It's been six months, six long, slow, heavy months since my sister, friend, confidant, rock, comrade-in-arms, died. Six months when every little thing takes twice the energy it used to. Six months when sometimes I catch myself laughing, and I wonder why and how. Six months when sadness is my constant companion.
But it has also been six months when my relationship with her children has blossomed - I love those kids with all my heart. Their successes are mine too, they make me so proud, they are beyond wonderful.
It has also been six months of getting to know my sister's dear friends, they say that you get the friends you deserve, and in my sister's case this is certainly true. Her friends are wonderful, kind and good people (and great craic too!!). Sadly Pauline has had to head back to the States, we miss her kind and strong presence, her stories of my sister when she lived in New York, her companionship and understanding, her cooking!! Clare has been my rock, she has helped from the very beginning in the most practical ways, she sees something that needs to be done, and just does it - no questions asked, no praise looked for. And finally Fiona who gave my sister such joy, (she would return from coffee with Fiona and regale me with all the funny anecdotes - for hours!!!). Fiona brings a wave of good will with her wherever she goes, she is a powerhouse of enthusiasm and kindness, she has enveloped my niece and nephews in her warmth and love, she has brought my sister's fun side back into their lives.
The Random Bakes Of Kindness from my last post reminded me of all the people to whom I owe so much gratitude. I want to take this opportunity to say thanks a million to you all, and particularly to Clare and Fiona.
To Fiona, thank you, thank you for giving them a wonderful holiday, a fun filled time when they were too busy to be sad. Thank you for sharing your beautiful daughter, giving my precious Princess a much needed older sister. Thank you for cheering us up, time and time again. Thank you for showering the Princess with kindness (!). Thank you for seeing each child's individual strengths and fostering them. Thank you for your time, for M's time and for bringing C into my life. Thank you for the coffee mornings - our chance to regroup, to reminisce, to chat, to organise. Thank you for being there - always.
To Clare, thank you for your support, your hugs (you give the best hugs!), your understanding, your always being on my side. Thank you for all your hospitality to the kids - they always return from your home snuggled in your love and caring - and that bit happier. Thank you for your generosity in everything you do. Thank you for washing away our anguish (!). Thank you for sharing your (gorgeous) family, your energy, your enthusiasm, your hard work, your warmth. Thank you too for our coffee mornings - you know how much they mean to both myself and Mum.
These women deserve so much more than cake - but it's a start!!!
We are meeting to reminisce and cry and laugh today, and I am bringing some muffins along. September is not just back to school time, but also back to some sort of eating properly time - slimming clubs have more start-ups in September than in January. With this in mind I borrowed Rits's Applesauce Muffin Recipe, (made a few very small changes) cooked up a batch, and am bringing them along. Some guilt free treats for some people who need cheering up.
Rita's Applesauce Oat Muffins
1 cup oats
1 cup skimmed milk
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar*
1/2 cup applesauce (I made this with 3 small apples a tsp cinnamon and a tiny amount of water)
2 egg whites
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bread (bicarbonate of) soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 curly wurly bar (similar to heath bar)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sugar
Makes 12 muffins
Soak oats in the milk for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 180 C
Line muffin tins
Combine the oat mixture with the applesauce and egg whites and mix.
In a seperate bowl measure out the dry ingredients (including 1 tsp cinnamon) and mix.
Chop up the curly wurly bar and add to the bowl.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and combine - without mixing too much to avoide tough muffins.
Spoon into the prepared muffin cases.
Combine one spoon of sugar with a spoon of cinnamon and scatter ofver the muffins before you pop them into the oven (I forgot this part - but won't next time!)
Bake the muffins for 17 - 25 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.
Remove from the pan and cool.
*To make these even more healthy - next time I think I'll add a super ripe banana instead of the sugar.
These muffins - while not the prettiest to come out of my oven are really tasty and well worth a go. Thanks Rita at Sage Cuisine.