Sunday, 5 April 2009

Marie's Sunday Six Smile Makers

The dawn has broken and the birds are singing and it's time to usher in my Marie's Sunday Six Smile Maker post for today, April 5, 2009. I have had ever so much to smile about this past week. It has truly been a joyfilled week and I just can't wait to get started. My friend Kath (My Simple Rhymes 2 ) left a beautiful poem for me yesterday, and it made me smile. It is one that she memorized at school when she was about ten years old. I couldn't wait to share it with you!

The Thrush's Nest

Within a thick and spreading hawthorn bush
That overhung a molehill large and round,
I heard from morn to morn a merry thrush
Sing hymns to sunrise, and I drank the sound
With joy; and often, an intruding guest,
I watched her secret toil from day to day -
How true she warped the moss to form a nest,
And modelled it within with wood and clay;
And by and by, like heath-bells gilt with dew,
There lay her shining eggs, as bright as flowers,
Ink-spotted over shells of greeny blue;
And there I witnessed, in the sunny hours,
A brood of nature's minstrels chirp and fly,
Glad as the sunshine and the laughing sky.

Thanks so much Kath for sharing this with me.

This week, answered prayers made me smile. Well, actually they make me smile every week. I found an old prayer journal of mine that I had written probably about 15 years ago now. Within it's many pages are the words that I had written down . . . words to my Heavenly Father, words of praise and thankfulness . . . words filled with pleas and supplication . . . words of love, and then these few words . . .

"We are exiles and aliens until we can come unto God, the heart's true home."

I think that says it all. God always answers our prayers. Sometimes we like the answers, sometimes we don't. Prayers help us to draw closer to our maker. Keeping a prayer journal helps us to keep a record of our journey closer to Him. It is a way of focusing, clarifying and keeping us honest, a way of reminding ourselves that we too, like Moses, are hidden in the cleft of the rock.

The tulips in my garden are blooming, all red and cheery. I love to see their red heads bobbing in the spring breezes. The only thing that I don't like about tulips is that they don't last very long, but while they do, they cut a cheery swatch of colour amongst the green shoots of my springtime garden that is awakening after the long winter's sleep. Breathtakingly beautiful, they always make me smile and bring a song to my heart.

Twice a year our church holds what is called General Conference. It is a time when all our members gather around satellite screens in local Stake Centres, televisions in their own homes, computer screens, and in the beautiful Conference Centre in Salt Lake City with a singular purpose in mind . . . to hear what our leaders have to say to us as a whole, as a family, as sons and daughters of a Heavenly Father. There will be four general sessions, and one special Priesthood Session . . . each lasting two hours in length and filled to the brim with wonderful talks and inspiration meant for all of us, not just those who are members of the church. Because of time differences between Salt Lake City and here in England, I have only really gotten to listen to the Saturday morning session so far and the talks were wonderful Inspirational words of hope for the current times when the world is filled with much uncertainty. I can't wait to be able to watch the other sessions! What a fitting way to begin one of the Holiest weeks of the year . . . the lead up to one of the Holiest days of the year . . . Easter. If any of you are interested in watching and listening to some really special and inspirational words you can access them HERE.

Easter makes me smile, and not just because of Easter Eggs and Chocolate bunnies. Easter makes me smile because Easter is what our faith as Christians is all about. It is like the culmination of one of the most beautiful love stories told . . . a love story between a Heavenly Father and His beloved Children . . . a Heavenly Father who wants nothing more than for His children to return to Him and a Saviour, who loved us enough to want to show us the way and then provide us with the means to do so. He is not dead, He lives. Angels appeared outside His tomb and said simply, “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen.” (Luke 24:3-6) Nothing in history equals that dramatic announcement: “He is not here, but is risen.” Because of Christ, the grave has no permanent victory . . . the sting of death has been overcome. Because of Christ, yet I may die, but then . . . I will live again, and be able to return to my celestial home on high, into my Heavenly Father's presence. What greater gift could anyone ask for?

Hot cross buns
Hot cross buns
One a penny
Two a penny
Hot cross buns.

Hot Cross buns. They make me smile. I love them. Soft and sweet and stogged full of raisins and spice. It just would not be Easter without them. We like them split, toasted and spread with lots of sweet butter. I'll be posting the recipe for these lovely Easter treats later today on my Marie Cooks Britain blog. (My much ignored and seldom written on pages where I explore the food of these beautiful British Isles, one recipe at a time. I really need to update it more than once a month. Bad me.)

Some other Easter treats made me smile this week. I always like to make something special for the little guy next door. When I was a girl growing up Easter always meant extra special treats to help us celebrate this most wonderful time of the year. Treats that made me smile, and still do.

*Easter Mud Pies*
Makes about 12

These are very similar to Tiffin Squares, except that you make them in a bun tin, nestled in pretty cupcake papers, and you decorate the tops with milk chocolate Easter eggs. Children, big and small, young and old, always love these! These are so easy to do and very, very scrummy!

100g butter
100g good quality milk chocolate
(I use Green and Blacks)
3 TBS Golden Syrup
(I use the brandy and spice one, in North America
you can use corn syrup with the same results)
225g digestive biscuits, finely crushed (I used the half fat ones,
again in North American you can use finely crushed graham crackers)
100g dark raisins
Cadbury's chocolate mini eggs to decorate (or jelly beans etc.)

You will need a twelve hold bun tin. Line each indentation with cupcake wrappers, the prettier the better. Set aside.

Place the chocolate, butter and golden syrup into a saucepan. Cook and stir over low heat until the butter and chocolate have melted and you have a smooth mixture. Add the biscuit crumbs and raisins, mixing them in well. Drop by heaped spoonfuls into the paper lined bun tin. Press the mixture down to compact it a little. Decorate the tops of each with some of the mini eggs or whatever you are using. Place the tin in the refrigerator for several hours to help the mixture completely set and firm up.

Try hard not to eat all the extra mini eggs all by yourself. (It's hard . . . I know.)

Here's something else that made me smile and it can make you all smile too. My friend Susan from Not Quite June Cleaver is hosting a lovely Spring Giveaway. She makes the most beautiful aprons and things. Hop on over to her PAGE now to see what all the fuss is about! The lucky winner could be YOU!


  1. Yes, even with all the turmoil in the world we have much to be thankful for. Your tulips are ahead of mine. Mine are just coming up thru their leaves but not showing any color yet. Our Saturday was a wonderful change. Sunny and up to 61* my lawn mowed for the first time. Linda in Washington

  2. Your SMILES always leave me with a smile too. I would probably be eating those leftover Cadburry eggs for sure. Have a wonderful Sunday.

  3. A VERY smiley Sunday today, Marie! :o) Your Easter illustration is just darling! I've not made Hot Cross buns before. I should give them a go! Those mud pies look ever so good...And here we were going to try hard and go off sugar again...Too many temptations--LOL! Glorious spring day here...the snow is melting! Hoping very much to catch you for a chat tonight--look forward to it! Oh, stop by my place if you can...I'm having a gift giveaway! :o) LOVE YOU HEAPS ((BIG HUGS))

  4. I love what you wrote in your journal :)

  5. What a lovely, lovely post... You make me smile too.
    Loni and I LOVE your Easter know that Loni is my Honey Bunny since she was born at Easter. We love your little Honey Bunny girl too.

    I must hurry and make breakfast before conference starts. It is our tradition to have a big delicious breakfast before the Sunday morning session.

    I am sending you love...please remember us in your prayers...we are patiently waiting....well not too patiently but we are waiting...
    and praying that all will go well.
    Have a great day. I will think of you as I watch conference this morning. Love, Lura

  6. Just reading the title Not Quite June Cleaver makes me laugh :-).
    My Dad loved hot cross buns with lots of raisins. I prefer a nice carrot cake. But he loved that too.

    Tulips are one of my favorite flowers. The sun is shining brightly here and the flowers are all coming up, lovely. ~Mary

  7. Love the look of the Easter mud pies Marie!

  8. Oh Marie - as always you have created something truly scrumptious. I can't wait to make these.
    What a lovely post with memories from your journal - it must be so nice to look back at all your previous thoughts and prayers.

  9. Wonderful smile makers Marie! `I love your new Easter painting - what a sweet little girl with the eggs!

    Those hot cross buns look scrumptious. Maybe I will make them for Easter. Thanks dear Marie!


  10. No need to ever run out of mini eggs fr the cakes just because you ate them all. Buy two packets!!! Or however many will keep temptation at bay.

    love, Angie, xx

  11. those mudpies are so cute!!!


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