It has been so odd these past few weeks, going about being festive. That isn't to say I have been dragging my feet around - having children at Christmas leaves no time for that. But for a little while, I couldn't quite function. All the to-do lists, the orders I had to churn out, the presents to buy, they were like white noise. My family and husband stepped in and it all got done, somehow, including trays and trays of rocky road and Florentines, promised to clients weeks earlier. Life goes on. I can hear her saying it. Just get on with it, idiot.
So here I am, getting on with it. Sort of.
But it has been hard and I suppose it always will be. She is missing. It's immensely frustrating because I have so much to tell her and if nothing else it's downright inconvenient, the permanency of death.
I have unconsciously begun to mark time differently. Today is both the 7th of January and it is also one month and two days since Katie died. Her baby boy Francis is now nearly six weeks old and doing the most inspiring job of getting on with it. We are all learning a lot from him. He is keeping Michael on his toes, mostly in the middle of the night, and appears to everyone else as a little angel, chugging down his bottles and being generally adorable during the day.
He is mostly what I want to tell Katie all about, of course. Him and some of my little sister's funnier baby brain antics lately. They were tracking along together, Danielle a couple of months behind. Katie definitely would've seen the entertaining side of Dani waking up in a sweat and deciding to drive to Mum's to sleep in the airconditioning, then running out of petrol at 1am because she didn't want to stop and fill up in her nightie.
Last year went fast. We packed a lot in, particularly with the milestone birthday tour which took in Tassie, Canberra, Newcastle (twice) and Balmoral, and I'll always be happy that we saw a lot of Katie because of it. But 2017 is going to be just as crazy fast. We will have a new baby in the family with Dani due in March and then we will be counting down to her wedding in October. It's the year of Danielle. She also turns 30 but I think her brain will explode if anyone adds another event to her plate.
As for me, I'll be in my kitchen doing my thing, perhaps with a bigger oven and using an extra day of preschool to write a little more. Of all people, Katie used to say I should.
In robot mode recently I relied on the recipes in the Christmas section of this blog so much. I made the Christmas cake, the truffles, the Florentines, the mince tarts and the pav, and all worked without a hitch. At the pointy end of last year, I can't tell you how nice it was when things just worked.
I needed this Rocky Road recipe too, so I'm adding it now, even though everyone is probably on new year diets and thoroughly over sweets. Maybe file it for Easter. It's pretty addictive.
This is my standard recipe with the secret and quite topical ingredient of rice bubbles which I added as a texture substitute one year when told teachers' presents couldn't contain nuts.
The Christmas version (pictured) leaves out the snakes and adds in 1 cup sour cherries and 1 cup chopped pistachios. Scatter silver sugar balls over the top for extra bling. It boxes up beautifully as an edible gift.
Rocky Road (Makes 1.8kg in a large lamington tin)
300g quality dark chocolate
300g quality milk chocolate
3 cups Rice Bubbles
4 x Cadbury Frys Turkish Delight bars, chopped in a large dice
2 cups jelly snakes, chopped
2 cups marshmallows whole
2 cups marshmallows, chopped in halves
1 cup shredded coconut
Line a large lamington tin with non-stick baking paper, so that the edges of the paper overhang the sides.
Melt the dark and milk chocolate together.
Place the Rice Bubbles, chopped Turkish Delight, chopped jelly snakes, all marshmallows and coconut into a large mixing bowl and stir.
Add the melted chocolate and gently stir until the mixture is thoroughly covered in chocolate.
Tumble the mixture into the prepared tin and spread into the corners to cover evenly.
Place in the fridge to set overnight or for at least four hours. Cut into squares to serve.