Monday 4 January 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, January 4th, 2009 ...

Outside My Window...

There is a very light dusting of snow on the ground. Nothing at all like the 8 inches we got several weeks ago. It's also very, very cold. An old gentleman at church yesterday was telling me that the Met office had predicted a very mild winter this year. That was on top of the Barbeque Summer they had predicted last summer. Well, we got nothing but rain all summer and so far this winter has been very cold and snowy! One can't blame them really . . . the weather is so very changeable here. I think it was Bob Hope who once said . . . "If you don't like the weather in England, wait five minutes."

I am thinking...
About how much I enjoyed my telephone conversation with my mom yesterday. She had a mild heart attack several weeks ago and I have been very worried about her. She goes to see a Heart Specialist on the 14th of this month. It has been almost three years since I have seen her and I am so longing to be home there with her now. This is not the way it was supposed to be. I had always thought to be with her to help to take care of her in her old age, not two thousand miles away. Life doesn't always turn out the way we plan . . .

I am thankful for...
Family and friends in Nova Scotia that keep an eye on my mom, but still wish I could be there. I wish my dad had not moved so far away to Quebec. At least when he was in Nova Scotia, they could keep an eye on each other and they spoke every day just to make sure the other was ok. I am thankful that they were able to mend their fences after their divorce and that they are the best of friends. Not a lot of people are able to do that after Divorce, but it appears that whilst they were not very happily married, they were much better at being friends. It's kind of wierd, but kind of nice at the same time.

From the kitchen...
Well, there's still mince pies and a bit of Christmas pudding left, but not a lot else. I did bake some muffins yesterday afternoon and I have some roast beef to use up. I think a Pot Pie is in order! ☺

I am wearing...
It's been washed and dried and ironed and Guess what!!! I'm wearing my Grammy Nightie once more! I just love it. It's so warm, cosy and cuddly. I think I am going to wear it out at this rate. I really must pick up a couple of flannel nighties when I am home to Canada this summer. Hopefully there will be some in the shops. Although it will be July so my chances are probably slim to nil . . .

I am creating...

I just love this newest painting of mine. I think I am going from strength to strength here. Angie asked me did I know what colours that I would be using before I sat down to paint and the answer is no, I don't. I start off with a pencil sketch that I transfer to my art paper and then I sit down with all my colours and I just start colouring it with whatever colours strike my fancy. I wanted this to look wintery, but at the same time I didn't want it to look Christmassy. I was quite pleased with the results.

I've also been working on my art course and am quite enjoying it! I've also done some thankyou cards for people and some birthday cards for special friends.

I am going...
Well, it's back to square one this week with full hours at work and all. Meetings at the church will be starting back up again, as well as Seminary so it's full steam ahead. It's always hard to go back to work at the end of the holidays isn't it? Well, it is for me anyways. I was always very happy as a Stay At Home Mom and would be very happy as a Housewife now, to be honest. But I do love my job once I get there and start working. It's cooking. There's cleaning and polishing as well, which I can take or leave . . . but the cooking is the wonderful part. I get to use the finest equipment and the best ingredients in the most beautiful environment. I guess that's pretty special! I'll count my blessings!

I am reading...

Talk Before Sleep, by Elizabeth Berg

"Until that moment, I hadn't realized how much I'd been needing to meet someone I might be able to say everything to."

They met at a party. It was hate at first sight. Ruth was far too beautiful, too flamboyant. Not at all Ann's kind of person. Until a chance encounter in the bathroom led to an alliance of souls. Soon they were sharing hankies during the late showing of "Sophie's Choice," wolfing down sundaes sodden with whipped cream, telling truths of marriage, mortality, and love, secure in a kind of intimacy no man could ever know. Only best friends understand devil's food cake for breakfast when nothing else will do. After years of shared secrets, guilty pleasures, family life and divorce, they face a crisis that redefines the meaning of friendship and unconditional love. I am thoroughly enjoying this novel. It's what female friendship is all about. I highly recommend!

I guess I am about halfway through this book now and it is compelling reading. I wish I could stay awake longer at night but I find I am falling asleep before I go too far. Only a few pages gets read each night!

I am hoping...
I have a talk to prepare for next Sunday and I am really late at putting it together. I guess with the holidays I just was too busy. I also find it hard to prepare talks with Todd around. He is too distracting. When I am on my own I can have it really quiet in here and just write with the spirit. I am hoping that I can get that done within the next couple of days!

I am hearing...
I am hearing nothing much. My ears are blocked. I am going to the local Nurse tomorrow to have them syringed. Apparently the Doctor could not even see my ear drum on the one side for the wax that is blocking it. I was so afraid I was going deaf, so it is a relief it's only wax. The problem is compounded now as I have been putting olive oil in to loosen it before I go to the Nurse and that is blocking it completely. In fact last night I hardly slept as my ear kept crackling. I am a person that hates any noise at all when I am sleeping. I am a very light sleeper and the crackling kept waking me up!

Around the house...
I need to put all our Christmas Decorations away still . . . I am such a procrastinator. I am just loving the fairy lights in the window so much and the candles etc. I wish they could stay up all year round . . . but then again, they wouldn't be special then would they, so I guess . . . it's time to put them all away.

One of my favorite things...
Is reading through my favourite blogs. I could spend hours each day doing just that. I don't have hours each day to do that though . . . boo hoo . . . I try to keep up as best as I can!! If I miss a few days of visiting someone I feel like something is missing in my life. Is that sad? I dunno! I only know I love them all!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...
Work, Seminary, writing my talk and then my sister in law is coming on Thursday to stay for a few days. I love Babs. She's a real sweetie pie. She hasn't been here for a long time so I am really looking foward to seeing her. We are thinking we might go and take in a film at the weekend with her. Any suggestions? I also suggested bowling on Saturday afternoon, but Todd poo poohed that idea a bit. I thought it would be fun!

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

This is one of my favourite pictures that I took at Scotney Castle last summer. Scotney is not too far from where we live and we often go in the warmer weather to walk around it's grounds. Although it is largely a ruin I find it quite beautiful and peaceful there. It's nice to look at these photos now, when it is cold and snowy, and to think of warmer times and memories. Todd saw snowdrops popping up in the garden yesterday. Amazing.

And there you have it, my Simple Woman's Day Book for today. Don't forget to hop on over to the Simple Woman to check out the other day book entries! (Or better yet, do a simple day book entry yourself! It's not that hard and I am betting you would enjoy it!)

There's no denying that cold weather is soup weather and this is one of my favourites. My mom was a great soup maker, and still is. The best in the world. I think I'm almost as good. At least I never have any complaints!! This is one of our cold weather favourites.

*Ham and Split Pea Soup*
Serves 4 to 6
Printable Recipe

This was always my favourite soup when I was growing up. My mother always used whole dried peas, but I haven't been able to find them over here. I just use the split and it always tastes pretty good regardless. It requires very little effort and more or less makes itself really.

1 ham hock, or leftover bone from a roasted ham (make sure there are lots of meaty bits still clinging to the bone)
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise and then cut in half again so that you have four pieces
1 large potato, peeled and cut into four large chunks
(my mom always said that the potato absorbed any excess salt from the ham)
1 bay leaf, broken in half
1 tsp of summer savoury (if you cannot find savoury, use a combination of marjoram and thyme)
freshly ground black pepper
8 cups of boiling water
2 cups split peas (I prefer the yellow ones myself, but you could also use green ones if you like)

Put all the ingredients into a large pot on top of the stove and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and then skim off any scum that may float to the top, and discard. Partially cover and simmer for an hour and a half or so, until the peas are quite soft and the meat is falling off the bone.

Remove the ham hock from the pot. Discard the skin, any fat and the bone. Cut the meat into large shinks and put it back into the pot. Skim any fat off of the top of the soup that you can and discard. Fish out the bay leaf and discard as well. Taste and adjust seasoning as required, adding salt and pepper to taste. I normally find it doesn't need any salt, but a healthy grinding of black pepper goes down well.

Spoon the hot soup into heated bowls, trying to give each person a piece of potato, carrot and some meat. Enjoy!!!

If you like muffins, there are some really delicious ones over on The English Kitchen today! Pear, Date and Stilton! They are quite simply fabulous! You're really going to love these.


  1. Good Morning Marie,

    I hope your day is a good one. It sounds like you have a busy week ahead. I am also pleased that you area enjoying your course. I understand about the ear thing. I only hear in one ear and if it has a problem it is frustrating.

    Prayers for you and your mum.


  2. If you mean the kind of whole dried peas that we use to make mushy peas, you can find them for sure in Asda but I don't think you have Asda do you and Waitrose might be a bit posh for mushy peas! I can send some if you want?

    It must be very hard for you not being near your mum at a difficult time. Try not to worry too much (though of course you will) and you can be sure there's a chain of prayer right across the blogging world. Doesn't that feel better?

    love Angie,xx

  3. Marie,

    I meant to also add that we follow the twelve days of Christmas thing and take Christmas things down on Epiphany. This year though we are leaving our small tree up until my Bethany returns from Switzerland.


  4. I'm back to work as usual too this morning. We have snow so I'm going out to clear that off the steps and the walkways before leaving. It puts my morning routine off a bit, but then I woke an hour early this morning so I have time for it. Have a great Monday.

  5. Ha, Ha, Here in Missouri we always say - if ya don't like the weather, stick around a day or two - it will change! We were only supposed to get an inch of snow yesterday - ended up with 4 or 5! It is beautiful tho! Marie - with your ear - I had the same problem a while back. I ended up going to an ENT specialist and he scraped it out. He told me not to use Q-tips, as they can push the wax further down in your ear. Also, to use ear plugs (I got some from Walgreens and can send you some if you would like) when taking a shower. Has worked like a charm so far! Sounds to me as if you have wax right next to your ear drum like I did. Like to have drove me crazy! Much love - Raquel XO

  6. All we've had at all snow wise here in Telford is a dusting, sigh, I want to build a snow dalek.

  7. Hi Marie!

    this is my first chance in ages to read blogs and I came here first. I have missed you and enjoyed your daybook. If all goes well I will be doing one on Monday morning after our return on Friday to the US.

    I did not know about your mom and hope she is doing so much better by the time she gets to that appointment. I am sorry that you are part, that is so hard.

    I hope getting into your into your routine goes well. I hope your holiday season was great.

  8. This is my first chance in ages to read blogs and I came here first. I have missed you and enjoyed your daybook. If all goes well I will be doing one on Monday morning after our return on Friday to the US.

    I did not know about your mom and hope she is doing so much better by the time she gets to that appointment. I am sorry that you are apart, that is so hard.

    I hope getting into your into your routine goes well. I hope your holiday season was great.

    If you need flannels next year let me know. I have feeling you will have a hard time finding them in July. I am happy to get some for you and send them over.

  9. It's also cold here, with snow covering the ground.

    It sounds as though you'll be busy this next week. I to have to speak in Sacrament meeting next week. Mine should be quite easy since I'm reporting on my sons mission.

    Loved the pictures you shared! Have a wonderful day!

  10. Love the castle picture!

    Seminary starts up for us today as well. Not having meetings or anything for the last 2 weeks has been nice. But seminary for my daughter is only 1 day a week since it is a homestudy program. We only have 4 youth and 2 in seminary. But once it all gets flowing again we get back into our routine and that is nice as well.


  11. I am sorry for the duplicate comments. I am working on a wireless laptop and it keep booting me off. Mixing that with Italy's Internet and it is no fun at all.

  12. Marie,

    This is my first visit to your blog and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Your painting is lovely!

    Blessings and peace,

  13. I just love the way you write your Daybook! And I'm excited to visit my fave bookshop to look for that book you recommend.

    Thank you for visiting my daughter's blog and leaving a sweet note, too. She's so delighted to hear you like her work.

  14. Hello my friend! Sounds like a busy, but good week for you. Good luck getting your talk put together - I am sure it will be wonderful!

    Your mom is in my prayers. I hope she continues to improve and feel better! Have a wonderful week!


  15. Happy Monday Dear,
    I enjoyed my morning visit with you at Oak Cottage. This is my first Monday home after the holidays and I have a ton of decorations to take down and put away. However, knowing that all of yours are not put away yet comforts me. I haven't even unpacked all of the car yet or our suitcases. What am I like???? It just seems like it is all too big a job to tackle.... so here it is 10:10a.m. and all I've done so far is cuddle with Austin, make breakfast and visit you. I guess I'd better get busy.

    I hope the nurse fixes your ears and all is well. Good luck on writing your talk. I surely wish that I could be there to hear it. I know you will do well.

    Thanks for you sweet comment on my post today. You are so generous with your praise....I know that you are biased but it is still fun to read all the nice things you say...of course you know I feel the same way. I could cut and paste your comments to me back onto your blog and mean every word....but it always makes my heart smile to read the kind things you say.

    Have a good week. I send love. I have missed calling you the past 2 weeks. I look forward to talking to you tomorrow. Love with hugs, Lura

  16. Thanks for sharing your day, I always love that. I feel the same way about all my friends in blog land! those muffins and the soup look so good! I love meals with both of these. Have a good week..Come say hi :D

  17. Well, imagine that! I never knew you were a Daybooker Marie. I enjoyed reading your day book, you write way more than I do, it's great to hear about your life.

  18. OH Marie I will never know how you fit everything in that you do.Prayers for your Mum.It must be so hard for you being so far away.I hope your ear soon feels much better too.The muffins look delicious.I'll pop over and take a peek at blossom time creations shortly.Have a great week.Regards to your Dear Todd.Take Care God Bless Kath xx

  19. I always enjoy visiting here.
    Sorry you are so far from your Mom. I've lived near mine and away and it was never a good thing. Now, she has gone home and I miss her terribly.
    I love your drawings, how wonderful to be able to do that.
    The soup looks yummy, alas, I have already cooked up my ham bone and sent it off with Honey Bear to eat this week.
    I'm reading one of Elizabeth Berg's books. That one sounds good. Must be new because I think I've read all of her previous ones.
    Hope your ear is better soon.
    Have a good week,
    Mama Bear

  20. typed '2009'. :)

    I have been having such a craving for Northern beans and ham soup!

  21. That book sounds really interesting. I never had a lot of female friends growing up, so it's something that always fascinated me.

  22. Love these entries of yours, Marie! Always feels like a cozy visit!

    I hope your Mom is doing better--not fun to be so far away! I'll keep her in my prayers...

    Hope you get some sleep tonight and some relief for your poor ears tomorrow! My youngest, Annie, has always had that problem with her ears--so painful!

    Love your soup--think I need to make up some of that to go along with your delicious muffins!

    I'll be back in a while to see today's posts--much love to you, dear friend!

  23. Enjoyed your daybook. Thanks for sharing.

  24. What a beautiful photo of the castle! It looks like it belongs in a book or on a calendar. And the food looks good too.


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