Sunday 15 August 2010

Marie's Sunday Six

Welcome to my weekly smile makers post! Boy, have I had a lot to smile about this week! Some weeks are just like that. It seems that these past seven days have been filled to overbursting with goodness! My cup really truly does runneth over!

Of course one of the biggest smile makers I had this week was my Birthday and turning 55! I am grateful to have reached this milestone. There are a lot of people that never do! My grandfather on my father's side of the family passed away when he was 54. Turning 55 was a very good thing to me. I was always afraid of the age 54 . . . almost like it was jinxed . . . but here I am now, aged 55 and I have a pretty wonderful life, chock full of blessings from sun up to sun down and everywhere in between. That can't be bad!!

Being able to pray and knowing that they are always answered makes me smile. We may not always get the answer we wanted to get, but we always get an answer. I am so grateful for this knowledge. Knowing that I am important to my Heavenly Father and that He loves and listens to me is one of the biggest smile makers of all!

All the lovely Birthday Cards, messages and greetings that I got his week surely made me smile, and in a very big way! I am ever so grateful for each and every one of them. I am so thankful for the love that my friends and family show me every day of my life, and not just on days like Birthdays . . . but every day. I am especially grateful for all the extra special blessings that each of them gave me on my special day. I am thankful for each of them. Lura even created a special Birthday post just for me. If you would like to see it you can find it here. Lura, you are such a dear friend to me. You always make me smile, as do all of my friends both in real time and invisible. You know who you are and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Days out with my Todd make me smile. We had a lovely day out to Erddig in Wales earlier this week. What a lovely time we had. I took some lovely pictures, some 140 of them and guess what? I lost them all . . . I can't believe it! I had some lovely ones of Todd, and even of myself, amidst the splendor of the gardens and I completely lost them! I only have one that survived my stupidity, and that is of some grapes on a wall . . . nevermind, we will just have to go again, and that makes me smile even more. It was such a lovely place I don't mind going again!

Here are the two biggest smile makers in my week gone by. My sweet husband Todd and this lovely little life force called Mitzie. It is so good to be loved and to love. He may not be perfect and we may get on each other's pips from time to time but we are perfect for each other. It was worth waiting a lifetime to find him and of course . . . this little dear . . .

has been delighting me and making me smile ever since she arrived. I am completely besotted and mesmerized by her every move. I can't take my eyes off of her. She is totally and utterly wonderful. My whole life I have wanted to have a puppy to love and adore, and she is a dream come true. There is no way any animal, puppy or otherwise could ever take Jess's place of course . . . but I have a heart that is huge enough to create a space inside for a thousand Jess's and right now Mitzie holds a large corner of it! She has settled in very well and seems right at home with us. We just adore her!

Doctors are not always right. In fact sometimes they are completely wrong in their diagnosis. I was so blessed this week and happy to find out that I do not have Paget's Disease after all!! I have nothing more than a bad back which is causing me all of my troubles and pains. I never thought having a bad back would make me smile, but this week it did! There was no sign of Paget's in my scan at all. This was a miracle to me, a real answer to prayer and it made me smile in a very big way!

Of course I have had many, many, many smiles this week . . . both large and small and everything in between. I am so grateful to have a heart that is able to count my blessings each and every day and I am grateful to be able to share them with you!

My Todd is a meat and potatoes man full stop. He especially loves pork chops. Pork chops can be difficult to cook really. It is hard to get them right. They, more often than not, can end up very dry and tasteless. They always turn out fabulously tasty with this next recipe. I have had it, and been using it for nigh on to 30 years or so now. (My but that sounds like a long time! It is hard to believe that I am old enough to have been using a recipe for that long, but I clearly am!) They are always tender, moist and very flavourful! Another winner from my big blue binder . . .

*Barbequed Pork Chops*
Serves 6
Printable Recipe

This recipe is is another one from my big blue binder, has long been a favourite way of serving pork chops in my home. Dating back to the 1970’s, it makes useof a dry Italian salad dressing that you can get in Canada. I can’t get it over here, and so I make do with a homemade version of it that I make myself. It gives the sauce a deliciously spicy tang. We like to have it with baked potatoes or rice. I think you’ll find this a real winner. I know we do!

1 tin of Campbell's Condensed Tomato soup, undiluted (over here in the UK, Batchelors)
2 TBS soft light brown sugar, packed
2 TBS white vinegar
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp instance minced onion, or onion powder
1 tsp dried Italian Salad Dressing mix (see below)
1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
2 TBS vegetable shortening
6 pork chops, 1 inch thick

Melt theshortening over medium high heat in a large skillet and brown the pork chops well on both sides. (Nowadays I am inclined to skip using the shortening and just spray the pan, non stick of course, with cooking spray instead) Drain well. Combine the remaining ingredients in a measuring jug and pour evenly over the chops in the pan. Reduce the heat to medium low and cover. Simmer for an hour until fork tender. You may also bake them in an oven in a covered casserole dish for the same amount of time at a medium temperature, 180&C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Remove to a hot platter and spoon the sauce over top to serve.

*Italian Dressing Seasoning Dry Mix*

Makes 8 Tablespoons

This is a delicious all purpose dry seasoning mix that is good in spaghetti sauces, soups, stews, pasta salads or sprinkled on ripe sliced cucumbers and tomatoes. It also makes a darn good salad dressing and all purpose marinade. Chicken breasts marinated in this and then grilled on the barbeque ar delicious!

1 1/2 tsp of garlic powder
1 TBS onion powder
2 TBS dry oregano, crumbled
1 TBS dry parsley, crumbled
1 TBS caster sugar
1 1/2 TBS salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dry basil leaves, crumbled
1/4 tsp dry thyme leaves, crumbled
1 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp dried chili flakes

Mix all the ingredients together and store in an airtight container. If you want to make a salad dressing with it, combine 2 TBS of the mix in a jar, together with 1/4 cup of vinegar, 2 TBS water and 1/2 to 2/3 cup of salad oil. Shake well before using.

Over on The English Kitchen today, some delicious Date and Lemon Scones!


  1. I am so pleased to hear that news from the doctor Marie. You deserve to have so much to smile about - since you bring so much to so many! Love Lucie x

  2. You certainly did have lots of SMILES this week and I know there are many more to come especially with the new pup around. The doctors report is pleasant news for sure. A bad back is something many of us deal with, but like everything in life we get on and still make do. I hope your Sunday is a wonderful one!

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  4. Marie, it makes me smile that you had such a wonderful smiley week. Honestly, I can feel you happiness through cyberspace. I am so happy about your fun birthday,your love for the Lord and your sweet little Mitzie and your lack of Paget's Disease. Life is good, God is good. You do have a balanced life, probably more so than most people. The best part is your sweet, grateful heart!

  5. I could stare at those puppy-pics for hours! I think her personality shines through - ooh she's looking for mischief, and don't we just love them for it? Is she photogenic or what!

  6. so happy your test results were negative!!! great great news!!! sounds like an awesome week:)

  7. You made me smile today. I always love the pictures, the reflective words and of course your recipes. I remember when I turned 54 it was in the year 2000. I had for years been counting how many years it would be before the 2nd coming came. Of course the year 2000 seemed to be the goal. Now here we are in 2010. You always seem to make me want to slow life down just and touch and smile more at the little things we do and see.
    Hugs and love to you! LeAnn

  8. Hi Marie
    That is great news that you don't have Paget's disease. I always enjoy your smile makers because they remind me to be thankful.
    Happy birthday!
    Hugs, Rhondi

  9. Congratulations on the great news from your doctor! What a weight lifted from your shoulders. I'm sorry that your back is bad, but maybe keeping up with Mitzie will help you strengthen those back muscles.

  10. Hello Dear Marie,
    What lovely smiles you have to share with us today. I am smiling just reading them. I am so happy that you and Todd have your new baby. Mitzie is so cute. No wonder you are besotted by her....(I don't really know what besotted is but I have a pretty good idea.)I know that she will continue to bring you love and joy....and you two surely deserve that after all you have been through.

    I am glad that so many remembered your birthday with best wishes. I am glad that you liked the birthday post I made you. You are very special to me.... like a sister. How I wish we lived close to each other.

    I am sorry that you lost all of your pictures. That is awful. How did it happen?

    I will be off to meet Ellie in a couple of days. I am so thankful for this new baby in our family. John will stay home because after being away from the temple while we were in Wyoming he thinks he should not miss again...I will fly to Utah by myself. He will join me for Justin's missionary fairwell.

    Well dear, it is late. I will say goodnight. You will probably be getting up soon so have a great day with your Todd and Mitzie.
    Hug, Lura

  11. The doctor's report must have given you a big smile indeed. And I've so enjoyed reading about Mitzi and seeing the pictures you've posted. She makes me smile.


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