're very lucky seeing those shows- I have been once in my life- and it was great fun. Great job with the dress! Out of interest- did you find there was much difference in price buying things in England? The one thing that is FAR cheaper in the US is petrol and diesel. (Don't you call it gas?) I think it was a third of the price of fuel in the UK. But... to us... not much else was noticably cheaper than back at home. Although everyone raves about how buying clothes in America saves you a fortune... it seemed a REALLY similar price to us.

To be honest- where we live... the food isn't too great. It's mostly chain restaurants which don't tend to stand out. In London, obviously, there are better options... but still a lot of chain restaurants. Did you try the famous 'Fish and Chips'? Although they sell them in England in Epcot, they aren't like normal British chips. Our chips aren't like fries... they're more like fried potato... sometimes a little soggy. But DELICIOUS with salt and vinegar. By the way, do you eat baked potatoes in America? I think they're a British thing, lol. But one of my favourite foods is baked potato with baked beans and cheddar cheese. We're about 20 minutes away from Cambridge (beautiful city) and I love going to the baked potato restaurant there and treating myself.

Did you like Stratford-upon-Avon? It's lovely and quaint isn't it? That's what it's like where I live. We have a lot of houses... Noticably Tudor and Victorian. I love living in such a pretty part of England, considering a lot of cities and towns here are rather ugly. If you ever come here again... come to Essex! About 5 minutes away from where I live, there is a tranquil stately home called Audley End House and Gardens- absolutely beautiful! I think it is several hundered years old- and was originally a horseshoe shape, but the house was neglected and in such awful condition that they had to demolish most of it, and now all is left is about a third of it! But there's lots of actors and things to see... I just love it! And the closest town to us, Saffron Walden, is very pretty too. My grandmother from Scotland loves to look round it when she comes down to see us. It's full of little boutique shops and... well... English things!

Goodness- what is Niagra Falls like? I don't know much about it... it's just one of those really famous things I know about! Prince Edward Island looks LOVELY. And yes- very picturesque! I just looked it up on the internet... and I would love to go there myself! I am curious to find out what you thought of it when you come back! My mother always tells me how beautiful Canada is... and I think Canada is well known for it's natural beauty anyway. I asked my mum about Anne of Green Gables. I myself haven't heard of it but apparently it is very famous here too. It was a favourite of hers when she was 12 or 13 apparently. All I picked up was that it was about a girl with freckles.

Sounds like you're having a great time on holiday! I have heard of Charlottesville- what's it like? And I don't mean to sound completely stupid, but was Thomas Jefferson a president? I'm sorry, I don't know much about American history. Are your children on holiday from school at the moment, or have you taken them out specially for the trip? Do they let you in the US? The past few years here, schools have stopped almost all people from taking time off... unless it's for really special circumstances. If you choose to go anyway, you're fined £100 per child, I believe. Oh and great that your hubby is really enjoying the trip too! Sounds like prospects for a Disney trip are looking more likely!

Eek about the snowfall! I had no idea it snowed that much! How does where you live cope with it? 'Snow days' in the UK cost us millions. It stops us from going to school... work... or even 10 metres down the road! But snow only falls once or twice a year here so it's bearable!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudi610 View Post
I just wanted to say that I have enjoyed reading your trip report. I think it is interesting to see Disney and the U.S. from the perspective of someone who lives outside this country. And I also like to find the differences in your use of the Queen's English versus our American English (such as the difference between the use of "line" and "queue"). I also want to say the for a 14 year old, your reports are well written. I have a 13 year old daughter, and she does not write like you do (although her passion is reading, not writing). But she does have the same passion for Disney that you possess (she gets it from her mom, but I too like things Disney and WDW). We went to WDW in August 2010 and stayed at the Poly resort, and loved it. The theming was great and it was convenient to everything. This was also my kids first time to WDW and watching their reactions was amazing. I look forward to reading the rest of your reviews. Keep up the good work.

I hope you get to come back to the U.S. someday and visit what this country has to offer. Just today, my son and I visited Gettysburg, PA, the site of a decisive battle during the American Civil War 150 years ago. Some of my favorite places (besides Disney World) would be Williamsburg, VA, the Outer Banks in North Carolina, and the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

Good luck in your studies and keep the Disney spirit alive!
Thankyou! And thanks for joining in too! Our views on the US changed when we visited the Florida Mall though. So far we'd been in the 'Disney Bubble' and hadn't really seen the 'real' Orlando. I do think Americans are AWESOME though! It was great hearing their lovely accents everywhere. Really- do you not say queue? I thought Americans said that! After two weeks, we were calling toilets restrooms and petrol station gas station! Great that your daughter loves Disney! Not many girls that age do... but most've never been to WDW. I think that really does affect you.
Great that you stayed at the Poly! I liked that resort... it had a lovely tropical feel to it! And the location really is a plus. IMHO, MK is the best park to be close to. I can just imagine their reactions! Seeing the expressions on my brother Rory's face was priceless- he really believes in the Disney magic!
Thankyou for all your kind words, and I do hope to get back to the US very soon! Hope you liked Gettysburg! That kind of town sounds fascinating to me! I learnt about the civil war in history last year, and found it very interesting.
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Old 10-17-2011, 04:23 PM   #112
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Hello there! Well, I haven't much time... but Rory had his seventh birthday party yesterday and I thought I would share some photos- seeing as it IS Disney related!

Rory's 7th Birthday Party!

(Disney themed, of course!)

It always helps me forget how much I miss WDW when I have some other Disney project to plan. Unfortunately, now that it's over, I know what Disney project I would like to plan next! *Hint, hint to my parents!*

Anyways, here is a group photo of the party guests! Most of them were dressed up as their favourite Disney character... the girls obviously took to this more!



Rory is the one in the Mario costume... second to the right of the back row I believe. He was dressed in a Toy Story Green army man costume for the first 10 minutes of the party... but then insisted to change into Mario. I actually ordered the Army man costume from America and had to pay a fortune for postage to the UK. So I was a little disappointed that he wouldn't wear much.

We had four teams competing for a prize at the end. The Mickey Mouses, the Minnie Mouses, the Toy Storys and the Disney Princesses. Would you believe, I put one girl in the Minnie Mouse group, and she said 'Who is SHE?!' I thought most little girls had heard of her... but there we go.



Dear William helped out, surprisingly. Except I put on Disney music, and he changed it to the horrible loud rap music that he likes.



This is Rory's friend who moved away several years ago. It was great for Rors to see him again!



I believe this is the Snow Queen from Narnia.



And Rapunzel from Tangled. I loved her costume, it was very well made and looked lovely.



Continued in part 2.
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Old 10-17-2011, 04:25 PM   #113
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Rory's 7th Birthday Party (Part 2)

Continuing on from my last post...

Captain Hook... Argh Mateys!



Beware fellows- tis CAPTAIN JACK SPARROW!



3 of Rory's friends... 2 dressed up. 1 the same as Rory! But not Disney.



The birthday boy! Being a bit cheeky though!



And this is Minnie Mouse, Snow White and Rapunzel!



Adorable! Sleeping Beauty and Ariel!



And Rory and his best friend. They were very close but his friend moved away too.



In ACTION! Musical Chairs!





Pin the Star on Mickey Game! (Equivilent to Pin the Tail on the Donkey)





Now, who won? The... MINNIE MOUSES!

We also had prizes for the best costumes. We had picked up some bargains from the Disney Store- backpacks with crayons and pens, stationary etc in them. A Mickey one for the boy winner and a Minnie one for the girl winner. They were £15 but reduced to £3!

Unfortunately, some of the girls were a bit disappointed that they didn't win the best costume prize. Rory was annoyed with some of the girls and chose the winner rather unfairly. I think Sleeping Beauty, Snow White should have won. However. Results... (Sorry the photos don't show much of their costume)

Boy winner: JACK SPARROW!



Girl winner: SNOW QUEEN!



So... it was a good party, and I enjoyed planning it. However, it gives me even more excuse to start planning another trip to WDW!

I hope to get another update of the holiday up soon. But I thought that you would all enjoy seeing our little Disney party! Bye for now and thanks for reading!
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Old 10-17-2011, 08:26 PM   #114
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Great Update!

I love that you are so sweet with your little brother, I wish my daughters were a little more loving with each other!

Do they have many (or any) Disney Stores near you?
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Old 10-17-2011, 08:43 PM   #115
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Originally Posted by meggiebeth View Post
... Out of interest- did you find there was much difference in price buying things in England? The one thing that is FAR cheaper in the US is petrol and diesel. (Don't you call it gas?) ... Although everyone raves about how buying clothes in America saves you a fortune... it seemed a REALLY similar price to us.

... Did you try the famous 'Fish and Chips'? Although they sell them in England in Epcot, they aren't like normal British chips. Our chips aren't like fries... they're more like fried potato... sometimes a little soggy. But DELICIOUS with salt and vinegar. By the way, do you eat baked potatoes in America? I think they're a British thing, lol. But one of my favourite foods is baked potato with baked beans and cheddar cheese. We're about 20 minutes away from Cambridge (beautiful city) and I love going to the baked potato restaurant there and treating myself.

Did you like Stratford-upon-Avon? It's lovely and quaint isn't it? That's what it's like where I live. We have a lot of houses... Noticably Tudor and Victorian. I love living in such a pretty part of England, considering a lot of cities and towns here are rather ugly. If you ever come here again... come to Essex! About 5 minutes away from where I live, there is a tranquil stately home called Audley End House and Gardens- absolutely beautiful! I think it is several hundered years old- and was originally a horseshoe shape, but the house was neglected and in such awful condition that they had to demolish most of it, and now all is left is about a third of it! But there's lots of actors and things to see... I just love it! And the closest town to us, Saffron Walden, is very pretty too. My grandmother from Scotland loves to look round it when she comes down to see us. It's full of little boutique shops and... well... English things!

Goodness- what is Niagra Falls like? I don't know much about it... it's just one of those really famous things I know about! ... I asked my mum about Anne of Green Gables. I myself haven't heard of it but apparently it is very famous here too. It was a favourite of hers when she was 12 or 13 apparently. All I picked up was that it was about a girl with freckles.

Sounds like you're having a great time on holiday! I have heard of Charlottesville- what's it like? And I don't mean to sound completely stupid, but was Thomas Jefferson a president? I'm sorry, I don't know much about American history. Are your children on holiday from school at the moment, or have you taken them out specially for the trip? Do they let you in the US? The past few years here, schools have stopped almost all people from taking time off... unless it's for really special circumstances. If you choose to go anyway, you're fined £100 per child, I believe. ...

Eek about the snowfall! I had no idea it snowed that much! How does where you live cope with it? 'Snow days' in the UK cost us millions. It stops us from going to school... work... or even 10 metres down the road! But snow only falls once or twice a year here so it's bearable!
I don't remember which things I noticed being cheaper and which things were more in London compared to what we were used to. But I do remember that there were some differences. And I do remember that my dress was a great price, or seemed like it to me.

Maybe the people who are saving a fortune buying clothes in America are getting better bargain shopping here? Do y'all have good bargain shopping? We have expensive stores but we also have lots of other options, like "factory outlet stores" which are named for a time in the past where they were literally stores attached to factories but nowadays are just called that and are grouped together in outdoor shopping malls, or strip malls in remote locations.

Sadly, I have never gotten to eat fish 'n chips anywhere because I am allergic to fish. And I'm rather attached to the idea of breathing. Now that I think of it, I'm surprised that I didn't at least send Mom into a shop to get the "chips" for me to try. Maybe we were afraid I'd get a reaction if they were fried in the same oil or something. I'm a fan of American french fries as well as just about every kind of potato dish, including baked potatoes. I've only seen baked potato restaurants here in America maybe twice, which surprises me because I think they are a great idea! Now I'll have to fix my family baked potatoes with baked beans and cheddar cheese just to see if they love it too. We do regular ones fairly plain, just salt and pepper and butter or with lots of sour cream, or we do them with chili or with cheese and broccoli. Also I have a recipe for "twice baked potatoes".

I did LOVE Stratford-upon-Avon. It is really quaint isn't it? Now I would just love to come and see your Essex. It sounds like a lovely place for a vacation to me!

Niagra Falls are truly impressive to see, at least imho. There is a boat tour that takes you right up close so that you get wet and people wear rain coats on the deck of the boat, which I think is called The Maid of the Mist. And there is also a place you can walk through under the cliff and look out at the falls from behind them, which is also a raincoat type thing to do. lol. I was super super young when my family did that but I remember it, AND I remember my dad's corny sense of humor that he was holding me and pointing and claiming that he could see a fish falling in that crazy harsh downward flow of water, but even at that young age I knew that was nuts and that he had to be just being silly.

Charlottesville is absolutely beautiful. I love that just about everything there is built with these lovely dark bricks made from local clay.

You do not sound dumb, not on this topic and not in any of your writing! I'm sure I'm terribly lacking in British history myself! DD11 and I have been watching a mini-series on Netflix called Elizabeth R a bit at a time over the last few months learning a little about Elizabeth I and I've always been interested in the story of Jane Grey, but aside from a bit about the monarchy and the succession from just before to just after that stretch, I know very little. While we were touring Jamestowne settlement today, my husband and I were both at a loss trying to remember , wouldn't the founding be sometime after Elizabeth? and knowing that should have been ready info in our minds. Yes, of course. DD13 reminded us the date of the King James Bible. Maybe senility is setting in early!

Yes, Thomas Jefferson was our third president and also the author of our Declaration of Independence, which he wrote when he was only 33 years old. But he is also known for a number of other things including writing the state level law called the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. I almost bought a book in the gift shop there called "Flight from Monticello" about him having to leave and hide when British troupes came with orders to get everyone that had had anything to the Declaration. Although it seems to me that the title shows a bit of creative license more than an accurate reflection of what happened and where it happened from. He is a terribly interesting figure in large part because he was one of those people who had such an active mind that he never stopped designing and reinventing things, not to mention recording data and writing letters, etc.

One of my favorite things in his house is this clock that he had in the front hall where he made it reflect the days of the week with this giant mechanism with weights on chains that extend across the room and down the walls and... he ran out of room, obviously his calculations were off, but he just had the workman cut holes in the floor and the weights go into the basement for the last day and half of each week.

My kids don't actually attend school. I teach them at home,,, or on vacation. I think that the situation at schools across America really varies as to how hard they try to prevent people from temporarily removing their children from classes for vacations. Our schools tend to be governed by local government organizations, each state containing tons of different "school districts" each of which might handle all the schools in a particular town, city, country or even a small portion of a county or city.

Well, snowfall varies depending on how far north or south your location is. The further north you go the more likely you will be in a location where the local governments are prepared to get the snow off the roads with snowplows. I live in central Ohio and we do pretty well at it, but each local government is different. Our town, Westerville, does a far better job than the city we are near which is called Columbus. So our roads can be very clear very quickly and then we can drive down the road and run into very bad roads when we get to the spots that have to wait on Columbus snowplows to come through. Although any place will have a plan for a set amount of snowfall and can then have an occasional extra bit they can't handle well every few years.

I figure we don't have it too bad; I have a friend who lives in Canada where they had so much snow a few years ago that they began to run out of places to put it as they removed it from the roads and some of the giant mountains of snow they made while moving it around had not completely melted before the following years winter snows started. In Ohio I've never see leftover un-melted snow by summer.
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Old 10-19-2011, 12:22 PM   #116
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Wonderful birthday party for your brother!! You are a super sister to plan this for him!! Can't wait to hear more about your trip. Keep up the great writing!!
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Old 10-20-2011, 03:30 PM   #117
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Originally Posted by TheThomsLuvDisney View Post
Great Update!

I love that you are so sweet with your little brother, I wish my daughters were a little more loving with each other!

Do they have many (or any) Disney Stores near you?
Thankyou!
Me and my brother don’t always get along- quite the contrary! However since going to WDW we have gotten a LOT closer, which I love. I guess it depends on the age difference of 2 siblings, seeing as me and my 12 year old brother William don’t get along AT all. It’s sad- when we were little we were quite close.
Our nearest is Cambridge, about 20 minutes drive away. There are lots of Disney Stores in the UK, but only in the big towns and cities. There are big ones in London which are fun to visit too. Nothing compares to the one at Downtown Disney though!

Quote:
Originally Posted by fromscratchmom View Post
I don't remember which things I noticed being cheaper and which things were more in London compared to what we were used to. But I do remember that there were some differences. And I do remember that my dress was a great price, or seemed like it to me.

Maybe the people who are saving a fortune buying clothes in America are getting better bargain shopping here? Do y'all have good bargain shopping? We have expensive stores but we also have lots of other options, like "factory outlet stores" which are named for a time in the past where they were literally stores attached to factories but nowadays are just called that and are grouped together in outdoor shopping malls, or strip malls in remote locations.

Sadly, I have never gotten to eat fish 'n chips anywhere because I am allergic to fish. And I'm rather attached to the idea of breathing. Now that I think of it, I'm surprised that I didn't at least send Mom into a shop to get the "chips" for me to try. Maybe we were afraid I'd get a reaction if they were fried in the same oil or something. I'm a fan of American french fries as well as just about every kind of potato dish, including baked potatoes. I've only seen baked potato restaurants here in America maybe twice, which surprises me because I think they are a great idea! Now I'll have to fix my family baked potatoes with baked beans and cheddar cheese just to see if they love it too. We do regular ones fairly plain, just salt and pepper and butter or with lots of sour cream, or we do them with chili or with cheese and broccoli. Also I have a recipe for "twice baked potatoes".

I did LOVE Stratford-upon-Avon. It is really quaint isn't it? Now I would just love to come and see your Essex. It sounds like a lovely place for a vacation to me!

Niagra Falls are truly impressive to see, at least imho. There is a boat tour that takes you right up close so that you get wet and people wear rain coats on the deck of the boat, which I think is called The Maid of the Mist. And there is also a place you can walk through under the cliff and look out at the falls from behind them, which is also a raincoat type thing to do. lol. I was super super young when my family did that but I remember it, AND I remember my dad's corny sense of humor that he was holding me and pointing and claiming that he could see a fish falling in that crazy harsh downward flow of water, but even at that young age I knew that was nuts and that he had to be just being silly.

Charlottesville is absolutely beautiful. I love that just about everything there is built with these lovely dark bricks made from local clay.

You do not sound dumb, not on this topic and not in any of your writing! I'm sure I'm terribly lacking in British history myself! DD11 and I have been watching a mini-series on Netflix called Elizabeth R a bit at a time over the last few months learning a little about Elizabeth I and I've always been interested in the story of Jane Grey, but aside from a bit about the monarchy and the succession from just before to just after that stretch, I know very little. While we were touring Jamestowne settlement today, my husband and I were both at a loss trying to remember , wouldn't the founding be sometime after Elizabeth? and knowing that should have been ready info in our minds. Yes, of course. DD13 reminded us the date of the King James Bible. Maybe senility is setting in early!

Yes, Thomas Jefferson was our third president and also the author of our Declaration of Independence, which he wrote when he was only 33 years old. But he is also known for a number of other things including writing the state level law called the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. I almost bought a book in the gift shop there called "Flight from Monticello" about him having to leave and hide when British troupes came with orders to get everyone that had had anything to the Declaration. Although it seems to me that the title shows a bit of creative license more than an accurate reflection of what happened and where it happened from. He is a terribly interesting figure in large part because he was one of those people who had such an active mind that he never stopped designing and reinventing things, not to mention recording data and writing letters, etc.

One of my favorite things in his house is this clock that he had in the front hall where he made it reflect the days of the week with this giant mechanism with weights on chains that extend across the room and down the walls and... he ran out of room, obviously his calculations were off, but he just had the workman cut holes in the floor and the weights go into the basement for the last day and half of each week.

My kids don't actually attend school. I teach them at home,,, or on vacation. I think that the situation at schools across America really varies as to how hard they try to prevent people from temporarily removing their children from classes for vacations. Our schools tend to be governed by local government organizations, each state containing tons of different "school districts" each of which might handle all the schools in a particular town, city, country or even a small portion of a county or city.

Well, snowfall varies depending on how far north or south your location is. The further north you go the more likely you will be in a location where the local governments are prepared to get the snow off the roads with snowplows. I live in central Ohio and we do pretty well at it, but each local government is different. Our town, Westerville, does a far better job than the city we are near which is called Columbus. So our roads can be very clear very quickly and then we can drive down the road and run into very bad roads when we get to the spots that have to wait on Columbus snowplows to come through. Although any place will have a plan for a set amount of snowfall and can then have an occasional extra bit they can't handle well every few years.

I figure we don't have it too bad; I have a friend who lives in Canada where they had so much snow a few years ago that they began to run out of places to put it as they removed it from the roads and some of the giant mountains of snow they made while moving it around had not completely melted before the following years winter snows started. In Ohio I've never see leftover un-melted snow by summer.
Oh, well good that you saved on your dress! There are lots of outlet shopping centers here but they don’t really have bargains- just slightly reduced prices. I think they sell the last season’s clothes and products… and they just want to get rid of them.

It’s such a shame you didn’t get to try fish and chips! Maybe next time though. They don’t usually fry the chips in the same oil as the fish, so I think you will be fine! Really, we call fries chips here. In Mcdonalds, they are marketed as ‘fries’ but everyone in the UK calls them ‘chips’. Of course in WDW when we asked for chips without realizing, the servers were confused, and thought we wanted crisps! (I believe you call them potato chips?) So we learnt to start using American terms for things.
It doesn’t surprise me that there aren’t too many baked potato restaurants in the US. I have always thought they seem to be more of a British thing. I don’t think cheddar cheese is the same in America though. I tried some and it was plainer and plastic flavoured. The cheddar we eat is quite rich. But try baked beans and cheese on your potatoes anyway- it is delicious! I am like you- I love anything potato! American fries, and those other things… are they called tater tots? The potato casserole at Akershus was just wonderful- we tried the recipe at home and it went very wrong though.
Essex is pretty- but I take it for granted. I guess that’s what I’m used to- the same scenery and all. I have always thought though that Americans would really enjoy looking around here. Everyone says that there is not nearly so much history in the US, whereas the UK goes back thousands of years.
Your talking about Niagara Falls makes me really want to go there. I would love to see the ‘natural’ parts of America. I did sense that it was rather a ‘wet’ excursion. Lol! And that’s funny about your dad when you were little! My father has exactly the same corny type sense of humor. He is always saying jokes that no one really finds funny! I have also added Charlottesville on to my (long) list of must do’s in the US! It sounds beautiful. To be honest- I would visit virtually everywhere in America if I could! There’s just so much to explore and see. It’s rather overwhelming.
It’s great that you know even that much history! Considering no one I know knows that much about American history… Elizabeth I is very interesting to learn about. Her father Henry VIII is a VERY famous king. Rory loves learning about his six wives. Lady Jane Grey is very interesting too- but very sad. And there was lots of trouble with Elizabeth’s half sister Mary. Her nickname is ‘Mary, Queen of Scots’ or ‘Bloody Mary’ I believe because she beheaded lots of people or she was killed herself. She was also locked in a tower by Elizabeth I think. Goodness- I certainly need to scratch up on my knowledge of history!

Thomas Jefferson sounds like a very interesting person to learn about. I have heard of the Declaration of Independence, but I haven’t a clue what it is! Isn’t it something to do with the British and freedom? I also hadn’t had any idea that he was such a good inventor- and I looked up that clock you mentioned. If I have found the right one, it looks pretty impressive!

Really- you home school your kids? That must be such hard work! Aren’t the schools too good in your area? I can see the benefits of homeschooling- unfortunately with both of my parents working I could never have that opportunity. But school is fine- as long as it’s a good one! (Education wise.) My school is rather awful… and was rated as ‘failing’ by OFSTED until very recently. I think only 30% or 40% of people got a pass (A*-C) at the end of their GCSE exams. I’m not sure if you have the equivalent in the US, but you do GCSEs here for the last two years of compulsory education. If you get good enough results, you can go onto sixth form, for two years, and complete you’re a-levels. And if you get good enough a-levels, then you go to university/ college.
I don’t really like the atmosphere of school at all and would far prefer to be homeschooled. School is a very controlled environment, and they don’t trust you much. In fact… at my school, (sorry if this sounds ridiculous!) they treat you like tramps. I don’t deal with the pressures too well either! I wish I was working. (I know… I know… don’t wish your childhood away!)
Our schools are like that. But they are under tremendous pressure to make average attendance go up at the school, so they aren’t letting people off. Oh well- if that happens to us- I’m paying the fine!

You are lucky in the US- you have lots of holidays. 4th July sounds wonderful to me. And America has such pride in its country. We noticed that in Florida- driving from Miami to WDW- American flags popped up everywhere! That doesn’t happen here much. There’s a lot of ‘political correctness’ involved. But still- it seems that most Americans are proud to be Americans which I love. I wish our country had more pride- like it used to.
I have no idea what Thanksgiving and Mardi Gras are, but I know that Thanksgiving is very big in America. Is it being thankful for food or something? And then you have days like Labor Day, Memorial Day… you have loads of public holidays!

It’s good that your town is well prepared for the snow. I can imagine it could be quite frustrating if they were not! I’m surprised that Columbus is that badly prepared compared to Westerville! We don’t use snow ploughs much… not near me anyway! Salt and grit on the road is what we have. So usually, by late afternoon, the roads are ‘drivable’ again. If it’s really bad, we can’t get about for a day or two.
That sounds awful about Canada! I know it is cold in winter, but I thought it was rather hot in summer- so the fact that the snow would not melt by next winter! That does sound awful! I went up to Scotland last Christmas, and although it was not as bad as that, the heavy snow had been moving it into piles virtually two stories high. It was the worst snow I’d ever seen personally. It had snowed a day or two before we got there and by the time that we arrived, the big mounds of snow had turned into treacherous ice. It was really scary walking on the pavements because there would be ‘black ice’, that was on the ground but you couldn’t see it.

An American girl started at my school today. She’s really nice, but she misses Montana a lot. We spent lunchtime yesterday bent over an atlas, and she was telling me all about her home and her pets. She lived really close to Canada and the Rocky Mountains. She’s having a hard time settling in here, sadly. Ironically, one of the things she misses most is the food from the US! She told me you can get dough in a can?! And some sort of instant cinnamon rolls?! I have to say, American supermarkets are rather different, regarding some of the products they sell. I came across something like ‘Pizza with Wyngz’?! I had no idea what they were but it was certainly interesting!

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Originally Posted by WDWRids View Post
Wonderful birthday party for your brother!! You are a super sister to plan this for him!! Can't wait to hear more about your trip. Keep up the great writing!!
Awww thankyou! I love planning things for him, and seeing him smile. And it’s great being a ‘big sister’. I seem to remember you mentioned earlier in the TR you were going to WDW. How was it? I hope you had a wonderful time!
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Old 10-20-2011, 03:52 PM   #118
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Hello again! Well, I hope you all liked the pictures of Rory's party in my last update! But... back to the Trip Report!

So... after the parade- where did we go?! Why...



This was one of the longest wait times in MK. And the drop...



I am the kind of person that gets really scared about a ride that looks scary- then I go on it and I say to myself 'Well that wasn't that bad!' So I was nervous about this ride... just because of the drop. And I didn't want to walk around SOAKING for the rest of the day.

The queuing area that wasn't being used really showed to us how busy this ride could get. It must be a nightmare queuing for that long!



So after that wonderful ride (great theming!) we headed back to Main Street, ready to go back to SSR for a break. Of course- we were easily distracted...







And me, Willum and Rory headed into the...



Whilst Mummy and Daddy went to get ice cream!

The MANY Stylings of Rory!



















Thanks for reading! Next up... look out of our meal at California Grill and EMHs at MK until 2am!
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Old 10-22-2011, 10:03 PM   #119
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meggiebeth View Post
...It’s such a shame you didn’t get to try fish and chips! Maybe next time though. They don’t usually fry the chips in the same oil as the fish, so I think you will be fine! ...In Mcdonalds, they are marketed as ‘fries’ but everyone in the UK calls them ‘chips’. Of course in WDW when we asked for chips without realizing, the servers were confused, and thought we wanted crisps! (I believe you call them potato chips?) So we learnt to start using American terms for things.
... I don’t think cheddar cheese is the same in America though. I tried some and it was plainer and plastic flavoured. The cheddar we eat is quite rich. ...
Essex is pretty- but I take it for granted. I guess that’s what I’m used to- the same scenery and all. I have always thought though that Americans would really enjoy looking around here. Everyone says that there is not nearly so much history in the US, whereas the UK goes back thousands of years.
...Rory loves learning about his six wives...Goodness- I certainly need to scratch up on my knowledge of history!
Thomas Jefferson sounds like a very interesting person to learn about. I have heard of the Declaration of Independence, but I haven’t a clue what it is! Isn’t it something to do with the British and freedom? I also hadn’t had any idea that he was such a good inventor- and I looked up that clock you mentioned. If I have found the right one, it looks pretty impressive!
Really- you home school your kids? ...but you do GCSEs here for the last two years of compulsory education. If you get good enough results, you can go onto sixth form, for two years, and complete you’re a-levels. And if you get good enough a-levels, then you go to university/ college.
I don’t really like the atmosphere of school at all and would far prefer to be homeschooled. School is a very controlled environment, and they don’t trust you much. In fact… at my school, (sorry if this sounds ridiculous!) they treat you like tramps. I don’t deal with the pressures too well either! I wish I was working. (I know… I know… don’t wish your childhood away!)
...You are lucky in the US- you have lots of holidays. 4th July sounds wonderful to me. And America has such pride in its country. We noticed that in Florida- driving from Miami to WDW- American flags popped up everywhere! That doesn’t happen here much. There’s a lot of ‘political correctness’ involved. But still- it seems that most Americans are proud to be Americans which I love. I wish our country had more pride- like it used to.
I have no idea what Thanksgiving and Mardi Gras are, but I know that Thanksgiving is very big in America. Is it being thankful for food or something? And then you have days like Labor Day, Memorial Day… you have loads of public holidays! :worship...
An American girl started at my school today. She’s really nice, but she misses Montana a lot. We spent lunchtime yesterday bent over an atlas, and she was telling me all about her home and her pets. She lived really close to Canada and the Rocky Mountains. She’s having a hard time settling in here, sadly. Ironically, one of the things she misses most is the food from the US! She told me you can get dough in a can?! And some sort of instant cinnamon rolls?! I have to say, American supermarkets are rather different, regarding some of the products they sell. I came across something like ‘Pizza with Wyngz’?! I had no idea what they were but it was certainly interesting!
Now that I know I'll certainly try the chips. I like vinegar. I know what you mean about the different lingo. I knew before visiting England just a few words would be different, but I was surprised by how many. About the cheddar cheese, it would be fair to say that we have a lot of "cheese" here that is not like it should be. I put it in quotes because a good bit of it isn't even really cheese and is pretty yucky by taste and texture besides reading on the label as something strange like "processed cheese food product". We like real cheddar and my husband especially likes really sharp ones. I'm a label reader so I avoid most of the "cheese" in the grocery store but I know where to buy the good stuff.

Hehe, good for Rory. The stories of the six wives are kind of fascinating aren't they? I'm a history lover. My husband used to want to become a history teacher until he realized he was already making more money in computers over the summer during his college years than he could make as a teacher and that if he ended up teaching high school rather than teaching at the college level he'd have to deal with the behavior of kids and the crowd control issues that he saw with his little sister and her friends, who were all pretty wild at the time when he made that decision. But anyway, while I've been chatting with him as he drives and working offline on correspondence I mentioned our conversation and Jefferson and the Declaration... he started telling me about how there are a good many people who think all of the ideals of the Declaration of Independence are imitations from other thinkers such as Locke and Hobbes and Montesquieu, but that while many of our founding fathers were influenced by those same men there are some crucial differences and the Declaration of Independence is truly unique and pivotal in world history. And he gave me an interesting little refresher on the comparative philosophies of Jefferson and the three others I just mentioned.

The Declaration of Independence was essentially the result of the political problems that were going on in the American colonies just before the revolutionary war. It was the culmination of the landed men of the colonies having been discussing the seriousness they saw in those issues and debating between loyalty to the crown and the need to stand up for their rights as British citizens which they saw as being trampled. As the political tide turned and more and more decided the King would not reverse course but would oppress them and misuse them Thomas Jefferson was asked to draft this document which proclaimed to the King that they now saw themselves as independent of him and why.

Oh and DH says to say that while many schools dumb it down to the point of saying the whole thing was over the issue of "taxation without representation" that was actually number 14 on the list of reasons given on the document itself.

56 men signed the Declaration between August 2, 1776 and January 22, 1777, including two future presidents, three vice presidents, and ten members of the United States Congress.
There had been plenty of letters to the King before that time anyway, but obviously this one was different.
When he got this news he didn't exactly like it. A fair percentage of the signers of the Declaration ended up dead for having signed, some penniless, some with their families dead. But they are true American heroes, they and their sacrifices are the foundations of our country. We have one famous "founding father" who is mostly only famous to most people as a name, because his is the most prominent signature that can be read on the document. And his name has become synonymous with the word "signature". So sometimes when people here want you to sign something like perhaps your loan papers when you are buying a house or a car, they will say, "put your John Hancock right there".

The schools in our district our somewhere between average and very good, not the tops in the state but not at all bad by public school standards. My oldest child, my son, had a lot of learning challenges and he was basically "falling through the cracks". So I had to do something to help him. I pulled him out of school when he was mid-way through the fourth grade, but was two years behind in math, struggling with reading and having enormous social problems with kids and teachers too. I didn't know it yet at the time, but it turned out that he had Asperger's Syndrome. It was truly a hard job teaching him and I could see why the schools would have a hard time being equipped to handle every special need they run into. But without going into the rest of the story of his education before and after that point, that was how we found homeschooling. We just found it to be a really lovely lifestyle for our family and to have tons of amazing benefits. We love it. My daughters have never been to a school.

One of the strengths of homeschooling is the ability to individualize the education to the child completely. However that can also be seen as a drawback to homeschooling; any area where a child has a weakness becomes an area where you have to work harder, be diligent, find a way for them to succeed or even pull ahead in that subject. My kids are all great readers and the older two were both reading on a college level by the time they were twelve. (and that was after the public schools couldn't teach my son to read until I did it for them when he was the seven and eight years old.) I am weak in math and none of them seem to like math so that is where we have to have the most self-discipline and really work to make it happen.

But here is the great thing: It is all about letting your child (or helping them to) learn how to learn, to love to learn, to respect education and to be self-disciplined and independent. And while homeschooling as a movement or a personal choice is wonderful and I'd highly recommend it to just about anyone, it isn't really just about those can do it the way we do it. One of my favorite home school moms who lectures to other moms and sells a curriculum she wrote herself, is a woman who has her children in public schools and does what she calls "after-schooling" with them. She is supplementing their eduction essentially. Another person, a father, who I have bought curriculum from is a man whose wife had put together the materials to be used and had been homeschooling their children and then passed away suddenly. As a widower, he actually kept on homeschooling his kids right through until they all got accepted at excellent colleges and universities, even though he worked full time and they had to work mostly independently. Not to mention American History is full of amazing figures who were taught at home or were self-taught---world history for that matter. If you bone up on your history, you'll be doing the same wonderful thing!

We do not have an equivalent of the GCSEs, or I should say the GCSE test here. Our schools all have compulsory schooling right up to what we call twelfth grade. I think by design, our eleventh and twelfth grade are meant to be at the same level as your two years that you call second form. I remember back a million years ago when I was a teen participating in some and listening to a good deal of debate about whether the British system or the American system was superior as to that particular difference. If I got to decide I'm sure I'd switch us over to the British system. But many Americans tend to think that if everyone is not University-bound they have been wronged, where I think that to assign people privileges without equivalent responsibility is to do them wrong, and is quite probably a part of the reason for the continued decline in educational excellence that we have been experiencing here since before I was born. I've been aware of some of the facts about that situation in the past but I was recently horrified to learn that even the SATs and a huge percentage of college courses have been dumbed down since I took the SATs back in the 1980s.

Our SATs are tests that many students who want to go on to college or university have to take depending on which schools they are applying to. There are other similar tests that some schools ask for. The acronym stands for Scholastic Aptitude Test. And people also sometimes refer to them as "the college boards". Here if a student wants to go on to college after twelfth grade, they have to contact the schools they are considering attending and find out about the requirements for admission. Then if they still want to try to get in, they fill out an application and send it in along with all other requirements, such as official scores from the SAT or some other test. Then they wait to hear if they get accepted. Some schools will take nearly anyone no matter how poor of a student and some are extremely tough to gain entrance to.
I know what you mean about the environment in the schools, that certainly had an influence on me during my schooling and in my future ideas about schools in general.

I love the 4th of July. It is a fun holiday for sure. Unfortunately we do have plenty of people here who are into "political correctness" and don't seem to be aware of the problems associated with it or who let it inform their opinions way more than they should. But at least we also still have the other.

Mardi Gras is a holiday associated with the practice of lent, I believe. It seems like most people only celebrate it as a giant wild party or don't celebrate it at all; but I believe it started out as and may still be to some people a thing where they "party hard" before going on a fast or giving something up for lent. I'm not a catholic so those particular religious traditions could probably get a much better explanation from someone else.

Thanksgiving is a national Holiday now and has its roots back in the colonial era when the pilgrims of the Massachusetts Bay Colony had a several days long feast and celebration where they thanked God for the harvest. Although for the first hundred years or more after that there were different times and places that the same thing happened without uniformity, it is now always at the end of November (a good bit after the harvest for some of the states) and is generally celebrated with a feast and Thanks given to God for the food and for good things in life.

About the girl from Montana, maybe next month her family will at least be able to get a turkey and have a regular Thanksgiving the way they would have back home. I wonder if they could mail order just a few items that aren't available in the UK? I know the shipping is outrageous but you can often mail order foreign specialty foods here.

Haha, pizza and wings are a restaurant fad of the last ten or so years here. The "wings" are chicken wings with a spicy sauce on them. In restaurants part of the process of making them includes deep frying, but then that isn't the end of it. I can't imagine that getting them in the grocery store would be the same, but then again how many grocery store convenience foods are ever the same as what they mimic? They are often called Buffalo wings because of a restaurant in Buffalo, New York that made them. And for some strange reason lots of restaurants offer special deals for ordering pizza and wings at the same time. Well, I guess they are both the kinds of foods that people like for having a movie night or for having friends over to watch sports on the television. I like both things, but I've never actually had them in the same meal.

Now that you see how badly I can go on and on about history and then get told to put more in by DH, you'll be afraid to ask anything about it. But it is just a great subject to us. I'm glad you see the good in people liking their own country. I think the reasons that people decide we are all supposed to be ashamed of ourselves because of the past are rarely very well thought out and the emotionalism involved certainly prevents people developing a proper understanding of their own history and therefore ironically makes it all the more likely that if they get there way they are dooming the future to repetitions of those same past mistakes they are so upset about. Plus as with many other countries, Britain and America both have a lot of good things to be happy about in their histories along with the rotten things. Plus the British flag is great. I think that would be awesome if it was out in front of people's houses all over your beautiful country. And all the more so if I got to come and see it happen. Patriotism and TRAVEL. How could that be wrong?
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Old 10-23-2011, 01:47 PM   #120
WDWRids
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Originally Posted by meggiebeth View Post
Awww thankyou! I love planning things for him, and seeing him smile. And it’s great being a ‘big sister’. I seem to remember you mentioned earlier in the TR you were going to WDW. How was it? I hope you had a wonderful time!
We had a GREAT time. I just love WDW. It truly is the happiest place on earth!! We stayed for a week w/ my DHs sister and her husband. Was so sad when we had to leave. Wasn't sure when we would make it back (went the last two years in a row) but now have found out I get to go for work in March 2012!!! So excited. I'll work during the day but DH will play. Then we will meet up and have the nights. Probably will take a day or two extra.
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