New Year’s Eve… it’s almost 2022!

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Happy New Year’s Eve day!

Tonight, Dave and I will be celebrating with pizza, champagne, and An Affair to Remember on the PVR. We’ll switch to Times Square in time to see the ball drop.

It is still mid-morning, and I am about to begin my New Year’s Eve tradition – cleaning completely. Everything! If you know me, you know what a clean freak am, but this is the day I like to live up to the expression “out with the old, in with the new.” My last act before settling in to our romantic evening in front of the fireplace will be to take out the kitchen trash bag, into which I will empty the contents of the Dyson, and to put a load of microfibre cloths into the laundry – the clothes I will use all day to polish and shine. 

Seriously, I like to keep our home clean enough that company would have been able to drop in unexpectedly – were it not for the pandemic. But today begin the end of 2021, I will do through my weekly routine all in one day: dusting, vacuuming, moping, and shining every surface.

Thinking back, this time last year I had not yet discovered the cleaning products of Norwex and I did not yet have my collection of microfibre cloths for every use. Nor did I have my Norwex mop, which has changed the way I do my floors. I now literally use just water to clean everything in our home, which is not only better for the environment, it’s also better for us, and closer to how the Proverbs 31 woman would have cleaned her home. 

Tonight’s pizza will be take-out, complete with garlic bread, so it will also be tomorrow’s dinner. Half veggie for me, half meat for Dave, and such a treat! We are ordering from Papa John’s, which has the best garlic bread on the planet! We don’t order pizza often, but it’s our New Year’s Eve tradition, and since it is infrequent, we look forward to it all the more. The firelight, of course, will be electric, but our fireplace has a heater so it feels as real as it looks!

Tablecloths for Everyday

Tomorrow is the second Monday of October, and here in Canada that means Thanksgiving. We will be driving up to spend the afternoon and early evening with my daughter and her family, but today — Sunday — our condo is filled with the aroma of turkey, stuffing, and apple pie.

Dave and I always cook a full turkey dinner on Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving. It gives us a festive meal, turkey pot pies, a couple of casseroles, soup, and sandwiches for Dave to take for lunches. It also gives us a chance to package up complete turkey dinners (including dessert) to share with neighbours who are alone and unable to risk being exposed to Covid.

But I digress…

Even though it will be just the two of us for dinner, I decided to use place our harvest centrepiece on our best white tablecloth. And then I thought, why not use it every day? Our condo doesn’t have an eat-in kitchen, so we eat at the dining table with placemats and napkins. It is no extra work to wash a tablecloth than it is placemats, but what a special feeling it brings to every day meals, even breakfast!

Right now I am feeling like my grandmother, and proud of it! Are tablecloths old fashioned? Perhaps, but so am I!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Easy as Pie!

Proverbs 31 is full of references to how our Biblical role model put extra effort into everything she did for her family. When you go the extra mile, you enjoy what you’re doing so much more.

Take baking a pie, for instance: You prepare the bottom crust, fill the pie, add the top crust, pierce, crimp and bake. It comes out steaming, aromatic and delicious! There is nothing quite like a homemade pie!

But imagine how much more creative you could be with your family’s favourite pie recipe! With the use of an embossed rolling pin, ravioli cutter and a few techniques, you could create a pie that is a work of art! The flowers are as simple as the ones we made from playdough as children!

My Connection to Anne Boleyn

Today marks the 485th anniversary of the death of Anne Boleyn in the Tower of London on May 19, 1536.

The “other Boleyn girl,” Mary Boleyn, was married to William Carey, who served King Henry VIII as a Gentleman of the Privy chamber and Esquire of the Body to the King. Mary became Henry’s mistress shortly after their marriage in 1520.

William Carey was the son of Margaret Spencer and Sir Thomas Carey. While Margaret is not from the same Spencer family as the late Princess Diana, she was the 3rd great granddaughter of King Edward III.

Thomas Carey and Margaret Spencer had the following children:

  • Sir John Carey, of Plashey (1491–1552), married Joyce Denny (1495–1559)
  • Anne Carey (1493–1550)
  • William Carey (1500–1528), Gentleman of the Privy Chamber and Esquire of the Body to King Henry VIII of England, married Mary Boleyn.
  • Margaret Carey (1496–1560)
  • Eleanor Carey (died after 1528). She was a nun at Wilton Abbey.
  • daughter, name unknown. She was a nun at Wilton Abbey.
  • Edward Carey (after 1500–1560)
  • Mary Carey (1501–1560), married John Delaval, Sheriff of Northumberland (1493–14 Dec 1562)

Mary Carey and John DeLaval are my 12th great grandparents. I am descended from their son, Sir John deLaval 1512-1572 who married Anne Ogle b1515. The line continues through to my grandparents, parents, and myself.

A very interesting person on the tree is William James Bowes, who was born on 15 Nov, 1760 in Glamis, Scotland, and was the grandson of Sir William Bowes MP and Elizabeth Blackiston. Sir William is the 5th great grandfather of the Queen Mother, as his daughter, Mary Eleanor Bowes, married John Lyon, the 9th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne and hypenated the name to Bowes-Lyon. But back to William, the grandson, and my ancestor:

He married Lady Margaret Monteith, who was born 2 Oct 1768 in Inverary Castle, Inverary, Argylshire, Scotland. This was a marriage which his family considered unsuitable. The reason is a mystery. In any case, they left Scotland and emigrated to Canada, where they set up a farm in Ramsay Township, Lanark Co, Ontario.

That shows more than anything else how so many Canadians and Americans of English descent have noble and royal blood, despite the fact that we have farmers in our recent family trees… my maternal great-grandmother was Marguerite Bowes!

Keeping Promises

As Dave and I were eating breakfast this morning, we commented on today being the 95th birthday of Queen Elizabeth, less than a week after the funeral of Prince Philip. Ten years before I was born, on her 21st birthday, this remarkable woman gave a speech that we all remember on this day:

“I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”

Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) April 21, 1947

It’s hard to realize how young she was at the time, and yet the promise she made was one she continues to keep to this day. How many of us can say the same? It made me think about the promises we make, and how they really aren’t promises at all. “I’ll pray for you,” seems to be something we say when we don’t know what else to say. When we say we’ll pray for someone, let’s pray, and keep praying. “I’m here for you” is another. Yet how many times are we too tired or too busy when the person really needs to talk to us?

The promises that matter are the little promises we make to the people in our lives, both friends and family. But sometimes, we need to realize that we can’t promise something, rather than make an impossible commitment that we know we won’t be able to honour. Often, we promise to do something that is beyond our ability, which is an impossible promise to keep. It seems easier in the short term to make a promise than to admit we cannot do it.

The most important promises, our marriage vows, seem to fade into the distance with the realities of day to day life. I would love to see every couple privately repeat their vows yearly on their anniversary, and celebrate milestone anniversaries with a formal vow renewal.

Proverbs 31 women, let’s become known for making promises we can keep, and keeping the promises we make. After all Jesus kept His promise to us when He said, “I am with you always.” (Matthew 28:20)