Monday, 10 November 2008

The Simple Woman's Day Book . . .

FOR TODAY, November 10, 2008 ...

Outside My Window...

All is quiet and peaceful. Last night when we went to bed the wind was howling and the rain was blowing against the windows and skylight in our bedroom. I expect the gardeners will have a lot to clean up today. Quite a few leaves are probably down as well as broken branches. We shall probably have to go hunt down some garden flower pots as well I expect, the wind was that strong! The heat is on this morning so, for once, it didn't blow out the pilot light on the boiler as is prone to happen!

I am thinking...
About the lovely Remembrance service we had in church yesterday morning. All the hymns were lovely as were the talks. I think it is important that we commemorate days such as this, and remember all those who gave, and who continue to give their lives up for the cause of freedom. We who enjoy all the rights, privileges and freedoms that we do, and so take for granted owe them a huge debt.

I am thankful for...
My Todd who so heroically battles wasps and other nasties for me on an ongoing basis. I don't know why but our bedroom has suddenly been inundated with sleepy late season wasps. Those are the most dangerous ones as they lurk under things just waiting for you to put your hand or foot on them and then they sting you. Last night, I kid you not, we had at least 20 of them in our bedroom. When I first went in to turn down the covers I noticed 7 of them on the floor right next to my side of the bed and another few sitting on the back of the chair, and several by the doorway. Todd got them and we got settled into bed for a good read (rather nervously I'll admit, or at least I was!) It wasn't more than a few minutes when there was another huge one flying at the light over head batting itself about like a lunatic. Todd had to get up and get that one. This happened about 4 more times. By that point I thought to myself, I'll never be able to get asleep in here thinking about them crawling over me in the night and getting under the covers so I bid Todd adieu and abandoned him to them and I went into the spare room to sleep. I just knew I would not be able to settle in our own. Ahhh . . . . the joys of country life!

From the kitchen...
NOT A LOT!!! It's so annoying. My kitchen is still only about half done! I did manage to cook us some egg and chips after church yesterday for dinner, but there has been zip all, nada, zero cooking going on here all week! I do hope that they finish it up today! I am really longing for some normalcy here and for things to get back to normal!

I am wearing...
Some old blue pajamas that are comfy and warm. They have bleach spots on them and are getting a bit tatty, but I love to wear them, especially when it is cold outside and the wind is blowing. They are just like a warm hug. I love it when clothes feel that way, don't you?

I am creating...
I managed to get 30 cards done yesterday afternoon so that I can pop them into the post today. I did them upstairs in our lounge so it wasn't too hard. I am longing to get the kitchen back in order so that I can paint some of the stack of sketches I have waiting for me to get to! My fingers are just itching to get at them! I have not heard back from that card company yet that I sent the samples of my artwork off to. I expect they get loads of submissions so I shall just have to be patient, and if they don't want to use any of it, well so be it. I know it's not because my work isn't any good, I expect it will be just because they don't fit in with the image of their company. We shall just have to be patient and see. (Ohh, I know patience is a virtue and it is clear that I still need to work on it!!!)

I am going...
Other than shopping and work, there's not a lot planned for this week, except for my Seminary Lesson to teach and the Young Women's activity on Thursday evening. We are going to be doing Pilate's exercises so I will have to bring a mat and a pillow. I wonder does that mean we will be able to take a nap? It would be nice. I am usually getting pretty exhausted come Thursday!

I am reading...
"The Almost Moon" by Alice Sebold. This is the same author that wrote, "The Lovely Bones." It's a smaller novel so I am thinking I may get through this one a bit quicker! It has been gripping right from page one! Told over the 24hr period after she murders her mother, we zip backwards and forwards in time, spanning Helen's lifetime and trying to discover how she came to make the decisions she has. It's quite riveting! (if a bit dark!)

I am hoping...
That there is not a repeat of the wasp episode in our bedroom tonight. I really am a person that hates creepie crawlies and most especially flying ones that can sting you! (Oh and stupid flying ones with dangly wiggly legs, like May Flies . . . )

I am hearing...
Jess is laying here by my feet just snoring away. She is having a right good old snooze. Once in a while her feet move as if in a dance and I just know her dreams are carrying her over hill and dale on a doggie adventure of great proportions and wonderful sniffs! Todd and I are always joking that she should have been called sniffer as she does more of that on her walks than she does actually walking! It's so nice that we live out here in the country as, when we take her for walks, she doesn't actually need to be on a lead so she has more freedom to run about and explore. Once she fell into the smelly pond over by the golf course though, so that was a bit of a nuisance as she couldn't get out, and Todd had to rescue her and then we had to give her a big bath because she stunk to high heavens!!! She's never gone near it since though, thank goodness!

Around the house...
Everything is still laying all over the tabletop and on the floor here in the kitchen waiting to be put back into their rightful places. It really is a tip. I know it must be driving " a place for everything and everything in it's place" Todd right up the wall! I just keep telling myself, no pain no gain, no pain . . . no gain!

One of my favorite things...
Is reading my scriptures. I think they are quite marvelous and magical. It's funny that you can read one passage over and over again, and it is just words . . . and then all of a sudden one day those same words will begin to speak to your heart in a completely different way, and they touch the very core of your being. I love how the words are able to reach you at the very place you are exactly when you need them to. When I am upset or down I always go to my scriptures and I always end up feeling better. They never fail me. Ever.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...
Oh, I do hope that I can begin cooking again tomorrow. It's our anniversary and I really do want to cook a nice dinner to celebrate. We thought about going out, but then we can't really afford to go to restaurants that actually serve food that is worth paying for. The places that are within our budget are always HUGELY disappointing to me! Second rate food and service. We went to this one place once and I ordered fish and chips. It was obvious to me when they came that they had either been someone elses that had changed their mind and they had been re-cooked or they had been sitting under a heat lamp for too long as the fish was all dried out and like leather. Todd had a shepherd's pie that had no shepherd in it!!! It was just a mass of gravy with some potato slopped on top! You get what you pay for. So we would rather eat at home and know that at least the food is good! Perhaps one day we will come in to a windfall and be able to go to a really good restaurant, but for now . . . we eat at "Maries!"

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

This is the amazing sculpture/wall in London that commemorates the Battle of Britain. It's a picture I took last December when we had gone into London for the day with our missionary friends, The McDonalds. (I sure miss them!! They are wonderful people and back in America now!) This sculpture is so amazing to look at. There is an incredible amount of detail in it. I thought it very fitting to show on the eve of Remembrance Day here in the UK and Canada. We must never forget . . .

Cold and dismal days call for extreme measures and comforting soups and stews! This is a delicious one that will really warm your innards and fill you up. With some crusty bread for dipping, it makes a mighty fine meal!

*Lentil and Smoked Sausage Soup*
Serves 3-4

This delicious soup lends itself to anything you have on hand…that’s the one thing about lentils…they are very forgiving and accommodating and taste great no matter what you put with them. This soup is fragrant and slightly spicy , tasty and very filling. Just the ticket you need on a cold and blustery day!

1 to 2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 lb. (8 ounces) kielbasa or other smoked sausage,
sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds
1 large onion (about 12 ounces), chopped
3 medium carrots (about 12 ounces), chopped
4 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups water
1 cup lentils, rinsed
3 cups canned tomatoes, along with their juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, plus additional for garnish
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 TBS paprika
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Heat 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium pot. Add the kielbasa and cook over medium heat until nicely browned, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. This smells heavenly when it’s cooking. Remove from pot and set aside. When cool, slice rounds in half and set aside.

Add the onion and carrots to the pot, adding up to 1 Tablespoon of olive oil if necessary to prevent sticking. Cook 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring so that the vegetables are coated with the caramelised bits left in the pot from cooking the sausage. Add the garlic and cook 1 to 2 minutes longer.

Add the water, lentils, and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, with the lid cracked, 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the parsley, cumin, paprika, salt, and red pepper flakes if desired. Simmer, with the lid cracked, for an additional 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Carefully puree about half of the soup in a blender on low speed until still slightly chunky, then return to the pot. I’m rather lazy and like to use my stick blender to do this. I just do it in the pot I have cooked it in, which means I don’t have to dirty up a blender or anything. Stir in sausage. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes longer. Serve hot, garnished with chopped fresh parsley if desired, and with plenty of crusty bread.

PSSST!! Don't forget to hop on over to The Simple Woman to see all the other day book entries for today!


  1. I think that I love your simple woman's day book post the very best of all your posts. I feel like I am sitting there with you. Through your words I can picture Jess at your feet while you sit at your computer creating away in your comfy warm pajamas.

    Can you picture me, sitting in my rocking chair, in my pink nighty, with Heidi snoring on the floor beside me, typing on my lap top to say hello to you before I tuck myself into bed for the night? That is what I do every night that I can stay awake long enough to read your early morning post.

    We have had a lovely day. Claire sang in Sac. Meeting again so we went to her ward. That makes 3 weeks that we've been gone from our own ward. I hated to not see my YM this morn but I couldn't miss Claire's solo. She did a wonderful job. She had both John and I in tears it was so tender.

    Mindy and Ernie came to our house for dinner a bit early today so I could get it all cleaned up before we had an open house here for some friends of ours that are leaving on a mission to Australia. I had a dessert bar for refreshments. It all turned out well. I love it when we can entertain friends in our home.

    Well, good night...upps..good morning dear. I surely hope you don't have any more wasps in your bedroom. That sounds terrible. I'm glad your Todd takes care of them for you.

    Have a great day. Love as always, Lura

  2. I love the look of that soup.

    Marie, have you though about getting Todd to check for a wasp nest. I don't mean to scare you, but it seems like an awful lot of wasps. I know I get the occassional one, but over twenty in a day sounds a bit odd to me. We had a nest outside the kitchen window once and then we did get them in big numbers like that. They came and removed it for us and it stopped being a problem straight away.

  3. I think you should open up your own cafe. I'd fly to England just to go there. I'm sure it would be enourmously popular.

    And why wouldn't the card people love you? :)

    I miss you too! I hope ya'll have a wonderful anniversary!

  4. I just love seeing your Monday posts, Marie! But then, I do love ALL your posts--LOL! We had the same weather here in Norway this weekend. And last night was terrible, wind and rain whipping us here in the south. I was not online as night as our internet connection kept dropping out! We no chance chatting with you :o( Hope we can this week...But we had some damage to the house, and a man is coming to fix the roof later today. I can tell you more about it when we talk. We're ok, a bit shook up from the storm, but all will be ok. Hope those wasps won't be bothering you all anymore--eeeekkkk! Your reading sounds very good, I'll have to add that title to my reading list. Your soup looks just the thing for wind-swept, rain drenched souls...LOL! :o) I'm having a cuppa and visiting friends online while I calm my nerves. Been up since 5:30 am...Hope you rear having a good start to the week there. How goes it in the kitchen with the new cabinetry? ((BIG HUGSS)

  5. I love the Simple woman day book (yours) really some day maybe visit others but if I continue reading maybe I dont do nothing at the morning!!
    Aaahh! Todd is my hero!!!
    Here in the contry too I learned (in all types) to live with things of all types, Esperarnza hate someones. I hate only the flies are so disturb! and in this time they begin, I take care to close the windows and door but the weekend they forget to do.

    Here is so hot Marie, 30ª C for to day, November is so.Anda sometimes I have to do a lot at home, so I dont swimm yet this year!! I hope to do soon, I love swimm!!
    I hope your kitchen is finish soon!! Is terrible be without kitchen. Blessings to you and Todd xxxxx Gloria

  6. Once again I am so uplifted by your blog. It is my evening read before I switch off this machine. You always make me think of something and there is always a new perspective for me.

    I had to smile about the wasps. I am allergic to bees and at times they seem to follow me! I have been stung while sleeping. So I share a heartfelt wish that the little critters find a better place to hide through winter.

  7. I could not believe it!!! My best friend and my daughter start each week by e-mailing each other and using the same "Simple Woman's" format!!! It's a very small world!! Enjoyed your post!

  8. Thanks for sharing your simple woman's day book Marie. We are having some really bad storms too!!! Hope you have a lovley anniversary Marie x

  9. Marie - I love your woman's day book posts!!! I will definately be making this soup this week - I know my husband will love it!! Thanks again for being there!

  10. It drives non-doggy people up the wall I know, but there is something so peaceful and calming about a dog snoring away at our feet. Even when the sleep-running starts you still know that a contented creature is laying there and he loves you unconditionally.

    I too love to read your day-book entries. May I ask a cheeky question? How many pairs of PJ's do you have?? I'm sure I've never seen you describe the same pair twice!

    Now, about these wasps. You haven't got a wasps' nest somewhere have you? They look kind of like an upside-down cone and they are often either in the roof space or hanging from the eaves and gutters.

    Sorry, just noticed Sylvie said the same thing. I wonder why blokes don't head for the hills like we do in these situations?

    love, Angie, xx

  11. oh my goodness the wasp story gave me the heebie jeebies! :) how freaky! good thing we have our men to take care of business:)

  12. Nastie waspies will never do! Bleh! I know what you mean, dearie! I wouldn't put up with them either! But now that lentil soup is a bowl of another matter! Goodness, it looks tasty! Just right for a cold November's eve. Thanks so much for the visit!

  13. Two things MAJ. I never saw you as an egg and chips gal!!!! Secondly, I read the lovely bones and bawled most of the way through it. I'm going to but the new book you are talking about.
    Gaz xx

  14. I love the soup Marie, soup is so comforting!

  15. One of my favorite soups..I didn't do a daybook today because things got hectic but reading yours is always a pleasure.

  16. hi Marie,

    I have been reading your blog for ever so long but wasn't able to post a comment until now - tech issues. It is always so comforting and inspirational to read your thoughts, and I thank you! Although I am not a person of faith I find your viewpoint very much like mine and that helps me feel less alone in this big world. And, your recipes are stellar! I look forward to them.

    Hugs from San Francisco! Heather

  17. Hi Marie!

    Thanks for the wonderful post today. I like your Simple Woman's Day posts and hearing about your day-to-day life. I can imagine you typing away in your comfy jammies. And hearing about how much you love your Todd. I hope you have a wonderful week -- good luck with your Seminary lesson and have fun doing Pilates with the Young Women -- that sounds fun!

  18. Oh the wasps would have worried me to death! I would have been upstairs with the girls!

  19. I love this section of your blog. It helps me to reflect on those things I need to be grateful for as well. I know now why we could be kindred spirits. I do not like creepy crawly flying stinging anything of the sort kind of creatures. They are welcome in my backyard as long as they don't land on me, sting me or crawl up my pants. Sooo yeah, for Todd and Joe and all the men who come forth and save us from the creatures left to torment us. love you Marie hugs to all.

  20. I really enjoyed your post. Hope your making each and every moment in your life meaningful. Let each day bring happiness in you. Your simple message pushes me into deep thinking. Thanks for sharing.
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