Family · Uncategorized

We Escaped!


1 Murder+3 Suspects+6 Friends+2 Strangers+60 minutes= a lot of fun and laughs (and a wrongly convicted murderer)

If you have never gone to an escape room you are missing out. Some of our friends had a Groupon for Lockology Columbus Escape Room and invited us to join them. It was a blast.  Aside from the slight panic I felt as I signed the entry waiver there was nothing scary about the event.

Once our party was gathered the creepy employee tasked with making us all nervous led us into a small office–the location of the murder.

A video explained our mission and the rules. Then, the door was locked and our one hour began. In order to unlock the door we had to name a suspect and find the combination to the door’s lock.

I can’t reveal anything about the actual case and clues, but I can tell you that it was tricky. In the end we guessed the wrong murderer, but did break out with the correct code. So we were 1 for 2.

Now, while I learned that I’m not quite cut out for the life of a CSI agent, I did enjoy the mystery of it all. I’ve seen a lot of Twitter posts where teachers have used the tactics of the Escape Room in their classrooms. I can see the appeal, and I’d love ideas for making this fit into my high school English or History curriculum.

I am very thankful for my friends and the chance to get away with them and share hours of laughter.


The Ameri Brit Mom



Family · Uncategorized

Anniversary Bliss

The first week of June is always full of such bliss in our household. On June 4, my husband and I celebrate our wedding anniversary. June 6 is my mother’s birthday which we always commemorate with a mother-daughter lunch. And my birthday is today, June 7. (I’m 26!!!)

We are busy packing and preparing for our Chicago trip today because we leave first thing tomorrow. At some point between weighing suitcases and checking off the last things from our to-do list we will also be venturing out to the Columbus Zoo for a couple of hours. The zoo has become one of our family birthday traditions. I’m really excited to make some memories at the best zoo in the country today!

As excited as I am for my birthday festivities I’m still living in shadows of my anniversary weekend. It was so much fun!

June 4, 2016 was our fifth anniversary. My husband planned an entire day filled with some of our favorite things as well as some new activities. My parents watched our daughter for the whole day which freed my husband and I up to do some pretty awesome things.

First off, we drove to Columbus. For a really long time we’ve been saying that we would love to rent a bike and ride the Scioto Mile Trail which runs parallel to the Scioto River in downtown Columbus. We ended up riding close to four miles. This was so scenic and refreshing. It was also a blast!





Our next stop was a Barnes and Noble on the Ohio State University campus. We had a leisurely walk about the books. It’s been a while since we have had the ability to check out adult books in a bookstore without a toddler screaming to look at the kids books or play at the train table in the back.

Then we were off to dinner. We chose The Cheesecake Factory at Easton. It was delish!

Lastly, and most excitingly we participated in our first Wine and Canvas event. At Wine and Canvas professional artists walk you step-by-step through the painting process. Everyone is working on the same picture and there is a steady supply of “liquid courage” as they call it. This was so much fun and I was really pleased with the way that both of our canvases turned out.



It was so nice to enjoy a night out on the town with my husband doing things that we rarely get an opportunity to participate in with a child. I feel so lucky and blessed to have been married to such a great guy. And in less than 24 hours we kick off our Great Traveling Adventures of 2016!

I hope everyone else is having a great start to June!

The Ameri Brit Mom

The Date Jar

The Date Jar: Week 6 (Family Movie Date)

My favorite part about this Date Jar series is the emphasis it has put on spending more quality time with my family. For as young as a family as we are we have quite a full schedule. It would be extremely easy for us to go several weeks at a time without doing much more than watching television on the couch as a family, but this series has gotten us to plan fun, inexpensive ventures and provided us opportunities to experience some of the fun and excitement that the Columbus area has to offer. This week our destination: Lancaster, Ohio.

My husband has begun a ministry opportunity on Saturday mornings. He is currently renting out a gym in Circleville, Ohio and holding one-hour training sessions for aspiring basketball players of all ages. He is a trained and professional basketball trainer and ball-handler. I am so proud of all of his accomplishments in both the UK and USA. Over the next few weeks he has some BIG opportunities coming up, and if you stay tuned I will soon be releasing information about a television program he is filming in New York City in a couple of weeks.

(PS-if you are interested in getting involved or having my husband work with your kids please send me a comment or email and I will get you more information)

This Saturday morning he was training ten kids during his session and my daughter and I were getting dolled up at our favorite hair salon. I love my stylist. About a year ago I started going to a new stylist near our home. She is young and fashionable and a super inspiring mother. Whenever I am getting my hair done we swap stories about our kids and I love it. Not many people in my day-to-day life have toddlers and so I look forward to my monthly hair appointments not just because my hair needs regular maintenance, but because my stylist is AMAZING. This week she even did a cute curl-style because she knew we had a date night planned. I loved it and had to photograph it, because let’s be real I could never make it look this good!


After the hair appointment and basketball training session were complete we met at the home-base had a quick lunch before embarking on our family date for the week.

Over the past few weeks I have seen several commercials and trailers for the newest cartoon craze, Home. It looked adorable and with Rihanna and Jim Parsons as the voices of for the main characters I was intrigued. We showed the trailer to our daughter on the iPad to gauge her interest level and she could not stop laughing at the main character, Oh. We planned the movie to be the climax of our family date, but what date night is complete without a first a good meal?

I’m a high school teacher and it was also prom night so in an attempt to avoid the traffic, and students, associated with prom we decided to travel outside of our usual destination routine to a small town south east of Columbus, Lancaster. As always, I used my iPhone to locate some of the smalltown gems and favorites to explore in the area. We first ended up getting a wonderful cup of coffee at the SquareSeven shop in the Art and Clay On Main.


As you can tell from the photo I took above this place was a charming, unique spot. The coffee was delicious and I enjoyed browsing the arts and crafts available for purchase. They also have shelves of pre-made ceramics that you can paint, heat, and pick up at a later date once they are dry. If I had planned things a little better I would have secured us an opportunity to get crafty, but I guess this just means we will have to return another time. The coffee was superb and one thing I really liked about the place is that they hire through a partnership with the Fairfield County Developmental Disabilities. They also offer art therapy classes. It’s a new favorite.

Next, on our list of activities was a trip to the River Valley mall. Really, the mall trip was to buy some time and allow my daughter a chance to release her energy in the mall play area prior to the movie. In my last post I talked about running into a student and her mother at the mall. Check out  “We All Need a Little Encouraging” for details about this meaningful encounter.


After over half an hour of play and shopping it was off to dinner. We tried a local spot for dinner. Ale House 1890 on Main Street in Lancaster was awesome! Just like the Art and Clay on Main, the Ale House 1890 was charming and had the appeal of an old British Pub, which my husband appreciated. I ordered a chicken sandwich and green beans and shared it with my daughter. DELICIOUS!


After dinner, it was finally time for the movie to start. We purchased our ticket at the new Cinemark Theatre in Lancaster and entered into the beautiful world of cinema magic. As soon as we entered through the double doors my daughter spotted the popcorn machine. As much as I know I didn’t need a bag of popcorn I also knew that her movie experience would not be complete without the warm, crunchy, buttery goodness of fresh Orville Redenbacher popcorn. We purchased our popcorn and tickets and headed into the theatre where Home was being shown.


From the first preview to the final moments of the movie my daughter was in a trance. She was the best behaved I have ever seen her and she followed the plot line well for only being two and a half. Rarely, did she even speak throughout the movie except to ask questions for clarification. She laughed at appropriate times, and at the end when Oh was in danger she was visiblly nervous and shouted, “Oh, no!” Spolier Alert: At the end of the movie she had the whole theatre laughing when she yelled, “He saved the day!” Where does she learn these catch phrases?

In the end it was a perfect day as a family. I love watching my daughter experience things and enjoy them the way she did this movie. We each had something we particularly enjoyed during this day, and we left the theatre with all three of us exhausted. Taking time as family to intentionally have fun and make memories has been such a rewarding experience. We’re creating traditions and I love it.

Thanks for supporting my Date Jar series. See you in week 7 🙂

The Date Jar

The Date Jar: Week 4 (Daddy’s Birthday)

Is there a better way to spend a Monday than as a family celebrating a birthday? I think not. Today was my husband’s 27th birthday and we spent the day doing some of his favorite things. We slept in, had brunch at Waffle House, visited one of his favorite parks, purchased a book at his favorite bookstore, and had dinner at a great restaurant. We ventured to historic German Village. This is one of our favorite destinations in the Columbus area. The atmosphere of this village is nostalgic for my husband, because it reminds him of his childhood in England. The houses and roads are brick, people are walking everywhere no matter the weather, and there’s a coffee shop on every corner. He loves to slip into this small neighborhood in south Columbus when he needs a little reminder of home.

We spent the day eating and playing (a divine day according to my husband). There was no plan in place when we left the house this morning (which put me a little out of my element), but that’s exactly the way my husband likes it. As we left the house this morning we knew only that our stomachs were growling and the weather was predicted to be beautiful to which it lived up to its forecast.

My husband made the decision to visit a Waffle House in Grove City, a nearby suburb of Columbus. I can’t recall the last time I ate at the good ole Waffle House, but I know it was before the birth of our daughter. In our early days of marriage we lived near a Waffle House and occassionally visited it for cheap diner-style breakfast when we were in the mood for brunch. There is nothing healthy about the place, but birthdays are cheat days, right?

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By the time we finished brunch it was after noon. My husband was in the mood for basketball (which is actually a state of being, not a mood in his world) so we headed toward a park in German Village, Schiller Park. This trip allowed my husband a chance to “ball” with the locals while my daughter and I enjoyed some time at the playground across the way. Everyone got a chance to get some exercise in the beautiful outdoors. It really was perfect weather for a park trip.

About half a mile from this park is a unique and trendy book shop called The Book Loft. This complex maze of books is a 32-room building in the middle of German Village. Each room is divided by genre. This is one of our favorite bookstores ever. (It helps from my perspective that it sits atop a lovely coffee shop) Each of us got a chance to explore our favorite rooms and no trip to The Book Loft is complete without getting lost at least once. So yes, that happened.


Next, we walked another couple of blocks down the narrow brick street and ended up at a cute French bakery, Pistacio Vera. This bakery is famous for their macaroons, so of course we had to get a box. (Like I said earlier we basically ate and played all day)

On our way back from the bakery our daughter literally fell asleep walking. I didn’t know it was possible, but apparently there is such a thing as too much fun. She hit her limit and my husband and I took turns carrying the sleepy one during the half mile walk back to our car.


Any parent of a toddler can attest to the fact that once the child is asleep they must not be awakened. Instead of letting nap time get in the way of our spontaneous day in German Village we decided to enjoy this time by letting her sleep in the car while my husband and I each cracked open a book. It was so unbelieveably nice to sit in the car with the windows down and do nothing but read for an hour. Some of you may be laughing at our idea of fun, but it truly was one of the better parts of the day. We find it romantic to sit beside each other reading.


After an hour or so our daughter began to wake up in the backseat. We were on to the next phase of the birthday shenanigans: dinner. My husband chose to eat at Schmidts, a world famous sausage haus in German Village. They have an autobahn buffet where one can eat sausages and german potato salad until they explode. It was so delicious.

It was with full stomachs and no energy that we mutually decided to leave German Village and head home. My husband’s big birthday gift this year was a new television that he has been wanting for a while so we ended this perfect day on the couch watching Netflix on his new tv.

It was a great day with great people. Our daughter is a trooper. She genuinely loves to be a part of our Date Jar activities. As parents, we find “dating with our daughter” to be rewarding and so much fun, and wouldn’t have it any other way. I must say that my husband also did a pretty good job with this unplanned day of celebration. He’s such a great guy and deserves to have a fun and relaxing day.

Happy 27th, Babe 🙂

The Date Jar

The Date Jar: Week 2 (The Family Bucket List)

This weekend has been a busy one in the Sisley home. Sam’s basketball coaching season is winding down, but the time commitment level as the season nears the close seems to increase dramatically. Also, we spent a good portion of our Saturday working on our new car with the help of our mechanically-inclined friends, Travis and Katy. It’s great to spend time with amazing people like the Lucas family and we capped off the evening (once the car was up and running) at one of our favorite restaurants in Columbus, Bd’s Mongolian Grill.

Today, Sam is performing his awesome basketball tricks at a local church to close their Upward Basketball season and Arianna and I are once again snowed in and unable to breech the boundaries of our home. If you are unfamiliar with my husband and his basketball ministry you should really check out some of his videos. In college he started doing basketball tricks as a travelling ministry and he has been very successful. This ministry has taken him all over the United States and England. He is currently planning for an upcoming engagement in which he will be in a televised program in New York City. I’ll keep you updated. Here is a link to his website:

While Sam has been busy off pursuing his basketball dreams this weekend I have been spending some time educating myself on Essential Oils and disinfecting the house with a new OnGuard Cleaner. I’m really excited to learn more about Essential Oils and use them to help my family toward a healthier lifestyle. I literally cleaned every surface in the house with this stuff. It smells wonderful and it is so rewarding to know that while I deep clean my home I am helping my family to fight off illnesses using a healthy and non-toxic product.

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So, although we were really busy this weekend and it seemed like we were being pulled in different directions it was perfect for us that the date night task we drew from the Date Jar this weekend was to create a family bucket list. We didn’t have much time to sit around for hours and discuss, but we had a very focused conversation on the way to the restaurant last night about our goals as a family and individually.

As a couple it is really important to take time to communicate your goals and plans for the future. Sometimes it is easy to be too caught up in the tasks of daily life to set goals for where you want to be as a family five, ten, or twenty years in the future. It is really fitting that we happened to choose this date night activity out of the jar at random, because this week in particular my personal Bible reading and devotions have been focused on the idea of being radical for God.

I’ve been reading a lot from the story of Peter walking on the water. It took guts to get out of the comfort of the boat during the storm and be obedient to Jesus’ call to do something crazy like walk on the water. Jesus makes it evident through this story that as long as our focus remains on Him He will be with us and keep us safe despite the storms around us. I’ve felt convicted this week to re-evaluate my life and listen for the voice of Jesus for areas where He may be calling me out of the boat.

So our bucket list conversation consisted of us discussing where God is leading us as a family. Both of us feel that God is preparing us for a big change or step in the road to come. Sam is so great at what he does ministry-wise and we both feel that some form of ministry is in his future. I know that God has called me to teach and has provided me with gifts conducive to that calling, but the platform for how He wants me to use my gifts is something I’ve given to God. I also really enjoy writing and would love to pursue writing in some way in the future. We planned what we think our family will look like over the next few years and talked about our goals and plans for our daughter. It was really refreshing to take some time to realign our goals and to measure the progress we’ve made toward our previously established ones.

So…week #2 is in the books. We went on a dinner date with friends, discussed our future plans and goals, and enjoyed some family time between the travelling, cleaning, and fixing up of a car. I’m going to leave you with my prayer from my journal earlier this week. Enjoy the end of your weekend and don’t forget to set goals!


The Date Jar

The Date Jar: Week 1 (Family Camp out in the Living Room)

While we are still nursing our two year-old back to health we decided not to cancel our weekly family date night. As a family we have resolved to regularly spend time together doing something inexpensive and enjoyable. Last Friday we took our daughter to her first movie theater experience to see Paddington which was adorable and an all around excellent experience for the three of us on Valentine’s Day. This week knowing that the weather is still not ideal and with Arianna still being quite ill we decided to try a stay-at-home date.

We have created a jar of date possibilities. The jar is full of color-coded slips of paper. Each color represents a category of date.


Yellow= stay at home date with minimal costs required (family dates-created by both my husband and myself)

Red= Mommy and Daddy date ideas (created by me)

Blue= Mommy and Daddy date ideas (created by my husband)

The cool part is that I have no idea what my husband put on his slips and vice versa so when we draw date ideas there’s good probability of a complete surprise. This jar is a new family creation and we broke it out for the first time today. So the family date night idea for the week…

Camp out in the living room together.

This really is perfect for Arianna’s current condition. She is just beginning to rehydrate after a four day bout of the flu, so a date that doesn’t require her to leave the couch or living room is really ideal. As soon as she found out we were camping she was so excited to build a tent in the living room and play some games with Mom and Dad that require minimal energy.

So here is a chronicle of our family date night:

1. The tent: every good camping trip begins with the setting up of the tent, so here she is, folks. Arianna is especially excited it is a Sofia the First tent.


2. The fun: We had high hopes for finishing a puzzle, playing a game or two, and watching a camping themed movie, however, Arianna maxed out after the tent building. She had about five minutes of total silliness which was really refreshing after her zombie-like week, and then decided it was time for her nap. Here is a photo from the few minutes she was able to resemble her usual self. She picked out this ensemble and sang her own rendition of “Let it Go”


So even though the first date night didn’t go as planned we made the most of the few minutes we did have. It’s all about the memories and not so much the perfect execution of well-laid plans. Plus, my husband and I finally got a few minutes just us to watch some of our favorite grown-up shows and relax.

If you’re in the mid-west stay warm and brace yourself for more snow.