November 08, 2009

The Cleaning, Again...

I was looking for a poem to put up on the wall, that would hopefully remind my boys about tidying up after themselves, but I just couldn't find anything quite right. So, instead, I wrote my own!

Feel free to use it for your own personal use, credited to myself, Sara Westhead.

If you would like to use it for commercial use, please contact me.


The Cleaning... Again

I've tidied the kitchen,
I've tidied the chairs,
I've even managed to tidy the stairs.

I've sorted and stored
I've polished and swept
And even cleaned up after the pets.

I've washed and I've wiped,
I've made everything clean,
But someone, somewhere, is terribly mean.

You see, after all my hard work was done,
And I went to bed after the sun,
When I awoke it was terribly clear
That all my hard work had just disappeared.

The toys were all back,
And the dishes were, too.
It seems I have gremlins,
Perhaps one or two.

My boys are both at it,
And yet, once again,
I'll be starting the cleaning all over again.

by Sara Westhead

September 18, 2009

The Boys are back at school!

Yeah!!! Tommy started 2 weeks ago, and Jonny went back this past Monday.

Both are in new schools. Tommy graduated to Crofton Junior School, and Jonathan is finally old enough to attend Crofton Infant School, where Tommy went last year.

Tommy was a bit hesitant about going back. He claims school is "boring," but loves the fact that they are studying World War 2 again, and have gardening every Thursday afternoon. So, in fact, he is really enjoying it after all.

Jonathan, however, is in seventh heaven! He was so excited to start on Monday, and had to get into his uniform extra early. When the two of us were chatting on Monday night, I asked him if he was excited to go back to school the next day. He gave me this funny grin, complete with tongue sticking out, and then said "Again? Back again??? YES!!!" He still attends half days.

That leaves me with afternoons free. If you can call it free! I've been running around like a mad woman, as usual... We're hosting a Ladies' Craft Morning at church next Saturday, and I'm teaching a craft and giving my testimony. We're going to be making mantle Christmas decorations - 4 paper-covered chipboard sheets, tied together with ribbon, that spell out - NOEL.

I've picked out this gorgeous paper from Papermania - their Joyeux Noël set, designed by Stephanie Dyment, and I've picked out semi-sheer red and gold ribbons. Should be absolutely gorgeous!

I may also do a Christmas card design, to share as well.

July 10, 2009

Tomorrow is the day! 2009 MS Wheel & Walk, Roundhay Park, Leeds

Tomorrow is the day! My Tommy and I are walking 4.2 kms (2.6 miles) to raise funds for MS! My dad and uncle have already been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and my cousin is in the process of being diagnosed, after years of thinking she had fibromyalgia. Scary!

The walk was all my son's idea. Tommy is 7 and is extremely close to my dad. He doesn't understand MS, but he knows that it has made his Pop-pop very sick in a very short time, and he wants to find a cure.

Please be thinking of us tomorrow morning. The walk begins at 9:30am UK time, which is 4:30am EST. I've not been doing too well with my FM lately, either, so it will be a physically challenging walk, in addition to the emotional challenges the walk is bringing. Also, please be praying for good weather. Yes, we're in England, and yes, we're in Yorkshire, but we've had a lot of rain this past week, with more scheduled for the weekend. Please pray the rain will hold off until everyone has completed their walks!

For more information on the walk, as well as the UK National MS Society, click here: Wheel & Walk Roundhay

We've just been desperately trying to get the word out to increase awareness of MS, and we've managed to get stories in one of the Bermuda newspapers and in our local paper, the Hemsworth & South Emsall Express:

Here's the link to the Hemsworth Express:
Fitzwilliam's Tommy is in step to help granddad

And here's the one in the Royal Gazette:
Bermudians taking part in UK Multiple Sclerosis Walk

We're so excited about the walk. We've currently raised about £170 (about U$275), but our goal is to raise £250 (about US$400). If you would like to support us, even if it is for just a couple of pounds or dollars (£1 = US$1.60, approximately), we would be just thrilled. Thanks to the MS Society, we've been able to set up our own online fundraising site, where you can make a donation using your credit card or PayPal, making it easy to give. You can visit our site at Tommy's MS Walk.

Thanks in advance for thinking of us, praying for us and lending your support!

July 03, 2009

Why can't I find a blog update reminder...

With all the junk emails I get, including reminders for silly stuff, I wish I could get my blog to send me a note about needing to be updated! LOL! Oh, well... To be dependent on my feeble memory...

I had a fantastic time visiting the family in Bermuda. It was my first holiday without Andrew or the kids since, well, before Andrew! It was nice to not have to worry about my two little munchkins, taking them to school, getting them to karate, and so on. Time was mine to do as I wished, to see friends, to sleep in, to go out.

Rebecca was a GORGEOUS bride and the wedding went just beautifully. The girls looked wonderful and the wedding was a blast. Of course, there were lots of other events leading up to the big day, which was on June 6. On the Sunday before, we had a surprise shower for her, organized by her bridesmaids. On the Monday, was my SIL Brenda's 30th birthday, so we organized a BBQ for her, complete with cupcakes. Wednesday night was out to Harbour Nights, and on Thursday evening, I went out with all the girls for a bit of a night on the town. Friday was the rehearsal and Mark's parents put on a fantastic dinner afterwards.

The trip was also marred with some sadness, as we lost a dear member of our Bermuda church family while I was there. Uncle Mac, James MacMaster, passed away after a road traffic collision, but thankfully I could attend the funeral while I was still home. How wonderful that the Gospel could be preached fully at the service!


The trip back to Bermuda was challenging, to say the least. On top of a Tube strike in London, some adverse weather prevented the flight from London from landing in Bermuda. Instead, it was diverted to Boston for refueling, where it then returned to Bermuda. As a result, the flight returning to London couldn't take off until around 1:30am, around 5hrs late. And because of continued bad weather, we didn't land in London until around 12:30pm, UK time!

That, of course, would have resulted in my missing my train from London up to Wakefield. Thankfully, British Airways was able to fly me on to Manchester, which was the closest they could get me to home. Unfortunately, THAT flight was also delayed, causing me to miss the fast train from Manchester to Leeds. Then there was the flooding on the tracks in Sheffield, which caused some more delays. So, instead of arriving in Wakefield a little after 3pm, I didn't get in until 7:30pm... And all to no husband at home!


Andrew had a bit of a scuffle with our cat, Slinky, which resulted in Slinky - my giant ball of fluff - biting him and putting Andrew into the hospital for FOUR days! He finally got to come home on the Saturday - the same day as Tommy's 7th birthday party!

Yes, you heard me... Tommy is SEVEN!!! I know, where does time go??? He had a great little party with a military theme set at Pontefract Castle. Thankfully, Andrew's sister, Lynn, and brother, Nigel, were able to stay and help, as Andrew was at home, resting.

So, Andrew's been home from work, all this time. He went to the physiotherapist again today, who wanted him to stay home a further 2 weeks, but enough was enough. He managed to get an appointment with a GP this afternoon, who finally signed the form allowing him to return to work as of Monday, on a somewhat limited duty. I don't think Andrew could handle any more time off work... I don't think I could, either! LOL!!!


Anyway, I had an awesome phone call today... About 2 months ago, one of the UK crafting magazines I read had a contest to design a card featuring the Forever Friends bears, by Hallmark. I put two different cards together, then started asking everyone which card they preferred. I finally sent one of them in, and today, got a phone call that I am one of the winners!

I have one a night at the Ramada Inn in Bradford, complete with dinner and breakfast, then a tour of the Hallmark studios the next morning, a goody bag and a crafting session with some of the Forever Friends artists and Creativity! Magazine's own craft guru, Claire Curd. While there, the overall winner will be awarded a signed original painting of one of the Forever Friends bears!

I am just over the moon! I simply can't believe it!!!! My boys are all jealous, and want to know if they can come with mommy for the night, but NO WAY! This is my time! Now to find a sitter for them on Monday, while Daddy is at work...


Now, looking to the very near future, next Saturday, July 11, Tommy and I will be getting up bright and early and heading to Roundhay Park in Leeds to participate in National Multiple Sclerosis Society's Wheel & Walk. Starting at 9:30am, we will be walking 4.2kms (about 3 miles, or so) to raise funds for MS, and in honour of my dad, Gerry, as well as my Uncle George, and friends with MS in Bermuda.

So far, we've raised about £110, but we'd love to raise a lot more! We're even going to be featured in an article in the Hemsworth Express this Thursday!

If you would like to sponsor us, you can visit our website at Tommy's MS Walk. Thanks in advance!!!

June 18, 2009

Some advice...

My dad just sent me this via email and I thought I'd share....

A wise person once said, 'Never borrow from the future... If you worry about what may happen tomorrow and it doesn't happen, you have worried in vain. Even if it does happen, you have to worry twice.'
1. Pray.
2. Go to bed on time.
3. Get up on time so you can start the day un-rushed.
4. Say NO to projects that won't fit into your time schedule, or that will compromise your mental health.
5. Delegate tasks to capable others.
6. Simplify and unclutter your life.
7. Less is more. (Although one is often not enough, two are often too many.)
8. Allow extra time to do things and to get to places.
9. Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time; don't lump the hard things all together.
10. Take one day at a time.
11. Separate worries from concerns. If a situation is a concern, find out what God would have you do and let go of the anxiety. If you can't do anything about a situation, forget it.
12. Live within your budget; don't use credit cards for ordinary purchases.
13. Have backups; an extra car key in your wallet, an extra house key buried in the garden, extra stamps, etc.
14. K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut). This single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble.
15. Do something for 'The Kid in You' everyday.
16. Read while waiting in line.
17. Get enough rest.
18. Eat right.
19. Get organized so everything has its place.
20. Listen to an audio help while driving that can help improve your quality of life.
21. Write down your thoughts and inspirations before you forget them.
22. Every day, find time to be alone.
23. Having problems? Talk to God on the spot. Try to nip small problems in the bud. Don't wait until it's time to go to bed to try and pray.
24. Make friends with Godly people.
25. Keep a folder of favorite scriptures on hand.
26. Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hope is often a good 'Thank you Jesus .'
27. Laugh.
28. Laugh some more!
29. Take your work seriously, but not yourself at all.
30. Develop a forgiving attitude (most people are doing the best they can).
31. Be kind to unkind people (they probably need it the most).
32. Sit on your ego.
33. Talk less; listen more.
34. Slow down.
35. Remind yourself that you are not the general manager of the universe.
36. Every night before bed, think of one thing you're grateful for that you've never been grateful for before.


'If God is for us, who can be against us?' (Romans 8:31)

May 07, 2009

An update! And a freebie!

Well, we had a great week with my mum. She arrived on the 27th, and we took her everywhere you could go with only one week to visit, including picnicking on the moors, the home of the Brönte sisters in Howarth, the National Coal Mining Museum, the National Railway Museum, the Royal Armouries and York.

It was wonderful to also celebrate my birthday with her, as well - the first time since I was 15! We took a whole day to ourselves to visit York, pop in and out of the shops, and enjoy a fantastic lunch at Betty's.

I've had so many other exciting things happen recently, as well! I've had a couple more digital scrapbook layouts picked up by Scrapbook Inspirations, a British magazine. In fact, they have asked for submissions! Also, they have added me to their list of contributors, so hopefully, in the near future, I'll also be writing for them!

Also, my class at Ackworth Garden Centre continues to grow. It's been moved to Thursday evenings, which seem to be more convenient for many students. I will also be demonstrating scrapbooking at the shop this Saturday for their Spring Craft Event!

More classes may be on the way, as well, thanks to a chance meeting at a craft fair Easter weekend. I should be meeting with the owner of a new store that is opening nearby, and she already has several people interested!

Finally, the biggest news - I may have a job doing what I love! My friend, who is the co-owner of Ackworth Garden Centre, recently met with a representative from one of the larger British craft distributors. They are in need of demonstrators to travel to stores selling their products, and I met with the rep yesterday! She loves my stuff, and wants to see more, especially some stamping projects, and wants to watch me teach one of my classes.

The pay is pretty decent, and it's mostly Saturdays, so I'm really excited that this will take off! Who knows where it could lead!

Last, but not least, I have a new freebie for you! I've been desperate for some digital designs based on my Momiji dolls and my brilliant office curtains, so I finally sat down and made my own.

Here's a sample of Oriental Dolls...

The set contains 6 different dolls, with different hair styles.

You can download it HERE.
Please let me know if you enjoy it and I'd love to see how you've used it!

May 06, 2009

So much to do, so little time!

I had a wonderful visit with my Mom, Rosemary, who was here for a week, visiting from Brisbane, Australia! And I leave for Bermuda in just a few more weeks, to attend my sister, Rebecca's wedding!

And there's still so many other details to fill in, as well! So stay tuned - hopefully I get online later tonite and share ALL of what's going on, and perhaps also some really BIG NEWS!

April 27, 2009

National Scrapbooking Day

What a way to celebrate my birthday every year - it always falls around National Scrapbooking Day! This year, I'll be playing at two sites - that is when I get the chance!

Of course, I'll be hosting at A Cherry On Top, as usual - and for those of you on the East Coast, that's the 2am shift! Thank goodness for the time difference here in the UK.

I also hope to do some playing at one of my other favourite places, Faith Sisters! So be sure to check out both!

April 20, 2009

MS Society Wheel & Walk Roundhay

My son Tommy and I will be participating in the 4.2km Wheel & Walk at Roundhay Park in Leeds on Saturday, 11 July. We are walking on behalf of my dad - Tommy's Pop-pop - who was diagnosed with a rapid progressive form of MS just last year.

If you'd like to sponsor us - we're hoping to raise at least £100 - please visit our Just Giving web page. Through Just Giving, you can make a donation using your debit or credit card. You can access our page HERE.

Thanks so much for being a part of this walk with us!

April 11, 2009

New digi scrapbooking magazine!

I'm excited to be a part of this as one of the in-house writers - My Scrapbook Art is launching a new e-zine, Flourish!

Publishing monthly, it will highlight the best of the best from around the digi scrapbooking world! The first edition comes out very soon, so if you'd like to sign up for this free magazine, visit the My Scrapbook Art website. You can sign up right from the home page!

March 12, 2009

Westhead Update - Spring 2009 - Part 2

Andrew continues to be busy at work, though he recently enjoyed a two-week holiday, which also included the boys' week-long mid-term holiday. Compared with the normal two weeks that many of us are used to when we start a job, most jobs here in the UK start with something like 6 weeks!

For part of the holiday, we all traveled down to Southampton to visit with Andrew's sister, Jean, and her husband Ian. Using their house as a base, we managed to visit Marwell Zoo and Stonehenge!

We have managed to put the house up for sale on the market, and it has even been viewed several times. The housing market here, just like the economy, is touch and go at best, so we're praying that God will allow it to sell according to His timing. We are also praying about what we should do after the house eventually sells.

The troubles of our neighbourhood continue, though it seems that through working closely with the local police, councilors and other council departments, we might finally being some light at the end of the tunnel. Other neighbours are also finally coming forward, and the police and anti-social behaviour unit have now identified a number of youths. We are now just waiting for the "process" to begin!

In addition to our own mini campaign against the troubles here, the West Yorkshire Police are also unrolling a new campaign to better work with communities to identify and tackle specific issues within communities, which also coincides with a new pledge for local police nationally by the Home Office. In our area, as a result of all the past reporting, we are now seeing regular patrols. These PCs and PCSOs have actually caught some of these kids in the act! We can only hope that all these events will lead to more peaceful evenings as the weather gets better.

In addition to all of these public meetings, and the regular responsibilities at home, teaching Sunday School and helping out at Ambassadors at church, I've found myself doing a lot of babysitting of late. I've recently befriended one of our neighbours, a young, single mother with two little boys. Her oldest attends school with Jonathan, while the younger is just 6 months old. It has been a blessing and a challenge to offer her the friendship and support she needs, as well as hopefully being an example to her. Please pray that our friendship will be strengthened and that she will be able to see Christ's love for her through me!

March 05, 2009

Westhead Update - Spring 2009 - Part 1

Spring is blossoming here in England!

After such a long winter, which included the worst snow our area has seen in 18 years, it is such a blessing to be facing more sunny days, and to see the patches of purple, yellow and white flowers brightening up road sides.

When we first left Bermuda, it had been my intention to send out monthly updates, but life has, unfortunately, proven far too busy. It is difficult to believe that it is already March, but the shops are ever reminding us of the fast-approaching Easter season with the sale of chocolate eggs, which appeared as soon as Valentine's was over.

One of the biggest events since the New Year was Jonathan starting nursery at Fitzwilliam Primary, the same school Andrew and his siblings attended as children. Andrew, in fact, laughed at how little the main school building has changed since he was a boy!

Originally, Jonathan attended 2-1/2 hours every afternoon, but since the mid-term holiday, that has increased to 3 hours a day. He has settled in beautifully, and loves to go to school. I even got a big thumbs up from one of the teachers a few weeks after he started, to let me know that Jonathan actually SPOKE!

His speech has drastically improved, though he is still very shy about talking away from home.

Tommy is proving to be quite the little history buff, as the subject seems to becoming his favourite. He absolutely loved learning about the Black Death and the Great Fire of London during the first half of this term, and is equally excited about learning about World War Two during the second half. He did, however, get somewhat distressed about the evacuations of children from London during the German bombing raids.

He has recently given up on football on Saturday mornings, which, in a way is a bit of a blessing for us, as it means we now have more time on a Saturday to do things as a family. He apparently wasn't the only child who could no longer face running around in 0˚C weather, often in wet and/or semi-frozen conditions.

He has, however, recently begun karate through a 5-week taster course being given through his school, Crofton Infants. He begged us to be allowed to try it, and after speaking with the karate instructor about some of our concerns over how it would be taught, we agreed. He is absolutely loving learning about karate as a sport, and would like to go on to take more lessons, but is still looking forward to being old enough to begin fencing!

February 22, 2009

A quiet afternoon...

So much to do and so little time! DH is out of the house, and so are my kids, so I've been left with an afternoon to myself!

Unfortunately, a late night is slowly catching up with me and now I'm so drowsy... I went for a quick walk down the street to the shop to pick up the paper and a pastry, and came home to get some more work done for my upcoming classes, but discovered that the cream in the pastry had turned off! YUCK! I'm not really in a mood to go back and ask for my 50p back, but... oh, well...

Yes, I'll be teaching again soon! We've set up classes at Ackworth Garden Centre, beginning the first Wednesday in March. I'm so excited! We've had a lot of interest, and I think will be adding one or two more classes soon, as well!

It's an 8-week course that teaches the basics of scrapbooking, as well as a variety of paper-crafting techniques utilizing a variety of products distributed by Do Crafts, here in the UK.

This is just one part of what we hope will be the relaunch of my scrapping business, like I had in Bermuda, under a new name - My Happy Scrapbooks is the current contender! I'll be advertising for custom albums, teaching and craft parties.

February 14, 2009

Freebie just for you!

Well, it's been forever since I did any digi designing, but to create my new blog header, in honour of a reveal at A Cherry On Top, I thought I'd create my own mini kit.

I'd love to see anything you make with it, so please drop me a note!

Retro Rainbow

February 10, 2009

It's only been 9 months...

since I last posted to this blog!

Well, maybe I'd better get better at it, since more people will likely be reading it from now on!

The family and I have been in England for about 6 months now, and it's been quite an adjustment, from just the weather, to the troubles with the youths in the neighbourhood. But, we are settling in, finally.

We've found a fantastic church, and are all involved in some way, shape or form. Andrew is playing guitar with the music team during the Sunday evening service, while I'm teaching Sunday School and helping with your youth club on Monday nights, which both boys attend.

Our Tommy is doing wonderfully in school, and absolutely loves his history class. They've been learning about the Plague and the Great Fire of London, and he's had his daddy searching the internet for more information.

Jonathan started school just a few weeks ago, and attends the nursery attached to the school in our village in the afternoons. He can't wait to go to school most days, and always greets me with, "Mommy, me hadda good day!" and a smile!

Andrew's settling in at his new job, but is definitely looking forward to having this week and next off on holiday. Next week is mid-term, so our plan is to travel south to Southampton to visit his sister for a couple of days, if the weather holds.

England has had the worst snow in 18 years, as well as flooding in parts. We've been okay - lots of snow and it's been very cold, but we're getting on!

I actually hope to be teaching soon - a scrapbooking class at a nearby garden centre, where I also go to a craft club. Everything looks just about ready to start, so just the final details need to be coordinated! I can't wait!