Is anyone else feeling really slooooow at the moment, or is it just me? Even Noel is doing his best to organise me at the moment, cooking dinners and suggesting meal ideas. Sounds great, doesn't it? Unfortunately the only reason he's doing it is because I haven't been getting dinner on the table until almost 8pm lately! Yes, such has my busy social life been with all the pre-Christmas get-togethers, my menu planning has gone out the window and everyone is suffering. I just can't function without one - thank goodness for Sophie Gray's quick and easy recipes. It was ten past seven last night and I still had absolutely no idea what I was going to cook for dinner until I spotted a lonely can of Home Brand baked beans in the pantry. Just 30 minutes later I was dishing up Sophie's Bean and Sausage Casserole, accompanied by potatoes, carrots and the first of Noel's runner beans. As for tonight though - umm, I haven't thought that far ahead yet! It's the town Santa Parade and somehow I've been talking into joining the community support group float dressed as an alcoholic convict. My mum says I've been typecast, how rude!
Life shows no sign of slowing down leading up to Christmas but I'm hoping that with all the summer food leaping out of the garden at least we'll be well fed without too many 8pm dinners. I was so excited to walk around our place last night and see plums, apples and peaches on the trees in the orchard, as well as all sorts of things ready for picking in the vegetable garden. It's been a long wait for some of them but patience has finally paid off! Our edible hedge is covered in berries of all kinds and the passionfruit vine is heavy with fruit - how self-sufficient we are! Noel's potato patch has grown beyond belief and we're looking forward to seeing how much of our own produce will be served up at the dinner table on Christmas Day. The painter is here again and the house already looks 1000 times better with just its undercoat on - I can only imagine how great it's going to look when it's finished! He has even offered to replaster our chimney for free by way of apology for leaving it so long. Even Ella's dreadful leg is coming right and I must thank all the caring SS members who wrote and pleaded with me to wait before making a decision to operate or put her to sleep. Thanks to everyone who shared their experiences, we decided to wait and see and she is now able to put some weight on her leg. The vet has given her some anti-inflammatories and the outlook is good. I'm so glad we waited!
As for my paint fund, I guess I'm going to have to accept that it's going to be after Christmas before I can make any significant savings. I have officially finished my Christmas shopping now (yippee!) and didn't go over budget. Well - I didn't go over MY budget - unfortunately I had neglected to tell Noel that I had everything under control and he came home last week with all sorts of things for the boys. 'Right - that's them taken care of', he said proudly. 'You don't have to buy them anything else now!' Whoops - I guess I didn't tell him about all the things I had put on lay-by in the Kmart sale weeks before, or the things I had bought online that hadn't arrived yet. Well - it's always been my job to do the Christmas shopping you see, Noel never usually knows what the kids have got until they open them in front of him on Christmas morning! Especially as he hates shopping so much. It took him two afternoons this week to find me a birthday present for this weekend and both days he returned home in a foul mood. He did find one in the end though - I'm a bit perturbed about what on earth it could be. It's a huge box wrapped up in newspaper (very Simple Savings!) and he says it's funny. In fact he assures me I have never had a present like it in my life. He laughed an awful lot when he said that so goodness only knows what I'm going to end up with, I'll just have to wait and see on Sunday!
Liam has just two more days of primary school. Next term he starts at college - aghhhh, my baby! He is looking forward to it immensely, unfortunately I can't say the same, the boys have been so lucky to attend our lovely local primary. There are more kids in his year at his new college than there are at the whole primary school! Over the next few weeks I am going to be able to put all kinds of Vault tips into practice. His new school uniform is going to cost $300 (that's just for the summer one!) and he brought home an enormous list of stationery requirements the other day. Coming from six years at a primary school with no uniform and a grand total of about $11 a year in stationery it has come as a huge shock. There were other things I hadn't considered either - like, he's going to need a bigger school bag. Noel and I found the perfect one the other day but it was $60! Needless to say we didn't buy it but we're going to have to find him something in the January sales. The basic rule of thumb at college so we're told, is to just buy horrible things so nobody will want to steal them. No 'cool' bags, jackets, lunchboxes or anything, or they'll just get pinched. Nice place. On the plus side I suppose it will save us a fortune if we just buy the cheapest of everything and Liam's never given a stuff about flash labels thankfully. However, I have a feeling once he gets to college that will all change - how I wish he was five again!