Order: Five Minute Friday

Happy Friday morning!

This morning I am joining writers from all over the globe in the Five Minute Friday link-up. Every week bloggers and social media writers gather to share a post on a common theme. This week our prompt is: Order.

If you have been following my family and I you know that we spent a month in England. Last Friday we made it home and we have spent the week resettling into our American lives. Jet lag hit us pretty hard. Those first few days we woke up with the sun at 4:45am, but then crashed by 5pm or 6pm. Each day we tried to sleep a little later and stay up a little longer to help get us regulated.

The one thing we did on Monday that helped bring order to our lives was a deep clean of our home. We needed to reconnect with our house and so we lifted the month’s worth of dust, cat hair, mess from the surfaces of the home and worked on bringing the house back to life.

Things that we take for granted while here are things we missed while away. I missed sitting in my writing spot looking out into the morning and the sunshine. I missed the way my cat rubs up against me as I write just to let me know that he’s there. I missed my slow cup of coffee in the morning.

Life in England was amazing. We always do so much and pack a year worth of memories into one month and it is such a blessing. Check out my recent posts about the trip and see that while we were gone we didn’t long for home–we were too busy and surrounded by loved ones for that. But once we arrived home I noticed how much I missed my routines.

Life is starting to fall back in place. There is an order to the home and our schedule is beginning to feel like normal. We are sleeping a normal 8 hour stretch and eating at times acceptable to society. Jet lag shook up the order in our lives a bit, but it seems that it has finally worn off.

The Ameri Brit Mom


Home Sweet Home and International Travel

Atop Spinnaker Tower in the Portsmouth Harbor

It was hard to say goodbye to our English family. To my squishy nephew. To afternoon tea. To comfortable weather. To streetside cafes. To Americano black from Costa. To endless Covid tests and Track and Trace calls–okay, maybe that last part is a lie. Nonetheless, to journey home always means many heartbreaking goodbyes.

We arrived back in Ohio on Thursday night after eighteen hours of travel.

The airports and flights were not crowded so the time we spent in terminals and on air crafts looked much different than our past experiences. If you are healthy and vaccinated now is the time to travel! On both of our international flights this summer we had entire rows on the plane to ourselves. Traveling economy class is a lot more enjoyable with the ability to spread out and relax.

Adjusting back to Eastern Standard Time back home has been difficult on all of us. We have been up with the sun at 4:30am and off to bed by 9pm at the latest. Coming home is always so much harder than our initial adjustments in England. All four of us are still experiencing jet lag, but will hopefully be fully charged in the next couple of days.

I have missed my friends, routines, coffee spots, and protein shakes. If you are looking for me this week I will likely be enjoying those things…or napping.

A cafe on the high street of Eastleigh with my husband’s aunties
Cafe breakfasts with Squishy
Getting her energy out at Logan International Airport (Boston)

The Ameri Brit Mom

Family, Uncategorized

Fall Break 2018

The past week was Fall Break in the school district where my husband and I teach (and our daughter goes to school.) We were extremely busy during this week with traveling, hospital visits, big news, and family time.

Below is a look at all that happened during the past seven days (it’s all out of order, but I wanted to be creative with the word: FALL):

Flu struck the Sisley house! Days before our break began our oldest daughter was taken to the ER with a temperature of 105. I freaked out a little prematurely, but that was the first time I had ever read a number that high on a thermometer. A little hydration and medication went a long way to helping her feel better. The fever hung on for four days, but luckily she started acting back to normal much sooner.



A trip to Niagara Falls, Canada, was the biggest part of our break. My sister moved to Canada to work at Brock University (more on that here) and so we loaded up the car, our passports, and tons of baby supplies and spent three days with her at her apartment. I really enjoyed getting to see her town and touring her campus. We also saw the falls, did the Journey Behind the Falls, and walked through the tourist district at Clifton Hill. The only thing I disliked about the trip was that the morning we drove up I woke to a high temperature myself. I spent the trip nursing the same flu that I caught from my daughter, but I tried not to let that keep me down.


Local tradition has it in my hometown that Pumpkins take over the city streets on the third week of each October. The Circleville Pumpkin Show is the Greatest Free Show on Earth. Before we embarked on our travels we made sure to spend a couple of hours at the festival eating Pumpkin-flavored baked goods and my personal favorite, bourbon chicken and rice.



Love was in the air as my youngest sister got engaged at the beginning of the break. Her boyfriend proposed at Hocking Hills, which is a state park in Ohio. It’s a beautiful time of year there and I am so excited to plan her fall wedding at the same destination. I am also so excited to be gaining such a thoughtful and positive brother-in-law.


Now you are caught up with us after Fall Break 2018!

The Ameri Brit Mom

england, Link-Ups, Uncategorized

Thirteen: Five Minute Friday

I’m a little bit late this week with my Five Minute Friday post (I blame it on my all day excursion yesterday involving kayaking and cream teas.) Five Minute Friday is a weekly link-up where a community of bloggers crafts a post based on a common topic. This week the topic is Thirteen. Check out the rest of the community and their posts here. Now on to my five minutes of uninterrupted writing:


I’m starting to miss my home. A whole month abroad has been an endless supply of joy, but the longer I stay the more I begin to sense the familiar feeling of homesickness. I truly love being in England and spending time with people I love so dearly, but when I quiet my mind I start to crave the things that make up my life in America.

Friends, church, wide roads, American food, lemonade, driving, air conditioning, my house, and pets are all things I miss while traveling. But soon, I will have both feet on the ground in Ohio. Thirteen days and I’ll be back to the states.

For these last days I plan to soak up every moment in the UK. I have to get into one month a whole year’s worth of visits. I still have people to see, places to go, money to spend. I’m still looking forward to worshipping at our church in the UK, taking the girls shopping to spend their money that their great-Grandma gave them, having another play date with our close British friends, and eating a couple more roast dinners.

If you had thirteen days in the UK how would you spend them? What would you do?

The Ameri Brit Mom

england, Family, Uncategorized

England 2018: Week 1 Review

I cannot believe that we’ve been in the sunny UK for one week now. Packing a year worth of visits into one month really makes time fly. Watching the girls connect with their British family and heritage makes all of the hassle of travel worth it.

This first week was spent adjusting to the time difference and reacquainting our family with those we love in England. While here we stay with my father-in-law in the house where my husband grew up. Along with us for the week my sister-in-law and brother-in-law are also staying in the house. It’s a packed house, but we enjoy the company. We stay in Eastleigh which is a suburb of Southampton along the south coast of England.

A major difference between life in Eastleigh and our home in Ohio is that everything we could possibly need is within walking distance. We travel by foot as often as we can and we log well over 10,000 steps per day throughout our stays. It’s nice to have the option to travel by car, but with a metro center less than a mile from the house we take advantage of the opportunity to move our legs and get outside.

Life moves at a slower pace here. In America, life is packed so full. It’s the American way. But in England, most shops and venues close for the evening around 5pm. This encourages families to spend more time together in the home. We’ve done so much during the days while here, but our evenings are generally spent around the dinner table, playing games, and just hanging out with the people we love.

Some of the things we did during our first week:

-went to a new cinema in Southampton to catch the release of Uncle Drew (a basketball movie which was totally my husband’s choice)

-swam in the Fleming Park paddling pool

-signed Arianna up for her very own Eastleigh Library card

-swam at Romsey Rapids, an indoor water park

-participated in my first ever cycling class is Twyford

-met up with students and teachers from the school where I work. They are currently traveling abroad for a foreign language trip and part of their itinerary brought them to Portsmouth, a fifteen minute drive from Eastleigh. An added bonus, my cousin was on the trip!

-attended the Cheese Festival in Portsmouth and walked along the sea

-worshipped in the town square during the annual Eastleigh Churches Together service

-drove through the lovely New Forest to pick up my brother-in-law. (Side note: In the New Forest horses have free reign of the roads and town. Wild horses are beautiful!)

-shopped in Eastleigh’s Swan Center

-watched on television as England lost in the semi-finals of the World Cup


Some foods we’ve eaten:

-Cottage pie


-Traditional English Breakfast (fried egg, sausage, bacon, beans, chips)


-Lots of Costa coffee

-Traditional Roast Dinner

-Mac’n’Cheese waffle from the Cheese Festival



My girls also had some big milestones during this first week. Arianna learned to ride a bike without training wheels. She enlisted the help of an elderly neighbor, but within thirty minutes she was off! I cannot believe how quickly she picked it up. Aleah started belly laughing and can now roll from her back to her belly. Aleah also splashed in the water at Romsey Rapids for the very first time.

I am looking forward to all we have planned over the next few weeks. I will share weekly recaps so stay tuned to see what all we get up to while staying with family in England.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Family, Uncategorized

Five Minute Friday: Worth

What is Five Minute Friday?

It is a link-up (which is equivalent to a Meet-and-Greet in the world of blogging.) Each week, the topic changes and participants are encouraged to take five minutes to write according to the prompt. Because you only have five minutes, posts are raw and unedited. Luckily, Five Minute Friday is a positive place and by joining the group you are giving yourself permission to step outside the confines of perfection. It’s a place to write from the heart and to be encouraged.

So here is my unedited post on this week’s topic, Worth:


I’m sitting in a warm upstairs bedroom with the windows open and the sound of birds providing white noise. It’s 85 degrees Fahrenheit today in England and I’ve never been this warm in my life. Sure, in Ohio we have days much warmer, but air conditioning is not commonplace in this part of Europe. Most days are cool and rainy, but lucky us, we arrived during a heat wave. So as every part of my body drips with sweat and the promise of a cool indoors isn’t quite what it is in America, I stare at the netted drapes flowing with the breeze and count my blessings.

It’s all worth it.

It’s worth the hassle of international travel, and questions from border patrol. It’s worth the worry that accompanies me with traveling. I must admit as much as I love to visit new places and get outside of my hometown I do stress a bit when it comes to the actual travel part. It’s worth it to be a near-melted-mess as we walk through the town.

The minute my daughter stepped through the gate and spotted her English Grandad her face lit up. It was worth it. Seeing my mother-in-law and chatting about life made all the jet lag worth it. Sitting in this hot house trying to down glasses of squash (british juice) to stay hydrated is worth it. To make these memories and be with these people is why I put myself through the insanity of travel abroad.

Hello from the UK this week!

The Ameri Brit Mom


Family, Uncategorized

Road Trip to Pittsburgh


My husband closed out his Upward Celebrations season with a trip to Bridgeville, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As a family, we loaded up the car for the final time this winter and made the most of the four hour drive over two state borders and through several mountains. The landscape was beautiful throughout our entire drive.

I’m going to miss the traveling to new cities over the next couple of months, but I’m also in need of some rest. We are eager to return to our everyday rhythms and routines, but that doesn’t make us any less sad that our travel time is over.

On the trip, we stopped at a Chuck-E-Cheese so our daughter could experience the childhood equivalent to heaven on earth.

While Sam set up for the event I took our daughter exploring in the suburb. It was a beautiful little town, and of course we had to visit the local cafe. A four hour drive warranted a giant cup of coffee.

The travels may be over for a few months, but the memories we made as a family will continue long after his final bow. We are so blessed to get to travel together to support my husband in his shows. He is so passionate about using his gifts and talents to glorify God and he had almost a dozen opportunities to do just that over the past two months.

It is very fitting that as the shows wrapped up our school district began Spring Break. We are in need of some time at home as a family, although I’m sure you will hear that we took some time for adventure over the coming week. I’m looking forward to updating you next week on how we spent our break.

Send me some ideas and you may find that we take you up on some.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Family, Uncategorized

Indianapolis Review

My gift to my husband this Christmas was a trip to Indianapolis to watch the Indiana Pacers take on the Chicago Bulls. We only spent about 24 hours in the city, but we packed those hours with so many memories.

Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame

Over the summer we went to Chicago and drove through Indianapolis. I remembered from that drive that my husband mentioned the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, but we didn’t have time to make that stop then.

On our way to Indianapolis this weekend around we made sure to leave with plenty of time for that trip. We got off the highway about thirty minutes before hitting Indianapolis and spent an hour at the Hall of Fame. It was neat to see the history behind basketball in the Hoosier state. There was a video about high school basketball in Indiana, rooms of memorabilia, and a Hall of Fame for some of the most talented basketball players of all time.

Our Hotel

Indianapolis was absolutely beautiful. The city was clean and not so big that travel was a hassle. Actually, our travel once checked into our hotel (Hyatt Regency Indianapolis) was minimal. It was very cold and windy, but we didn’t have to spend much time outside. Our hotel was connected by a covered walkway to the Circle Center Mall. The Circle Center Mall led out to the entrance of Bankers Life Field House, where the Pacers games are held.

Parking at the hotel was a little expensive ($35 a day), but it was worth it because we didn’t have to attempt to drive in pre and post game traffic.

Our hotel was extremely nice and accommodating. Ari’s favorite part of the hotel was the swimming pool, of course.


Pacers vs. Bulls

The purpose behind our little getaway was so that my husband could watch a live NBA game. As much as he loves basketball he hasn’t been to many NBA games. His favorite team is Cleveland, but I wanted to give him a chance to visit another town. Chicago is his second favorite team and since they were playing in Indianapolis over Christmas break I thought it would be a perfect present. Little did I know that before the game Chicago and Indianapolis would be tied in the league rankings. It was a huge game. Fans turned out to cheer on both teams. Although the Pacers ended up winning my husband still enjoyed himself and the experience to be in the gym where some of basketball’s finest were playing.


Indianapolis Children’s Museum

On every trip that we take we look for fun things for Ari to do. It gives her incentive to behave herself throughout the travel, and also gives her a chance to blow off some steam and have fun.

Leading up to the trip I did my research and found that the #1 place in Indianapolis for families was the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. Once I saw that they had a Doc McStuffins exhibit I committed the extra trip to our itinerary. Also, we decided to visit on New Years Eve. There was a party in the lobby with live music and a countdown to noon. Every child received a party hat and we spent most of the day walking through the exhibits and having fun as a whole family.

We’ve been to Children’s Museums in Columbus, Chicago, New York, and England, and while we’ve never been disappointed this was the best one we have visited.

The exhibits that we enjoyed were Doc McStuffins, Indy500, Welcome to China, and Christmas Land. Additionally, there was an exhibit for older children that we walked through about Ruby Bridges and Anne Frank and the difference that children have made on our world. It was phenomenal.


Hoosiers Gym

After a long day at the museum we packed up our car and headed home. We made one pit stop in Knightstown, Indiana, at the Hoosiers Gym. This particular gym is based off of the one from the famous basketball movie. Ari was asleep and I didn’t want to wake her so my husband popped in quick enough to get some pictures of himself doing tricks on the court and then we headed home.


This trip was a great time to recharge as a family. I recommend giving gifts like this. Getting a chance to make memories and celebrate life as a family is well worth the monetary costs involved.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Blessings, Uncategorized

Five Minute Friday: Want

This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is Want. What is a link-up? Essentially a link-up is when you join other bloggers and write on a similar topic. You share your blog posts with one another and begin conversations via a host site. You can head over to Kate Motaung’s page to check out other entries from inspired bloggers. Here’s my five minutes of uninterrupted, unedited writing on this week’s topic:


Today is our final day in Chicago before our flight to England for the remainder of the month. For today’s Five Minute Friday post I decided to recount my memories and thoughts from my morning walk along Chicago’s famous Magnificent Mile.

Wanting in the City

by Lauren Sisley


The cityscape surrounds me.

Tall, ivory concrete blocks my view on all sides.

The wind and sun crisp my skin.

My elbows graze the shopper beside me

As I travel down Michigan Avenue:

The Magnificent Mile.


The sound of bags bouncing on arms fill the air.

I breathe in fried food and cigarette smoke with each slow inhale.

People speak loudly–in different languages– into headsets,

But never to each other.


How funny it is that one can be so lonely in a city so big.

It’s fun to visit,

But I could never stay.

As people rush about seeking out things that they want,

I realize that I have all I could ever want.

And it didn’t cost a dollar.

Some go broke in pursuit of goods.

While those who lack have plenty.

What I own is little.

What I want is free.





england, Organization

How to Pack For an International Flight

I met my husband in 2007 and I have traveled every summer (and one Christmas) since to his hometown in England. As we embark on journey #9 to England I decided to share with you some things I’ve learned about packing for a two week journey overseas.

First off, I wish I had taken advice from seasoned travelers before my first couple of trips to England. It feels pretty helpless showing up in the airport to drop off your luggage and getting the red tag labeled, “OVERWEIGHT” strapped to the handle. Not only is there an added fee for any luggage over the limit (which for most airlines is 50 lbs.) but if it exceeds the limit too much they may force you to lighten the load before putting it on the plane. This is never a good experience. I’ve come a long way since my college days feeling the need to pack my entire dorm in my suitcase and so I thought I would share some things I’ve learned through the years about what to pack and what is unnecessary when it comes to international travel.


1. An Adapter: Almost every international trip will require an adapter for that region if you plan to take anything electronic or any chargers for electronic devices. For the first few years I traveled to England I would buy these in the airport and they can tend to run quite high in price, but a few years later I was able to plan ahead and purchase a USA to UK adapter on Amazon.com in a pack of 3 for $5.00. It is a wise and worry-free step in the process of packing to research the adapters and purchase them in advance.

2. A carry-on bag filled with books, pens, and paper: As one enters a new country you will undoubtedly be expected to fill out a customs or claims card. In my experience many airlines provide these cards during the flight to help ease the process once you have landed at the destination, but they do not provide pens for filling out these cards. Have a carry-on bag packed full of things to keep you busy during the flight and always be sure to include a pen or two. Additionally many of these cards will ask for the address of the location where you will be staying so somewhere in your carry-on or a in a note on your phone have that address handy.

3. Clothes: It goes without saying that 80% or more of what you pack for your trip should be clothing. When it comes to what clothing to pack think about layers. As a preppy college student I always tried to pack my entire wardrobe for a two week trip to England which filled my luggage to the seams and oftentimes is what put me over the weight limit when it came to the airport scales. Realistically you should just pack minimally allowing room in the suitcase to bring back souvenirs from the trip.

I am about to take a two week trip and here is a list of the clothing I am packing. (Please note that it is much colder in the summer in England than in Ohio):

-5 pairs of shoes: athletics, 2 pairs of flip flops, dress shoes, sandals

-3 pairs of shorts

-2 pairs of jeans

-1 dress

-3 tank tops

-5 shirts or printed tops

-3 hooded sweatshirts (because it rains frequently in England)

*Another tip I’ve learned for those of you concerned about the weight of your luggage is to wear your bulkiest pieces to the airport so that they are not added to the weight of the suitcase. I tend to wear my athletic shoes because airports require lots of walking, but also because they are the heaviest of my shoes. I’ll also pack a sweatshirt or two in my carry-on because I’ve never been on a flight where I haven’t gotten cold at some point. Most airlines offer blankets, but most do not cover both legs and arms.


4. Beauty Products: It’s so easy to go overboard on products for a trip. I’ve learned to minimize packing in this area as well. Purchasing the $1 travel-size shampoos, conditioners, and lotions have become essential to my packing. Apart from shower materials you should limit the makeup and hair products that you hull around. I always spend quite some time thinking through what I need. Anything else is just going to be added weight and space. I do always pack my hair straightener and one bag of cosmetics.

That’s about it for the what-to-pack list. Now for those items that you better just leave at home:

1. Cds, Dvds, and other media beyond tablets: These items oftentimes are embedded with a regional code that players in another country will not be able to read. So if you pack your child’s favorite Dvd thinking that you can show it in a hotel room you will be disappointed. If you or a member of the family can’t go without a certain album or movie it is best to download it onto iTunes or Google Play and watch it on your tablet or iPad.

2. Breakables or spill-ables: If you’ve ever watched them load suitcases onto a plane the reason behind packing anything breakable or spill-able goes without explanation. Although your suitcase may house some of your most valuable possessions it is likely not going to be treated as such by the airline crew who has over 250 suitcases to load on one flight. Make sure anything liquid has a lid that is securely fastened. One year I made the tragic mistake of not checking the lid on my hair spray and opened up a suitcase full of sopping wet clothes. Not fun.

3. Food: The compartment where luggage is stored during a flight is not equipped with air conditioning which will cause many foods to spoil or melt. If you are planning to take snacks be sure to store them in your carry-on and check the guidelines for food and liquid to see what is acceptable with your airline.

4. Bulky items: Really anything that is not completely necessary for your trip should be left at home. Do not pack anything that is going to be bulky and take up more than its fair share in weight and space. In the past we’ve shipped large gifts or items that we would use on the trip ahead of time, but for the most part that hasn’t really been an issue.

My best advice is travel light and think twice before placing any item in your suitcase. There are not many things in life that I would consider myself an expert in, but international travel (especially with children) is definitely one thing I’m beginning to master. If you have any specific questions about international travel that were not addressed in this post please feel free to ask me in the comment box. I hope that I could lend some quality advice that I learned the hard way through trial and error.