Thursday, 25 December 2014

Christmas in Oz - Catch Up

Goodness, when your page views get down to just a few a day, you know its time to write another.  I've been so slack writing because you guys have all been so prolific over the last few weeks in blogland and Facebook that by the time I've waded through everyone's posts its time for bed.  So here is yet another Christmas post that covers the last week including another trip home to my family in NSW and the general madness of trying to finish work on Christmas Eve so i can enjoy what will be an 11 day break.

This is where i plan spending my summer holidays - my back yard.  
OK, so backtracking to the 18th, Glenda, I , Chelsea and Maison drove home to NSW to celebrate my brothers 60th birthday with all the family at a small Chinese restaurant in Leeton. Rob was working.  I was a surprise for Mum as she really wanted all 6 of her kids to be together and with Carol from Sydney visiting for a few weeks, i was going to be the only one missing.  It was really hard to choose between pleasing my Mum and being where i was needed at work but I'm so glad i went as her face was priceless when i walked in later with others.  I'd been dropped in Narrandera at the salon for an afternoon of hair attention from my talented niece.  She waved her magic wand and all the grey disappeared and appropriately placed  blond foils now disguise where they will turn up.  It was a good night (except for when a naughty Glenda tipped a cup of ice down my back and i had to sit with a wet rump for the night) but after the trip and celebration , we were all very tired. With all the beds taken i volunteered to have the munchkins in my king size bed.  Never again.  Maison was a dream but Chelsea does a hundred laps of the bed while she sleeps.  Either that or she is hugging you around the neck.   She definitely spent the next two night with her Nan.  

Travelling with younger children (even when they are very well behaved) certainly is different than the other trips Glenda and I have made home for the weddings this year.  Less coffee and singing and lots of parks involved.

Maison wanted me to be sure and put this photo in my blog showing how high he can go.  

Later at Mum's, Maison and I had a Connect 4 marathon of which i only just won by one game.  Maison is 9.  Several games we ended up using all the tokens so it was by no means an easy win.

On Saturday we all arrived at Sandra's in Narrandera mid afternoon for the family Christmas Day.  Whilst the ladies were inside chatting and making the most amazing gourmet salads (another post) the boys were down the back yard with the children making water bombs, sliding on detergent laden plastic and generally having lots of wet fun together.   The meat was BBQ'd expertly by the men (no burnt sacrifices in this family - its BBQ art at its best) and we all spread ourselves among the long stretch of tables under the gum tree.

This is what we are all waiting for - Mum's Christmas Boiled  Pudding.  Its so rich and lovely with proper egg custard and ice-cream. 
Now that all the younger ones are married and spending Christmas Day with the In-Laws it was decided that the weekend preceding was given over to our family.   Dinner was followed by the usual volleyball match which is hilarious for those of us watching (or behind the camera) .  It starts out including the children but after coaxing them away with ice-cream the serious match begins.  It takes a while to get into the swing of it but it soon gets a little more serious.

Sister Sam after  a back hander

I think Hunter had his mind on other things.  Lots of dirt means you are having fun.

A sneaky shot of Mum enjoying seeing her family spending time together.   
Laryn with his two little boys, Blake and Hunter.  All three live in blue singlets, the uniform for Ozzie truckers, which Dad just happens to be.  
My plate of salads with BBQ onions on the side.  

I love my big family.  We all care about and for each other and in-laws are just absorbed into the mass. Everyone ensures that they are giving of themselves to make our time together comfortable and fun.  Children are handed over from adult to adult no matter who they belong to and there is genuine affection for everyone. The men in our family work just as hard as the women to bring the food together and clean up is a group effort.    

Back at work on Monday, it was a quiet few days on the phone, with most companies closing for the break on the previous Friday.   I managed to wrap everything up by Wednesday lunchtime and so it was a manic afternoon of shopping for me.  Lucky i managed to get a few gifts up home.

Our Christmas decorations extended to decorating the coffee table and making our life size Stig into a reindeer Santa draped in tinsel.  Oh the shame of it all........

I was chilling on Christmas Day and so I surprisingly didn't take any photos.  We had the strangest meal but everyone was happy with "our favourites" meal.   I'd checked with everyone before hand and they were given the option of listing their favourite meal.   Bell opted for a margarita pizza and coronas followed by chocolate. Glenda wasn't given and option because she would say "I'm fine" so she got a porterhouse steak and salad following by peppermint chocolate ice-cream (score).  Rob had Tassie Salmon and prawns and Tom wanted croissants with bacon and cheese.  I of course have missed my fruit and crackers and so i opted for a platter of both with cheese.  None of this is everyday food and it was a special treat.

Phew!  I've made it to the other side of Christmas and I'm still in one piece.  Its Boxing Day and after a wander in the garden (transplanting a few lettuce seedlings that seem to all grow in the one spot despite the fact that i sprinkled the seeds all over) I've had a lazy breakfast of leftovers from yesterday whilst perusing my new preserving book.  Doesn't everybody have brie and pate for breakfast?  I'm sure they do in France.
Yesterday was to be my only day of diet sin (which included grains and fruit) but i cant bring myself to throw them out and so today will be my "last supper" of forbidden foods.  I did as was suggested by one of my readers and grazed all day to keep my metabolism up (somehow i don't think this is what she meant).

My Christmas List including some preserving tools and Rob managed to convince Santa to come up with the goods.  

No more burnt fingers getting the jars out of hot water or handling hot lids.  
My other scored booty includes a mega garden scoop and ergonomic secateurs from Rob and Tom, my signature daily perfume "Lovely" from Glenda. Movie tickets from Bell and some English Breakfast tea from the children.

Now that is one serious garden scoop - designed for going in under veggies and then shaking the soil off.   Its so heavy duty, Rob wont be able to break this one.   He used my last  plastic one as a shovel!!!! 
As you can see in the Santa picture up front, there are some lovely baked goods which were home-made by Veronica from work (Fruit Cake, Fruit Mince Tarts and a Shortbread Round) along with two novels, more vouchers, and a generous sum from my Mother In Law which is earmarked for the garden.  I love how all my gifts were well thought out and specifically chosen with me in mind.

Today is a quiet day for me but Rob is building Tom's present.  Its a new gaming computer and being a tech head he doesn't just buy a computer from the shop.  Each of the components were sourced separately and assembled to become one megadonk PC.  It has 3 terabyte of storage and 8G of ram.  The motherboard and graphic are all designed for gaming.   Hopefully, this one will last him a while.  Nothing of course is wasted and so the old one gets cleaned up and will replace our other one (that is XP)  to be the secondary gaming machine.  We often have visitors and the boys will play each other or together .

I'm needed to go watch Total Recall with Tom at the moment (lucky me, i was planning to go outside) so i will sign off this post and do the Mother thing.  My next post will be about the garden that went totally crazy while i was away.  They had intermittent rain and sunshine that made everything go berserk.

Thanks for Visiting Living In The Land of Oz





  1. Looks like a very busy and fulfilling time with family and friends. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

  2. a great post! a lovely time had by all, you have a great looking family there
    can relate to the "had intermittent rain and sunshine that made everything go berserk." did the same here too, had to get help to mow the grass as i couldn't keep up! & it's just started raining as i write this
    have a great week end

  3. Intrigued by your pumpkin trellis, will you let us know how it goes as with my square foot gardening raised beds I do not have room for trailing plants either. Love your gardening presents you received for Christmas. Ruth.

  4. No wonder you 'went missing' I feel quite exhausted reading all you have done. glad that you had such a wonderful time.


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