Monday, October 31, 2011

The Drawing

You stand at the coffee table, the cartoon show blares in the background - mum is not allowed to change the channel. The table is covered in an array of pencils, crayons, textas, bits and pieces of paper, 5 cent coins and a rock collection from the garden. You don't notice mum looking at you whilst she slowly sips her coffee. She is so proud of her baby with his cheeky smile.

You have the blue texta in your hand now, the table itself is already covered in green, orange and red scribblings . Mum secretly smiles that the textas are water-based and can easily clean off the table once today's art class closes and nap time begins. Maybe she'll finish her cup of coffee then. You notice mum looking at you. Ask her to draw you a picture. Mum picks up the orange crayon and draws you a flower, then the yellow for the sun, the black for a house and the green for three special people who live in the house. Your eyes never leave the crayon as it delineates so carefully on the paper. Transfixed to the images that's now filled the blank white page.

You ask mum to draw a dog, then a cat, a cow, a guitar, a car. She obligatorily continues to indulge you.

Mum then asks you to draw. "Draw a face" she says. Draw a circle for the face, draw the eyes, "how about a nose and mouth?" You yell out "moustache!". So you draw it. Mum asks "where are it's ears and it's hair?". You finish your drawing and mums mouth falls. Gone are the days of the free flow scribbles but an actual drawing of a Face.

My little man, merely 2 years old and is already starting to grow up and draw pictures.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

KARITHOPIDA - Walnut & Syrup Greek Cake

As promised, I return to the blogging world with one of my beautiful mum's famous Greek cake recipes. You can also view other recipes, here.

Karithopida - an old recipe that dates back hundreds of years, (with the exception of it's evolution using varying ingredients depending on availability), was first enjoyed by the high society women of Athens. Sitting around coffee lounges whilst their men went off to probably sharpen their spears or "bond" with other men. The women indulged in friendship and gossip, drinking their tea or coffee, and surrounded by architecture and culture.

It's basically the one cake that I truly enjoy in the company of my mum and aunt. My aunty is THE QUEEN of making this cake. She knows it's my favourite and whips in up as soon as I enter her humble abode. We've had a few good laughs whilst eating this cake and the greatest part is the actual health benefits of the KING OF NUTS - The walnut.

It's benefits include the ample presence of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients and it is one of the leading foods that promotes good heart and circulatory systems. Walnuts help reduce metabolic problems such as unwanted fats especially in the tummy region, treatment of Type 2 Diabetes and also has anti-cancer benefits. Some studies also suggest that walnuts can improve memory and other brain functions. It is high in Omega-3 fatty acids as well as Vitamin E - worried about cellulite? Eat walnuts!

It looks like a brain!

100g walnuts very roughly chopped
400g grated walnuts
400g all purpose flour
400g sugar
125g butter
8 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 tablespoons cognac or brandy (optional)

320g sugar
400ml water
a splash of lemon juice (optional)

Beat the butter, sugar, cinnamon the yolks of the eggs in a mixer for 10 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl.
Clean the mixer bowl and beat the whites of the eggs in the mixer until it becomes a meringue.
Add half of the meringue to the yolk mixture.
Mix the baking powder with the 400g grated walnuts, gradually adding the flour.
Add this mixture to the egg yolk mixture along with the remaining meringue, stirring gently.
Transfer the whole mixture to a 30cm oven dish, 6cm deep, which has been well buttered.
Spread the 100g roughly chopped walnuts on top.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Meanwhile, put the sugar and water in a pan and boil for 15 minutes. Some recipes also add a splash of lemon juice (optional)
Remove the cake and cut into pieces and spread the syrup over the top, followed by the cognac or brandy.

Important! The cake must be completely cool before the syrup is added, otherwise it will be very soggy. Whipped cream, icecream or fresh fruit can also be served on the side. Enjoy!

Simple yet delish!

Image credit here.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

International Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day - 15th October

The 15th October marks
A day where all mothers, fathers, families, friends and the community unite to support and understand.

I remember the day.

The day my period was late and an old unused pregnancy test sat in my cupboard. A test I never got to use a year earlier after an IVF cycle failed.

I was sitting on the toilet, peeing. Thinking that I was just stupid, that this test after so many years, would ever be positive. After nearly 6 years of infertility and failed assisted conception treatments, I couldn't even fathom that a pregnancy had resulted and that it had come naturally.

It was Greek Easter week and I thought of G.od.

The test eventually did show 2 lines.

I was numb yet excited. I was scared yet appreciative. I didn't really know how to react. I walked like a zombie, delirious with the reality that I was finally blessed. The next few weeks my life had slowed down. What life presented to me felt like I was stuck in an old movie reel - pictures, people, words, movement, sounds and colours fading in and out. My concentration was solely on what was growing inside of me and the fear I felt, engrossed my entire body and soul. Nothing in the world was important to me. Nothing but this miracle inside of me. All those years of tears and sorrow were becoming dark shadows, still lingering to remind me of my past yet the secret smile on the corners of my mouth were gently moving in position to eradicate them.

The day I miscarry was one of the worst days of my life.

It happened quickly and mercilessly. The bleeding began and the painful cramps camped in my belly. It teased me for a few days but after a visit to the Emergency Hospital, it brought that sneaky smile crumbling down beyond sadness. But a depression so deep and profound. The blood test showed low numbers. The scan showed a heartbeat struggling to keep up. I was sent home to be surrounded by my own comforts and to miscarry my little one. Friday, the 13th June 2008 I held my little bean, bloodied, wrapped in toilet paper and I buried it with my beloved dog.

Yes, this post is callously descriptive of what occurred that day. It needs to be, so that if you have never had a miscarriage or don't know of anyone close to you who has been through one, then you will understand what it was like for me - to want to be a mother so badly, yet so easily given to others. See me crying desperately and huddled for days in a corner wishing my life would just end. This is how it is like for millions of women worldwide. 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. A devastating time regardless of how far along you are.

I remember my pregnancy for the little soul that lived in me for those 7 weeks. For the few moments of happiness it brought me.

I remember the losses that my friends experienced too. Some of them now blessed, like me with miracles; we hold our children's beating hearts in our arms with kisses and cuddles every night. Some of them pregnant again - hoping the babies they carry will be born alive and healthy. There are others still fighting to achieve those illustrious 2 lines - waiting for their first born or for a sibling. Whilst others journeys have already ended with only memories of their angels to hold on to.

I raise my glass to you:
Alana, Anne-Marie, Bec, Chhandita, Chon, Claire, Deb, Elphaba, Emma, Felicity, Geena, Jayde, Justine, Kelly, Kirsty, Kristy, Laila, New Year Mum, Ola, Rachel, Ree, Sharon, Skye, Tee & Wave.

"When all we wanted was the dream,
to have and to hold that precious little thing."
~ Wait, Sarah Mclachlan

Robyn Bear, Founder and Lisa Brown, Co-Founder of "envisioned a day when all grieving parents could come together and be surrounded by love and support from their friends and families, a day where the community could better understand their pain and learn how to reach out to those grieving. This would be a day to reflect on the loss yet embrace the love. While our babies’ lives were so brief, they were also very meaningful. Yet, their was not a time to talk about them. Our society seemed to forget or perhaps, simply didn't know how to reach out. We are asking everyone in all times zones, worldwide, to join us in a candle lighting ceremony at 7pm on October 15th".

Will you join me?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Showing Support with the Written Word

 Please click on over to a dear friend and blogger,
who needs support, love and hope.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Your Beauty & Worth Cannot Be Measured

"The problems with modern life is obsession" ~ Gaius Baltar