Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Go Team!

I am not one of life's natural team players. At university, I avoided any classes which had the description 'group project accounts for X% of final grade.' My thinking was that if I couldn't do something alone, then I was either not meant to do it, or that I was supposed to think of a way to do it without help.

My, how things change.

Having twins is a team game, whether it's one person feeding, while the other drains the potatoes for dinner, or getting a bath ready while someone else gets the kids ready for a bath. Yes, I still can do these things myself, and if hubby is working late, then I will. The difference is that now I don't feel I have to do it myself, and I don't want to.  Whereas in the past I would have felt humiliated about accepting help, now I have no qualms.

Having children has been a huge lesson in humility, and in cooperation. Certain things have become easier to accept, and my attitude is much healthier for it.  That humans are meant to cooperate, to be both supporter and supported at various points in life has become more and more clear, and I'm ok with that.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Changing Seasons

Summer is almost over here. It's not autumn, but all of a sudden the morning has a certain chill, and the air smells different. Kids are going back to school, and some are just starting. I see them pass the house with 'their satchels and shining morning faces.' I have always loved this time of year, this has always been my 'new year' It evokes the feeling of renewal and new possibility far more than the first of January.

I was still in the mood for something light and summery, so I settled on pineapple cupcakes, with lemon zest added to the batter for the bright zinginess and to evoke feelings of high summer. However, I wanted to make a nod to the autumnal whisper with a warming but unobtrusive flavour. This was achieved with the earthy warmth of ground ginger. The result was a cake that in my opinion is perfect for this time of year.

This is my time of renewal, and baking is good for my spirit. It is my little thing I try to do with great love. My hope for my children is that as they grow, they find the same satisfaction in the little things. That they do them with great love, and that they see the possibilities for growth and renewal that come their way.

Here is the recipe - there is enough for approx 18 cupcakes. All measurements are Uk imperial.

6oz butter
6oz castor (superfine) sugar
3 medium eggs
6oz self-raising flour
Pinch of salt
1 small tin of crushed pineapple (drained and juice reserved)
A scant tsp of ground ginger
Zest of 1 lemon.

Method: Preheat oven to 180 centigrade (350 fahrenheit, or gas mark 4)
Grease or line your cupcake tins.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a spoonful of the flour along with each egg to stop the mix curdling.
Sift in the remaining flour along with the salt, ginger, and lemon zest, and mix until well combined.
Fold in the drained pineapple crush.
Put heaped tsps of the mix in your cupcake tins, and place the tin in the centre of your pre-heated oven.
Bake for approx 15-20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre of one of the cakes comes out clean.
Remove from oven, and after a few minutes remove the cupcakes from the tin and cool on a wire rack.

These would be fine unadorned, but I added a simple glace icing by mixing some of the reserved pineapple juice with icing sugar and a pinch of ginger. I didn't measure, just work with what you need to get the consistency and quantity that you desire.

Happy Baking, if you do decide to bake these, I really hope you enjoy them.

God Bless you.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The Treasure of Time.

The twins are 3 months old today. I can hardly believe it, when I look at them, they are so different from the tiny bundles they were in those earliest days. Now, they are little people, with obvious likes and dislikes. Molly enjoys tummy-time, but Gareth isn't as keen. Molly likes it when I sing 'Jesus loves me', Gareth loves 'Horsey, Horsey.' They both smile when I kiss them - so I'm doing a lot of kissing. Laundry and dishes will always be there, but I'll never get this time with these fabulous little people again.

They amaze me. Every day they are learning and developing, and it's a tangible thing. At first they didn't even look a\t the toys on their bouncing chair, now they stare at them. Yesterday Molly started batting at them with her hand, I couldn't have been more proud if I'd been told she'd been accepted at Cambridge. Gareth kicks and waves around. Both of them babble and smile, and I babble and smile right back.

Babies have so much to teach us about what is important. Each day is new with new possibilities,and yesterday is forgotten. They expect love and goodness from people. They smile without hesitation. They never stop learning. It's a fantastic way to be. How much better would the world be if we didn't lose these things?

Of course things change with time, as we go through life we are shaped by circumstances and experiences, we will have more responsibilities, sometimes it feels like we've just got too much on our shoulders. We forget to trust. We forget to find the joy in the every day. We worry unnecessarily

This is when I think we have to remember that we are God's children. He wants us to view every day as a new opportunity. He wants us to be free from the past. He wants us to love, and to expect the best from people. No matter how old we get, he is Abba, our Daddy God, and he loves us. I think that the best we can do in return, is to trust him with a child-like trust.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Monday Munchies

Hello :)

Today is a feast day, it's the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In my mind that calls for cake.

Yesterday I thought about what kind of cake to make. I thought of a turkish delight cake, a pina colada cake, and a peach melba cake. I'll get to all of these eventually.

In the end, I settled on a chocolate and raspberry marble cake, swirled with a tart raspberry sauce and covered with a dark chocolate and raspberry ganache. The waves of raspberry are barely discernible to the eye, but have left a hint of pink, subtle flavour, and gorgeous moistness.

Like anything else, I'm sure this could be tweaked and improved upon, but all in all I'm pretty happy with it. Now to brew some coffee, cut a couple of slices, and wait for the hubby to come home from work and join me.

God Bless and thanks for reading.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Being mum, and being 'me'

Hello there! I love my children (boy-girl twins who are almost 3 months) and being their mummy is a huge part of my identity, but it's not all of it. I was a person with an identity before I had them. I had likes, dislikes, hobbies, opinions, dreams. While a lot of the things that I previously enjoyed are now simmering away quite happily on the back-burner, I do think it's important for mothers to get a little time to do something they love, to look after their whole selves.

I love to bake, and while it's certainly harder to do with two babies, I try and bake at least once a week. Why? Because I enjoy it, it's been a big part of my life, and it's one of the things that makes me feel more 'me'

Baking also produces treats, which I think are very important. People focus on the end-result of baking (and yes, cakes and cookies are awesome) but I also think that the process of baking can be a treat in itself. It give's time to think, the repetitive action can be soothing, it awakens the senses. I love the smells of baking, I love the feel of a ball of dough for making cinnamon rolls, the sweet smell of a cake mix, the silkiness of pancake batter. Other people enjoy the feel of fabric, the brightness of paint, the sights and smells of a garden.

Whatever it is that you enjoy, and makes you feel more 'you' take time to do it.