Tuesday, 25 July 2017

The Simple Woman's Daybook . . .


FOR TODAY, July 25, 2017

Outside my window ...
There are plenty of clouds in the sky with blue peeking through here and there.  I have not checked out the forcast for today yet, but yesterday was gorgeous.  Not too hot, not cold, sunny and warm, just right.
I am thinking ...
We lost a good friend Sunday morning to Leukemia. Billy and his wife have been wonderful examples to us over these past few years as they fought this battle together. They loved each other so much and Brenda had been with her husband all the way, sitting through hours and hours of hospital appointments, etc.  I am sure that over these past couple of years they spent more time in the hospital than they spent at home. Brenda messaged me yesterday to let me know.  Please keep Brenda in your prayers as she transitions into this next stage in her life.  She is not a woman who would ever ask for help. It will be difficult for us to know what we can do and when we can do it. We will have to be ever watchful and just jump in when we see the need arise.

In the Kitchen ...
Simple Turkey Burgers with a delicious homemade cranberry mayo.  So tasty!  I just adore brioche buns, don't you?

On my "To Cook" list ...

Make Ahead Breakfast Cookies, six ways from She Likes Food.  These look yummy. My kind of breakfast.

Good to know ...

Tips that will change the way you vacuum.  From 101 Days of Organization.

I am creating ...

 It says sold at the moment, but as a downloadable PDF I am sure it will be up for sale again soon. Not free, but not expensive either. I love, LOVE the colours on this one.MacKenzie Patterns.

Scrubbie Dish Cloth pattern.  Can you ever have too many dishcloths?  I don't think so! From Crochet 'n' Create.  

Jingle Bell Stockings.  From Ravelry.  Great to stuff with little goodies.  

Lia Griffith.  Felt Stuffed Deer Ornament.  Cute!  Not free, you have to join.

Button and Felt Ornaments from Cutesy Crafts.  Love these. 

I am reading ...

All He Ever Wanted, by Anita Shreve
Etna Bliss has just moved to the New England town where her uncle teaches college when her life is transformed in a single stroke. She is dining in a hotel downtown when a fire forces her to escape to the snowy streets outside. Amid the smoke and chaos of that night she is glimpsed, standing under a streetlight, by a man who was dining in the same room-a man who is so overwhelmed by the sight of her that he rebuilds his life around a single goal: to marry Etna Bliss.

That man is Nicholas Van Tassel, and All He Ever Wanted is his account of how two lives changed from that tumultuous night forward. A proud and orderly man, Van Tassel is ill equipped to deal with the ferocity of love. But he is determined to have Etna no matter what the cost. Riding a train south many years later, he unwinds his memories of the years that followed and struggles to understand the mystery his life became on that night.

This is no ordinary tale of obsession. It is a story about different kinds of love, different ideas of what love is, and how lives can be strained to breaking over those differences. It is a powerful exploration of the music and silences of family life, the unhinging forces of desire, the wrenching power of secrets unrevealed, and the bewildering territories of betrayal and loss. Written with the maturity, beauty, intelligence, and grace that are Anita Shreve's hallmarks, this is a story that powerfully conjures another time and place-peopled by unforgettable characters as real as the emotions that bring them together.

Very good thus far.

I am looking forward to ...
Getting my book finished and out there. I am hoping that it will be well worth the wait!

Dreaming About ...

Pretty cardigans  . . . embroidered with birds  . . . 

That hair  . . . that belt . . . having a waist . . . 

A blouse like this  . . .  

Not the trousers, but the tunic and shoes . . . 

Yes  . . . 

Something to watch ... 

The Girl on the Train  . . . we were enthralled and so surprised at the end . . . it was very good.

A quote for the day  ...

  `*.¸.*´Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ¸. •´¸.•~♥♥♥~•. ~ ღϠ₡ღ¸. ✻´´¯`✻.¸¸.Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ.
              ( ¸. ❀⁀ ⋱‿✿“` * .¸.* ✻ღϠ₡ ღ¸.✻´´¯`✻.¸¸.Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ..
Every man has his secret sorrows
                  which the world knows not . . . 
                       and oftimes we call a man cold,
                                          when he is only sad  . . .
( ¸. ❀⁀ ⋱‿✿“` * .¸.* ✻ღϠ₡ ღ¸.✻´´¯`✻.¸¸.Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ.. 

Makes me smile  ...

Little pink paw pads  . . .

One of my favourite things  ...

Fresh cherries.  I could eat them by the bagfull . . .  

Corners of my kingdom ... 


Natural History Museum . . .  London  . . .  I took this photo a few years ago . . . 


And another view . . . its an amazing place to visit . . .

And that's my daybook for this week!

  ⋱ ⋮ ⋰
⋯ ◯ ⋯ Take time to enjoy the small *´¯`.¸¸.☆
  ⋰ ⋮ ⋱ blessings in life.*´¯`.¸¸.☆

✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿ ✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿ ✿¸.•*¨`*•..
░░░░░░░░░░░░░ ░░░░░░░░░░░░

Wherever you go and whatever you do, I hope there's a great day ahead of you! Don't forget!

═══════════ ღೋƸ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒღೋ ═══════════ ⊰✿░G░O░D⊰✿⊰L░O░V░E░S⊰✿⊰░Y░O░U░⊰✿
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And I do too!! 

Monday, 24 July 2017

Small and Wonderful Things . . .

"The world is fairly studded and strewn with pennies cast broadside from a generous hand. But who gets excited by a mere penny?...It is dire poverty indeed when a man is so malnourished and fatigued that he won't stoop to pick up a penny. But if you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted with pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days. It is that simple. what you see is what you get." ~Anne Dillard 
A few of the small and wonderful things which bring untold joy into my life. It's the small things in life which truly mean the most. Simple abundance . . . it's the best. 

This is our lovely chapel in Ewloe, Wales, about a 15 minute or so drive from where we live in Chester. Its about 10 or so years old now, so relatively new. When we lived in Chester before, we didn't have a chapel and used to meet in a community centre in Hoole. It was noisy because the floors were bare and we would have to set the chairs out every Sunday morning.  You never knew what kind of activity would have been held in the building the night before. Maybe a rabbit show in which case it would smell, or Bingo in which case it would also smell (of smoke and cigarettes).  Sometimes we would have to get rid of the empty beer bottles and sweet up straw, etc. before we could set up for Sacrament meeting.  But it was a place to meet and served its purpose.  We are so blessed to have this lovely chapel to worship in now.  It's bright and clean and never smells of beer and cigarettes.  But the building doesn't really matter for "wherever two or three are gathered, there I am also".  From the Saviour. 

 That I have always lived in countries where I am free to worship (or not) my God as and however I will. There are so many in the world who do not have a choice.  We are blessed to have the freedom that we do, and not only that, freedom to think, believe and speak according to our own conscience. For the time being anyway.  We must never take those freedoms for granted.  We are blessed.

The garden is full of them, working industriously, busy, busy bees.  I love them.  They are wonderful examples to me of hard work and tenacity. 


Secret worlds . . . . they make me smile  . . . 

Having these two in my life.  Todd feels better and better with each day that passes and is slowly regaining his strength. I am so grateful for that.  One of our friends has just been diagnosed with Advanced Prostrate Cancer which has already spred to his spine.  Please keep Ron and his family in your prayers. The power of prayer can move mountains according to God's will.  I firmly believe that to be true. 

I found this photograph in my photos this morning. It was taken at my middle son Doug's wedding, which was about 12 years ago now.  There are 7 grandchildren and two weddings that have taken lace since.  From left to right, Bruce, Amanda, Tom, Anne, Anthony, Eileen, Doug and Kayla.  I don't have many pictures of my children and very, very few of them all together, so this is a really special photograph.  


I found this photo too and it brought back some lovely memories of a day that Todd and I spent in London on the West End when we lived down South.  We had gone in to see Les Miserables and there was a May Day celebration going on with little girls dancing around the May Pole.  So quaint.  We have built some lovely memories together and I am so grateful for them.  

It was an expensive venture, but so worth every penny. Of course we were both working at that time, so we could almost afford it, lol.  It costs a bomb to see a play in the West End and this has always been one of the most popular ones so it is never discounted.  Every performance is always a sell out.  Getting to see it together is another beautiful memory we share. 

Having a special person in my life to share these
beautiful memories with!


Sundays that are well spent with church, partaking of the sacrament, worshipping with the Saints, telephone calls to my mom, talking with my daughter, visits to shut in friends, evenings with Poldark.

We are so very blessed.

God is indeed very good.

A thought to carry with you  . . . 

.° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

 *.˛.° ˛°. .You are not going to master the rest 
of your life in one day. Just relax.
Master the day. 
Then just keep doing that every day.
~Unknown  .° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ • 


In The English Kitchen today . . .  Crockpot Sauerkraut Soup. Simple and delicious.

Have a great week.  May it be filled to overflowing with an abundance of small and wonderful things  Don't forget . . . 

═══════════ ღೋƸ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒღೋ ═══════════ ⊰✿░G░O░D⊰✿⊰L░O░V░E░S⊰✿⊰░Y░O░U░⊰✿
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And I do too!



Sunday, 23 July 2017

Playing with Pollyanna . . .

“The game was to just find something about everything to be glad about—no matter what ’twas”
Eleanor H. Porter, Pollyanna

One of my favourite films when I was a child was Pollyanna. That inspiring tale of a little girl who transformed the lives of everyone around her through her optimism and example . . . her ability to find the silver lining in every cloud. Truth to be told you don't find a happy life, you create a happy life, and its all about attitude.  The power of positive thinking can never be under-estimated.  We do attract what we put out, etc., etc.. Which doesn't mean to say that you are not allowed to ever get sad . . . or disappointed.  Life is filled with sadness and disappointment. But I firmly believe that happiness is a choice, and a choice that we need to make every day.

"You know I have been made to suffer from the Pollyanna books. I have been placed often in a false light. People have thought that Pollyanna chirped that she was 'glad' at everything. I have never believed that we ought to deny discomfort and pain and evil; I have merely thought that it is far better to 'greet the unknown with a cheer.'" 
~Eleanor H. Porter 

Life will try to beat you if it can. I'm not entirely sure why that is. But I do know one thing for sure, that you cannot begin to enjoy even the smallest measure of joy or appreciate it for what it truly is, if you have never experienced sorrow.  A little bit of sorrow has the ability to make the joys in our life taste all the sweeter. 


I don't believe that there is a single person on this earth that lives a totally charmed life.  That is a lesson that I learned from having worked for the very wealthy. Prior to that time I might have been forgiven if I had thought that having copious amounts of money might bring with it lots and lots of joy, and that being able to have/buy whatever you want in life, you could not help but be happy. These were some of the unhappiest people I have ever met.  They had not a clue about what truly mattered in life.  I learned that the more you have, the more you worry about losing it, or somebody taking it away from you.  I learned that although Todd and I only had a mere fraction of what these people had in terms of wealth and possessions . . .  we actually had far more then they might ever have in the terms of the things which matter the most.  And we were a bazillion times happier.  (And nicer!)  Money absolutely can not buy happiness, and having everything a human being could possibly ever want or need, does not necessarily bring joy.
Its not so much the million dollars/pounds in your bank account that matters,
as it is what you do with those dollars and pounds that counts.
Serving self never ever was the true
path to finding real  joy.

I could lose everything I own or have tomorrow, and sure, I would be plenty distressed about it. Who wouldn't!! But I think I would recover from the loss a lot quicker than these people might, being given the same circumstances, and I guess that all boils down to having stored up my treasures in a much different way.  I count my wealth in the relationships I have built with others, with the love that is shared.  I know and I believe that there is much more joy to be found in the giving than is to be found in the receiving.  I also believe that a joy shared is a pleasure doubled, and a sorrow shared is a burden halved.  Its all just simple mathmatics!

The pot of gold is not to be found at the end of the rainbow.
Its actually in the rainbow itself.

The glass is either half full or half empty.
The choice is actually
our own to


I was very naughty this week.  Ever since I saw the little paper models of the mugs that Susan Branch had made on her blog, I fell in love with her mug designs and none moreso than the bluebird one.  Oh how I wanted one, but in all truth, while I could have afforded the mug itself in a pinch, the postage of having one sent from America here to the UK was outrageous and so having one only ever remained a dream.  But then this week on her latest blog post she mentioned that she now had a shop here in the UK that was going to carry her mugs and so I investigated it and I *gulp* ordered one as an early Birthday pressie for myself and with NO shipping charges whatsoever!  Colour me thrilled to pieces when it arrived yesterday, a mere couple of days after I ordered it.  Not weeks like it takes for things to come from the US.  Oh yes, this is a real indulgence, and we will be eating from our store-cupboard for a week or so to make up for it, but that's okay. Its worth it.  

Its huge and totally gorgeous!  Todd is NOT
allowed to touch it.
At all.

Tis very delicate as you would expect bone china to be. Now all I have to decide is who to leave it to in my will. 

Yes, you have to have a dream in order to make a dream come true.

I made what looked to be the most beautiful pie ever yesterday, with heart shaped cutouts and almonds and demerara sugar sprinkled over top, filled with strawberries and rhubarb . . .  but it ended up being just like that pie in the childhood story about the beautiful but empty pie. Inside was nothing but mostly liquid. I must have had really watery berries and rhubarb, because that was mostly all what was left after baking . . . a thick sauce with a few lumps and bits. My pastry turned out really good though, and it tastes like strawberries and rhubarb.  Silver lining to what was a huge disappointment!

And with that I best leave you with a thought for the day . . . 

.° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

 *.˛.° ˛°.Everytime I thought I took a loss,
God blessed me with something better.  .° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •


In The English Kitchen today  . . . Peach & Blueberry Crumble.  Delish!  Healthy and low fat/sugar too!

Have a beautiful Sunday.  Don't forget!

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And I do too!


Saturday, 22 July 2017

Saturday this and that . . .

The rain just bucketed down yesterday afternoon and last evening, bringing with it much cooler air. I don't mind the cooler air as I am not a real "hot-weather" lover. It saps my energy.  We had the missionaries coming for their tea/supper last night, so I spent a great deal of the afternoon getting things ready for that.  Nothing too spectacular, just a beef casserole, some vegetables, my infamous pea salad, and those chocolate fudge cakes for dessert along with the molasses cookies I had baked the night before. I sent the home with the rest of the cookies.  They were far too dangerous to have around for very long.  The lads did  not mind taking them with them when they left!

While they were here, one of them wondered, was the weather always like this here in the UK in the summertime. We were happy to reassure them that we get a happy mix of weather here in the summer months. A mix of rain and of sunshine, of warm and of cooler days, but that for the most part we enjoy very much a Maritime climate that only ever very rarely is composed of great extremes. My first year here in the UK which began in the autumn of 2000 was one of the wettest on records at that time.  It rained literally every day. I can remember wondering what exactly I had gotten myself into, but I soon learnt that people don't melt in the rain.  Back home if it rained, you pretty much stayed at home, only going out if absolutely necessary.  Here in the UK, the rain doesn't hold you down.  It does rain a lot and if you let the rain keep you from going out, you'd hardly ever get anywhere!  


I think it was Bob Hope who said of our weather that if you didn't like the British weather, just wait five minutes.  Tis true that it is very changeable!  But it always gives us something to talk about and we do love to talk about it!  Talking about the weather is a very British pastime, and who can blame us, it gives us so very much to talk about!

Today has dawned beautifully sunny with
nary a cloud in the sky.


Yesterday as I was puttering about in the kitchen I was thinking to myself, and not for the first time, how very lucky we are to be living in a day and an age when we have so many things available at our fingertips for us to cook with and eat.  A quick trip to the supermarket and the world is our oyster. It wasn't all that long ago, probably within the last hundred and twenty years or so, that our forebearers mostly had to rely on what they grew themselves, pickled, stored etc. and on seasonal goods. There was no such thing as strawberries in December.  If you wanted strawberries in December you had to think ahead in July and make sure you had preserved some for the Winter months. It was like that with pretty much everything. 

There was a program which I had watched on the television quite some time ago, back in Canada, on the PBS station called The Victorian Kitchen.  I have also watched it over here and actually have the series on DVD now and I enjoy visiting it every now and again.  It stars Ruth Mott as the cook, and her kitchen maid, Alison Arnison and the gardener Harry Dodson. I have always found it to be very compelling viewing, a real gem. This was a truly wonderful series recording life in a Victorian kitchen. Quite fascinating for someone brought up in an age of abundance and convenience.It is an amazing insight into life below stairs(with an occasional glimpse upstairs) Ruth Mott is almost, but not quite, outshone by the kitchen itself. The anecdotes she shares with us are priceless!  She began work as a kitchen maid in an old Victorian kithen back in the day. The mixture of her stories about those days below stairs coupled with the time consuming and elaborate recipes are an education. This program was actually a spin-off of the Victorian Kitchen Garden series, which is also quite fascinating, and covers the 12 months of the year in a Victorian kitchen garden. If you have never seen any of those programs I highly recommend them.  I am pretty sure you can buy the DVD's still.  I think you would enjoy them!

 photo SAM_8019_zps9b849cc7.jpg 

I confess I fed the lads leftovers last night.  Monday Night Supper Dish. They gobbled it up so I didn't feel too bad at doing so.  Its a really simple dish which combines leftover meat and veg with cooked noodles in a delicious sauce with a cheese and bread crumb topping.  At first they were a bit cautious in taking some, but they soon went back for seconds after they had tasted how delicious it was.  I did something different with my green beans this time around.  After they were cooked, I added a tiny knob of butter and a dollop of Dijon mustard along with a pinch of thyme and some seasoning.  They were delicious! 


Likewise the Pea Salad.  This has always been one of my favourites, combining the humble iceberg lettuce with thawed frozen peas, crisp bacon, cheese, and onion in a delicious mayo vinaigrette.  I can't think of anyone that doesn't like this when I serve it. I quite often add dillweed to the vinaigrette.  It lends a special touch and flavour. My mother never bought storemade salad dressings. She only ever made her own.  We normally would have a salad on Sundays for dinner with our main meal.  She would start the dressing early in the afternoon.  She chopped a bit of onion  and put it into her salad bowl along with a splash of oil, some white vinegar along with some seasoning. 

We only had ordinary cooking onions back in the day. There were no such thing as red onions or spring onions. Not in our house at any rate!  Those onions would macerate in that mix most of the afternoon and in the process alot of the sharpness would be taken away, leaving only the lovely onion flavour.  At the last minute she would toss in the lettuce (always iceberg and the only lettuce my mother likes even to this day!) and some cucumber and tomato and on rare occasions, radishes.  We loved her salads.  Sometimes she would chop in some celery as well.  Sunday salads, they were a real treat. 

As you know we always love to have the Missionaries in our home.  They bring such a special spirit with them and we always spend some time sharing with each other special things before they leave and go on their way.  Yesterday they shared with us a little movie clip called Moments that Matter Most, which you can see here.  Its a great reminder to us of the things in life which really matter most and which often get lost in the hectic busy-ness of our daily lives.  Elder Beck shared with us a message that his Grandfather had shared with him since he was on his mission about time, about the difference between spending time and investing time.  We can all spend time, and time is very fleeting. Every second that passes is one we will never have again . . .  but investing time, that is when we can reap rewards that can bless us again and again and again.  Food for thought there.

I almost forgot to tell you about the little bit of excitement in our immediate neighborhood the other day.  About mid afternoon I noticed that the Police helicopter was circling around and around and around, mostly over our house and vicinity.  That always makes me nervous.  I know that when the helicopter is up there, they are looking for someone and so I always shut and lock all the doors.  Perhaps tht is a bit silly, but to my way of thinking if someone is on the run, I don't want them to have easy access to us and our home.  Becoming someone's hostage is  not my idea of a fun way to spend any time!  Todd had been out to the shop to get something and when he came back someone was parked right in front of our drive and so he had had to park our car further down the road.  He walked back up to our house and was in the process of writing a note to leave on the car wind screen,  when he saw a woman get in it and leave, and then there was a police car which parked in the same spot.  He was not about to leave them a note, lol.  Then our house alarm went off.  It never goes off.  We quickly got it shut down, but I could hear outside the window lots of alarms going off.  We thought it all very strange.  

Next morning I noticed that the house immediately across from us had its front door boarded up, which was also strange and we had a notice put through out mail slot that the police had been conducting some drugs raids in our area.  Come to find out that we had a drug dealer living right across the street from us, who is now on the run. I am not sure if they have caught him yet or not, but we also found out that not only was he a drug dealer but that he had spent time in prison for manslaughter.  I remember the case, having read about it in the paper not too long after we had moved back here to where we live from down South.  He and a friend had kicked a man to death (over drugs) on the City walls.  I had never put two and two together and realised that he was living right there across from us.  Kind of scary.  But come to think of it there has alwys been vans stopping in front of our house and men going in and out of that place. Odd behaviour.  You just never know do you, what goes on behind closed doors.

But then again, a woman who was my Visit Teaching companion a number of years back ended up in prison doing time because she had been letting a drug dealer store drugs in her outside shed.  She was getting £50 from him each time he did it. And then the police raided her house and shed and she got jailed for it.  She had to move away when she got out.  It was quite sad really . . . I had known that she was going through some rough times financially and Todd and I had helped her out a few times buying her groceries and stuff.  I guess when people get desparate, they do things that they normally wouldn't do . . .
I like to think that I would never break the law knowingly for any reason, but I am not sure that anyone could ever really say that with definity . . .  because we never know what we might do when we are pushed to the very limits . . . what sacrifices we might make to protect family, feed family, keep family safe and the wolf from the door.  More food for thought.

Another question . . .  what would you do for a Million dollars/pounds?  That used to be a discussion we would have amongst friends. They say everyone has their price.  In fact I think there was a film made about a man who let his wife sleep with a rich man for a million dollars, starring Demi Moore and Robert Redford. It ruined their lives. There is that old saying  . . .  be careful what you wish for.  I don't think you can put a price on integrity. My soul is priceless, as is my character and reputation.  But is that only because I have now lived long enough to know the things in life which are truly valuable?  Hmmm . . .  I don't know.

A thought to carry with you  . . .  
.° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

 *.˛.° ˛°. goal should scare you a little, 
and excite you a lot!
~Joe Vitale  .° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •

In the English Kitchen today  . . .  Chewy Spiced Molasses Cookies.  Delish!

Have a great Saturday.  Whatever you do, be happy and don't forget along the way!

═══════════ ღೋƸ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒღೋ ═══════════ ⊰✿░G░O░D⊰✿⊰L░O░V░E░S⊰✿⊰░Y░O░U░⊰✿
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And I do too!