Tuesday 24 January 2012

The Simple Woman's Day book . . .

FOR TODAY, January 24th, 2012...

Outside My Window...

All is calm, and dark, and very wet. The calm makes a change from all the wind we have had lately. Our fence along the side of our front garden blew down yet again. Whoever put it up, all those years ago, never put in cement posts or anything, so all the wood that was put into the ground has rotted away, making it very unstable. Something for the Landlord to take care of when he returns from Ireland in March.

I am thinking...
I do so enjoy writing on my blog each morning. It is such an integral part of each day for me. It helps me to gather my thoughts for the day, or work out things that are preying on my mind. On the first Sunday in February I am teaching in Relief Society. The lesson is supposed to be on all the resources we have as Latter Day Saints to help us when we perhaps have to give a Sacrament Talk, or a lesson, or are troubled etc. I am really struggling with it. I know all the resources, but it is finding a way to get it across to the class in an interesting manner, which will involve my students that I am struggling with. Nobody wants to just sit there and listen. A good lesson is one which invites participation . . . and I feel a bit like I am banging my head against the wall with this one! Any suggestions???

I am thankful for...
My knees are beginning to act up again. Grrr . . . I think it is time for some more cortizone shots. I am thankful though that they have behaved for as long as they have. That has been a real blessing to me over these past 6 months.

From the kitchen...
There are leftover muffins and cookies. I need to give some away. Anybody want some? Would that I could!

I am wearing...
Pink jim jams and my robe. I am beginning to realize that I have a LOT of pink in my wardrobe. I never thought I was a pink girl much, but it seems that I am!

I am creating...

I have nothing on the table at the moment. Most unsual for me, but I have been working hard to get ready for our Relief Society Extra Meeting which will be on this Thursday and then the one for February which follows close on January's heels! I have been making little gift bags for January one, which is entitled Chicken Soup for the Soul. I also have to make a big pot of chicken soup on Thursday, plus a vegetable one for any vegetarians. The February one is going to be based on Love and so I have been researching some Valentine themed crafts and such. There are some really amazing ideas out there . . .

Source: flickr.com via Marie on Pinterest

Things like Valentine Cake Pops! Aren't they pretty???

Lovely Heart Garlands for decorations!

Beautiful wreaths to decorate and more treats and cards etc. than you can shake a stick at! The hard part will be on deciding what I am going to use!!

I am going...
I have an appointment for a haircut this afternoon, plus I have to cut Todd's hair. I have my daily reading lessons of course, and then on Thursday morning I am going Visit Teaching, then there is the RS Activity on Thursday night and we are taking Mitzie to be groomed on Friday morning. We had tried a different groomer last time, one that was closer to where we live. We'd been taking her to her breeder since we began taking her to be groomed, but it is rather far away in Neston. The one we took her to here in Chester before Christmas made a real mess of it. I don't think she was used to doing Cocker Spaniels at all. So now we are going back to Neston with our tail between our legs. I am dreading it . . . they have a lot to fix up.

I am reading...

Once Upon A Time There Was You, by Elizabeth Berg

Even on their wedding day, John and Irene sensed that they were about to make a mistake. Years later, divorced, dating other people, and living in different parts of the country, they seem to have nothing in common—nothing except the most important person in each of their lives: Sadie, their spirited eighteen-year-old daughter. Feeling smothered by Irene and distanced from John, Sadie is growing more and more attached to her new boyfriend, Ron. When tragedy strikes, Irene and John come together to support the daughter they love so dearly. What takes longer is to remember how they really feel about each other. Elizabeth Berg’s immense talent shines in this unforgettable novel about the power of love, the unshakeable bonds of family, and the beauty of second chances.

As you know I am a real fan of Elizabeth Berg. I just love all of her books and this one is no exception. I am loving this one too!!

I am hoping...
We went to the shops yesterday to buy groceries. Everything seems to be getting more and more expensive. For instance I remember buying a certain brand of tinned vegetables only last week and they were on offer for 2/£1. This week the same ones were on offer at 2/£1.29!! That's an increase of 29 pence in one week! Outrageous! I am hoping that the Government can soon get a handle on this economy and that things will improve, although . . . as we all know . . . once stores and shops get away with charging a higher price for things, they never ever go back down again to what they were . . .

I am hearing...
Nothing much. Mitzie is eating her breakfast in the kitchen. The keys are tapping. All is quiet outside . . . the birds are waking up so a bit of chirping and the odd car that drives by. A very normal ordinary start to the day.

Around the house...

Don't you just love this idea??? Although I am not fond of the colour, isn't this just the most fabulous idea for a Kitchen Island/Baking Station, etc.!!!! Of course my home is too small for one of these. You can barely turn around in the kitchen for hitting something or knocking something over, but a gal can dream can she not???

I am looking forward to ...
Thursday evening. It is always a lot of fun to get together with the ladies from church!

If I could change one thing it would be ...
That someone would invent self cleaning, self ironing, self putting away clothes! lol Don't think that is going to happen for some reason!

One of my favourite things...
Is cuddling with Mitzie. She is so loving and affectionate. Of course we just adore her. I can never get enough of cuddling her.

I know she does look rather a bit like a snob . . . but she's not. She's a little softie with a HUGE heart and would love to lick you to pieces, given the chance!

A few plans for the rest of the week...
A bit of work . . . a bit of play . . . and everything in between!! There is NO rest for the wicked!

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions, and not on our circumstances. We carry the seeds of the one or othe other about with us in our minds wherever we go.
~Martha Washington (1731-1802)

I am a firm believer in miracles which are brought about from faith and positive thought. Miracles happen every day . . . and not just for the chosen few, but for anyone who has the eyes and the heart to recognize them and seek them out.

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

“Because love is the great commandment, it ought to be at the center of all and everything we do in our own family, in our Church callings, and in our livelihood. Love is the healing balm that repairs rifts in personal and family relationships. It is the bond that unites families, communities, and nations. Love is the power that initiates friendship, tolerance, civility, and respect. It is the source that overcomes divisiveness and hate. Love is the fire that warms our lives with unparalleled joy and divine hope. Love should be our walk and our talk.”
― Dieter F. Uchtdorf

I just love all the words of President Uchtdorf, don't you? I can never get enough of them.

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!

I have a recipe here today from my Marie's Muses archive. I remember baking this same cobbler for the nephew of the people I worked for down South. He was on his travels and had stopped by for a few days to wash some clothes, rest and visit with family. I remember thinking he was such a nice young man. I know my boss was not overly fond of him, but I did like him. He was nice and most appreciative of anything anyone did for him. He got lost picking blackberries in the hedgerows one night and Todd had to get his flashlight and go rescue him one night while he was there. I baked him this lovely Blackberry Cobbler with his pickings and he really enjoyed it. You know . . . it doesn't take a lot to make people happy . . . you only need to show that you care.

*Blackberry Cobbler*
Serves 9 - 12
Printable Recipe

This wonderful version of blackberry cobbler is quite unusual in that you make a batter first for the blackberries to sit on. They don’t. They sink down into it and make a luscious and delicious filling that will have you coming back for seconds. The yummy streusel topping is chock full of crunchy nuts. This truly is the best!

½ cup of butter, melted
1 ½ cups caster sugar
1 ¾ cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
24 ounces blackberries (fresh or frozen)
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar

1 ¾ cup light brown sugar
¾ cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans
1 cup plain flour
1/3 cup butter, melted

Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Place the first amount of melted butter in a 9 X 13 inch glass dish and set aside.

Mix together the 1 ½ cup caster sugar, flour and baking powder. Add the milk and whisk lightly together until smooth. Pour over the melted butter in the baking dish.

Put the blackberries and the 1 ¼ cups of the granulated sugar into a saucepan and heat over medium heat until the mixture begins to boil. Pour over the top of the batter in the baking dish and place in the pre-heated oven. Bake for about 30 minutes or so until the batter begins to brown.

In the meantime make the topping. Whisk together the brown sugar and flour. Stir in the chopped nuts and the melted butter, mixing until crumbly.

Once the batter has begun to brown, remove from the oven. Sprinkle the topping over top and return to the oven to bake for a further 15 to 20 minutes or until it is nice and bubbly and the topping is nicely browned.

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Serve warm with some vanilla ice cream if desired. Custard and pouring cream also go very well with this, or nothing at all, which is how Todd likes it.

Over in The English Kitchen today, a delicious batch of Popina Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies!

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