Sunday, February 11, 2018

Gadgets... and More Gadgets.

This morning I got up and turned the TV on while I tidied the living room- yes- it's the first thing I do in the mornings on weekends as hubby goes to bed AFTER I do and there is ALWAYS a bit of tidying to be done when I get up.
Do men even KNOW what a rubbish bin IS????

Anyway, I digress..... when the TV came on it was on a channel with an infomercial showing and as I wasn't watching I didn't bother to turn it off or change it over. Now, the infomercial for today was a newfangled gadget called a "pressure cooker".

I know- I know- those things have been around for many many MANY years, right?
Well, this one is even better. The Pressure King Pro 3L can cook a meal in under 30 minutes instead of an hour or two. It has a time delay on it(convenient for those of us who both work all day-and it has different settings for different foods.
AND it comes with a recipe book- AND  it has three different sizes that you can choose from. (I'd go for the smallest size, personally, for me and hubby). And I do actually want one now. Not ANY pressure cooker- defo not a stove top one- THIS one. in silver.

My problem is- I have a postage stamp size kitchen. Anyone who has ever been to my house has thought I was joking when I said that- but when they see it- they see I most certainly am NOT. two people cannot be in my kitchen at the same time. Unless one stands in the doorway and even then it's kind of iffy.

Okay so anyway- I was playing MineCraft yesterday (I promise this is going to make sense in a very short time) and designing my kitchen in it- and I found myself designing it around what I have on my wish list for my real life kitchen.

I put in loads and loads of cabinetry in the top  and bottom. Top ones had glass fronts to show off all my beautiful dishes- both old and new,  and my glassware and stemware along with my brew mug sets. And let's not forget my baking sets and mixing bowls!
 Yes- My fav place to relax is my kitchen baking.
I put in a pantry for all the foodstuffs and installed a MASSIVE fridge/freezer for cold foods. And I added a lovely DOUBLE sink.
Now the bottom cabinets were closed in-  for saucepans and  baking pans and casserole dishes and holiday serving pieces, and last but certainly not least- to house my growing set of cooking gadgets such as the one described in the infomercial.
I have  the basics- a Kettle, toaster, hand mixer.
I also have a stand mixer, a more deluxe food/bread mixer with a dough arm, whisk and mixer attachments. I have a George Formby Grill(Thank you #PeterKay!!), a Bullet(type) Smoothie blender(it doubles as a food processor when I need something chopped), plus a slow cooker, and as an added bonus- an Air Fryer and I THINK we have a Panini maker too- I cant remember. And lets not forget that all important Microwave Oven!!!!
And all but the most basics are packed away because we have a kitchen the size of a POSTAGE STAMP!
The only thing I absolutely keep out that isnt basic is my smoothie blender because I use it EVERY SINGLE DAY.
 And now to add insult to injury-I want the pressure cooker gadget now- and a WAFFLE iron!!!

Okay so-
Why do we even HAVE cookers/stoves anymore? And why are THEY still the standard in a kitchen when we have so many convenience appliances?
If you absolutely had to choose- would you  choose to keep all the convenience gadgets or would you take a bog standard cooker/stove?

Decisions- Decisions.














Thursday, December 28, 2017

A Look Back at 2017....

As the new year approaches, I find myself looking back over the past year and seeing what has come about.

I discovered the actual name of my heart condition after many, many tests and hospital visits.
It also explains a lot about my other conditions and ailments.  I know now what needs to be done to help. It wont be a cure.... it's apparently hereditary. They are talking a pacemaker in the future if the condition gets any worse, but I'm praying we dont have to go there...at least not for quite a few years.
In the meantime, I will continue to take my medications, I will do everything I can to get this excess weight off so my heart isn't strained any more than it already is, and I will do my very best to de-stress at every opportunity.

My mom's healthy has not improved- after several hospital visits it doesn't seem there are  any more answers than there was this time last year....or the year before. I look at everything and realize that her condition isn't likely to improve and given her advanced age, it is highly likely it will only continue to deteriorate.
I know there were reasons for moving to the UK when we did, but sometimes, when I think about it all, I wonder if we made the right decision. I know in my heart we did, I honestly dont think I would be alive had we not made that decision, but there is always the small bit of doubt that comes now and again.

My daughters health is worse, but she did meet and marry a lovely man, Charles, and for that I am over the moon. Julie is studying and in a few months can be qualified for a new job. One she doesn't have to be on her feet for hours at a time and gets paid a decent wage for the work she does.Things are looking up for them as well.

My son, Frank, is doing well. He has a lovely lady love who encourages him and works as a team with him to achieve what they want and need rather than dragging him down. Yet at the same time makes him accountable for the occasional slip up. They look forward to things, and make plans for things, and are moving forward. I pray this continues on into the future.

My youngest (late)son's wife, Kathy, got married this year as well to one of the sweetest men I've ever met. He is gentle, and kind, and adores her and the kids. He has stepped up and become the man I'm sure Clay would have approved of and if he were still with us- I'm pretty sure he and Thomas would have been very good friends if they had met.

Hubby and I are doing well. We both have good, steady, decent paying jobs. Our office is moving soon and then we can start looking for a house to purchase for our own. I'd rather not live in Manchester Proper, but I doubt that we can find anything in the same area we are renting in now. It's like Rodeo Drive here with the local celebs that live round us- and they are building upscale  retirement villages around us too..(I imagine it has to do with the close proximity of two gold courses to our front and back of the properties).
I honestly dont care as long as it's a decent quiet neighborhood and a house we can call our OWN. One where I can hang pictures and art and paint things the colors I want and have the carpeting I want or be able to sit out in my own garden in the summers evenings.

It's been a heck of a ride in 2017..... and I want to improve on everything in 2018.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Thanksgiving... The Manchester Christmas Market & Decorating For Christmas...

A few Photos......

Thanksgiving Dinner.....
Roast Potatoes

Spiced Apple Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Pecan Frosting

Baked Beans- Roast Turkey steamed Broccoli(with AND without cheese

Dinner Rolls, Gravy, Roast peppers/celery/onions/mushrooms and Sage and Onion Dressing

Table Set for 6-Me & Hubby, His parents. His Aunty P and my chosen sister, Li.

Manchester Christmas Market-
The next day me and Li were off to see the decorations in Manchester City Centre- and do a little Christmas shopping as well..... it would be rude not to!!!

All lit up just after dark.

 Mark & Spenser's Storefront Window Display.

Just as it was going dark.....

The first stall- The Chocolatier!!!!

Li said my eyes lit up like a Christmas Tree when we rounded the corner.... if she only knew!!!

Sneaky Cheeky pic of Li..... she actually photo bombed the shot so she cant get mad at me.

This was a statue spire- I think.

Big Old Fat Lit Santa .... FINALLY I got to see proper Christmas Decorations that I am used to!!!

Double Decker Bus in front of the Market.... I finally got to ride on top on the way home- didnt much care for it. 

Another pic of the stalls- and Li looking at a shop window. I think that one was L V.

Pottery stall.... Lovely merchandise!

And more stalls.....

And Dark with lights again.


Decorating the house for the Holiday-


Wear A Cap - originally a drinking game- but if we arent having a party- we dont drink much so we just shout out SANTA!!!!!! every time someone wears it!!

It hels to have places to put things when the holidays roll round.

Loved the red & green reversible ribbon sho much I decided to decorate my tree with it instead- I actually ordered 4 more lengths of it wrapped it round the tree and used the bow on this lamp as the tree topper!

My main Christmas Cards I sent out this year- had a spare- it fit into this Hurricane Candle lamp my daughter gave me- and added a bit of snow to the bottom. I LOVE IT!!! Probably my fav piece this year!!

This is a painted Rock... Either my sister, Nina, or my Niece Tiffi, made it for me!!!

And this is my kitchen window... you know I even have to have the Kitchen dressed for the Holidays!!

Trying out the new piece.....

Art for the Holidays.... My snowglobe my mom bought for me.... and my Mouse I bought for my dad's fav book when he was a little boy- Walter the Lazy Mouse. Yes- I have it too.

AChristmas Cards- and my I Believe bell from the Polar Express!!! I will ALWAYS Believe!!

My beside table and shelves.... My bowl of antique ornaments from my parents AND my grandparents 1st Christmas Trees!!

I had to have a wreath for my front door this year- so I bought a £3 one off Amazon- and decorated it myself with some red velvet ribbon, a Christmas card left over from last year- and my Elf on the Shelf- Spanky McSparklePants. He must love it there with the view of all the rooms - he hasn't moved an inch since he found that spot!!!

I think the tinsel draped on the Frames on the wall is a staple in the UK.... I havent see a single house that doesn't do this.

My Red and Green tree this year.

My inspiration for it- I need bigger, brighter ornaments for it next year- and more ribbon too. It shall be done!!!

The final styling for the Lamp & Card... complete with all my Grandbabies names ornaments

Hmmm..... the bed before it was dressed- but all the elements are still there...almost

Cant forget the Sleighbells on the front door!! We dont have a fireplace, so now when Santa come in the door, the bells will wake me up!!!! At least- in theory that's how it will work.
Yup- same tree as the Autumn leaves one- now with snowman ribbon wrapped round instead of the autumn leaves garland! 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS 

& 

MERRY CHRISTMAS 

EVERYONE!!!!

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Autumn Has Arrived

Update!!
The last of the decorations-(I dont think I'm going to get the wreath done but if I do then I will do another Photo update.

The Entrance Hall-


Yes indeed, Autumn has arrived in all it's glory!

I've been busy cleaning and decorating this weekend. I was going to do it last weekend but I was ill and didn't hardly get out of bed.

So this week, I looked for my Autumnal Decorations. I couldn't find them (altho I DID fine a lot of my Halloween ones). I only really want to decorate for Autumn in General this year. I have a couple Halloween things out but we aren't really ones to celebrate Halloween unless we are having a party, and this year we aren't.
So, I ordered a package of 600 Autumn Leaves (cloth type) and I picked them up yesterday. So, between  loads of laundry and watching a movie, I sat and separated them. One by one...it only took an hour altogether.

 Hubby has been moaning about my Twig Cone Christmas tree being out all year.. it has mini lights on it and glitter bits, too. So I took a few of the leaves and put them on it here and there to give the illusion of an autumn tree and then turned it on....
Not bad eh?
Well, I thought so, but then sitting here I kept hearing something but couldn't quite figure out what it was. What is was is the glitter is causing the adhesive on the tape to not work so well, so they have been falling off the tree! Oh Well, on the upside it just looks a bit more realistic with a few open spots on it here and there.

Next, I went to the dining table. That one was easy... a black charger with a few of the Autumn leaves scattered under a wire fruit bowl that usually sits on the table throughout the year anyway.
Done deal.

Then, I went into the kitchen... a few of the leaves under the dried bean jars and my nesting chicken bank (Affectionately named Henny Penny) and that was the kitchen done.
I don't like too much faff about in my kitchen. It's already too small and  cramped and I don't want more stuff cluttering things up. I do have my mustard yellow dessert bowls in the window so there is a bit more colour in there, but it's functional too.
All I have left is the entry hall  left to do. I have a pumpkin and a few of the leaves under it, but I need to work on that a bit more.... so no photo of that area yet.

I've decided with my Bezzie to have Thanksgiving dinner here this year again. So it will be me, Hubby, Lisa, and Hubby's parents, Joan & Glen.
it's not going to be huge and elaborate, just a small turkey, and a few of the trimmings.  

Thanksgiving Dinner 2017

Black & Green Olives/ Crackers/ Cheese Sampler

Roast Turkey/ Crown
Red Onion & Sage Stuffing
Turkey Gravy
Cranberry Jelly

Ranch Potatoes
Boston Baked Beans(brown sugar/mustard/ onions/ molasses)
Tee's Mac & Cheese
Fluffy White Dinner Rolls

Spiced Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Icing 


We're not even having Pumpkin Pie- altho I may add a couple of spoonfuls of pureed pumpkin in the cake to give it a flavor of Pumpkin.

And- as we aren't going to Paul's parent's this Christmas for dinner, I will probably be doing a even smaller Christmas Dinner on Christmas Day too...

Christmas Dinner 2017

Roast Turkey/ Crown
Red Onion & Sage Stuffing
Turkey Gravy
Cranberry Jelly

Roasted Potatoes
Peas 
Pigs in Blankets 
Fluffy White Dinner Rolls

Red Velvet Cake with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

It remains to be seen if I do Christmas decorating big or little (or at all) this year.
We shall see.
But Autumnal decorating is going swimmingly.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

A Long Time....I Didnt Realise!!

Well, yes. I am still alive!

I have been busy.  I have been dealing with some healthy issues, so lots of trips back and forth to the doctors and hospitals and such. Worry, worry, worry. Then on the bright side, my daughter is getting married. I was just home last November for Thanksgiving- but I'm now going back home for the wedding the end of this month. I've been trying to help out as much as I can from across the pond. Mostly that has consisted of giving lots of free advice, making suggestions for solutions to the occasional obstacles, and trying to find the odd bits and pieces here and there that Julie just hasnt been able to locate herself.

 My daughter-in-law, Kathy, also got married in July. She is Clay's widow. I'm so happy she found such a sweet man to marry.  I finally got to meet Thomas at Thanksgiving and he really is a sweetheart. I think Clay would approve. I didn't get to attend that wedding as I had ongoing medical tests going at that time, but in all fairness, I don't think I could have attended anyway. It should have been a happy day(and it was!) but  I'm not sure I could have made it thru the ceremony without breaking down with the  memories and the what if and what could have beens. They deserved better than that, so I watched it from home- they live-streamed it on FB, and I'm not going to lie, I cried... both tears of happiness for them and their new beginning, and for the what might have beens. It was a beautiful wedding and I am so happy to have Thomas join our family. And that's how I look at it- I gained a son-in-law, I didn't lose my daughter-in-law.

Julie  asked me to give her away- seeing as how her biological father and My/Our daddy both have passed on. (Long story- she is not only my daughter, but also my adopted sister). I agreed, but told her I would be happy to walk her down the aisle- but I wouldn't "Give her Away". So, she has asked her cousin, Jim, to give do it. She wanted to ask one of her brothers, Frank or Chuck, but their lives are very chaotic and she wasn't sure they would even be able to make it to the wedding, let alone give her away. She also mentioned Paul doing it as her step-dad, but unfortunately he isn't going to be able to go back with me to the sates for the wedding either, so she asked Jim. Funny thing is- Jim said the same as me... He said he would walk her down the aisle but he wouldn't "give her away". Hahahahah.

It took me until  last week to find my MOTB dress for the wedding. And the shoes and accessories. but I have them now!!





Ignore the bling- that is for Baby Girl to wear.

Her Gown is stunning- simple and elegant. so much so, she wants a tiny bit of bling to complete the look... so I bought her a dazzing necklace and bracelet and earring set. It's perfect for her.

I'm really looking forward to this trip home. A very happy occasion to celebrate after a very stressful year so far.

I'm going to be taking some photos while there. So I should be posting on my P52 blog when I get back.  I'm very excited about it all!!!



Sunday, April 02, 2017

Paying It Forward

I loved that movie- altho it was unbelievably sad and made me cry in the end.

I think it's  probably one of the most influential movies of this time.  After that movie came out- a movement was started. When the world was going crazy with hate and doom and destruction- but somehow in the middle of the chaos, somehow someone found the strength to do a kind deed for someone to make their day better. And in turn, one day that person remembered that good deed and how it made them feel and they wanted to pass that feeling on to someone else- so they did- and then the same thing happened- and pretty soon people were watching these good deeds and wanted to do the same- and so they did.

Now, you never know when going thru the drive thru or standing in line at the grocery store if someone in front of you has decided to Pay It Forward and pay for your purchase for you. Or put money in your parking meter for you so the meter-maid doesn't issue you a citation. Or maybe be the person who buys a meal for the homeless person  on the side of the road holding the sign- or hands the traffic officer a bottle of cool water on a hot summers day. Or maybe it's the guy who pulls over in the pouring rain to help someone repair their car- or offers to give the mom and the kids stranded on the side of the road a ride home- or offer to let them use their mobile phone to call someone to come get them- and then stay with them til their ride arrives- just in case.
 

And these acts are remembered- and in turn, passed on to someone in the future.
Like ripples in an ocean.

It gives me hope for humanity, after all.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Do Unto Others

Yesterday, on the way to town, we were heading in on one of the by-ways. Traffic was extremely congested and heavy- I'm not sure why.

Hubby was having to use all his concentration on the road and the crazy drivers, but as we rounded a bend, I saw off to the side an elderly couple on the side of the road beside their car. The lady was standing behind the car with a walking stick looking around and the gentleman was really struggling with the lug nuts on the car.
Both looked like they could snap at the slightest  bend.
I felt my heart tug and I said to hubby "Oh bless their hearts." He asked who and I told him "The elderly couple back on the side of the road trying to change their tire." But by this time we were a couple blocks away and nowhere to turn around safely and easily. So he drove on and we continued our day as planned.

But it really bothered me. I mean it REALLY bothered me. All day I just couldn't stop thinking about them. Had that been either one of my boys I was with, they wouldn't have hesitated to just pull over and park the car and run back on foot to offer assistance to those people. And it wouldn't have mattered their age. If anyone looked like they were in trouble and struggling on the side of the road, they would have stopped. End of. I have been with them several times when they have done so. Every time I thought about them I had to bite my lip to keep from bursting into tears.
Maybe had we stopped and offered assistance to them they might have got offended(as Elderly often do) for insinuating they couldn't take care of themselves, or maybe they would have said Thank you- we are waiting for roadside assistance to show up- or maybe they would have said Thank you- they would very much appreciate it. But at least we would have offered and if they had been insulted- well, that would have been fine- my conscience would have been clear.
But we didn't- and it's not. I'm still fighting back tears and hanging my head in shame that I didn't insist we go back and offer assistance. We Southerners just dont look the other way. It's not how we were brought up.

To the couple - I offer an apology for not stopping and offering assistance as I should have.
To my parents and grandparents, I offer an apology for looking the other way and not following my upbringing.
And to God, I ask forgiveness for not doing unto others as I would have them do unto me.
I'm positive that Karma will come back to take her revenge someday- and I will surely deserve it.