I’m moving blogs!!!

As those of you who have followed me for a while know, I ran out of photo storage space and decided the best option was to create a new blog! It’s been a while coming, but here, at last is my new blog:

Kicking Through The Leaves

I really do hope that you follow me over from this blog to my new blog and we can continue to get to know each other! Thank you so very much for your faithful following and blog-companionship!!

On trying to decide on a name for my new blog, I had suggestions given – sensible and silly!  ;) – but none seemed to fit. I needed the name to “feel” right and make sure it expressed something about me and my attitude to life …

Along came Kicking Through The Leaves! Autumn is my favourite season and I love the colours of the leaves, the crispness in the air and I adore kicking my way through a big pile of fallen leaves! I started practicing as soon as I could walk and haven’t stopped for the following 26 years :) I also feel it says something about my view of life – I have some very definite ideas! ;)

Life has so many seasons of  ups and downs, struggles and plain sailing and people and experiences coming and going. I have had a pretty good dose of struggles in my life so far, but I have always been determined to laugh at anything funny, find enjoyment from the little things, revel in the good times – even if I have to count in minutes rather than months, and to constantly look for the good in people and life. Ok, so this isn’t easy – I struggle, I despair, I criticise and get angry, I have a cynical side – but every time I emerge from a dark and doubting time, I remember exactly how much good, fun and laughter can be found in every tiny thing. Yes, I’m about to attend a dreaded medical appointment, but right now I’m laughing over coffee with my amazingly faithful best friend R! I’ve had a horrible day with bad news, but my hubby just walked through the door and gave me a massive hug and a bouquet of flowers!

Yup, you’re right – keeping this attitude is a lot of hard work, with many failures, but you know what, it’s worth it when you can laugh at yourself and let other people laugh with you for breaking a jug, singing a stupid song very badly because you thought no one was around or my speciality – realising just too late that what you’re saying has two meanings … ! :P I hope you’ll come and join me on my journey, enjoy laughing at the silly things I do and occasionally get some shared cooking or crafting projects!

Holidays!!!

We’ve been on holiday! It was a much needed and anticipated rest and the first real holiday we’ve had this year – bliss!! :D

I can’t upload many photos (I’ll explain in a bit), but here’s a little taste of  our week of relaxing, resting, visiting Grandparents, sleeping, walking, eating our now-traditional holiday foods and above all – doing nothing but reading!!

L took some of these photos, as he has discovered a love of photography that was lying dormant – now I’m not the only one stopping every other minute to get another shot!! ;)

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I’m actually surprised I was able to upload that many photos! As you will know if you have visited my blog before, I love taking photos and I include a lot of photos in just about all my posts … so I’ve just about reached my photo storage limit for this blog … yeah … eeek, so I really do take loads of photos … !!! ;P

I can’t buy more storage space right now, so I’m going to have to create a new blog!!!

This WILL be very exciting!! :)

I will of course keep this blog here and link it my new one. I hope that you will follow me over to my new internet home once I have it up and running – I would to keep all you lovely blogging friends! :)

Following me over to my new blog is one way you can help me … the other way is … a new blog name!!

I’m having trouble coming up with a name that feels just right and would love, love, love to have all of your suggestions … please?!? I seriously would love it if you could join in! :D

I will be updating you as things progress. Until then, I hope you have a brilliant week and I will go and enjoy my birthday tomorrow – yaaaayyyy!! ;)

Two years!!!

At the end of our honeymoon I turned to my new husband and said, in slightly disbelieving-excitement “Do you realise we’ve been married for a whole week?!?

The ring goes on!!

This morning before he headed off for work, L and I looked at each other and said together “We’ve been married for two years!!!

So happy and oh yeah – the kiss was about to come! ;)

The time has gone so quickly it seems impossible that we’re celebrating our 2nd wedding anniversary already!

Isn’t the black-and-white with the one bit of colour wonderful?!

Being Mrs M, waking up next to L every morning and enjoying more hugs in one day then I used to get in a month is now so natural, so right that I find myself amazed that it’s only been two years!

It’s wierd the way passing time leaves you feeling that way.

We were both so glad that so many of our family, friends and church-family were there to celebrate our marriage with us!

Nana and I on my wedding day!

My sisters and I – love you!!

I love how happy we are! :)

I put the socks and converses on after we got to the park and saw a long-cherished dream realised!! :D

It was so much fun taking these photos on the swings!!!

One of my hubby’s favourites!!! :D

Oh yes, and after all this time, I finally have an album of most of my favourite wedding photos (um, 200 plus of them … ! :P ) and tomorrow am going to give my best friend R her completed chief-bridesmaid gift … let’s just say that I wasn’t the most organized bride in history … ;)

I’m nearly out of photo storage space on my blog and haven’t yet decided what to do about it (any tips?!) so used photos of our wedding that we’re already stored on here – complete with the captions I added March last year!

Happy 2nd anniversary L!! :)

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;  it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.Love never ends.

1 Corinthians 13 v 4-8

August-in-a-blog-post …

… or something that attempts to sum up what’s happened in my month!

My August got overtaken with illness. Yup, it’s me that’s ill. It’s a long-term thing – been around for too long and not going away anytime in the near future. Some days are better than others and August has been a collection of mostly bad days. Life has been a struggle and finding the energy for the every-day essentials has been flakey, so my blog has sort of slipped …

I wanted to tell you because my blog and the blogging community I’ve found online has become very important to me. I love sharing my photos and life with whoever is reading these pages and getting to “meet” some of you fellow-bloggers and share my passions with you has been an amazing experience! Even though I have not been commenting on your blogs, I’ve been keeping in touch with what is going on in your lives, praying for you when you’ve had tough times and loving all the photos, recipes and fun! So I guess it’s my turn to ask for the prayers and/or thoughts. Not something that comes easily to me, but even though I don’t post as regularly as I want to, I’m not giving up!

Here are a few other things that happened in August …

I cooked a fish meal for the first time! I baked salmon in foil parcels with a sauce of chilli, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and oyster sauce, and lots of spring onion, red pepper and fresh coriander (cilantro). I served it with rice and green vegetables and it seemed to be a success! :)

One of L’s cousins got married in a country manor house in Shropshire! The staircase used for the bride’s entrance was amazing! They handed out homemade dried-rose confetti and had a beautifully done afternoon tea for the first part of the reception! The couple was obviously happy, despite it pouring with rain most of the day and the bride’s vintage-style lace dress was pretty. There were some photos of L and I taken, but my father-in-law still has these! ;)

My youngest sister had her 21st birthday!! Eeeek! Makes me feel old … ;) I had a lot of fun planning and creating a special gift for her. T has quite a number of pen-friends and writing letters and keeping in touch with them is important to her. I found a Jane Austen-style writing desk which I painted with her favourite flower – daisys! I also covered a box with old stamps from around the world (I love Ebay! :P ) and filled it with notepaper and cards. My other two sisters had informed me that T was very set on having cards with 21 on them … so the card, some of the wrapping paper and a key-ring made sure she wouldn’t forget how old she was turning!! ;) My sisters and I have had this tradition of giving each other number badges for big birthdays and this year I got to buy the badge – I’ve been assured it will be pinned on her bag for a while! :)

Just this past week we had some good friends of ours round for supper. E and S got married just 7 months after L and I did and L and E had lived in the same houses for 6 years and have been in a prayer-triplet together with another guy for nearly as long … so yeah, they go way back. They have had us round for dinner twice and we really wanted to have them round to our house – once we could find a date that worked for both couples, that is! ;)

I kind of went a bit over-board on the cooking front … not at all common for  me ;) I like to cook something which is ready ahead of time and just needs putting in the oven, so I baked Chicken, Leek and Cider Pie. It comes from this amazing pie recipe book that my sisters gave me for my birthday last year. I decided to replace the whole chicken and homemade stock with chicken pieces and chicken stock cubes and made a classic mistake – the recipe called for a chicken weighing 1.5kg so, of course, I bought 1.5kg of thigh fillets … let’s just say that not counting in the weight difference for a whole chicken made a massive quantity of filling! ;)

Apart from that little slip-up, everyone seemed to enjoy the individual pies, sweet potato wedges and vegetables. For pudding we had lemon-curd biscuits, fresh fruit and homemade ice-cream. I’d been wanting to have a go at making my own ice-cream in ages and I found this recipe that just need me to whip up condensed milk, double cream and vanilla, then put it in the freezer and forget about it … until pudding time! :) So simple!

A few weeks ago L surprised me with this gorgeous bouquet of flowers – he knows how to make me smile! :D

I hope to be writing again soon!

What has happened in your August?

Summer!

I promise you I have not completely disappeared … I just took an unplanned break … doing some summer things …

… like sitting with my hubby drinking wine, chatting and enjoying the evening sun coming through our windows …

… witnessing glorious sunsets …

… eating lots of fresh asparagus (between you and me I think L might wake up one morning and find his wife has turned into a stalk of asparagus ;) ) …

… reading books on the Cathedral Green …

… attending the lovely wedding of lovely friends …

… and taking photos of fresh, juicy, bright red tomatoes! Not really a must-do summer activity, but come on, the colour has got to make you smile, right?! ;)

What are you doing with your summer?

Perfect afternoon!

The last two days we have been enjoying the nicest weather we’ve had since about May – blue skies, fluffy clouds, just the right strength of sun, cool breeze … perfect!

So L and I took advantage of it this afternoon and went walking!

We walked down through town to The Quay.

You can hire canoes to go up the river, or bikes to take on the tow-path … or you can walk up the paths, like we did. But first we stopped at a little place called The Jolly Roger’s Tea Room to but some scrummy ice creams which we munched on as we walked! :) I had maple, pecan and fudge in a waffle cone – you should try it sometime, it’s yummy! :P

The river is beautiful, especially in this weather and I love having a piece of countryside so close to town!

Doubles Locks is a locally famous pub which is very popular as a walking and cycling destination. We sat under the magnificent cedar trees outside and enjoyed a chilled pint of beer/cider – ah!

There were lots of people there, enjoying the sun, the space and the good food and drink – it was nice and cheerful!

We had some fun messing around for a bit before starting off on the walk home …

We were quite tired by then and had sore feet by the time we got home again, but it was so worth it!! I haven’t enjoyed a Saturday afternoon so much in too long, and I got to spend it all with my lovely hubby! :D

The day I cooked a chicken

I’ve missed you guys!

Life has been really busy, with many big changes going on, which have affected all areas of L and I’s life. Some good changes, some not-so-good changes.

You know those times when you have so much to handle all at once that something has to be put down? Sadly my little corner of the internet was one of those things that had to be temporarily abandoned. :(

But hey, we’re still here, God is still faithful and L completed his first week in his first “proper” job! Oh yeah, I survived a week where I did more ironing in seven days then I have done in the last 4 years … ;)

Today, I cooked a chicken!

Two chickens, if I going to be absolutely exact about it! :P

In the last four years I’ve gone from cooking entirely vegetarian food to cooking meat-eating-man-food – quite a journey! ;)

The Big Thing was a roast chicken! I’m not sure exactly why, but it seemed like a very scary undertaking. Roast beef, sure. Just about any kind of chicken joint, fine. But roast chicken? A big, squidgy, cold, pink thing that I’d have to touch … this dead bird with a big hole in the middle … slimy skin and pointy bones … shudder!

I was shopping for a week’s worth of my hubby’s lunches and these little chickens had just been reduced … somehow they found their way into my basket and into my kitchen … by the way, for those of you who don’t have to carry their food shopping for a 20 minute walk, dead birds are pretty heavy! ;)

I got these two girls in a roasting tin, rubbed olive oil, lemon juice and a mix of herbs and salt and pepper over their skin and put them in the oven for an hour. Oh alright, so yes, I did do this with the help of latex gloves … I needed all the help I could get, alright?! ;)

I used my meat thermometer for the first time and got clear-running-juice, crispy-skinned roast chicken!

Yay! So what was all the fuss about Mrs M?! Easy, right? Worst part over and it really wasn’t that bad, right?

Wrong!

By the time I had this massive bowl of shredded chicken, I learned that it’s better to start with the legs than the breast and that I’m still a lot more squeamish then I hoped … I didn’t feel quite right in my stomach after picking meat off the skeletons of two whole chickens, trying not to think what the brown gunk inside the carcass was and tearing the sockets of legs and wings apart … sorry if I’m being too graphic here! :P

It’s done. I did it. I cooked a roast chicken!

This amount of chicken is rather too much to expect one boy to get through in one week, so I see curries and pilaf coming our way … ;)

Have you roasted a chicken? Do you have a “dreaded food” you’ve never been able to cook yet?!