After mother-in-law's diagnosis of angina earlier this month, I decided it might be a good idea to set up a spare room for her to be able to stay with us if she needed (and also my brother, or my parents if they visit), and on the Friday before Christmas two generous friends took time out of their busy pre-christmas rush and delivered a set of bunks and a mattress. The bunks can be made into two single beds and we're using one of them in the spare room. I think it looks very cute in there with the liquorice all sort doona cover!
I had also decided that this year we'd attempt to make our own gingerbread house. Well, we sort of ran out of time, so I picked up a kit at Big W on Thursday, and on Friday we built it. Friday was a hottish kind of day, too hot for the mint icing. As well as this, the appliqué doors and windows had cracked in the packaging, so in the end the gingerbread house looked a bit like a Frankenstein creation - but we had fun building it nonetheless! We had to rescue it by putting it in the fridge when all the icing threatened to slide right off it! The kids ate it yesterday (Boxing Day), and we all agreed that next year we'll bake our own!
I coloured my hair red for the season - and I think I'll stay red for a while, it's such a cheerful colour! My face is looking rather puffy here, this humid Sydney-like weather does not agree with me and my cankles hardly fit in my sandals at the moment! Ah, yes, nothing like fluid retention to make you feel your age!
On Christmas Eve we set about cooking my family's traditional Christmas fair - double smoked ham, candied potatoes, mushroom cream sauce, red cabbage, veggies and red wine gravy from the pan juices. It was all going by the numbers and we had twenty minutes to go when we heard an almighty crash in the lounge room. At first I thought the Christmas tree had fallen over. The Grumpy Old Man and I rushed into the lounge room to find Erik, Luey and Bryn standing agape around Ari who was crouched on the floor crying. Erik was yelling, 'He went through the window, there's glass everywhere!'
Ari started to stand up with his hand over his face and then he pulled his hand away and there was blood everywhere! He was screaming and the GOM pick him up and ran for the bathroom with me in quick pursuit. Using clean face washers we managed to carefully wipe away enough blood - which was still gushing - to discover the original of the flow. It looked like it was coming from his eyes and the GOM kept saying, 'We need to take him to hospital, he'll need stitches.' but I was in that zone I go into in situations like this (there have been a few) and ignored him as I tried to get Ari to calm down and tried to stem the flow from the gash between his eyebrows.
I went with the best mode of calming a child in our house, and breastfed him for the first time in 4-5 months. This worked a treat. I assessed the cut. While it was considerable, I soon realised we'd be waiting in the ER for hours and in the end they wouldn't stitch or glue it, just steristrip it. So, we went with the good old bandaid - which the boy tolerated for a full two hours before insisting we remove it. He had a few other nicks on his forehead and a small bump, but within a few minutes he was back to his smiley, rambunctious self.
The glass will need replacing, of course.
So, instead of sitting down to dinner at 6pm (when Christmas officially starts in Iceland), we sat down closer to 7pm. The roast was a bit black on top, but no one cared!
I took a picture of the meal - because it lasts longer - I laugh every year at how we spend two hours cooking the meal, and only about twenty minutes eating it, and we always feel full so much faster than we want to!
|You'll note the absence of red cabbage - I completely|
forgot about it until the next day. Oh well there's always
After dinner there is always a bit of a clean up of the kitchen before the handing out of presents from under the tree.
Lego was a hit again this year, but probably not so much as...
Sonic screwdrivers! Each boy received their own sonic screwdriver from mum and dad; the original one for Ari, River's sonic screwdriver for Lukas, the 10th Doctor's for Bryn, and the 11th Doctor's for Erik.
From his brothers - instead of Lego - Ari received a Thomas Wooden Set Extension bridge, which he is completely in love with.
Then it was time for Ari to go to bed. Afterwards we spent nearly an hour trying to figure out how to get the batteries into each of the sonics - would have helpful if each one didn't have a different approach! Finally the boys were just about ready to go to bed. Then I said, 'I still know something you don't know...' Which was a reference to a conversation I'd had with them a couple of weeks earlier on the way home from school.
We'd been walking home from school, and I'd started singing, 'I know something you don't know, and I'm not going to tell you!' (which was a game my mum had played with my brother and I when we were little). They'd spent some time trying to guess what I knew over the next couple of weeks, but of course, it was a surprise.
So, late (for them, it was about 9pm) on Christmas Eve night, I handed each boy a box. I instructed each of them to stand away from one another and on my count they had to open the packages as quickly as they could because they all needed to be opened at the same time.
Then I said, 'Ready... Set... GO!' And...
The opened their present from their uncle Mike - a Wii, complete with Mario Cart and Wii Dance III! I have to say, they were pretty excited!!! This was very unexpected after years and years of the GOM and I telling them we would never buy them a gaming console - and we didn't, but we did allowed my brother to. What I haven't told the boys is that uncle Mike also said that any time we wanted to add to the set, buy components or games, we could just buy them and bill him! Of course, that won't happen except for special occasions like birthdays or Christmas, but what a generous offer! We haven't managed to set the Wii up yet because we had mother-in-law over on Christmas Day and then yesterday I realised we didn't have enough power points on the surge resistant power board behind the tv, so we need a new power board, but in the meantime, the boys have been quite content with their sonics and Lego.
Sonics are very cool when mum uses manual settings on her camera with a low shutter speed and no flash!
I was very excited to receive some beautiful candle holders from the GOM...
And the boys...
I just love candle light so much!
Ari on Christmas Eve just before we transferred him to his own bed. Ouchies!
After the Grumpy Old Man went to bed, I sat up and enjoyed the peace at the end of the day in the candlelight of the my Christmas presents!
The next morning the boys were up bright and early (but not too early) for stocking presents! One of the stocking presents was a bow tie each - they'd been asking for bow ties all year! Bow ties are cool!
Being made to pose for photos when you want to play with your sonic screwdriver and Thomas bridge is not cool!
Lukas getting his geek on!
Erik doing it slighter cooler... er, I said slightly...
Then we backed up for Christmas Day Lunch with the Grumpy Old Man's mum.
After lunch we exchanged presents with Nanna and everyone received books! Mother-in-law showed her eternal optimism by giving my a gorgeous cookbook! She just refuses to believe I don't like cooking. She makes me laugh. This particular cookbook was for common pantry items - so packaged goods like baked beans and so on. In theory it's a great idea except that we don't keep a very comprehensive pantry; our pantry doesn't resemble the one listed in the book at all. I didn't have the heart to tell her that. The photos are lovely though and I saw a recipe for chocolate pikelets I want to try (I do bake, even if I don't cook!).
Speaking of baking - we've started a new tradition this year! For desert on Christmas Eve I thought I'd make an old Norwegian favourite Tilslørt Bondepike. Now as a cheat, I thought I'd use crushed biscuit instead of toasted spiced breadcrumb. I used crushed chocolate ripple (so it was a bit like a chocolate ripple layer cake). And instead of raisins I put a few cherries on the top layer for a Christmassy effect.
Anyway, we just didn't have room for it on Christmas Eve and then on Christmas Day we had a tradition pudding for desert, so we only got to the Tilslørt Bondepike yesterday and oh. my. goodness, it was sooooo good!
Next year, I'm going to modified it some more and use more cherries in the layers, rather than just apple. I'm also going to fold some brandy cream throughout the whipped creamy - or put a layer of brandy cream between the biscuit and cream layers. Yum, yum!
Oh, and I'm going to get a nice glass bowl to present it in!
How was your Christmas? Was it peaceful or a bit crazy like ours?