Thursday 30 November 2017

My favourite things . . .


These are a few of my favourite things, maybe some of them are yours also.  Lets share! 

I love Turkish Delight, especially if it is covered in chocolate.  When I was a child we used to buy a candy bar called the Treasure bar.  It was like six individual chocolates joined together as a bar.  

I found a picture of it.  The turkish delight one was always my favourite one.  Todd loves chocolate covered turkish delight also, so I buy him a pack of the Fry's and he lets me nibble one corner.  I am happy with that.  I get to enjoy a tiny bit and he gets to enjoy the rest! 


When I was a child, Christmas meant a box of these to share together as a family!  We never ever had boxed chocolates at any other time of year.  These really were magic!  I have not had one in yonks. 

My brother used to send us a tin of Quality Street each year and that was a real treat!  My favourite always used to be the purple one with the nut and caramel in the middle, but now I kinda like the new honey crunch one better.  In reality I shouldn't be liking any of them! 


Yes, it is very naughty, but I have always had a thing for Cap'n Crunch.  He is my favourite sea-faring man.  I prefer him unadulterated by crunch berries or anything else.  I like him just plain with milk.  I am thinking its a good thing he is very hard to come by over here in the UK.  I have never tried Cap'n Crunch Chicken.  I have heard it is very good, but it is also probably very dangerous! lol

I love, Love, LOVE the Cruciferous Vegetable Family!  Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, etc. I have never met a Cruciferous Vegetable I wouldn't eat!  Brussels Sprouts!  What would Christmas lunch be without them!  Cooked properly all of these are a real treat, but they have so often been done so badly that they get a bad rap from a lot of people. Crispy tender is the way, unless you are talking cabbage, and then I like it slow cooked, butter/tender, melt in your mouth best of all. 


I am a huge fan of anything that crunches, and I don't mean belly crunches or bones. (Yuck!)  I mean things like potato chips, crunchy raw vegetables, crackers, etc.  If it crunches, I am on it.  Perhaps I do need to become a fan of belly crunches . . .  hmmm . . .  either that or have breakfast because so far today I am only liking food!


Blown Glass.  Remember when they used to have glass blowers in the shopping malls?  I could stand and watch them for hours. My ex bought me a little wishing well, but it broke before we could even get it home. I learned a long time ago to never mourn broken stuff or to place my treasure in things that break.  That way I am never disappointed when they do break as they so often do!  I do have a small blown glass rooster which was a gift from a lovely friend once upon a time.  I treasure it.  I do like blown glass.  But then again, I am like a crow, if it sparkles, I love it.

I have always loved Prince William and his wife, but this couple, they blow me away.  I love them to bits.  I am so excited that they are getting married.  They very clearly love each other so very much and I wish them many, many years of happiness together!  Have you seen the cottage they will be living in? 


Notthingham Cottage on the Kensington Palace Grounds.  Soooo adorable.  I think Harry already lives there actually, but what a sweet place to begin your married life in.  White picket fence and all. 

May they live happily ever after.

Oh to be thinner so that I could dress like this and not look like a bag lady . . .  sigh . . . I love all of this. The ruffles, the lace, the layers, the colours . . . 

Anything with pin-tucks.  Anything.  I love pin-tucks.


Lace curtains. Anywhere  . . .  I just love lace curtains.  

Potato Chips.  (Back to food)  It doesn't matter what flavour.  I love potato chips.  When I was a child there was pretty much only one flavour.  Salted, but then other flavours began to creep in.  I like Dill Pickle, which you cannot get over here. (Good thing!) But really I like them all with the exception of Prawn flavoured oned.  YUCK!  But then, I am not a fan of prawns full stop.  I only ever rarely eat a potato chip these days because I know my limitations and if I have them in the house I won't leave them alone.  So I only have them when we have company to help me eat them, or if I am out to a potluck or something.  Then I limit myself to two.   When I was a child my mother used to buy potato chips for my dad to eat when he was watching Hockey games on the telly.  She would get three bags.  Plain, BBQ and Salt and Vinegar.  She would hide them behind the dresser in the bedroom  We would each get a small bowl of them on Hockey night as well. What a treat that was.  Sometimes we used to sneak them and my dad would get the blame.  He was probably sneaking them too so we got away with it. 

Velvet.  I love velvet.  When my girls were growing up I made them several velvet dresses.  I did them each one of periwinkle blue velvet once with detachable white satin collars.  They were so lovely. 


I love this picture of our Amanda.  She was nine months old and wearing her first velvet dress. 

And here she is about 31 years later holding her daughter Maryn.  How the years flew by.  She will be 39 on the 9th of December, and our Eileen will be 40 on the 7th January.   How did that happen?  I still feel sixteen inside!


Making Rice Crispie Squares.  Happy memories.  Family times.  The best of times.

Amanda (2)  Eileen (4)

They were always getting into my makeup.  So one day I did up their faces for them and their hair and then took their picture together.  These two were such good friends when they were small.  They don't see a lot of each other these days.  They both lead very busy lives.   Getting to bring up my children is definitely one of my favourite things.   I don't have a lot of pictures of them.  All I have were gleaned online or given to me by others because I wasn't aloud to take any with me when my ex and I split up, so I really cherish the oned I do have. These pictures are another one of my favourite things! 

I love this picture of my sister and I which was taken in Gimli, Manitoba in the back yard of our two bedroom house.  I must have been about 6 and she would have been about 3.  Look at those nobby knees of  mine, lol  The sun must have been in our eyes.


Cam (4)  Maryn (7)

Blue eyes and brown eyes.  Beautiful grandchildren and very happy.  This makes me happy.

Having options to use that are cheaper than Royal Mail.  Four of them are ready to go.  Just waiting on delivery of the last two books, then I can send off two more.  This is costing me half the price that Royal Mail would cost.  At £66 for all four that is a bargain.  And they should get there within a week or so.  Yay! (Thanks Sybil for showing me the options!) 

Ohh, I just found this one.  It is our Anthony at 6 months of age at my parents house.  He is 42 now!  Look at that old car seat.  The fabric on my parent's chair.  The cute little crochet bobble hat.  That adorable baby.  Oh how I love my children.  So grateful. 


This man God gave me with his crooked smile and gentle ways and sweet sense of humor. How did I get so lucky! 

Mistletoe Kisses.  I love this little madame.  She had her checkup yesterday and the good news is she is in perfect health and has lost weight.  Yay.  We are doing the right things!  

Christmas fruit cakes.  It just wouldn't be Christmas without one. 

 The Essential Christmas Play List.  Actually I have been tuning in Mormon Music on the Mormon Channel each day.  We can bring it up on our smart TV.  They play a great selection of Christmas music, 24/7 this time of year.  I love it! 

The Big Bang Theory.  We both love it and have watched some episodes numerous times.  It never gets boring. 


Baking up goodies for the holidays to gift to others and to enjoy at home.  The smells, the tastes.  Its all good!

And with that I best leave you with a thought for the day! 

° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

My mission, should I choose to accept it,
is to find peace with exactly who and what I am,
To take pride in my thoughts, my appearance,
my talents, my flaws, and to stop this
incessan worrying that I can't be loved
as I am. ~Anais Nin •。★★ 。* 。

Spiritual Enlightenment


BOOK OF MORMON CORNER - Today's Reading - 2 Nephi 4:1-27
Question -What have you learnt from the reading today? How can you identify with Nephi's psalm? 
My thoughts -   Nephi's psalm is one of my most favourite parts in all of the Book of Mormon because Nephi is a SUPER man. Up to this point we know the good choices he has made, we have seen just how much he relies and trusts in the Lord.  He was visited by the Lord, yet here we see Nephi's inner battle. (I'm paraphrasing here) ~If I have seen all these marvellous things and know the goodness of God, then why do I allow anger into my heart and get annoyed with my brothers?? Why do I lose power when I am afflicted?? Can I identify with this?! Oh yes!! I love Nephi for his honesty. It inspires me to know he struggled too.
Tomorrow's Reading (Day 42) - 2 Nephi 4:28-5:9
 Question - What do you learn from the way Nephi pleads with the Lord? Why do you think some blessings are conditional on fasting & praying and others are not?
In The English Kitchen today  . . .  Cardamom & Lemon Drizzle Loaf.  Seriously tasty!

Hope your Thursday is filled with  a few of your favourite things!  Don't forget!

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And I do too! 



Wednesday 29 November 2017

God's Christmas Autograph

God’s Christmas Autograph

On Christmas Eve I saw
God’s autograph in the snow --
Tiny creature tracks so fine,
All lacy in a row.
And with the dazzling Christmas dawn,
My eyes did then behold.
God’s signature grown ever dear,
Etched in sunlight gold.
~Rosalyn Hart Finch 

As a child, growing up in Canada, long about the beginning of December, I would start to look for snow. As the days grew shorter, the temperatures dipped, and the ground grew hard and cold . . . I would scan the sky daily for those tell tale feathery first flakes that would begin to fall and alight on my eyelashes and face. Is there anything on earth that tastes better? I think not! Those first few flakes of the season were eagerly anticipated and greeted with great aplomb, for if the snow was falling . . . the arrival of Christmas and Santa Claus could not be too far behind! 

As an adult there is nothing more peaceful then the air that rings with silence early in the morning after a heavy night-time snowfall. How I love to look out over the pristine fields adorned with a heavy white blanket, only disturbed by the tell tale signs small hop hop hoppings of tiny bird feet upon it's surface. All the branches of the surrounding trees draped in it's heavenly sugarlike decorations. There is no more beautiful sight on earth, to my way of thinking anyways. I can always tell when snow is "in the air" . . . I can almost smell it's impending arrival, and the sky takes on a peculiar dark grey leaden appearance. 


As children, the first snowfall brought about a flurry of activity. Our absolute first chore was to build the first snowman of the season. We would spend hours rolling the snow into big balls, three in number . . . each one getting a bit smaller than the last . . . and heaping them one on top of the other, with the very smallest on top. Those first snowmen were always adorned with the last few escaped leaves from autumn's flurry of raking . . . little prizes missed from the rake's ruthless prongs. 

Sticks were sought out and discarded, for only the straightest and best were sufficient for the snowman's most capable arms. Stones were prised from the frozen earth at the sides of the roadway to be used as eyes and mouth, and mom always donated a carrot for the nose. An old scarf and hat were also donated, after much begging of course! (I'm quite sure she kept an old one in the utility room to be used year after year for just this purpose!) 


 What a wonderous sight that snowman would be to behold when he was done. !!! Snowmen would spring up all over the neighbourhood, like welcome immigrants from a mysterious and snowy foreign land that was visited upon us for a time . . . 

I know that the snow was not as welcomed by our parents, for it heralded the season of the back breaking labour of shovelling and having to clean the car off everytime you wanted to go somewhere . . . but it was a wonderful gift from above, and pure magic for us children. It would be several weeks before the novelty would wear off. 

  I do admit that I miss the snow over here, especially before Christmas. A green Christmas, when I was growing up, always meant a season of doom, for, if all the old wive's tales were to be believed, it meant a season of illness and possibly even death in the family. So, while we kids eagerly awaited those first snowy flakes for all the joy they would bring . . . our parents eagerly awaited them as well, despite the work they would bring, for they heralded a season of good health for the family and others . . . 

Alas, I have not known a white Christmas since I arrived on these green and verdant shores, and I expect I may never have one here in England at least, but as they say hope springs eternal, and we have already had a few flakes this year, so nothing is impossible! 

We got the tree up yesterday, and some of the other decorations.  We did not put up a big Christmas tree this year because there just isn't the room. I'm not sure why.  In any case the small one looks quite nice tucked away in it's corner by the Grandmother Clock. 


I had asked Todd to pick up some Christmas tree lights last week when he was out because our old tree had them built in and the new smaller tree didn't so we had no lights.  He picked up some red lights that look like berries, and some blue LED lights.  I am not fond of either, but what can you do, lol.  I am just grateful he picked any up at all!  As they say beggars cannot be choosers! 

This is one of our nativity sets.  We have three regular ones, and all of our Jim Shore Angels have nativities carved into their skirts, including our Jim Shore Santa Claus.  This one is one of my favourites.  It is a small olive wood one that some lovely friends gave us one year.  It has great sentimental value. 


It is definitely beginning to look like Christmas in the Rayner household.  I got my cards for mailing yesterday and last evening we watched "A Christmas Story" about the little boy who wants a Red Rider bb-gun for Christmas.  I am wearing Todd down. Two Christmas films in two days.  Score! 


It cracks me up every time we watch it.
just wouldn't be Christmas without

And with that I will leave you with a thought for the day  . . . 

° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

 *.˛.° For it is good to be children sometimes, 
and never better than at Christmas, 
when its mighty Founder was a child Himself. 
~Charles Dickens •。★★ 。* 。 


BOOK OF MORMON CORNER - Today's Reading - 2 Nephi 3:6-25
Question: What have you learnt from the reading today? How can it help us to know that, even in our weakness, The Lord has a work for each of us to do?  

My thoughts - Each of us has a part of the work of the Lord that we are given to do. The prophets of old had it on a much grander scale, but we too have been given a sphere of influence to work within. Something which I see in studying the scriptures, is that the prophets of God we're just men, good men, but just men to begin with. It is the Lord who consecrates them, and changes them into mighty men. How does that change happen? Through experience, opposition, through trial and the strengthening of the Lords hand.
Joseph of Egypt was sold into slavery and put into prison unjustly before the Lord used him to save the families of Israel and Egypt. Joseph had a lot of love for his people.
Moses chose to leave the life of luxury and fight for the cause of his own people, the Israelite slaves. He was completely lacing in confidence in his role as a prophet, because of some sort of speech impediment. Yet through him the Lord delivered the Israelites. 
He struggled with bringing them to the knowledge and understanding of the Lord, despite all the miracles they were shown, and God wanting to make Himself known to them. Moses had a lot of love for his people.
Joseph Smith, from age 14 until his death, had to deal with persecution and slander. He had the truth yet few would hear it. He knew Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ personally, and was loved of them. Yet he still had to pass through bitter trials upon him, upon his family, upon his friends and his people. Anyone who would listen to the message he was proclaiming could be saved and delivered. He loved his people.
I am so grateful for these mighty prophets, who were, just men. These men that allowed the Lord into their lives to change them, and to change the world around them. Who have shown me how to endure all manner of persecution, and who are teaching me that opposition can be for our benefit to make us mighty in spirit. And that love for my people, and being strengthened in the Lord is the key ingredient in the work I have to do. 

Tomorrow's reading (Day 41) - 2 Nephi 4:1-27
Question -What have you learnt from the reading today? How can you identify with Nephi's psalm?   


Cooking in The English Kitchen today  . . .  Spaghetti Francisco.  A simple, yet delicious casserole that will have your family reaching for seconds!

Have a wonderful Wednesday.  Mitzie is going for her yearly check-up this morning.  Don't forget today that  . . .

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And I do too!  


Tuesday 28 November 2017

The Simple Woman's Daybook . . .

FOR TODAY, November 28, 2017

Outside my window...
Its cold and dark, but its not raining or snowing. Happy for that. Yesterday was very windy, rainy and cold. (whoops, spoke too soon, it is sleeting now.)
I am thinking ...
I was signing bookplates yesterday and putting them into envelopes. I am still in awe that people have bought my book, or that they want me to sign them. It still seems like a dream. I hope the wonder of it never goes away, or loses its shine.

In the kitchen ... 
In the kitchen today, Sweet Mustard Chicken.  On the table in about half an hour and very guest worthy.  Deliciously simple. 
On my "To Cook" list ...

Savory Nothings.  Sweet Honey Peanut Butter Shortbreads.  Hello peanut butter?  Shortbreads?  I'm in!   
Good to know ...
I am creating ...
Crochet Elf Slippers for baby.  From Ravelry.  
Very cute, crochet mug hug cosy, from Tanya Eberhardt.  
Keeper of the Cheerios. Clay Pot Snowman Windchimes.  Cute! 
Twine Angels. A complete tutorial from My Craftchens. 

Charlee Vanden Brande. Simple Crochet Granny shawl to help keep you warm. A great scrap user upper.

I am reading ...

March, by Geraldine Brooks

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and Richard and Judy pick.
From the author of the acclaimed ‘Year of Wonders’ and ‘People of the Book’, a historical novel and love story set during a time of catastrophe on the front lines of the American Civil War.

Set during the American Civil War, ‘March’ tells the story of John March, known to us as the father away from his family of girls in ‘Little Women’, Louisa May Alcott’s classic American novel. In Brooks’s telling, March emerges as an abolitionist and idealistic chaplain on the front lines of a war that tests his faith in himself and in the Union cause when he learns that his side, too, is capable of barbarism and racism. As he recovers from a near-fatal illness in a Washington hospital, he must reassemble the shards of his shattered mind and body, and find a way to reconnect with a wife and daughters who have no idea of the ordeals he has been through.

As Alcott drew on her real-life sisters in shaping the characters of her little women, so Brooks turned to the journals and letters of Bronson Alcott, Louisa May’s father, an idealistic educator, animal rights exponent and abolitionist who was a friend and confidante of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. The story spans the vibrant intellectual world of Concord and the sensuous antebellum South, through to the first year of the Civil War as the North reels under a series of unexpected defeats.

Like her bestselling ‘Year of Wonders’, ‘March’ follows an unconventional love story. It explores the passions between a man and a woman, the tenderness of parent and child, and the life-changing power of an ardently held belief.


I am looking forward to ...
We have a ladies craft night next Tuesday for the women of our RS church group.  I have signed up to do Glass Jar Tea Lights and a Willow Wreath. It should be a lot of fun!

Dreaming about ...

A sweater in cotton and lace  . . . 
Collars, buttons and pleats  . . .  in linen . . .  

Crossing over  . . . . 


Layers  . . . 

Pintucks . . .  lace  . . .  eyelet . . . 

SIGH . . . 

Something to watch ...


A Charlie Brown Christmas . . . wouldn't be Christmas without it! 

A quote for the day ...
  `*.¸.*´Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ¸. •´¸.•~♥♥♥~•. ~ ღϠ₡ღ¸. ✻´´¯`✻.¸¸.Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ.
              ( ¸. ❀⁀ ⋱‿✿“` * .¸.* ✻ღϠ₡ ღ¸.✻´´¯`✻.¸¸.Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ..
Gifts of time and love
         are surely the basic ingredients
             of a truly Merry Christmas.
                 ~Peg Bracken * .¸.* ✻ღϠ₡ ღ¸.✻´´¯`✻.¸¸.Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ.. 

Makes me smile ...

The art of holding hands forever  . . .   

Corners of my kingdom  ...

The Victoria Clock, Chester on Eastgate wall . . .  Christmas . . . 

 And that's my daybook for this week!

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

✿¸.•*¨`*•..✿✿¸.•*¨`*•..✿ ✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿ ✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿ ✿¸.• ╬♥═╬╬═♥=╬╬═♥╬╬═♥╬╬═♥=╬╬♥═╬♥╬╬═♥╬╬═♥=╬╬♥
░░░░░░░░░░░░░ ░░░░░░░░░░░░ ░░░░░░░░░░░░   

BOOK OF MORMON CORNER - Today's Reading - 2 Nephi 2:22-3:5 
Question - What have you learnt from the reading today? What do you think is the purpose of Heavenly Father's plan?
What I learnt - The reading today reminded me of one of my favourite things that we learn in the temple, that it is better to pass through sorrow that we can know good and evil. Our sorrows and suffering have a purpose, and that is to give us an opportunity to choose and become good, and become the kind of beings that can experience joy. Without the sour we would never come to know and appreciate the sweet. We pass through sorrow, but it's not supposed to be a place we live in. I love that Lehi advised his sons to  look, to pay attention, to become, to choose eternal life. The choice really is ours because of Our Saviour. Something that I have marked in my scriptures is that satan wants to hold me captive and reign OVER me (v29) but I love that what my Saviour, my Redeemer, the One who has paid the price for me, wants for me is in direct opposition to satans selfish desires. Jesus Christ wants me to be a joint heir with him in all The Father hath (Romans8:17-18). This tells me many things about Him and His character but most of all it tells me that joy comes of sharing.

Tomorrows reading (Day 40) -2 Nephi 3:6-25
Question: What have you learnt from the reading today? How can it help us to know that, even in our weakness, The Lord has a work for each of us to do? 
Thank you for your prayers for our friend Peter. He stopped over last night with his daughter and her husband.  He wanted Todd to give him a blessing. It was good to see him and to be able to express our love for Audrey to him and to sit with him for a while and listen to whatever he wanted to share.  Her funeral will be on the 11th and he has asked only a few to go with him and the family to the Crematorium.  The funeral will be at the chapel.  He wants us at the Crematorium to share a prayer. I am grateful that he sees us as being worthy of being there to give a final farewell to Audrey.   

Have a wonderful Tuesday.  Don't forget along the way of your day . . .   

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And I do too!