Friday, May 28, 2010


And I mean that! Thanks be to God that it's Friday! I've made it to Friday and that right there is a miracle! My brother and sister in law arrived after a 22 hour traveling ordeal. They missed the Confirmation Mass but were able to make it to the reception.I'm just happy that they were able to get over here after all what they went through.

So the kids had to go to school today, my m-i-l and her sister are sleeping, I'm typing away in my jammies and the cat is meowing to get outside... yes, my life is back to normal. With coffee in hand I'm ready to conquer the world!

The confirmation Mass was lovely, with the Archbishop presiding, along with my 2 most favorite priests it was a most humbling and beautiful service. How moving? Well at one point I was crying tears of joy. You could feel the love from our fellow parishioners pouring out to our 2 Confirmandi. The dinner event after the Mass was extraordinary! The food, table settings- everything was everything that it should be. My whole hearted thanks go out to everyone who helped to make this event such a special one!

I'll have pictures soon as our Daughter's Religious Education teacher was taking pictures - he is out in residence photographer...Bob's photographic work is astounding! I am so thankful and feel so blessed that he did this for our 2 Confirmandi's for FREE! What a true blessing!

Quote of the Day

I dream, therefore I become.
-Cheryl Renée Grossman

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Confirmation Day

It's here, it's finally here...a real photographic moment for me to take pictures of!!! Something else...we're in panic mode. We have 4 family members arriving from Boston and what happens? Flight delays on one of the flights. So 2 family members will be arriving hours before the others. I feared that something like this would happen. So now were buzzing around like a bunch of bees trying to get last minute things together here, and we have to drive out to the school to pick up our eldest who has testing today. Not what I planned but I'll roll with it. Keep you up to to run off and finish up some stuff and get my spouse out the door to pick up is mom and aunt.

Quote of the day

I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much.
-Mother Teresa

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Start Each Day in a Happy Way

It's a Wednesday and what do I seem to be doing on Wednesdays anymore...yup it's cooking! Tomorrow we celebrate Hannah's confirmation in our Catholic Parish. There's of course the Bishop who's coming out to perform the Confirmation Mass and the dinner we parishioners are catering. Our theme is Italian foods.., now who doesn't like Italian food? I mean really!
So here I am. surrounded by meatballs. I've made over 300 of them so far and I still have 2½ pounds ( that's a little over 1kg) of meat to go. The question is...should I open those packages of ground pork and beef (that's "mince" for my friends here in the UK) or should I take a break and call it good? I vote for a break, I think that I deserve one. Oh and all the time while I've been cooking and rolling meatballs I've been having to run outside and move the sprinkler around-ugh!

After my break then I'm on to chopping and dicing fruits and veggies to make chicken salad for tomorrows lunch and possibly (if I haven't fainted from pure exhaustion at this point) making some mini cheesecake desserts for the dinner tomorrow-again that is IF!

Time for a break...toast with jam and tea..m'm!

Quote of the Day

My mother buried three husbands, and two of them were just napping.
- Rita Rudner

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Art- is in the eye of the beholder

It's hard to imagine my life without art. I see it everywhere- in flower beds, in architecture and in the presentation of food. My crafting medium these days seems to be food. I love to create with my hands, that's why I love paper crafting, designing and making window treatments, needlework and quilting. But there's whole new world opens up for me when I use my chef's knife and a bamboo cutting board. I think my passions take turns and they go in a rotation. I'm starting to work on needlework projects again, I can't go to sleep without reading first and I seem to have a major cooking project going on every time I do "What's on your Work Desk Wednesday".

Today I shall be grocery shopping for items to make that special luncheon for our family that arrives on Thursday, also for those great dishes I'm making for our confirmation dinner on Thursday. I would love to bring my camera to the grocery store- but I would probably get some strange looks when taking pictures of produce or the fresh breads section- don't you think so?

Quote of the Day

Please write again soon. Though my own life is filled with activity, letters encourage momentary escape into others lives and I come back to my own with greater contentment.
-Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey,
'A Woman of Independent Means'

Monday, May 24, 2010

Why is it...?

That when my life gets hectic that I must immerse myself into something creative? I suppose that it's my way of letting my mind escape it's trappings and do something fun. This week IS going to be a very busy week for me.

♥Monday- planning the weeks menus, getting laundry caught up, clean out fridge, organize the menu for the Confirmation dinner.

♥Tuesday- grocery shopping- make dinner reservations for Friday Night, plan picnic lunch for Saturday and/or Sunday.

♥Wednesday- cook foods for Confirmation dinner (yes,I'm catering), tidy house for guests arriving from the states.

♥Thursday- go over guest bathroom one last time, prepare beds for guests, make some closet space for said guests, Confirmation event to be followed by Confirmation Dinner. Set up tables and arrange flowers, finish meal prep at chapel annex. Go back home get ready, pick up family go back to church.

♥Friday- exhale! Pick kids up early from school- bring Granny and Aunt to Kingham Hill school to have a look see. Dinner reservations planned at Cartwright Hotel.

♥Saturday- take entire family and relations to Blenheim Palace possible dinner at Pudding Face.

♥Sunday- attend church, have picnic lunch- note to self...need to find place for said picnic.

Quote of the day

Life is a great big canvas; throw all the paint on it you can.
-Danny Kaye

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunshine in England

I know that it's some sort of running joke that it rains all of the time in England but I have to say that it's simply not true! we have had the most enjoyable weather lately. Yesterday my entire family and myself managed to get a sunburn! Today it's supposed to get up to 80º, how delightful! Now for the not so delightful part- homes here do not have central air conditioning. We bought a portable air conditioning unit last summer- it saved us when it got so hot in the house that we couldn't breathe. Here where we are is much like where we lived in Maine- it doesn't get really hot for longer than a couple of weeks each year. BUT when it does get hot, you are truly miserable!

Quote of the Day

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.
- Kurt Vonnegut

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My busy life

As I try to get over feeling so sullen over what has happened in Afghanistan, I'm suddenly snapped into focus on my own base. There was a motorcycle accident involving 2 young military members on Thursday evening. They were taken to two different hospitals one was taken by helicopter. One of those airmen are new to our base, only been here a month. He has a wife-who I just in met in person at our spouses group bingo event on Tuesday and they have a small baby. That poor woman's world is now turned upside down.

Her husband went into surgery yesterday and she wanted to be with him- we had been talking about baby sitters and such before this sad event happened because she was so happy to have made some new friends at the Bingo event and they had made plans are were all going to meet up at the club on base. As we all know, life can turn on a dime and suddenly she doesn't need a baby sitter for Friday night, she needs childcare for her baby all day so she can be with her husband who is having surgery. Of course I step up, what is a friend if not there in another friends hour of need? I can not possibly even begin to imagine the amount of stress this woman has pumping though her veins- new base, new country, husband in a motor vehicle accident. A dear friend lent me a pack and play so baby had a place to sleep, others stopped by and played with baby.Another friend did the tag team babysitting with me while I got out and ran some errands. Our neighborhood pitched in and helped me out with baby- it was wonderful! I was also able to arrange to have a couple more ladies contact our new spouse and arrange child care over the weekend. We've got such a terrific group of spouses here at Croughton, I can't begin to tell how proud I am of them!
Please pray for the recovery of our airmen. We're still waiting to hear on the status of the 2nd person as that person had received spinal injuries.

Quote of the Day

All is in the hands of man. Therefore wash them often.
- Stanislaw J. Lec

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My military life

It's not easy being a military wife. It's reading my e-mails this morning that have put me in a somber mood. The first was from a dear friend whose husband is deployed to Afghanistan who wrote of her husband called her to tell her that their base was under attack. That they were sustaining heavy fire. he was scared for his life. The other being from another military girlfriend who I've known for nearly 20 years who asked us to pray for a friend of hers- her friends husband was killed in that attack on the same base in Afghanistan. He left behind a wife and 5 children and a new grandchild- of whom he probably never got to see in person. Here is the news story on MSNBC if you care to care it- Insurgents attack Bagram Air Field. My Heart is breaking for both of these families.

...meanwhile as I pull myself together after wiping away the tears I remember my duty to the airmen and women living in our dorms at the base. Tonight is Dorm Dinner night, where we have a big sit down meal with the single members of our military community and show them how much we appreciate their service to our great country and that we truly do care about them. As I sit here peeling what seems to be an enormous amount of apples I think about how happy this meal will make them, those that are so far away from home- some for the very first time. It's important to get to know those around you, to show them kindness and let them know that they're aren't alone. I did this last night with the spouses function. Sure it was pottery bingo- but we had a handful of new to our base spouses come to their first ever base spouses group function. It's important to give a warm welcome to those ladies (and men) who stand here on the sidelines waiting for their loved ones to come back to them after being "down range". Many of these military spouses are new to this strange world of acronyms and uniforms not to mention having their husbands or wives working such long or strange hours. Many of our spouses are the farthest away from home as they've ever been, and they feel lonely. I'm here and with the help from a terrific group of ladies to help them through that lonely transition time. We do this through getting out and becoming active in things like dorm dinners, lunch bunch, crafting groups, walking groups and more. If you read my bio you know how truly dedicated I am to the military spouse support system. No military spouse has it easy but we can help to ease their burden by showing that we care.

Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired.
Mother Teresa

Quote of the Day

The Serenity Prayer
The full text of the original "Serenity Prayer" written by Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

GOD, grant me the serenity
to accept the things
I cannot change,

Courage to change the
things I can, and the
wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardship as the
pathway to peace.

Taking, as He did, this
sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it.

Trusting that He will make
all things right if I
surrender to His Will;

That I may be reasonably happy
in this life, and supremely
happy with Him forever in
the next.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Copy Machines- a Security Risk

I'm posting a youtube news video that I hope that everyone will take the time to watch- it is an eye opener to say the least about the dangers of digital copiers. And this is why we never donate a computer- we take the hard drive out of it and smash it to smithereens with a hammer...same goes for our copier/scanner/fax machines.

Can you say BUSY?

My days are filled with busy whatnot's. I seem to spend a lot more time in my kitchen and laundry room than in my craft room these days. Last week was the dinner party for 15, yesterday there was the appreciation luncheon I hosted for my board members (lunch for 5) this morning I'm baking treats for the Spouses group event tonight and tomorrow I'm making a big Ole pot of Jambalaya for the dorm dinner (another base function) and then Hearts Apart on Thursday. There's next week -Hannah's confirmation of which I am in charge of the catering. Yup, I am spending my life in the kitchen. Good thing that I like to cook eh?

Quote of the Day

People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of their character.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Quote of the Day

What a blessing it would be if we could open and shut our ears as easily as we open and shut our eyes!
- Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I ♥ my daughter

I think that I have just about the most thoughtful and fun loving daughter anyone could ever wish to have. This is a wonderful child that I thank the Lord for (on most days). She continues to amaze me with her quirky sense of humor, her thoughtfulness, her generosity and her unconditional love of her friends and of course her dork brother.This is a person that will find happiness wherever life takes her and will strive to make a difference in the world around her.

Yesterday as we are on our mother/daughter trip to Maidenhead to pick up my latest e-bay find and then to Windsor Castle she says to me "Mom, I want to pay for the tureen, I want it to be a gift from me to you". As feelings rushed through me all I could think was Oh my goodness what a truly wonderful, loving thoughtful and generous child I have been blessed with!

So here it is, my gift from my daughter...a Portmeirion Soup Tureen, pattern is Pomona. I know that this kind of thing isn't for everyone and some people are happy serving their store bought soup right out of the cook-pot. As for me, I like to make soup from scratch and now I can serve it up right! My many thanks go to my loving daughter Hannah! Now her Momma can have luncheons and dinner parties in style!

Quote of the Day

There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer; no disease that enough love will not heal; no door that enough love will not open.
-Emmet Fox

Saturday, May 15, 2010

It's Saturday!

What to do on a nice weekend like this...maybe go out and do something touristy with my daughter while my husband has to work and our teenage son wants to do nothing but sleep and play video games with his friends.

Quote of the Day

Work and struggle and never accept an evil that you can change.
-Andre Gide

Friday, May 14, 2010

Dinner for 15

This went off so well that I would love to do it again! The recipes should soon be trickling in and once they are then I will be posting them on my cooking blog. Clean up was a snap! My behind the scenes helpers kicked in and did a fantastic job -many thanks to my awesome husband and daughter!

Just so you know- I'm not one to use disposable cups, plates or plastic eating utensils- I have a serious aversion to using such things in my own home. It's been about 15 years now but I remember it like it was yesterday - I ruined a very nice outfit because of a cheap quality paper plate at a First Friday function and ever since then I just avoid using them period!

I served everyone off of real dinner plates- a big Hooray goes out to my Fiesta Ware 10 inch plates and my Portmeirion 8 inch plates! I was in my element last night! I got to use those lovely large serving bowls and platters that I have collected. German pottery, English pottery, American pottery and Polish pottery. And it all looked so beautiful together. I received many compliments from the ladies who loved how all of the dishes meshed together and I have a few ladies who are VERY interested in going on a pottery shopping trip to Stoke-on-Trent with me the next time I go. Life is Good!

Now for the good stuff- what was served (m'm). My theme was "Salad's". I was the hostess for this months event (meals I made have a * by them) and everyone brought a dish to share (on our theme)...We had 3 different versions of
♥Caprese Salad* (one can never have enough of this stuff) I made a roasted tomato version of this the evenings event.
♥Cornbread Salad
♥Broccoli Salad
♥Grilled marinated Steak Salad
♥Orzo Pasta Chicken Salad
♥Raw Spinach w/Fresh Fruit Salad* and home made Asian dressing*
♥Baked Spinach Salad*
♥Sandie's Chick Food Chicken Salad* with Croissants
♥Asian Salad* with homemade Asian salad dressing*
♥Italian Pasta Salad
♥Curried Chicken Salad
♥Apple Snicker Salad (this tastes just like a caramel apple rolled in nuts-YUM)
♥Rhubarb/Apple/Strawberry Gelatin Salad
♥Chocolate cake with marshmallows
♥Lemon Bars
♥Mimosas...which is nothing more than orange juice and champagne

And lets not forget about all of the breads, crackers, olives and other nibbles that I placed throughout the table. You can't have a big spread without the nibbles! Polish Pottery to the rescue! Besides using platters and sandwich trays, I also got to use those cool Olive Trays that I bought at the Polish Pottery store in Germany. :-D I feel so happy today that dinner went off so well! We had sooo much food that I'm bringing in a surprise lunch for my husbands entire office today! They will ALL be doing the happy dance!

Quote of the day

The future is here. It's just not widely distributed yet.
- William Gibson

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Portmeirion, Burleigh & everything else good and wonderful

It's a fact, I'm in love with British pottery! I simply don't seem to be able to get enough of it! All of my Homer Laughlin solid colored Fiesta pottery ties in with it all! This is the best of both of my worlds- solid colored pottery from the USA and the lovely floral potteries from England- I'm in heaven! Throw in some Polish pottery to go with my Burleigh pottery and I'm sooo there!

In case you're wondering what I'm going to do with all of this pottery that I've been buying up like a crazy woman...Do I ever use it? Oh yeah! Tonight it's a casual dinner for 15 or at least it was at the last RSVP count, there's always those that don't RSVP and just show up and I'm okay with that! I bet that you're wondering -what's up with this dinner? Believe it or not, but I'm in a cooking club. I giggle with the mere mention of it!

As for the Cooking Club- we limited it to being neighbors (we want to keep it small and within walking distance). We set our own themes and work from there. The theme that I set for tonight is "salad". Now lets think outside of the box for a minute...not all salads are lettuce based. I wanted to challenge people with this one...I make the main dishes and everyone else brings smaller items to go with the theme...desserts included. I'm anxious to see what others come up with. Another great by-product is that my family also gets to partake of this huge feast!

Now for me to prepare my formal dining room for the the buffet. The table leaf needs to be inserted, tablecloth needs to be pressed, plates set out, glasses set out along with napkins and flatware. OOh I'm sooo in for this!!!

Quote of the Day

Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious.
- Peter Ustinov

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Every Day!

Every new place leaves me with something to do- always. Everyday is a blessing, Everyday is an adventure, Everyday something new will happen...Everyday is a Blessing!

Kindness, love, compassion- this can be shown and expressed in so many ways.

You know that you have the best kind of friends when they phone to tell you that they've been praying about something that involves you. With that...I am now a board member on our Parish Advisory Council. I truly feel Blessed! First for having friends think that I would be good at this and secondly for having friends that see what I've done as far as military community relations are concerned. We may be a small parish, but we do so much more than any other church I've ever been a member of these past 20 years! Being here at Croughton has had it's ups and downs but most of all I feel that it certainly is a blessing!

Quote of the Day

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.
- Hunter S. Thompson

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Just When you think you're ready...

You're not. At the end of next month I will have been living here in England for a year. In the past 11 months I've moved house twice, lived with temporary/borrowed furnishings for over 5 months, have 2 shipments of items in non-temp storage and here I am hosting my first dinner party in my home and I'm not feeling ready. I'm sure it's just nerves and the thought of having people in my home not just to dine but ones that want have a tour of the place. Lets face it, I'm the mother of 2 teenagers who NEVER have clean rooms. It's hard enough for me to keep their bathroom tidy, never mind having to clean their rooms...I'm a Mom not a Maid. So if I take the thought out of my head of having to clean my teenagers rooms then I'm okay with having 12 friends dining in my home.

Now to get on my menu...this for me (feeding 12 people) is the easy part, cleaning the teenagers rooms on the other hand put me into a temporary tail spin!

Quote of the Day

A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: 1. What am I trying to say? 2. What words will express it? 3. What image or idiom will make it clearer? 4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?
George Orwell,
"Politics and the English Language", 1946

Monday, May 10, 2010

Quote of the Day

We are all pencils in the hand of God.
-Mother Teresa

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Mother's Day Trivia

♥Mother's Day can be traced back to ancient Greece, when the Greeks held festivals honoring Rhea, the mother of the gods.

♥The ancient Egyptians celebrated the goddess Isis, who was considered the mother of the pharoahs. Romans also honored Isis by celebrating for three days.

♥Anna Jarvis is recognized as the founder of the Mother's Day holiday in the United States of America. On May 12, 1907, two years after her mother's death, she held a memorial to her mother and thereafter embarked upon a campaign to make "Mother's Day" a recognized holiday. She succeeded in making this nationally recognized in 1914

♥President Woodrow Wilson helped celebrate the first national Mother's Day in 1914. As the holiday became more commercialized, Anna Jarvis filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvannia to try to stop the commercialization. She failed.

♥The official flower for Mother's Day is the carnation. Red carnations are for mothers still living, while white carnations are to honor those that have passed away.

♥Mothering Sunday is held on the fourth Sunday of Lent, or three weeks before Easter, in the UK and Ireland. In South America, most countries celebrate Mother's Day on the second Sunday of May as well. Argentina celebrates it in October because it is in the southern hemisphere and spring is in October.

Quote of the day

"A mother is not a person to lean on but a person to make leaning unnecessary."
- Dorothy Canfield Fisher

Saturday, May 08, 2010

why haven't I posted?

I'm sorry that I haven't been posting anything more than a quote these last few days. I've been hit with an intestinal bug and it was brutal! Yesterday afternoon I was finally feeling okay enough to eat toast.I'm having coffee now and lets hope that it doesn't cause a set back.

It's our children's last mandatory School Saturday. The next one will be Graduation Day for Andrew (July 3rd- so mark your calendars) and we're all going to be thrilled! Now for me to make sure that my teens are up and are getting ready for school.

Quote of the day

The trouble with jogging is that, by the time you realize you're not in shape for it, it's too far to walk back.
- Franklin P. Jones

Friday, May 07, 2010

Quote of the Day

Our heroes are those... who... act above and beyond the call of duty and in so doing give definition to patriotism and elevate all of us.... America is the land of the free because we are the home of the brave.
--David Mahoney

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Quote of the Day

I always say shopping is cheaper than a psychiatrist.
-Tammy Faye Bakker

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Quote of the day

Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself: "Mankind". Basically, it's made up of two separate words - "mank" and "ind". What do these words mean ? It's a mystery, and that's why so is mankind.

–Jack Handey

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

A Magnetic Personality

I bet you're wondering where I'm going with this topic...I've been thinking about making something for a little friend but am wondering how to go about it then it hit me! Magnets! I want to make a paper doll with changeable clothing but not like the paper dolls of old where you would fold over tabs to the back of the doll, I want this to me more durable so then the though of magnets hit me BUT then I need to make the base of my doll have metal in her. This project is going to take me a while since I'm here in the UK and not back in the States where I know I can find the things I need to create this latest endeavor. Hmmm, so for now my dolly is on the sketch pad.

Quote of the day

I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.
- Noel Coward

Monday, May 03, 2010

It's a Bank Holiday, woohoo!

I'm taking the day to do a few things with my teenagers!

Quote of the day

Can anyone imagine Moses, Jesus, or Gandhi armed with the money-bags of Carnegie?
-Albert Einstein

Sunday, May 02, 2010

A rainy day in England

I'll say it, I'm an American who gets to live in England through the USAF/MOD and am LOVING IT! There are so many historic places to see/visit out here but one of my most favorite towns (besides Stoke on Trent- purely for shopping reasons) is Stratford-upon-Avon- home to William Shakespeare. The tour of homes and gardens connected with Mr.Shakespeare are amazing. I myself had made my own English flower garden after our trip to England in 2006- I did this in my backyard of the house we own in South Dakota (I wonder how it looks now). I know that we will recreate another garden like that with our next home as well. Currently we're planting flowers in the flower beds here in my true English garden, I'm so happy to have areas in which I can plant flowers.

The sad thing about being out here as with living anywhere is that so many of the locals haven't been to the places that I have. How can you not want/desire to go see these historic homes that are in books and period piece movies? The same thing applies to those that can eat off of dishes that are made in China. Why aren't you using that wonderful made in England, Ireland or Scotland pottery? Savor your history, support your pottery companies that still produce their wares in your country before they go off and start having it made in china (ugh).

It might be raining today but it IS gorgeous outside! Everything is bright green from the grassy lawn to the new leaves growing on the trees and shrubs. Living here is like a little slice of heaven to me!

Quote of the Day

The remarkable thing about Shakespeare is that he really is very good, in spite of all the people who say he is very good.
- Robert Graves

Saturday, May 01, 2010

What Inspires You?

There are so many things that I feel passionately about, that give me true inspiration- Flowers are hands down my favorite! I can look at flowers and see so many things in them. Their wide variety of colors, shapes, sizes and scents can overwhelm most people but not me. I can walk into a flower market with and idea of what I want to buy and walk out with that very item in my hands. Some days it's all about pinks and reds, others it's shades of blue with a splash of green.

Each room in my house has a totally different feel. A good way to describe it is- walking through a doorway is like walking into a different season- not everyone can say that about their own place now can they? No, I didn't think so. I've been told that it's the artist in me and other say it's the Gemini in me that is always looking for change, for something new and interesting. Whatever it is, I know I've always been this way- always wanting to rearrange the furniture, change out valances, rugs, the way things are hung on the wall. But my one constant is flowers. Flowers are in every room of my house in some shape or form.

Change something in your house today- bring in some color! A bouquet of flowers will brighten up and room, I guarantee it! For another change- maybe it's new dishes, new curtains or new bedding and throw pillows. Find your inspiration and bring some colors of Spring Time into your home!

Quote of the day

Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things.
-Denis Diderot