Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Vacuuming The Dog

I took Anastasia's advice, and vacuumed the dog this morning.

Much to my surprise, he merely looked at me as though I had taken leave of my senses and let me get on with it. It did not seem to bother him at all.

I hope to get DH to take a photograph of this process in the next few days :-)

I will also take the dog in the back garden and give him a good brushing near where the bird feeder is, so the birds can help themselves to his shed fur for their nest-building, which they are already starting .........
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In The Garden

at the moment are one robin, two collared doves, two wood pigeons, a blue tit and lots of house sparrows, all clustered around the bird feeding station. Most days we also have blackbirds, starlings, jackdaws, hedge sparrows at various points in the daylight hours

What delight to see the beauties of God's creation :-)

Whilst walking the dog this morning, I heard a woodpecker in the woodland backing onto nearby houses, which was wonderful. We are so lucky, living in a semi-rural area.
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It has dawned upon me that I have been under a reasonably significant amount of stress recently. I knew I was buying rather a lot of chocolate, put it that way ;-)

Quite how much chocolate I had not calculated until this morning.
It has got to stop.
In the last two days, I am ashamed to say I have eaten 12 whole oz of Dairy Milk chocolate.

In some slight mitigation, it was on special offer in the supermarket and only cost just over £1 in money, but it is doing me no good at all, healthwise.

I will allow myself to finish the current bar , but come Monday next week, The Fast begins in earnest. Boy, do I need it ! It is truly frightening how easy it is to fall into some very bad habits.

Computer time is going to be reduced drastically. Reading the Gospels will be given priority instead.
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Recipe Ideas

I had a thought the other day.

I know, I was a bit shocked too :-0

For fasting recipes, it is worth having a look on Jewish cookery websites and in Jewish cookbooks ! Due to the intricacies of keeping kosher, there has to be a significant time delay (I believe it may be as long as six hours, but I need to check) between eating meat and then eating dairy products.

Jewish cooks have become adept at producing what is called "pareve" recipes, which are themselves non-meat and non-dairy, which can therefore be served with either a meat meal, or a dairy produce meal.

They may not be entirely Eastern Orthodox Fast-friendly, but it is worth having a peep and tweaking ingredients when necessary.

Try Diamond Carrot salad from the Jewish Princess Cookbook:

soak 110g of sultanas overnight in 225ml orange juice.

Grate 1 kg of carrots, or use 3 packets ready-grated carrots.
Add the sultanas and soaking juice,
2 tablespoons lemon juice,
2 tablespoons caster sugar ( fine sugar)
and one large, sliced orange.
Mix well.

Quick, Healthy and fast-friendly :-)
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UK Earthquake

Last night there was a significant earthquake - 5.2 on the Richter scale - in the UK.
It happened far away from us, in Lincolnshire, and although people in Wales were apparently woken by it at 1 am, I slept through it all :-)

Mercifully only one person sustained any injuries, and he is apparently not seriously hurt.
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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Update on Dr Jayne Donegan's Case

In the interests of accuracy, I am posting the link to an older post of mine, for which I have been given the latest information.
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Busy Busy Busy

I don't seem to have stopped being busy this week.

My mum has been ill, I have built up a small mountain of laundry that needs ironing, the oven needs a good cleaning, the dog is moulting copious amounts of blond hair, which looks dreadful on the wooden floors, and no matter how many times a day I sweep the floor, within ten minutes, it looks just as bad as it did before........, we have had the entire family to visit over the last few days which has been WONDERFUL, and really brightened things up just when gloom seemed to be settling over me like a relentless cloud with the onset of Lent.

I even have a book mountain waiting to be tackled, which is unsuual for me as I generally am complaining that I **don't** have anything new to read.

We are halfway through our family literacy project at school, which occupies Abigail and I for one and a half days each week. In a fit of lunacy I have signed up for the Maths project next term, and also for the 15 week Welsh for Adult Beginners course, which started last week, so the Welsh course eats away another half day plus homeowrk time.

I must be crazy.

And to cap it all, we have a parents-teachers association meeting this coming Thursday, and I have the most ominous feeling I am going to be roped into doing something else most days which will eat away even more time.....

And to think that just a few short weeks ago, I was complaining to DH that I was bored !

Between spending 80 minutes a day walking on the school run, a further 60 minutes a day walking Basil, plus trying to keep on top of the housework, I think I shall settle for giving up sleep for Lent this year :-)
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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Just ---- Stop It !

For those who loathe and abominate the phrase "Lord,just.............." when repeatedly used inappropriately, point your browser here and smile :-)
I did !
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Fun Game

Have fun with a geography knowledge quiz and help the hungry......
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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Updates on Akathists.

I have added the Akathist to St John of Shanghai, St Juliana of Lazarevo, St Ignati Brianchaninov and a link to an Akathist to St Peter and St Paul to my other blog here.
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Monday, February 18, 2008

Weather and Suchlike.

Hi all.
The weather here continues cold and gloriously sunny. It was cold enough last night ( minus 2C or 28degrees F) for me to don my thermal vest today :-)

Warmest temperature today was 44 degrees F. Nice if you are standing in the sunny side of the street, chilly if you weren't :-) We have a pretty temperate climate here, though N Ireland and Scotland can be a lot colder than Wales.

Today I went to a "Welsh for Parents" class. There were five of us plus the tutor, but imagine my consternation to find that one of the class members was someone who taught me when I was at school........... the class was great fun, and I am looking forward to returning next week.

On the reading front, I have onloan from the library Cesar Millan's ( the dog whisperer) "Cesar's Way". I also have "An Island Parish" about life on the Isles of Scilly, which are very isolated off the coast of Cornwall.

Also re-reading Ellis Peters' "Summer of the Danes", so I have plenty to keep me occupied !
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Saturday, February 16, 2008


The weather has changed; it is absolutely perishing cold here. Lovely sunny day, but COLD.
When I walked Basil this morning, I wore jogging pants, t shirt, thick jumper, thick woolllen cardigan, fleece coat, hat and gloves, and it was still cold. It really feels like winter now !

Yesterday we went to the Big City with the small ones, and took them to the museum. A lot of the galleries are currently closed for refurbishment, especially the impressionist art, but they will be back open in March. In the meantime, we had loads of fun in the Natural History section and the history of Wales section.

My street cred with the children has risen a lot, as I was able to identify over 90% of the bird species without needing to use the identification key :-)

Today we went to the cinema to see The Bee Movie. The girls and I loved it, but DH felt the film was overlong at 90 minutes. It was an enjoyable visit, nevertheless.
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Thursday, February 14, 2008


Several of you asked how DD3 managed to get the shampoo out of her hair when our water was suddenly cut off.....our electric shower is supplied from the cold water supply pipe, which is the one damaged.

Our domestic *hot* water comes via an old-fashioned back-boiler which heats and then stores the hot water in a storage tank. Even though the cold water was cut off, we did still have hot water ; certainly enough for DD3 to rinse her hair thoroughly.

A Happy St Valentine's Day to you all, by the way ! I am now the proud possessor of Little Women on dvd, which I have long wanted. DH now has Tron, which he loves :-)
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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Half Term

This is our half-term holiday week, and for the first time in living memory, it has not rained torrentially since the close of school on Friday .....

The weather, has, in fact, been utterly glorious. Blue skies and sunshine, and even HEAT ! Yesterday was the hottest February 12th on official record.

We visited my mum yesterday, and having caught the bus to town and picked up my copy of A J Jacobs "The Year of Living Biblically" from the local bookshop,(yay!!) we walked all the way up the seafront to her house, and it was just wonderful. The view over to Somerset and Devon, and across the other side to Swansea and Gower was fantastic; we saw ships in the distance and a huge number of birds. It was a joy and a blessing to be out in the fresh air and sunshine with my girls, laughing and chattering.

Our nextdooor but one neighbours are having building works done on their house, and yesterday their contractor severed a water pipe. Fixing said pipe meant that the water supply to our block of three houses was terminated abruptly and with no warning, which was rather a shock to DD3 who was in the shower at the time, washing her hair ! and to me, as the washing machine was half-way through a load :-0

Luckily , DD3 was fine, due to the automatic safety cut-out, and neither shower nor washing machine suffered damage. It was fortunate that I was at home though, or the abrupt cessation of water to the washing machine could easily have damaged it if I had not turned it off immediately. We were without water all day, though as we had already planned to be out at my mum's, it wasn't a problem. The pipe was finally repaired about 4pm, and after carefully running all the cold taps till the water ran crystal clear again, I was able to complete my poor load of washing, LOL.
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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Playing Games

We saw, on EBay, an old Disney Trivial Pursuit board game. Not the new whizzy DVD clip games, but a proper board game with question cards.

Readers may remember that I am not a fan of board games. Nevertheless, we made a bid for and won this game.

The girls absolutely adore it. There are two sets of questions; one for children over 14 and adults (and boy, they are hard !), and one set for younger children, so adults and kids can play on an even footing, and there aren't really many games where this is possible.

We have all the classics like Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Little Mermaid, Basil the Great Mouse Detective, The Rescuers, Dalmations, Lady and the Tramp etc.

There are a few films we haven't seen as a family, so I have edited those cards out. I have no intention of buying the truly evil "Hunchbook of Notre Dame" film. I don't really like "Bambi", and Abby has not even seen it, nor "The Fox and the Hound", so they are out.

Needless to say, we have played the game every day since it was delivered. I have won 1, Abby has won 3, Helen has won 3. No cheating allowed :-)

I could have won more often if I hadn't been handicapped by the hard adult questions, LOL.
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I was awkened at some unpleasant hour (ie before it is starting to get light!) by DD3 asking if we could have pancakes for breakfast.

We had pancakes for breakfast yesterday, as it was Western Shrove Tuesday.
No problem.
We had pancakes for dessert at tea yesterday, by special request.
No problem.

Pancakes for breakfast today was out of the question as I needed the eggs and milk to make chocolate-mint cookies I promised the ladies on my Family Literacy Course that I would make and take in for Thursday, especially as it is the Course Tutor's birthday. The local shop doesn't open early enough for me to get more eggs and milk, make pancakes and get them to school on time.

They sadly settled for toast and cereal. I refrained from commenting that if it was Shrove Tuesday yesterday, most Western Christians start Lent in earnest today, and those folk wouldn't be getting their pancakes again till after Weaster :-)
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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Second Interview

DD1 has just been asked to go back on Wednesday afternoon to one firm for a **second** interview .

It is a large firm in the Big City, easy travelling distance, good pay, private health cover etc etc. She liked the "feel" of the firm and the people when she was interviewed there last week.

Prayers coveted that God's Will be done with regard to her job-hunting :-)
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Monday, February 04, 2008

Request for Maths Info

If any homeschooling readers could help, I would be grateful !

What specific Math books are you using to teach children age 6 - 9 years ?

As DH is a Maths graduate, he is as keen about the girls developing good Maths skills as I am about their English language skills :-)

Abby has brought home some really abstract Math homework, and if this is what is going to be used over a long period of time, I begin to have some doubts as to how much Math she actually will learn. Sigh.

All part of our wonderful Government's ideal of dumbing down the entire population of schoolchildren to the lowest common denominator, no doubt.

I prefer to be pre-armed, so to speak, and get some decent, proven Maths texts so we can augment - if necessary - what they are learning in school.
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Bargain Hunting


Anastasia, we call them "trainers", in America I believe they are called "sneakers". The children wear them for PE lessons....


DD3 & 4 both needed new school shoes. Both of them are "hard" on their shoes, and if a pair of shoes lasts 3 months, they are doing **really** well.

Truth to tell, they each only have one pair of shoes plus one pair of trainers; yes, money is that tight at the moment !

We went yesterday to the local designer outlet mall, which sells a major chain of shoeshops' ranges at discounted prices. There was nothing suitable for either child, much to our disappointment, so after school today, we walked to town to visit our local shop.

Abby now has a new pair of shoes at full price, and they have ordered trainers for her in her size which should arrive on Thursday.
Helen was lucky; they had a pair of great sensible school shoes - which she really liked! - in the sale for £5 instead of £28 :-) So Helen also ended up with new, full-priced trainers which she fancied. Total cost today was £54 instead of £84. I still have to rustle up another £24 by Thursday for Abby's trainers, but we did get bargains nevertheless.

I would love for them to each have a pair of shoes for "best"/weekend wear as well, but that will have to wait.
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I only intend to highlight particular passages which are used in worship ie the Magnificat, Benedictus and Nunc Dimittis , as well as some specific passages which may occur as Readings in various Hours :-)
It will not end up a multi-colour NT, I promise !

Sol, what sort of highlighting markers are suitable for the the really thin paper in Bibles ? Are they easily available in Britain ?

Today, I have finally got round to doing something I have meant to do for a long time. Procrastination is not normally one of my vices, though God knows I have very many! Yet, I have put off this one particular task.......and now that I have done it, I feel as if I am the biggest criminal unhung.

What heinous crime have I committed ?

I have defaced the Bible.

Well, not really, but that is truly how I feel.

All I have actually done is made a decision that rather than carrying my main Bible or Prayer book around with me (and risk it getting soaked in my bag when I am out and about), I have marked off the Stasis of each Kathisma with underlinings in my tiny spare New Testament and Psalms, so I can carry this eminently portable tiny book even in my pocket.

I am hoping that in doing this, I will have opportunity to do something constructive with spare moments. Whilst at the dentist last week, they were running about ten minutes late. Rather than re-reading trashy magazines, I chose to sit quietly. If this type of opportunity presents itself again in future, I will have the luxury of a choice between the Jesus prayer and silently reciting Psalms plus those parts of the Hours which I do have memorised.

In my long ago Anglican days, we were taught to treat the Bible with the utmost respect; at Mass on Sundays, the Gospel book was carried in solemn procession before being proclaimed. This reverence has carried on in my Orthodox life, seeing the Book of the Gospels treated with such utter respect and love. Each time I read from the Bible, I kiss it.

I was interested to read about the Jewish custom that if a book of the Scriptures or a prayer book should ever be accidentally dropped or fall to the ground, it is picked up reverently and kissed. This is something I have always done, with no knowledge of the Jewish custom and certainly no Jewish background :-)

Yet although what I have done to my New Testament was done with reverence and for a good purpose in order for me to use the Scriptures on a more frequent basis to draw closer to God, I continue to feel slightly guilty.

Go figure !

I am trying to work up to using highlighter pens on significant passages in the Gospels next, LOL.
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Saturday, February 02, 2008

Happy Feast

Wishing you all a Happy Feast for today.
I had really hoped to produce something for today, but circumstances conspired against me spending a prolonged amount of time at the computer :-)
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Friday, February 01, 2008

Miracles Of Modern Medicine

It is so easy to disparage the times in which we live, yet we have so very much to be thankful for.

Especially seven year old Becky Prosser, who was born with a tiny facial birthmark which, within six weeks, had developed into an invasive haemagioma growth so bad that it was about to make her go blind and was making it impossible for her to feed.

After 18 months of intensive laser and drug treatment, Becky's sight was saved and the disfiguring tumour completely removed.

Story and photos here.

Even thirty years ago, this would have - at the very least- cost this child her sight.
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What Snow ?

We rarely get snow here, living on the coast. We rarely even get a prediction of snow.

The weather forecast has all week predicted snow for our town today. Last night before going to bed, I double-checked the BBC website, which again assured me that there should be snow.

DD3 was up at some ungodly hour this morning to check for snow, and came disconsolately into my room to give the bad news that there was none.

Having taken the girls to school, come home, walked the dog, done housework, read blogs, cooked food... - there is still no snow.
And now the BBC weather site is confidently predicting sunny spells for our town.

I have only one question.....
who has stolen our snow ?

The kids will be so grumpy when they get home, if there is not a single flake of snow.
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