Tuesday 18 January 2011

The Simple Woman's Day book

FOR TODAY, January 18th, 2011...

Outside My Window...

It's cold, wet and still. January weather. The birds are beginning their morning chorus, so you know the days are beginning to lengthen. Can spring be very far away?

I am thinking...
About how fast the passage of time is. It was my father's birthday yesterday. He just turned 77. My mother will be 79 on her birthday in July. Todd will be 73 in September and I will be 56. It doesn't seem that long ago I was only a young woman and my parents and Todd were young as well. Of course I did not know Todd then . . . but I can imagine how young he was because I can still clearly see my parents in all their youth. It seems only a blink of an eye and all this time has passed. I wonder, is it like that for everyone???

I am thankful for...
The tender mercies of my Heavenly Father, the love of family and friends, my relative good health, our sweet little Mitzie and all of the countless blessings I experience every single day of my life. Life is sweet and good.

Prayers desired ...
My cousin Danny has a friend, Peggy Thayer, who has been diagnosed with Lung Cancer and is going through Chemotheraphy at the moment. Any and all prayers would be much appreciated. Thankyou!

From the kitchen...
I am wanting a fruit cake. Not a heavy Christmas Cake type of cake, but a lighter farmhouse type of fruit cake, like a barmbrack or some such. There are some tasty little almondy strawberry vanilla cakes of course (see below) but it is not them I am wanting . . . I want sticky raisins and glace cherries!

I am wearing...
A pink nightie and a blue robe. I buy all my nightware at M&S, and my bras and such also. You know you are getting quality at a fair price and that it is going to last forever. I bought my mom a nightie there for Christmas this past year and she loved it.

I am creating...
Still working on new designs and that special project. I have a new project that I am lining up for this next year.

This is a picture of a finished dolls house just like the one I just purchased using some of my earnings. Mine will come plain and waiting for me to put it together and dress it up. It is only a small one, two rooms, one up and one down. It is all I could afford but it is a dream I have long held in my heart to have a doll's house that I could decorate and play with. That is going to be my special year long project and I am going to share my progress with you here on Oak Cottage. It is very exciting to me. I cannot wait to see how far it will have come, a year from now! I already have all these plans going around in my head!

I am going...
I have a Presidency meeting for Primary tomorrow night. Friends of ours are coming down from Blackpool on Thursday with the plan in mind that we are going to drive down to Dover and then take a day trip to Calais on Friday, but I am rethinking that. I think that it will be too much for me with my knee and hip, so I am thinking I will cancel the day trip. I would still love for them to come and stay here though. I really want to spend some time with them. They're lovely people.

I am reading...

The Weight of Silence, by Heather Gudenkauf
A tense tale following the disappearance of two seven-year-old girls from a small town in Iowa, the storytelling is brilliant and easy to read. In short it is a can't put it down kind of book! Very engaging and wonderfully written. If you like books by Jodi Picoult you will love this novel. Spread over a 16 hour period of time it follows the disappearance of two 7 year old girls who disappear from their homes on the same night without a trace. Written a chapter at a time by a different narrator each time, (individual characters in the book) it is a real page turner!

(Yes, I am still on this book. It is still engaging and still entertaining!)

I am hoping...
That our friends won't be too upset with me changing my mind about Calais! I would rather cancel now though than have to get down there and realize that it was too much for me and hold everyone back.

I am hearing...
Early morning sounds . . . the house cracking and snapping as it comes alive. Clocks ticking. Walls creaking . . . the Westminster chimes from our newest clock, Mitzie snuffling here beside me. She likes to get in behind me here on the sofa as I click away on the laptop, which is sitting on top of the coffee table. Every once in a while she stretches her legs and pushes me with them, as if to say . . . "Haven't you finished yet??? I want some Mitzie time!!"

Around the house...
There is some more ironing to do and some books to put away. I will get to it all today, I promise!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...
Not a lot really. Life has settled into a quiet order . . . it is just what I wished for and I am very happy with that.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

As you all know, I just adore Fairies. We were at some friends last evening for FHE and they live in a charming little cottage filled to overflowing with fairies and such. This is their newest one and I have fallen in love with it. It will be a long time before I can have something as pretty as this myself, but I can admire from afar . . . there is no harm in that is there? It's not coveting, really. It's admiring. ☺

And just as a closing thought for today . . .

May the day that lies ahead be it with sunny gleams,
and prove to be the road to the fulfillment of your dreams.
May it lead you to the place where lost hopes are restored,
Where love is true and life is good, and faith has it's reward.
~Patience Strong

A thought to inspire for today. Have a beautiful Tuesday everyone!

And there you have it . . . my day book for this week. 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!

Here's those little strawberry cakes I was talking about. They are very similar to a friand, very almondy and chock full of lovely vanilla and a tiny hint of strawberry on top. You could top them with a couple of blueberries instead or a few raspberries or blackberries. Whatever strikes your fancy really, or what you have to hand! They're just lovely!!

*Strawberry and Vanilla Cakes*
Makes about 16
Printable Recipe

These delicious little morsels can be bakes in rectangular cake cases, or round ones. They're great no matter the shape!

1 vanilla pod
2 tsp vanila extract
3/4 cup butter (6 ounces)
1 cup ground almonds (4 ounces)
3/4 cup sugar (5 ounces)
1/2 cup plain flour (2 ounces)
4 large free range egg whites
pinch of salt
a handful of fresh strawberries, sliced

Slice the vanilla pod in half and scrape out the seeds with a sharp knife into a pan. Add the pod to the pan along with the vanilla extract and butter. Melt together over low heat. Set aside to cool.

Mix together the flour, sugar and ground almonds iin a mixing bowl. Set aside. Place the egg whites into another bowl along with the salt and beat with an electric whisk until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg white mixture into the almond mixture, just to combine.

Remove and discard the vanilla pods from the butter mixture. (I dry mine and then stick it into my sugar canister, where it will infuse the sugar with it's fragrance for months to come!) Fold the butter mixture into the almond mixture until smooth. Cover and place in the refrigerator to chill for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 220*C/425*F/ gas mark 7.

Grease 12 small rectangular cake cases (use cooking spray) and place in a rectangular muffin tin, or baking tray. Spoon the chilled mixture into the cake cases, filling them half full. Place a slice of strawberry in the centre of each. Bake for 10 minutes in the heated oven, until the cakes are golden and slightly risen around each strawberry piece. Allow to cool for several minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling completely before serving. Store in a tightly covered container.

Cooking in The English Kitchen today a delicious Ginger Marmalade Roasted Chicken!


  1. Good Morning Marie.I have been up with the larks like yourself,I am always an early riser.It was like spring here yesterday and yes it is just around the corner..Yipee..My cousin at the coast has a dolls house she has been dressingg for yrs.It is beautiful,but quite a large one and the furniture she buys is quite a price.She has to have nothing but the best.I would love to do the same, but with the real thing a big beautiful house.That has always been my dream.When young I always said I wanted to marry a builder to realise this Heeee-heee.Never mind we can dream carn't we? It's a very heavy frost here this morning Oooooh!!! it's nippy I have just put the wheely bin out.WITH NO FALLS LOL!!"Happy Birthday" to your Dear Father and may he have many more to come..Have a lovely day Marie and I hope you work something out for your friends to enjoy,just as much,as the canelled trip.I am sure they will be just delighted to see you and Todd and Mitzy again.The cakes are tempting Mmm.Take Care God Bless Kath xx

  2. I love reading your Day book posts.
    I love that you love fairies.
    I love that you are getting a doll's house.
    I love that your life is peaceful.

    Big Hugs


  3. You are going to have a grand time with the doll house. I've seen many, but never had one. When we were children we used to take empty cardboard boxes and color in curtains at the windows and rugs on the floor and furniture too. That was great fun. Adults have to have their fun time too. I just fixed a roast chicken this past Sunday and am enjoying the leftovers this week. Mine was not as fancy as your recipe today though but tasty. I'll remember your cousins friends in my prayers. I hope your Tuesday is a great one!

  4. I enjoyed your plans to work with a dollhouse. I had two schoolteacher aunts (sisters)who were very creative and artistic; in their late forties they invested their extra time and money in miniatures. One aunt built the dollhouse and furnishings; the other decorated. I remember watching the latter make beautiful petit point rugs with silk embroidery floss, using a magnifying glass. It was great fun to watch them work. They also made one room displays, one of which I inherited. They eventually traveled to miniature shows and displayed what they had made. They had so much fun!
    Anyway, your post has brought back many memories. Have fun!!!

  5. I love fairies too. I envy you the doll house. Sending prayers for Peggy!!!

  6. how fun to dress up a dollhouse!!! my girls would love that. and those little strawberry cakes look divine...yummmm.

    prayers for your cousins friend. . .


  7. Marie, I always enjoy your posts and pictures. I will be excited to see how your project goes. I love doll houses myself and never really had one. Our daughters had a small one that they enjoyed. I love dolls and have collected them for years. One of these moments I will take a picture or two of them. My husband started to give me rather large dolls a few years ago; but now they are way to expensive for us. I planned on giving them to our granddaughters when they get married. I am way behind on that collection.
    I feel sad about your friend Peggy and will pray for her.
    As usual your cakes look yummy. My husband loves fruit cake. I don't make them; but he ordered himself one this year during the Christmas season and slowly ate it all by himself.
    Blessings and hugs to you! LeAnn

  8. I just loved your Daybook as always, Marie. I wish more ladies did them it gives such a sweet look into a person's soul. I feel like I was sitting right there on the couch with you and Mitzie.

    You doll house sounds like a fun project. Ferries must be very popular in the UK. I only know a handful of people and most of them like ferries! Maybe it is just a coincidence! They are cute little critters aren't they?

    Will certainly pray for your friend, there seem to be more and more everyday with this dreaded disease.

    I hope you enjoy the time with your friends. Sorry you cannot make the ferry over to Calaise (sp?)it is fun to cross over the Channel. But I do understand ambulatory issues. I have them myself. It is frustrating for sure and embarrassing when you feel like you cannot keep up. I have the worst time ever getting out of low chairs and sofas. I feel like a hundred years old!

    You take care and enjoy your wonderful not too busy week!

    Love, B

  9. I usually get my underwear from M&S but on Jan 6th they closed their store in this town. Shame as they've been here since the year dot. I shall just have to go to Lincoln instead, what a bore (tee hee).

  10. Does your friend's friend, Peggy Thayer by chance have a sister named Carol and a mother named Peggy McKee? If so please let me know, her 92 year old mother is trying to contact her shawnielebleu@yahoo.com


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