Sunday, 31 January 2016

Ever had a good idea?

Yesterday, early in the morning . . .  I got to thinking.  That's when I do most of my thinking.  Early in the morning when I am all on my own with no distractions except a furry tum tum to scratch.  

Todd is always wanting me to save money when I do my grocery shopping, and I was thinking about how I could do that . . .  seeing as how I was going to be going grocery shopping later on.

We go through a lot of instant oats packets.  Quaker.  Golden Syrup.  Two of them every morning, except I have the plain one, not the Golden Syrup one.   I remembered having read  in a slow cooker cookbook about cooking your oatmeal in the slow cooker overnight.  It sounded like the perfect solution to buying all those instant packets of oats . . .  and it has to be better for you, right?  Regular oats instead of instant. 

This was genius, and just think of all the money I could save on those instant packets of oats.  I could just buy a big bag of old fashioned rolled oats.  I was practically rubbing my hands together with glee.


So . . .  when Todd got up,  I told him about my colossal fantabulous idea of how to save some money on the groceries.  Just one problem however  . . .  we have a huge slow cooker, which is far too big to cook a couple of servings of oats in.  What to do . . .  what to do  . . .

And then I had a second great idea.   When we were grocery shopping, I would keep an eye out for a much smaller slow cooker.  We used to have one a long time ago, but we gave it up in favour of a larger one.  But this would come in handy because we would use it every night so that we would have hot oats waiting our rise in the morning . . . Todd had his misgivings, but . . . like most things . . .  he went along with my brilliantly stupendous idea.  I think he was hoping and thinking there would be no small slow cookers in the grocery store and that would be the end of that.

Off we went to the grocery store.

Todd hates grocery shopping.  Todd hates it with a passion.  I hate having him with me when I am shopping.  We always shop where he can go, have a sit down, a drink and a read while I do the shopping.  It's what works for us.  We went to Asda, which is the British version of Walmart.  He did come with me to see if they had any small slow cookers. I think he was kind of hoping that they didn't, but  . . .  BINGO!  They did.  And they were on special! Only £12, marked down from £16.99.  RESULT!

One went into the cart,  and he toddled off to the cafe to have a leisurely read and a drink, while I went downstairs to do the remainder of the shopping.


The gods were certainly with me because not only did I find a small slow cooker . . .  but Scott's Porage Oats were also on special.  A 1KG box was only £1.85 . . . .  but   . . .  wait for it  . . . wait  . . . Ta da!!  You could get TWO for only £3, a saving of 70 pence!  (I hope I did the math right.)

I had to buy them.   I was saving us money.

The rest of the shop was pretty uneventful.  But I was pumped.   I had managed to save us some money and this new idea of cooking our oats in the slow cooker overnight every night was totally going to rock.

So last night,  before we went to bed, I carefully measured a cup of oats into the cute little mini slow cooker.   Threw in some water.  Added some cinnamon because cinnamon is good for you.  Threw in some raisins and chopped apple, also good for you.  Tasty.  Tasty. I could hardly wait.  Todd could hardly wait.  This was going to be soooo good.  We would be waking up in the morning to the smell of toasting oats . . . .  cinnamony, toasty appley oats!


The thought alone was enough to make me want to dance.  Tasty oats in the morning and saving money.  A brilliant combination.

Except for one thing . . . .

Not toasty.   Not tasty.  Wallpaper paste . . .  studded with raisins that have no texture and hard chunks of apple.

But it does taste of cinnamon.    Cinnamon flavoured glue.

And to think  . . . . it only cost us £15.


I just can't wait until Todd gets up and tells me what he thinks of my brilliant money saving idea.

The End.

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Baking in The English Kitchen today  . . . Chocolate Buttermilk Cake.

May your Sabbath Day be richly blessed.   Wherever you go and whatever you get up to, don't forget  . . .

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And I do too!  

Saturday, 30 January 2016

How to Spend a Week

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Our week began as usual with Sunday.  We were able to go to church and nenew our  Baptismal  Covenants and partake of the sacrament, to refresh and strengthen our Spiritual batteries in readiness for the week ahead.  This week was our Ward Conference.  (Our local congregations are called wards (or branches for smaller congregations). They are organized geographically and members attend a ward or branch near their home.)  Our Stake leaders were there to teach and sustain us as a Ward, with special Sacrament Talks, and lessons in Sunday School and Relief Society/Priesthood lessons. ( A group of wards forms a stake, and the leader of a stake is a stake president. “Stake” is not a term found in the New Testament, but is taken from Old Testament tent imagery in which the “tent,” or church, is held up by supporting stakes (see Isaiah 54:2).

Our Stake President began his talk by speaking about the special live Broadcast that we in the UK had had from Edinborough  a year ago in which Jeffrey R. Holland had been the main speaker and he asked us what did we remember from that special  event.   I remembered that we had all been very well fed spiritually and that he had spent the whole time talking about the Book of Mormon, and in fact going overtime, which is not usual for speakers at that level.  I was right.  He had done this.  He then asked us why a leader at that level would take up so much time to speak to us, a people who were already converted to the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon . . . about the Book of Mormon.   There was a lot of food for thought there, and I came away committed to study the Book of Mormon ever deeper than before.

Of course in the afternoon I called my mom.  It is so lovely to hear her voice on a Sunday.  I would love to call her every day, but I think that she would find that overly annoying.  She was telling me that a family of deer have been frequently passing through their garden and partaking of the rosehips on the rose bushes on their way down towards the river.  She was also saying that vegetables were quite expensive at the moment, and I did recall someone saying on facebook the price of a head of cauliflower, but I couldn't remember how much it was, but it did sound a lot.  In Canada the tax on things is added at the til, so the price you see on an object is not always the price you pay.  Todd finds that quite confusing when he is there, and to be honest I think it is too.  I prefer the way things are here, where the price you are shown is the price you pay, with no hidden surprises at the til!

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Monday we had our prep day, so I did laundry and cleaned the house and cooked a Chicken Tikka Masala as we had been charge with bringing a meal to a family that evening.  I made enough so that we had it for supper also.  It was good and I found myself wondering why I did not cook us a curry more often.

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I also had time to work on my cookbook album, which I really enjoyed.  I am always happiest when I am creating.  I had so much paper left that I have started a second one, only this one is black.  I am quite happy with how that is turning out as well.

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Tuesday we did a lot of work on referrals.   A lot of the way Missionaries find people to teach to is by referrals.   Because the church had done a very good job prior to Christmas with their Christmas videos, etc, there had been a LOT of referrals online.  One of the things we do as a Senior Missionary Couple is to take these referrals and investigate them to see if they are actually real and not bogus so that the Young Missionaries don't waste a lot of really valuable time chasing them up.  You would be surprised at the number of bogus referrals we get.  People will call the church, or go online and give fake names, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, street addresses, etc.  Or some people will think it is funny to give someone else's details, perhaps a person who really isn't into God or who is an athiest, etc.  It's really important that our young Missionaries are safe.  We have had missionaries held captive by bad people in the past.  One of our young sister Missionaries and her companion here in the UK had been held for hours and hours in an apartment by an investigator before they were able to get away, which left them both quite traumatized as you can imagine.  This one sister ended up going home early from her mission as it had left her so distressed.  So when we get these referrals it's really important that we make sure they are on the up and up before we send in the youngsters.  As Seniors we have to make three attempts to contact the referral before passing it on to the Young Missionaries, and only then when we have determined that it is a valid referral.

I do not understand the mentality of people who give these bogus referrals and waste so much of our time, or perhaps that is the whole point of it all . . .  wasting our time.  You would be surprised at the number of people who truly dislike Mormons, who feel we are evil and who would want to make our jobs as Missionaries even more difficult.  As Todd so rightfully said to one once upon a time, "Surely their time would be better spend in trying to bring people to Christ who don't already have a testimony of the Saviour than in trying to destroy the testimonies of people who do."

It makes no sense.   It costs nothing to be kind.

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On Wednesday I spent most of the day putting together my presentation for the Young Women that I would be teaching about Canadian Cooking at church that evening.   I wanted to make sure that they would get a lot out of my lesson and really understand the demographics of Canadian Cookery, and the melting pot that is our cuisine.  I baked a few examples of different things to show them, etc.  and then, of course  . . .  I went to church that night and did just that.  There were some things that they didn't think were very tasty, such as Peanutbutter and Jam.  (I don't know why the British have such a problem with that concept.  I think it's quite nice.)  I think they found it quite interesting however and they did enjoy the Molasses Cake, Oatmeal Muffins and Dessert Pemmican.  I think they were quite relieved that I had not brought real Pemmican!  We also were taught how to make Sushi by a Japanese member of our Ward.   I wasn't that fond of the Nori paper we use to wrap it up in.  It smelt very fishy and I don't like things that smell really fishy.  It was a fun activity however and I did enjoy the taste of the vegetarian ones.

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Thursday saw me doing my Visit Teaching in the morning and Todd and I also did some Home Teaching together.  As Adult Sisters in the church we are each given the responsability to visit and care for several Sisters in our Ward.  It is a priviledge and a duty of care.  We are encouraged to pray for the Sisters in our care daily, and to get to know and to love them.  We are there to help them if they need it and to support and strengthen each other in whatever way that we can.  I have found through the years that any sister I visit taught or was visit taught by has become a good and cherished friend.  Likewise my Visit Teaching Partners.  We have also become good friends.  It is something which I have also really always enjoyed doing very much.  My partner could not make it this week and so as the end of the month was here, Todd went with me as I wanted to get it done.  We are also Home Teaching partners so we did that as well.  You can learn a bit more about these two programs here if you are interested in knowing more.

In the afternoon I had my Cooking for Diabetes Class.  This week we spoke about the types of fats and salt.  We made a Vegetable Curry which was really very delicious.  And there was no salt in it whatsoever, except that which occurred naturally in the ingredients used.  I only have one more of these classes to attend.    I have really enjoyed them and am so glad that I signed up for them.  I've learned a lot, even though I thought I already knew it all, haha.

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Yesterday morning we had to take Mitzie to the Dog Groomers.   She is not a dog who enjoys a lot of fussin'  She actually gets really stressed when she is groomed.  That's why we keep driving all the way to Neston to have her groomed . . .  because she knows those groomers and they know her, and we reckon that its better for her to be with someone she knows and is comfortable around.  Our groomer is the woman who bred her and has known her since the day she was born.  Neston is quite a distance from us and we could go to groomers right here in the City, but we stick with Paws for Perfection because we like them and Mitzie does too.  She always smells so nice when she is done.

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And her fur is so shiny.  She is pretty exhausted though for the rest of the day.  I reckon its the stress of it all.  I don't mind it myself  . . .  I get to go to Gordales and have a wee boo around while Todd sits in the cafe and reads while enjoying a hot chocolate.  The cafe is filled with men enjoying coffees etc.  while their better halves have a wee boo around the shop.  I love garden centres with nice big gift shops.  They have such nice things and the greeting cards at Gordales are just lovely.

In the afternoon I did some of my Spark Joy exercises that I told you about earlier in the week.  I managed to get the dining room buffet cleared.  I had a lot of things in there that we just never use, or that are old and chipped and will never use because they are old and are chipped, or because there are only two of them.  I applied the "Is it useful" and "Do you LOVE it" principles to each item.  Anything that wasn't useful, was old and chipped, or I didn't love got taken away, including a little glass blue bird with a broken beak that my ex husband had given me once upon a time.  I don't know why I had been hanging onto it for so long.  It is  no more.

 Which brings me to today . . .

Menu planning and Grocery Shopping for the week ahead.  I love grocery shopping.

And that my friends  . . .  is how you spend a week.

A thought to carry with you through the day  . . .

✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿ ✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿
"Even though multitudes 
followed after Him, 
Christ’s ministry always consisted 
of blessing people one by one."
~Carlos H. Amado 
✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿ ✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿

Spiritual Enlightenment

In The English Kitchen today  . . .  Lemon Cake Pie.  Delicious!  Wish I could still eat things like this!  Perhaps just a nibble  . . .

Hope your Saturday is as special as you are! Wherever you go and whatever you get up to, don't forget!

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And I do too!

Friday, 29 January 2016

My Friday Finds . . .

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A few of the things I find each week which strike my fancy and I hope that they strike yours also!


A "Waffled" Bacon Jalapeno Grilled Cheese Sandwich, made of tater tots. Found on the Huffington Post.  It looks so tasty, but is probably sooooooo bad.  Look at that bacon.


What kind of mind thinks of these types o things to eat.   Wowsa.   There are probably a week's worth of calories in one sandwich, but I'd sure love to taste it!


I love this cute paper heart.  It would be a great way to use up scraps.  I think I love it so much because of the polka dot paper.  I love polka dots.  From mom of five daughters.


How to Finger Knit.  Interesting.  From Housing a Forest.   This would be great to do with kids.


Patchwork Valentine Mug Mats.  A great way to use up scraps.  So cute!  From Amy Made That. Cute!


Free printable Coffee Cup Wraps designed by Lia Griffith from Skip to My Lou. Sweet!


I just adore this heart shaped pot holder.  From A Spoonful of Sugar Designs.   I have a bunch of heart shaped pot holders now, but they are getting old and blah looking.  Time to make some new ones methinks.  They are not just for valentines day.  I love the shape of these pot holders, as it is perfect for picking up almost anything hot.  I much prefer it over an oven glove.   Simple and straightforward to make.


If you do Valentine Treats for the Grands, just look at these cute lil pigs!  I love them!  They are made from toilet paper roll inserts.  Now I wish I had been saving mine.  Sigh   . . . simple.  From Creative Me Inspired You.


Accckk!  So cute!  Toilet Paper Roll Mice.   How utterly adorable. From Child Made.


DIY Origami Gift Boxes.  I have made these before.  They are so simple to do and make such cute boxes, and you can personalize them for any occasion.  From Gathering Beauty.   A complete tutorial.


DIY fun Paper Spinners.  From Makes and Takes.  Fun for the kiddies.   I remember my mom making us spinners similar to these, or maybe it was my dad . . .  using buttons.  They kept us amused for hours and hours when I was small.  My dad also made us knitting spools.


I found it!  A pictorial tutorial on how to do just this!  Here is the Link.   All I have to do now is find the beads and a whole passle of time, lol.  I do love this though.  I really do.


An abundance of free colouring pages for Adults, from Mum in the Mad House.   I love colouring.  That's all my art is really . . .  I just draw stuff and colour it in.  Simple.

 And that's my finds for this week.  I hope that you enjoyed seeing them and perhaps even found something which you might like to do yourself!

We are off to the dog groomers this  morning.  It's hard to believe that it has already been ten weeks since the last time.  It sure comes around fast!  It's very windy and wet out there today.  Take care when you are out and about!

 A thought to carry with you through today . . .

~•~♥♥♥~•.~•~♥♥♥~• ~
"When we get the inspiration 
from heaven to do something, 
we do it now  . . .
we don’t procrastinate."
~William R Walker
~•~♥♥♥~•.~•~♥♥♥~• ~

Spiritual Enlightenment  

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Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . .  Maple and Mustard Chicken.  Delicious!

Have a fabulous Friday. Wherever you go, whatever you do, don't forget!

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And I do too!

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Life changing magic . . . we'll see . . .

I got myself a new little book this week.  I say little because it is only about 5 by 7 inches in size (about an inch and a half deep).  Spark Joy, An Illustrated Guide to the Japanese Art of Tidying, by Marie Kendo promises to help me to organise and declutter every room of my house.  Todd and I have been saying for several years now that we need to get rid . . .  to downsize . . .  just in case we get to a point where we really do have to move into a smaller space, etc.  Ms Kendo's tidying method is to focus on what you want to keep, not on what you want to rid yourself of, which is quite a novel way of going about things . . .

Most declutter books focus on what you want to get rid of.  That doesn't really work for me.   I start to mourn things before I even begin to actually give them away.  Her idea is to only hang on to things which spark joy in your heart.  In other words, to keep only what you love and what brings you joy, as well as being useful.

The first step is to commit yourself to actually doing it.  I think I am there.  The second step is to visualize your home as you would like it to be.   So that is what I am going to do this morning.  Work my way through my home and visualize it the way I want it to be.


When I look at the types of things I am drawn to on Pinterest re home decoration/organization I seem to be most drawn to stuff with clean lines and minimalist in style.  If you look at this photograph for instance, you see that there are no curtains on the windows . . .  just a room filled with light, clear countertops, and not a lot of colour.  I love the idea of a breakfast nook for eating.  I have loved that idea for a very long time.  And I adore wooden furniture which has been painted white, which is why I really love our bedroom.


I love our twin beds and the white Ikea furniture we bought in that first year we moved back to Chester.   That was the first time in my life that I had ever had a brand new bed and mattresses, and actually new furniture full stop.  All through the years it had always been second or third hand.

This is my absolute favourite room in the house.  No doubt about it.  Just looking at these photos of it brings me joy.

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Then when I look at these old photos which were taken not too long after we moved in of the dining area of the house  . . .

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They bring me joy as well.

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Everything is so tidy and uncluttered also.  I don't know how we did it, but since then we seem to have accumulated far too much stuff.  And it does not bring me joy.   I don't love it.  At all.

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Even our lounge was clear and uncluttered.  Lots of nicky nacs, but fairly uncluttered..

It's easier to keep a house clean when it is not cluttered up with lots of stuff.

I love this book.  I think it's going to really help me to sort myself out.  I am already realising that most of what I have I don't need, and it isn't really bringing me joy.  If anything, it does the complete opposite.  I know that the first thing I need to do is to give away or sell most of my books . . .  and old magazines.  I start to try to get rid of them . . .  but then I make the mistake of looking through them and before I know it I am saying to myself, oh yes  . . .  I wanted to cook this or I wanted to cook that.

There are so many things like recipes available online these days.  You can find recipes for literally everything  Why keep all these books?  Why not only keep, the ones I love and use a lot?

So that is my goal for February.  To cut down on some of my cookery books, and only keep the ones I love.  Maybe I will do it one bookcase at a time.  Wish me luck!

This is going to be painful.☺


I really, really, really love this beaded curtain.   I wonder where I could find one?  The last time we went up to the Horseshoe Pass (Tatiana was here), Todd bought me a crystal hanging window pendant in the gift shop up there.  I love it.  When the sun is shining it makes rainbows all through our lounge on the ceiling and walls.   They make me happy.  It reminds me of the film Pollyana where Pollyana takes the crystals from that old man's lamps and gives them to the people in the village to make them happy.  Crystals make me happy.  Especially when they make rainbows.

A thought to carry with you through today  . . .

"Dissonance in the home 
is like darkness in a room. … 
We must displace the darkness 
by introducing light."
~Wilford W. Andersen

Spiritual Enlightenment 

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In The English Kitchen today   . . .  Apple Cinnamon Teacake.

Have a great Thursday.  I have a very busy one ahead of me, with my Visiting Teaching and Home Teaching with Todd this morning and then my Cooking for Diabetes Class this afternoon.  Whatever you get up to today, don't forget, no matter what . . .

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And I do too.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Wednesday This and That . . .

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Good morning!  Things seem pretty quiet here this  morning in my little corner of the world.  We were supposed to get the remnants of Storm Jonas here yesterday/today.   It was a bit windy last afternoon/evening and rainy also, but nothing really untoward where we live down here in Chester, although I did see some photos of some lorries (trucks) which had been blown over by severe gales up in the Peak District and there were over 120 flood alerts and warnings issued over Wales and the UK.  They say a second band of rain and wind are supposed to arrive today.

We have a street display in Chester today  . . .  I think it's pretty safe to say that if we get the bad weather, Todd and myself will not be standing out on the streets of Chester.  At 77 he doesn't need that type of exposure.  We will do something else instead.

I will be doing an activity with the Young Women at our church tonight.  I've been asked to cook/demonstrate something Canadian Cookingwise.  I thought to talk about North American Indian Cookery, but what to cook.  This was becoming somewhat of a conundrum with me.


I thought Pemmican . . . which is a dried meat and fruit type of jerky that the Indians used to carry with them in their travels.  It wouldn't be really practical . . . not enough time . . .  and I doubt the girls would enjoy eating it.


Then there is Bannock, which is an Indian Bread . . .  like a type of flat scone dough.  My ex's Aunt Rita made fabulous bannock, but her's was a Scottish version handed down from generation to generation.  It had oats in it and cheese.  I remember watching her make it and tasting it.  It was gorgeous, but there was no real recipe.  She made it by touch.


Then, I thought  . . .  Canadian Beaver Tails . . . which are like a yeasted flat fry bread, dusted in cinnamon sugar.  These would certainly be enjoyed, but I couldn't actually make them at the chapel.   I am pretty sure there is a rule about deep frying with hot fat (health and safety) etc.

 And then I found this  . . .

Dessert Pemmican, from Cooking Dangerously.  This we could do and I know the girls would enjoy.  And while we are doing it, I can talk about the North American (Specifically Canadian) Indians.

Sorted.  So today I will be putting together a presentation about that and getting ingredients, etc. ready to take to the chapel so that they can make them.  Should be fun!


As you will probably all remember, it was our Josh's 7th Birthday not too long ago.  I had forgotten all about it.  Bad Grandma!  I felt pretty bad.  He's our little Ginger Grandson and (like all of my grandchildren) I love him to bits.    I sent him a super Birthday present to make up for it and I actually think it worked out better that way . . . that he got his Birthday present from me a week or so later . .  coz it didn't get lost in the shuffle of all his other Birthday gifts and he was super thrilled to get it!  I sent him a couple of books, but not just any books.   I sent him How to be a Hero, by Graham Howells, which is super interactive, with lots of little doors and secrets to discover, etc. on it's pages.  And I sent him The Pirates Next Door, by Johnny Duddle.  Also a great book, at least I thought it was.  The illustrations were fabulous and I know illustrations!

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He was absolutely thrilled!  Especially with the Hero book.  My son facetimed me so that Josh could thank us for them, and he was so excited about the books, little Joshie.  He was going through all the pages and going, wow, wow with each one he turned.  That really did this loving Grandmother's heart a lot of good to see.  I can count on one hand the number of times I have been with any of my grandchildren, which causes me great sorrow.  And, I never ever get to see them open their gifts or anything.  This experience was priceless to me.  This was the best gift ever for ME.  To see his excitement and watch him interacting with these books.  Just priceless.

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I am so grateful for my movie star handsome (I'm the mom!) son who take the time to include me in these things and is so very thoughtful. It surely means the world to me.


This is a photo of Doug when he was three years old on Christmas  morning.  He was enjoying all of his gifts at once.   A sheriff's suit complete with cap, badge, vest, holster and pistols and his Fisher Price driving toy.  Poor wee thing . . .  those PJ's he is wearing had already gone through three children before they got to him.  They were Winnie the Pooh onsies and the feet had worn out, so they were just chopped off.  I have to say that, with the exception of the feet, those onsies lasted just about forever!

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Look at what I can see from where I am right now.   It's time for a cuddle, a snuffle and a belly rub and so I will let you go now!  Oh, by the way, do you know how to get your dog to eat the dry dog food they hate most in the world?   A tsp of finely grated Parmesan cheese works wonders.  Just sprinkle it on top and shake it on down through so that it gets on every bit.  It also spoils them for wanting to eat pretty much any kind of dry dog food going, but meh!   Whatever gets the job done.

 A thought to carry with you through today  . . .

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"We must find quiet moments
 to seek greater light and truth. 
And when we receive it…
live it, share it…defend it."
~Cheryl A Esplin 
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Spiritual Enlightenment

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Cooking in The English Kitchen today  . . . Dauphinoise Hasselback Potatoes.  Seriously delicious.

Have a great Wednesday!  Wherever you go and whatever you get up to, don't forget!

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And I do too!