Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Our Yule

This Christmas would have to be the best we've ever had. We didn't spend money on a lot of plastic decorations or presents, but what we purchased instead were long term investments. The food on the table this year was exceptional too! Maybe it's because Dave had more time off (actually getting Christmas and Boxing Day off) which is unheard of in his industry. He's always had to cook other people's festive meals, but this year he had the time to spend at our table.

Dave Don's the festive uniform

And this is where it starts to get wonderful - when little gestures go a long way. We had most of the meals arranged between Christmas Eve and Christmas day, but we decided to ask mum to make the dessert. She always made a terrific Trifle (or a cold cake, jelly, custard, cream and fruit pudding). Unfortunately she ran out of time and was only able to make the jelly part and brought along the custard in a tetra pack. So on Christmas Eve, Dave had to pick up a new gas bottle for the barbecue anyway, and decided to ask at the local bakery, if they had any off-cuts of sponge cake. The owner popped his head around the corner and said he'd cut some off one of the sponges in the fridge. Fresh sponge! When Dave went to pay for it though, the owner said it was free. That was the best tasting Trifle I think we've ever had - made with a pinch of community generosity.

Later that afternoon, Mum helped put the Trifle together. Dave is not adverse to having too many chefs in his kitchen, LOL. We swapped stories about Christmas Trifle and all the one's mum made in the past when she worked as a cook. We had so much ingredients for Trifle in fact, that we made up a main pudding, and made a little extra one for mum to take home the next day.

I could on and on about the food, but that would take forever, LOL. But it was all fresh food, with the only sugar contribution being a bowl of chocolate coated sultanas and nuts. That went a long way - we still have some left over! When there's prawn kebabs with garlic sauce to eat, freshly cracked nuts and sweet nectarines also, who wants sweets? Dave and I simply loved spending time in the kitchen together: he cooked and I baked. I made fresh dinner rolls, lunch rolls and a seeded sourdough loaf.

Huge pot with free plants

And then there were other Christmas surprises to be had! On his way to collect the gas bottle and sponge cake, Dave dropped some recyclables into the local rubbish tip. He spotted the huge pot plant being thrown away and asked if he could take it. This one was in perfect condition, but it had a twin that was broken. Dave took both, complete with free plants and free potting mix! I was only thinking recently I needed to buy some potting mix, and the ones in these pots was fresh. I've got about 4 bags worth of potting mix. There's more about these pots to tell, but on to community spirit first. Two local blokes, also making drop-offs at the tip, were happy to volunteer and help him lift the huge pots into the back of his station wagon.


I'm sooo happy, I got a free philodendron, complete with it's own pot and base. How could anyone throw this away? I was so thrilled to give it a new home though - along with another plant, I'm not sure the name of.

Mystery plant

When I started collecting pot plants to put inside, I looked at a few I wanted to buy (philodendron being one of them) but decided to leave it until Dave goes back to work in late January. So imagine my ultimate surprise when Dave brought one home from the tip. Not only that, but those large pots I mentioned - well, mum was looking for a couple of big ones to go on her back veranda. Now for Christmas we had gotten her a wind-up torch, but when she opened it we found out she already had one. She hinted about taking the broken pot instead, as she's fixed these successfully before, but we insisted she take the pair. Mum, being mum though, insisted she pay for the good one. We said she could have both as a gift, and we wouldn't take any money. She insisted, we denied, but before she left on Christmas Day, she tucked some money under a place mat, LOL.


Our daughter was stoked with her gifts. We had looked at several different options and had debated about whether we should buy a Nintendo Wii. Dave didn't need any convincing though, LOL, it was me! This wasn't a gift we bought at the last minute, we really did weigh up the pros and cons. I'm really happy to say, Sarah enjoyed the Mouse Trap board game (we also bought for the family) just as much as her Wii. We sat around the table on Christmas Eve night, playing Mouse Trap! It was great fun.

What Christmas tree?

I didn't really notice the Christmas tree this year. Dave and Sarah put it up, but much of the focus about this year's celebration wasn't what the tree was meant to represent. Instead, we found it spending time doing quality activities together. Dave and I enjoyed preparing the Christmas feast, and we even enjoyed tidying the house together. Because everything we did, didn't feel like work or getting the next thing done. Maybe it also had to do with the fact we decided not to travel around this Christmas either. It's not unusual to visit two households in Brisbane, after a small gathering at our house (with mum) on Christmas eve.

Hand made, has stood the test of time

There were a few small things I did notice about the tree this year however. The first (above) were the hand-made decorations my mum made. These were sewn many years ago, when I was a teenager and still living at home. They've always been my favourite tree decorations, that is, until this year...

Jingle Bells ~ jingle bells ~ jingle all the way...

Sarah had made a bell for my Christmas present this year. They were made at school and I really, really love it! She's so clever and I'm really proud of her effort.

At the end of the day, when I put my head down on my pillow, I couldn't believe how wonderful this year's celebration had been. Peace filled, wonderfully, at last. :)


  1. What a great and beautiful day you had! Thanks for sharing it with us.
    I think the mystery plant looks like Pothos or devils ivy. Hard to say becuse I can't tell how big it really is. Its funny you were jut talking about wanting more indoor plants.

  2. Chris,
    I felt awful that I did not remember your plants and pots gotten for free. Now, I know why--you just posted it today!

    It's nice you and husband like to cook together. I have never had anyone cook with me that wasn't a bother. You know?--the person who critiques food not yet done and tries to correct the seasoning, resulting in oversalting at the end, telling you how to cook a dish you know how to cook.

    However, I do like a man who is a good sous chef. That I don't call cooking with me. A guy who can wield a knife well suits me.

    That mystery plant looks familiar, but I don't know the name.

    Your daughter looks so happy!

  3. Hi LindaM, I'll have to check if it is Pothos, but I'm pretty sure it's not Devils Ivy. This particular plant has the waxy leafs, similar to philodendron - I'm actually wondering if it's a younger version?

    Still, I'll have a look around and see if I can't identify it properly, thanks for the suggestions though. Will definitely cross reference Pothos. :)

  4. Hi Linda, I can't remember when I posted it, as I always get confused by the international time zones. Many of the blogs I read are international - so I can never tell when their today or yesterday (compared to mine) actually are, LOL.

    Your description of the person who critiques food, sounds just like me, only I know better than to mess with Dave's recipe when he's cooking. He's not shy about shooing me away if I'm disturbing his mojo too much either, LOL.

    Luckily we have lots of bench space to work together, plus friendly rivalry to spur each other on. That's part of the fun of cooking together. There's got to be plenty of heat in the kitchen, in order to cook up a storm. ;)


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