My children will be home in a couple of hours. Hugs and excitement and piles of dirty washing will abound! So I am enjoying my last few moments of peace and looking forward to the love that will run through the airline arrival gates. I have friends who say ‘You must miss them so much’ when they are away. I do. But it isn’t an ache-that-can’t-be-filled sort of missing, it is the quiet gaps that highlight their absence. I have had four years to get used to them being absent for a few days or a couple of weeks at a time. I know that when they are with their father, or their grandparents, they are loved, cared for, secure in their place in the world and as safe as they are when they are with me. Instead of being sad I get to just savour a small piece of time for myself. The change to proper autumn weather has meant lovely colours, crisp mornings, and a snuggly bed, all of which has added to that feeling of having a little bubble of time for me.
You would think that after four years I would be good at arranging to fill the time when they are away with all the exciting grown up things I miss out on when I am being a full time single parent. Wrong. While they have been away I have had one lovely dinner with friends, and have done nothing else social! I have started watching a DVD of the TV series ‘Revenge” that a friend lent me, which gave me time to crochet and build on my afghan, but that is about it in terms of being wild and crazy! I am okay with that though. I have put in 10 and 11 hour days in the office to catch up on some big issues I needed to work on, I have sewn, and have tried to get a few credits in the sleep bank! So I think I have used my time well, and am ready to face the return to their routine, school, winter sports, pottery classes, running club, medical appointments, lost lunchboxes, etc!
I had a little bit of joy yesterday when I won the ‘tastiest cake’ competition being run in my office as a fundraiser for Legacy, a charity that supports families of our defence services. I made a Raspberry Ripple Cake – a recipe I found in a magazine 10 years ago that has never failed me (well – except the time when, sleep deprived and pregnant, I put bicarb soda in by mistake). I was so excited to win (a gift voucher for a cake decorating shop) that I announced it at my team meeting – talk about immodest!
So – I thought I would share the recipe with you.
RASPBERRY RIPPLE CAKE
300g frozen raspberries (thawed slightly)
2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
125g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup caster sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 cup icing sugar
Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 23cm spring-form tin. Place raspberries in a bowl and lightly crush them, reserving a tablespoon of their juice to make the icing. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl. Cream butter and sugar in a separate bowl, and then stir in eggs. Gradually add dry ingredients, alternating with the sour cream, mixing well after each addition. Spoon about a third of the cake mix into the tin, then spoon over half the crushed raspberries and any remaining juice. Repeat with the next third of the cake mix and the rest of the raspberries, and then top with the remaining cake mix. Bake for 50 minutes – the cake is ready when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool before turning out and icing. To make the icing, add the melted butter to the reserved tablespoon of raspberry juice. Slowly stir in the sifted icing sugar until the icing is a nice runny consistency and spoon over the cake.
Another little highlight was a lovely evening of reminiscing with my sister, her husband, and friends online after we learnt that a house that we had lived in while we were studying at University had burnt down (which was sad as it was a lovely Federation cottage, but not too bad as no one was hurt). My parents owned it when we lived there, but we shared it with friends, and it remained as a rental for some time after that, so there were many years of great stories to share. As my brother-in-law said – it feels like yesterday, but it was 25 years ago. So nice to have a trip down memory lane with so many laughs (many at each others expense!)
I also managed some sewing – some pencil rolls and an art folder as part of an order for my sister. Once again I was reminded of how much I find sewing to make me feel good about the world. How lucky am I?
To add to my list of joys, today is a public holiday, ANZAC Day, and I have tomorrow off work to spend the day with the children, so I have a four day weekend! Time to play, sew and prepare for the return to school.
I hope that you have found some little joys in your week so far.