Monday, 24 November 2008

The Simple Woman's Day Book . . .

FOR TODAY, November 24, 2008 ...

Outside My Window...

All is quiet and calm and dark and cold . . . brrrr . . . winter seems to have come early this year. I have never known it to snow so early in the year here. Although it did not stay and was followed quite quickly by rain, for a few moments I got to feel the pure excitement of a child again, when the first snow flakes of the year begin to fall. Oh, how I used to long for the sight of those little white flakes. I knew it meant that Christmas could not be too awfully far behind and that Santa would have lots of snow for his sleigh. Mum always said too that a green Christmas meant a death in the family. An old wives tale . . . I know.

I am thinking...
I recently got back in touch with several old friends of mine from years back when my children were still young. It was so wonderful to hear from them and read what's been happening in their lives and sharing with them what has happened in mine. "Our lives can change in an instant", and the older I get the more the reality of that statement comes home to me. We never know really where we will be in our lives from one year to the next. It's a sobering thought and makes me ever more grateful for the blessings I so freely enjoy on this day, for I never know how long they will be mine to enjoy.

I am thankful for...
I am thankful that my Aunt Thelma is in pain no longer and whole again. I talked to my mum yesterday for a time, and she told me that my dear Aunt had asked last week for Heavenly Father to take her home. She didn't want to live any longer in the way she had had to live over these past weeks. In so much pain, and not able to see to read or do anything with her hands. Breathing had become such a struggle for her. Her heart was no longer strong enough to pump all the fluid from her lungs. I think that she was just tired of fighting. Heavenly Father answered her prayers. I expect she is up there sharing a cup of tea with Aunt Freda now and they are having a glorious reunion with each other, and with their mum and dad. I'm so thankful for the knowledge that families are forever.

From the kitchen...
Ohhh . . . I have my Tuesdays With Dorie pie cooling on the counter and some lovely bars that I am going to share with you in just a little bit. I have great plans for this week. It's Thanksgiving week in America as you know and we have been invited to share it with some American friends. I am really looking forward to that. I didn't get to celebrate my Canadian Thanksgiving due to work commitments and so am really looking forward to this one!!

I am wearing...
P-A-J-A-M-A-S!!! Lovely, comfy, warm jammies. I put them on right when we got home from church yesterday. (I know!!! What am I like???) It's my favourite way of relaxing. I figure if Sunday is the Lord's day and meant for rest, then the best way to do it, after church that is, is in my pajamas!

I am creating...
I sorted through all my art stuff at the weekend and got it all organized into the lovely file that Todd gave me for our anniversary. I am so happy now that I have a safe place to store my originals that will help to prevent them from becoming damaged in any way. I have a lot of sketches that I am wanting to get at. I also have some little Christmas bits in the way of crafts that I really need to get busy with. I have about 5 stocking fronts that I have had pieced together for a number of years now and every year I plan on finishing them and getting them quilted for my Grandsons. Soon there will be a third one to make one for. It's all very exciting. In the years before I had to go to work, I used to do a lot of crafts . . . now I have very little free time and so I have to really pick and choose what I am going to do in it. I guess I need to have a better plan so that I can get it all in!

I am going...
I'm really excited at the prospect of going to friend's to celebrate Thanksgiving day. She is cooking the turkey and the cranberry and I am doing all the side dishes. Ohhh, there will be lots of goodies . . . candied yams, and mashed potatoes not to mention a few other surprises! The best part will be feeling like a part of a huge family again. Holidays are very quiet here with just Todd and I, and while I am very grateful that I have a wonderful husband to share them with, I do miss all the noise and commotion of having a passel of kids and their spouses and the wee ones around! There will be no wee ones there on Thursday, but there will be a whole passel of people and hopefully lots of lovely noise!

I am reading...
I am still working on "The Almost Moon", by Alice Sebold. It's a very good read and not at all morbid. I know . . . it does take me a long time to get through a book! We had a literature appreciation night at Young Women's last week where we had invited the young women to bring in several of their favourite books and to be prepared to share why they were their favourites etc. We did have a fun evening and it was so interesting to see each of the girls' personalities coming out in the books that they choose to read!

I am hoping...
I still have not heard from that card company so am thinking that perhaps my work was not quite right for their requirements. I shall not give up though and keep trying. On the bright side all of the wonderful people who have purchased my cards have been so kind as to let me know that they were very happy with them. That makes me feel good. I am always a bit nervous when I send some of my work off to a new home. I would never want anyone to be disappointed in what I send them, and so I am on tenterhooks until it arrives and I know that they are satisfied.

I am hearing...
I have some quite music playing this morning. I love music, especially quiet music. I find it so calming. It's magic. Music is magic. I reckon I got my great love of music from my dad. He loves music too. I am able to appreciate all kinds of music, and I am so thankful for that blessing and the joy that it brings me in my life. Ohhh, the other day on my way up the lane to work I paused to listen to lovely sounds coming from the hedgerows . . . it was a bird that was singing it's pretty little heart out. I watched it fly from the hedgerow to a nearby tree where it continued it's song and my goodness but it made my heart sing. It was a little robin. They have a beautiful voice and then nearby I noticed a little Jenny Wren. I watched for several moments before having to break myself away and continue on up to work. I love these special little moments that God gifts me with each day. I am so thankful that I have a heart that is open to their magic and wonder.

Around the house...
Things are neat and tidy and I am working hard at keeping them that way. I am such a clutter bug, and I know it drives Todd up the wall! The side of my bed is still a mess though, with piles of books and magazines (neatly mind) stacked next to my side of the bed. I have a routine each night before I go to sleep. A few minutes with the Ensign and then a few minutes in a cookbook or cooking magazine and then a few minutes with whichever novel I am reading at the time. I have been reading the Ensign with the latest conference talks in them and really enjoying it. The cookbook I have been enjoying these last few nights is the "Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer" one and I am loving remembering all those lovely books I read as a child and the wonderful foods that I used to drool over in them and wish I could try!

One of my favorite things...
Is sitting down here each morning and penning my thoughts to you. It's like having a beautiful conversation with a close friend and I am grateful for that. Many thanks to you all for giving me that opportunity to share with you each day. I am so blessed . . .

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...
I have lots to do for the Thanksgiving dinner, and then I have my December newsletter for the ladies at church to get out. I didn't get one done last month with all of the hassle going on here in the kitchen. I really missed doing it and I hope that they missed receiving it. I will make up for it this month. It's the Christmas one and my very favourite one to do of the year! I just love planning it and putting it together. Then on Saturday we are going to Heathfield to have lunch with some friends and Todd is going to show them how to use the new Family History program on the computer and get it all set up for them. It should be a good day! A day spent with friends is always a blessing and a heart warmer!

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Not a great picture of me and I really don't ever like pictures of me, but I love this one. It was taken a couple of years ago when Todd and I were visiting my mom two summers ago. That's my oldest grandson and we were having some fun down on the carpet. Oh, how I enjoyed that time together. I love my family so much. It makes me sad sometimes that they are so far away, but then I stop and think that they are never far away in my heart and I know that I am never far away in theirs. It makes the moments we DO get to spend together all the more special and precious. I shall never take them for granted.

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.

I thought I'd share the Make Me Bake Challenge with you this morning. I have been so slack with that lately, what with the kitchen re-fit and then our computer going down last week. I promise to be better at it from now on. MY goodness, but you guys chose a real winner with this last one! And judging from the way Todd has been enjoying them, he thinks so too! This is one for that Christmas baking tray of goodies for sure!

*Double Cherry Streusel Bars*
Makes 48

These are so yummy and buttery good. I love the slight tang of the dried cherries and the buttery shortness of the crust and crumble, not to mention the sweet cherry preserves. These are so yummy. I cut the recipe in half as there are only two of us and trust me when I say I do not to eat that many of them. These are so good I could easily have eaten the whole tray! (I forgot the chocolate drizzles too!)

2 cups boiling water
1 cup dried tart cherries, or dried cranberries
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups packed soft light brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup butter (8 ounces)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped slivered almonds (I used pecans)
1 12-ounce jars of cherry preserves
(I used morello cherry conserve)
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate pieces
1 tsp vegetable shortening

Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Put the dried fruit into a bowl and cover it with the boiling water. Set aside to stand for 10 minutes to soften and then drain well. Set aside.

Combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Using a pastry cutter, or the tips of your fingers, blend in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Reserve one cup of the crumb mixture in a small bowl. Mix the chopped nuts into it, and set aside.

Take the remaining crumbs and press them into the bottom of a 15 X 10 X 1 inch baking pan that you have lined with lightly greased parchment paper. (or wax paper) Bake in the pre-heated oven for 12 minutes.

Meanwhile for the filling, stir together the plumped dried cherries, the cherry preserves and the lemon peel. Spread this evenly over the hot crust. Sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture over top. Bake for a further 20 to 25 minutes until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for at least two hours before proceeding.

In a small saucepan combine the chocolate bits and the shortening. Cook and stir over low heat until melted. Drizzle over top of the cooled mixture. Cut into bars. Store in a tightly covered container.


  1. Sounds like you're having a very nice start to the week there, my friend! :o) And I love that photo of your and your sweet grandson...such a fun, playful picture and you both look so happy! More happy is those streusel bars...Oh, YUM! Missed getting to talk to you this weekend...yesterday felt odd--LOL! Hope we get to catch up during this new week. Happy Day to you & dear Todd. LOVE YOU ((HUGS))

  2. Hi Marie,I have been reading as much as I can, but not commenting as often as I should :-( I always look froward to reading your posts and this was no exception-I must give this a go too.

  3. I love the cherry strusel bars! I thought it was a wonderful photo of you! Don't be discouraged by the card company. Art and literature companies aren't going to be taking any new folks--they're struggling right now.

  4. I left you an award on my blogsite.... come on over and pick it up when you can!

  5. Hi Marie! I just love your Simple Day Book entries! I feel I know you so well through reading about what is going on in your life! I also heard from a dear old friend this week. We hadn't spoken for about 15 years. Have you ever heard of Facebook? I made an account and she found me through it! It is a great way to keep in touch with people and find people you haven't heard of in a long time!

    I also love putting my jammies on as soon as I get home from church. It just feels so comfy and warm! I am looking forward to making your cherry bars too!

    Your picture is so cute with your sweet grandbaby. And don't be discouraged about the card company. Your artwork is so beautiful, fun and unique! I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I am glad that you are celebrating too!


  6. I am planning in making these this recipe for Thanksgiving. My Mom just sent me a link to a free cherry cookbook from Traverse Bay Farms. I has some great cherry recipes and best of all it is free to download.

    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone,


  7. What a happy photo of you and your grandson Marie.
    Memories are made of stuff like this...yes?
    How nice to read that you are catching up with old friends and hope to clebrate Thanksgiving with a lot of friends for a change.
    Enjoy yourselves.
    Happy Thanksgiving my friend!
    Jeanie xx
    p.s. To have been able to visit with me in the holidays would have taken a good hours drive..who knows I may come down your way next year.
    Bye for now. xxx

  8. I have not been around blog land lately and every time I remember to come here, I wonder why I don't get around to it more often. Love your photos, recipes, etc., etc., etc... and what a cute photo of you on the bed with the little one!


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