Rainbow Cake

rainbow cake

It has been another one of those unexpectedly busy weeks where, despite trying to do very little above and beyond what was necessary, the hours have flown by at a very alarming rate.

The week started with us making a rainbow cake.  As some of you may recall, the wee boy has been talking about this for quite a while now and I had promised him, in the half term holidays, that we would give it a go, little realising that the holidays coincided with our lovely Charlotte’s birthday.  So, we made her a rainbow cake for her birthday.

When I say we, I am being generous.  The wee boy did a little stirring, a lot more licking, and when the violet cake fell apart – you’ll notice there are only six colours and not seven – he did a great deal of ‘quality controlling’.  However, it finally got made and presented, covered in icing, silver balls, coloured sugar, and love.

Interestingly, when the cake was cut, none of us, for one second, thought there was anything unusual about having a large, six layered slice of special birthday cake, despite each slice being absolutely ginormous.  Oh no, instead, we valiantly waded through the layers, stopping regularly for a swig of tea, and then more tea, until the wee boy, with still a mountain of cake to go, declared he’d had enough.

There was still plenty of cake left on all plates, but we trundled off on a dog walk, convinced that we would make room for the final part of the slice on our return.  Imagine then, our genuine surprise when himself came home and cut himself half a slice.

Just three colours.

*metaphorical lightbulb switches on*

Himself and I don’t do Valentine’s Day.  Mainly because neither of us are comfortable with the commercial concept, but also because we both believe that love should be given all year round.  That said, I would never judge anyone who does wish to engage with Valentine’s Day.  It’s a personal thing.  However, I do try and let people we love, know that is how we feel, so was brought to tears later on in the week when, flying hither and thither, the wee boy and I were on the telephone to son #1 and he finished the conversation with ‘love you’.  Similarly, when the wee one telephoned son #1 again, he left the conversation with ‘lots of love’.

I cannot put into words just how much this makes me glow inside.  I’m more proud that my boys can express their love for each other and us, than any bunch of flowers or heart embossed card and hope that nothing and no-one manages to crush that piece of perfection they both have within them.

 

 

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Wooden Spoon

wooden spoon

This is my newest addition to the wooden spoon collection I have inadvertently started.  At the moment my collection is small.  Almost non existent really.  I have three.

For years I pottered along with just the one wooden spoon that I truly used.  There were others, yes.  Especially when I shared houses with people.  But, for me, there was just the one spoon that was my go-to stirring friend.  This relationship must have lasted fifteen years or more, until one day, last year, a bit snapped off.

Now obviously I had seen the signs but had, of course, chosen to ignore them in the hope that my wonderful wooden spoon would somehow regain all it’s composure, and indeed it’s composition of years gone by, and fix itself.

Alas this was not to be.  However, wooden spoons are ten a penny, and I had a couple of other stirring utensils so bode my time, constantly searching for the perfect wooden spoon replacement.

Eventually I thought I had found it, and with a great sense of relief whilst not wanting to replicate the spoon of days gone by, I invested my hard earned pence into a spoon with an extra long handle.  However, when I returned home with said spoon it did not fit in with my imaginings at all.  In fact it was then that I realised the visual proportion in the shop changes dramatically when you return to your own kitchen.

The wooden spoon I had invested in had one major fault.

Whilst stirring the food it is traditional, is it not, to taste?  Sadly, the newest acquisition would not fit in my mouth, (comfortably, obviously I now have a technique which crosses that bridge), which just would not do at all.  What is the point, I ask you, of have a stirring spoon that does not allow you to taste from it?

Since then I have been, once again, searching.  And on Sunday, at a car boot sale, for the grand price of 50p, I found what I have been looking for.  My perfect replacement wooden spoon.

Obviously, along the way I have picked up a couple of other spoons.  Temporary measures you understand.  But now, I can say without a hint of irony, that this wooden spoon is my new kitchen utensil love.

Love Buns

love buns

Today the wee boy declared he would like to bake.  Very specifically, he would like to bake a chocolate cake.  That is, until I produced from the cupboard that houses all cooking and baking vessels, a silicone mold for baking love buns.

At this point, the wee one whelped with delight and, although having been adamant he wished to bake a cake, changed his allegiance with great haste and plumped for the love bun option.

An excellent choice, I might add.

So we measured and tasted, tasted and measured, then tasted a little more whilst scooping varying amounts into each allotted compartment, tasting for one last time before eventually managing to get a tray of them into the oven.  Remembering to slip a baking tray underneath the love bun mold, as I have made that mistake before.

*awards self ‘good memory’ medal*

Twenty minutes later, the little wonders came out of the oven and the wee one sat and watched with pride, as they cooled.

Well, to be fair, he probably watched them for a good minute before flying off to defeat something or other, regularly coming back to check whether they had, indeed, cooled enough.  To quality control one final time, before allowing me the honour of icing them.

There’s nothing like the taste of a home made bun.  Especially one made with so much love.

Made With Love

n4P1cioI

One of the most wonderful things about the kindergarten my wee boy attends is the sense of community spirit it evokes.   Not just in me, but I would say in the majority of parents who take their wee ones there.

Obviously it is not for everyone.  But it is definitely for us right now.  There are many reasons for that, but one I especially want to share.

Recently, one of the mums at Kindergarten gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. Having had a challenging pregnancy, most of us were aware that our friend was very likely to have her baby early.  And so it was to be.  The beautiful, tiny wee boy was born at 28 weeks and is, up to this point in time, using all his strength and determination to laugh in the face of adversity and just show the world what he is capable of.  It is amazing.  His parents are truly incredible.  His brothers are as gorgeous as ever.

The community within which this has happened, kicked into action with a speed unbeknown to most, so that within hours, alongside many other things, a food rota had been organised, which we all signed up for, in order that the family would have good, hearty, home cooked food as often as possible, without having to think about it.

Food is what sustains us.  Food energises us.  Food has the capability to nurture our inner souls, not in itself, but in the process of sharing.  It is a language akin to music, which is universal.  To be able to do this one small kindness, knowing that it means so much to those you are giving to, is overwhelmingly gratifying.

Also, it does mean you can’t just bob round and cook beans on toast…

So I have decided to make a stew.  Yes, I know, not the most glamorous of dishes, but when it comes to warming the cockles of your heart on a cold winter’s evening, nothing beats it.  Also, it’s a doddle to make and, if there’s any left you can always freeze it for another day.  Alongside that I am making some bread rolls, which can, once again be frozen if they are not needed that day, and are perfect for little hands.

Then that will be my meal for the family cooked, until my turn comes around on the rota again.  It’s not much, but it helps, and collectively it is making a huge difference to our friend’s lives.  Not just in terms of the food, but in terms of the love that accompanies it.  And that is unquantifiable, priceless and what community is all about.

 

 

Birthday Love

birthday lemon cake

Yesterday we celebrated the wee boy’s fifth birthday.

After counting down for 84 sleeps, it has been a long while coming, although for me, a day I was in no particular hurry to get to. I love every day we have together as though it was his birthday, it’s just that on the actual day there is slightly more paper to clear away.

Of course it is also a day of reflection.

Who would have thought, entering that French farce of bright lights and white walls, the team bedecked in various shade of green, white and blue, chatting about goodness only knows what whilst the novice anaesthetist looked on, trying out his idle banter on me, looking ever so slightly out of his depth, we would be at this point so soon?

Who would have thought, as my beautiful man emerged in the doorway covered head to toe in pale blue disposable surgical wear, this was the start of what I now realise is a journey of truly unconditional love?

And then that night, now sporting the surgical stocking look, with a ‘just above the knee’ nighty on (an interesting item of clothing I’ve never worn before or since) and hair that had absolutely no intention of doing anything but draping itself around my head at a 45 degree angle, begging the nurse to take me down to intensive care to see my boy.  My beautiful boy who, when I eventually arrived there, had been dressed in orange.  My favourite colour.

Who knew that this love would just keep growing?

And yet it has, and here we are, five years on.  Although it feel like five minutes. Perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration.

Five months.

Anyway…

The day itself began with a request for lemon drizzle cake.  His favourite of the moment, and also one which meant Madeleine would be able to have some, as the wee one pointed out, Madeleine doesn’t like chocolate cake.  I know, it’s a difficult concept to come to terms with, and I may have to mention it in yet another blog before you really, truly understand the impact.

However, I digress.

The day became a series of ebbs and flows.  But every single minute was wonderful.  We had some family and a few very close friends stuffed into our not so large, but very, very comfy home, and managed to nibble our way through all sorts of party food for a good three hours.

Of course the afternoon cake (a request of shop bought Star Wars) missed it’s piece de resistance – a sparkler in the shape of a number 5 – as, despite buying it a couple of months ago and congratulating myself on my forward planning, I couldn’t for the life of me remember where I’d put it.  Always in these situations I will look over and over again in the same place, when really I should just accept that I have probably moved it ‘somewhere safe’ and expect to find it in three months time.  But no, my mind insisted on plodding through the motions even though my eyes had switched off completely.

But that aside, it was wonderful to reach another milestone with such a glorious group of people.

Which brings us up to date as gradually, everything goes back to normal.  Except it doesn’t yet because now, there are only 3 sleeps until son #1’s Christmas show, 11 sleeps until son #1’s birthday and 16 sleeps to Christmas…

Spaghetti

spaghetti

Almost every afternoon I ask the wee boy what he might fancy to eat for dinner. Almost every afternoon he answers immediately, ‘spaghetti’.

And then we have the following conversation:

Him: I love spaghetti, mummy

Me: I love spaghetti too

Him: But not as much as you love me?

Me: No, no, no.  Nowhere near as much as I love you

Him: I love you more than spaghetti too, mummy

Every time we have the conversation, it makes me smile from the inside out.  And although we do end up eating spaghetti more than once a week, I really don’t mind.

Anyway, guess what we’re having for dinner this evening?