Tuesday, 28 March 2017

The Simple Woman's Daybook . . .


 FOR TODAY, March 28, 2017

Outside my window ...
The sun is coming up.  Bird's flying high. You know how I feel. Sun in the sky. You know how I feel. Breeze driftin' on by. You know how I feel. Its a new dawn Its a new day. Its a new life. For me . . . .  And I'm feelin' . . .  good!  (Now, if you heard Michael Buble singing that, well, you know me well!)

I am thinking ...
Todd's cancer treatments.  Check.
Book Manuscript finished.  Check.
Forwards, onwards, and upwards!

In the kitchen ...

 Chili Fry Tacos.   Yes.  And they were amazingly good.

On my "To Cook" list ...


OMG Chocolate Desserts.  White Chocolate Blueberry Lasagne. Holy Moly!

Good to know ...


 I just discovered this today.  A service where you can buy a bundle of smoothie mixes.  Of course you could always make them yourself, but by the time you bought all the ingredients, you would be spending way more than this bundle costs. Bears thinking about. Thyme shop.
 I am thinking about it.

I am creating ...

 Free pattern for a Sock Elephant.  Did you know I love Elephants?  From Craft Passion.


 From Frou Frou. Granny Stitch Afghan. I love it!

 Reality Daydream.  Playing Card Holders.  I contend that this is not just for kids. I would love one of these for myself.
Eighteen Twenty Five.  Spring Doily Banner.
Free Printable Spring Art for the home.  From Landeelu.

I am reading ...

Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty.
Jane hasn't lived anywhere for longer than six months since her son was born five years ago. She keeps moving in an attempt to escape her past. Now the idyllic coastal town of Pirriwee has pulled her to its shores and Jane feels as if she finally belongs. She finds friends in the feisty Madeline and the incredibly beautiful Celeste, two women with seemingly perfect lives - and their own secrets.

But at the start of a new term, an incident involving the children of all three women occurs in the playground, causing a rift between them and other parents. Minor at first but escalating fast, until the whispers and rumours become vicious and spiteful, and the truths blur into lies.

It was always going to end in tears, but no one thought it would end in murder . . .

Its a cracker!

I am looking forward to ...
Seeing my book in print. Also participating in this Spring Mail Exchange that Tracy and I are organizing! If you haven't already signed up, you need to.  More details to follow soon! (For those who already have.)

Dreaming About ...
Todd has to back for blood tests in 7 weeks time, and then an appointment with the specialist will follow in about a weeks time after that.  I am dreaming about an "All Clear!"


Walking through fields of wild flowers and butterfies  . . .


 Starry, starry nights  . . .

Starting an art journal . . .


 Scotland  . . .  ahh, to have the money to just jump in the car with the dog and do this  . . .

Something to Watch ...


 Downton Abby on dvd  . . .  it never gets old.

A favourite quote for the day ...

 `*.¸.*´Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ¸. •´¸.•~♥♥♥~•. ~ ღϠ₡ღ¸. ✻´´¯`✻.¸¸.Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ.
              ( ¸. ❀⁀ ⋱‿✿“` * .¸.* ✻ღϠ₡ ღ¸.✻´´¯`✻.¸¸.Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ..
If it costs you your peace 
             its too expensive . . . 
               ~Unknown  ✿“` * .¸.* ✻ღϠ₡ ღ¸.✻´´¯`✻.¸¸.Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ..

Makes me smile ...


  Knowing this to be true  . . .

One of my favourite things ...


 Outdoor flea markets. You never know what you are going to find. I used to love to go to the 400 Flea Market on the way up to Barrie, Ontario.  You could get everything there.  Great bread. Fab meat, and a bazillion other things.  They had a chip van that was outstanding!

Corners of my kingdom ...

 Haworth, the Pennine Village that the Bronte sisters lived in and wrote from.

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!

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And I do too!

Monday, 27 March 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.

A partner in life who loves me and appreciates me for "me." Who shares my values and appreciates my opinions, even if they are sometimes different than his.  Who will eat pasta when its not his favourite thing to eat because he knows it is one of my favourite things to eat.  Who values all that I do and isn't afraid to show me that he does.  Who thinks about me when he is away from me and always texts me to tell me that he is thinking about me, and loving me. Who treats me as his equal. Who honors and respects me.  Who buys me roses and pizza for Mother's day because he loves me and He knows I love pizza. Who believes in me. Who is proud of me. Who supports me in all my endeavours and believes in my dreams. Who holds my hand in church, and out of church and everywhere we go. Who. Cares. About. For. With. Me.  I love him.  Today is his last radio-therapy appointment. God willing he will not have to have any more treatments, and the radiation will have done its thing.  I was so dreading March and so was he.  It has not been as bad as we were dreading.  Things seldom are.  We are blessed. ☺

I came across this photograph of our Eileen the other day. I think she was about 14 months old. What a little doll she was. Oh how very much I love her.  She is my oldest daughter and we talk literally every single day. When I was a little girl myself,  I dreamed of one day having a little girl of my own.  She would have blonde hair and brown eyes and I would call her Honey.  Well, I had the little girl with blonde hair and brown eyes.  We did not call her honey, but after my ex's army regiment.  It did not matter to me. I had my little girl.  Oh, I loved my son very much also, no worries there, but I could not put barrettes in his hair and dress him in pretty hand smocked dresses. There is something special about sons, but there is something very special about daughters. I think the Mother/Daughter bond is very unique.  I am so grateful that I have a special relationship with this girl of mine.  It is truly a gift and a blessing to me.

This is my other girl in action.  Amanda.  At the recent Canadian Ultimate Games in Ottawa. I stole the photo from her FB page.  She is a true athlete. They came first in Canada.  I am so proud of her. Wife, Mother, Nurse, Athlete . . .  She does them all and she does them well.  

The springtime morning chorus which brightens my mornings.  They have already begun most days when I open my eyes.  I love the song they sing. It puts an extra spring into my step, no pun intended. Springtime in England is particularly beautiful. I love the bird song, and all the flowers that are coming into bloom.  The bumble bee.  The blue skies and the increasingly warmer and brighter sunlight. They cheer my heart. I feel so blessed in Springtime and I thank God for all that He has given us and then I stop in wonder at the thought that all that we see here and now is only a pale imitation of what awaits us on the other side.  Eye can see, nor ear hear, nor heart imagine the beauty of what awaits us. And all because He loves us.

Of all the roles in life I have played, being a wife and mother has been my most satisfying. Its also been the most painful but we won't go there!  I have loved being a wife.  I must have done to do it three times.  I like to think that with each time I got better, lol.  No regrets.  I love my children all so very much.  I am proud of each of them in individual ways.  They are all winners in my books. Decent. Hardworking. Honest. Great parents. Great spouses. I must have done something right along the way. I wish only happiness for them.

Sunday phone calls with mom.  They are such a blessing and they bring such a smile to my face and my heart. You should have heard us yesterday. Mom's memory is not what it used to be, and mine isn't great either!  She will be talking about something and want to put someone's name into whatever it is she is talking about, and I am trying to help by filling in the blanks, and then we are both trying to think of the name of something which we should both remember but can't. I hate it when you can see something, the name or word is right on the tip of your tongue, but you can't spit it out for some reason! Nowadays I seem to forget what I am saying halfway through a sentence.  I am not sure if I should be afraid of that, or if it is normal.  What say you?  Anyways, I laugh at our conversations together.  If anyone on the outside was listening in they would wonder what we are talking about, but it doesn't matter because WE know what we are talking about, lol, at least I think we do!

Dreams that are coming true and while my parents are both still alive to see them come into fruition. I can die happy now.  Just the intro to write now and it is done and dusted.  Whew!  I expect there will be some revising once the Editor gets cracking on his side.  I have my fingers crossed that there are not too many!

A thought to carry with you  . . .

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

 *.˛.° ˛°. . 
˛*If you stumble,
   make it a part of the dance.
    ~Unknown    •。★★ 。* 。 

Spiritual Enlightenment

In The English Kitchen today  . . .  French Beef Au Jus.

I hope the week ahead of you is filled to overflowing with small and wonderful things. Along the way don't forget . . .

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And I do too!

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Sunday meanderings . . .


 Thanks so much for all of your lovely comments and support yesterday. I really do have the best friends. Yes, I consider you my friends, and in some ways family. My blogging family. When hearts touch, beautiful bonds are formed.  So thank you!  Actually that person on the chicken post returned, deleted their comment and then added another one . . .

silamb27 has left a new comment on your post "Chicken Savoyarde":


 Yes, it does take all kinds . . .

What a beautiful day it was here in this area of the UK that I live in yesterday.  The sun shone all day and the temps got up into the double digit teens.  It won't be long before the ants are back marching two by two through my kitchen, so I better get some traps!  Todd mowed the lawn yesterday. The first mow of the year. I wasn't sure that he should, but he insisted. And then he went out and brought me back these.

 Some lovely red roses.  For Mother's Day. It is Mothering Sunday today and he wanted to mark it for me in some way. I love them, and he's just the best husband in the world, next to yours of course!

I did not work on my book much yesterday.  Bad me. I wasted half the day cooking a new recipe I wanted to try for a Sheet Pan Easter Dinner in an hour. Oh boy. I don't want to diss another person's recipe but if you see a recipe for that proceed with caution. The potatoes are gorgeous, but the carrots ended up undercooked and not glazed much, the asparagus was overcooked (WAY over-cooked) and the ham was burnt. The instructions were somewhat ambiguous.  I had already put things on the wrong baking sheets when I discovered that it was not all supposed to go on the way I had put it on, and the timings were way off.  I would have partially cooked the carrots first (Like you had to do for the potatoes) and the temperature was far too high for the ham, also the asparagus should only have been added the last ten minutes.  I knew that, but still I went with the recipe. Don't you hate it when you know something is wrong but you shrug your shoulders and go along with it anyways because you want to do what the person said to do?  More fool me.  IN any case, we ate it, and enjoyed the potatoes very much.  There are no photos.  It was not photo worthy.  I might try it again, but doing things my way next time around, because I think the concept is great.  Easter Dinner on a sheet pan, in an hours time.  We will see.

 We watched Red Nose Day that we had recorded and had our hearts broke a bazillion times. There is so much need in the world and Britains dug deep to the tune of over £71 million! You go UK!  (And that's not the final total.)  We are a very generous lot over here in the UK, and that makes me happy.  My favourite part was Jame's Cordon's Carpool Karoke with Take That, but no surprise there as I love, LOVE Take That!  You can watch that on You Tube and it's great.  For those who don't know Take That were a very popular Boy Band over here in the UK in the late 1990's and they are still making music and still Number one in my books.  For me their carpool Karoke was the best one ever and I even loved it more than the sequel to Love Actually which showed at the very end of the program, which was also very good, but not quite Take That if you know what I mean. Oh, and Britains favourite biscuit which took top place was the Chocolate Finger, but in all fairness it must have been a very close race because, come on  . . .  Hobnobs?  Chocolate Digestives?  Custard Creams?  JAFFA CAKES!  Whew!  What a choice! I love them all!

But I could not help thinking as
I watched a person sitting
in a tub filled with
baked beans 

That wouldn't half feed a lot of starving children   . . .

 But that is just me.  They probably also raised far more than the beans were worth and it all went to a good cause.   Now I must dash. Our clocks sprang forward last night and I need to get ready for church!  (Oh I do with they would leave things as they are and not change our clocks twice a year!)


In The English Kitchen today  . . .  Cookie Crisp French Toast Sticks.  Todd loved these, and I confess I did too.  I am only human . . .  I did partake of them.

Have a brilliant Sunday.   Be blessed!  Don't forget!

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And I do too!

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Allow me to "blather" . . .


 Well, what a week we have had, indeed what a month!!  Happy to say now that Todd has only one treatment left and he will be finished his radio-therapy.  He is not sorry about that.   It is kind of ironic, or maybe not . . .  that the last day of his radio-therapy is also the day I have to pretty much have my book finished.  There is no such thing as an accident, just a happy co-incidence, or God-incidence as I like to call it.  I think, I hope we will be celebrating on Monday evening!  If I was a drinker, I would be icing the champagne now!

This past week has actually been my "Septimana Horribilius."  I think I can call it that.  Knocked back by the worst cold/flu that I have had in over two years, there were a few days when I couldn't even bother to get dressed, and I didn't.   I brushed my hair, and washed, and that was about it.  Even now I still have a cough and some congestion, but compared to how I felt earlier this week, these vestigial remains are a picnic!

 I even resorted to this a few times.  Yes, I did. Me who never naps took a couple of naps. In fact one morning, after I had fed Mitzie, I even went back to bed and didn't crawl out of my hole until after 9 a.m! (I think that was one of the days I didn't even bother to get dressed or put any make-up on.) But I still had to write.   Deadlines mean you have to write no matter what, and I did.

I was largely absent from here for those couple of days, (I hope you have forgiven me) and Todd's dinners were nothing spectacular, I confess, and I probably watched more television than I ever wanted to watch (when I wasn't writing.)

In the mean time, and I do mean


 Here is one comment that got left on my food blog the other day on a post from several years back that I did on "Spaghetti and Toast."

Unknown has left a new comment on your post "Spaghetti on Toast":

Well, there is pleasing me, but not with this diabetes inducing sugar laden excuse for food.

 I chose to ignore it, as I do a lot of things, because I am a nice person like that. But that wasn't good enough.  This person had come back and then leave this comment   . . .

Unknown has left a new comment on your post "Spaghetti on Toast":

So from Mary's comments above:
Energy 244 kcal
Protein 4 g
Total lipid (fat) 0 g
Carbohydrate 52 g
Fiber, total dietary 0g

As taken durect from the can. So let's look at the 'nutritional' content 4g pf protein. Okay, first, what is the serving size? How many servings in a can. Second the only two nutritional ingredients listed are protein and carbohydrates (e.g. sugar) What I would be curious to see off the label is how much added sugar there is.

There is no argument that the UK diet is sugar laden. The lack of fat does not make this 'healthy' by any stretch.

Personally I thjink people should eat this all day every day and then when the obesity and heart attacks hit, there will be one less burden on the health care system.

 They have gotten my name wrong of course.  I am Marie not Mary.   I had not suggested ever that people eat spaghetti on toast every night for their tea, nor was I even suggesting that it was a healthy option.  It was intended as a post about something that was quick and easy and that a lot of people over here enjoy for their tea on occasion.  I never once said that it was healthy.  And personally, I don't see it as "unhealthy" either, but as a once in a blue moon treat, I think its okay.  As a harried mother, even I have resorted to tinned spaghetti, and my own mother did as well. I would be lying if I said otherwise.  Both myself and my children have lived to confess the tale.

 Obviously this person was having a worse week than I was.  I did not publish their comments, but they did kind of wrankle, coming in a week which was already not such a great week.

And then this morning I got up to this comment which was left on my food blog post for Chicken Savoyarde. A most delicious dish I hasten to add.

 Back in 2014 this person had left this comment on that post . . .

why would you ruin this with cheddar cheese? Gruyere and parmesan are quite enough: this is supposed to be a French dish.

 Apparently I had committed some sort of culinary crime by daring to add cheddar cheese to the topping.  My response, a bit tongue in cheek . . . had been this . . .

silamb27, it may be a French Dish, but this is The English Kitchen. It's also MY kitchen. We like cheddar and this dish was not ruined in any way by the addition of some cheddar in the topping. If anything it was even more delicious. To each their own. :-P

 I was trying to diffuse things a bit, and to politely say, one man's meat is another man's poison, and it was my blog after all and I have every right to do things the way I want to do them.

Well, this morning a full three years, and then some,  later . . . this person felt the need to come back and leave this comment . . .

No, not 'to each their own'. Dishes have their own lineage and integrity - and I rather doubt your palette is up to the task of deciding when to override it with your (slightly xenophobic) 'English kitchen/MY kitchen' blather.

 Some people are just rude aren't they?? I have been called a few names in my lifetime, but xenophobe isn't one of them.  This person is clearly slightly un-hinged, but as my mother always said, it takes all kinds.

 I shall take comfort in knowing that I am a much nicer person than that, and that I would never resort to name calling in someone else's space. I am happy that I am a person who allows others the opportunity to celebrate their individuality and their right to express it.  I know I should not take such mean-spiritedness to heart or personally, but I do. Perhaps I need a thicker skin?

Probably so.

Oh, I am so, so, so grateful that the internet was not around when I was a teenage girl. How very wicked a place it can be where people think they are free to say whatever they want about whoever they want and whenever and wherever they want to say it.   Just this past week a food blogger over here, A Girl Called Jack, won a libel case against a prominent columnist who had dared to tweet something libelous  against her, proving that we have finally come to a time in space where you really can't actually get away with saying whatever, whenever and wherever about whomever if you come up against someone with the strength, know how, and dare I say it, "balls," to take you to task for it. Kudos to Jack for standing up for herself.

I have tried to always subscribe to this way of thinking and I actually really hate it when someone else causes me to feel unkind or to want to react in an unkind way.  I subscribe to Thumper's mother's theory which is . . .  "If you can't say something nice, then don't say nothing at all."  Its a better way to be.  I never thought it was so, but it is increasingly becoming a much unkinder world.  There is so much hate . . .  too much hate . . . and it needs to stop.  It makes me really sad that we live in a time where a man feels justified in driving a vehicle randomly down a pedestrian way, knocking and killing and injuring  innocent people simply because he can, and he has a distorted version of how the world should be.  It makes me really sad that we live in a time where one person can spend £1000 on a pair of trousers and millions of children are dying every day of hunger. It makes me sad that our Government spends billions each year in foreign aid, and yet there are children in this country who are forced into the position of being "Carers" to their sick or disabled parents because the Government funding just isn't there to allow them to be children when they just need to be children.  It makes me sad that I live in a world where others exalt themselves so much above everyone else that they think they can say, do, act in whatever way they want to act with impunity.

We live in a fallen 

 When people ask me how can I believe, why do I choose to believe . . .  in God?? My answer is because I must.  I could not survive in such an unkind and unjust world did I not know and believe that there was something much better to look forward to, and a much higher power that I mattered to, and that in the end . . .  All will be okay. That there is always, always light at the end of the tunnel, and that there is nobody who can sink lower than the light of Christ can reach.

Just my thoughts  . . . thanks for listening/reading.


 Baking in The English Kitchen today  . . .  Blueberry and Lemon Breakfast Buns.

 Have a perfectly lovely Saturday.  The sun is shining here and it promises to be a nice day. Perhaps we will take ourselves out somewhere. We will see.  God bless you all.  Don't forget  . . .

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And I do too!

Friday, 24 March 2017

My Friday Finds . . .

A few of the things I find each week that strike my fancy. I hope they strike yours too.

Stay at home Spa Day.  Cathy Filian. Make your own Body Scrubs, Lip Balms and soap!

A Granny Motif market bag. Loving the colours. From Lion Brand. A free pattern.

9 Easy ways to get more counterspace.  I can use all the help I can get in this area. From That Vintage Life.

Red Ted Art.  A simple Easter Chick paper decoration.  This is so cute!

Mini Charm Square Patchwork Placemats.  From Sew 4 Home.

I just love these Chicken Pot Holders.  Love the colours and the fabrics and the way their combs are 3D.  From Sew Inspired. No pattern, just eye candy.

The Idea Room. Chocolate Covered Strawberry Easter Bunnies.  So cute!

Crafts by Amanda. Crochet your own Slipper Sandles.  Neat!

Panda Hall. Friendship Bracelets.  A ton of them.  Nice.

Coconut Bunny Cake Tutorial. Jenny Steffens.  I could not find the actual tutorial.

Bunting from old books.  Again, no source, but how hard could it be?

Free Downloadable Woodland Stamps.  From Paper Crafter.

Bunny Cookies and Milk.  From Munchkin Munchies.  These are so cute!

10 Veggies you can grow indoors.  From Moody Mooch.


 Old Time Pottery.  Easter Bunny and Chick Pretzels.  Cute!  How do people think these things up!

And those are my finds for this week.  I hope you found something of interest here.   So sorry for my absence of a few days.  I have really felt lousy, and today is the first day I have felt half human again.  I was taking all the wrong things and they were conflicting with the meds I am on for my Blood Pressure and Diabetes. We finally got the right ones and I am starting to feel a lot better. Its been no fun!  and I have still had to work on the book, which I am happy to say I only have 1 1/2 chapters to finish plus the introduction.  Whew!  Talk about working right down to the wire.  I have until the 28th still, but . . . time passes so quickly!

Todd only has two more treatments to suffer.  Today and then on Monday.  After his treatment on Monday he will see his radiographer and we will see what happens next.  He is starting to feel pretty tired now, but his appetite is good and so far there has been no burning on his skin, etc.  He isn't too happy about the fact that he feels he has to go pee every five minutes, and then can only do a little tinkle.  It keeps him in and out of bed almost all night, which is probably adding to his tiredness.  Thank goodness we are nearing the end and God willing that will be it!

Plus I got asked to try out for another television show.  I am far too long in the tooth for that now.  I am the most un-photogenic person on the face of the planet.  I am enjoying my life just as it is.  I have no desire to be out there.  I am happy with things are they are thanks.

A thought to carry with you through today  . . .

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

 *.˛.° ˛°. . 
˛If you don't stand firm in your faith,
You won't stand at all.
~Isaiah 7:9  •。★★ 。* 。 

Spiritual Enlightenment

In The English Kitchen today.  Baked Honey and Soy Chicken. Finger licking good!

Have a great Friday.  Don't let the world get you down.  There is a lot of bad stuff going on out there, but there is also a lot of good stuff.  Look for the helpers.  There are always helpers doing positive things in every situation.  Don't forget . . .

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And I do too!