Sunday, 30 June 2013

Sunday, Sunday . . .

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We sat out in the garden yesterday afternoon watching the grass grow . . . there is nothing like grass in June, when it grows high in the meadows and fields. Each garden is filled with green lush velvet. The garden in June is at it's height of  beauty, perhaps that is why there are so many weddings in June . . .

Our roses are blooming profusely along with a myriad of other blooms.   And the strawberries are beginning to ripen as well . . . big, dark, red and juicy.  I predict a nice strawberry shortcake within a day or two will be making it's appearance on our supper table . . .

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We have been blessed this year with a fabulous June really . . . long afternoons filled with golden light.  The sun in June is like a warm rich and glowing Japanese lantern, life giving and dreamy.  The grass almost too green to be believable . . . the early lettuces raise ruffled heads, rocket roars,  the chard begins to turn rosy and the garden spinach shows it's lustrous leaves.  It is at it's best now . . . young and sweet and tender . . .

Everything is quite perfect really . . . wild daisies bloom profusely at the edge of the lawn.  Rose petals drop, golden yellow and red beneath the bird feeders, a sweet carpet of scent.  The apple tree is filled with small ruby balls that promise us a nice harvest year . . . likewise the pear.  The plum alas . . . has only leafed, but we are grateful for that because we know now it has not died beneath the sharpening claws of the neighborhood cats.


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Any day now I should be able to pick the gooseberries as they ripen on the stalks betwixt the thorns.   I had forgotten we planted red ones . . . and the blueberry bushes look very promising indeed . . . raspberry, tay-berry, black currant.   Summer pudding . . .

June days have been filled with poetry . . . from the dew laden webs on the grass in the morning . . . to the golden roofs across the back from us as the sun wanes in the sky at end of day . . . one almost catches a glimpse of the fairies carrying their lanterns home, twinkling in the darkening shadows beneath the hedge . . . and cool night air creeps in . . .

It is hard to believe that June is already spent and July is on the doorstep . . .  

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A blanket begins to take shape.  I have decided to go simple and just do it as a large square, and quilt the square in diagonal lines.  I have ordered dark brown edging.  The backing is flannel so will be soft and cuddly.  I am going to cross stitch a name plate/date for the back . . . hoping it will be a memento to be handed down . . . 

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Because big sisters deserve to be remembered as well . . . I think a bunny with it's own coat, hat and scarf is a good thing, don't you?

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Just because . . .

A thought for today . . .
"Success is a little like wrestling a gorilla.  You don't quit when you're tired . . . you quit when the gorilla is tired."
~Robert Strauss

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Baking in The English Kitchen today . . . Whole Lemon Muffins.  Delish!

I wish for each of you a blessed and sacred Sabbath . . .

 

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Another this and that day . . .

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The other night at our book club we were talking about how different life is today than it was way back when, in some ways for the better and of course some ways for the worse.   If you were poor back then, or disabled in any way . . .  you really didn't have a lot of help, which is a lot different from today, thank goodness.

It got me to thinking about things a bit and about skills I learned as a girl and I wondered if they were skills that were still taught today . . .

Things like darning socks.   I remember painstakingly darning socks, my needle going in and out of the heel or toe of a sock . . . fixing and filling in what was missing with wool thread.  Mind . . . socks back then were well worth darning.  Today's socks are not near as good the quality.  I think you could say that about most clothing.

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(You'll love this page!)

Back then people used to re-enforce their clothing . . . even their underwear . . . by patching on the inside.  I can remember my brother's trousers having double knees, which meant that they would last longer.  I remember dresses being cut down and altered to fit my sister, or being let out and lengthened  to adapt to a growing child's needs.  There was no shame in it either . . . it's what everyone did.

People used to wear slippers in the house and not expensive fancy ones either.   They would, in most cases, be homemade.   Either knitted or crocheted, or cut down from old bits of clothing that weren't of any use anymore, such as a felt hat, and re-sewn into slippers.

People really used to use what they had back then . . . and not waste a thing.  We are really wasteful today and it's sad really, because it doesn't need to be.

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Do you remember Skate exchanges?   Once a year we used to have a Skate Exchange.   One classroom in the local school would be given over to this purpose on a Saturday morning.  Everyone would bring in their old skates and shoes that your children had outgrown,  and you could exchange them for someone else's that had been outgrown also, but that were the right size for yours.  Perhaps you didn't have a pair to exchange, but you could buy a good used set for next to nothing as well.  I loved these sales and exchanges.   You always found something useful.

I expect the car boot sale is much the same these days . . . without the sense of community which went along with the other way of doing it . . .

A sense of community.   That's missing today as well.  (I have never been to a car boot sale.  They always have them on Sundays and I have something much better to do on a Sunday!)

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(That's a whole directory of "how to" skills!)

In Brownies and Girl Guides I was taught many useful things such as how to polish shoes and make a bed.  How to clean a house and wash dishes properly.  I could tell direction by looking up at the night sky and seeing the stars.  I could tell you all the names of the constellations!   Simple hand sewing skills were taught as well as simple cookery skills.  I knew how to make a sauce, or a soup or stew . . . how to boil an egg . . . how to cook with nothing but a candle and a flipped over clay flower pot.  How to do laundry properly, and how to iron . . . stain removal.

The skills I was taught in those girls groups were truly innumerable, and I'm ever so grateful for them.  I don't think many girls go to Brownies and Girl Guides any more which is kind of sad.   They are really missing out on something which was pretty wonderful.  I remember area jamborees which were just the best.   We looked forward to attending them as a group.  You would see girls there every year that you hadn't seen since the year before, and renew old acquaintances.  There was a wonderful sense of camaraderie and belonging.  It wasn't deemed corny, or old fashioned . . . it was just special.

I know that there are some things today which are a lot better . . . but I wonder at times if in the cause of progress we haven't lost much more than we have gained . . . what do you think???

I really want to know!

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A little something which I did yesterday afternoon.

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A sweet grandson (Luke) enjoying the lemonade stand at nursery.

A thought to carry with you through today . . .

"Men are all alike in their promises.  It is only in their deeds that they differ."
~Moliere

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Baking in The English Kitchen today . . . Candy Crush Cookies.   Deliciously decadent!

Have a great Saturday!   (Boy this week has just flown by!)

 

Friday, 28 June 2013

The sun did not shine . . . it was too wet to play . . .

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“The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house. All that cold, cold, wet day.” 
~Dr Seuss, The Cat in the Hat

We had a terrifically wet rainy day yesterday.   I didn't complain too much because the gardens need it.  Looking out my window I can see that today we are going to have more of the same.

So yesterday I did rainy day things . . . as you do . . .

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I played with Mitzie and took lots of photos of her.   She kinda looks the same in all of them . . . slightly aloof . . . like a Queen being tolerant of my pestering . . . oh yes, she is very long suffering, although I have to say my photo taking of her has slowed down a lot since she first came to live with us . . .

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She was long-suffering even then . . . and slightly aloof looking.

I could never pick her up now . . . she's far too big . . . She looked mostly white back then . . . now she looks mostly black.  She's still pretty.

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I did a bit of cooking for the activity we were having at my church for the ladies last evening . . .
a tasty corned beef casserole and . . .



A baked coconut custard . . .

They both went down a real treat.   Simple things often do . . .

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I started to plan this new baby quilt I want to make for wee little Cameron.   I found this one and liked it.  It looks simple to make as well . . . 

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These are the fabrics I have . . . what do you think???

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I had a bit of a ticky tummy when I first got up yesterday morning . . . and so I went back to bed for a while and I read . . .

Sometimes that's a good thing to do, don't you think?

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The rain knocked over and broke our only Delphinium . . . which made me kind of sad . . . but also gave me the opportunity to sit and study it . . .

And take pictures of it . . . I love all of the layers.  Isn't that magical.   How can people not believe in God . . . when we are surrounded by such majesty and wonder . . .

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I called my mother and sister and marveled at the wonder of miracles . . . and the power of Priesthood Blessings . . .

When they had done the bi-opsy of my mother's tumor in March, the results had come back as clear as a bell.  She had cancer for sure.  The first evening I was there prior to her operation I was able to arrange a Priesthood Blessing for her.  Two young missionaries from my old Ward came to the house and administered a Priesthood Blessing to my mom by the laying on of hands.  It was beautiful. 

They operated to remove the cancer two days later and removed a mass from my mother's left lung.   They took three samples of it and sent it to two different Mayo Clincs in the US and one in Toronto, Canada.

On Wednesday this week my mother and sister traveled back to Halifax to meet with her thoracic surgeon for a follow up appointment.  The surgeon asked my mother at the beginning of her appointment did she believe in Divine Intervention.  She said she did.  All of the results had come  back . . . no cancer was present. 

The power of Prayer, Priesthood Blessings and yes . . . Divine Intervention.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

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So then . . . when I got off the telephone.  Todd and I . . . we had a picnic . . .  to celebrate like.

Rain or not.  We had sunshine in our hearts . . . I don't know why some people experience miracles and others do not . . . I am only grateful that we did.

“Of all treasures of knowledge, the most vital is the knowledge of God, 
his existence, powers, love, and promises.” 
~Spencer W Kimbell, Faith Precedes the Miracle

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Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . Pressed Picnic Sarnies.   Deliciously tasty!



Thursday, 27 June 2013

Thursday thoughts . . .

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 "Charity is having patience with someone who has let us down. It is resisting the impulse to become offended easily. It is accepting weaknesses and shortcomings. It is accepting people as they truly are. It is looking beyond physical appearances to attributes that will not dim through time. It is resisting the impulse to categorize others". 
~Thomas S. Monson

I saw this quote on a friend's face-book page this morning and it brought me up short.   It was as if it had been put there just for me, although I know that it hadn't, and only the Lord knows the struggles I have had in my heart since last Saturday.

I try so hard not to judge others . . . but sometimes in a weak moment I will strike back.  Oh no . . . I don't mean physically, or even verbally . . . I am much too non-confrontational to do any of that . . .   I mean mentally.   I will sit there and I will argue with the person who has let me down, hurt my feelings, etc. in my mind.   I will waste countless hours doing so . . . and countless tears.  I will waste innumerable minutes having uncharitable thoughts about the person and their perceived mis-deed.

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What I really should be doing is hitting my knees and asking my Heavenly Father to forgive my easily offended heart . . . asking Him to help me to be more patient in my understanding and to heal my bruised feelings and heart.  Often the offender doesn't have any idea that they have offended you . . . and if they do, or have done it on purpose, what is to be gained by negative thoughts or feelings??  Nothing really.  They have achieved their purpose in bringing you down and you have allowed them to get away with it.

At the tender age of 57, almost 58, I wonder . . . will I ever learn?  Sometimes it is an uphill battle, but I am getting better.   As my father would say, and often did . . . "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."

If I am truly a student of the Master . . . I must strive harder to be the bigger person, and to always answer negativity with love.

One of the younger sisters in my Ward wanted to start up a Book Club and the first book we decided to read was the classic, "Little Women," by Louisa May Alcott.   We met together last evening to discuss it and had a wonderful time together.  I had read it of course, when I was a young girl, and I did love it then.    I was happy to read it again, and I found that I loved it still.

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I had seen it as a film when I was a girl as well, with my favorite actresses . . .  Margaret O'Brien and June Allison and I loved it.   I also loved the most recent version of it with Susan Sarandon and Winona Ryder in it.  It is a timeless classic, and never ever gets old.

I think that is because of the simple values it represents . . . love of God, home and family.  The value of hard work and honesty.  The ability to find joy in the every day.  As corny as that all may seem . . . is that not what all of us really want?  To feel valued, and loved and to have a purpose?

Yesterday afternoon we were sitting here watching a program on the old Workhouse system that we had recorded from the night before.  We don't know how really blessed and lucky we are to be living when we are living.  We may gripe about this, that or the other thing . . . about the welfare system, or our healthcare system, or our government, but really . . . we are blessed.   In today's Western culture there is no Workhouse.   Those poor people who had to go into the Workhouse were stripped of everything, even their dignity and self respect . . . their honor.   They were made to feel worthless simply because they had been unlucky in life, lost their employment, their health, or been abandoned.  It was so very wrong.

Today we feel hard done by if we cannot afford cable television or the latest trainers . . .   we gripe about the over-burdened health care system, when in reality we are pretty darn lucky to have what we have! 

And now I'll get off my soap box! ☺

A thought to carry with you through today . . .

"God has two dwellings, one in heaven and the other in a meek and thankful heart."
~unknown

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Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . Baked Stuffed Rigatoni.

Have a great day everyone!  God bless you each one.


 

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Happy to announce . . .

 

“I sustain myself with the love of family.” ~Maya Angelou

 Family is really important in the church I go to.  We believe that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children.  Indeed the very bedrock of our society is hinged upon the stability of the family . . . and much of the ills of these modern days can be traced back to the breakdown of the family.    My family is very important to me.   I love each of my children and grandchildren with all of my heart.   It is amazing to me that something which starts with just two people can grow and take on a beautiful life of it's own.  First two become one . . . and then they become three, and four and so on . . . and so on.

It's a wonderful gift.

I can remember my eldest son crying one day after having had a visit with his birth father.   When I asked him what was wrong he replied that he didn't know if it was okay to love two dads.   I told him that of course it was and that he was a very lucky little boy, because he had more than one, and that the human heart was built to expand and grow to take into it and love all sorts of people and all of God's children.

Probably my one greatest sorrow in this life of mine is that I failed at marriage not once but twice.  Children deserve more than that.  But . . . wisdom is really only 20/20 in retrospect, and what is is what is.  I would hope that each of my children know how much I love them and how important they are to me.   They are my everything.

And so what is the purpose of all of these musings on family this morning . . . well, it's because I have a beautiful announcement to make.  My family has just grown again . . .

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Welcome, welcome to Cameron David.   Born Saturday June  22, 2013 and weighing in at 7 pounds 9 ounces.  Born into a family build on a strong foundation of love which goes back generation to generation . . .

A family with a heart which is large enough to grow to encompass one more after another . . . again and again.   I love that.

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A baby brother to Maryn . . . who I know will be the bestest big sister ever!

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Congratulations to Amanda, Tom and Maryn on the arrival of this beautiful little boy.
We are indeed blessed beyond measure.
My cup runneth over.

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“To you who are parents, I say, show love to your children. You know you love them, but make certain they know it as well. They are so precious. Let them know. Call upon our Heavenly Father for help as you care for their needs each day and as you deal with the challenges which inevitably come with parenthood. You need more than your own wisdom in rearing them.”  
~Thomas S Monson

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Just a little something I painted late yesterday afternoon.   I've been trying to stretch my vision to something beyond just little girls.   I don't know . . .

A thought to carry with you through today . . .

Beware of a man who knows the answer before he understands the question.
~unknown

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Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . a delicious tart which hails from Basel, Switzerland.  I'm cooking with the Titan Supper Club!  Beautifully tasty Basel Tart!

Have a simply wonderful Wednesday!


 

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The Simple Woman's Daybook . . .

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 FOR TODAY June 25th, 2013

Outside my window...
It is rather cool this morning, but the sun is shining.  Here's hoping it warms up!   I refuse to put the heat on in June.

I am thinking...
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Our duty is not to see through one another, but . . . to see one another through.

I am thankful...
I am thankful for the tender mercies of the Lord and answered prayers.

In the kitchen...
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In The English Kitchen today . . . Pizza Potato Skins!  These were soooo good and I used something that normally gets thrown away to create them!   Even better!


.I am wearing...
Nothing new here! Yep, in my jim jams!

I am creating...

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I added words to this little postcard that I did the other week.   I want to sell the original, which will be exactly as you see, signed and with the words done by hand.   If anyone is interested, just let me know.

I've been working on a new project.   A cookbook that I am going to try to find an editor and publisher for this time.   Wish me luck.   Anyways, here are a few bits I have been doing for inside.

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This one isn't finished.  I just started it yesterday, there will be shelves above the AGA and a cat laying in front of it.

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One of the Chapter page illustrations

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Can you see a theme developing here?  lol

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A study of pears . . . 

I am going...
If it's a really nice day today I am going to talk Todd into going for a drive somewhere with Mitzie.   I think that would be nice.   We'll see what happens.

I am wondering...
I have rather a sad and tearful weekend.   It breaks my heart sometimes, the things that family can do . . . you can give birth to someone and they end up treating you like you are something which is worthless.  It amazes me.   There are parents out there who do terrible things to their children and yet, their children are still loyal to them and love them.  My parents got divorced, but that did not stop us from loving either one of them.   They were our parents, end of.   We all love each of them equally.   My father has been remarried and divorced again since.   My step mom never ever replaced my mom in my affections or in any other way.  I know, it may be somewhat different because I did not live with her . . . but still.  We may not always agree with the choices our parents make, and we may sometimes think they are a bit daft . . . but I have a problem understanding how you can just ignore all the good stuff and dwell on the bad, if it's even there . . . it might only be a figment of your imagination or a misunderstand.   Surely a mother's heart counts for something . . .
You know . . . there are two sides to every story, but if you only ever listen to or give credit to one . . . you only know half of the story.

I am reading...




The Ice Cream Girls by Dorothy Koomson
 As teenagers Poppy Carlisle and Serena Gorringe were the only witnesses to a tragic event. Amid heated public debate, the two seemingly glamorous teens were dubbed ‘The Ice Cream Girls’ by the press and were dealt with by the courts.

Years later, having led very different lives, Poppy is keen to set the record straight about what really happened, while married mother-of-two Serena wants no one in her present to find out about her past. But some secrets will not stay buried – and if theirs is revealed, everything will become a living hell all over again . . . 


I guess there was a television mini series of this book whilst I was away that I missed.   I would have liked to have seen it.

I am hoping...
I have some special news that I am longing to share with you . . . but it will have to wait.  I hope I can let you know soon.

I am looking forward to...
Summer days that are sunny and warm.  Days when Todd and I can just go off and enjoy being together under the summer sunshine. 

I am learning...
Last night was Family Home Evening.   That is a special evening for members of my church where we devote the time to doing something together that is special and wholesome.  Its a good thing. Last night Todd and I watched a film about our Prophet (Church President) Thomas S Monson.   It is a film we have watched many times before, but which we always enjoy when we do.  It is very clear to me when I watch it that this is a very special man who was also a special boy and son and father and friend . . . prepared from his birth to become someone who made a difference.   As I sat there and watched this film it came to me that he had always had a caring heart.  A serving heart.  A giving heart.  A heart that gathered in everyone around him, everyone who was ever blessed to be within his presence.   This is the Saviors way.  The Savior was very hands on.  He did all that He was asked to do . . . He didn't question.  He just did.   He loved.  He served.  He gave.   He sacrificed.  He followed the promptings of his heart.  I need to learn to do that more.  Without question.

Around the house...
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 Believe it or not, this is a bee-hive.   Isn't it fabulous!  I would love to have bees.   They are marvelous creatures.   They are not aggressive and won't hurt you unless they feel threatened.
  
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 Once upon a time I had curtains like this in my house. I wish you could still buy them.  I would love to have them now.   I know they may be considered a bit old fashioned . . . but I like old fashioned.

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I love these curtains too.  These I can do very easily.  Glad I can sew.  Simple, yet very sweet . . .

I am pondering...
Life in general.  The whys and wherefores . . . but mostly the hows.   I see wonderful examples around me that are inspiring to me.   Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we get it very wrong.   I think I am sometimes a great example of how to get it wrong.  I work hard at changing that and little by little I see progress, but it is slow . . .


A favorite quote for today...
“We live simply so that others may simply live."
~Amish Proverb

One of my favorite things...


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Cherries.  I adore cherries.  I love to eat them fresh.  I love them in cakes, pies and jams.   I love them even more printed on table clothes and aprons, curtains, etc.   I just love cherry anything!  I would love to have a piece of cherry jewelry, but then . . . upon second thought, then I'd have to get something red or cherry  to wear with it and I don't think I'd look very good in cherries.  I think I'll just leave that as a thought or a wish . . .

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Book Club Wednesday night.  (We are doing Little Women)   RS Additional Meeting on Thursday evening.  We are sharing food and recipes!  (Num!) Lunch out with friends on Wednesday.  (Hopefully!)

A peek into my day...
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It just wouldn't be a good day without snuffling this little madam in a bazillion times.   I can never get enough of her.  She is patient and long suffering and she is three years old now.   It's hard to believe but it's true.

A thought to carry with you through today:

"Kindness when given away comes back ten fold."

Have a wonderful Tuesday!