Tuesday 20 April 2010

The Simple Woman's Day Book

FOR TODAY, April 20th, 2010...

Outside My Window...

The birds are singing their little hearts out. It is gone six am already and I am a bit late getting started this morning. There are lots of sparrows here and of course blackbirds and doves. I have seen the odd tit, and of course magpies and crows. Not a lot of other birds though. I will miss the chaffinches and wagtails and the song thrush . . . I shall hold the blessing that I had of being able to enjoy them these past seven years close to my heart and count it as such. Just think . . . everything we are able to enjoy here on earth is but a pale imitation of what lies on the other side through the veil. Oh how lovely it must be there!

I am thinking...
How things can be very different and yet they stay the same. Here I am, plunking away on my keyboard this morning, just like a hundred different other mornings . . . but I am miles away from where I began this journey on this blog . . . nothing much has changed, and yet everything has changed. I am still the same person and think the same thoughts . . . have the same feelings, and yet . . . I am in a completely different place. You can look at things from different places and yet still have the same clarity of thought and same inspirations . . . things may change on the outside . . . but the heart . . . it stays the same.

I am thankful for...
When I last wrote this daybook we were on the leeward side of packing things up. Oh what a difficult experience that was . . . now here we are on the aft side and everything is mostly unpacked. Oh, we still have a room to do that is filled with boxes that we haven't figured out a place for yet, but I am very thankful that all has gone so well and without great incident. The weather we drove up here was just awful . . . we drove through rain and sleet and snow, but we got here safe and sound. I am thankful for the tender mercies of the Lord.

From the kitchen...
There is not a lot baked. I need to do something about that today. Last evening there was a knock on the door. When Todd answered it there was a silver packet of foil on the doorstep with a note attached. Inside were some fairy cakes and the note said, "From your neighbour." with a smiley face after that. I expect they were from the little boy that lives next door. He seems a sweet lad. I could be wrong, but whoever they are from, it is nice to know that there is a very thoughtful and sweet person living in the neighbourhood.

I am wearing...
Pink and yellow pajamas, with sheep all over them and my blue terry robe. It is a bit cool in here this morning. I haven't quite cracked how to turn the heat on yet. It is gas central heating. I want to take a bath so I hope that the heat comes on soon. It is a bit frigid taking a bath when it is so cold. brrr . . .

I am creating...
I have a couple more dolls in the pipeline and one that someone wants me to make for their grand daughter. I also have some pictures rolling around in my head and my art course to work on. I also have some fabric squares that I am planning on turning into a quilt at some point. Not a large quilt, just a lap quilt. I have not made a quilt in years. I remember making one a long time ago when my children were really small. It was lavender and white. I lay it all our on our living room carpet to pin it together with the batting and backing. I yarn tufted it instead of quilted it. That seems like a whole lifetime ago and when I think of it . . . it was a whole lifetime ago, and yet . . . it seems like just yesterday!

I am going...
I need to catch up with my scripture readings now that things are starting to settle in here. I am way behind on it. I had tried to read ahead before we left to come up here, but I had only thought at that point that we would be offline for a few days. I had no idea that it would be weeks. I don't understand how that works. I am very glad to finally be back online now. It is funny how dependant you can become on things once you get used to them. 20 years ago I could not imagine what possible use a computer in the home could be, now I could not imagine running my home without one!

I am reading...

The Year of Pleasures, by Elizabeth Berg

"John and I talked about transformation sometimes, about what would become of him after he died; we shared that bravest and most sorrowful of intimacies. Mostly, though, I would say that we talked in silence. In the language of lying in the dark and moving one's hand to the other's hip for a specific kind of anchoring. That's how we talked most."

When Betta Nolan's husband, John, dies, she honors a promise she made to him to sell their house, drive across the country until she finds a town she likes, and move there. This is a novel about starting life over, and purposely enriching that life with the many pleasures, especially the small and free ones, that are always available to us. It also challenges the notion that a widow must or should behave in a certain way; and it shows how love does not die, but rather changes form. I love this book because it is about finding joy, no matter the circumstances you may find yourself having to live through in life, and that is how I try to live my own life.

"Men are that they might have joy." 2Nephi2:25

I am hoping...
Iam hoping that the ash cloud from Iceland disappears quickly and that all is settled down and sorted before our trip to Canada in July!! I am really looking foward to seeing my family and I don't want anything to ruin our chances of going. We still have to figure out how we are going to get from here to Gatwick, but I am sure that Todd will sort it out soon.

I am hearing...
The room is quiet except for my tapping keys and the ticking of the clock. I think I may hear some water trickling through the radiators which is a good sign. I may yet have heat for my bath!

Around the house...
Things are looking very settled. Tidy with everything in it's place and a place for everything. I have an airer sitting here in the lounge with our laundry drying on it from yesterday. I miss our laundry room. We used to have a line in there that we hung our laundry on. I have not had a clothes dryer over here ever. I don't really miss having one all that much. I was never without one when my family was growing up. I think with children you need a clothes dryer, but with only the two of us here, it is not so much of a necessity.

One of my favorite things...
is sharing my thoughts with you on here each morning. I missed you all ever so much when I was not able to get online. This little chat we have each morning is an integral part of my day!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...
I have a bit of work to do with Todd and of course my dolls to finish. On Saturday there is a Stake Relief Society activity planned in our chapel, which is also the Stake Centre. I have signed up for two workshops. Creative Writing and Gardening. Then we have signed up to have the missionaries over for their supper on Saturday evening, or rather I should say Todd has signed us up! I would have probably picked another day because I am going to be out most of Saturday, but nevermind . . . I will just have to do as much as I can ahead of time, on Friday!

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

A bluebell wood. The Kent countryside is absolutely laden with bluebells at the moment. I will have to find a bluebell wood around here, if one exists. I just love this picture. One expects a tiny winsome creature to pop it's head out of that little hobbit-like doorway in the tree and invite one in for tea. We'll sit on little toadstools and drink out of acorn caps, and feast on fairy cakes. What a delightful thought!

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!)

The temperatures turned a lot cooler yesterday and we we supped on a delicious soup to warm our bones. Todd had been out delivering catalogues most of the day and was chilled right through and through. This warm and hearty soup went down a real treat with him.

*Farmhouse Cheddar Soup*
Serves 8
Printable Recipe

This soup is delicious. I use a combination of cheese in it but you can leave the blue cheese out without too much problems if you wish. I like the slight tang it gives, myself. You can reserve a few of the florets of cauliflower and then sauté them until lightly browned in some butter and then use them to garnish the top as well if you like. It makes a nice touch.

4 cups of vegetable or chicken stock

2 cups chopped, peeled potato

1 head of cauliflower, trimmed and broken into florets

1 large onion, peeled and chopped

2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced

2 cups shredded strong cheddar cheese, divided

¼ cup crumbled blue cheese (optional)

1 ½ tsp salt

¼ tsp dried dill tops

¼ tsp dried mustard powder

1/8 tsp white pepper

¾ cup whole milk

Combine the stock, potatoes, cauliflower, onions, carrots and garlic in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender.

Remove from the heat and let it cool for 15 minutes. If you have a stick blender use it to puree the soup until it is smooth. If not you may have to use a food processor or standing blender to do it in small batches, but proceed with care as you can get a nasty burn by doing so. The heat of the soup creates an expansion of air and it can blow the lid right off your blender! (If I am using this method I always put a towel over the top of the blender and then hold it down tightly!!!)

Return to the pan and whisk in the milk, 1 ½ cups of the cheddar cheese, blue cheese (if using), dill, dry mustard and white pepper. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed. Cook and stir until the cheese is all melted and amalgamated and the soup is hot.

Serve in heated bowls with the rest of the cheese sprinkled on top. I like to make some little buttered croutons to float on top as well. I just cut out shapes of bread with a tiny cookie cutter and brush them with a little butter and toast them in a hot oven until they are nicely browned. A very delicious touch and quite pretty to look at!

Over in The English Kitchen today, a Warm Potato, Olive and Green Bean Salad. Delicious!


  1. Oooh Marie that soup is callling my name. Yesterday we bought a cauli and lots of soup ingredients. I was thinking of making soup in 30 minutes or so. Amazing timing.

    Your lovely posts always make me smile. It also sounds like Todd and you are settling into your new church home.

    Love always.

  2. You week is off to a happy start, Marie... LOVE all those bluebells...*swoon*... Can't wait to see your finished dolls. Your Saturday sounds full to bursting... Your workshops sound a lot of fun--very exciting! Love this soup today. I've not been feeling too terrific, so soup sounds comforting. Happy Day, dear friend--LOVE YOU ((BIG HUGS))

  3. The weather here has been very chilly and my central heating has been on. We did warm up some yesterday afternoon and I enjoyed doing some yard work. but by evening it had cooled back down. I agree with you on how things are so different yet the same. All the things we've done in the past do help to make us who we are today. I hope your Tuesday is a terrific one!

  4. I hope your move went well! Did you find a new job yet?

  5. Good morning, Marie! It's cold and rainy here today....so that soup sounds really good to me already!

    So nice to read your daybook entry again--I missed those! Sounds like you're settling in nice and cozily--I'm so glad!

    What a joy it is to have a sweet and thoughtful neighbor...and on Saturday you will meet so many new and wonderful friends at Relief Society...things will be feeling homey in no time!

    Much love to you, my friend! Hope you have a marvellous day!

  6. I have been looking forward to your first daybook entry "oop north" - it was worth the wait!

    I fancy doing a creative writing course too - a class that doesn't need me to take along a shed-load of equipment and doesn't involve taking an exam at the end!

    a, xxxx

  7. I loved it all Marie...loved seeing your new place too..thanks for all your thoughtfullness toward me..do you guys have employment there? Have a great day :D

  8. Hello dear,
    I am so glad to get to come and visit you today. First I went through the lovely tour of your home you posted yesterday and then I sat down to visit with your on your day book. I just love how homey and warm your new home is. I can hardly wait to come and visit you there some day. Of course it wouldn't matter to me what home you have....just being with you is all that would matter to me.

    My computer went crazy when I was trying to get to your post yesterday. I got Oak Cottage to come up from my google reader and then it went nuts. It kept coming up over and over and over but never stopping long enough for me to read anything before it uploaded again. Oak Cottage filled my whole screen one after another. I could not stop it. I had to turn off my computer to get it to stop.
    Isn't that wierd? Oh well... it worked today so I got to have a double visit.

    Your home is just lovely...just like you and Todd. Have a great week. I hope that the smoke cloud will fade away soon. How sad for all those who were planning to travel soon. I am sure that it will be gone by July when you go to Canada. I send love. I will try to call in a bit. Hugs, Lura

  9. I love that photo, it looks like a giant ear. I did read "Joy School" and loved it. It really sounded as if a 10 year old girl had written the story. I still have boxes stashed here & there and I moved here 8 years ago. So don't feel bad about the boxes. They will wait for you. Sounds like you're settling in quite well and that you have a fun weekend to look forward to. Linda in Washington state

  10. Hello marie I am so pleased your move went safely and really do hope you settle into your new home quickly. What a lovely surprise to receive some moving in fairy cakes - that is very sweet! I have read recently about some ladies organising 'cake drops' or 'cake bombs' :-) They bake cakes and deposit them in various places aroound city and town centres for people to find and enjoy. The world would be a sweeter place with more cake bombs I am sure. Not sure if you drive but there is a lovely mansion house and gardens called Arley Hall not too far from you in Cheshire - they do guided bluebell walks at the moment. On that note i am off to make tea and will be doing a soup swap with you this week - your cheddar for my fennel -love Kitty xxx

  11. Marie!!! Is lovely read again "The simple woman..." really nice and lovely post, I told you where you and Todd are there is your home, is where your heart is. Al ways I think this when sometimes I have to travel, I need some little things where I go and my home is with me. a your homr is lovely, and I enjoyed your neighbor give you a present. Is nice, When arrived this house 5 years ago, nobody give me a hand and nobody said me welcome. But now is my home and I live here with my family for the time God will.
    S end you huggs and kisses! Love ya, gloria

    This soup look delicious!


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