Friday 26 December 2008

The Perfect Day . . .

We pray to God in times of stress,
But when in realms of happiness,
Do we find time to stop, and say --
"Thank you, God, for a perfect day?"
~Elizabeth Gozney

Yesterday was the perfect day, and as I lay in my bed last night at the end of this perfect day and thought back on all the wonderful things I had experienced throughout the day, I did, indeed, give thanks to God for all of my blessings.

It started out as most days do, with a word of prayer and thanksgiving, and then I hopped on here to see what you all were up to and to leave a few words myself, while I waited for Todd to wake up. Todd always sleeps a few hours longer than me. I'm not sure though if he is so much sleeping as he is laying there dozing. I wish I was the kind of person who could do that, but I'm afraid that I can't, once I'm awake I want to be up and doing!! Yes, I am an annoying morning person!!

The first thing Todd and I do when he comes downstairs in the morning is share a big hug and good morning, I love you with each other in front of our kitchen window. It's really funny coz Jess always tries to get in between us. She wants her good morning cuddles from Todd as well! Yesterday we each had a Christmas Card to share with each other and usually I go from there to read him the blog I have written, but yesterday I didn't. Hmmm . . . how could I have forgotten, oh well, I'll just have to read him two today!!

We both got dressed (I know . . . I really would have loved to stay in my pj's but I thought that was a bit much even for me on Christmas day!) and then we opened our gifts. We are not gift crazy people. We usually go to a charity shop and get something for the other there and I was the lucky recipient of a beautiful little crystal bowl that will be perfect for holding a tea light, a cut glass water jug that's just lovely and some great plates that will be perfect for showcasing some of my food photos!!! We had a few gifts from friends to open as well and then the phone rang and it was my mom!!

My mom calls me twice a year. On my birthday and on Christmas day. I can count on that as sure as I can count on the sun coming up in the morning and going down at the end of the day! We had a lovely conversation. She always opens my gifts to her while we are talking on the telephone. It is just nice to hear her voice. I know I talk to her every second week when I call, but that Christmas call is so very special to me and I really look forward to it every year. Our missionaries get a special call from their families on Christmas day as well. The only other day during the year they are allowed to talk to their families is on Mother's Day so as you can see a Christmas telephone call is very special to us all!!

Todd had ham and eggs for breakfast and then he took Jess out for her exercise. She was a bit miffed as things had not gone according to her plan! (usually she gets exercised first!) But then, she is not one to hold a grudge for very long and was soon back to her usual self!

We had been going to have company for Christmas Dinner yesterday, but due to ill health it got cancelled and so there was just Todd and I for our meal. I scaled things back a bit, but still ended up cooking enough for an army, but my oh my it was good. We shall be eating turkey for about a year I think, but it will be fun trying to come up with inventive ways to use it all up!! We feasted on Turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes and swede, carrots and Brussels sprouts, not to mention honey roasted parsnips . . . all with lots of gravy, bread sauce and cranberry sauce. We were a bit full after, that so put off our dessert til later on. How blessed we are that we are able to eat like Kings. Would that I could share this feast with everyone that is hungry . . .

After the dishes, we settled in then to watch the Queen's speech. That is a must do for us on Christmas day. I always listened to it back in Canada when I lived there and I always listen to it here. I thought it was a lovely speech this year. She spoke of the dark times that many are facing today in these uncertain economic times, and then went on to praise those who know that the true secret of a happy life lies in unselfish service to others. I said to Todd . . . "She's been reading my blog!" It did make us chuckle. I really enjoyed seeing the film of Prince Charles as a toddler and thought to myself, how amazing that this little baby has grown up to be this man who will one day be our King, and about how beautiful the Queen was when she was younger.

I then got up enough courage to call my children at their dad's. It was lovely to talk to them, although not all of them were there. I am so glad that I did call. It was a wonderful gift to myself. Todd got to talk to them too.

Then it was time for Christmas pudding and Mary Poppins! We settled in next to each other in front of our telly and just relaxed for several hours. What a marvel that film is. I can remember going to see it at the cinema when I was just a girl. Indeed, Mary Poppins has always had a special place in my heart. When I was in Grade one I received the novel by P L Travers as an award at the end of the school year and I have long treasured it. As the film began and the screen panned over the London skyline, with Big Ben lit up, I thought about back to when I had first seen this movie as a young girl and how exotic that skyline had seemed to me, and how magical and wonderful it was that I had now seen these very things in person. As a child I could never have guessed . . .

I called my father and spoke to him for a few minutes. He sounded very tired and I expect he was. He and his girlfriend had gone to the Reveillon celebrations at her family's on Christmas Eve and not gotten back until about 3 am on Christmas Day so he had not gotten a lot of sleep!! It was nice to hear his voice though and wish him a Merry Christmas.

I also got to talk to my sister on the computer yesterday for a time, which was lovely. We used to speak every day, but with the time difference, and us both working full time, we rarely get the chance these days to do so. She and her partner are planning on saving up and coming over for the 2012 Olympics, so that is something to look forward to!!! I have not seen my sister in about 6 years so that will be wonderful if they can manage to pull it off. Todd has never met her either so it will be great for them to finally meet and also for me to meet her partner whom I have never met either! Most of all it will be wonderful to be with my sister again. Happy thought!!

We ended the evening by watching the Dancing on Ice Special on the telly. I love to watch the figure skating and this was extra special as it was a one off. I marvel at how good these amateur skaters are . . . and how very brave. I don't think that I could do it . . . mind you they'd have to find a partner for me that was exceedingly strong with massive muscles if he was ever going to lift me up!!! We might have to do things the other way around!

It is a wonderful day when you can lay in bed at the end of it and think back on all the special little pockets of joy that you have experienced. I am so blessed and I thank the Lord for all of them. I am so very lucky, and not just because I have all this joy, but mostly because I am able recognize these special moments for being what they are and because I am more than happy to share them with others. Elvis once sang a song that went like this . . .

Oh why can't every day be like Christmas
Why can't that feeling go on endlessly
For if everyday could be just like Christmas
What a wonderful world this would be

I'm here to tell you that every day can be like Christmas. It starts in the heart and it starts with recognizing the small blessings and gifts that are there each day to take and enjoy and to share . . .

I thought I would share the recipe for my sticky topped ginger bread with you today. It really is lovely and I just know you will enjoy it. I may just have some leftovers for breakfast today . . . you know . . . so it won't go to waste . . .

*Sticky Topped Gingerbread*
Makes one 8 inch square cake

I am a gingerbread connoisseur. I have tried many recipes through the years and this is the ultimate version that I have come up with. Dark, spicy and moist with a lovely and stickily decadent topping, this version wins on all counts!

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup firmly packed soft dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sour milk
(or buttermilk)
1/2 cup dark molasses
1/2 cup slightly salted butter, melted and cooled
For the Topping:
3 TBS butter
1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 TBS double cream (heavy or whipping)

Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Lightly grease and flour an 8 inch square baking dish, tipping out any excess flour. Set aside.

Whisk the flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, cocoa and ground ginger together in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl until foamy. Beat in the brown sugar, beating it until the mixture is smooth and lump free. Beat in the sour milk (or buttermilk), molasses and melted butter. Beat until well blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Fold in the flour mixture, mixing it in only until just blended in and no dry mixture remains. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Give the pan a gentle smack down on the counter a couple of times to release any air bubbles and then bang it into the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the top springs back when lightly touched and the edges have pulled away a bit from the sides. Transfer to a rack to cook for several minutes while you make the topping.

Pre-heat the grill or broiler of your oven.

Place all the topping ingredients in a small saucepan. Heart over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture bubbles and thickens. Remove from the heat.

Take a fork and poke a few holes here and there across the top of your gingerbread. Pour the hot topping mixture evenly over top of the warm gingerbread, allowing it to seep down the sides. Place under the grill and broil until the topping is bubbling, about 40 seconds or so. (watch carefully so it doesn't burn!) Remove from the broiler.

Serve warm with sweetened whipped cream if desired.

Happy Boxing Day everyone!!


  1. That really was a perfect day Marie! I love that sticky pudding, it looks delish.

  2. i enjoyed this entry. and I love the idea of your mom opening her gifts from you while she is on the phone. What a lovely idea.... hey, maybe you can get mom wired into the internet with a camera!! Then you can SEE her and she, you. lol
    and I am moved by what you wrote about how we can live every day as though it is Christmas.
    you have a true gift for expressing yourself and the Word.
    take care

  3. Like you and between phone calls etc I took time to reflect how blest ,we are ,have another nice day today Jan xx

  4. Sounds like a beautiful day...i wish every day was like Christmas too....

  5. Oh, Marie, that sounds like a definite perfect day! Mine went quite well also. Love that sticky-topped gingerbread, yum! Much love, Raquel XO

  6. It sounds like you had a marvellous day, lots of yummy food and its always lovely to catch up with the family. It looks like a delicious sticky pudding too!

  7. Hi Marie
    It sounds like you had a lovely day. You have the talent, or perhaps it's wisdom to get enjoyment out of a day even when it may not be what you had planned long ago. You are an inspiration to me in many ways!
    I am still visiting with our son and his family, so each day is filled the busyness, noise and joythat little children bring plus the exhaustion :)
    Hugs and prayers for a great new year.
    Love Rhondi

  8. Sounds like a perfect day even though there was just the two of youjust like Stuart and I with all this flu about. LOve Joan

  9. Marie, I loved reading about your wonderful day! Sounds relaxing and delicious:) And that sticky gingerbread pudding - OH MY! I am definitely going to make some. Makes me want to go to the store right now and buy the ingredients I don't have on hand! Thank you for being such a faithful blogger. Even though I don't comment as often as I should, be assured that I look forward to your entry each day, and wish I just lived around the corner so I could pop over with something to eat, and sample your dish of the day lol!!

  10. What a wonderful day you truly experienced! Peace in your home, and love of family and a delicious meal...ummmm it truly warms the heart! Merry Christmas dear girl!

  11. I am so glad you had such a wonderful Chjristmas Marie filled with love and tasty dishes.I hope your dreams come true for 2009:D

  12. Dear Marie, just wanted to thank you for a year of lovely thoughts and inspirations. You are so sweet Marie, that it is like sitting across the table from you when I read them. Todd is truly blessed to have such a loving, talented and caring wife, I hope it makes up for the lonely times he had before, I could have cried when I read your post about them. I have your desert in the oven as I type, and it smells delicious, can't wait to taste it. Hope you have a lovely weekend MC Canada

  13. Hi Marie, I'm so glad you had The Perfect Day. It sounded very sweet and I'm especially happy you got to speak to some of your children. I really love it when Christmas is over, I begin to anticipate the arrival of Spring and warmer weather, January 1st is the happiest day of the year for me. So I will wish you a very happy new year!

  14. I too had a perfect day, lots of family and relaxation. I hope you get to see your sister, six years is far too long between drinks! Merry Christmas.

  15. What a lovely Christmas day you enjoyed. Thanks for sharing. That pudding looks delicious:)
    Cheers, Shelagh

  16. What a truley lovely day you had Marie, I'm so glad you got to talk to your children , mother and father. I hope the New Year brings you more time to do the things that make you happy.

  17. Hello, Marie! What a wonderful entry! I just love all your stories of what you did on Christmas day. The tiny falling snowflakes on your entry is just so perfect. You even shared a wonderful food treat! Thank-you! Wishing you all the best and many more entries of this caliber! Maria

  18. I am so glad that you had such a nice day. I was thinking of you.I am so happy that you got to talk to your mom and some of your children. I am glad that you had the courage to call. I was hoping that you would.

    We had a nice dinner with Mindy and Ernie Christmas eve and spent the night with them. We heard a loud Ho Ho Ho about 6:30 am which woke everyone up except Austin. EJ ran down stairs to find that Santa had come. He quickly got all of us out of bed and we rushed down stairs to be amazed that the jolly old man knew exactly what each child wanted and left it for them.

    I made us breakfast.... we played with the kids and their toys for a while and then we came home and I started cooking for today. It turned out that bad snow storms and icy roads delayed my Utah kids so I won't get to see them until tomorrow. However we had a lovely dinner and visit with my other kids. They are are all tucked in bed now. The house is quiet but so happy to have company filling it up. This is the first time I've set down to rest all feet and body are so tired but my heart is warm and happy. I will cook the turkey tomorrow and we will have our big belated Christmas dinner after all the kids get here. I have a lot of the side dishes made already so it shouldn't be too much work tomorrow. I even have the tables almost all set. fun fun

    Mary Poppins is very special to us. My first date with John when we were ate BYU in 1964 was to see Mary Poppins. Our whole courtship we sang songs together from the movie. He would call me up in my dorm room late at night and sing me "Stay Awake" As we walked down to campus together we would sing "Its a Jolly Holiday" only we would put our own names into the song. When he asked me to marry him he had written "Supercalifragilisticexpialidoshus" (sp??)on a card in front of the ring box.... because in the movie it says "One night I said it to me girl and now me girl's me wife" I guess that it worked because here we are 43 years later. How fun that you and Todd love that movie too.

    Well it is late and I have a big day ahead tomorrow so I will say good night. I send you love my sweet friend as always. Lura

  19. Hope you had a lovely Christmas and Boxing Day Marie.

    I've just been given a recipe for sticky ginger bread from a little tea rooms in the nearby town. Now which one do I try first...

  20. Lovely post Marie, so lovely and I love the sticky pudding, look so nice, take care!!!!! xxxGloria

  21. Hi Alice,
    I can tell you and Todd had a wonderful Christmas. Ours was quiet, with Amanda, Marcia and Dave's mom here for Christmas dinner. I make my parsnips with honey, as well, but also put a bit of cinnamon in with them - I got that idea from Dave's mom a few years ago - it's delicious!

  22. merry Christmas marie, todd and jess! i'm glad you had the "perfect day" despite your terrible cold. you are so positive-i love it! i want to be more like you! and i love what you wrote about jess trying to squeeze between the two of you. we've had a little toddler doing the same thing:)

  23. That looks so good with the sticky topping!

  24. What a wonderful day! I love the movie Marry Poppins. Griffin got it for me for Christmas last year!!

    I will be trying out the gingerbread this weekend. I have used quite a few of your recipes the last few weeks (Pineapple pork chops and Pork Chops Romano are big favs in my house!).

  25. Just a quick note to let you know that I took your gingerbread to a Messiah sing-a-long and people loved it. I had three requests for the recipe!


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