Monday, 1 December 2008

The Simple Woman's Day Book . . .

FOR TODAY, December 1, 2008 ...

Outside My Window...

It is pitch black. It gets dark so early these days, around 4 pm, and stays dark most mornings until almost 7 am. So it will be for at least a few more weeks until the Winter Solstice. I wonder how people cope up in the Artic Circle with six months of daylight and six months of darkness? That would seem very strange to me. I'm not sure that I could handle it either way! I don't mind the days getting shorter as long as we have at least some of each the day and the night!

I am thinking...
I was wondering yesterday how you could classify my blog here on Oak Cottage. Is it a food blog? I don't think so . . . although to be sure there is plenty of food here to look at. I have friends that have strictly food blogs and they are wonderful. I love to visit and see what they have been cooking. I have other's that are a happy mix of a lot of things, and still others that are only writings and feelings. I love them all. I guess I am a mixture of lots of things, a bit of food for the eyes, the soul and the tummy!

I am thankful for...
I am very thankful that Kayla is home from the hospital and doing well. I got to talk to my son for a bit yesterday, and whilst she is still on bed rest, things seem to be going very well. He sent me some lovely video's of their son Jonathan. He is such a sweet little boy. I have never gotten to hold him yet. The last time we were back to Canada, we didn't have enough money to be able to rent a car to go over to New Brunswick to see them, nor did they have enough pennies in their coffers to be able to come over to Nova Scotia to see us. It broke my heart to be so close and yet so far . . . but still, I am thankful for the love that we share with each other, however near or far . . .

From the kitchen...
I've got some lovely bikkies sitting on the counter and my White fruitcakes that I made yesterday. It smelt just like a bakery in here late yesterday afternoon! Its hard to believe that there is only about 3 weeks to Christmas! The time is creeping up rather quickly and I have so much to do still!

I am wearing...
Yep, you guessed it, pajamas!!! I do my writing on here early in the morning, not long after I get up, so I will always be in pajamas. I'd live in them if I could, I really would, but alas . . . it's not socially acceptable! I'd be known as that nutter down the lane who always wears pajamas!

I am creating...
I have some little felt ornaments that I have been working on for a couple of years now that I have been trying to finish. I know, I know . . . I must be the biggest procrastinator on the earth!!! I must have a hundred UFO's sitting in boxes up in the spare room. There just isn't enough hours in the day!!! If I ever become Prime Minister, I'm going to ask for more hours in the day!

I am going...
Hopefully I am going to be able to go to our Relief Society Christmas Party on Wednesday night. I very rarely get to go to any of the enrichment evenings or anything. They always hold them on Wednesday nights and I have to work Wednesday nights until 8, so by the time I get home it's far too late to hop in the car and toddle on up to the chapel. I'd just be getting there when they were finishing up . . . I haven't been to one of the Christmas Parties yet, but am hoping that I may be able to finish work a bit early this Wednesday! Hope springs eternal . . . you just never know . . .

I am reading...
I am still working on "The Almost Moon", by Alice Sebold. I'm about 3/4 of the way through. I have another book waiting in the wings though, called The Heretics Daughter, by Kathleen Kent. It looks very good and is a true story I believe, or at least based on one. It involves the Salem Witch Trials, a period of history that I am quite interested in.

I am hoping...
Well, I got not one, but two rejection letters last week, saying that my artwork did not fit their company image. I still have one out there and am preparing a portfolio to send out to another. I shan't give up. I know that they will fit some body's image sooner or later! (Or at least I hope they will, and where would we be without hope!) There has to be someone with vision out there, lol!

I am hearing...
All is quiet in here this morning except for the ticking of the clock and Jess's breathing. Some mornings that is enough, and yet others I want to listen to music. I expect it all depends on my mood. Some days are just quiet days when you want to be alone with your thoughts.

Around the house...
Amazingly enough things are still pretty tidy in this kitchen!! Having more cupboards is sure making a difference and if you can believe it I still haven't managed to fill them all!!! I KNOW!!! That's amazing!

One of my favorite things...
Is praying. I am not one much for making oral prayers in front of other people, like at church and stuff. I always feel so self conscious when I am asked to do one of those. I just am not that comfortable with praying out loud. I do love to pray when I am by myself though and I often have a monologue with God going through my head. We are told to pray unceasingly and I expect that's what I do. I always get answers as well, and often answers that I don't recognize right away. I used to write out all my prayers and kept prayer journals. It's interesting to go back and read what I have in them and see the prayers that were answered and the different ways that they were answered.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...
There is the RS Christmas Party on Wednesday night and then on Saturday there is the Ward Christmas Party. That's something else we rarely have a chance to attend. I think we have been to one in all the time we've been down here living and working. December is a very busy month at work with lots of dinner parties and such so, well . . . you know how it goes! I love working the dinner parties though. It gives me an opportunity to stretch beyond the every day and really do some interesting cooking. Normally there are 6 courses, counting the appetizers, starter, main, dessert, cheese and coffee/chocolate at the end of the evening. It's always very interesting and exciting to me to see if I can pull it off without a hitch.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

This is one of my dolls that I used to make and sell. She's a gingerbread doll, done in the primitive style. I used to sell a lot of these and I really loved making them. I also used to sell bunny dolls, sheep dolls, angels, teddy bears and a whole lot of other things. I really enjoyed the creation process of making them and I like to think that I sewed a little piece of my heart into each one. I also used to make oodles and oodles of Christmas ornaments every year to take to the Christmas Craft sales. I really enjoyed doing that. It was fun seeing all the things that other people had created and also meeting new people. There was always a lovely festive feeling in the air! Some of my favourite sales were the ones I did with my sister. She is a wonderful crafting artist as well, although . . . like me, she rarely has the time to do any of it these days. I am so grateful for the happy memories I have of those times we had to spend together.

Make sure you check out some of the other Day Book entries on The Simple Woman . I reckon it's a good way to bless your day and touch your heart in a very good way!!!

Like I said I was baking Christmas Fruit Cakes yesterday, not the dark ones, but light ones this time. I will be doing the dark ones soon as well. (fingers crossed I have the time!) That's not something you see a lot of over here, the light fruitcakes. I actually prefer light fruitcakes over dark, but I love fruitcake anyways. I know it's not every one's cup of tea, but I guess you just can't please everyone can you!!!

*Kresge's Fruitcake*
Makes 2 cakes

This is the recipe for the fruitcake that used to be sold by Kresge's (K-Mart) every Christmas Season. At one time they used to hand out the recipe to lucky shoppers. This is one of my absolute favourite seasonal cakes! If you are not fond of dark fruitcake, perhaps you will like this version.

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
5 large eggs, separated
1 cup milk
3/4 cup blanched almonds
1 cup mixed peel, diced
1 1/4 cups glace cherries
3 cups white raisins
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp lemon extract

Pre-heat the oven to 150*C/300*F. Line two 9X5X3 inch loaf tins with well greased brown paper or foil. (Shiny side down) Set aside.

Cream the butter and the sugar together in a large bowl for 5 minutes with an electric mixer. Stir in the beaten egg yolks and milk, mixing all in well.

Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside.

Combine the chopped fruit and nuts in a bowl. Stir in about 1/4 cup of the flour mixture and then stir it all into the creamed mixture, combining well. Stir in the remaining flour mixture. The batter will be quite thick.

Beat the egg whites until stiff, but not dry. Fold them into the cake batter with a large metal spoon, along with the lemon extract. Divide and spread the batter into the two loaf tins. Smooth the tops.

Bake until the cake tests done by inserting a skewer. (Insert the skewer and pull it out again. If there is no moist batter clinging to the skewer the cake is finished) This can take anywheres from an hour to an hour and a half. Sometimes even longer. Start testing at one hour.

Allow to rest on a rack and cool to warm before removing from pans. Wrap well to store. This keeps for several weeks.

PS - I'll be back later today with the winner of my Christmas Giveaway!!!


  1. Fruitcake and mince pies are the two Christmas things from home that I miss the most. Sadly, dried fruit, mixed peel and mincemeat are simply not sold in Sweden. There is an English Shop in Stockholm where one can buy them for an outrageous price, which I'm not willing to pay, so I make the Swedish style biscuits and saffron buns for the time of year.

    I remember my gran making up her dark boiled fruit cakes as early as October and keeping them wrapped in foil, dousing them each day with brandy, before rewrapping them again until Christmas day.

    I just know you will find someone to print your cards - they are so charming that I can see them appealing to many people. It just takes a little patience.

  2. It sounds like you're having a lovely time! I actually don't know if I've ever had fruit cake...I know, shocker!

  3. I'm sitting here in my PJ's too!
    Hope you get to go to your party!

  4. Marie, I had to smile to myself as Let it Snow came on when I came to visit your blog this morning, as we're having the first snow of the year up here today!

  5. Hi, Marie! LOVE that fruitcake! Been ages since I ate, or made, a fruitcake...mmmm...Always such fun to visit you at the start of the week with these special posts of yours. Sounds like very, very busy days ahead, but fun to. Hope this week will see you getting an acceptance letter or two instead...fingers, toes, everything crossed! :o) We've been having light snow since this morning...very magical...Happy Day, sweet friend--LOVE YOU ((HUGS))

  6. Instead of stating what you're wearing in the "I'm wearing" with your Sunday Six, perhaps you should change that heading to "What pj's I'm wearing". PJ's are wonderful; I bet if you did a pole, pj's would be the favorite clothing choice for house-wear!

  7. Morning Marie! Oooh dear, what is your blog? No, I wouldn't call it a foodie blog. I enjoy reading some of those but they are far more dedicated to their craft than I can be . Yours is a "something for everyone" blog. That's why so many people love it. And I'm one!

    I make the dark boiled fruit cakes that another commenter spoke of but I don't dose them with brandy; I reserve that for the very rich fruit cakes. We call it Plum Bread up here and it wouldn'tbe Christmas without it!

    Your white fruit cake sounds good but what are 'white raisins'?

    love, Angie, xx

  8. It's more than wonderful to hear that Kayla is home and doing well. I think many many prayers have been answered. I spend half my day, if not more, in pajamas, and make no apologies! As for your's a YOU blog...and that the best category I can think of. Have a terrific day!!!

  9. You know always I said I love "The simple woman´s day book!! is lovely, Yes I understand you the darkness night by secretly I LOVE AUTUMN and Winter!! Marie now we are in almost summer , with very hot days and I feel tired when I go out to buy and others.
    But I count my blessings how you say, the best of the summer is; the pool and swimm, the apricots are growing in my trees and the jam I hope toake, The childs finish the school so we have a break until March, (was a difficult year) the roses, and the worst is the very hot days!

    I m happy your daugther is law is OK I hope all is goin well, I continue pray for them.
    And for last, one of my favorites things is prayng too!! really, clam me, is peaceful and God take care all these things that round sometimes in my head!!!Hugggss.

    Lovely Christmas bread!!

  10. We shall continue to pray for Kayla's complete recovery! Your blog is an inspirational blog. Inspiring us to appreciate all that is around us, inspiring us in the kitchen, and inspiring us to remember who we are and that we are Children of a Heavenly Father who loves us and knows us, and it so happy when we share as you do everyday!

  11. Hello dear,
    John is dressed and almost ready to hit the road and I am in my pink nighty on the computer. I got up before he did and slipped down stairs to say hi to you but Erin was up and we got to last hour with this precious girl is going too fast... now John is ready to go and I am not so I must put off reading today's post...and I love your simple woman's day book....until we get home. I will look forward to reading it and your Tues posts then. I must rush and then I will be sitting for hours while John drives. (Unless he is sick or very sleepy he likes to be the one who drives.) I will embroider on a temple apron while we travel. I am trying to make one for each grandchild like I did for my kids. I am only on # 4 for the grandchildren. Mostly I work on them while we drive but since they are still young I figure I have time. Have a great couple of days and I will be back to visit you soon. I send love, Lura

  12. i'm back from my thanksgiving trip and catching up on the blog world! i've missed it! don't give up with your prints-i KNOW someone out there will have "vision" one of these days:) they are beautiful pieces of art. some of the most famous and talented artists/writers were rejected over and over and they didn't give up. so i hope you don't either!

    and i know what you mean about saying prayers publicly. it makes me nervous everytime i get called in RS!

  13. Marie, I'm so glad to hear your daughter-in-law is doing better and that she's home! Your gingerbread doll is so cute! The fruitcake looks super yummy!

  14. This looks wonderful Marie, I've never seen a light fruit cake before, I think I would like this better!

  15. Your White Fruitcake looks so yummy. I have never made any kind of fruitcake before, but I am going to attempt this one. Love your Blog. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  16. Hi Marie! I just love reading your Simple Woman's Day Book entries. It is my favorite day of your blog. I hope you have a chance to go to your Relief Society Christmas party. It sounds really fun.

    I am glad that your daughter in law is out of the hospital! That is such good news!

    Your fruit cake looks wonderful. I ave never tried to make fruit cake but maybe I will get more adventurous! I hope you have a wonderful week! Sending hugs your way!

  17. You are talented, Marie!! Just don't let those rejection letters get you down. You know, most likely, it is due to the bad economic times we live in right now. Just find ways to sell them yourself and maybe one of these days, it will be as you hope!! You are a multi-talented lady!! Enjoy reading your thoughts, even if some I do not agree totally with ;-)! Many I do identify with!! And you are generous to share so many here!! Thank you!!

  18. I know you are busy, and write often on this blog, however, I so miss not having more postings on your other blog, Maria bakes Britain. I love the content and "atmosphere" of it!
    Re: white Christmas cake, what is mixed peel? Can't be 1 and a half cups of citrus zest, or could it? Is it something we can make or produce at home?

  19. Oooh I love fruitcake! It just feels soo lovely and festive making it right now and I cant wait for Christmas! Yours looks absolutely yummy as always :)


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