{Grateful} Empathy, Chicken and So What?

{Grateful} Empathy, Chicken and So What?

Gratitude has found me many times this week, popping up randomly throughout my days with a little bit of joy, hope, love, light, laughter and perspective.

{Empathy} A friend send me this video and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. I hope it makes you think too.

{Chicken} Pebble requested chicken legs for dinner, which was MOST exciting to me as she rarely request anything other than tuna mornay or fish fingers. I quickly surveyed the FB crowd and got some delicious suggestions for tasty ways to cook up drummies. I went with Mel’s famous marinade which was absolutely finger licking good. I’m the butter dripping down my chin was not a good sign for my hips, but it was delicious. Pebble happily gobbled her chicken up, but only when it was removed from said leg bone. Funny kid. I look forward to trying Kate’s yoghurt, soy and garlic method too.

{So What?} Rocky and I went to a sleep doctor. I really like her. I agree with her approach and like that she offered to help with Pebble’s sleep and my anxiety too. There is just one small glitch – I found out that she only works two days a week. The same two days a week that I’ll be working this year. A very sad coincidence, but I have one more appointment between now and work starting, and her book to help me out for now. As well as two words: “So what?”. Those two words have helped ease some of my anxiety today. So the baby isn’t asleep yet? So what? So there’s glitter all over the house? So what? So I haven’t wrapped a single Christmas present yet? So what? It helped me to stop the spiral of negative thoughts and rising panic that so often takes hold. I’m grateful for that.

What are you grateful for? 

Small things

This week has been super busy and very emotionally draining for the whole family. Christmas shopping was started (and finished), we finally got a car to replace the one that I totalled a couple of months ago and, most significantly, we planned and held a small private ceremony for Ryan’s ashes. Today is the first day that I’ve had at home with both children all week, and I’m so relieved to have it! I’m immersing myself in routine and the rhythm of our family home. The washing machine and dishwasher are whirring away, the fridge is brimful of fresh fruit and veg from our delivery. We’re all still in our PJs and quite happy about it (except for poor Paul, who’s at work). I’m sternly reminding myself to look forward to happy celebrations in the future – a Christmas full of happy, squealing children and Pebble’s birthday shenanigans soon after.

Here are a few things that have made me smile lately:

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: Pebble and Grandad wearing homemade crowns (by Nanette and Pebble).

: Pebble and her cousins painting

: wearing pigtails for #DAREcember

: Pebble’s drawing of her Uncle Ryan and his three boys, drawn the night before the ceremony to place his ashes.

: our cheeky monkey boy and his toothy grin. Four teeth now!

: shoulder rides for the girls

: going to a fairy concert with Pebble and our friends (even if that flashy wand made my eyes water after a while!).

What are you grateful for?

 

Grateful for: 35 years

Pineapple Lime and Coconut Cake

Pineapple Lime and Coconut Cake

Happy birthday to me! It was my birthday on Friday and to celebrate I made this delicious Pineapple, Lime and Coconut Cake. I chose it because it’s a little bit light but still moist and sweet.

Birthdays are a time for reflection, and I found myself thinking of Ryan a lot. It’s almost two months since he passed away. He’s never going to get another birthday, he’s never going to see another of his children’s birthdays. I tried not to get caught up in my own melancholy too much. I tried to be grateful for those birthdays that Ryan did have.

I was very lucky to have lots of family visiting and sharing my birthday with me. We shared chicken and chips and kept it simple. I’ve been given not one, not two but three vouchers for amazing spa treatments, which are just what I need right now :) I’m very grateful for those!

I’m also grateful that my mum and dad made me all those years ago and that I survived being born nine weeks early. I’m grateful to all my parents, all four of them, and the role they each continue to play in my life.

I’m grateful for lunches with friends.

I’m grateful for bunches of bright, happy flowers.

I’m grateful for pineapple. And lime. And coconut.

Pineapple, Lime and Coconut Cake

adapted from Weight Watchers Magazine, November 2013

Pineapple Lime and Coconut Cake

Serves: 12

Ingredients:

  • 100g butter or low fat spread
  • 1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
  • 2 tsp finely grated lime zest
  • 2 eggs
  • 440g can crushed pineapple
  • 2 cups (300g) self raising flour
  • 200g light cream cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coconut essence
  • 1 Tablespoon shredded coconut, toasted

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Lightly spray a 20cm round cake tin with oil and line the base with baking paper.
  3. Beat the sugar, butter/spread and lime in a bowl until light and fluffy.
  4. And the eggs, one at a time, beating well.
  5. Drain the pineapple, saving 1/2 cup to add to the cake mixture.
  6. Add the pineapple and 1/2 cup juice to the cake mixture then gently fold in the flour.
  7. Pour the mix into the tin and bake for 40-45 minutes.

For the icing: Beat the cream cheese, icing sugar and coconut essence until light and fluffy. Spread over the cooled cake and sprinkle with the toasted coconut.

What are you grateful for? Share with me using the hashtag #52weeksofgrateful on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Or leave a comment below.

Food on the table

Cloud Cushion available from Tabitha and Hugo
Cloud Cushion available from Tabitha and Hugo {click to buy}

I have been finding gratitude hard to come by lately. Negativity is dragging me down and where once I was easily able to find the silver lining of every cloud, right now the clouds just seem to gather more threateningly, getting darker and heavier. Small difficulties spiral into mountainous obstacles.

Like dinner. Dinner. Every. Night.

What will I cook?

Have I got what I need?

Will the kiddo eat it?

Will the baby eat it?

Will it be healthy?

This week a simple, daily task became completely overwhelming and suddenly I saw before me years and years and years of the same drudgery night after night. And it completely freaked me out. Which (of course!) started me thinking that if I can’t even manage getting dinner on the table, if I can’t feed my family without crisis and dragging my feet and moaning about it, then maybe I’m not meant to be a mother at all.

You see how it goes? From ‘What’s for dinner’ to ‘I should never have become a mother’. Quite a leap, huh?

Tell me you’ve had moments like this too. Please.

So. The silver lining. I did find it eventually. I got dinner sorted. On the second try I served up a lamb roast for my family, and they all gobbled it up. Then I turned the failed first attempt into Shepherd’s Pie and more gobbling followed. As we sat and ate from plates filled with delicious, fresh, home-cooked food, gratitude suddenly slapped me in the face. Hard.

I’m grateful for food on my table. For my kid’s full bellies. For my overflowing fridge and pantry. Because some people, LOTS of people, have nothing to eat. And that’s a lot to be grateful for.

In other news, I’m also grateful for all of you who’ve been playing along with 52 Weeks of Grateful while I’ve been hosting it. I’m going to continue sharing my gratitude here on the blog and using the #52weeksofgrateful, but I’m going to retire the linky. I’m overwhelmed with … everything… lately and managing a linky, even a teeny weeny one like this one, is a bit too much for me. I know that you’ll understand.

I do hope that you’ll continue to share your gratitude by posting on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #52weeksofgrateful or by commenting on my blog posts.

Are you feeling overwhelmed right now? Or are the silver linings shining bright and clear for you?

Generous friends

Hey. How are you? Are you ok? Really? I hope so.

I’m doing ok, thanks.

I’m feeling very lucky, actually. I am so thankful for the thoughtfulness, kindness and love of my friends, especially lately.

Yesterday I received an unexpected package in the post. It flew here all the way from America! But really, it was a gift from my lovely, generous, lion-hearted friend just a few suburbs away. A beautifully hand stamped cuff, with words of strength and encouragement tucked away on the inside.
Grateful for thoughtful friends {Octavia and Vicky}

Grateful for thoughtful friends {Octavia and Vicky}
I tore open the package before I even got to the front door, so curious to see what was inside. Imagine my surprise when I found this touching, thoughtful gift. Speechless and teary, I slipped it onto my arm, where it has continued to give me great comfort. It’s not just the words inside that are propping me up, but the knowledge that someone is thinking of me.

My friends and family have got my back right now. It might come in the form of a little text message, a quick phone call, a hot meal, a warm hug, or a lovely gift. I appreciate every single one and one day I will give that love right back. That’s what friends are for.

My apologies for missing out on the grateful linky last week. I know that you’ll all understand. I hope that a few of you are out there to join in this week. I sure would love to read your positive words :)