16/47

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Today, we went to Wombeyan Caves. The last time we went was at least 5 years ago. We went with different friends this time, packed the little esky with a few drinks and sandwiches, had a little lunch, walked through one of the caves, had ice creams, and then returned to the playground for R&R.

On the way home we stopped at the hardware store. We’ve been there three weekends in a row. At this rate, we’ll be inviting the staff around for Christmas drinks next year. Anyway, a new hose, weedkiller and some sandpaper later, we came home for Fraser to earn his first $10 washing Matt’s car. The excitement!

15/47

Wanna know what happened today? Not much. A lot of laying around, maybe even a brief nap. Matt and Fraser went for a bike ride. I did some tidying and washing. At lunchtime we met up with friends and saw Tin Tin at the movies in 3D. I decided to take the 16 pairs of 3D glasses, which we had amassed in the fruit bowl over the past year or two, into the cinemas to recycle.

Tin Tin was a good movie but the extra dimension was unwarranted. It’s no longer a novelty when just about every kids’ movie comes in both 2D and 3D.

3D has jumped the shark.

14/47

So I was laying in bed last night about 11pm when I realised I’d forgotten to do this post. I considered getting out of bed for about one second.

It was Rancho Relaxo here, yesterday. Is it ever anything else, you might be thinking? Well, it is the holiday season. What do you expect? I ate the last prawn roll of the festive season and Matt and the boys played battleships; the cricket was on; Fraser played a fair bit of Team Fortress 2 on the computer; and I laid about contemplating sanding and repainting the maroon suede effects walls in our bedroom. I’ll get around to it. Maybe in a few weeks.

We had friends stop by en route to Tasmania. They slept over, which was fun for the boys, because they had a little buddy to play with for the duration. We last saw these guys about three years ago but the kids all just fell into playing cricket and Star Wars as though they’d been doing the same every day. Kids are great like that, aren’t they?

Xanthe‘s a photographer, so I frocked up in the ten year old wedding dress and we went out to the garden for some anniversary photos, while dinner cooked. Tight around the ribs, the dress still fits reasonably well—surprise, surprise.

I’ll be back tonight!

13/47

Aahhhhh.

That’s the sound of me loosening my belt after eating just about all the leftover prawns. All that planning, shopping and cooking… It all comes down to the leftovers. And usually, Matt eats the ham/pork/turkey and I eat the prawns, if there are any.

So, what did you end up doing?

We spent Christmas eve tidying up after the Friday night party, picking up some ham, and taking the kids for a photo with Santa. I was braced for Lincoln refusing the photo unless I was in it with him, but hooray for SAnta, he managed to bribe with candy canes. Excellent. Leaving it to the last minute, of course, means that we can’t pick the photo up until 5th January. The rest of the day was about laying around and then after the kids went to bed, constructing bikes and wrapping.

The kids woke up at their usual early time yesterday morning and were suitably restrained, having not opened presents but checked out their Santa sacks and spying their new bikes out in the patio. While Lincoln was excited about his new bike, I think Fraser was most pleased about the set of The Diary of a Wimpy Kid books he’d been given. He’s been wanting them for months.

Strange, though it was, it was nice not to have to prep for a big do, or to have to pack up and push off to someone else’s Christmas do. We just stayed home, ate ham, and met with friends in the afternoon to ride bikes around the lake and eat Pringles. The big do was actually today. A Boxing Day feast with both families and some backyard cricket. Another excellent event in our excellent backyard where the kids had lots of fun playing.

And now for the excellent leftovers.

10/47

Oh look! I’ve back-dated this post because there was no way I was composing a post post-party, after a bottle of bubbly or two.

The party was a raging success. Mr Sunshine played his part so all the kids were out in the back yard playing cricket, riding the scooters etc, exactly as I’d planned. Everybody loved the food and I went way overboard, as always, and I’m pretty well stocked on leftovers and unused stuff for the next couple of days. Sweet.

The favoured foods of the night were the olive balls (stuffed olives, wrapped in parmesan and pastry, then baked till golden); cucumber boats (lebanese cucumbers, seeds scooped out, filled with smoked salmon creamed cheese, and topped with caviar and dill); and the ever-popular sausage rolls (thin sausages form the butcher wrapped in mixed herbs and pastry). Easy. I am no gourmet chef and yet several guests claimed I am.

And here’s another trick for you: buy your shortbread and fruit cake, empty them out, cut the cake into small slices, and sprinkle the whole lot with icing sugar. Looks just like homemade without all the effort and kitchen fail.

I won’t be posting over the weekend, so have a lovely Christmas and I’ll be back with a round-up of the weekend on Monday night.

*mwah*

9/47

Hurrah! Where have the handymen been all my life? This guy was lovely, efficient, and a reasonable price. So sad, though, that he’s only around for another three weeks before moving north to Kempsey. We’re going to give him a list of jobs to do before he leaves. :D

Anyway, here is my finished project – the DIY shell curtain and repainted toilet ‘cubicle’, in a pale grey, with existing pink floor tiles, and window trim repainted vivid white.

Finished makeover c

Remember the original? The ugly green paint and no window covering.

The toilet

In other news, Fraser finished tennis camp today and won a runner-up medal for his age group! He was so excited and it was so great to see him look over at me in complete surprise. I also finished doing the big grocery shop today in prep for the party tomorrow night.

I took the boys to the RSL for dinner while poor Matt had to go back up to Sydney to retrieve our stolen Subaru, which had been left locked up and abandoned in Paddington. Apparently with a full tank of petrol. Sadly, that means no insurance payout for us, which would have been the most serendipitous timing given the recent new car, and we’d had that money mentally allocated to a ride-on lawn mower. It’s back to the drawing board to try and sell it.

So anyway, no ham for me at the RSL raffle. I’ll have to pony up for the Christmas ham, after all.

8/47

Day 3 of 4 of tennis camp. No rain, good stuff. It’s still grey and threatening, though. Very unchristmas-like. Un-Australian, even. Where is the hot?! I expect to be hot at this time of year. Oh well.

So, I’ve started the big prep shopping for the neighbourhood Christmas party. The wrapping has begun. And I called a handyman to come and put up a couple of things in time for the party. Yes, we are the first to admit our domestic DIY ineptitude. But, rejoice! These things will be up, which means my toilet makeover will be finished and one more set of ugly vertical blinds will be gone.

Fraser was so bored this afternoon, after I enforced an embargo on screen time, that he asked if we could ride scooters to pre-school to collect Lincoln. Oddly enough, I agreed, and we set off. But when we arrived, we found Lincoln in rather delicate condition, with a headache and tummy ache, and refusing to scoot home. So there I was carrying scooter, jacket and school bag, and holding the hand of a sick, whimpering four year old all the way home.

We made it home eventually and I made good on my promise to download Polar Express, we ordered pizza and watched more Christmas DVDs until it was dark enough to go out driving around the neighbourhood looking for Christmas lights. Although, there was nothing spectacular, there was enough going on around here to keep the kids amused for about half an hour.

7/47

More tennis camp today. No rain, just grey skies, so that’s a good thing. I had another kitchen company come and quote. That’s three now. We wait until the new year before collecting quotes, revised quotes, revised designs, and sorting out a builder to handle the pre-kitchen things.

Lincoln had his pre-school Christmas party this afternoon. After being all geed up for it, he went shy once we got there and refused to sing with the rest of his class. At least he wasn’t as scared of Santa this year.

When we got home I pruned the roses and whippersnipped some of the edges around the garden. It’s still too boggy to actually mow the lawn, so I hope it dries out enough tomorrow.Picture of roses from the garden

All our Christmas lights are up and Michael Buble’s Christmas is on the telly. Maybe it’s Christmas, after all.

6/47

Ok, so more rain. Hmmpf. On the one day of sunshine we had on Saturday, we all got busy with yard work. Fraser mowed a cricket pitch into the overgrown grass and then decided he couldn’t be bothered practising his bowling. Matt and I slaved over renovating the sandpit—emptying out the old stuff, laying weed mat, and shovelling in the new stuff. In the middle of that, we got sidetracked by the broken fountain, demolished the remains, and discovered a power cable and water supply terminating at the fountain from somewhere at the house. We’ll need an electrician to do something about that. I haven’t even been able to trace the power back to a switch.

On Sunday I went to the gym and the rest of the day was pretty lazy for all of us.

And today we were back to the pissing rain again. Fraser has tennis camp on this week and because of the rain, they were mostly indoors.

There are slugs and snails everywhere, and we have a neighbourhood party on this Friday night at our place. The sun needs to come out so we can mow the grass. It also needs to come out for the party so the kids can all bugger off outside on the lawn while the adults talk and drink wine.

There is some good news, though. I’ve finished my DIY shell curtain project but still need to connect it to the window. That’s a job for someone with handier talents, I think. We also have plans for a kitchen reno in the new year.

It can’t come soon enough; the cruddy exhaust fan over the stove almost fell into tonight’s dinner.

3/47

I left Fraser at home with Matt today so I could meet up with Mum for our respective appointments with a psychic. I do this sort of this every now and then. Usually I go because I feel like I’m at a crossroads or that something in life is missing. This time I went along because Mum was keen.

There was nothing particularly stunning. Basically, “it’s all good.”

She did seem surprised I only have two kids and insisted there should be a third. I’ve told Matt to hurry up with the snippy-snip.