Monday, 5 January 2009

The Simple Woman's Day Book . . .

FOR TODAY, January 5th, 2009 ...

Outside My Window...

It is very cold and very dark. I checked our outside weather machine this morning and the temperature is -2. When I went to let Jess out just a short bit ago to do her morning business I noticed a thick dusting of snow on the car and flakes were still falling. It's a pity it's a few weeks too late for Christmas, but nevermind I'll take it! Thankfully I do not have to worry about driving anywhere to work. I only have to walk a few hundred yards. I know that this will cause a bit of chaos on the roads this morning unless they've had the forethought to grit last night. It doesn't take much snow to throw them into a spin over here! They are just not used to dealing with it. I expect all the kiddies will be quite excited about this today! We knew it was going to get quite cold during the night and so we left our heat on all night, on low. Normally we shut it off overnight, but we were worried about pipes freezing and such so . . .

I am thinking...
Just recently I have felt slighted by someone and I have been thinking about it a lot these past few days. There is a scripture that says . . . "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;" (Matthew 5:44) It's been going on for several months now and has been bothering me off and on. I have decided to take the words of Christ into my heart and pray for this person. It may not change the way they feel about me, but it could very well change the way I feel about them, and that's what really counts.

I am thankful for...
all the testimonies that were borne in church yesterday. For those of you who don't know, on the first Sunday of the month our church gives over the majority of the Sacrament meeting to the bearing of testimonies. It is called the Fast and Testimony meeting because we also fast for part of the day and give whatever monies we would have normally used to feed ourselves to the welfare fund as a fast offering. I have found that fast and prayer and testimony go hand in hand. Our prayers seem to be more effective when offered with a fast and this in turn strengthens our testimonies. It's kind of hard to explain. I only know it works. There were some beautiful testimonies shared yesterday, but then again I think all testimonies are beautiful.

From the kitchen...
I made some really delicious tarts at the weekend, which you will see tommorrow and yesterday when we came home from church I had a lovely Beef, Barley and Mushroom soup waiting for us that I had cooked in the slow cooker that I will share a little later on this week as well. Other than that there has not been an awful lot going on! I have been pondering eating healthier and of course re-vamping the food budget. Supposedly there are price wars going on between the grocery stores, but I haven't seen much evidence of it as of yet!

I am wearing...
Pajamas and a robe this morning. It's a bit cooler so my robe is helping to keep me warm. That makes me think . . . I just love seeing little boys in pajamas and robes. I think it's so cute. Just like little men.

I am creating...
Yesterday afternoon I was cutting out prints and mounting them to do a card order and some cards to take down to the village post office. I also did three sketches to add the the bazillion others I have that are waiting to be painted. I am going to put the finishing touches on my portfolio this week as well. Onwards and upwards!

I am going...
to work today and I expect everyone else will be back at work as well. I was hoping to start on cleraing out the larder today, but with it being so cold may put it off for a few days. The larder at work is so cold in the winter months, it is just like working outside. In fact the whole kitchen is quite cold. We have an AGA that warms it and a small radiator but they don't seem to have much effect during the winter months. It's really wierd . . . in the summer it is as hot as hell in there and in the winter quite cold. I will probably have to wear a jumper today.

I am reading...

The Cranford Chronicles by Elizabeth Gaskell. This is a book I have had in my bookcase for a year or so now and just hadn't gotten around to reading it. I drew it out last night and decided to get stuck into it. Actually based on three Elizabeth Gaskell novels it chronicles the lives of a group of people in the town of Cranford, a small market town in Cheshire, during the course of one year. The BBC actually did a television series based on it last year that was very good, starring Dame Judith Dench. Todd is reading and enjoying my last book now. (The one about the Salem Witch Trials)

I am hoping...
that with the colder weather some of this sickness and flu that is bringing people down begins to abate. They say the cold weather kills germs. Several of my dear friends are quite ill with it still. I pray for them daily and hope that they begin to show signs of improvement.

I am hearing...
Jess is laying here at my feet, snoring away. Every once in a while she twitches as if she is going on a grand adventure across the fields and I expect she is!!! She is not hard to please. A few cuddles every day, food in her belly, and a nice walk several times a day and she is happy. She is such a good dog. You could not ask for a more loyal or loving pet. We just love her to pieces!

Around the house...
It looks quite bare now after having taken down all the Christmas Decorations. We changed things around a bit here in the kitchen. We do that periodically. We have moved our chairs away from under the window and over in front of the fire. Good for the winter, that is. Of course we have the new HUGE television here now and that takes up pretty much all the room under the stairs. These holidays have been a good time for us to organize things a bit better around here. There is really only one room left to do now and that will take some doing as it is largely a bit of a tip, with lots of stuff laying about it that got thrown into it when we were re-doing the kitchen and it just hasn't been sorted. Hopefully we will get stuck into that this week at some point!

One of my favorite things...
is listening to Gospel Music. I have several CD's of it that I like to listen to from time to time. One of my favourite ones is a compilation of several cd's with a variety of Gospel Music on it, including some great old Blue Grass songs. Todd and I both love Blue Grass music. I used to go to a church years ago that gave most of their service over to singing Gospel. It was great fun to go and sing along and listen to the worship team play and sing each week. I love watching Songs of Praise every Sunday evening. I guess I just plain really enjoy music which glorifies the Lord and all that he did. It gets right into my heart.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...
I have Seminary to prepare for and also Young Women's on Thursday Evening. We are having a Disco Night and watching the movie, Mama Mia. I have to think up a Disco outfit to wear that is not too embarassing to wear! haha I wish I could find a rainbow afro wig. Now that would be cool. I have to prepare a meal to send to a family from church this week and also we are having a young couple over for dinner on Saturday. They have a wee baby so that should be good. Also, I noticed on my middle son's MSN yesterday that they were planning on meeting Joshua on Friday, which is the name they have given the baby they are expecting, so it sounds like something is going to happen there! Please keep them in your prayers, thanks!

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

This is a picture I took last year of a squirrel in my garden helping itself to our nuts on a snowy winter's day. I watched him for quite a while that day. He was really quite smart. At first I couldn't figure out what he was doing, but what I realized after a time was that he was scooping out the nuts onto his stomach and then every so often he would hang and drop them onto the ground where he'd go down and snuffle them up. It took him hardly any time at all to empty the feeder. They are quite pesky. We have got a squirrel proof nut feeder this year and so he can't really get at them like he used to. We now need to save up and get a squirrel proof seed feeder as he does the same thing to that one now! He empties it onto the ground so that he can then go down and just pick out the ones he wants to eat, leaving the rest there. We always put out lots of bread and scraps for the birds and squirrels, especially at this time of year. It's a small price to pay for the pleasure we get from watching them.

I used up some of the Roast Beef that was leftover from New Years Eve the other night and made some hash. We had it with some heated up leftover yorkshire puddings and gravy. Hash is one of our favourite meals and I often make one up using the leftovers from whatever roast it is we have had, including chicken. I don't really have a recipe for it, but I'll endeavour to write it down for you. It really is delicious!

*Roast Beef Hash*
Serves 4

This is an economical meal that makes good use of all your leftovers from your Sunday roast. My hash is kind of like a combination of hash and bubble and squeak. We love it!

4 cups leftover cold potatoes, cut into cubes
1 cup of leftover cooked vegetables, chopped (carrots, swede, brussels sprouts, etc. whatever it is you have that is left)
2 cups leftover roast beef, cut into cubes
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 TBS butter
1 TBS oil
1 oxo beef stock cube
Worcestershire Sauce
salt and pepper to taste
summer savoury or mixed herbs to taste

Heat the butter and the oil in a large skillet just until the butter begins to foam a bit. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until it begins to soften. Add the roast beef and cook and stir for a few minutes longer. Stir in the potatoes and vegetables. Season to taste with salt, pepper, summer savoury and a healthy dash of Worcestershire sauce. Crumble a beef oxo cube over all and then cook over medium heat, until it begins to get browned and crispy in places, stirring it up from the bottom from time to time. Once it is as browned as you like it, remove it from the heat and serve.

*Sometimes if I have a bit of leftover gravy I will stir a couple of tablespoons of it into the hash as well.

Make sure you check out some of the other Day Book entries on The Simple Woman . They're a great group of ladies!


  1. Hi Marie --

    I hope you have a wonderful week this week. Your YW activity sounds like so much fun. I really enjoyed Mama Mia. I had also been able to see the play a couple of times and I thought they did a great job with the movie.

    I also love fast and testimony meetings. One of my good friends bore her testimony today and it was very touching. She has just finished up her treatments for breast cancer and goes in tomorrow for her reconstruction. It is so wonderful to feel the spirit.

    Thank you for being such a wonderful blogging friend.


  2. The Salem Witch Trials....scary aren't they? that a group of girls could cause that much grief and misery?
    enjoy your week. I love gospel music and especially Bluegrass.
    take care

  3. It looks so cold out there! I hope you have a good day today!

  4. I'm back at work today and it's very quiet here. Usually I'd be starting payroll, but so far no time cards have come in so maybe it'll be an easy morning. They may all be on lay off... no one has said anything. Hope your Monday is a great one. 'On Ya'-ma

  5. Dear Marie,

    You are one of the sweetest, kindest people I have met on this big old internet. I hope you have a lovely new year and one day we will meet...I am going to make another trip to England one day and I hope to see the countryside and of course meet you for a cup of tea.

    You blog is always beautiful and heart felt. Thank you for sharing with all of us.

  6. I had a little touch of the flu I think the last couple days and wasn't able to eat much, that hash is making my belly growl!!

  7. I would to stop in this morning and watch the snow pile up. It is so mild and balmy here, hardly wintry at all. I love a good winter storm, myself. Great for hot chocolate and that wonderful book you are reading.also I'd probably ask to stick around for some of that hash! Goodness that looks good. Definitely putting that one on my to do list! have a wonderful week! Blessings, Carolyn

  8. I would to stop in this morning and watch the snow pile up. It is so mild and balmy here, hardly wintry at all. I love a good winter storm, myself. Great for hot chocolate and that wonderful book you are reading.also I'd probably ask to stick around for some of that hash! Goodness that looks good. Definitely putting that one on my to do list! have a wonderful week! Blessings, Carolyn

  9. I would to stop in this morning and watch the snow pile up. It is so mild and balmy here, hardly wintry at all. I love a good winter storm, myself. Great for hot chocolate and that wonderful book you are reading.also I'd probably ask to stick around for some of that hash! Goodness that looks good. Definitely putting that one on my to do list! have a wonderful week! Blessings, Carolyn

  10. Love the snowy squirrel photo! And just reading how your Monday morning is unfolding. I'm sorry someone has been giving your grief. Your avenue of thought and prayer for this will no doubt help you. :o) I love all the stories of Elizabeth Gaskell. This might fall in line with my classic reading for this year! ;o) So glad is more of Lark Rise to Candleford too! Hubby and I enjoy bluegrass music a lot--that's the real country music. Speaking of hubby, he would enjoy your beef hash today. So sorry to miss you for a chat yesterday. I sent you an email just now. I've been having a tough time with fatigue since we got back from our trip and recovering from this cold...Need to get back to normal--as all really does get back to normal today after long Christmas holidays! Hope we get to catch up during the week. :o) Happy Day, dearest friend--LOVE YA ((HUGS))

  11. That was the perfect post today I could just imagine you sitting by your PC this moring with your dog at you feet and you typing away. really enjoyed it. Love Joan

  12. Hi Marie,

    Sounds like you have a great week ahead, I can't wait to see the recipe for the tarts you made. The one you posted today looks SO good, I've bookmarked it :)


  13. I can't imagine how anyone could be horrid to you. I was a secretary at a civil engineering company for many years and one of the guys I worked with - well, you just could not but be happy and pleasant around him, no matter what the day's grouse might be. He was always so kind and caring and genuine. Just a thoroughly NICE guy and its hard to be mad at someone like that. That's how I imagine you to be: lovely.

    Hash - yum yum. You can never make it the same twice and it's a great way of not wasting food. It was brave of you to write this recipe. When I make a hash I couldn't begin to say what I did!
    Next weekend I'm goig to try making a sweet hash based on leftover Yorkshires cut in strips, fried up in butter. I think jam or maybe syrup and lemon will figure somehow and custard.

  14. Once again a wonderful entry ,as good as curling up with a book ,I dont know how you fit everything in ,I suppose your early start helps ,but all the things you do !I am in awe of you Jan xx

  15. all the crispy bits in the hash are making my mouth water! I think I shall make that with my leftover pork roast!

    (I find that when I have to deal with someone whose company I don't especially enjoy, I think about kittens and puppies playing and jumping around. It makes me smile and forget about the other people. :) )

  16. Hello Dear,
    Austin is having a hard time going to sleep tonight so I can only take a minute to say hello to you. For some reason he says he is scared tonight. Maybe it is because the house is so empty and quiet. He is used to there being beds and kids sleeping everywhere and now it is just him and us. Dave and family flew home this afternoon. It is always sad and hard for me when the family leaves but we had a wonderful time.

    I hope that you don't get too cold walking to work. -2...brrr... Are you over your bad cold? I hope so.

    I always love reading your day book. I am sorry that someone is not being nice to you but I think that taking the Lord's advice and praying for them is a good idea. Let me know if it works.

    I must go back and lay down with Austin for a while. I will say good night....but then if I wait an hour maybe I could greet you with a good morning.

    With love, Lura

  17. Oh Marie!!! You have snow. I'm SO happy for you. I know how much you miss that from "home". The little squirrel looks happy. Good luck to him - they are so resourceful.

    I am really fond of these recipes that use up leftovers. In Sweden they have a dish called pyttipanna ( which is similar and very tasty. My husband likes to add a fried egg and some sliced beetroot when I serve it.


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