Friday, 31 January 2014

Friday Finds



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A few of the wow moments, or things I discover each week that tickle my fancy.  I hope that they may inspire or tickle yours too!A few of the wow moments, or things I discover each week that tickle my fancy.  I hope that they may inspire or tickle yours too!

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Rainbow Pasta.   Simply cook the pasta and rinse with cold water.  Then you divide the pasta between several different zip lock baggies, each of which you have added 20 drops of food colouring (different colours) and 2 TBS of water too.   Allow to stand for several minutes, then drain and rinse again.  Toss together and presto you have rainbow pasta.  (I would reheat it in the top of a double boilet for a few minutes.)

From Glad.com.  I wonder if this would turn Todd into a pasta lover?  Somehow I think not.

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Create Instagram photostrips.   I have never been able to figure out Instagram myself.  I with I could though.   I like the pics it creates.   Anyways, I found a super tutorial on how to create lovely photo strips on  The College Prepster.   Now if someone would only do a tutorial on how to use Instagram!   While they are at it I would love a tutorial on how to use my camera.   Apparently you can send pics on it directly online, but I have never been able to figure out how to do that either!!!

Clearly we need to adopt a teenager.

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30 Days of Gratitude Journal Jars.  Scribble your thankful thoughts on scraps of paper and then put them into a mason jar.  Then when you are feeling down, take them out and think about all you have to be grateful for.  Instant lifter upper.   From Write Shop.com

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A really nice way to keep your doggie cool and from being bored in the summer garden.   Freeze toys and stuff in a mix of chicken stock and water.   Idea from fetchdog.com.  I am unable to link from here in the UK, but it does look like a super idea!   Mitzie has not been well these past few days.   I got her a pig's ear a couple of days ago and gave it to her.  I thought it would be a nice treat, but she's had an upset tummy since.  No more pig's ears for her!

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No source, just love.   I have always wanted a tree house, ever since I saw the Swiss Family Robinson film. back when I was a girl.  Wasn't THEIR tree house fun!   As a child I never once questioned how on earth they got all the stuff that they had in it.  I know that they were ship wrecked and were able to probably get a lot of things that way, but wouldn't a lot of it have been destroyed?  hmmmm . . . intellect says yes . . . heart wants to say no.

In any case I love tree houses.  If you are lucky enough to live in one, you are . . . well . . .  lucky!



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The most absolutest sweetest adorable pillow I have ever seen in my life.  It's a postcard!  With scraps of fabric and embroidery.  I think it is just fabulous.  Would this not make a brilliant gift for some one??  I know!  Who wouldn't love to get one of these.  I found this on the Nana Company Blog.

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No source, but . . . journal embroidery!!  It's just adorable.  I love this idea.
How very interesting this would be in a journal.   What a keepsake!

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An embroidered love note . . . on embroidered notepaper.   ADORABLE.
From the Etsy Shop  Dash of Magic.   People are so incredibly creative don't you think?
I know, I am amazed all the time at what they come up with!

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The 52 week money challenge from Life As You Live It.   A do-able plan for saving money, simply by saving your pocket change.  Sounds great in theory!  Can you believe that the daughter of the people I used to work for used to throw her pocket change in the bin?  I know!  I used to rescue it and put it on her dresser.  I hope that I am never so rich that I can throw money away.

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Eternal Spring Onions.  From Baked by Rachel.   I am so going to try this.  Apparently when you buy a bunch of spring onions, you cut off and use the bits you want and then you put the remainder into a jar with some water at the base, and they grow to give you more!  I would change out the water every couple of days.  I am going to try this to see if it works.  Fresh spring onions on tap.  Excellent idea!

And there you have it 10 new ideas and finds for this week.   I hope you found something useful here too! 

A thought to carry with you through today . . . 

(¯`♥´¯)*
 `*.¸.* ´*´¯`•.¸¸.
*´¯`•.¸¸.*´¯`•.¸¸.*´¯`•.¸¸.

“This life is yours. Take the power to choose
what you want to do and do it well. Take the
power to love what you want in life and love
it honestly. Take the power to walk in the forest
and be a part of nature. Take the power to control
your own life. No one else can do it for you.
Take the power to make your life happy.” 

~ Susan Polis Schutz

*´¯`•.¸¸.*´¯`•.¸¸.*´¯`•.¸¸.*´¯`•.¸¸.(¯`♥´¯)*
                                                    `*.¸.* ´*


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Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . A Roast Stuffed Chicken Crown.   Easy and delicious, plus a recipe for Bread Sauce to serve with it.

Have a wonderful Friday.  Hasn't the week whizzed by!


Thursday, 30 January 2014

A lot about nothing . . .

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Guess who turns four today?   LUKE!  Happy Birthday to my grandson Luke.  He is the youngest son of my oldest son!  It is hard to believe that he is four already.  Another year and he will be starting school.   They are all growing up so quickly!   This photo was taken two summers ago when we were home for our Eileen's wedding.   So he was only two years old here.   Anthony and Anne, I need some more recent photos of the boys, so if you are reading this take note!

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This is me when I was four.   It was on Easter Sunday way back when, in 1960.  I was probably more like four and a half.  We were staying at my mother's parents in Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia whilst my father was out in Gimli, Manitoba with the Canadian airforce, waiting for a house on the base to come up empty for us to move in to.   My coat was navy blue with white trim and my dress white with navy blue polka dots on it.  I remember it well.  I was holding the little white bible my father had given me for Easter.  I had that Bible my whole life, but it disappeared when I got divorced.  I strongly suspect it was thrown into a fire like a lot of my other cherished belongings.  In any case, I am sitting here this morning trying to remember what I was like as a four year old.

I know that I used to go on errands to the shops for my mom and nan.  It was not too far away from my Grandparents house, just down the road a little bit and across the way.  I would have been given a note and the money.  I can remember once time getting waylaid on the way back and stopping to play with a little boy at his house and getting into big trouble when I finally was discovered.  I am sure my mother must have been frantic.


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(My grandmother is the one in the back looking down.  She was a very shy woman.)

I had had really long hair, but my brother was born in March of that year and my mother had it all cut off so that my grandmother would be able to brush it easier when she was in the hospital having the baby.

I loved my grandmother very much.   My brother and sister don't remember her or my grandfather at all.   My Grandmother died of cancer when I was almost six, so that year we spent living with them was very special.   My mother showed me the last letter my gran had written to her before she died the last time I was home and she speaks about me in it and about how much she loved me and how I was the only one of all the grandchildren who would come and tell her I loved her and sit on her lap.

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This is a picture of my grandmother when she was a little girl at school.   She is the one in the white dress with the white hat just behind the baby buggy.  I don't know how old she would have been in this, maybe five or six.  It would have been taken at the turn of the century (1900's) up in Inglesville outside the old school up there.  I still have her school reader (which thankfully never made it into the fire.)  It's very old and the pages are quite brittle.   There are little hand written annotations in it here and there of spelling words she was to memorize, etc.  It is hard for me to think of my grandmother as being a little girl, but she was, as were we all.

And then we grew up.

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This is Luke right after he was born.  It's hard to believe that so much time has passed.  He has that dimple in his chin.  We call it the bum chin.  It comes from my father and we all have it, well most of us do at any rate.  That's always the first question when a new baby is born into the family . . . do they have the bum chin?  It's a type of connection I suppose . . . this unique chin.   Well not so unique I guess, lots of people have clefts in their chin . . . but in our family it is a sign that the Villeneuve in us is being carried on down the line! 

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(Doug and Jon and Josh  about 3 or 4 years ago now.   The bum chin is there too.) 

All my Grandchildren are growing up.  It is hard to believe that little Joshie is five now and will be starting school in September and Jon is going to be eight!  How did that happen?  Time passes and I don't even want to think about how old I will be on my next birthday.  It will be my last before I become a sexagenarian, which is not as exciting as it sounds.  It's just a fancy way of saying a person in their sixties!

How did THAT happen.  I don't know, but I've gone from four to almost 60 in just a few paragraphs.  I better quit while I'm ahead!!

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A thought to carry with you through today . . .

Give thanks for the rainbows, for the butterflies,
for all God's creatures -
large and small,
for the bright blue sky
and the soft fog and the gentle rain,
for the tree veiled in the season's first frost,
for the baby's laugh, for the touch of a hand
and the whispered "I love you."
~Jonathan Lockwood Hui  


(¯`♥´¯)
`*.¸.*♥  



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There is a delicious Hot Jalapeno Pepper Jam Baked Brie cooking over in the English Kitchen today.  Just in time for Valentines day.  This would be a super duper appetizer and so simple to make too!  

I'm invited out for lunch today, which reminds me . . . I have a cake to bake!
Have a wonderful Thursday!



Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Wednesday thoughts . . .

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We have a feeder in our back garden, just beyond the gate and in the grassed area, next to all of the rose bushes.   Actually it is several feeders in one.   There is the suet basket which holds great blocks of suet and seed . . . the nut cage which we fill with peanuts . . .  a long feeder tube which gets filled with Niger seed . . . another tube which we fill with mixed seed . . . and a tiny tray which we put our scraps of toast and bread crust in.  Occasionally when we are feeling a bit flush we will treat them to a dish of meal worms.  We are always rewarded for our generosity.

In early mornings the feeders a hive of activity as the birds flit back and forth between it and the hedgerow that runs the length of the garden on three sides.   I don't think there is a finer vision to behold in early morning than the sight of all those little heads popping up out of the greenery of the hedge to greet the morning sun.  It cheers my heart to the very core . . .

I often wonder at their stamina.  January is the coldest month of the year for the most part, and the stormiest and wettest, most miserable . . . a bitter month.  How they can withstand this extreme weather is a great mystery to me . . . they are such delicate creatures.  There are times when I have had occasion to hold an injured bird in my hand and I have wondered at the delicacy of it . . .

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"Oh, so light a foot, can ne'er wear out the everylasting flint." ~Shakespeare

To hold one of these dainty creatures in your hand is like holding a puff of air . . . their delicate little feet seem far too small to support much of anything . . . their bodies so tiny beneath the softness of their feathers.  Their strength and endurance are a miracle to me . . . when I think of the conditions they live under, how can they continue to fly . . . and sing.  Why do those little feet not freeze on the branch?  And yet . . . they don't.

When I see those small feet hopping over ice and through snow, I am amazed at the miracle of their survival.  I moan if the thermometer dips below ten degrees, and I shiver and I shake and turn up the thermostat, and yet . . . these dainty little beings have no such options.  They merely fluffy up their feathers and endure it . . .  and still they sing.

Somewhere in that there is a great lesson for us I think . . .   

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I do not believe that any of us are here by accident.  We have, each of us, been created for a glorious purpose and as a part of a wonderful plan.   I oftimes think of the great pioneers and all that they went through and endured.  I am not sure I could do the same.  I am not sure I have that same strength of being that they had to be able to cross oceans into the unknown and walk across valleys and plains in all conditions, making great sacrifices . . . to reach their promised land.   And it still happens today . . . each day I hear and read stories of people all over the world who take great chances and overcome great obstacles to find their promised lands, many dying in their attempt.

I am one of the blessed ones.  Having been born in a time and in such circumstances that I have never known what it is to be truly poor . . . to be hungry or without a roof over my head, with no shoes on my feet or clothes on my back to help keep me warm, and dry.  I have been loved beyond measure and yes, treasured.  I have always been able to see, hear, touch, feel, taste, walk and dance . . .  along with about a bazillion other things I take for granted most days.

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Why are there people so wealthy and blessed that they live in homes and lives filled with more opulance, extravagance and abundance than they need or could possibly ever use up . . . and yet others struggle to find and enjoy even the very basic necessities of life???  Why should some have so very much, and others so very little.  It doesn't seem fair somehow . . . and when I think of these things I wonder  I have been so blessed in life and yet others have not?

The only answer I can come up with is this.  Perhaps I have been given a crust of bread so that I might break it in half and share it with one who has not bread to break . . . change begins with one.

A thought to carry with you through today . . .

His light can pierce the darkness
And reach those places where all hope is lost.  


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Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . Broccoli and Cheddar Chowder.

Have a great day! 

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

The Simple Woman's Day Book

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 FOR TODAY January 28th, 2014

Outside my window...
It's dark and cold. I have noticed though that the days are drawing out as I can hear the birds singing that little bit earlier in the morning, and now it's still a bit light at five o'clock in the afternoon instead of getting dark by four . . . little by little.

I am thinking...
`•.¸.•´¸¸.¸.☆¨
"The world is full of peopel looking for spectacular happiness while they snub contentment."

~Doug Larson

Happiness is fleeting.  It comes and it goes.  Contentment is forever.   Being content with what you have right now it the secret to finding real joy.  I am content.

I am thankful...
I am very thankful for the last three years which I served in Relief Society.  I grew a lot and learned a lot and it was so nice to have this special time with the Sisters in our Ward.  Most of the time I have been in the church, I have spent it in Primary with the Children or Young Women's with the teens.   Having three years with the women was a real blessing!

In the kitchen... 
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There is a delicious Curried Spam Fried Rice.  Don't wrinkle your noses.  It's one of the most tasty things I have eaten recently!  SERIOUSLY!  This was really, REALLY good!

I am wearing...
Pink M&S nightie and my robe, and my old brown shoes because I still have not gotten a pair of slippers.


I am creating...  
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I just found the most amazing page called Repeat After Me.  This lady has tons of free crochet patterns, really cute ones, including this fabulous Owl Hat!  Each one is cuter than the last and . . . they come in ALL sizes!  Colour me way impressed!

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This is a really cute and easy portable First Aid Kit.  There is a full tutorial on Positively Splendid. These would be great in our 72hour emergency packs!

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I found the most amazing shop on Etsy that sells adorable PDF patterns such as this sweet Pillow Case Sunflower Dress.   I could not resist! Simply adorable!

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Stuffed Animal Sleeping Bags.  You can buy the PDF for them here.  I think they are just adorable.  I would have loved this when I was a child.    

I am going...
There is not a lot planned for this week.  I think I am becoming somewhat of a recluse.   Not really.  I just don't like going out much in the Winter.  It's so wet and cold and blah.   I am a Winter Nester.   I like to be at home.

I am wondering...
I am wondering what my next calling at church will be.   The Nursery leader was released on Sunday as well.   I hate to say it, but I do not want to be Nursery leader.   That is a calling in which you spend two hours every Sunday with children between the ages of 18 months and 3 years old.   I don't have the physical capacity to deal with children of that age.  My arthritis means I am really limited in what I can do physically.  I have never turned down a calling yet, but that would be one I would have to turn down.

I am reading...
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What Alice Forgot, byLiane Moriarty
This winning not-quite amnesia story parses what happens when Alice, a married mother of three whose marriage is disintegrating, takes a knock on the head and comes to thinking she is herself, but 10 years younger and in the middle of a blossoming young marriage, with her first child on the way. As younger Alice adjusts to her older life and body, she finds much to be surprised at: a wealthy lifestyle she never dreamed of, a rejuvenated mother with a surprising love interest, and a sister whose life has turned out unexpectedly disappointing. And everyone is so sorry for something that happened with her best friend Gina, whom she doesn't remember, but apparently who helped sow the seeds of her marriage's collapse. But as the young Alice takes over the older Alice's life and applies her goofy, laissez-faire approach to living, the tension builds: what will happen if old Alice regains her memory? Alice's journey of reconciling herself to how her life came to be what it is, and her slowly building understanding of how the threads of her marriage began to unravel, is moving, well-paced, and thoroughly pleasurable.  Early days yet, but quite enjoying it thus far.

No change here.

I am hoping...
That we soon get some dry weather.  Our back garden is a quagmire.  We will need quite a few days of dry weather with sunshine and some wind to help dry it up.  I am betting the farmers are having a difficult time getting their early potatoes and such in.  It's just too wet!

Makes me Smile...
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Latest picture of  "you-know-who" with her mommy Amanda.   My daughter is looking really fine.   Looks like she has her amazing figure back after having had Cameron in June.  I am not surprised.  She has always been  very athletic.  She doesn't take after me on that score.   I am not sure who the cardboard cut out man is!  Wierd. I think.  And what is he doing here???

I am learning...
 "the power of finding beauty in the humblest of things makes home happy and life lovely."
~Louisa May Alcott

I am learning to find beauty in everything.

Around the House ...
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Office Chair Slip Covers.   I think this is such a great idea!   I love them!  You can find a tutorial Here on Aunt Clara's Kitchen.   I love these colours.

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How to establish a morning routine for a clean enough house.
Right HERE on The Inspired Room, plus a whole lot more!   These people that are so organized
really inspire me!

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I just adore the look in this bedroom.  It would be a great look for our spare bedroom.   We have a bunkbed in there, but I don't see why we still can't do this.   I think I may get Todd to paint the bunks a different colour and then see what else we can do.  The walls are bright pink at the moment.  Yuck.
I think changing that is the first thing we need to do!

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I have always loved painted wooden floors.   If this was my house I would rip up all the carpeting and just have bare floors and area rugs.   Carpets are such germ/dust/dirt havens.

I am pondering...
Will we be able to save up enough money to go to Canada next year in 2015?  I sure hope so.   WE haven't even started yet.   Best get a move on!

A favorite quote for today...  

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`*.¸.*✻ღϠ₡ღ¸.✻´´¯`✻.¸¸.Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ..
(¯`v´¯)
 `*.¸.*´Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ
  ¸.•´¸.•~♥♥♥~•.~

If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is.  But, if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.
~Johanne Wolfgane Von Goethe
 ´´¯`•.¸¸.☆

I love this quote.  I think it's very true.

One of my favorite things... 
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Chickens.  I have always loved chickens.  I would love to have chickens of our own.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Not a lot.  Liking that.

A peek into my day...

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I tell myself this each and every morning.  So far, it is working.


 ⋱ ⋮ ⋰
   ⋯ ◯ ⋯ Take time to enjoy the small*´¯`.¸¸.☆
   ⋰ ⋮ ⋱ blessings in life.*´¯`.¸¸.☆
   ✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿ ✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿
   ╬♥═╬╬═♥=╬╬═♥╬╬═♥╬╬═♥=╬╬♥═╬
   ░░░░░░░░░░░░░ ░░░░░░░░░░░░░  



Wherever you go and whatever you do I hope there's a wonderful day planned for you!



Monday, 27 January 2014

Small and wonderful things . . .

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"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.

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(source:  Pinterest)

For the past three years I have been serving the Sisters in our Ward as a counselor in our Relief Society at church.   I have truly loved this opportunity I have had to serve them in this capacity and also the Sisters which I have had the opportunity to work with and serve with.  It's been a really special time in my life.  Yesterday we were all released from our callings as the Relief Society Presidency and new sisters were called in our places.   That is why I was asked to come to church early and meet with the Bishop.  It makes me sad to know I won't be doing this any longer, but I know that it is a good thing for other sisters to have an opportunity to serve the women of our church in this capacity and I am happy for them.   I can say with authority that this will be a most wonderful chance for them to grow and serve in special ways, and that they will truly love this time spent in serving together.

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I can truly say that I have loved these past three years.   We are given callings in our church through revelation given from above to our leaders.  Callings are the chance not only for us to be the Savior's hands on earth, but are also wonderful opportunities for growth.  I am so grateful for every one I have ever been given during my 14 1/2 years in the church.   Through them I have become a better person and a better woman, and I have learned a lot about just how much I can do, but most of all I have learned to love others in simple, selfless and precious ways.  My life has been enhanced and filled with the blessings and joy which only comes from giving service to and in helping others.  I do not know what I will next be asked to do, or in which way I will be called to serve, but I can tell you for sure that in whatever way it is, my life will be made better for it, even if it is only a simple thing I am asked to do.

Life is not truly worth living, until you learn to give it away.  I am not sure who said it but . . .

"Love in your heart wasn't put there to stay, Love isn't Love til you give it away."

So SO true.

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Daughters of the heart and grandpuppies make me smile.  This is our Sara with Baxter.   This is one pup with mega personality and I just adore our Sara  She is the perfect girl for our Bruce.   Seeing your children happy makes mother's very happy too, and I am one very happy mama.  I love my babies so very much.

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A new book to read.  There is something really special about opening up a new book . . .  a certain smell and expectation.  It is like opening a gift or meeting a new friend, someone you just know you are going to have a good time with over the next few weeks . . . and who, if you are very lucky, will become a life long friend and one you will want to visit time and time again.  I have a few books that are life long friends.   I love that thought . . .

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I have purchased my first Christmas Gift for 2014.  I found this little dress and cap on sale and could not resist it.  When I was a little girl I would have loved to have a dress like this.  I love the colour red and I love polka dots and I love hats and bows.   I hope the little girl I bought this for will love this too.

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My everyday shoes are becoming quite worn, but then I have been wearing them pretty much every day for the past 5 years and the leather is almost worn through.   Time to buy a new pair.  I hope I am able to find a new pair that are as good as these have been.  They were very expensive when I got them, but I reckon they were worth every penny.  I have gotten a LOT of wear out of them!   I have very short but wide feet, with bunions and fallen arches, so it's really difficult for me to find a comfortable pair of shoes.  When I find a pair, I hang on to them for dear life.  I am not a woman with a lot of pairs of shoes.  I have one pair of every day shoes, one pair of trainers and one pair of Sunday go to meeting shoes.   It is not that I do not like shoes.  I like shoes.  I just have never been lucky enough to have money to waste on more shoes than I need, but that's ok, I don't feel bad about that, I feel lucky that I have shoes at all.  There are a lot of people in this world that do not.

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Faith . . . where would any of us be without it.

And with that I will leave you with a thought to carry with you through today . . .

✻ღϠ₡ღ✻
(¯`✻´¯)
  `*.¸.*✻ღϠ₡ღ¸.✻
✻ღϠ₡ღ✻

"Keep your eyes open to your mercies.  
The man who forgets to be thankful 
has fallen asleep in life."
~Robert Louis Stevenson   
 
✻ღϠ₡ღ¸.✻ ✻ღϠ₡ღ✻✻ღϠ₡ღ¸.✻


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A early Valentine treat in The English Kitchen today . . . Sweet Marie Slices.   But cut into hearts.  Cute.

I wish for you a wonderful day and week!