Sunday 18 April 2010

Marie's Sunday Six

Welcome to my very first Sunday Six Smile Makers post in our new home in Chester! Oh how I missed doing this when I was enduring my enforced off line experience, and now I am sitting here this morning and there are so many things that have brought a smile to my face over the past few weeks, I hardly know where to begin!!

Todd and I were so very grateful for the many letters and cards that fell through our letter box these past couple of weeks! What a wonderful welcome they were and also a beautiful reminder of how very much we are cared for. Each one was so very special to me and brought huge smiles to both of our faces. Unbelievable really. We thank each one of you from the very bottoms of our hearts!

We arrived here at the house about 11:30 in the morning on the 31st. The movers didn't arrive with our stuff until gone 3 in the afternoon. They got lost and what a ruckus it was getting them here to the right place. Their Sat Nav had packed it in so things were quite confusing for them. It took them about 3 hours to offload and when I first looked at it all, it seemed so very overwhelming. I never thought that I would see the end of it all. Fortunately our bed is a divan bed with huge drawers underneath and I had thought to put all the bedding we would need into those drawers before it left Brenchley, so I was able to just put the bed together and we were able to fall into it and sleep that first night. It has taken us days and days but I am happy to say that the huge piles of boxes in the house have turned into huge piles of empty boxes in the back garden! That makes me smile because I know that with every empty box that turns up out there, we are one box closer to making this house a home!

I found this lovely little pillow at a nearby Charity Shop this past week. The colours went perfectly with the quilt on our bed and it made me smile. It is the kind of pillow that I would get me if I was my own child! I know that's pretty bad isn't it! Anyways, I fell in love with the sentiment and the colours and well, I just couldn't resist!

We are settled enough now that I was able to have people over to dinner, not once, but twice in this past week! I do so love to entertain and feed people and I was so pleased that we had gotten to the point in our settling in that we could begin to do just that. We had our first guests last Saturday evening and early Monday morning the doorbell rang and there was one of them on our doorstep with a HUGE bouquet of flowers to say thankyou to me. I had invited them here so that I could say thankyou to them for all the help that they had given us! Nevertheless I was thrilled with the flowers. They are very beautiful and here, almost a full week later, they are still making me smile!

We have a lovely huge back yard here in our new place and we are going to plant some vegetables and things out there. Watching Todd turn over the soil and begin . . . and thinking about all the lovely things we will be growing makes me smile. I just love growing my own vegetables. I think one just cannot get any closer to God than when in a garden. I am looking forward to the lovely courgettes, squash, peas, beans, carrots and potatoes we have in our future here! We may even buy ourselves a few dwarf fruit trees to plant down at the very end! Oh what a lovely thought!!

For a minute there I am sure you thought we had gotten ourselves a new dog, right? Nope, she's not ours but a little visitor we had for a few hours yesterday. This is Sandy, our friend Dennis's dog. We had her at our place for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon. She is so lovely and playing ball with her made us both smile. It was nice to have her here for a short, but we are not ready to have another dog yet . . . we both miss Jess so very much and she is pretty irreplaceable in our minds and hearts. Sandy was sweet and pretty loveable, but she was not Jess. Perhaps one day we will find a dog that will fill our hearts again.

So that is pretty much it for this week. It's always nice to find things to smile about and I like to think that there is plenty of joy to be found in pretty much any situation, and I am grateful for a heart and soul that are able to do just that.

Remember . . . "No man ever injured his eyesight by looking on the bright side of things!"

We went to our Munch and Mingle last night. It was great fun getting to know the members of our new church family better and to get to spend some time re-acquainting ourselves with the ones we were already familiar with. There was a couple there who had come over from Idaho to pick up their Missionary son. It was fun getting to meet and talk to them as well. The father had done his mission in Nova Scotia many years ago, so it was a reminder of just what a small world we live in! The cake went down a real treat, I'm happy to say!

*Pumpkin Spice Cake*
Serves 12
Printable Recipe

A deliciously moist spice cake with a lucious praline topping. This is a winner all round!

1 (18 ounce) box of yellow cake mix
(Here in the UK, you can use a Betty Crocker Carrot Cake mix, with great results)
1 (15 ounce) tin of pumpkin
3/4 cup soft light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup safflower oil
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (mixed spice)
4 large eggs

For the topping:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup packed soft light brown sugar
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Generously grease a large bundt tin and dust it lightly with flour, tapping out any excess. Set aside.

Place the cake mix, pumpkin, sugar, oil and spice into a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer for about 1 minute. Beat in the eggss for 2 minutes longer, until well combined.

Melt the butter along with the brown sugar for the topping in a small saucepan. Stir in the nuts. Remove from the heat.

Pour half of the cake batter into the prepared pan. Spoon a very small amount of the topping into the centre of the batter all the way around, being careful not to touch the sides. Top with the remaining cake batter.

Bake for 45 minutes to one hour, until the cake tests done and springs back when lightly touched, and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow to sit in the pan for 15 minutes before turning out onto a plate. Allow to cool completely.

Gently reheat the topping over medium low heat, stirring and then spoon this mixture over top of the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides.

*Note* - I often double the topping ingredients.

I know!! Two cakes on the same day! It's Tres Leche Cake over on The English Kitchen today!


  1. Welcome back Marie. I sure did miss you. I tried to post my comments yesterday in your earlier post but because I had changed from using IE (Internet Explorer) to Mozilla Firefox, I head some trouble with the 'identity'.. I hope it works here now.

    Anyway, I am glad you are both settling down nicely in your new home and my... what a nice and big backyard! Yes, a nice fruit tree will be nice and a shady area to sit and read outside.. Take care Marie.

    Angela KL

  2. I missed your Smile Makers and was happy to see them this morning. There is always something to smile about and I like to look on the bright side of things too. I hope your Sunday is a wonderful one.

  3. Oh what a lovely ending to my day. It is lovely to see Todd working to establish a garden.

  4. congratualtions on getting settled into your new home dear one! I have missed your posts and scrumptous recipes :) I can so imagine you picking your fresh vegetables in your new garden, it will undoubtedly be one of your favorite spots I'm sure :)

  5. so glad to hear all is well in chester! i love how you always look on the bright side of things-you teach me so much marie! hope you guys have a wonderful week.

  6. Such lovely Sunday smiles. I found myself smiling at each one as well. I hope that I can come and visit sometime and enjoy some of the good things that will come out of your garden. It is a lot of work to have a garden but it is surely worth it. Just looking at your pile of boxes makes me tired. What a job moving is. I can't imagaine that you've had the energy left over to have people to dinner twice. You are amazing.
    I am glad that the munch and mingle went well. I am sure that your friends are very glad to have you back.

    I have been busy all day and not had a minute to do my post. I just got back from our stake R.S. evening with the stake pres. It was a lovely evening.... but I got home to find Austin is still up. John said that he fell asleep when I left at 6:30p.m. and just woke up. Oh no!!! He may want to stay up all night now and I am ready for bed. I should let John play with him since he was the one that let him sleep 3 hours.
    I love your beautiful flowers and the cards. People love you. What can I say? You deserve it.
    You are probably about ready to gete up... just as I am ready to go down. Have a great day. I send love as always. Lura

  7. Oh Marie, how good it is to see your messages in my in-box again....I've really missed you!
    I'm pleased you are settling in so well in your new home, you seem to have organised things very well, very clever of you to put the bed-clothes in the drawer of the bed, imagine if you had to trawl through loads of boxes to find it when you were so obviously tired!
    Love to you and Todd ~~~ Pat xx

  8. By the way, the 'new home' card looked familiar, is it by any chance the one that I sent?!

  9. Nice big garden you've got there. You'll have loads of veg in there. Good idea about the fruit trees down the end.

    You do right I think not to have a dog just yet. No dog can ever take Jess's place but one day a furry little head will nudge its way under your hand and right into your day.


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