Friday 31 December 2021

Friday This and That . . .



I'm sitting here this morning watching snow fall from the skies. The kittens are watching it from my front window with great interest as well. It probably won't last as it is supposed to turn to rain by this afternoon, which could make for some slushy driving.  I hope not as I am supposed to go to my Sister's for supper tonight. She is making pizza. I like pizza and it isn't something that I really make for myself from scratch these days.  Or if I do, I use baby naan breads and make an itsy bitsy one.  I am looking forward to having a real one. 

I am not sure how I feel about this Winter business.  I am certainly better prepared for it this year than I was last year however, having gotten some nice mittens and a scarf for Christmas. We didn't really get much snow or really freezing weather in the UK.  A tiny bit of snow brought things pretty much to a standstill over there, and was the topic of conversation for days to come. 

The absolute most snow I saw whilst living over there was when we were down in Brenchley that last winter I worked there.  I remember calling it Snowmageddon. Out in the middle of nowhere, everything was so pristine and quiet, silent. My employers were away so we were able to really enjoy it.  I remember walking Jess (our Border Collie) through it and throwing snowballs for her to run and catch. Of course she could not find them which was very perplexing to her. 


The little boy next door (the Estate Manager's son) left a snowman for us on our gate post.  He would be a grown up man now.  That was 13 years ago now, and he was about 8 then. I wonder what he did with his life. He was a real character.  Zack was his name. I used to really enjoy him. He loved to come over and play with Jess. 

What a strange few years we have had to cope with and with no end to them in sight really.  This Covid business, I thought it would all be over with in about six months time. It is hard to believe that nearly two years later we are still living with and trying to cope with it.  This latest surge is the worst one ever. Here in Nova Scotia our numbers are increasing every day.  We have more cases now than we have ever had.  I am due to receive a booster on the 11th of January here in town at the drug store. It is the Moderna.  The first shot I had was the Moderna.  I really didn't have any reaction to it that I can recall other than an itchy rash on my arm about a week or so later.  My sister had Moderna last time and she was very ill afterwards for a few days.  

Oddly enough we are all set to have it on the same day.  I hope we will be okay.  That is also the day that Cinnamon is being spayed and I want to be able to care properly for her. I don't want to cancel her appointment as it is almost cutting it too close to the line for her going into heat as it is. I wish they had let me do both of them at the same time when I had Nutmeg done.  The difficult part will be making sure he doesn't annoy her overly afterwards. 


 One of my goals for the coming year is to make enough Christmas ornaments so that I can have a real Christmas Tree next Christmas. I did miss having one this year, but truthfully I feel it would only have been a source of great angst with the cats and all.  They are going concerns and next year they should be a lot more settled.  In any case, I think that over the period of 12 months I should be able to have quite a few done. Maybe 2 per month? We will see what happens!  The best laid plans and all . . .  knowing me I will be sitting here next December and not have done a one.  (I hope not, but that's me!) 

Another thing I would like to do is to lose some weight.  Me and a bazillion others I know.  I have managed to put on I don't know how much weight over the past year and I need to take it off and more before its too late. I am not a person that weighs herself. I have not stepped on a pair of scales in years now. Its far too depressing.  The last time I lost any appreciable amount of weight was when I did hypnotherapy back in 2009.  I went down two sizes then and was feeling quite good about myself.  Then I lost my job and everything went to hell in a handbasket.  I ended up putting all of that weight back on and then some.

I was never overweight as a girl, although I did have a chubby period when I was about 14.  I verged on the edge of being anorexic between the ages of 15 and 19 I think. I was afraid to eat unless I had been smoking pot (sorry folks). Of course then I would eat things I shouldn't like butter tarts. haha  My sister and I would buy a packet of butter tarts and share it and I remember them tasting really, really good.  I also remember eating my first sub sandwich at the sub shop here in Greenwood and it tasting really good as well, again pot induced.  


I was never really overweight until I quite smoking.  Not even after all the babies.  My youngest was about 6 months old in this photo and I am holding him.   I quit smoking not too long after this photo was taken and I had my tubes tied at the same time.  That's when the weight started to pile on.  I think I also became quite unhappy as well with lots of things, mostly my marriage.  When I think back to this time and the few years afterwards I think that was the last time I was really happy in my marriage. Everything started to go downhill from there.   But that is an old horse that I don't want to beat. It is what it is.  I have five beautiful children who are all very good and decent people, and 8 beautiful grandchildren.  None of them would be here without that. 

I've started to read a new book. Atlas of the Heart by Brene Brown.  It was one that I saw online. I read an excerpt and was hooked.  Could this be me, finally getting ahold of my emotions and figuring out what makes me tick?  I sure hope so! 

Yesterday I was reading near the beginning of the book and it really resonated with me. (And I've only just started the book!) She was talking about being the oldest of the children in her family and how as the oldest she had had to feel the brunt of the madness of what her family life was and how she had felt the responsibility of protecting her siblings from the unpredictable swings of happenstance.  It should come as no surprise that my parents were never happily married. My father always had one foot out the door and my mother was immensely pre-occupied with keeping him in the door.  It was a highly unstable emotional upbringing. 

As the oldest I always felt like the great keeper of secrets. I was probably privy to a lot more than my brother and sister were.  I often had to be the "adult." I love my parents, and I know that they did the best they knew how. I know now, as an adult, that they loved us. They were not the best of parents, but they were a far cry from being the worst and I am grateful for them and all that they did for us. 

I realize, however, that I have spent my whole life caring for other people and never caring for myself.

Anyways, I hope that this book will help me to learn something about myself and my feelings, and perhaps help to reshape the remainder of my life in a meaningful and purposeful way.  I credit my faith with helping to have gotten me this far, but to be honest I don't really want to end my days feeling like I have failed at almost everything, which is how I feel right now. 

My  book seems to be doing okay at the moment.  Yesterday it was within the top ten (#8) of English, Scottish &Welsh Cooking and Wine books on Amazon, this morning it is 11th, so it has slipped a bit, but it is still within the top 200 in baking books. Reviews thus far have been quite good, so I am pleased with that.  I know that I have always said that all I ever wanted to be was a wife and a mother, and that is true, but I can remember when I was about 9 or 10 wanting also to be a writer. I remember borrowing a friends toy typewriter to write a play that we then put on in a neighbors garage for all the neighborhood children.  I have always loved words and stringing them together into stories, etc.  Maybe reading Brene's book will help me to conquer my demons and become the writer I always wanted to be.  Maybe not.

I am pleased with how my book is doing thus far.  I am very grateful for each and every review. It all helps. So I thank everyone for that. It means a lot to me. 


I am a person who hates competing.  I have never liked to play competitive sports, games, etc.  I hate participating in anything where there are winners and losers. Why can't we all be winners?  Why can't we all celebrate the differences in each other that make us the wonderful creatures that we are?  I truly believe that comparison is the thief of joy.  Your best does not have to be my best. My best does not have to come up to or surpass yours. I have seen it happen over and over again. This comparison game stealing the light and joy out of people's lives.  I think if every person just tries to be their best person then that should be enough, is enough. As soon as something starts to feel like a competition to me, then I lose interest and stop enjoying it.  

Having said that, there is nothing wrong in feeling proud of having done a good job, or having lived your best life, of feeling a sense of pride in success.  But not at the expense of other people's feelings or successes.  I have always felt that the audience is the most important part of any show.  What would any show, concert, book, etc. be without someone to appreciate it.  They would be nothing really.  The appreciators are the most important part of anything . . .  cake, movies, books, concerts, shows, etc.  And so I appreciate and I applaud all of those who do likewise.  We are a great crew are we not?  We who love and support others and their successes? 

And now I am babbling on about nothing so I will end it here with Happy New Year Wishes for you all.  I truly hope that 2022 will bring nothing but good things to our tables.  New skills, happy re-awakenings, health, friendship, family happiness, faith promoting experiences, joy, peace and success in whatever it is you want to succeed.

Be happy.  Be content.  Feed your soul. Find joy in the everyday and the meaningful. Rock on!
A thought to carry with you  . . . 

° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★
*.˛Self security is the open and nonjudgmental
acceptance of one's own weaknesses.
~Alice Huang & Howard Berenbaum 
° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •° * 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •° * 。 • ˚ ˚ 

In The English Kitchen today I have correlated a group of favorite picky bits and appetizers for New Years Eve.  If you are lucky blessed enough to have someone to celebrate it with maybe one or two of these might give you something edible to enjoy together!  Happy New Year!

See you next year!  (haha, corny I know!)  Don't forget and always remember! 

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And I do too.

Thursday 30 December 2021

My Favorite Things . . .



A few of the things in life that make my heart go pitter pat. Maybe they will do the same thing for yours. ♥♥♥    I'm pretty sure however, that these things mainly make my own heart sing.     

Today a my favorite things of 2021 version. It may not have been the easiest year for most of us with Covid, etc. but there were plenty of things to be happy about! 

It was a year of tremendous growth and healing for me.  I started it off feeling very broken, but with the love, help and support of family, friends, faith, etc. I am ending it in a very different frame of mind.  What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and I feel much stronger.  Feeling stronger and growing in positive ways.  A favorite thing of 2021. 

Being able to do things for and spend time with my dad.  A huge favorite from 2021.  This was the Lac St Jean tortiere my sister and I had made for him at New Years. We are going to make him one for his birthday this year.  Stay tuned!  


The Canadian Winter. After 20 years without a real Winter, this was really refreshing. I love snow.  I don't love driving in it, but I love the pristine feeling and the way the air feels after a fresh snowfall. 



Paint days with my sister.  Getting my toes wet again, but the best part is being able to do this with my sister. My best friend of 63 years.  What a great blessing. 

My sister is so talented in everything she does.  I have really enjoyed renewing our relationship/friendship and getting close again this year. Oh, we were never really far apart, but its been a real blessing for me to be able to bridge the distance between us and to be amigos again in real time rather than internet time.  She has always been and is my best friend. 


Not only are we best friends, but we became Soul Sisters this year.  We each got a soul, mine red, hers blue.  Being able to drive again, feeling comfortable about it,  after many years of not driving has been wonderful.  I felt as if I had my freedom back.  That's a very special thing.  I was a bit nervous at first, but it all feels quite good now. 

Moving into my very first forever after home. It was quite a journey, but I finally got there.  I was ever so grateful for my sister and Dan having put up with me for the six months I was with them, but it was nice as well to finally be able to move into my own place. 


The fun of moving into my new place, furnishing and decorating itself and putting my own stamp on it. It is an ongoing process.  The trick is not to fill it with a bunch of tat and things I don't need.  I didn't go through all that pain of downsizing just to clutter up my life again.  

Adventures with Chippy.  They were great fun.  I enjoyed his daily visits.  He/she was getting quite tame by the end of the summer and into the autumn. 


Experiencing the bright autumn colors of North America again. I enjoyed that so much!


Getting my two little babies.  They were really tiny when they first moved in, but have grown a lot since them.  They are almost six months old now and wonderful little forces of energy. 


They used to fit in the bowl on my coffee table  . . . 

Now they hardly fit in their scratching post basket  . . . 

One thing they fit really well in however, is  . . .  my life!  They have added immeasurable joy to it! 


Being able to write and publish another book. That is pretty exciting and it seems to be well received so far. I am sorry if I confused people yesterday with my bit about endorsers.  Endorsers are not reviewers. They are people who are supposed to endorse my skills as a cook/writer/blogger/person. There were only five of them. I needed three. So far only two have fulfilled it.  I was a bit disappointed that the others haven't because that affects my contract obligations. And if I don't fulfil them, then I will be in breach of my contract.  It has nothing to do with actual book reviews.  Those are a completely different thing.

In any case, getting to write a new book is a one of my favorite things, even if I never get paid for it.  I still really enjoyed the process! 


I got to see and spend time with two of my grandsons this year.  That was a real favorite thing.  Josh and Jon (actually last December), and of course my son Doug and his wife Kayla.  Spending time with family was a great blessing. 

Jon and Josh

Family truly is every thing. I have also gotten to spend quality time with Eileen and Tim off and on through the year, which has been another favorite thing of mine. 


Getting to see the old family farm, and going to visit mom's grave.  My Uncle Harold's birthday, my cousins.  All of those have been favorite things this year.  Well, not that my mom is gone, per se , but at least being able to visit her grave, which is something I could not do before. 


The many kindnesses of others scattered throughout my year.  From friends, family, YOU all.  They have not been taken for granted, but have been greatly appreciated and valued.  All of this has been part of my recovery and a huge blessing in my life.  Certainly one of the greatest of my favorite things. 


This has just been a really good year.  Filled with abundance and plenty of things that brought me joy and peace and happiness.  Thank you all for being a part of that.  From the bottom of my heart.

A thought to carry with you  . . . 

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

 *.˛The broken hearted are 
the bravest among us.
They dared to love.
~Brene Brown•。★★ 。* 。   

In The English Kitchen today  . . .  How to make a Breakfast Board, with Cookies N' Cream waffles, silver dollar pancakes, bacon, sausage, cheesy scrambled eggs, etc.

I hope your day is filled with some of your favorite things.  Don't forget!  

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And I do too.

Wednesday 29 December 2021

The Simple Woman's Daybook . . .



FOR TODAY, December 29th, 2021

Outside my window ...
It has snowed during the night. Everything looks cool, pristine and silent. I love the silence after a snowfall. You could hear a pin drop.

I am thinking ...
Apparently several of the people who agreed to do endorsements of my new book haven't done so. Now the publisher is on at me for not fulfilling my contractual obligations.  I wish people wouldn't say they will do something and then not do it.  I am grateful for those who did endorse it however. Now I need to find someone else, and quickly.  NOTE - an endorsement is not the same as a review of the book.  There were only three endorsements needed and they were simply a few lines about me as a person, writer, cook, blogger, etc.  The actual reviews of the book are entirely different and I am totally in line with those!  Sorry for any confusion!

I am thankful for ...
Family. My health. My home. My faith. I have much to be grateful for. 

In the kitchen ... 

Cordon Bleu Sliders for two.  With turkey, ham, a honey-mustard mayo, cranberry horseradish sauce and swiss cheese.  Topped with everything bagel spice. These made a nice light lunch. Delicious! (I know, I say that about everything, but it' true!) 

On my "To Cook" list ... 

A Wicked Whisk.  This looks like a refreshing way to begin the day! 

Good to know ... 

From Mother's Niche.  

I am wanting to create ... 

Yesterday afternoon I went over to my sisters and we did some art together.  We did a Mini Monday Madness from Ellen Crimi-Trent on YouTube.  This was mine. Mind didn't turn out to look overly much like hers, but its okay.

Purl Soho on Ravelry. Love these vintage baby patterns. 

Cannot find the source, but love this. 

Still loving this.  Sigh . . .  

FAb ARt DIY  Another version I like even more! 

I am reading ... 

SAFE PASSAGE, by Carla Kelly
It’s 1912, the beginning of the Mexican Revolution—and the Mormon colonists must flee to the United States. When his estranged wife is mistakenly left behind, Ammon Hancock goes back to rescue her. But when he finds her, he must coax her to follow him to safety… and maybe even love him again. This revolution could be the very thing that ends their war of hearts. 

I have read several of Carla's books in the past and really enjoyed them. 

Dreaming about ... 


A whale of a butter dish . . . 


Blue and White Plates  . . . 


Pie  . . . 


Blue and white tea cups  . . . 


Ripe figs  . . . 

Something to watch ... 

Vigil on Prime, starring Surrane Jones  ... fabulous

Makes me smile ... 


Hens and chicks in the garden  . . . 

Corners of my kingdom ... 


Outside my back door this morning  . . . .

A thought to carry with you  ... 

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

 *.˛.At two o’clock in the morning, 
if you open your window and listen, 
You will hear the feet of the Wind 
that is going to call the sun. 
And the trees in the Shadow rustle 
and the trees in the moonlight glisten, 
And though it is deep, dark night, 
you feel that the night is done.
~Rudyard Kipling•。★★ 。* 。 

And that's my daybook for this week  . . .  

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

   ⋰ ⋮ ⋱ blessings in life.*´¯`.¸¸.☆   


✿¸.•*¨`*•..✿✿¸.•*¨`*•..✿ ✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿ ✿¸.•*¨`*•..¸✿ ✿¸.• ╬♥═╬╬═♥=╬╬═♥╬╬═♥╬╬═♥=╬╬♥═╬♥╬╬═♥╬╬═♥=╬╬♥
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Have a beautiful day and don't forget!  

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And I do too!