Wednesday 30 March 2011

Keeping it Real . . .

Sometimes you just want to sit down and cry . . . I had such a day as that yesterday. It was nothing in particular, and then again it was every thing. Things just got a bit on top of me. I had the missionaries coming over for their supper and I had promised to make one of them a Pecan Pie, and everything just seemed to be going wrong . . .

I have this beautiful new stove that we got just before Christmas last year, and I have had a lot of problems coming to terms with it. It's really up to date and it takes a near genius to figure it out, with it's 8 precision cooking functions and all the bells and whistles. Half of the time I am not sure I am using the oven properly as it seems to take twice as long as it should for anything to cook in it. Yesterday, for instance, a pie that should have taken slightly less than an hour . . . took me all morning. That kind of thing really upsets me, although I know it shouldn't.

I sat here afterwards on the sofa just thinking about all the ways I complicate my life, and most of it has to do with me always having to go the extra mile in everything I do. I seem to never be able to do anything halfway in my life . . . I am a hoarder and a collector and I jumble up my life with tons of stuff that I will never use and never need. I fill my days with too many things to do and too many projects . . . so that half of them never get finished and some never even get started.

I go on diet after diet, having a small modicum of success with each of them, and then eventually failing at all of them too. It's just excess after excess. Food, books, crafts, etc.

Even blogging . . . I started off with one . . . and somehow have ended up with more than any sensible person should ever have!! And it is not enough for me to be mediocre at any of them . . . I have to be the best at each of them because I am an over-achiever, and always have been.

My larder is bulging with food, partly because we practice food storage like our church leaders tell us to . . . and partly because when I see a good deal on something I cannot just buy one of it . . . I have to buy two or even three! Sometimes it's not even something that I will use two or even three of . . . but it was a "buy one get one free", or a "three for the price of one" deal, and I just couldn't resist . . . even though in all likelihood I will probably end up having to throw away two of them, because . . . honestly, it wasn't something that I use much of at all in the first place.

And I do this over and over again in my life, in all areas of my life, overcomplicating and crowding and stuffing it until I run out of room. I know where I get it from too . . . my mom is just the same. If you go to her house she has one closet downstairs just filled to the brim with toilet paper . . . and most of the time there is only her in the house to use it. She also has three closets filled to the brim with beautiful clothes and beauty treatments up the kazzoo! Need a bar of soap??? Well, she's got a thousand of them, and in almost every variety you could want! Oh, and if you open her cupboards you are sure to find spices in them, and other goods that expired ten years ago . . . don't even get me started on the refrigerator . . . She can put her fingers on every electric bill she has ever had, and every other bill as well. She throws nothing away. The only difference is she is quite neat about it all, and everything has it's place . . . me . . . well, I not very good at putting things away.

Anyways, I thought about it all yesterday and I realized I am tired of being this way. I need to cut back. I need to be ruthless and just get rid. There are things in this house that we have not even looked at or unpacked since we moved in a year ago. It is time to give them away. I am going to start with each room and go through them one at a time and everything that we haven't used in the past year and anything that we don't think we will ever use or need is going, as much as it hurts.

I am starting the One Step Program for weight loss on Friday. I was referred by my GP because I really need to lose weight. A lot of weight. I have put back on all the weight I lost three years ago, and then some. My clothes don't fit and I feel uncomfortable all the time. When they refuse to operate on you because of your size . . . that is a big sign that you need to make a change. So that is another area where I will be getting rid. I probably won't be putting a recipe on here every day anymore. I cannot afford it financially . . . and I cannot afford it physically. This will be just a place for my thoughts and muses . . . and if I lose some readers because of it . . . it will not be the end of the world, and I may not even write every day . . . although to be honest . . . I probably will, because . . . I love it so very much.

I will keep my recipe blog going, but I may not even post there every day and I am certainly going to take stock of the kind of food I am cooking, and the way that I am cooking it.

Oh, this is going to be so hard for me I know, but I need to tell myself that I just do not need every cooking magazine going . . . nor do I need 50 rolls of toilet paper, two big tins of quality street and 20 bookcases filled with books, half of which I have never read and at least a quarter of them that I never will. Nor do I need three sets of pots and pans, two breadmakers etc. etc.

So I am having a clear out, starting today. Wish me well!

I just had to share this chocolate cake recipe with you today though . . . coz it's my favourite you know . . . and it will probably be a long while before I have chocolate cake again . . .

*Wellesley Fudge Cake*
Makes one double layer cake, serving 16 people
Printable Recipe

This has long been my favourite chocolate cakes. Rich and fudgy and quite delicious!

4 ounces of unsweetened Chocolate
1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
1 2/3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
3 free range large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Chocolate Frosting:
4 ounces of unsweetened Chocolate
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 pkg. (16 oz.) icing sugar (about 4 cups), divided
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Grease and flour 2 9-inch cake tins and set aside.

Place the chocolate, 1/2 cup of sugar and water in a large microwaveable bowl. Cook on high for 2 minutes, or until the chocolate is almost melted, giving it a stir after 1 minute. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Set aside to cool.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Cream the butter and remaining sugar together in a large bowl with an electric whisk until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating after each until well blended. Beat in the flour mixture, alternately with the milk. Stir in the chocolate mixture and the vanilla, mixing it in well until no white streaks remain. Pour into the prepared pans.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing from the pans to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

Melt the chocolate for the frosting in a saucepan over very low heat, stirring constantly. Set aside to cool.

Beat together the butter with an electric whisk until creamy and then beat in half of the icing sugar, a little at a time until thoroughly mixed. Beat in the remaining sugar, the vanilla, milk and melted chocolate, beating until you have a creamy mixture with a spreadable consistency. Use this to fill and frost the cake layers.

Cut the cake into slices or wedges to serve, depending on whether you used a square or a round pan to bake the cake. Delicious!

And over in The English Kitchen today, there is a delicious Lasagne!


  1. A very honest post Marie. I'm going to email you as soon as I get off here... x

  2. no matter how many changes you will make, please do not change your phone number..
    love you Marie..

  3. I think you have 'Spring Fever' Marie! lol
    I agree with you on getting rid of stuff that you have not used for ages. I am unable to throw away, like you, so Bryan does it without telling me. It doesn't hurt as much that way.
    He is practical, whereas I use my heart instead of my head.
    Good luck my friend. Hope you get to grips with your *blessed* oven! That would wind me up too!

    Onwards and upwards!
    love Jeanie xxx

  4. What an honest thing's for harm can come from you doing this and if it makes you feel better in the long run all the better.. xx

  5. It takes a lot of courage to face your shortcomings in front of all your readers. We all have "stuff" that clutters our lives. I look forward to sharing your journey and being inspired in my own. Together we can get our lives back on track. Thanks for sharing this!

  6. I find that because I love to do so many things I save a lot too. Crafts, painting, sewing, knitting, and of course reading all take up space in my home. I am not organized at all about it and that is what I'm working on...the organizing. Along the way, some things will go, but I have room for it all so won't get rid of a lot. You may find that somethings will just be too hard to let go of and that's ok. Little by little you'll get there. I hope your new diet is successful. It will be if you want it to be. I think it's all about attitude. Everything we do is our choice.

  7. You have such a kind heart, Marie. You are a great friend to all. May God bless the changes you want to make while reminding you of all the MANY talents and gifts he's given you. Love you bunches dear friend!

  8. Oh, Marie... Bless your sweet heart! And I love how you gave us a treat of chocolate cake at the end here. ;o) And I always like how you tell it how it is. You are person with the BIGGEST HEART ever. So maybe not surprising that heart bursts out all over into everything, many things--i was made to share. :o) Like you, I am a person who goes for over-achieving every time, must do more, must be more, to be everything for everyone, issues with perfection and so forth...It can be hard wanting to do it all, be it all! But we are only one person, we can only stretch so far. Maybe you have reach your point. You have so many wonderful abilities, and I know you can do whatever you set your heart to. Do what you have to do for your body, mind & spirit balance. Be here when you can, when you want to be. We'll be here! ;o) LOVE YOU SO MUCH!! OXOX ((BIG HUGS))

  9. Please don't forget to take us on this new journey of yours...we love to hear how you are doing. Making these changes is hard after 50 years of doing things one way but you can do it and become healthier and happier for it in the long run. As you will discover there are many healthy and tasty recipes out there. Good luck on this new adventure. I read every day and will be applauding you as you go...

  10. Hi Marie...I can relate to a lot of what you've said today. Don't beat yourself up too much though. It takes a long time to break the habits of a lifetime!

    I'm very much like you in a lot of ways...a bit of a hoarder, and as someone else said being a crafter you tend to hang onto stuff just cos it looks like it will be useful some day! I've been having a bit of a book clear out, and have put some up for sale on Amazon. I'm trying to use up craft materials and put the items i've made onto a shop on Folksy. And trying to use up stuff in the kitchen cupboards... without spending too much money buying loads more ingredients just to make something.

    Baby steps'll get there, I know you will, you're such a determined person.

  11. Marie,
    I read your blog every time you post. I enjoy it very much. You and I are so similar, 55 yrs old, married to an older man, have weight issues, knee issues and crafts, don't get me started. I think you must know that you are not the only person who is like this. I too could pull a dumpster up to the house and get rid of 1/2 of it. The key to being happy with oneself is to just start doing some of the things that drive us nuts. That's my intention here in Virginia, USA. Best of luck and make sure not to throw out Mitzie.


  12. Wow...somebody needs a hug. I'm sending hugs to you Marie. I'm sending love too. And, I'm sending something else that I hope you can use...encouragement. You are doing what I decided I needed to do some months ago, and you describe the attached emotions beautifully.

    I've about got my possessions down to bare bone, and it was very hard, but it's not impossible. You end up with what you truly love, and it really does feel good to give, donate, throw out what feels like is drowning you.

    I've lost weight too. I'm not on a particular diet, but just choosing to eat healthier. I've only lost 17 pounds in over 6 months, but it's beginning to show. I have many more pounds to lose but it's a start. And it gets easier.

    I applaud the journey you are about to take. It's a life lesson for all of us. I'm sending best wishes for life changing success!!!

    Can't wait to read about your journey!!!
    Hugs, Jan

  13. Don't be so hard on yourself my do such an awesome job of everything..maybe you need to back off a little and just not try to do so much! Spring is right around the corner too..we are all in need of her! ;D

  14. Sending you a Big Hug from Florida Marie.Please remember that whilst you are "clearing house" you will surely be helping some other poor soul. I wish you all the very best and I thank you for what you have given so freely of yourself.I will be cheering you on from afar.

  15. Just found your blog today great. post. I love your post and I feel the same way you do sometimes, but I know its because I am me there is only one me in this world and there is only one you. so just keep being who your are I could have a bite of that chocolate cake now.looks yummy ( You can do it girl go for it)

  16. Marie so many of us have gotten to that same point in our lives so I applaud you for saying it out loud. I used to feel so guilty when I didn't post or didn't read someone's blog every time they posted or didn't comment, etc. I've let myself have some freedom from all that-just because I don't read every post someone writes doesn't mean I don't love them or their blog; it just means I have a life that needs to go in a different direction right then. Just because I don't comment doesn't mean I don't use what they wrote or think about it later. In addition my closets are way too crowded and I am gradually working my way through them, analyzing each thing in there to see if it's useful or needful. When I have food that is close to the expiration date I take it to the homeless shelter where they give it away. I will continue to buy the buy-one-get-one items I'm sure but I'll start putting the extra one in a bag beside my pantry and when it has a few extras in it I'll drop it off at one of our places that feed the hungry. And diet - I'm also on again/off again but I do try to stay more on than off. I lost 20 pounds last year and have managed to keep that 20 off but should lose 20 more. Slow but steady will win that race! Good luck with all your cleaning, sorting, dieting, etc. I'll say a prayer that you remain strong. blessings, marlene

  17. Oh Marie! I emphatize with you! I do the same things as you and today I've come to the same conclusion as you have.

    Don't worry about losing followers. I love you for your honesty, your upbeat and simple comments and your recipes as well. The most important thing is your health - physical and mental. Hang in there, you can do it with God's help.

  18. Oh Marie, I can empathise with you. I fight a similar demon, though I feel mine is because deep down I have never believed that I'm good enough, so I over-extend myself trying to prove everyone around me that she I am good. It's a slippery slope to misery.

    Whatever direction you take, you know you have people here who listen and support you. I adore your recipes, but much more than that I love reading your thoughts, musings and memories. Sending our warmest wishes from Sweden.

  19. Oh Marie,

    I recognise so much of what you wrote today. I wish I had seen it sooner, i woud have called you. I hope whilst I am writing this, you are sleeping.

    I am thinking of doing a hundred day plan, to get myself back on track, with my weight and sorting clutter. I don't want to diet again, but make healthy choices and get moving.

    We can do this my dear friend. I am so glad I found you. You are a wonderful woman.

    Big hugs


  20. Beautiful blog you have. I have a lot of the same issues as you. I could of wrote this post. I have to lose weight and this is not fun but I also have books upon books I haven't read, storage of things unopened when we moved here in July, 20 or more rolls of toilet paper. Shall I go on. I love your petty flower pictures and of course the chocolate cake which neither of is can have.

  21. You are very courageous to look at yourself so honestly and recognize that changes should be made. I've done this many times myself and I truly believe that God spurs me to do it. Often times, God just steps into your life suddenly, tells you something deep inside yourself, then gives you strength to manage it all. I have found that decluttering my surroundings brings me great inner peace and calm. I have a hard and fast rule I stick to.....once a year I go through closets and cupboards......items I have not looked at or used in a year are out. I either give them away or throw them away. I can honestly say I've never missed one thing I got rid of. Maybe this rule would work for you to, Marie.
    I know you can accomplish your goals with God's help....rely on Him...He wants you to.

  22. HI there! Somehow or other I found you and wanted to say hello :) Your blog is warm and inviting and I appreciate your honesty with all you are planning. Good luck with the weight loss and learning to put things in it's place. I perpetually struggle with that and never feel like I'm ahead of it!!

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  24. Hi Marie!
    I'm guessing there may be a number of your readers who have similar challenges (myself included), and we all can use some extra encouragement. I know I look forward to improving my cleaning and organizational skills, and I'm trying to eat better, so I will enjoy reading how you are doing too. :-)

  25. Oh Marie, You sound so much like me. I too have been trying to think how I can prioritize my time better. I love your blog so much; so don't ever give that up.
    Keep letting us know how you are doing with the dejunking and the weight loss; because I am trying to do the very same thing.
    I went shopping today at a warehouse place called Costco's for just 3 items and ended up with $ 190.00 worth of stuff. It is things we will use or eat. However, I think shopping is like a outlet for me.
    Just know that you have a friend that is very much like you; but not nearly as talented. You are the best and I always love reading your posts and the pictures today were so awesome and I wish spring would come soon because that will help me get up and get going.
    Trust you to give me a recipe that I will not beable to resist.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and blessings to you! LeAnn

  26. Marie you can do it. I know how hard it is to do this. Take baby steps. I have lost about 15 now and have a lot to go but I am at peace with it. I have found WW really works best for me over the long haul. We can get back to the other blog and sharing there too.

    I think cutting back on blogging has helped me some. I try to do several a week but I don't fight it if I am not inspired or too busy.

    The older I get the more realize that I want balance and more moderation in my life. One of the most appealing things to me about serving a mission is walking away from all the stuff for awhile and just having a suitcase to worry about.

    You are not alone, let's work on it together.

    Love you sweet friend, just the way you are but understand how you are feeling about simplifying and getting more healthy.

    Hugs, B

  27. I sure do relate to this post, Marie. I've come a long way, but still have the overstocking on food problem. Like you, I still can't resist getting the extra items because they were on sale,and then there's so much stuffed away in the pantry and freezer I don't even know what I have because it's hidden behind or under something else, and then I find things with dates that have expired long ago and I get exasperated because I hate to waste. But I know I shall overcome this too--just like I know you will get all your simplifying done as well.

    You and Todd did an awesome job on the kitchen. It's impressive.


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