Monday, 11 November 2019

Small and Wonderful Things . . .

"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 from the past week which brought untold joy into my life. It's the small things in life which truly mean the most. Simple abundance . . . it's the best.  
Yesterday was Remembrance Sunday at church and today is Remembrance Day, the 11th day of the 11th month, a day set aside to remember all of those who gave their lives in service to their countrym as well as to show appreciation for all those who still serve.  It is marked by the wearing of a poppy. Having had a father who was in the Canadian Airforce, and my ex husband having served, plus now my youngest son who also serves, Remembrance Day has always played a huge part in my life.  I have always been aware of the sacrifice of these men and women, and their families.  The price of freedom is often a heavy one, and more often than not, written in blood. 
We had a particularly lovely service in Church yesterday.  There was a special talk given, and one of the children had a special reading.  The choir sang a beautiful song, accompanied by the violin.  We had two minutes silence followed by the Last Post which was played on the trumpet by one of the members of our Ward who plays the trumpet.   

We must never forget the price which was paid for us to enjoy the freedoms we enjoy today.  There is a danger in forgetting. Forgotten history is often repeated.  We must continuously remember and say Never Again.  It is not war mongering, or celebrating war.  It is remembering the price of Peace and Freedom and honoring those who paid that price in a special way. The average age of a Soldier in WW1 was 24.25 years, and in WW2 26 years, and many, many were much younger than that.  In WW2 my late ex-FIL lied about his age and enlisted when he was only 16. He was a gunner on a Corvette.  My late FIL also served in WW2.  My husband did not see his father for 7 years.  His father was amongst the thousands of men saved from the beaches on D Day. My children's Great Grandfather McLeod was a sniper in a fox hole and had his ear chewed by a rat while he stood still and let it,  as the Germans were so close to have made any noise at all would have meant certain death.  He also had a portion of his nose shot off and he was mustard gassed, which left him with a lung condition for the remainder of his life.  My husband still remembers the sounds of falling bombs during the London Blitz. He was born just as WW2 was starting and for the first 7 years of his life that was all that he knew. 
Freedom comes at a price.
Remember, remember. 

Nineteen years ago today Todd and I got married.  He was two years younger than I am now and I was in my early 40's.  It doesn't seem like it has been 19 years, but it has!  I suppose that is a good sign.  Time flies when you are having fun.  Its been a wonderful adventure, with ups and down and all arounds. We've shared good times and bad times, in sickness and in health and its really only the beginning of an eternity which we will have to spend together.  I love him with all of my heart.  I wish we could have had children together, but that was not to be.  I know he would have been a great dad and he is a great dad to our Mitzie, as he was to our Jess.  I have a chiropracter appointment this afternoon, but I think we are going to go out for supper tonight.  Looking forward to that!  Being married to the other half of you is a pretty wonderful thing.  We have made a very good life together.

Mitzie and all that she brings to our table.   I love this little dog so very much.   She's sweet and she's stubborn.  She's intelligent and loving.  Loyal.  Affectionate.   At times demanding.   Always a joy, never a burden.  I downloaded a squeaky app onto the ipad yesterday and it was so cute watching her with it.   She was looking behind the sofa and all over for whatever was making the squeaky sound at first and then she realized it was coming from the iPad and  she was trying to figure out how to make it squeak again, and then realized if she touched her nose to it, it worked.  So cute!  Such a smile maker.  

The birds in the garden that share their lives with us.   I love to feed them.  I love watching them.   I feel for them this time of year as the weather becomes colder and wetter . . .  in the colder months we put out fat balls for them.  They need the extra energy to keep warm.  

Its my favourite time of the year and it is just around the corner.  It will be different this year. I won't be able to talk to my mom on Christmas morning as she is opening my gifts to her. It will be just Todd and I here.  But it will still be a good day.  I have ordered the Simple Turkey again from Piper's Farm.  Its such an easy make, just bang it into the oven.  We will have Christmas Cake and Todd will enjoy his Christmas Pudding.  I will probably be able to talk to at least a few of my kids on the iPad.  We will watch the Queen's message at 3 and there are always special episodes of the shows we like to be watched. We will just enjoy being together. Its all good.  On Boxing Day we are going to go out to lunch with Tina and Tony and to a movie together. 
Having an attitude of gratitude.  This makes life infinitely better.  I am so happy that I am able to live my life with gratitude.  I hope that I always will. 

Each one of you bless my life in numerous ways.  You are all special to me.  I always tell my mum, I have only ever met lovely people through blogging and on the internet. Perhaps I am just lucky.

What a nice thought.  Yes, I am lucky. 
A thought to carry with you  . . .

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

The true way to live is to
enjoy every moment as it passes,
and surely it is in the everyday things
around us that the beauty in life lies"
~Laura Ingalls Wilder •。★★ 。* 。 

The Rustic Italian Baked Sandwich 
In The English Kitchen today, Rustic Italian Baked Sandwiches.  Yummo!

I hope your week ahead will be filled with lots of small and wonderful things! Don't forget! 
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And I do too!

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Its a matter of taste . . .

This morning I decided to write about the first thing that popped up in my Pinterest feed and this is what it was.  French's Ketchup Spice, sufficient to season 1 bushel of tomatoes.  Ketchup Spice.  I never knew such a thing existed and find myself wondering how I, a woman who has loved flavour and spice her whole life, has gotten to the ripe age of 64 without ever having heard of ketchup spice???   I find myself wondering . . .  what does it taste like?  What does it do?   

I grew up in a home where my mother, other than the warm baking spices when she was making a cake or cookies, was only allowed to use salt and pepper to flavour our food. My father did not like "spice" of any kind.  That was an era where my mother's job was to please my father in all that she could.  Spice was just not a part of my childhood.  

I did love to read however and I was great at it.  I am surprised I wasn't banned from the town library as I was there every day in the summer months, several times a day sometimes, taking out  new books to fuel my voracious appetite.  I believe that the maximum a child was allowed to take out at any time was one book.  I would take out my allotted maximum and race my bicycle home so I could devour it and race back to get another one.  

I was really fond of Enid Blyton's stories.  They were filled with adventures, tuck boxes and  . . .  food.  The spice of life, exotic coalitions such as egg and cress sandwiches, cherry cakes, sausage rolls and jam tarts, all washed down with "lashings" of ginger beer.

"The high tea that awaited them was truly magnificent. A huge ham gleaming as pink as Timmy’s tongue; a salad fit for a king. In fact, as Dick said, fit for several kings, it was so enormous. It had in it everything that anyone could possibly want. “Lettuce, tomatoes, onions, radishes, mustard and cress, carrot grated up – that is carrot, isn’t it, Mrs. Penruthlan?” said Dick. “And lashings of hard-boiled eggs.” There was an enormous tureen of new potatoes, all gleaming with melted butter, scattered with parsley. There was a big bottle of home-made salad cream. “Look at that cream cheese, too,” marvelled Dick, quite overcome. “And that fruit cake. And are those drop-scones, or what? Are we supposed to have something of everything, Mrs Penruthlan?”"

The child in me longed for an adventure embroidered with adventure and these exotic sounding flavours . . .  for drop cakes.  For some "spice" in life  . . .  

Every once in a while I would catch a real glimpse of what spice could be like.  When I was in grade two I was invited to a friends for lunch one day and her mother made Kraft Macaroni & Cheese which tasted quite unsual as compared to my mother's. (Not that my mother made this for us very much, it was a rare treat.)  This girl's mother had a secret ingredient that she used.  Heinz Chili Sauce.  I know because I asked.  At the time I wasn't sure that I liked it but . . .  here I am, 58 or so years later, thinking about it and how good it was at the time.  Wishing I had a jar of Heinz Chili sauce that I could stir into a box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese just to taste it one more time. Neither exists here for the most part in the UK. We can get boxed Mac & Cheese now, but it is not the one of my childhood memories . . .  and they don't have Heinz Chili Sauce at all.

A lot of my happy childhood memories have to do with food  . . .  like the stuffing my mother would make for Thanksgiving and Christmas to go with our turkey.  I have never been able to get mine to taste as good as my memory of the taste of hers does. The taste of my mother's cousin Polly's Green Bean Casserole, eaten at a picnic table on top of a hill outside an old farmhouse in Vermont. The goodness of a Barley Sugar candy toy on Christmas morning and those spicy little squared shaped pink hard candies that tasted like cinnamon from the Christmas Candy bowl that was kept on the coffee table only at Christmas.  The bowl had two sections, a yellow one and a pink one, with a handle in the middle.  (I am sure my sister still has it, or at least I hope that she does.)

Eating frozen peas for the first time at a Mother/Daughter banquet held for the Guides and Brownies and their mothers, catered to by the "Mess Hall" on the base in Gimli, Manitoba.  I hated peas. It was a turkey dinner, but those peas were an eye opening wonder to how good peas could actually taste when they did not come out of a tin.  That was also the day I learnt to love olives.  There was a relish tray at each table and there were green pimento stuffed olives on it.  My mother got me to taste one and I didn't like it much. I remember being told that taste is something that often "Grows" on you, and that the more you eat of something the more you come to like it, and so I tried another onem and then another one . . . 

I adore pimento stuffed green olives to this day. 

Mom did get a bit more adventurous as she got older and my father got a bit braver with trying new things.  I blame the Chinese Restaurant in downtown Kingston, Nova Scotia, where every night like clockwork, they went for an evening coffee.  My mother started to serve us "Italian" spaghetti, which consisted of hamburger browned and mixed with a tin of Catelli spaghetti sauce, spooned over top of cooked spaghetti noodles and served with a green plastic container of "Smelly Sock" to shake over top.  I could not abide hamburger mixed with anything and so my mom always kept out a spoonful of the sauce before she added it to the meat, just for me.  Oregano became a favourite spice of hers, and  my father would just about tolerate it. She started using it in quite a lot.  Many of my teenage meal memories are peppered with oregano.  Saturday night beans were replaced with Saturday night chili con-carne as prescribed on the side of a tomato soup tin, laced with  . . .  oregano of course!

As adults we learnt to be really cautious when we would  return home to visit mom and cook from her refrigerator. A lot of smelling and sniffing went on of what were very spurious jars and bottles of things.  She hated to throw anything out.  The salad dressing you had bought on a visit six years previously would still be in the refrigerator waiting for you, and yes  . . .  I have had to eat "Smelly Sock" that was hard and kind of brown and which tasted unlike anything else on this planet . . .  just not to hurt her feelings.   

She had a whole cupboard over the stove . . .  an Aladdin's Cave . . .  of brown paper bags filled with herbs and spices she had picked up at the bulk barn over the years.  I am sure that only carbon dating would actually have been able to tell how old they were, and she would tut tut and get a bit annoyed with us if we bought new ones.  I always used the excuse that I hadn't been quite sure if she had any oregano (as if!) and picked up a new jar just in case. 

Come to think of it . . .  my childhood dreams of tasting the elusive
and the exotic kind of did come true!!!

You know, we actually had snow in some parts of the UK yesterday. My friend Tina, who lives on the high ground in Wales was very excited as it was snowing where she lives Winter seems to be in a rush to arrive this year.  We had the heat on most of yesterday which is quite unlike us.

I best be off now as its Sunday morning and I am short on time.  I shall leave you with a thought for the day  . . . 

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

What if . . . 
everything you are going
is preparing you for what
you asked for? •。★★ 。* 。 

Pear, Almond & Coconut Impossible Pie 

In The English Kitchen today  . . .  Pear, Almond & Coconut Impossible Pie.  yummy!

Have a blessed Sunday and don't forget!

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And I do too! 

Saturday, 9 November 2019

Saturday This and That . . .


Yesterday I had a once in a lifetime, amazing, will never happen again moment in time. A once in 64 years moment  . . .  a moment I strongly suspect will never happen again.  A few seconds in life that I felt incredibly blessed to be able to witness. 

All of the autumns of my life have been embroidered by the sound of Geese flying South for the Winter.  You hear the sound, look up and there they are.  Flying in their V-shaped formation, their cries echoing through the air. You can't help but notice them. 

This year I have witnessed more of them than ever.  Always in the early morning, just as the sun is coming up.  I hear their cries and I rush to the door, looking out to see them pass.  


I saw about five different groups all together flying at once yesterday morning, early. Not that unusual really,  I've seen great groups of them every morning this week. A bit later I was going out to the shed to get something from the refrigerator and I heard them again.  Stepping out of the door of the shed, there they were. Flying directly over my head.  I felt as though I could reach up and touch them . . . they seemed to be so close, I could see their faces and the sun was brushing their bellies with a tender golden rosy colour.  I stood there totally mesmerized and in awe.  I had never been witness to anything like it before, and I doubt that I will again.  It was pure magic . . . . 

And I did not have my camera, because, I don't walk around with my camera I guess.  And maybe it wasn't meant to be captured with the lens of my camera anyways.  Maybe it was just a tender, awestruck moment that was meant just for me.  A gift from heaven itself  . . .  


And I felt blessed for being there in that  moment and able to witness that.  I felt like I had been given a special gift.  Were it not wet and cold outside, and were I not old and somewhat frail at the moment, I would have dropped to my knees in awe at the sight.  Even now I am not sure I have been able to fully describe what I saw and felt adequately.  There are no words.

Such majesty.
Just for me to see.
What a tremendous blessing
in that pure and simple
moment. A sweet
glimpse of


It was only seconds . . .  it took only seconds  . . .  for them to pass over my head, but for those few seconds time stood still and I was struck with the wonder of it all. Of how utterly amazing this life can be and how amazing it is.  Of how our days can be filled with the humdrum and the every day happenings and then . . . .  for a miraculous moment, they can be filled with awe and wonder.  I don't think I have ever felt as alive as I did for those few seconds, or as grateful.  What a true and tender blessing it was.  Thank you God. 

Ariana stopped by last night for a brief moment.  Grace's favourite dolly has had an accident and requires surgery.   I will work on it today and have her fixed as good as new for tomorrow morning. I will give it back to her at church.  This time I will use button hole thread and much, much more of it to make sure it is really secure.  It did my heart good to see how loved up this doll is.  I love that Grace loves it.  That's what I was hoping for.  Its always nice to see things I have made being enjoyed!  That goes for cookies, meals, paintings, crafts and dolls.   

Well, there you go. Me in all my wonder with my double chin, my non-existant lips, my pudgy blob of a nose, my frown lines that I can't erase  . . .  altogether not a bad photo I suppose, but proof positive that no matter how hard you try you cannot make a silk purse from a sow's ear!  It looks like me.

And with that I best get off here.  I have back exercises to do or else the Back Doctor is going to give me a fail. 

A thought to carry with you  . . . 

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

If it costs you your peace,
it's too expensive.
~unknown •。★★ 。* 。  

Rocky Road S'Mores  

Cooking in the English Kitchen today  . . .  Rocky Road S'Mores.  Deliciously salty/sweet/chocolaty/crunchy/ooey/gooey!

Have a great Saturday! Don't forget!

═══════════ ღೋƸ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒღೋ ═══════════ ⊰✿░G░O░D⊰✿⊰L░O░V░E░S⊰✿⊰░Y░O░U░⊰✿
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And I do too!