Sunday 21 February 2010

Marie's Sunday Six Smilemakers . . .

Welcome to my Sunday Six Smile Makers post. This is the day of the week that I love the most. Not only do I get to go to church and take the Sacrament, and praise my Heavenly Father, but I get to reflect on all that is good in my life in a very special way. I am the type of person that likes to take note of my blessings on a daily basis anyways, both the large and the small, but it is also good to set aside a special time just to reflect on all the things in our lives that are good and that make us happy. I have a cup in life that truly runneth over . . . yes, I am very blessed.

I have a lovely home to live in. No, it may not be mine for always, and in reality I have no idea of knowing how long it will be my home, but I love it for while it is mine and I am grateful to have it. Home is where you hang your heart . . . and whether it be a beautiful cottage in the English Countryside, or a dinky little one bedroom flat . . . if your heart resides there . . . it is home and where you need to be. Having a home filled with love and a place where I feel safe and comfortable is a blessing.

My family is a special blessing to me. My husband, my children, my grandchildren, my mother and father, my siblings and the many generations that have walked before me, and the ones that will follow. Family is the most important thing we can have in our lives, next to our faith and the two really go hand in hand. Ordained of God and a part of His eternal plan for each of us, the family is a fundamental part of society and I am ever grateful for mine.

Being loved and being able to love back. This makes me smile. We all need love. We all need to be able to give love. In my life I am surrounded by love. The love of a husband, the love of our Jess, the love of my family, the love of friends and most importantly the love of my Heavenly Father. What more could a gal ask for?

Speaking of friends, I am grateful and happy to have the friends I have. They mean the world to me. Friends both near and far. I keep them in my heart and they make me smile, with all their wierd and wonderful ways. Friends are family you get to pick for yourself, and I just have the best ones ever!!

My faith is the anchor that keeps my boat in my safe harbour. All that I am and all that I have hinges on this. It is the cornerstone of my life. It is the foundation of my home and my very being. I am a daughter of a Heavenly Father who loves me very much. All that I am and all that I will ever be, I owe to His grace and love for me. Things may not always run as smoothly as I would like them to . . . and I may stumble from time to time and fall, but He is always there to pick me up and set me back upon firm ground. He carries my hind feet into high places. To walk hand in hand with the Lord is everything . . .

I have my health and all those that I care about have their health as well. When you are young, your good health is something that you take for granted, but as you get older you begin to realize that your health is very important indeed . . . what is the good of being wealthy or talented if you are ill . . . I thank God every day for two legs that walk, two arms that can carry, two eyes that can see, two ears that can hear and a heart that beats strongly and that feels. Good health is a blessing we should never take for granted.

Whether it be sewing a new doll, or painting a new picture, developing a new recipe or baking a delicious cake, writing a letter or story, keeping my home comfortable and clean . . . and orderly . . . being able to create, in whichever way I can . . . makes me smile, and I am very grateful for the many talents I may have. I know where they come from and I am truly blessed.

"The more you trust and rely upon the Spirit, the greater your capacity to create. That is your opportunity in this life and your destiny in the life to come. Sisters, trust and rely on the Spirit. As you take the normal opportunities of your daily life and create something of beauty and helpfulness, you improve not only the world around you but also the world within you."
~President Dieter F. Uchtdorf , Second counselor in the LDS Church Presidency

So these are a few of the many blessings I have experienced in my life this week and some of the many blessings I experience every day of my life. These are all a part of the fabric that makes me who I am and they are things that make me very happy. These are the treasures of my life and all that I cherish. These are my every day smilemakers . . .

I made a delicious casserole for our supper last night. I love casseroles. They are easy to make, most of the time, and they cook themselves for the most part, leaving your hands free to do something else. This casserole is a combination of several other casseroles that I have loved. I took the best parts of each and put them together into one. Hearty, tasty and a real family pleaser. All you need to complete your meal is a tossed salad on the side, and if you are so inclined . . . a dessert.

*Mexican Tater Tot Casserole*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

A delicious casserole that you can bake in either one large dish, or in four individual casseroles. This is a combination of several recipes that I liked . . .
it's like tacos and tater tots all together under one tasty blanket of cheese!

1 pound ground steak
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced
1 (1.25 ounce) packet of taco seasoning mix
1 (16 ounce) tin of chili beans, undrained
8 ounces of tomato sauce
1 small tin of corn, drained or thawed frozen corn, about 1/2 cup
1 packet of frozen tater tots
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese mix

Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F. Have a large casserole dish ready, or 4 smaller ones.

Brown the ground steak, along with the onion and garlic in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook and stir until the beef crumbles and is no longer pink, and the onion is nicely softened. Drain well. Return to the skillet and add the taco seasoning mix, chili beans, corn and tomato sauce. Cook and simmer over medium low heat until heated through. Pour into the casserole dish, smoothing it out into an even layer. (Or divide equally amongst the four dishes) Cover the top evenly with tater tots. Divide the cheese up and sprinkle it evenly over top of the tater tots.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the casserole is bubbling and the tatertots are browned and the cheese is melted and lightly browned as well. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving. Delicious!!

Cooking today over on The English Kitchen, a delicious Irish Apple Cake!


  1. So much to be grateful for! I love your cottage--so homey and sweet! Love that quote from Pres. Uchtdorf--one of my favorites!

    We've got Stake Conference this week, which I'm always grateful for!

    That casserole looks yummy--and I've got to hurry over and get the recipe for that scrumptious looking Irish Apple Cake!

    I always love coming to see you--you have become such a dear friend and a happy part of my day--thank-you! Much love sent your way!!!

  2. Hi, dear Marie! What a sweet way to start the day--counting one's blessings! And you are blessed with so much. I feel the same way--just so thankful for a good life. LOVE it is the greatest gift, isn't it? Hope you are having a very lovely there. We've had a TON of snow in the last 48 hours. Hubby has to shovel 3-x per day... Lots of hot drinks going...LOL! It's been quite a weekend just dealing with all the snow! Must thank you for the lovely comment you left at my photo blog... I just don't think I'll be selling my photos or doing prints any time soon. Too expensive a venture when there' so much great competition already. You'd be the only kind soul to buy, I think...LOL! ;o) This casserole looks so good. Tater tot... I do miss those sometimes, don't have them here. Or hash browns either--have to make own. I have a coffee cake in the oven now... Wish you could come over for tea! Happy Day to you, Todd and Jess. LOVE YOU HEAPS, dear friend :o) ((BIG HUGS))

  3. Thank you for the SMILES this morning. The blessings of our faith, family, friends, home, and health do mean so much. Casseroles were a money saving feature too when all of my family were home and I had to stretch those grocery dollars. Wintertime also seems to call for them as they are always warm and comforting. Hope your Sunday is a wonderful one.

  4. Hi Marie! A lovely post from you as always, but tell me please...what are tater tots? I can guess that it's some kind of frozen potato product, but what?! I think I remember you posting this recipe on your old J-land blog, I should have asked you then! Hope you're all well. xx

  5. I always say Marie theres not much one can do without Good Health.It's what I pray for before anything.Your cottage I absolutely adore.It's so pretty and I hope you are there for many years to come.Enjoyed readin your Sunday Six.Have a blessed Sunday.Take Care God Bless Kath xx

  6. i hope someday i can come visit you in your beautiful cottage!!! what a beauty. i too am grateful for everything you listed-we are so blessed!!!

  7. Your smiles always make me smile too. We two think so much alike. I love the picture of your cottage. I hope that all works out well and you will have that cottage to hang your heart in for a long time to come.
    I know we will like that casserole you posted today. It has all the things in it that we like. I will have to make it for us soon.

    I have been at church meetings since 9:00a.m. After our regular meetings we had lunch for our Laurel class and went over their personal progress with them. I think that all 5 of them will finish their requirements soon.

    Lynell is about the same as yesterday. Keep praying for I know you will.
    Have a great week. Hugs, Lura

  8. Marie this was a perfect post for me to read today - thank you. I love the picture of your cottage. It just looks so homey and comfortable. I'm curious about the size of it - how large? English cottages, just by the name sound cozy and small, but this one looks much larger than I envisioned! blessings, marlene


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