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13 Things

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I want to be thankful for some things today.

Thirteen things.

I have a thing about numbers, be kind!

  1. I’m thankful for a God that understands us when we don’t and meets us where we are
  2. I’m thankful for the best husband who tells me multiple times a day that he loves me
  3. I’m thankful for the bright, warm sunshine
  4. I’m thankful for my two working legs, which take me many places
  5. I’m thankful that my god-daughters have amazing parents who love them so much
  6. I’m thankful that I get to be Auntie to four precious little people
  7. I’m thankful for the most patient and understanding man by my side
  8. I’m thankful for my little house, that is mine
  9. I’m thankful that I get to wake up to my reality every day
  10. I’m thankful for a heart that wants to include every lonely child
  11. I’m thankful for “special kisses”
  12. I’m thankful for food in the freezer
  13. I’m thankful for the chance to be me!

What are you thankful for right now?

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Happy Christmas!!!

Happy Christmas everyone!

I hope you have some truly happy times over Christmas and much joy and peace in the year 2014 to come!

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There are many lovely Christmas things I would like to tell you about …

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We decorated our tree with two of L’s work colleges, along with our own mulled wine and festive snacks …

I’ve been finding (with a little help from the husband!), sewing, sticking, painting and wrapping Christmas gifts for friends and family …

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I held a Gingerbread Party for my friends and my sisters …

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… we had so much fun decorating gingerbread men that my friend A and myself had made!

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My personal favourite was Eve – complete with a little red apple in her hand! Go C!! 😉

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I cooked up a two course Christmas meal just for my hubby and I, with inspiration from the latest Masterchef The Professionals Series … although thank goodness I’m not being judged on the final result!! 😛

(Pickled Beetroot with Grilled Goats Cheese and Walnuts, followed by Shin of Beef braised in Red Wine, with Bacon-wrapped Potato Cakes, Roasted Shallots and tenderstem broccoli.)

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I baked, fed with brandy, iced and decorated three Christmas cakes for friends and family …

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And we got to attended the lovely Christmas wedding of two wonderful, God-loving friends and celebrate with their blood and church families!

My faithful little camera broke and although L thankfully has one he never uses, it is taking quite a bit of getting used to – hence the lack of photos! 😛 Our internet connection is also playing around, so I can’t always upload/download things when I want to …

If this was not the case, you would have had more photos and blog posts from me … I miss talking to you!

My first resolution for next year: learn how to use L’s camera so it takes photos I like!!

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Have times of much love with your families, peace in the midst of trouble, happiness in the small things, joy in the greatest gift of all time and the hope of things to come!!

Our love,

Mr and Mrs Moose

Mince Pies

Many times in the last few months, not to mention over the last number of years, I have expressed my opinion on mince pies being in the supermarket far too early … I have said that you shouldn’t eat your first mince pie of the season until it’s December.

Yesterday I ate my first mince pie for this Christmas.

I know! I know! How inconsistent can I be, right?

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But these weren’t any ordinary mince pies! No shop-bought or Mr Kipling varieties here!

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These were homemade mince pies, which I made with my three sisters. The pastry was made by my youngest sister T, who makes melt-in-the-mouth short crust pastry.

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The mincemeat we used in the pies was made by my older sister J, who chopped the apples, finely sliced the almonds and stirred in the currants herself.

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We rolled out, cut out, filled and topped each mince pie between the four of us.

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They were dusted with icing sugar as soon as they came out of the oven – or Aga in my family’s case … wish I had one of those to keep my flat toasty warm! 😉

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We ate the mince pies in front of the cosy wood burner, while they were still warm and fresh out of the oven, while sitting on the hearth-rug and chatting.

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Mince Pie Heaven!

Now don’t you think I’m forgiven for eating my first mince pie before the 1st of December?!

Date Nights

The best kind of evening.

L, me, cooking together, wine, music, a good film, time …

That’s what I call a good date night!

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We cooked a favourite of ours – Jambalaya – and enjoyed some white wine.

Does anyone else think there’s something a bit special about drinking a glass of wine while cooking?!

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The Jambalaya was delicious (just as we knew it would be, but still good to note … 😉 ) and then we watched the second half of the latest Sherlock Holmes film.

We’ve watched it before, but we’re kind of Sherlock Holmes fans …

Ahhh, now that was a lovely evening!

Autumn is here because …

I put on a pair of fluffy slipper socks tonight.

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I cooked this Sausage, Leek and Cider Stew last night.

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I cuddled up in my slanket this week for the first time since the spring.

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My laundry is taking twice as long to dry as it did a matter of weeks ago.

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I’m wearing my well-loved monkey slippers around the house.

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I’ve dug my long socks out from the bottom of my drawer … and remembered why I thought I needed to buy some new ones!

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My head is starting to buz with thoughts about starting on homemade Christmas presents.

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My strippy hat has been reinstated as a daily fashion essential – I don’t think it’s actually that fashionable, but I’m wearing it regardless! 😉

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It’s less then a month until my birthday.

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Oh yeah, did I mention something about the arrival of cold weather?! 😉

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Jambalaya!

Contrary to what my blog has lately suggested, L and I have been very busy …

Work, big-house-clear-out, deep-cleaning, walking with friends, cooking together, craft projects … plus all the mundane little bits and bobs it’s too boring to list!

I will be posting some photos as soon as I can, but for now, here’s what we got up to tonight …

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We made Jambalaya!

L has a friend he plays games with, who he yesterday discovered is Cajun. We had both heard of Cajun as in the spice, but didn’t know that they are an ethnic group of people.

Inspired by this new knowledge we decided to cook Jambalaya!

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We used Momma’s Meat Jambalaya recipe and it was a huge success, literally – it tasted brilliant and it made a huge pan full of spicy meat and rice! Seriously – we ate it tonight, put some in the fridge for tomorrow and put another four portions in the freezer!

We used Basmati rice instead of Long Grain rice and it absorbed a lot more water and cooked faster than the recipe said it would, but hey, who minds getting to eat it a bit sooner, especially when the wonderful cooking smells are drifting around the whole house?! 😉

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I love all the colours!

We added cooked prawns/shrimps to the portions on our plate (I have a bit of a thing about re-heating seafood too much … ) and they added the perfect finishing touch to the dish – yummy!!

Oh yes, and the perfect finishing touch to the evening was a bottle of white wine, Escape From New York and a bar of Cadbury’s Caramel Dairymilk – brilliant! 😀

About Bank Holidays and Fun on The Beach!

There’s this standing joke among us British. Well, not a joke maybe … more an ironic truth? A pessimistic reality? A soggy certainty I think about sums it up.

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It always rains on the bank holiday weekend. The May and August bank holidays are looked forward to as a long weekend where workers get the Monday off and the kids get a day off school, a weekend for fun, family and food … and usually failed plans. The weather just seems to know everyone wants to be outside having fun, so rains, usually hard.

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We always plan for gorgeous weather … and are almost always disappointed by rain. Somehow, when it comes to bank holidays, we seem to have developed a national unquenchable optimism.

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This bank holiday weekend has so far been fantastic! Blue skies, nice breezes, blazing sun and not a rain drop in sight – perfect! I reckon that gives us at least a 10 year renewal on our optimism lease! 😉

My best friend R and I went to our favourite sand beach and had fish and chips by the sea! The chippy (fish and chip shop for the uninitiated 😉 ) claimed to serve the best chips in the South West – I haven’t run a taste-test on every chippy in the South West, so I can’t say for sure, but they were very scrummy chips, especially with a good helping of salt and vinegar – yum!! 😀

We leaned against the sea wall, chatting and watching the sea and the other people enjoying themselves on the beach. Somehow, while watching the really little kids exploring and discovering, you can’t help but see it all through new eyes yourself. No to mention how cute some of those little kids were … 😉

We couldn’t resist taking our shoes and socks off and enjoying the feeling of warm sand running between our toes … then the water just seemed to beckon … it looked so fresh and inviting … so we just had to go paddling!! It.Was.Cold. The first time the waves washed over our feet it was chilly, but good but the next few times and we could feel our feet going numb! After not very long we retreated to the hot sand to dry off, but hey, we did it, ok?! 😛

I took a conservative number of photos and got sunburned – two things which hardly ever happen!

Thanks for a lovely time R! 🙂

Tomorrow L and I are going for a picnic BBQ and walk in the woods with friends, so the weather better stay good … or else … well, hopefully something I won’t have to come up with, because of course it’s going to be brilliant weather on a bank holiday Monday!! 😀