You know on Cougar Town how one of Jules’ favourite pastimes is watching Travis sleep (often with her best friend Ellie & a glass of wine)? I have a feeling that’s going to be me until my babies leave home too. Maybe not with the glass of wine, but you get the idea. Ever since Seth & Nadia were born I have gone to their rooms every night to tuck them in but I often get sidetracked & have found myself sitting on the floor just watching them. It doesn’t matter what they’ve gotten up to throughout the day – whether its fighting with each other, arguing with me or ransacking half the rooms in the house – it all disappears when they’re sleeping. Its like time slows down & I have a chance remember what I love about being a Mum. I am still amazed that I carried them inside me & brought them life! It also reminds me how fast time goes & that every day must be embraced. I look at their peaceful, sleeping faces & my heart will literally ache at the thought that they won’t be this beautiful, sleeping toddler that is totally reliant upon my care for much longer. Each day they become less dependant on me & more of their own person. As I was getting toward the end of my pregnancy with Seth I was asked the question, “Are you scared/nervous about the birth?” In short, my reply was, “Not really. I’ve had 9 months to get used to the idea. I really just want him out!” I think the next 18 years of our kids’ lives are to prepare us & get us, as parents, used to the idea of them leaving us & becoming their own person. People will tell me that it is so far away but in my experience time moves far too quickly so I will enjoy my kids’ rapidly disappearing dependence while I can. I will also enjoy the daily ‘Sleepy Shows’ where time slows down just for me.
As a child, we ALWAYS had homemade jam. Partly because my Mum is an excellent example of a being a good steward & therefore is very frugal & partly because my Grandpa has an AMAZING orchard which always produced more than enough fruit to supply the whole family with enough left over for making jams and pies and even enough to stew up & bottle for the winter. I also remember as a child, wishing for bought jam like my friends had.
As I grew up I realise how blessed and even how spoilt I was to have all this fresh produce supplied to us all year ’round that was so abundant in volume that we could make pickles, preserves, jams and sauces etc. As not only does Pa grow fruit, but he also grows a variety vegetables & even farms a few sheep. I also realised as I had to start buying food for myself that I took this abundance and blessing for granted.
Needless to say, having left home & started a family of my own, I have gone back to my roots & started making my own jams and sauces. I enjoy the fact that I can provide my family with good quality jam that has not only been made with locally grown produce but also without the preservatives & additives that are so often found in the supermarket varieties. I also can control the amount of sugar I put in – I generally halve the amount suggested.
So, as I was picking oranges from Pa’s orchard yesterday, I wondered what I could do with this abundance and Mum suggested marmalade! So I made 2-Fruit Marmalade. Here’s how I did it:
Place the whole oranges and lemons in a pan and cover them with water. Bring the pan to the boil and let it go at a gentle boil for an hour. Remove the oranges and lemons and reduce the liquid to 160ml. Once the fruit has cooled, peel them and remove the seeds. Place the flesh in a blender and set the peel aside. Puree the flesh. Strain the flesh through a sieve into the reduced cooking liquid. Finely shred the peel. You want 100g of orange peel and 100g of lemon peel. Place the peel into the pan with the reduced cooking liquid, pureed flesh and sugar. Bring to the boil and simmer until setting point has been reached.
To test the jam for setting point, place a saucer or a small plate in the freezer for 5 minutes or until chilled. Spoon a little of the hot jam onto the cold saucer. Return to the freezer for 2 minutes or until chilled. Touch the jam. If it wrinkles and feels gel-like, it’s ready. If it doesn’t, keep cooking and test it every 5 minutes. I often get impatient with this step and often don’t reach ‘setting point by the book’ but it usually sets anyway!
Pour the jam into sterile jars and seal while still hot. To sterilise my jars, I put them in a low oven while I’m cooking my jam. Once its cooked, I just whip them out and pour the jam straight in!
I get so much satisfaction out of cooking. I love seeing the end result and being able to share it with others. The season has only just begun so I can see myself spending a lot of time in the kitchen this summer! I’m so excited!
Posted in Cooking, DIY
Tagged abundance, blessed, fresh, frugal, good steward, homemade, jam, lemons, local produce, marmalade, oranges, pickles, preserves, sauces
“Manners require time, and nothing is more vulgar than haste.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I have never forced my him to say ‘please’ & ‘thank you’. I would suggest it when giving him food but if he didn’t willingly say it I didn’t push the point & withhold whatever goodie I was holding until the ‘magic word’ was said. I think partly because I couldn’t be bothered & also because, knowing his personality, if I pushed to hard he would just dig his heels in & refuse. I didn’t want him to parrot off these manners because ‘Mum nagged him’ but because he understood it was the right thing to do. The best way I figured to achieve this was modelling this behaviour to him myself! I think its easy to demand that our kids ‘pick up that toy’, ‘sit in your chair’ or ‘get into bed’, but I decided awhile ago to treat my children with the respect that they not only deserve but that I want them to show me. So, I would say, “Hop in your chair, please Seth. It’s dinnertime!” or “Lets clean up your toys now, can you please put the legos in the box?”
I thought it would be forever before he said those ‘magic words’ but he has started & now he doesn’t stop! We went shopping last week & every item I placed in the trolley, he thanked me for. When he runs into me while he’s playing, he says, “Oop, sorry Mumma”. If he sees I have my hands full, he will run to open the door for me & hold it while I walk through & close it behind me. When he wants more food, he says, “More, please.”
He has his days where he needs a little prompting but he is turning into such a wonderfully polite little boy & I couldn’t be more proud.
I love the transition of seasons. I can’t seem to pinpoint my ‘favourite’ season because by the time one season comes to an end, I’m so looking forward to the next one! I do especially love spring though. I love the smells, the sounds & the warmth that comes with spring. I love being able to wear my singlets & shorts & I love being able to walk barefoot in my backyard without my feet going numb! But most of all, I love the new life that comes with spring. Life that brings with it joy & hope. My garden gets very neglected over winter because it becomes dormant. It doesn’t die, it just doesn’t produce anything. Its saving its energy so it can flourish in spring. Its so beautiful & inspiring to watch!! I think we go through seasons in our own lives too. But don’t be discouraged when you feel like you are lying dormant in your winter, for without that dormant period you would not have the energy to flourish in your spring! Enjoy the season your in xx
When my husband & I found out we were pregnant with Seth, we were surprised. Very surprised. We had talked about having kids at some stage but not so soon!! We had only been married for just over a year & were planning on a little more ‘us’ time first. We both freaked out big time with one of our main concerns being, “What if I’m not a good father!” (for my husband, obviously) & “I have to get this baby out in 9 months time!” (for me obviously).
Two & a half years down the track & a second baby later, I can honestly say that my husband turned out to be a truly amazing father to our little ones. I love just stepping back & watching him play & wrestle with them & then, when the time comes, watching how he comforts & loves on them. He is so genuinely affectionate towards them & so so proud of even their tiniest achievements. He settled into the role of fatherhood so well! I could not have asked for a better father for my babies & I am so thankful that he gave me such beautiful children!
Happy Father’s Day, SJ! We love you!!
My little man has well & truly hit his Terrible Twos. Not only have the independence, frustration & tantrums come out with all guns blazing but so has the mischief! He is just so mischievous! In the last 2 weeks he has:
- discovered the zinc cream. Twice. That stuff doesn’t come out of clothes & I’m starting to wonder whether it comes out of carpet.
- decided a cake was a great breakfast. I found the cake as a pile of crumbs on his bedroom floor. On the bright side, he’d put the plate in the sink when he’d finished!
- dusted my kitchen floor with a whole jar of pink sanding sugar.
- emptied 150 scented nappy bags out of their box.
- unpacked his wardrobe while I thought he was playing quietly in his room!
As challenging as all this is, its hilarious! Some might call me insane but the way I see it is that I’m going to look back on it & laugh so why not laugh now??
And it hasn’t all been bad. Also in the last 3 weeks, he has:
- learned how to say, ‘cuddle’.
- started using the toilet (yay!!).
- started opening doors for me & holding them open so I can walk through.
- gone dangerously quiet while he’s been playing in his room, which usually means mischief but he was trying to put his shoes on!
- figured out that Mama’s kisses make all hurts feel better.
Yes, my little man has hit his terrible twos but I’m starting to realise they’re not so terrible after all. They’re actually pretty terrific & I wouldn’t change a thing.
My house has been very unsettled this last week. We were hit with the dreaded stomach bug. I was hit first and I hoped the whole time I was sick that no one else would get it. We weren’t that lucky! My son came down with it on Wednesday & then my daughter & my husband on Thursday. Needless to say, with the amount of bodily fluids a stomach bug produces, it is hard to create any kind of order in the house, let alone routine! The TV was on constantly (I still can’t decide whether the TV is a blessing or a curse), dishes piled up, the couch was my new bed & on top of all that, my daughter (9 months old) decided it was time to branch out from the living room & explore the rest of the house and IT WAS RAINING!
Needless to say, this morning I breathed a sigh of relief. It has been more than 24 hours since any signs of the dreaded stomach bug. The sun is shining. The floors are clean(ish) – its safe for my daughter to explore. My son is eating again. My husband is at work. The kids & I went for our morning walk & the washing is done! We are back into routine, baby, & loving it!
I watched Machine Gun Preacher last night. For those who haven’t seen it, it is based on the true story of Sam Childers. Childers was an alcoholic, drug-using biker who on release from prison finds that his wife has found God. Machine Gun Preacher tells the story of Childers work with the children of South Sudan against the Lords Resistance Army (LRA).
It was sad seeing what was & still is going on in Sudan. I can only imagine what it would be like to witness the devastation & loss that the war-ravaged Sudanese are experiencing. It would be overwhelming, to say the least, & then coming back, not just to the Western World, but also to people who had not witnessed the same, would increase any feelings of helplessness that were already there.
But from this whole movie, what I related to was the loss of focus that Childers had. He became so obsessed with his work in Sudan that he forgot about why he was doing it. He also forgot his responsibility to his family. He lost his focus. He became so angry & bitter with people back home who were disconnected & didn’t share his heart that his judgement became clouded & his ability to efficiently continue his work in Sudan was hindered. He lost his focus.
We all have a calling. We all have dreams. For this season of my life, my family is my calling. My children & my husband are my first priority & my dream. I realised a few months ago that I lost my focus. I was just going through the motions. Its so easy to just do what I need to do to get by & leave it at that, but that’s not what I was called for. I was called to bring my children up with respect, honour & morals in an environment where they feel safe, important & loved. I was called to help my husband & support him wherever life may take him. I don’t doubt I will lose focus again. As long as I am open to my wake-up call & remember why…
Recently, I decided to do my grocery shopping on a monthly basis. Partly because I wanted to save money & partly because it is such a hassle doing the shopping with 2 kids! The only problem with doing it this way is that the veggies don’t generally last a month without going slimy, mouldy & limp. This problem has been remedied by my Tupperware love. Many of who have used Tupperware are instant converts & would never settle for anything BUT Tupperware. For those of you haven’t used it, it is amazing! Especially these FridgeSmarts. They keep my carrots & lettuce crisp & my beans from going mouldy. They stop my mushrooms from going slimy & my broccoli from going yellow. They are my Tupperware Love & I don’t think I could live without them! (Check out Tupperware to find a distributor near you!)