Word around the traps is that 2016 hasn't been kind to many of you.
I had that year in 2011. It started when our good friend Anthony died suddenly in January and worsened with the loss of our beloved David in September. In fact, the only redeeming event for 2011 was the birth of the Little Sister. She was a welcome bright light in a very dark time.
2011 is now my benchmark for bad years, so although 2016 has thrown us some curveballs comparitively it's an annus horribilis lightweight.
We brought in the new year on beautiful Fraser Island. We had such a wonderful relaxed break, floating and making sandcastles with the girls. I'd had such a great time I didn't want to head home. In hindsight it was on the drive home that my vision first started to deteriorate. As I drove along the beach I couldn't work out if my sunglasses were smudged or the windscreen was covered in salt-spray. I cleaned both with no effect. It didn't occur to me that it was my vision. Days later I would develop a crippling headache and I would eventually be diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. It was frightening - mostly the unpredictable progress of the disease. I wasn't ready to go public with my diagnosis. We waited until we had a plan and dates for treatment before we told our family and friends. By World MS day, I'd decided to share my diagnosis and your response was incredible. A hell of a MS was one of the most read posts on Cooker and a Looker this year.
By April, I was feeling better and got back to blogging. I love beautiful graphics and I was particularly proud of this free "See you later Alligator" printable.
The Little Sister had a fabulous year at Kindergarten. I credit her Kindy Teacher with much of this. I helped at kindy a few times during the year, teaching the kindy friends to make butter and sushi. I was thrilled and surprised at how much credit the kindy teachers gave the kids. When we made sushi, we gave them little knives and taught them how to use them carefully. Not only did the kindy friends learn some fun facts about where food comes from, but I learned an important lesson: our kids are far more capable that I give them credit for. How to Make Butter was one of your favourite posts for 2016.
I fell in love in May. My clever sister-in-law made me a beautiful nephew and she and Anthony named him David John in honour of the David we lost. Not everyone was happy about it, but I'm still marvelling that so much joy be wrapped into such a tiny package! Introducing Baby David was one of your (and my) favourite posts.
I had my first round of treatment in June and ten days later I was feeling up to whipping up a batch of thai corn cakes. I beat the kids to bed that night! 😉
In November my annual girls camping weekend was cancelled at late notice and I found myself with a uncommitted child-free weekend. It didn't stay uncommitted for long. I booked myself a flight to Mt Isa and went to have lunch with Miss Chardy. I cried with laughter at BabyMac and Mrs Woogs commentary of the very flat very long drive to the Barkly Homestead. And then wept tears of relief (not really) at the sight of Felicity Fulcher and her heavenly gin and tonic station when we arrived.
The Barkly Women's Day was a wonderful surprise. I hadn't travelled up to be part of the panel but I got a last minute call up which didn't give me time to develop any nerves. My favourite part of the trip was meeting so many interesting women, each had a story that I wanted to learn more about. That trip was honestly one of the most interesting weekends I've ever had. We farewelled Miss Chardy at Barkly and began the drive home - this time with Styling You onboard as well. It's amazing what you can learn from three super clever chicks if you jam them in a car for five hours!
Come December I had a crazy idea in the shower "Why not ask my favourite Aussie food bloggers to share a Christmas recipe for a 12 days of Christmas cookbook?" You know, those lovely generous folks go on board so quickly that the book was mapped out by lunchtime! I'd hoped you'd love the collection and I was thrilled when you downloaded it in droves. The 12 days of Christmas cookbook was the most popular post on Cooker and a Looker in 2016. Thank you.
Early this month I had some disappointing news about my health. My routine MRI showed a new lesion. We don't know when it moved in, so I wrote a sternly worded open letter to my new lesion. There's no point worrying about it though. Stress is one of those things that seem to exacerbate my symptoms, so I'm choosing to believe that it arrived pre-treatment and that lemtrada is my miracle cure.
The final top 10 post of 2016 is one I wrote just five days ago - 11 fun ideas for Christmas cooking with kids (that won't make you pull your hair out). It seems I'm not the only one facing the keep the kids amused/keep the kitchen tidy conflict during the school holidays. 😉
For the record, my favourite post of this year was the smiling assassin. I suspect I'll still be laughing about that story when I'm eighty! So you can see, 2016 was interesting but not terrible. We had some good times and we got the best help from the best people.
how did 2016 treat you?
what's the best thing you made/cooked/created this year?