Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Monday, December 26, 2011
There was a sad lonely boy.
He went to a disco and saw a girl. She danced for him.
He fell in love with her because she was such a good dancer.
They kissed and lived happily ever after.
Sunday, December 25, 2011
Friday, December 23, 2011
Tempering chocolate for peppermint bark was a disaster in humid weather, so I'll give that a whirl again in the morning.
We're off to my outlaws for Christmas Eve festivities tomorrow but right now I'm going to sit in the garden and enjoy a glass of prosecco with a slice of lime. Chin chin.
Monday, December 19, 2011
What a difference a year makes.
Kinder Christmas concert 2010. Tears, not wanting to go, refusing to put on her tshirt or anything resembling Christmas. Me sitting with her in the performance, singing all the songs, doing all the gestures while she cringed behind me. The concert ended with me saying thank you to the teachers in tears, desperate at how poorly I was mothering my littlest child, not knowing whether returning for a second year was the right thing.
Fast forward to 2011. A little girl who couldn't sleep last night because she was so excited about the concert. Her outfit chosen days in advance and laid out in readiness. A little girl who didn't take off her Christmas hat once, despite the fact I know it and her tinsel was itching her.
A little girl who grinned from ear to ear, sang, did movements and beamed at her parents and sibling, and both sets of grandparents who stood watching her in awe. A little girl who ran over and declared today "the happiest day ever".
What a wonderful year it's been for her.
The fabric and thread we had, but lavender we no longer have in our garden. We happened to venture to the Prahan market on Saturday and there they were selling bunches of lavender for ..... $5.00!
I hope the gift is received with the same warm heart with which it is given.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Nougat has been on our Christmas baking/making list for the past couple of weeks. It's been scheduled as a gift for kinder and school teachers, along with mint and orange truffles, salted caramels and gingerbread snowflakes.
I haven't made nougat before, but was quite entranced when I saw the lady from Dolci in North Melbourne making it on the SBS Italian series. I thought then that I'd like to give it a go. I probably would have sooner than now, except I'm not terribly fond of nougat, and it's always more fun to make goods that you enjoy consuming yourself.
Today though, with tomorrow being the last day of kinder, was d day.
How would I describe nougat making? Not difficult, but a bloody nightmare to clean up and very hard to cut! In the recipe I used the pieces were completely square, perfectly, flat smooth and perfect. Our are a little more rustic and believe me when I say both mine and Geoff's backs went into cutting up the buggers - they're tough.
So, the taste, I actually don't mind it at all. It's so pretty. I think I'll have a massive wash up again as Geoff's family would love it. Tomorrow, truffles.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
We started a little Christmas baking today, although only to try out some new cutters. We have a positive frenzy planned for the weekend, the idea being to gift to teachers and some friends and family. On the menu are nougat with pistachio and cranberry, espresso truffles (we've bought special moulds for those), salted caramels and we saw a great idea for hot chocolate on a stick, oh and another version of ganache in a jar. It's not really hot chocolate weather here, of course, but what the heck.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
I'm feeling very festive right now. I have a stiff neck from gift wrapping; the house smells like a delicious mix of butter, orange and vanilla as pannetone is out of the oven. The smell I'd love to add to the mix is the warm spiciness of mulled wine! Perhaps after 5.....
Sunday, December 11, 2011
We're not a religious family so I don't have faith to draw upon, I only have my own personal reserves, memories and hopes for the future. I don't have tradition to deal with death, for me it's just loss. There is no celebration of anything after, for anything after is simply less than there was before.
We had a small service in a chapel at the cemetary, but as Mike was cremated, there is no tombstone to visit. The cemetary is in Springvale, a long way from where any of our lives are lived, but it had relevance to Mike. Leaving him there, or his ashes at least, didn't mean anything to any of us.
We've all measured our loss and handled it in different ways. My parents have ordered a gorgeous custom made bench which they will install in their garden in a lovely spot with gorgeous views. Loved ones have provided small plaques to add to the bench with messages of memorium. We have planted a pomegranite tree which is growing like wildfire and we call it Mike.
For us, we have Mike sitting with us in our lounge room. It's a rare honest, relaxed photo of him from a couple of Christmas' ago and we're so happy to have it. He sits with us through the days and I talk to him, cry with him and smile at all he was to me. We light a candle for him in the evenings, we make sure he has fresh flowers, two things he wouldn't have been the least bit interested in. The girls also take care of him. Quite spotaneously they include him in our family events. At Halloween he was covered in fake cobwebs and spiders and now he's decorated for Christmas with the little elves arms around him. That's all Leila, they're taking care of him, she says.
Tomorrow marks four months since Mike passed. I feel about the end of the year as I did about the drive back after we'd lost him. As much as 2011 has been so dreadful to us, to him, it was the year when we lost him, but also the last year when we had him with us. Closing this chapter, beginning the first year from day one without him, feels a new challenge in and of itself. The measuring of time, for having lost last year, diminishing not one ounce the pain, but somehow a greater expectation of acceptance.
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Block printing is nowhere near as easy as I'd imagined it would be. Given that there's a lot of room for improvement in terms of my preparations, clearing a space, getting everything properly prepped. The reality of our life in a small house means that our kitchen table is where everything happens, so I just can't have it tied up for ages.
I loved the carving part and inspired by Leslie's prints (onegirl) I figured I'd give it a go. You can see the results are quite mucky. The bits around the edges can be easily fixed by using one piece per cut, whereas I squeezed three onto one lino piece. In terms of how to get a nice fully coloured clear image, not sure on that one. If I inked more heavily, the gaps that I wanted clear of colour became filled too.
I'm relatively confident that once edged and hung as a string of somewhat Christmasy flags in the girls rooms I'll forgive the myriad of muck ups. I'll let you know.
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Monday, December 05, 2011
Sunday, December 04, 2011
Saturday, December 03, 2011
This golden haired girl of ours. Her love for me is fierce. She is tender and thoughtful "no mum, I don't want you to lift a finger, I'll go get the afternoon tea". And off she trots coming back with "tea" and biscuits.
Today when we were coming back from dropping a friend home Leila said to me "when I grow up mum I'm going to live in the most beautiful house." Which I replied I was sure was true. She then said "but you know the most important thing about the house mum? It has to be close to you, because I love you more than anything in the world." May that always be so.