Sunday 20 March 2011

Marie's Sunday Six

Happy Sabbath Day everyone and welcome to my Sunday Smiles post. I love sitting here with you on Sunday mornings and focusing on all the good in my life. It's an inspiring thing for me . . . it would be too easy for any of us to focus on all the frustrations and stumbling stones . . . much better that we focus on the positive don't you think? That's what I try to do each day and it's nice to have a little round up of some of them on Sundays. Puts me in a good frame of mind for church, it does. Each day of my life is filled with little joys and blessings . . . some days I really have to think hard to find them . . . and other days they just tumble all over each other and it's hard to focus on just one or two! Such is life!

One thing that made me majorly smile this week was getting out to take a long walk down the old railway path here in Blacon with Todd and Mitzie. It was not all that long ago that such a thing would be inconceivable! I could barely manage a walk from the sofa into the kitchen! My knee is doing much, much better and I will be starting physio therapy for it this week. Praise God and the wonders of medicine!! We were able to go for quite a long ways before we had to turn back and make our way back to the car. Mitzie got a good run out of it. (That is her down in the corner of the photo). It was so nice to see her running and enjoying herself off the lead. At first I was really nervous as I had not experienced her off the lead like that ever. But she was a really good girl and kept us within her eyeshot at all times and came back every time we called! The sides of the path were lined with flowering forsythia and other spring blossoms and there were plenty of early nettles for foraging. (Nettle soup and omelets!) It was good to get out and to stretch and to get some exercise! Smiles all around!

Of course our Mitzie makes me smile all the time. She is such a joy to both of us. We are so very proud of her. I took this photo in the car afterwards. Todd had run into the shops to pick something up and we were just chillin' together! She always frets a bit when one of us goes off without the other, it's kind of funny. Yesterday afternoon, we opened the gate between the patio and the main garden and she had free run of it. She loved it. It was such a gorgeous day yesterday, we even had the back door open for most of the day. An early fly must have gotten in because it was driving her batty last night. I don't think she can remember them from last year . . . she was so young. Last night she couldn't settle. She was off the couch, on the couch, moving around the room and watching it constantly. You could tell she did not like it being in here. Funny baby . . . Mitzie is one of the biggest smile makers in my life . . . along with Todd of course!

Warmer sunnier days and spring blooms make me smile. It is so nice to see after the cold winter we have had. It puts an extra boost into your step and a song into your heart. Oh, I know . . . we will have more rainy days and days that are not so mild. After all it is early days yet, and not officially spring until tomorrow, but still . . . they make me smile. It is hard not to smile when the sun is shining isn't it?

Earlier this week we had somewhat of a sick computer. That did not make me smile. Being able to sort it out ourselves did though! We have two computers, this laptop that I use most of the time and a desk top that we have our printer hooked up to and that I use to run my artwork/rubberstamps etc. through. Earlier this week, we got up one morning to find that the desk top had crashed sometime during the night and set itself back to the factory settings. That meant that we had lost everything saved on it. All my scanned artwork, all of my sketches, all of my rubber stamp work, all our family pictures. Most annoying and it did not make us very happy campers. I still need to scan all of my artwork back in, which will take a long time for sure. Anyways, after we got it sorted somewhat our printer would not work. I tried to sit down and begin the work of scanning everything again, and it would not co-operate. Todd tried removing the program from the computer and re-installing it . . . still no joy. We even tried installing it on the laptop. It still kept giving us the same message, that it was not connected. We ended up having to take it back to where we bought it, because we had only had it a couple of months and obviously it was not working properly. The smile came in when we were able to replace it with a better, more expensive and super charged printer! The ink is a lot more expensive, but . . . you should see the quality of the prints it produces! They are fantastic! That really makes me smile! This was the silver lining!

Red Nose Day always makes me smile. Friday was red nose day. Red Nose Day is a day like no other when the whole country gets together to do something funny for money and change countless lives in the process. People all over the country spend the weeks and months running up to it doing whatever they can in big and small ways to help raise money for this challenge. It all culminates on one night at the end, with some cracking TV on the BBC where some of the biggest names in comedy and entertainment volunteer their time and talents to put on a great variety show! Of course the fun stuff is interepersed with film of the plight of the peoples that need our help. I was not going to watch this year as Todd and I don't have a lot of money to spare these days, but bingo, on Friday morning I sold one of my prints, so that meant we had something extra to give! Result! That made me smile! I could watch the show and laugh along with the entertaining bits, and cry along with the sad bits, and know that I was doing something to make a difference, however small it might be! Last I heard they had raised the most money ever in the history of the event, over £73 million! That is amazing. People in our country are having to live through some of the worst economic times ever and that they could dig so deep and still manage to help others in that huge way is amazing to me, and so very inspiring! I love that about the British! We have big hearts! That makes me smile!

Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

I found this quote earlier this week and it made me smile. I love butterflies and always have done so . . . how did Nathaniel Hawthorne get to be so smart??? I wish I could come up with profound thoughts and quotes like this, but alas . . . I am left to find my inspiration in the words of others. I am glad that I am a person that can sit quietly waiting for happiness to alight upon me! That makes me smile! Happiness is something that comes upon you when you least expect it! Like the smile of a stranger on a horrible day, or that small ray of sunshine that peeks through the cracks in an otherwise dark and cloudy sky. It is fleeting at best . . . but it is there all the same. Joy, now that is something quite different, and it lasts forever.

So there you have it my smile makers for this week. I hope that in some way you were able to smile a bit as you read through them, and that they may have inspired you to remember some of your own smiles!!!

Here's a nice Sunday lunch that is quick and easy and quite, quite delicious! I love how the carrots and shallots get caramelized and stick. Their natural sweetness shines through and they are so very tasty! If you follow the directions carefully you will be rewarded with a deliciously moist roast pork, with some mighty tasty vegetables!

*Roast Pork Loin with Carrots and Shallots*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

A juicy pork loin served up with carrots and shallots that caramelize along side of the pork while it is roasting, and a delicious pan sauce to spoon over top.

2 pounds of carrots, peeled and halved lengthwise, if large
(Otherwise leave them whole)
1/2 pound of shallots, peeled and halved, if large
2 TBS fresh thyme leaves
2 TBS olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pound pork loin roast, boneless
3/4 cup or white wine (or apple juice)
2 TBS plain flour
1 cup of water
2 TBS grainy Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 230*C/450*F/ gas mark 7. Toss the carrots, shallots, and thyme leaves with 1 TBS of oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Season with some salt and pepper. Roast in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes.

Season the pork loin with some salt and pepper all over. Heat the remaining TBS of il in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pork and brown on all sides, turning occasionally, until golden brown. This will take 10 to 12 minutes. Remove to a plate, reserving skillet juices.

Place the pork loin in the centre of the vegetables on the baking tray, pushing the vegetables to one side around it. Roast, turning the vegetables occasionally, until the pork is done, 30 to 40 minutes. The juices should run clear when the meat is pierced in the thickest part. Loosely tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.

Pour off most of the fat from the skillet. Add the wine (or juice) and deglaze over medium high heat, scraping up any brown bits, until syrupy. (4 to 5 minutes) Whisk in the flour and cook for about half a minute. Gradually whisk in the water and remaining TBS of Thyme leaves. Bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and whisk in the mustard. Taste and season as required with salt and pepper.

Cut the roast into slices and serve with the vegetables. Pass the pan sauce. Delicious!

Over in The English Kitchen today, Vanilla Poached Plums. Simply wonderful and a delicious way to get one of your five a day!


  1. I always smile when I read of all your smiles !! we are so blessed to have such happy thoughts.
    wishing you a wonderful Sunday and a safe journey.
    Love Sybil x

  2. I love the photo of Mitzie smiling. I bet she was thrilled to have a good long run with her favorite people. :) glad your knee is feeling better, Marie. Happy Sunday!

  3. I'm smiling right along with you today. I hope your Sunday is a wonderful one!

  4. It was so nice to read this this morning. Well actually it is the middle of the night and I was awakened with my hacking cough that prevents me from lying down sometimes. I am so happy that your knee is better. Knee problems really interfere with life on so many levels. Mine are better now too, we have cause to celebrate!

    Your puppy is growing up fast. She seems to be such a sweetheart and the love you both have for her is apparent. So fun that you could all go out walking and enjoying the nice weather. We are heading into rain for the next many days! Ugh! Thanks for reminding me it is almost spring.

  5. Marie it's an answered prayer that you are able to take a walk like that! I recently had to replace my laptop and my printer both. :( My old computer is still limping along but it could quit today or work another 10 years - no predicting. I moved it to my sewing room where it won't get a lot of use but will be convenient to read e-mails when I'm stitching. Maybe it will last longer that way. But like you I love my new printer. It's so much better than the one that died. While I would rather not have had to spend that money I'm sure glad I have this! blessings, marlene

  6. What a wonderful way to end a perfect day, reading your Sunday Six.

    Thank you, your writing is the cherry on my cake.

    Mmmm just realised, didn't have any birthday



  7. You always make me smile, but my biggest smile comes from learning that you can walk without so much pain now. I am glad that the cortisone shot gave you some relief.

    what a pretty lane you have to walk on with Todd and Miss Mitzie. I am glad that flowers are blooming there now and weather allows you to be out and walking.

    I have never heard of red nose day but it sounds like a great idea. The sure raised a lot of money...WOW

    I must rush and get dinner cooking.
    I'm sending love, Lura

  8. Marie -- your sweetness comes through your blog and that certainly makes me smile. So glad that your knee is feeling better. That Mitzie is a real sweetie.

  9. great sunday smiles!! mitzie is such a sweetie. we haven't tried to let zac off his leash(other than of course at home and in our backyard). i wonder what he'd do!

    our sunday was a long 10 hour drive from south texas to north texas(back home!). the funeral for my aunt was beautiful. i'm still so sad as i will miss her so much but i know she is finally happy. she endured so much suffering at the end:( bone cancer is a painful thing. . .and everything you can imagine going wrong for her, did. poor thing:( but knowing she is in a wonderful place finally free from it all brings such comfort. so grateful for the gospel.

  10. great smile makers and honey, can i come to dinner??


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