Tuesday 6 December 2011

The Simple Woman's Day book . . .

FOR TODAY, December 6th, 2011...

Outside My Window...

It is cold, dark and damp. Winter is upon us I think. We've had to have the heating on more and more. Ka-ching! Ka-ching!

I am thinking...
Yesterday I got a beautiful Christmas Card from my eldest daughter, Eileen. She is the one who is developmentally handicapped and who is getting married next July, you know the one . . . I travelled to Idaho to watch her compete in the Winter World Special Olympics a few years back with Lura. She had also put a little note into it. She was apologizing for the e-mail she had sent to me about her wedding where she told me that I was not allowed to see her on the morning of the wedding, that the only people allowed to be there was herself, her two bridesmaids and her stepmom. But then she went on to say again that she didn't want her special day ruined and would I please try to get along with the stepmom. "Sorry about the e-mail I sent you. It's just Karen that's all. You know how it is with her. Just when you come please try to get along with her. I don't want my wedding day ruined." Truth is I have not spoken to my daughter about her wedding at all. I haven't e-mailed her about it (as she's not been allowed to use the computer for a while now, as far as I knew.). I haven't spoken to her on the telephone either. (She is never home when I call but is always training, or if she is home . . . she is too busy to talk, so I just haven't bothered.) I haven't written her a letter about it either. Obviously this is really causing her concern as she has mentioned it yet again. After I read this yesterday I went upstairs to work in my drawing room and I was crying. My heart is broken up about this whole thing. I have decided not to go to the wedding at all, not to go to either of the weddings. The last thing I would want to do is to cause my daughter to have these feelings of concern about her day, or to ruin it in any way. I have a feeling that the step mom is really causing some waves about me being there and putting undue stress on my daughter. As much as I would love to be there on her special day, I feel it is probably better for her if I am not. It causes me great anguish to make this decision, but I just can't think of any other answer. I love my daughter with all of my heart and I want her day to be special in every way. She and Tim have been waiting a very long time to be allowed to get married and I don't want anything to spoil that day for them. Me being there would spoil it because I think she would be nervous the whole time that something would be done or said. Of course I would not say or do anything . . . but the stepmom is always a powder keg waiting to go off. It's just best I stay away.

I am thankful for...
That I have a Heavenly Father who knows and loves ME, and the healing power that can come from resting in that love. I need to let it work in my life more.

From the kitchen...
Pineapple Upsidedown Gingerbread Cakes. 'Nuff said! (D-A-N-G-E-R-O-U-S!)

I am wearing...
Pink nightie (M&S), Pink jim jam bottoms, pink slippers, aqua robe. Layering for warmth and comfort. Todd asked me yesterday what I wanted for Christmas. I said some new slippers and a new nightie. I just love nighties and jimjams! (and new slippers!)

I am creating...
I did this yesterday afternoon:

I love her dress. My mother had one just like it when I was a little girl. Her's was blue and there were lots of net crinolines underneath and I can remember the sound of them rustling as she walked. She and my father used to go out dancing every Saturday night at the mess on the base. She always looked so pretty and smelled so nice. Ma Griff perfume. I sent her a bottle for Christmas this year. Anyways, I saw a picture of this dress on pinterest and I knew that I wanted to put it into one of my paintings. I hope that I did a good job on it. What do you think??

I am going...
Reading lessons, lunch date with some new friends on Wednesday, Dentist on Thursday, Visit Teaching on Friday (hopefully), Ward Christmas Party on Friday night and Temple on Saturday. Wow, it's a full week! That's good though . . . when one is busy one hardly has time to dwell on things. That's a good thing.

I am reading...

The American Wife, by Curtis Sittenfeld

On what might become one of the most significant days in her husband’s presidency, Alice Blackwell considers the strange and unlikely path that has led her to the White House . . . and the repercussions of a life lived, as she puts it, “almost in opposition to itself.”

A kind, bookish only child born in the 1940s, Alice learned the virtues of politeness early on from her stolid parents and small Wisconsin hometown. But a tragic accident when she was seventeen shattered her identity and made her understand the fragility of life and the tenuousness of luck. So more than a decade later, when she met boisterous, charismatic Charlie Blackwell, she hardly gave him a second look: She was serious and thoughtful, and he would rather crack a joke than offer a real insight; he was the wealthy son of a bastion family of the Republican party, and she was a school librarian and registered Democrat. Comfortable in her quiet and unassuming life, she felt inured to his charms. And then, much to her surprise, Alice fell for Charlie.

As Alice learns to make her way amid the clannish energy and smug confidence of the Blackwell family, navigating the strange rituals of their country club and summer estate, she remains uneasy with her newfound good fortune. And when Charlie eventually becomes President, Alice is thrust into a position she did not seek–one of power and influence, privilege and responsibility. As Charlie’s tumultuous and controversial second term in the White House wears on, Alice must face contradictions years in the making: How can she both love and fundamentally disagree with her husband? How complicit has she been in the trajectory of her own life? What should she do when her private beliefs run against her public persona?

In Alice Blackwell, New York Times bestselling author Curtis Sittenfeld has created her most dynamic and complex heroine yet. American Wife is a gorgeously written novel that weaves class, wealth, race, and the exigencies of fate into a brilliant tapestry–a novel in which the unexpected becomes inevitable, and the pleasures and pain of intimacy and love are laid bare.

I'm almost all the way through this book now, and I am going to be sorry when I am done. That's the sign of a good book, I think!!

I am hoping...
That I can get all the things done that I need to get done this week. Fingers crossed!

I am hearing...
Early morning sounds as the world
wakes up around me. Every day sounds. Peaceable and comforting. The odd sound of a car as it passes . . . the clock ticking . . . Mitzie snozzling . . . the keys tap-tapping. Home.

Around the house...

I just love this old wood fired stove. Oh how I would love to have one in my kitchen, although in truth it's probably as big as my whole kitchen, so it wouldn't fit very well. I dream of one day having a big farmhouse kitchen with a stove just like this. My grandmother had one of these as did my first Mother In Law in her big old farm house. The sounds . . . the smells . . . logs crackling in the grate . . . that comforting smell of wood burning, mingled with whatever's cooking. How cosy and warm does that sound?? I know! Positively heavenly!

I am looking forward to...
I am really looking forward to our lunch out tomorrow. It will be nice to get to know this new couple better. We have some old friends in common and they are well travelled so I am sure we will have lots to talk about. I love making new friends, don't you?

If I could change one thing it would be ...
That people in my sphere of existance would learn to get along and not to be so narrowminded and selfish. I cannot let them steal my sunshine . . . I am working hard on that.

One of my favourite things...
Is losing myself in my artwork. I just put my headphones on and get stuck in. Usually I have one of my favourite music cd's playing and I go right into another world. For those few hours that I am painting . . . nothing else matters.

A few plans for the rest of the week...

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

I am grateful for the friends in my life. Old, new . . . and in between . . . but I am especially grateful for my kindred spirit friends. (You know who you are.) They help to carry me when I am feeling down, kind of like the Saviour does. They are so very special to me, and I love them dearly. Everyone needs a kindred spirit friend . . . they are the ones who . . . from the very first meeting . . . feel like an old soft shoe, like you have always known each other, and like you always will. They feel like home.

"Two may talk together under the same roof for many years, yet never really meet; and two others at first speech are old friends."
- Mary Catherwood

As a closing thought I would like to leave you with this:

"Always remember . . . be kind, be fair, be honest, be true, & all of these things will come back to you."

It's called karma.

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!

Nothing can be more comforting on a cold day than a warm, freshly baked apple. I'm not sure why this is . . . I only know that it is . . .

*Baked Apples with Mincemeat and Cream*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

I love baked apples. They are so easy to do and always taste so good when they are done. For a little something extra special try baking them stuffed with mincemeat. These are truly delicious!

1 medium bottle of sparkling apple cider or apple juice (about 3 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup cranberry jelly
2 TBS unsalted butter
4 large baking apples (I used Blenheim Orange Suffolk)
3/4 cup purchases mincemeat
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup dried tart cherries
1 TBS chopped crystalized ginger
250 ml container of double cream for serving

Pre-heat the oven to 200*C/400*F. Lightly grease a baking dish and set aside.

Put the apple cider, cranberry jelly and butter into a large skillet and bring to a boil. Boil until it is reduced to about 1 1/4 cups. This should take about 12 to 15 minutes.

In the meantime, cut a cone shaped piece from the stem end of each apple, about 2 inches wide at the tip and 1 inch deep. Using a melon baller, remove the core, leaving the apple intact at the bottom. Take a sharp knife and cut a slight slit around the middle of each apple, about halfway up. Try not to cut in too deeply. This will help to prevent the apple from exploding in the oven and help it to keep it's shape.

Mix the mincemeat, walnuts, cherries and ginger together in a bowl. Spoon this mixture into the apples, filling and mounding it up in the centre.

Arrange the apples in the baking dish and then spoon the cider over and around them. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the apples are tender. Serve warm in shallow bowls with a spoonful of cream or two drizzled over each.

Over in The English Kitchen today, delicious Pineapple Gingerbread Upside Down Cakes!

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