Tuesday 26 June 2012

The Simple Woman's Day book . . .

FOR TODAY, June 26th, 2012...

Outside My Window...

It's a beautiful day. The sun is shining gloriously. Perhaps we are on a trend??? I don't know for sure . . . but it would be nice if summer has finally arrived . . .

I am thinking...
Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us. ~Hebrews 12:1
Two days until my trip to Canada. I am trying not to be nervous about it all, but it is difficult. Why I let the thoughts and opinions of a few people do this to me, I don't know. I will probably never understand, but I am doing my best to move forward and just put one foot in front of the other and trusting in the promises of the Lord. I cannot control the actions of others . . . but I can control my own and my reactions to them. If I do the right thing, that is all that matters.

I am thankful for...
I am thankful for this heart of mine that is open and soft and receptive. It is a loving heart, a seeking heart . . . a learning heart.

From the kitchen...
Not a heck of a lot actually! I am going to really get rid today as well . . . no point in having things about that will go off whilst we are away.

I am wearing...

Blue M&S nightie. Slippers.

I am creating...

I have a few irons in the fire.

About half done. That will be shelved until we get back. This time I will finish an afghan. It will NOT end up in a box in the loft . . . gathering dust.

My third Christmas Card for this year. I think it has a soft feel to it. It's supposed to look like it is snowing. I hope that it does. It does to me at any rate! I thought it has been a while since I did a little girl, and she just popped out!

And another one for my Christmas cookbooklet that I am working on. These remind me of the lights we used to have on our tree when I was a girl, except that they were all sorts of colours . . . it was my father's job to untangle them each year and get them working. Oh, how he cursed that job. Inevitably one would be burnt out and so they would all stop working and he would have to test each one to find out which one it was!! Not his favourite chore I am thinking!!

I am going...
week, I am . . . . going to Canada!! Wahoo!
I am reading...

Call the Midwife, by Jennifer Worth
I really enjoyed the series by the BBC and thought I would like to read the book. Books are always a lot more detailed than films or television shows. I am really enjoying this book. It's fabulous and I am glad that I picked it up to read. It details the life of a young midwife in London's East End in the 1950's and is a real peek into the way of life which existed there during that time period . . . the hardship, the poverty, the sadness, the joy, etc. I highly recommend.

I am hoping...
am hoping that the next few weeks in my life are the best ever!

I am hearing...
Nothing new really. The keys are tapping. The birds are singing. The odd car drives by. The clock is ticking.
Mitzie and I just had a cuddle on the sofa. She likes her morning cuddle. I do to. No surprise there!

Around the house...

Source: 500px.com via Marie on Pinterest

When we get back after our holidays, I am really looking to simplify things. I got a new book recently entitled "Simple Country Wisdom, 501 old fashioned ideas to simplify your life" by Susan Waggoner. I want to apply this philosophy to my life and home. I have a tendancy to live "large." Too much of everything. There will be a great purge I am thinking. This is not an easy thing for a packrat to accomplish, but it can be done and it will be done!
One of my favourite things . . .

I love
the sight and smell of clean, freshly laundered sheets hanging on the clothes line . . . the way it snaps in the wind . . . I think back to my mother when I was a child, and who . . . no matter the time of year . . . would hang out the clean bedding to dry, every Friday. Fridays were bed changing days. My mother had an old wringer washer . . . and no clothes dryer. It was a job from beginning to end and in the winter her fingers would crack with chillblains from hanging the laundry out in the bitter cold, but she did it. At the end of the day she would bring it into the utility room and it would be frozen as stiff as a board. She would hang it up in the utility room, next to the big old furnace overnight. It smelled beautiful. The smell of line hung laundry always takes me back to that time . . .

Something new about me ...
was 8 years old and I was running away from home. I can't remember why . . . only that I was. I had an old skate box, which had a handle on the top. I packed it with a few things and I was leaving . . . I was going to sleep in the garage and sneak into the house for food at night. Oh, the mind of a child . . . the thought never occured to me that the door would be locked, or that my father would notice I was in the garage . . . I never followed through on it in any case. I cannot remember why, but I suspect my mother talked me out of it. Have you ever wanted to run away??? I have wanted to run away sometimes as an adult . . . but it's not something that you can really do is it? The faster and further you try to run . . . your problems only follow you, and running away never really solves anything does it? It only compounds the problem . . .

One of my guilty pleasures ...

Source: etsy.com via Marie on Pinterest

Day dreaming. It has ever been so. You may often find me sitting there doing nothing . . . eyes glazed over . . . I'm not really sitting there . . . in my mind I am off on an adventure of some sort. Oh there is no end to the places and adventures my mind has taken me on . . . it's quite marvelous actually!

Pet Peeves...
Cigarette butts and trash in the front garden. We have a long iron closure gate and it is lined with mesh, but somehow this stuff finds it's way in. I can understand the odd crisp bag or candy bar wrapper . . . the wind will carry them everywhere . . . but cigarette butts right next to our front door???? That defies understanding. How do they get there????? Where do they come from???? Littering drives me up the wall full stop! It really makes me angry sometimes when I see someone doing it, and I have to bite my tongue. It's so disrespectful . . . to the world, to the community . . . to others. It's a real act of selfishness.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Source: tumblr.com via Marie on Pinterest

“Love is the motivating principle by which the Lord leads us along the way towards becoming like Him, our perfect example. Our way of life, hour by hour, must be filled with the love of God and love for others.” ~Henry B Eyring

I just love the Presidency of my church. They are such wise and caring men and one could do a lot worse for themselves than to follow their counsel in all things. I ponder their words and thoughts regularly. They nourish me. They enlighten me and bring me deeper understanding of life and all that it entails. They uplift and carry me to places I never thought I could go. They are a guide and a protection against the evil one and all that he stands for.

As a closing thought I would like to leave you with this:

"The unexpected kindness
from an unexpected place,
A hand outstretched in friendship
a smile on someone's face,
A word of understanding
spoken in a time of trial
Are unexpected miracles that
make life more worthwhile"
~Helen Steiner Rice

And there you have it . . . my day book for this week. Don't forget to hop on over to the Simple Woman to check out the other day book entries! (Or better yet, do a simple day book entry yourself! It's not that hard and I am betting you would enjoy it!

Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . Simple Summer Berry and Lemon Tartlets!

I wish for you a wonderful day!!

Psst . . . have a look at Recipes From The Big Blue Binder. I think it's shaping up rather nicely.

Sunday 24 June 2012

A Sunday melange of thoughts . . .

Once upon a time . . . there was a feeble old woman, whose husband had died and left her all alone, and so . . . she went to live with her son and is wife and their own little daughter.

Every day the old woman's sight dimmed and her hearing grew worse. Sometimes at dinner her hands trembled so badly that the peas rolled off her spoon or her soup ran from her cup. The son and his wife could not help but be annoyed at the way she spilled her meal all over the table, and one day . . . after she had knocked over a glass of milk . . . they told each other enough . . . was enough.

They set up a small table for the old woman in the corner next to the broom closet and made her eat her meals there. She sat all alone . . . looking with tear-filled eyes across the room at the others. Sometimes they spoke to her while they ate . . . but more often than not, it was only to scold her for dropping a bowl or a fork.

One evening just before dinner, the little girl was busy playing on the floor with her building blocks. Her father asked her what she was making.

"I'm building a small table for you and for mother," she smiled, "so you can eat by yourselves in the corner of the room, someday when I get big."

Her parents sat staring at her for some time and then suddenly they both began to cry. That night they led the old woman back to her place at the big table.

From then on she ate with the rest of the family . . . and her son and his wife never seemed to mind a bit when she spilled something every now and then.

~Adapted from a tale by the Brother's Grimm

Now that I am getting older, I can really relate to this story . . . but I hope that when I was a much younger woman I was never that lacking in compassion towards those who really needed it. In fact, I know that I was not . . . and if occasionally I might have been, I beg for forgiveness . . . This is a lesson we should learn when we are young . . . for the sake of the generation coming before us.

Well . . . I bottled it and I didn't get my nails done. After reading the problems that others had had with it, I was too afraid to have them done. Instead I will treat myself to a full manicure just a day or so before the wedding. Perhaps a French one. My nails will still look nice and I won't have ruined them.

I am very blessed to have the luxury of being able to do this . . . I know.

A few bits that I painted yesterday afternoon . . .

Some Christmas balls. For the Christmas Book I am putting together.

Gingerbread, pine branches and apples . . . again for the Christmas Book . . .

Snow men . . . you guessed it, for the Christmas Book! As you can tell, I am having a LOT of fun planning it and doing these little doodles for it. It's shaping up quite nicely. It will obviously be a bit larger than the other cookbooklets I have done, which reminds me . . .

The Summer picnic one is still available but will only be available for 3 more days, and then it will be gone . . . gone . . . gone . . .

With the warmer weather and the arrival shortly of "Summer" I have created a whole new Cookbooklet, entitled "The Great British Picnic." Filled with over 36 new recipes, including several types of flavoured mayonnaises, flavoured butters, beautiful sandwiches, delicious spreads and dips, a tasty assortment of salads, a variety of cool soups, refreshing beverages, picky bits, cakes and general scrumminess, all perfect for celebrating the summer season in a very British Picnic Way. (We are great picnickers over here!) There's something here for everyone!

Also included are "Top Tips for Picnic Success" and "Chic Ideas" for creating a "Very Stylish Moveable Feast!" Interspersed between all this scrumminess, there are witty quotes and my own delightful water colour illustrations! This newest cookbooklet is sure to please on many levels.

The price is £5, payment via paypal, and will be sent to you as a downloadable PDF.

Please allow 12 hours for delivery, due to time differences!

And I guess that's about all for today! I have, as always enjoyed my little visit with you. You always make me smile, you really do. I am going to miss you all ever so much whilst I am away. I am trying to set up a few surprises for you during that time. Finger's crossed all goes well.

“Being humble means recognizing that we are not on earth to see how important we can become, but to see how much difference we can make in the lives of others”
~Gordon B Hinckley

Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bread Pudding.

Have a great day everyone!!

Saturday 23 June 2012

Poetry Saturday . . . Beyond Our Asking

More than hearts can imagine
or minds comprehend,
God's bountiful gifts are ours without end.
We ask for a cupful when the vast sea is ours,
We pick a small rosebud from a garden of flowers,
We reach for a sunbeam but the sun still abides,
We draw one short breath but
there's air on all sides.

Whatever we ask for falls short of God's giving,
For His greatness exceeds every facet of living,
And always God's ready and eager and willing
To pour out His mercy, completely fulfilling
All of man's needs for peace, joy, and rest,
For God gives His children whatever is best.

Just give Him a chance to open His treasures,
And He'll fill your life with
unfathomable pleasures . . .
Pleasures that never grow worn out or faded
And leave us depleted, disillusioned, and jaded . . .
For God has a storehouse just filled to the brim
With all that man needs, if we'll only ask Him.
~Helen Steiner Rice

Another beautiful poem by America's first lady of inspirational word . . . Helen Steiner Rice. What an amazing talent she had to touch people's heart with her words!!

I am not so sure now I am going to go have my nails done . . . I'm a bit worried now after all I have heard about it. I don't want to ruin my nails . . . I just want them to look decent on the day.

When Todd and I first got married, I had quite long nails, but he didn't really like them that much and so I have kept them short ever since, and working with food like I did for so many years, long nails were not really hygenic. I just want them short, squared off and French manicured. I think that is the classiest look, although to be sure there are some really cute things out there and ways to do them . . .

I am far too old for cutsie. That is a much younger woman's game to be sure.

Good news . . . it's not raining today, although it's really cold??? Maybe it will warm up as the day goes along. Here's hoping!

Two weeks from today my daughter gets married . . . she and Tim are such a cute couple. It is hard to imagine my baby girl is now going to be someone's wife . . .

It seems like just yesterday she was my little girl. I remember how very excited I was when she was born and they put her into my arms. I already had Anthony and I loved him to pieces . . . but here was my very own little girl . . . and I felt complete. I had always wanted a little girl and now I had one. I can remember babysitting for the people across the road from our house when I was a teenager and they had a baby girl. I was very naughty and used to wake her up so I could play with her. Little boys are great fun . . . but little girls are so sweet. No matter how old she gets . . . she will always be my little girl.

But then again . . . your babies are always your babies, no matter how old or how big they get!!

I watched the second part in that series on the BBC, The Men Who Made Us Fat last night. (We had taped it.) What an eye opening series this is and as I watch it, I really start to feel quite angry at how we have been manipulated for the sake of corporate greed! It actually makes me feel sick when I think about it. Our health has been compromised so that these company's can become richer . . . and our Governments have allowed them to do it, because they make money off it too . . . One might say we are all responsible in a way, and I suppose we are. Nobody makes us eat any of it . . . but one can never underestimate the power of the advertising dollar, and the way society is manipulated by the media.

Mind you . . . I've never been a "supersize me" kind of gal . . . when I see those huge buckets of popcorn and those gallons of soda . . . I think to myself, how on earth could anyone get through them . . . and what's more why would you want to??? I like medium sizes myself, but when you think that today's medium is twice the size of yesterdays . . . well, the mind boggles. Slowly but surely these things have crept up and up. They say the way to boil a frog is to raise the temperature of his water . . . one slow degree at a time. The frog never realizes that it's being cooked, and before he does . . . it's too late. He's toast . . . despicable.

Well, enough of that . . . an inspiring thought for the day, ok?

"Happiness is not the absence of problems, but the ability to cope with them."
~author unknown

On offer today in The English Kitchen . . . Roasted Summer Berries with Honey Whipped Cream!

Friday 22 June 2012

I've a lot on my mind . . . or Friday Drivel . . .

Source: flickr.com via Ida on Pinterest

Despite the gloomy weather yesterday, Todd and I took ourselves off into town in the afternoon. We had some money to pay into the bank and a few other chores to attend to . . . and I wanted to play just a little bit.

We met a friend as we were walking to the bank, a friend we had not seen in a while and so we stopped to chat. He was incensed. Apparently just recently his 15 year old had brought a note home from the local high school saying that they were going to be finger printing all of the kids with this new tech finger print thing that would enable them to be able to purchase school lunches without any cash. I could quite rightly see why he was angry. He had called the school and gotten the run around and nobody had been able to answer his questions about it all. He has refused to let his son be fingerprinted and questioned the whole process. I am sure you have seen these fingerprint things around. If you have seen a little square thingie, filled with little boxes . . . that people can use to pay for things, then you have seen what I am talking about. I do not blame him for being angry and for refusing to capitulate! I wouldn't want my innocent 15 year old fingerprinted either! (Neither do I want to be fingerprinted myself!)

After that we went into BHS and had a drink and a bite to eat. I had a muffin and Todd had a doughnut. Now why is that so interesting??? It probably isn't, but I told you anyways! haha After that we went our separate ways for an hour, with the promise to meet up at a certain point at the end of that time. RESULT!! (Todd is an old grump to shop with, window shop with, any kind of shop with! I saw a pair of socks the other day that had Mr Grumpy written on them . . . and I was sorely tempted to purchase them for him, but that may have been a bit cheeky so I didn't . . . but I thought about it.)

You will never guess my luck. The Catherine Kidston shop was having a big sale! I had been in there the other day drooling over everything . . . and so I went in again for another drool, and a lot of things had been really and truly marked down. I could not believe my luck! I got myself a cute little wash bag to take with me on holidays, and a few lovely little gifts that will be perfect as shower prizes. Some really sweet little card notelets, a needle keep in the form of an owl, a set of pencils, some nice stationary and a sweet little retractable measuring tape! All light, and all less than £5 a piece, some quite substantially less . . . and all quite different than anything that anyone from the small town I come from would be able to get their hands on. I also got a change purse for myself and some nice tea towels, I couldn't resist. There was also the sweetest little clothespin bag/holder . . . but I did resist that as I already have a perfectly usuable plastic one I got at Lakeland several years ago . . . but I did look at it with a yearning in my heart. You can't always have everything you want though . . . and so I just looked.

We had a surprise visit from the Missionaries last evening, which was nice. I always like it when they drop by to share a special thought with us and last night was no different. We did so enjoy. They always bring such a special spirit with them and Mitzie just loves having someone new in the house to mither!

I am off to the Doctors this morning for a follow up to all the goings on at the A&E from last Saturday, and to see if further tests are needed etc. Then I have my Step Program right after that. (I hope that I am not late, you know how Dr's offices can be!) Then I am blissfully free for the rest of the day. (Here's hoping!) I hope I am down again weight wise . . . I was down 2 kilos last week. Oh, and Todd informed me yesterday that he's lost a stone again. He has such a problem keeping weight on. He gains and feels really good that he has . . . but then it suddenly disappears again! I only wish I had that problem!!

I am going to have a manicure tomorrow. I have never ever had one in my life, but I thought since I am going to be the Mother of the Bride shortly, it would be nice to get my hands in shape. I am thinking of having acrylic nails . . . nothing drastically long or outrageous!! Just a simple square ended French Manicure look. It will be an early Birthday treat for me.

Oh . . . and while I am on a beauty kick . . . have you seen the latest craze??? It's called HD Eyebrows! A few weeks back Todd and I were on the bus and this young girl came on board and she had the wierdest eyebrows I have ever seen. They looked like butterfly wings over top of her eyes . . . black ones! UGH! Horrible and so outrageously obviously looking out of place on her face! How can anyone think that looks good???? Maybe I am just not "with it" but . . . to me that is not attractive at all! You can find all sorts of videos on YouTube showing you how to do them . . . seriously.

Source: style.com via Emily on Pinterest

I suppose though . . . that when I was a much younger woman I had things that I did that I thought were attractive as well . . .

It looks to be another truly rainy day today as well . . . we certainly have made up for the dry winter we had. It reminds me of the first year I lived over here when it rained . . . EVERY . . . SINGLE . . . DAY! Seriously. I hope we don't have a run of that again!!!

Mind you . . . our garden is looking particularly lovely at the moment . . . but there are a LOT of slugs, which are annoying to say the least! They are stripping a lot of things faster than we can keep up with them! We can forget about getting any vegetables for the most part . . . they have eaten our peas and our beans . . . and the courgettes and butternut squashes, and they have done it seemingly overnight! They are also enjoying munching on our pansies. grrr . . .

Oh, something else I discovered this week. Air freshener that squirts itself, automatically! I had never seen or heard of it before but our friend Doreen has one. We were visiting her the other night and this thing was on the coffee table and it spit out and I jumped almost as high as the ceiling it startled me so! It smelled very nice though. She has gotten herself a new dog. He is a pug named Charlie. I think he is about 9 years old. He has no teeth, but he is cute and he is company. My mother's Stepmother had a pug, named Timmy. I used to like taking it for walks when we stayed at her place.

Well, I am probably just about putting you all to sleep now, so I will end this drivel . . . I'll leave you with a special thought for the day and be back tomorrow. I shall miss these little chats we have each morning when I am away . . .

“If we constantly focus on the stones in our mortal path, we will almost surely miss the beautiful flower or cool stream provided by a loving Father who outlined our journey.”
~Jeffrey R Holland

Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . Souvlaki In Pita.

Thursday 21 June 2012

Thursday morning Prattle on the first day of summer . . .

It's an absolutely 'orrible day out there today! It's just chucking it down! So much for sunny days. They sure don't last very long it seems! Nevermind . . . it might be back to sun again tomorrow. We'll just have to keep our fingers crossed. I think that it was the late Bob Hope that said . . . "Don't like the weather in England??? Wait five minutes!"

We'd like to bid this moment stay . . .
with meadows green and gardens gay.
Roses bloom at sill and door.
Midsummer day is here once more.
The beauty of the Spring has fled
And Autumn's glory lies ahead.
How lovely is this golden time . . .
When the year is at it's prime!

And here it is . . . the first official day of summer. Todd was trying to trim the hedge in the back yesterday . . . but oh boy, with all the rain we have had it's gone past his being able to cope with it. He is 73 . . . and that back garden has to be at least 200 feet long, and the hedge goes down both sides and across the back. I don't want him doing it. We're going to call in some professionals to help cope with it. It's just beyond coping with for us, with the limited equipment we have to work with. We can't really afford it, but we're going to have to!

My cousin's husband, Dave, sent me some photos of Eileen and Tim's wedding shower which was put on for them by their church last night. They are such a cute little couple. I can't believe that I will be home in just a week now!

Not the best photo of Eileen, but it will have to do. She looks happy at any rate! We are getting excited now, to say the least. I am so glad that I changed my mind about going, fat or not! They'll just have to take me as I am! At least I am working on getting it down. Last Friday I was down almost 2 kilos again, so that makes altogether 8 kilos, which is good!

The hardest part will be leaving "this" behind. I am so going to miss her. Mitzie is just such a "presence" in our lives! She will be staying with a gal from our church, who has two sons, so she'll have lots of attention given to her and lots of walks and play. I just hope that she doesn't think we have abandoned her. We have never left her for more than a few hours before (the most is about 8 when we've gone to the Temple). Hopefully she will be far too distracted to notice we are gone. Oh, I am sure she will notice . . . but I hope it's not too hard on her.

I expect that by the time we get back we will have frogs in our pond again. The Tadpoles are getting quite large now and looking decidedly more "froggy." I think that is such an amazing process! It's like magic happening right before your eyes . . . they start off so tiny and like little squiggles . . . and then before you know it . . . they are frogs!

It reminds me of my son Bruce one spring when he was about four years old. We had just moved out to a house in the country . . . and he came home with a stick filled with frog spawn he had found in the ditch across the road! "Look at the monster I found!" He was so excited. He thought it was a monstor with hundreds of eyes!

And now, here he is a full grown "man," and in the Armed Forces. However did that happen. This is a picture he posted on his facebook page, to make all his friends jealous. Those are some Toronto Raptors Cheerleaders. It is hard sometimes to see your babies as being all grown up . . . it seems to happen overnight . . . just like tadpoles turning into frogs . . .

It doesn't seem like the years are going past very quickly when they are happening, but before you know it . . . they are gone, and you are left thinking, however has the time passed by like that . . . it seems like only yesterday they were babies . . . and then they are grown. *blink*

(Turn the music off below to listen to this.) I do so love me some Kenny Chesney. This is one of my favourite songs of his, called "Don't Blink."

How come you have to get old to realize this is what happens??? All you young people out there now, grab and squeeze all the joy you can out of every minute!! Life is tooooo short to waste a precious drop of any of it! Close your eyes and breathe in every single moment. Feel all of your "nows" to the hilt! Find the joy in every day. Don't waste your today's waiting for your tomorrows. Tomorrow never comes . . .

While you've got the musica off down below . . . you might as well listen to this. It's a real toe tapper! I love this one too. I wish I could jump on a trampoline like that! I could do it . . . I know, but I'd probably wet myself trying! (Yes, I did just say that!) hahaha

Ahhh . . . age, you cruel animal . . . I thought I could run faster than you and you'd never catch up with me . . . but, alas . . . you did!

While I am on a roll, I want to share this fabulous video with you. It's all about missionaries coming home and it always makes my heart swell with . . . joy, love and admiration for the young people in my church who give up two years of their lives, to move away from their families and life to serve the Lord. This is a HUGE sacrifice that they make, at a time in their lives when most young people are out there having a great old time, partying and making fools of themselves. These young people give up that time to serve. It always breaks my heart when I hear about someone being cruel to them, and trust me . . . there are cruel people out there that do dastardly things to them. They get spit on and have all sorts of abuse hurtled at them, and I know that some moments of their missions are very difficult indeed, but if you asked any one of them afterwards was it worth it. 99% of them would say absolutely!

You may not want to listen to their message, but . . . hey . . . kindness doesn't cost a thing!

That missionary is somebody's baby girl or baby boy . . . love them . . . be kind. Be as respectful of them as you would hope that other's would be to your baby girl or baby boy. Thankfully they are carried aloft in the prayers of church members throughout the world and by their families . . . but a little bit of kindness . . . a smile and a cheery hello on an otherwise 'orrible day, that goes a long, long way . . .

I guess I have prattled on long enough this morning! So, I'll leave you with a happy thought and be on my way!!

"When someone does a kindness,
It always seems to me
That's the way God up in heaven
Would like us all to be."
~Helen Steiner Rice

"Teach me thy way, O Lord, that I may walk in thy truth; unite my heart to fear thy name."
~Psalm 86:11

Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . a delicious Barbequed Kung Pao Chicken.