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Take a walk in Blue Bell Woods listen to the sounds around you, of bird song and bees. Smell the flowers and the scent of Spring in the air. Every year is a new beginning and every day a blessing

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts." (Colossians 3:15a NIV)I would love to hear from you, if you don't have a blog you can still comment, join google it's free. I appreciate hearing from you.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Downton Abbey Blues.................

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Today I realized that I am doing something wrong. The people who live in this house with me, the large and small and the visiting kids...........well they have been watching way to much Downton Abbey. They think that there are a hoard of those lovely ladies who work downstairs at Downton living here. It was a major lightbulb moment for me. I mean........it makes perfect sense.

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why else would they leave a trail behind them if there were not the expectation that some lesser being would pick things up? You know what I mean, they leave the bathroom toilet roll holder empty when the new supply is in the drawer. They throw cushions on the floor as they drink their drink  and walk away leaving the glass on the table and the cushions on the floor. I go behind picking up and putting things away.
I also vacuum every day but I wait till everyone is up and not trying to sleep and I try to do it when they are out of the room or somewhere else. Not always but often. So why? after I have done that does one particular person decide to go outside and come in with the salt all over his boots and go sit on a chair in the other room to remove them when there is a chair right next to the door????? WHY WHY WHY???????
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When I have cleaned the entrance he empties the garbage and leaves it sitting there. Or empties the vacuum cleaner bag while he is at it. So can't he see that no little lady came up to do those jobs so why cant he manage to see that its ME!!! who does the pick ups and clean ups. Sigh.........and that little one, well........well he is only 4. But the big ones, toothpaste in the sink to say nothing of other bathroom woes and why oh why do we empty our razor in the toilet so it gets all over the back and sides and floor???????? NEED GLASSES MATE????......................So yes. No more Downton Abbey for him. Humpff!!!
I am sharing this with Anything Blue Friday at The Dedicated House

Monday, January 27, 2014

"happy Cows"




I had to share this because its one of my most favourite videos. If only all cows could be so happy. It makes it so much harder knowing what we do to them when you see their joy here. I wish we could all be vegetarian. Failing that, couldn't we treat them better while they live????

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Managing winter............

Maybe being raised in England has given me a different perspective on things. I know that one has to be sensible. In Michigan winter can be dangerous. It means respecting nature in all things, it means thinking ahead and making do. If you travel anywhere, even a short distance, have essentials in your car. I seldom wear a coat no matter the weather and now I don't have a horse I don't have boots. So........when we travel we have blankets in the car. If we are going any distance I have my coat in the car. I have to say I seldom go out if the weather is iffy. Still, most Michigan cars are equipped with sand bags in the trunk and a shovel, blankets etc. We do if we leave town. Even a short distance in below zero can be deadly so its best to be prepared and if possible don't go. Well, this has been one of those winters. One that will be remembered as was 1978. My granddaughter Gabrielle has stayed here two nights rather than travel on the slick and drifted roads.
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My ex sister in law was up in Canada when this last lot of weather came in. She was stuck an extra day there. The roads were closed. The picture above is the Mackinaw Bridge that connects the Upper and Lower Peninsula's of Michigan. It was closed that day. They escort people over the bridge (5 miles) when the winds are high or visibility is poor. So if you are trying to get either way when it closes you had better have a plan B. That's what its all about, being prepared and making good choices.
A lot of folks have been without power. Again, the secret is planning. Knowing where you live and knowing how to cope when things go wrong. We are lucky here, we don't deal with hurricanes or earthquakes. We do get occasional tornadoes and we do get blizzards. Sometimes forest fires but not on the scale that the folks out west get. Michigan is a pretty safe state if you respect the elements.
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Animals need special care. Bijou had her hair cut but Bella did not. So.......one has a coat on. You can not let animals stay out for any length of time. Even with a coat, their pads on their feet can get frost bite. No problem with these girls. If they don't want to go out there is always the piddle pad by the back door. The cat has a litter box that I seldom have to empty. Well, she has been staying in, I can tell.
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In the house we need to keep candles on hand. We have them somewhere or other in every room. The power here in town is not often off for long, so that when it is its fun. If you live out in the country though, best to invest in a generator. Keep bottled water on hand and a good food pantry. I have always been in the habit of having a stock of food. A flash light and batteries are handy and a radio. When I was a kid, the essential thing was a hot water bottle. I do actually have an old china one here just to remind me of "the olden days". I remember going to bed with my hat and scarf, gloves and hot water bottle. Me and the dog would snuggle to keep warm, but inevitably sleep was hard come by when your breath would frost in the air. The windows would have ice on them inside, and a small trace of snow would be on the window sill come morning. So.......Michigan can not really get me down. I know how to get warm if I have to. Everyone in one bed to begin with and the dogs as well. Maybe the cat?????
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I remember one year when my aunt and uncle had to come to our house on Bidwell Hill every day for water and a bath. The pipes froze under the main road. (In England) When we first came here my sister in law and family came to our house for the night when their furnace went out. It was quite soon after coming here and as happy as I was to have them, I didn't get it. My kids were born in England and mums house had no heat upstairs even then. When Laura was a baby I would go in and make sure she was covered at night, but quite often she was outside the covers fast asleep. Granted it was not sub zero but even so it was bloody cold. Still the kids were healthy and cold didn't bother them.
Now, I find the houses way to warm for me and I like nothing more than standing with the door open while the dogs go potty, and feeling the cold on my skin. I love it........my husband is always yelling "shut the door" .........ah well.
Winter.......its long, really long, almost 6 months of it. I love the change in seasons and I do not like the heat. So apart from the travel aspect that I no longer have to worry about that much, I enjoy the winters. Shorter would be nice but hey, its better than a hurricane.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Travel companions..............

In 2012 my son took me to England for 9 days. We went in August. My cousin Jennifer who lives in Australia is going to London for a week this year. She asked if I would go. Jason and I discussed it but I feel its too soon. I really need to pay off some bills. This has unsettled me though. I long to go home.
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So I have been thinking. I talked with Jason because we were going to try to go this year. We decided we would try for 2015 but for him its not a positive thing. Well my daughters friend Laura (who we call cousin Laura) heard that I had said I want to try to go every 18 months. She wants to go too. So............I will be talking to her soon. She also wants to go to Italy, her husband does not. So I think we may sort something out. If I am really good this year and pay off some bills like I planned, well then I can borrow some of my retirement savings for a nice trip like that. My husband is not keen on a cruise.
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So with this in mind I now have two travel companion possibilities. All I need is money. I was looking at a brochure that came in the mail and I chose 2 trips. One is England and Ireland, it goes into Wales and Scotland and that would be terrific. I know both Laura and Jason would like that one. The other would have to be Laura as Jason has been to Italy and wants to go to places I do not. Now to save, to plan and plot. I figure after I do those two trips, Tristen will be a bit older and Gerry will get his passport. I would love to take Tristen to England but he is just too young yet. None of us would enjoy it. SO, this will be a major challenge.
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The good thing about the British trip is that there is one full day of free time in London. I could meet up with my aunt and cousins on that day. So..........I will be showing this to Laura and Jason and see what we can come up with. I really really want to spend more time in England. I also want to see other countries so I will write a list and come up with some plans. It as always will depend on the economy and so many other things. Still its a goal and we all need to have goals right?

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Poetry.....

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I am not what one would call a lover of poetry. I like it well enough but I am not in love with it. So how come I write it? I can't answer that. Some days it just happens, the words just come and I write them down. Once I have done that its over and done with. I would not recognise something I had written unless it was among my own things. They are written and forgotten. So I decided to start another blog. Am I nuts or what?. I have so many short poems written down that I felt the need to get them all in one place and so a blog seemed appropriate. I can then illustrate it as well. When done I can print it out.

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My uncle Harold loved to write poetry. Neither of us are brilliant poets but I think when it comes from the heart it doesn't somehow matter too much. We write for ourselves. Well my uncle is not with us any more so for me his are a treasure to keep forever because he shared them with me.
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Growing up I was not keen on poems except for a few. My Mother had a couple of books but not much that appealed to me. Then I heard "The Tiger" by William Blake and my ears pricked up. I read others by him, "The Lamb" sweetly simple poems and I loved them. They sparked my imagination. I read "Hiawatha" and that hooked me in. I was looking for more."The Wreck of the Hesperas" and "The Village Blacksmith" ........ The name Walter De La Mare caught my attention, what a great name and I found he had written some nice poems. However when looking at the masters the acclaimed and the famous I didn't get it. They were words wrapped in words and somehow evasive to me. I could not get their meaning while trying to disentangle the words. If I have to work at it I don't Appreciate it. Rather like reading a book I suppose. I want it to grab me on page one and take me on a beautiful journey somewhere, otherwise its not worth it to me if it plods for several chapters. I just don't pick it back up.
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Well the point of this is that I have began a new blog, It will be there for anyone to read but I won't be trying to get readers. So if you are interested please be sure to visit, otherwise I understand. You will only find my stuff there so............anyway.........My Poems is the link to get you there.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Making Salsa.......................

Today we were going to have taco's for supper. Well not really because they were in wraps and not in taco shells.........whatever!!!! So I thought I would have another go at making salsa. The last batch we sort of liked but it was not quite the same as at LaSenorita. So what was the missing ingredient? I did follow a recipe but then added things to it trying to get the taste right.
Basically it is 4 green chili peppers (jalepeno)and 8 Roma tomatoes to that they said to add onion and fresh cilantro (I had to use dried) salt to taste, and garlic. Well I cant remember what I added last time but it was OK just not quite right. I did add lime juice.I tried a teaspoon of sugar, and even added a can of tomatoes with the peppers in it.
So this time I had 6 jalapeno peppers, 9 Roma tomatoes, 1/8 cup of garlic(from a jar) 1/2 can of tomato paste, salt, lemon (did not have lime) dried cilantro, and onions then after looking at a jar of bought salsa, I added some vinegar. I didn't measure things just kept mixing and adding until I liked it.
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we tried it on some crackers and it was pronounced good.
I used Roma tomatoes because they have more flesh and less seed than regular tomatoes.
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Meanwhile, while I am trying to figure out what is missing..........my little helper is washing every dish not hidden away.
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He had declared that it was a PJ day for him. Trouble was he was soaked by the time he did a couple of plates. I got my jars out of the way so he could have at it...........
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Off came the top and he was happy to play with the bubbles but he did actually do the dishes and went looking for more.
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Well Tristen had fun, he declined to taste the end product. I have since found another recipe that I will try next time. Making your own is just so fresh tasting. The bought Salsa is much more tomatoey than mine. Maybe I should try without the green peppers???? This is the end product.
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Next time I am trying a new recipe I found using canned tomatoes, it looks more like the restaraunt style so we shall see. Hey, its never bad so why not keep trying. Right!!! If anyone has a great salsa recipe I would love if you would share it.




also linking with



Lavender Garden Cottage
and also with I should be mopping the floor

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Little Chef...............

Today I had a good idea to get Tristen busy. Gerry had complained that we didn't have any cookies left in the house. I gave it all away because I sure don't need that stuff and neither does he. He would not agree with that I have no doubt. Anyway.....I had two cake mixes left, both orange. One I had decided to make cookies with. I made lemon ones and everyone liked them. I wondered if they would be good in orange. SO.............I called Tristen and told him a I had a job for him and Granddad. He was enthused and dragged Granddad in to see what was what.
I showed them what they were making. That got him excited. First I gave him the cake pans and papers. He had to set a paper in each cup. Some had multiple papers but I let that go.........next was to get the eggs out, he was excited about that and wanted to crack them. FOCUS.......no we don't want to crack them, go get two more.....phew!!!. After everything was measured and in the bowl he got to mix it with a big fork, and then I gave him the beaters. (I was not letting him near my food mixer)His face was a picture when he got to the beating part. Here are some pictures.
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This is his embarrassed to be proud of himself face.
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He couldn't contain himself, he just got the biggest grin and then burst out laughing
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He did a great job, then took a break to lick the beaters while Gerry put the batter in the cups.
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The cakes came out perfect
Tristen tried one an announced it was good. I snuck in and did the frosting.
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I had to agree, they were good. Not something I would normally do but I needed to use up all my baking supplies. I still have more to do. Maybe later this week, but this one was for Tristen to do.
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not bad for a 4 year old chef.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My House..............

I was thinking about my house this morning. It is New Years Day and this morning I snuck into Alex's room (as we still call it) where baby Cooper was sleeping. I could hear him sucking his fingers but he was not yet awake. So I went and got dressed before going back in to get him. I pulled the curtains back and heard him natter to himself, his eyes were open so I picked him up and got a big grin,we went downstairs.
(Cooper)
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My house has seen a lot of activity over the years. This New Year Gabby and Tony (Coopers mum and dad) came back to my house after their celebrations to spend the night. Gabby's Dad lives with us and was in the next room, but he came in later. My husband and I were sleeping and heard not a thing. Tristen (Alex son) woke up from a bad dream sometime in the night and Gerry went in and slept with him. He slept till 8.30 this morning. A very rare thing.
(one Christmas season)
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When we first moved in here in approx 1983(can't remember) it was the first house that we had not built ourselves.My husband is a carpenter, he builds houses. We had intended to move back to England but that had not worked out. So when our house sold unexpectedly we sought out and found this one. Over the years we have added to it and remodeled it. We had our own 3 kids with us when we moved in. Over the years it has seen many people come and go. When my boys left home to go into the USMC for 6 years each, they would come home on leave. When done with that and at the local college they moved home for the year before going to college up north.
My daughter Laura married and moved away. She would come home for 6 months at a time when Dan (first husband) went overseas on deployment. So I would have her and her girls with us during that time.She felt better being home rather than in North Carolina alone.
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After the boys had gone, one of their friends, Jason moved in for 6 months while he got settled and found himself a place closer to town. Now, if I were a gun toting type of person I could have been in trouble quite a few times. Jason would have a friend stay now and then when someone he knew came to town. Quite often I was unaware of this. I do recall one day standing at the stove cooking when an unknown (to me) young man came upstairs, said good morning and went upstairs to take a shower.............hmmmm who the heck is that I wonder????? I just said "good morning" ......was not till later I found out who he was.
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One day when Mum and Dad were over visiting us from England, just after we first moved in here......Gerry and I were sleeping on the living room floor having given up our room to them. Well according the the next door neighbour, Bud...a lady from across the street who we did not know, walked right in (we never locked our doors).She must have had a good look around and then left.They made sure she came out again before calling to make sure we were OK. We never saw or heard a thing. At that time they had closed the state hospital and some of the inmates rented over the road from us. On another occasion prior to that visit, the same lady according to my dad...........was standing out in our garden stark naked. My Dad said " Hey there's a naked lady outside" my husband "yeah right" goes to look "Bloody hell there really is" he says .....my mum "well Harry you don't have to stand there and gawp at her" "why not" says Dad. I called the police and said " Um can you send a car around please we have a naked person in our driveway". Poor cop......he arrives and I gave him a coat for her to wear as he had her in the front seat next to him..............Well she moved out after a bit because she didn't seem capable of staying on her meds. I could tell a few tales of some of the other folks who stayed there on and off too. Recent years have seen different, more permanent renters.
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Well next came some friends of ours who got divorced, our friend Pat moved in with us. Twice.
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After that my daughter and son in law were divorced and She came home to live for a time and again when she divorced for the 2nd time.

Laura and her family
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Eventually Dan (husband number one)retired from the Marine corps and he and the 3 girls came back to Michigan. They moved in until Dan married again.
Next was Danielle, the eldest granddaughter, she came to stay when she began college. It was her safety net. She was away from home but still under our care and learning how to be independent, working and going to school etc. She was still with us when Dan asked if I would take Alexandra, she was not getting along at home. So she came here next. It was rough going in some ways as the two girls would find it difficult to get along sometimes. Danielle being oldest was the little mother type and Alex was having none of that. Danielle eventually went away to college and has recently become a nurse and married. Alexandra went home for a short time but was soon back again and she remained with us until she died.
Alexandra was difficult. She was a free spirit. She had many problems, some from the divorce but also her personality type. The last year of high school her friend Fallon moved in with us for her last year of school. Fallon's folks had moved away and she was not doing well with her guardian so, yup, she moved in with us. I think those girls had some good times during that year. Some not so good too. (smile)......Alex eventually became serious with a boy who was just not good for her. They had some emotional breakups and always got back together. Eventually she got pregnant and had Tristen. She died in a car accident during a winter storm and I am raising Tristen.
Alexandra and Tristen on his first birthday, how could we know time was so short
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Gabrielle the youngest of the 3 had gone downstate to college. When Alex died she came home. With that shock, she just could not handle being away from family and rather than go home, she came here. She only left last year when Cooper was born, she moved in with her boyfriend. So..............I was thinking of all of this as I was pulling back the curtains to let the light in and see to Cooper. Dan, my daughters ex first husband is living here as he is in the process of a divorce from his 2nd wife. Not sure how long he will be here.
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I guess its a friendly old house. It has seen so much and no one wants us to move as its been the "home base" for so long now. I would love a smaller place but it does not seem likely at this point. Over the years of remodeling we now have 5 bedrooms. Only 2 baths though. Still its all we really need most of the time. Tristen tells his Grandpa Dan that he can use HIS bathroom. He knows Alex's room was his Mothers room and he does like to go in there, even though I make him stay out. Lots of breakables in there. Not that it matters but if I didn't he would play in there and well..........I have to have SOME rooms that stay clean and tidy. Down in the basement are two rooms, one a library with a double bed, the other room is now Dans and he cleared all my stuff out. Boo hoo. I don't go in there and we put a lock on so Tristen doesn't either. Upstairs are 3 bedrooms. Alex room, Tristen's room and our room. There are usually two rooms free for overnight guests. I always have the beds made up. They come home for Christmas or Thanksgiving or a summer trip or just a visit. In winter they stay if the roads are bad or just because..........
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The house was originally very small, part was brought in from the country in the 1800s and added on to what was already here. We added first a bigger kitchen and laundry and a 1/2 bath.Later a dining room was added. So downstairs (ground floor) has a family/tv room, a sitting room, dining, kitchen and laundry a 1/2 bath and the old dining room. I suppose that could be a breakfast room, but it is soon to be altered again when we change the back entrance. The house is a living thing, it evolves. When we change it, the room will be Tristen's play room with access to the deck via the new back door. I have always been attached to houses in my life. My grandparents homes, my mums home but I have never set my heart to one of my own. I am still not really in love with this one but..........well its as close as I will come because my heart will always be in England, but this is close enough.