Saturday 30 November 2013

Saturday Stories

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 Saturday . . . the end of the week. Most people's first of a two day off weekend. Time to relax and do not a lot if anything at all. Time to have a bit of a lie in, extra kip, an indulgent breakfast, and to catch up on all of the news of the previous week.  I think a little good news helps to cheer anyone's day!

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This is a story that I have been meaning to tell you about for several weeks now.  "Fear, Faith and Miracles for 10 Sister Missionaries Trapped in the Philippines.

"The water was rising fast.  In the darkness of early morning, Amanda Smith moved away from the window to shield her face from the slashing rain. She had shut it just moments before to ward off the raging storm whipping through the palm trees outside.  But now the wind had ripped it open, and the wooden shutters were slamming violently against the wall again and again. Sister Smith, an LDS missionary from Elk Ridge, Utah, couldn’t see anything outside, but she could smell the sea, which seemed to be getting closer and closer. They had to get out of here."

Prepare to be inspired as you read the rest of the story here.   It truly is an amazing story.

What would you do if a "decrepid looking homeless bum" showed up at church tomorrow morning and sat down in the front row?  A congregation in Utah got to experience that for real when their Bishop engaged the help of a make-up artist to help make him up to look like a homeless man.  He showed up on Sunday morning and made his way to the front row of the chapel.

“As a bishop I try to always be as giving as I can, and I was surprised at my own inability to have compassion,” Bishop Musselman said in an interview with the Deseret News. “I thought about some ways I could somehow convey the importance of not being critical … and sometimes the best way to do that is through experiences that go beyond just a talk in church. And so I just laid awake many nights just thinking about what I could do, and then this kinda popped into my brain.”

You can read the rest of this fascinating story here.   I, for one, hope that I would be compassionate were this to happen in our own ward, but you never know do you?  And yet, as I say that, I think of the times I have grumbled inwardly when someone with really noisy and active children sits next to me . . . I need to kick my own arse.   Makes me feel ashamed.

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 There is a very touching story about a five year old's reflections on life and death that you can read here.  Out of the mouths of babes and all that.   It will make your heart tweak.

Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.
~Khalil Gibran

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Have you ever wondered what life would be like if you chose to give away or sell everything you have in an effort and bid to live more simply?  I found this blog about a couple who actually did that.  Called Rowdy Kittens, it's inspiring and amazing.  I found myself thinking about all the stuff I hang on to, but could live without.  I am a real pack rat.   Intellectually I know that there is a whole lot of stuff that I could and should get rid of . . . but the minute I try and start to look at it, I begin to rationalize all the reasons I should keep it.   Am I alone in this?  There is a part of me that would love to be able to do this . . .

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Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest. 
~Mark Twain 

One of my favourite all time writers has to be Mark Twain.   His books are filled with wisdom and I've never found a quote from him that I didn't immediately fall in love with.  (I adore quotes!)  I found a fabulous article which outlines Twain's top 9 tips for living a good life.    It's a jolly good read and filled with some incredible insights about people and living.

I was kind of dismayed this year to see many shops in the UK adopting the "Black Friday" idea from America and it was amazing to see how many shops were offering "Black Friday" discounts, etc. yesterday.  Surely Thanksgiving should have been celebrated first?   Is it just me, or does this just seem totally wrong????  It doesn't make sense to me  . . . 

I did get my lesson finished pretty much yesterday.  I banned myself from the computer for most of the day so that I could accomplish this.   Except for a few little tweaks it is all done.  Whew!  I even managed to create 36 handouts to give to the ladies that they can hang on their Christmas Trees this year as a reminder of the main point of the lesson.  I hope it goes down well.

I am also almost finished my English Kitchen newsletter for December.   I am hoping to have it completely done by tomorrow.  There is no rest for the wicked, and with that thought I shall leave you with an inspiring thought for today . . .

We are all inventors,
each sailing out on a voyage of discovery,
guided each by a private chart,
of which there is no duplicate.
The world is all gates, all opportunities.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson  

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Cooking in The English Kitchen today, a simple dessert/brunch dish.   Chocolate Sauced Banana Brioche Buns.   Delish!

Have a great Saturday!!

Friday 29 November 2013

Friday Finds

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 A few of the wow moments, or things I discover each week that tickle my fancy.  I hope that they may inspire or tickle yours too!

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I found these really sweet fabric covered jars that make beautiful votives.  Would they not be just darling done with Christmas fabrics for the holidays?   You can find a great tutorial here on Fellow Fellow.  So simple and you know how lazy I am!

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Crochet edged fleece blankets on The Little Yellow House.  So simple to do.   Why didn't I think of that!   Such a great idea.  You can get some really nice fleece.

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A page just filled to overflowing with gorgeous printable images.   I love working with paper.  It's in a foreign language, but I am sure you can figure out what to do easily.  Find them here.

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Recipes for leftover turkey from Better Homes and Gardens.   You know they have to be good.  I have Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks that I collected back in the 1970's that I still use.  Enduring classics!

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The most adorable Crochet doll patterns.  I just fell in love with this toadstool one.   I love red and white toadstools as you know.   Check them out here.  

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I've been fighting a cold all week.   Just keeping it at bay, but it's there just waiting to jump out and grab me.   I don't want to have a cold right now.   I have an important lesson to teach in Relief Society on Sunday morning and I have a Relief Society Christmas Party that I am in charge of on Tuesday next.   I am really hoping and praying that I can hold it off until at least after that.  I have my fingers crossed!  At least I have the lesson all prepared now and am happy with it.  I worked really hard on it yesterday and got it done.  I even managed to make a bunch of little bookmarks with a quote from the lesson printed onto them to hand out at the end.   I also have a box of chocolates to share. 

A thought to carry with you through today  . . .

"Memory is the best of all gardens. 

Therein, winter and summer, 
the seeds of their past lie dormant, 
ready to spring into instant bloom at any 
moment the mind wishes to bring them to life."
~ Hal Boyle

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I'm baking a Potato and Parsnip Gratin in my new Halogen oven over in The English Kitchen today.   Deliciously different! 

Have a wonderful Friday!

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Thursday morning chit chat . . .

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 Its hard to believe that we are already only a few days away from the month of December . . . where has the year flown?  It seems only a few days ago we were in January and here we are . . .  and the year is almost spent.  Is it just me or does time seem to be speeding up?

My mother had the snow tires put on her car last week.   That is not something we even have an option for over here in the UK, although I remember having to do it in past days.  Mom does not drive anymore, but my sister does and as they gave up their car when they moved back East, mom's car comes in very handy.  My mother has always looked after her cars very well and although her car is 12 years old now, it's really quite like a new car as it has hardly been driven and not very far unless you count the year Todd and I went over and we all went to New Brunswick and back.

In talking to my sister yesterday we were trying to figure out an economical way they could make it not so cold down in the basement of my mom's house, which is where they sleep and of course is where the family room and their computers and big television is.  There is electric heat throughout the house, but I don't think it's as effective as another type of heat might be.   She says a lot of cold air comes in around the windows.  We were discussing those 3M kits you used to be able to get that had clear plastic in them which you stick around the windows with double backed tape and then used a hair dryer to tighten and create a vaccum with.    In the old days people would rake all the leaves around to the base of the house and then when it snowed, shovel and layer snow over top of them which created a great insulation.  In most of the houses I lived in the last 15 years or so that I lived in Canada we had wood stoves which kicked off a lot of heat.

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I kind of miss that . . . occasionally when we are outside I will smell woodsmoke and feel very nostalgic about it.   Sometimes though I smell coal fires too, which wasn't something I really smelled before I moved over here.   It is the smell of our housing estate however and something which I associate with Chester.   When we lived down South I missed that smell and so when I do smell it again up here, it brings me an odd sense of comfort.  Funny how something as simple as a smell can do that . . . but somehow it does!

A dear friend sent Mitzie a new toy to play with that she is really enjoying.  It is a red squirrel,, and she already knows it by name.  I have tried to get a photograph of her playing with it, but each time I try it ends up being just a blur because she is playing so hard with it.  Her latest fun thing to do with it is to carry it and knudge it off the backs of my legs as I walk into the kitchen.   It's cute rather than annoying actually.  I do believe however that by the end of the year it's tail will be bare by the amount of tail fur I find in little clumps.   She also likes to defur tennis balls.  She was quite sick yesterday.  We had given her worming tablets as you do several times a year, and for some reason they made her throw up.  Lots of cuddles and loving ensued and she seems perfectly fine today.

Todd was in town yesterday morning and he says that they have set up the Victorian Christmas Village around the town hall again this year.  It was so lovely last year.  Todd says there are even more kiosks this year than last.  I shall have to take myself in with the camera one day so I can share it with you and maybe this year we will buy ourselves a toasted waffle or some such to enjoy out of doors!  It really is quite pretty with it's artificial snow and all . . . perhaps we will go in more towards the evening when the lights look really pretty.

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(Ambush, by Jack Sorenson)

I've been working on the lesson that I am going to be teaching in Relief Society on Sunday.  I am not really comfortable teaching.  I don't mind giving talks because that is just basically giving a talk and easy to do.  Lessons are a bit harder because you have to try to engage the class in a discussion and think of questions which you could ask them that would encourage a discussion . . . I am always afraid that I will ask guestions and get no response and then I will be nothing more than a babbling fool at the front of the class!!  It is a Christmas Lesson that I am basing on a talk given by President Monson back in the early 1990's on gifts.  I think it is so easy to be distracted at this time of year by all the tinsel and glitter and buzz of the commercial side of Christmas.  I want my lesson to focus on how to bring our minds and hearts back to the other side of it.   It is fun to have Santa Claus and all of the glitz and glamor, but it shouldn't overtake the reality and true heart of what the spirit of Christmas was meant to be . . .  I hope that I can accomplish that!

I have gotten all of my Christmas boxes bar two posted out to Canada now.   Only two more to go.   It gets ever more expensive with each year that passes.  Todd grumbles at the expense and the people at the post office keep telling us we can just send money instead, but it's not the same thing at all . . . oftimes the postage costs more than what is actually in the box, but I cannot let Christmas pass without sending my grandchildren each at least a little something.   I remember how exciting it was when I was a child to get something in the post and so long as I am able to . . .  my grandchildren will get something from me in the post.  I think there should be postal discounts for Grandmothers, don't you?  Fat chance of that ever happening!

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I have been fighting a cold all week.  Last night I thought it had gotten the best of me and was coming on, but it seems better this morning.  If I can only get it to hold off until after Sunday I will be happy.  Actually I would like it to hold off until after Christmas if possible, pretty please with sugar on it.  I have a lot on in December and I want to do it with a clear head!  Todd and I both have parts in our Christmas Pageant at the church this year.  We are an Inn Keeper and his wife and we have lines!  We plan on practicing every day so that we will remember them!  Our Ward Activity for December is being based on the One Night in Bethlehem theme and we are going to have the main hall way set up like a Middle Eastern Bazaar with games and such . . . and then inside the chapel we will be putting on a nativity play.  Should be fun!

Well, I have twittered on enough about nothing this morning really so I will close now with a thought for you to carry in your heart through today . . .

There is nothing I would not do for those
who are really my friends.
I have no notion of loving people by halves,
it is not my nature
~Jane Austen  

I'm talking Turkey, Turkey 101 in The English Kitchen today . . .

Have a wonderful Wednesday.  To those of you who will be traveling to be with family for Thanksgiving, safe journies!

Tuesday 26 November 2013

The Simple Woman's Day Book

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 FOR TODAY November 26th, 2013

Outside my window...
It's so dark.   The days are getting shorter and shorter.  Yesterday we had our first heavy frost.  It is only 2* out there this morning.  So brrrrrr....

I am thinking...
There is nothing I would not do for those
who are really my friends.
I have no notion of loving people by halves,
it is not my nature
~Jane Austen~

True and real friends are a rarity and worth their weight in gold.  I remember when I joined the church I lost all my friends.  I made new ones, but it sure let me know the measure of the old ones.  How I had treasured them . . . seems they were not really my friends after all.  I could never understand why people stop being your friend simply because one chooses to worship in a different church.  If they are trying to shock you back to the old one they are really going about it the wrong way.  Why on earth would anyone want to go to a church that is that judgmental?  That is not the Saviour's way.

I am thankful...
Sitting on the sofa last night watching Anne of Green Gables with Todd, with Mitzie curled up between us I was grateful for this contented life I am living.  We may not be rich, or beautiful, but we be happy.  That's all that counts.

In the kitchen...
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Easy Pizza Rolls.  Need I say more?   They are easy and quick and very tasty too!

I am wearing...
A rather moot point . . .pajamas!

I am creating...  
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Ever since I got Mindy Gledhill's new Album, Pocket Full of Poetry, and heard the song Little Red Bike, this little girl was flying around in my head.  I just adore that song.  It reminds me so much of my father teaching me how to ride my own bicycle.  I have spent three days working on this, working only when I have a minute here and a minute there.  I love how she turned out.

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This is a closeup of her face detail.   I am quite enjoying using pencil crayons

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Isn't this an amazing diy Christmas ornament?   I think it is gorgous.  You can see more, here.

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I think this little paper angel is just adorable.  You can see more about this on It's a Stamp Thing.  I just adore paper crafts, don't you?

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People just amaze me with their creativity.   This was created by using double sided tape!  You just put the tape on the candle, pull off the paper and then add glitter, brushing off any excess.   Brilliant!

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This is one of the most beautiful handmade ornaments I have seen.   The creator gives an excellent tutorial on My Desert Cottage.  It's fabulous!

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She also has a fabulous tutorial on a waterless snowglobe which you can find here.  Some people are so extremely talented.  I love it!

I am going...
I am going to the Temple tonight with the sisters from our Ward.  It's Stake Temple Week and tonight is RS Temple night.  I haven't been in a while, so I am looking forward to it!  I love to be in the Temple.  It has such a special feeling inside.   The closest to heaven one can get here on earth I reckon!

I am wondering...
Will or will we not have a white Christmas???   Probably not, but it doesn't stop me from wondering if we will!

I am reading...

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Mercy, by Jodi Picoult.

Police chief of a small Massachusetts town, Cameron McDonald makes the toughest arrest of his life when his own cousin Jamie comes to him and confesses outright that he has killed his terminally ill wife out of mercy.
Now, a heated murder trial plunges the town into upheaval, and drives a wedge into a contented marriage: Cameron, aiding the prosecution in their case against Jamie, is suddenly at odds with his devoted wife, Allie -- seduced by the idea of a man so in love with his wife that he'd grant all her wishes, even her wish to end her life. And when an inexplicable attraction leads to a shocking betrayal, Allie faces the hardest questions of the heart: when does love cross the line of moral obligation? And what does it mean to truly love another?

Enjoying it so far.   I want something new to read though . . . something different.  Any suggestions???   I don't like anything smutty or implausable.  I am quite fond of history and I don't like pap.  (No tall order there or anything, lol!)

Nothing has changed here and I am still looking for something new to read.

I am hoping...
That all my Christmas Packages reach their destinations before Christmas and that I have enough time to do my cards!

Makes me Smile...
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This picture always makes me smile.  I can't help it.  Smiles are quite contagious you know!  I hope it makes you smile too!

I am learning...
I need to take some lessons in time management.  Perhaps if I did I would find more hours in my wday!

Around the House ...

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There is an excellent tutorial on how to decorate the tree here.   Some people have the most beautiful Christmas Trees and I think it's great that someone is willing to share their tree decorating skills with us!

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I am going to start a lot earlier this year and while my house will not look even close to this, I hope it will be at least a bit more Christmas-ee.  I think it is the rare person who is able to achieve the above effect!  (Aside from the expense!)  It sure would be nice to try though  . . .

Do you remember spraying snow on the windows back in the 70's and 80's?   I remember running black tape up and down in a diamond shape and then spraying snow in the corners and running lights all around the window so that it looked like something off a Christmas card, or so I thought!

I always had a themed tree, covered in handmade ornaments, all red and white.  There was plastic canvas red and white striped lollipops, little cross stitched drums, knitted snowmen and panda bears, gingerbread men, little white sheep with red bows on their necks . . .

I am pondering...
I wonder what happened to all my handmade ornaments . . .

A favorite quote for today...  

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"Grace is available for each of us every day
our spiritual daily bread
but we've got to remember
to ask for it with a grateful heart
and not worry about
whether there will be enough for tomorrow."
~Sarah Ban Breathnach

One of my favorite things...  

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Puppy Dog smoochies. Yes I kiss my dog.  On the mouth.  I know . . . it's called unconditional love.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Temple tonight and then I have to knuckle down and finish getting my lesson ready for RS on Sunday.  I am always nervous about teaching, even though I only have to do it once every three months.  It's not something I am ever totally comfortable with or enjoy all that much.  Give me a talk any day, and I don't mind at all . . . but teaching . . . that is way out of my comfort zone!

A peek into my day...

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Our home is filled with love.   There's lots of hand holding, smooching, caring, helping, sharing laughing, crying, tenderness . . . just love. There is no fear and no negativity.  I am grateful for that.

 ⋱ ⋮ ⋰
   ⋯ ◯ ⋯ Take time to enjoy the small*´¯`.¸¸.☆
   ⋰ ⋮ ⋱ blessings in life.*´¯`.¸¸.☆
   ✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿ ✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿
   ░░░░░░░░░░░░░ ░░░░░░░░░░░░░  

Wherever you go and whatever you do I hope there's a wonderful day planned for you!

Monday 25 November 2013

Small and Wonderful Things

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 "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.

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Little pink hearts.   I don't know why but when I saw these my heart tweeked and I fell in love.  They just tickled my fancy!

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How everything is beautiful in it's own way.   Even a bowl of broccoli can be beautiful. It's just broccoli . . . but it's not just broccoli . . . it's a multitude of small intricate florets bound together, each one fitting into it's own space and composed of even smaller bits, also bound together and each in his own space and place and together all of those bits make a whole . . . a simple miracle which one is bound to miss or ignore in the face of larger ones, but a miracle all the same.  I am grateful for a little pink heart which sees these things  . . . and ponders them.

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Little piggie tails on little heads.   They make my heart melt.   The little girl sitting next to me in church yesterday had piggie tails just like these.   So sweet . . .  all children are so very beautiful.  What a gift . . .

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Baby toes.  My friend let me hold her wee baby boy yesterday in church.  I guess he might be about six weeks old now and his little toes were bare.   It was such a lovely feeling to hold this wee little one and stroke his wee baby toes.  He was so beautiful.  It made me think of my own grandchildren and touched my heart in a special way.  I have never been able to see any of them when they were that small, or hold them in that special way.  Oh . . . I hold them in my heart always, but there is something special about being able to physically hold them and stroke their toes . . . I wish.   Thank you Holly for giving me this special moment with little Luke.

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Snowflakes that fall on my nose and eyelashes . . . the magic of the first snow of the year . . . big flakes of cold white goosedown that float in the air and make one just happy to be alive, here and now . . . to feel present . . . did you know that each flake that falls is unique and there are no two alike.  Ponder that for a moment . . . it is a miracle that we so often take for granted.   It is the same with us, there are no two of us alike, never has been, never will be . . . even so called identical twins are different in small ways that most people don't notice.  We are each one unique and special in our very own ways.


Simple suppers of bread and butter and jam.  Sat together in front of the telly watching something soppy and sweet like The Paradise, puppy dog at our feet.  Life is good . . .

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Quietly sitting and sewing and being creative . . . I love sitting with a needle and thread and watching it move in and out of the fabric, creating something out of scraps and such . . . they come together like magic.  I wonder if that is how God felt when he was creating the world?  Gives me goosebumples.

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Little"man" slippers.  Are they not adorable . . . I wish I knew the sizes of my grandson's feet . . .
Again little feet . . .

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Chocolate biscuits from Aldi . . . the biscuit beneath all buttery, the chocolate sharp and bitter on top.   So good.  Love them.  They turn me into a glutton.

A thought to carry with you today  . . .

(✿◠‿◠) ❄。¨¯`*✲ ´*。.❄¨¯`*✲。
"The journey is filled with ups and downs.
Don't confuse the two
as ever being everlasting.
Get up everyday and apply yourself,
be authentic, trust your instincts

and know that the more you apply yourself
the better you get day by day.
The day you are waiting for is the day
you want to give up,
that is when you MUST keep going.
That's the barrier

between normal and greatness."´*。.❄¨¯`*✲。
~Jackson Kiddard 

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I'm talking Potatoes 101 in The English Kitchen today . . . something for everyone.

Have a great Monday and a fabulous week!

WE hope we can get the plumber to come back today to fix the leak.  Its annoying.