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Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Pride and Prejudice

I first came across Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen through the BBC serial adaptation in about 1995. At the time my opinion on it was rather low as I viewed it as a bunch of women who's only thought in life was snaring a good husband. My opinion did improve on reading the book but I still did not really appreciate and enjoy the love story in it until rereading it after I got married. I do think that having found a husband probably makes it easier to appreciate.

As with Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice contains a range of characters who do not always seem to suffer the consequences of their wrong actions. However the wrong actions are clearly indicated as such so this is not a problem. Reading it straight after Sense and Sensibility I did notice a number of similarities but this did not stop the book from being enjoyable and I would like to read Jane Austen's other works sometime. One thing which particularly struck me this time was that the pride and prejudice was not just on Mr Darcy's part but also on Elizabeth's part. I like the way that people's strengths and weaknesses are discussed and I can see that it is about much more than a bunch of women trying to ensnare husbands.

Having read this book, it is much better than I remembered and definitely one to keep.

Monday, 27 April 2009

"The Noticer" by Andy Andrews

I received this book as part of the Thomas Nelson book review blogger programme. The "Noticer" is a man named Jones (just Jones - not Mr Jones). He has the gift of noticing things which other people don't. He mysteriously appears and disappears in the small seaside town of Orange Beach, Alabama where he uses his gift to help people by enabling them to gain "perspective" on their apparently difficult situations.

I was a little confused by this book as I thought it was supposed to be fiction but the character who narrates the story seems to be the author. Regardless of whether it is pure fiction or not the main purpose of the book seems to be the message in it rather than the story. This is probably a good thing because the story is not really its strong point and at times when I was reading it I felt that the characters/plots were made up rather too conveniently to fit a particular point such that it was almost patronising

If one ignores the contrived nature of getting to the point, it is well worth reading for the wisdom and advice Jones imparts. I enjoyed some of Jones' talks so much that I read a number of them aloud to my husband.

A House Update

After almost eight weeks of phone calls, form filling and sending in documentation of just about everything under the sun it looks like God willing we will be exchanging contracts this week which means we could have our own house by the end of next week.

Although I haven't started proper packing yet I have started packing a few books. I'm currently entering them on my Library thing account as I pack them.

I've also got measurements of the living room, hall and bedrooms and have started making scale card cut out diagrams of them so I can work out in advance how to arrange the furniture. I already have cut outs of most of the upstairs furniture anyway from when I've been organising here but I still need to measure and make the downstairs stuff.

The new house doesn't have any curtain rails (with repossessions you're lucky if they haven't removed the boiler) but we got some last week on Freecycle. The lady who gave them to us also gave us some blinds which means combined with some old curtains I was given when I rented a flat with no curtains, we have curtains or blinds for both bedrooms, the stairs, the living room and possibly one or both of the kitchen windows. Of course most of the stuff won't really go together but it's better than having no curtains at all so I'm happy.

Food wise I have a freezer full of meals I've cooked so that once we get the house I can concentrate on sorting things out without having to cook dinner each day.

As I can hear Little Girl calling, "Mummy out" I think I'd better go get her up from her nap and finish this post.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Vaccine - Abortion link revisited

I just wrote reply to a comment on my "Vaccines use cells from aborted babies" post and thought it was worth putting it in a post so that more people see it.

Thanks for your comment Carrie - I guess I wasn't clear as I was not saying that cells from aborted babies were in the vaccines just that they are used to make them. I guess a parallel would be that coal can be used to make electricity but there is not any coal in the electricity. For me the important point is that they were used in the first place.

Also although the rubella strain does come from *one* aborted baby, many were used. The rubella strain is called RA27/3. RA stands for rubella abortus (i.e. it was an aborted baby rather than a miscarried baby). 27 means this was the 27th aborted baby used and 3 means it was the third sample taken from this baby.

This means that although as you say the rubella strain came from one baby, many more were used in the overall process of production.

Why I love staying at home #1

My daughter and I get to make a mess baking bread together.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Sense and Sensibility

I was interested to reread Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen because I came out as Elinor Dashwood in a quiz I took ages ago. I would say that a distinguishing feature of Elinor's character is that unlike her sister Marianne who grieves publicly when she feels she has been wronged and wallows in self pity, Elinor is much more quiet about her suffering and only allows others to know of her suffering when necessary. She prefers not to have others know and discuss her affliction with her. In this respect I am probably quite similar as I tend to prefer not to tell other people about trials and difficulties until well after the fact so for instance when I was pregnant and admitted to hospital with hyperemesis gravidarum I was very upset that my husband had given our minister permission to announce it at the Bible Study as I would rather have kept it private. (He didn't realise I didn't want people to know and had even thought about what I would want made public before he gave permission.)

Anyway, back to the book:

Sense and Sensibility follows the fortunes of sisters Elinor and Marianne Dashwood following the death of their father. Although some characters who do wrong do not appear to suffer any ill consequences, the chief one does and those who have been wronged seem happy that although they appear materially worse off, in fact they are better off than those who wronged them. The book places a high value on good attributes (such as patience, forbearance, kindness and forgiveness) and disapproves of bad attributes (such as gossiping, materialism, dishonesty and unfaithfulness).

In addition to being a book which I consider suitable to read, it is also a book I enjoyed and I am definitely keeping it.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Far from the Madding Crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy is a varied book. A lot of it is fairly bleak but overall it is much less so than Tess of the D'Urbervilles and it has a more or less happy ending.

There are two main characters who do wrong in the book. The first is Bathsheba Everdene who foolishly plays with Mr Boldwood's feelings and leads him on by sending him a Valentine with the words "Marry me" on it as a joke. It is portrayed as a foolish deed and something she lives to sorely regret illustrating clear consequences to wrong actions. The second is Sergeant Troy who behaves dishonourably towards more than one woman. He is portrayed throughout as a villain and his misdeeds are certainly punished in the end.

Overall I am quite happy to keep this book as it clearly distinguishes good/bad and right/wrong and has much discussion on the wisdom of various characters' actions. I particularly like that it shows the great folly in leading someone on in regard to your affections for them.

Monday, 20 April 2009

My Web Wanderings (weekly)

  • tags: True beauty

    • Susan Boyle's story is a parable of our age. She is a singer of enormous talent, who cared for her widowed mother until she died two years ago. Susan's is a combination of ability and virtue that deserves congratulation.

      So how come she was treated as a laughing stock when she walked on stage for the opening heat of Britain's Got Talent 2009 on Saturday night?

    • The answer is that only the pretty are expected to achieve. Not only do you have to be physically appealing to deserve fame; it seems you now have to be good-looking to merit everyday common respect. If, like Susan (and like millions more), you are plump, middle-aged and too poor or too unworldly to follow fashion or have a good hairdresser, you are a non-person.
    • Yet why shouldn't she sound wonderful? Not every great singer looks like Katherine Jenkins. Edith Piaf would never have been chosen to strut a catwalk. Nor would Nina Simone, nor Ella Fitzgerald. As for Pavarotti
      But then ridicule is nothing new in Susan Boyle's life. She is a veteran of abuse. She was starved of oxygen at birth and has learning difficulties as a result. At school she was slow and had frizzy hair. She was bullied, mostly verbally. She told one newspaper that her classmates' jibes left behind the kind of scars that don't heal.
    • She didn't have boyfriends, is a stranger to romance and has never been kissed. "Shame," she said. Singing was her life-raft.

      She lived with her parents in a
      four-bedroom council house and, when her father died a decade ago, she cared for her mother and sang in the church choir.

    • She wasn't the glamorous type - and being a carer isn't a glamorous life, as the hundreds of thousands who do that most valuable of jobs will testify
    • Carers don't often get invited to sparkling dinner parties or glitzy receptions, so smart clothes rarely make it off the hanger.

      Then, when a special occasion comes along, they might reach, as Susan did, for the frock they bought for a nephew's wedding. They might, as she did, compound the felony of choosing a colour at odds with her skin tone and an unflattering shape with home-chopped hair, bushy eyebrows and a face without a hint of make-up. But it is often evidence of a life lived selflessly; of a person so focused on the needs of another that they have lost sight of themselves. Is that a cause for derision or a reason for congratulation? Would her time have been better spent slimming and exercising, plucking and waxing, bleaching and botoxing? Would that have made her voice any sweeter?

    • Susan is a reminder that it's time we all looked a little deeper. She has lived an obscure but important life. She has been a companionable and caring daughter. It's people like her who are the unseen glue in society; the ones who day in and day out put themselves last. They make this country civilised and they deserve acknowledgement and respect.

      Susan has been forgiven her looks and been given respect because of her talent. She should always have received it because of the calibre of her character.

  • It's good to see the value of stay at home mums being recognised even if it is only from a financial point of view.

    tags: Finance, Parenting

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Don't Bake Tired

In the UK there are signs on motorways with slogans such as "Don't drive tired" and "Tiredness kills take a break". Well I guess you shouldn't bake tired either as this was the result on Monday after having a disturbed night due to Little Girl's chicken pox. I got the timer on my watch ready, put the bread in the oven and then forgot to start the timer. Fortunately my husband happened to go in the kitchen about an hour and a half later as I had completely forgotten about it. I think maybe next time it would be better to buy bread if I'm that tired.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

This is shocking

I saw this on Zsuzsanna Anderson's blog and wanted to make sure more people heard about it.

Whilst I disagree with a lot of the views of her and her husband, I am appalled by what happened to him. I didn't think the US was the sort of country where this kind of thing happens.


To me Shirley by Charlotte Brontë is a strange book. It seems to meander and wander monotonously around till reaching its conclusion with almost no plot. Despite this, I did find some interest in the book was in the historical context and character study. I would probably say that the character study in the book is a much greater strength than the plot.

Almost all of the characters in the book are portrayed as trying to be good with mainly the anonymous Luddite rioters being portrayed as bad although with some sympathy to the conditions which have driven them to such action. Even though most characters are "good" the book is by no means deficient in discussion of the flaws both in the personality and actions of various characters. Indeed the book spends a great deal of time moralising over the conduct and defects of the characters.

Although I would probably choose many other books to read before I chose this one, I think it is good in it's portrayal of characters and events and so I will keep it.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009


Little Girl is now recovering well from her chicken pox and seems to be feeling much better. We are also recovering from the lack of sleep caused by her being ill. Thank you to all those who have prayed about it.

Yesterday my brother e-mailed me a website with a family tree with links to mine and also e-mailed the owner saying I could probably give them a bit more information so since I am too tired to do anything energetic I thought it was a good time to do a bit of family history research online. Last time I did anything was nearly five years ago and there is loads more information than there was. I have even managed to find a photo of my great grandfather here (he is at the very bottom right) which is quite exciting for me as I don't have much detailed information about that branch of the family as my grandma couldn't remember much and he died when she was 12. I also found this picture of the house where my Grandma was born:

It's so amazing what you can find with the internet!

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

The Moonstone

The Moonstone is the second book I own by Wilkie Collins and is in a similar style to the first. As with The Woman in White, I find I am completely captured by the story and follow all the twists and turns in wonder as to what will happen next. It is very cleverly put together and follows a similar form of narration in that it is narrated by a number of different characters.

Although most of the "good" characters live happily ever after, there is more tragedy in this than The Woman in White which I think makes it more realistic. Throughout the book there is a good deal of confusion as to who is good and who is bad and whether certain characters are doing what is right but eventually all becomes clear and those who have done wrong get their comeuppance.

The Moonstone and The Woman in White are cleverly constructed and are two of my favourite books so I may try and get hold of more books by Wilkie Collins after I have finished going through the books we already have.

Monday, 13 April 2009

My Web Wanderings (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

The Pox

Little Girl has chicken pox. We were expecting it as some of the children at church have had it. She first got the spots on Tuesday and the first couple of days didn't seem to ill apart from being happy to sit on my knee cuddling most of the time but the last two days have been worse. Last night we had to take her to the out of hours doctor because she has an infected spot (the most common complication in children under five) and she now has to have three different medicines - paracetamol for the fever, anti-histamine for the itching and an antibiotic for the infection. She doesn't mind the first two but the antibiotic tastes horrible so there is lots of crying when we give it to her (but she is good as she will take it even though she doesn't like it). We've also been giving her garlic and honey which we always give for colds but didn't think of doing with this until she'd been ill a couple of days. If you feel so inclined, please pray that she will be feeling better soon.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Spicy Sourdough Fruit Loaf or Sourdough Hot Cross Buns

(makes 3 loaves or 2 loaves and one batch of hot cross buns)

2 cups buttermilk
3 cups sourdough starter
1 tsp salt
¼ cup honey (3 oz)
2 tbsp butter
Around 6-8 cups flour (about 2lb)
1 lb mixed fruit
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp mace
1 tsp nutmeg

1. Put buttermilk, sourdough starter, salt, honey and butter into a large bowl.

2. Mix.

3. Add fruit and spices and mix again.

4. Gradually add flour and mix until it turns into dough.

5. Knead for 5-10 minutes.

6. Divide into three tins. (Or into two tins and one batch of buns.)

7. Bake at GM 3 for 1 to 1 ¼ hours. (Buns need less time - around 30 minutes.)

8. Turn out of tins immediately and cool on wire rack before slicing.

If you need to convert any of the units of measurement, try Gourmet Sleuth.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Books, books, books

I've suddenly realised how far behind I am at reviewing the books I've been reading. The last one I started writing about was Stand and Deliver which I finished in June (I still have a half written review sitting in my draft posts). I'm going to try to catch up but I'll probably do them as auto posts so that they are spread out rather than all at once.

In the mean time I thought I'd post this book meme I found at Buffy's Salon:

The list is from a survey done by the BBC in 2003. They asked everyone in Britain to nominate their favourite books and compiled a list of the top 100. Apparently the average adult has only read 6 of them.

In bold are books I have read.
In italics are books I intend to read.

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen. I reread this quite recently so there's a review in the pipeline.
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman. At the time I didn't realise that it was deliberately anti-Church, anti-God and anti-Christianity - I wouldn't read it again)
4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams. My head of year used to read random parts of this out in assemblies. They never made any sense and it kind of put me off a bit.
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling. I read the first four Harry Potter books in 2001 because my brother was really into them and I wanted to be able to have intelligent conversations about it with him. To be honest I didn't think they were that amazing and never bothered to read the rest. The only good thing I can say is that they got my brother reading (albeit only seven books in a continuous loop).
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee. I can't remember much about this but I did read it when my brother was studying it at school because we watched a film of it.
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne I have no idea why I never read Winnie the Pooh - we had the books on the shelf at home when I was growing up.
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell I'm not so keen on it now but when I first read it this along with Tess of the D'Urbervilles was one of my favourite books. I actually did a piece of GCSE coursework when I was 15 comparing them.
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë. This is one of my mum's favourite books.
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks. I have never heard of this book.
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame. Well technically I think I may not have read the whole thing as I found it incredibly boring.
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens. I read the first chapter of this when I was about 8 or 9. It seemed to be all about a boy called Pip Pip who was running through a graveyard so I stopped reading it. I eventually read it after watching a TV adaptation (probably by the BBC) when I was a student.
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres. I've seen the film but apparently they changed quite a bit.
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving. Not heard of this one either.
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson. I have read other books by Jacqueline Wilson and have seen Tracy Beaker on the TV. That is sufficient for me to know I do not want either me or any of my children to read any of her books.
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez. Not heard of this.
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett. Or this.
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson. This is on my bookshelf waiting to be read. I think I may possibly have read it years ago but I'm not sure.
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute. Not heard of this.
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen. I'll have to buy it first but I like the Jane Austen books I know so want to read this one too.
39. Dune, Frank Herbert Not heard of this.
40. Emma, Jane Austen. As Persuasion.
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery. I did get a bit bored earlier in the book by Anne's incessant monologues but if I remember correctly it did improve. I may try to get hold of the subsequent books but I want to finish reading all my current books first.
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell. I actually read this online in a couple of hours when I was a student. I have a friend who wouldn't consider reading 1984 because of how much he disliked Animal Farm so he e-mailed me a copy. It wasn't as bad as he made out but he had been shown a cartoon of it when he was about 7 which was quite traumatic and quite understandably put him off it.
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy. I have a review of this in the pipeline as I reread it last year.
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck. Not the most pleasant of books - I read it after watching the film with my brothers (who were studying it at school).
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth. Not heard of this.
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell. I did own this as a child but for some reason never read it (I would have unreasonable and arbitrary prejudices against certain books) but more recently I acquired a copy in a job lot of books and really enjoyed reading it.
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer. Not heard of this.
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman. Not heard of this.
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough. Not heard of this.
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton. I used to love reading all my Enid Blyton books again and again as a child.
67. The Magus, John Fowles. Not heard of this.
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding. I had to study this book for GCSE. It was a horrible book and whilst not wishing to offend anyone who likes it, I cannot understand why anyone would choose it as their favourite book.
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind. Not heard of this.
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell. Not heard of this.
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding. I saw the film of this - it did not give me any desire to read the book.
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt. Not heard of this.
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins. I really like this book.
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith.
83. Holes, Louis Sachar. Not heard of this.
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake. I was given this for Christmas one year but gave it to a charity shop as I didn't really like the sound of it.
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy. Not heard of this.
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons. Not heard of this.
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist. Not heard of this.
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac. Not heard of this.
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel. Not heard of this.
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho. Not heard of this.
95. Katherine, Anya Seton. Not heard of this.
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer.
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez. Not heard of this.
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot. I've seen the film of this and would not choose to read the book.
100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

I am surprised that the average person has only read 6 as I have read 34 (and intend to read another 4) and 7 of them were in the course of my education.

If you do this book meme be sure to leave a link in the comments.

Monday, 6 April 2009

In the Footsteps of Paul by Ken Duncan

In the Footsteps of Paul

I received this gift book as part of the Thomas Nelson book review blogger programme. The book takes you through the life and journeys of Paul the Apostle. Each double page has a similar format of a Bible quote (usually from Acts), one or two beautiful pictures and then some relevant comment which gives you a bit more information. Sometimes the comments by the author are replaced with quotes by a variety of people including CH Spurgeon, CS Lewis, Phillip Yancey and Billy Graham.

Right from the introduction (which included the Gospel) to the final page I was very impressed by this book. Because it picked out relevant verses to show the journeys of Paul rather than including all of the events, I found it a useful overview of his life. The stunning pictures helped to bring the world he lived in to life. In particular I was surprised by how rich much of the countryside was as I had imagined it to be barren and desert-like. The comments and quotes greatly enriched the experience of this book as they helped me appreciate the great faith, dedication to evangelism, and sufferings of Paul and his contemporaries. This would be a good gift both for Christians and for non-Christians who are interested in the historical aspect of the Bible.

My Web Wanderings (weekly)

  • How cool is this? I read about making these in a Bobbsey Twins book once and always wanted to try it out - now I can.

    tags: homemaking, crafts, sewing

  • Thanks to Brenda at for this one.

    tags: pro-life

    • In an amazing development, one Australian mother delivered
      a healthy baby girl after going through a nine-month ectopic pregnancy.
    • For
      nine months, Thangarajah carried her baby Durga in her ovary instead
      of her uterus. Following a Caesarean birth, both mother and baby are

      are calling Durga a miracle baby and say the chances of both mother
      and baby surviving are a million to one.

    • Neither
      doctors nor the couple expected anything other than a normal pregnancy
      and it wasn't until the planned Caesarian began that they discovered
      something amiss.
  • tags: Nutrition, Reference

  • tags: no_tag

  • tags: Christian

    • An interesting post based around Luke 8:14 painted a mental picture for me of our minds as a fertile garden wherein our thoughts grow like plants.
    • Of course, the verse is talking specifically about the word of God, but for me the analogy seemed especially apt for that activity that influences us the most: what we are thinking.
    • A garden needs a gardener whose job it is to root out and throw away the negative thoughts, prune those thoughts which are taking over and nurture the good thoughts that might not be able to grow strong without help.
    • And minds, like gardens, are easier to maintain with a little work every day than letting them do their own thing for weeks or months and then having to bring in the bulldozer because you've let things get so out of hand.
    • To carry the analogy still further, a good gardener doesn't just yank out the weeds, she plants new seeds and youthful plants that she knows will be good in the garden.
    • What are you growing in your garden?
  • tags: Bread, Baking, Recipes

    • The Secret: Keep Dough Refrigerated. It is easy to have fresh bread whenever you want it with only five minutes a day of active effort. Just mix the dough and let it sit for two hours. No kneading needed! Then shape and bake a loaf, and refrigerate the rest to use over the next couple weeks. Yes, weeks! The Master Recipe (below) makes enough dough for many loaves. When you want fresh-baked crusty bread, take some dough, shape it into a loaf, let it rise for about 20 minutes, then bake.
  • tags: Recipes, Baking, Bread

    • Mix up a lightning-fast batch of moist
      no-knead dough, save it in your refrigerator, tear off portions over
      the next week or more, shape, and bake.
  • tags: decorating

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Frugal "Hamburgers"

  • 1/2 lb mince (ground meat)
  • 1/2 lb lentils and rice
  • 1 cup (1/2 lb) mashed potato
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup grated cheese
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree (tomato paste)
  • 2 tsps basil
  • a tiny bit of chilli powder (depending on your taste)

  • Lard a baking tray or roasting tin (I use a roasting tin because it has a lid so saves using aluminium foil to cover).
  • Put all ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Mix thoroughly - this is best done with your hands.
  • Use your hands to shape into about eight "burgers" and place in roasting tin (or baking tray).
  • If using a baking tray, cover with foil.
  • Cook at 350F/GM4 for 45-60 minutes.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Digital Decluttering

Since we probably won't have internet access straight away after we move, I will be limited to an hour a week online at the library. In preparation for this I decided it was time for some long overdue digital decluttering.

To free up the time needed to start off with, I stopped reading blogs. I then started by working through the messages in the inbox of one of my e-mail accounts. If it required any action (such as a reply) then I took the action and then either filed or deleted the e-mail. If it was from a mailing list then I unsubscribed. Each time I logged on I would start with the most recent e-mails and work backwards. Eventually I got through then all although it was embarassing to find I had an e-mail from December I had never replied to. Next I went through all the folders deleting e-mails I no longer needed and consolidating some of them together. Now I have five folders instead of about a dozen and when I log on I don't have a mountain of e-mails to delete. I must have been on at least thirty mailing lists mainly from having online accounts for things like amazon, photo printing companies and various other random things.

Once I had sorted out that e-mail account, it freed up more time online so I started reading blogs through the blogger dashboard (which is quicker than reading through bloglines) and went on to my other e-mail account. This time I went through the folders first deleting and organising (do I really need to keep hundred's of e-mails from e-bay and Amazon going back over five years?) as I knew there was more stuff to clear out. I also switched all the yahoo groups I'm subscribed to to web only except for Freecycle.

Now I am trying to work my way back through the inbox and then I will move on to replying to all my Facebook messages. Having an empty inbox in the e-mail account I've dealt with definitely helps me to deal with things more quickly rather than leaving them to sit and get lost for months.

Digital decluttering works for me.

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