Easter 4

It is hard to believe that we are almost at the end of April. Temperatures are still pretty chilly around here, although most of the snow is gone and I am delighted that lots of plants are beginning to pop up in the garden.

Although it is lovely to be seeing all these signs of spring it also means that summer is just around the corner so the push to find more host communities for Day Camps is now very real 😊. 

 Every day this quest is at the forefront of my mind and I find myself suddenly remembering a potential contact and dashing to the laptop to fire off another message, in the hopes of success. So far there is nothing new to report although it is not for lack of trying 😊.

  During the past week there has been some office work for Junior Youth Camp as they asked for help in writing and sending a fundraising letter to prospective donors. I also sent a message to the Board members, reminding them that the next issue of CTM’s newsletter needs to be published at the end of May so submissions of content will have to be sent in by May 15th, hopefully that request will bring some results.

    I also needed to set up an agenda for next week’s Day Camp Committee meeting and circulate that to all our members. At that meeting we will be saying good-bye (hopefully only au revoir J) to long time member, Jillian, and welcoming a new member in Sharon who has been instrumental, in the past year, helping to create the various letters to Alumni asking for support as we sought matching funds for our Grant application. Sharon also took on writing the Scrambler and Climber content for the 2023 Program Manual as well as helping to proof the Manual and Extended Day Program so she joins us with a readymade skillset 😊. We are hoping that a couple of other Team Alumni can be cajoled (badgered?) into joining or “rejoining” the committee since there are already plans in the works for a couple of events and activities as well as the summer ministry of the Day Camps themselves.

   Thursday I welcomed Jillian for a lunch visit. Her baby is due in June so   there won’t be many more such opportunities. Although she claims that she will be bringing baby with her on future visits, I think it will likely be several months before she will feel ready for those sort of expeditions, we’ll have to wait and see 😊. Over lunch we discussed progress on the PowerPoints. Jillian has done a fantastic job on the ones for the Classic Day Camp program but still needs to complete the ones for the Backyard package. We do have one church that has expressed interest in purchasing that program and all the other components have been assembled so we just need the PPs to complete the package. The resource package for the Classic Day Camp is in a similar state as the only outstanding piece is the Liturgical Dance video. It would be way better to share the package in one go that to have to send the video separately. Thursday I did hear from Miriam (who is teaching the dance to a group of young people from her church) telling me the video recording is scheduled to take place today. Once filmed, the recording will still need to be edited before it can be added to the Resource Package but at least there is hope it will soon be ready. 

 Outside of office time I have done more work in the garden. The alpine tulips and hyacinths are now in bloom and plenty of other flowers are showing their buds, which is exciting . Monday was rainy so I took the opportunity early that morning to do the quarterly cleaning and reorganising of my pantry shelves and now they look all fresh and shiny😊.

  In terms of crafting, each evening, if not charing a meeting, I have been beavering away at my Fern & Feather pullover, which will hopefully become a new addition to next autumn’s wardrobe. This week I have also sewn a silk waistcoat, destined as a birthday gift for a dear friend and am now going down a new rabbit hole designing some brooches for Christmas presents. This year I’m going to be knitting shawlettes for several friends and thought it would be pretty to add a brooch on each one so I’ve been doing some tiny watercolours of different species of birds and plan to cut them out, varnish them and add pin backs, hopefully the project will be successful 😊.

  This morning began with a stint in the garden and now there is a Simnel Cake in the oven, some baguettes rising, a batch of dog biscuits waiting to bake and some chickpea crackers already out of the oven . 

 A friend recently brought me a package of homemade marzipan and I thought a Simnel Cake would be a suitable treat to accompany my viewing of the Coronation next Saturday. The cake is better if left to mature for a few days so am making it today 😊. The original recipe was sent to me by Michelle, who lives in Devon UK, although I have tweaked it a bit since it is not possible to obtain organic glacé cherries and there is no way I would cook with the non-organic ones as they are saturated in red food colouring. I made my version with gluten-free flour as I hope to share a slice with some visitors who only eat GF baked goods. 

Simnel Cake


  • 8oz.ground almonds
  • 4oz.icing sugar
  • 8oz. cane sugar
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 2 Tbsps. Lemon juice

Mix almonds, sugars, egg yolk (reserve egg white) and lemon juice together. Knead gently until totally incorporated. Wrap tightly and chill in refrigerator.


  • 6oz.butter
  • 6oz. brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 8oz. unbleached  all purpose flour (regular or gluten free)
  • 1 lb. mixed dried fruit (I used sultanas and chopped apricots)
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsps. milk
  • 2 Tbsps. brandy or elderflower cordial
  • sieved apricot jam or lemon marmalade

Line a 7” deep round cake pan with parchment paper and grease well. Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy then beat in eggs, one at a time, adding 1Tbsp. of the flour with last egg. Stir in the flour, allspice, baking powder and fruits. Lastly add the lemon rind, milk and brandy or cordial. Beat well. Remove marzipan from fridge and divide into 3 equal pieces. Dust one piece lightly with flour and roll out to a 7” disc. Place half the batter in the prepared tin, place marzipan disc on top and cover with remaining batter.

Bake for 1¼ -1½ hours, in a preheated 325ºF oven. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes then remove from tin and cool completely. Roll out a second 7” disc of marzipan. Brush the top of the cooled cake with jam and lay the disc on top, pressing in place. Score the top of the marzipan to make a diamond pattern and brush evenly with reserved egg white. Divide the last piece of marzipan into 12 equal pieces and roll each into a small round ball. Place balls around the perimeter of the top of the cake, pressing in place. Place under a broiler and grill just until golden, watching carefully so it does not burn!! Cool again before serving. 

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