The Final Countdown

Posted December 22nd, 2005 by Penny Wise

I guess I'm about as organised for Christmas as I'm going to be. On Christmas Day there are 15 coming to our house, the thought of which seems to have propelled my husband into a flurry of domestic activity. Honestly, he is rushing around like a man possessed, cleaning every square inch of our house from top to bottom - which is no small feat for a place the size of ours. 'Wow! Dad's done a really good job!' Ali nodded approvingly as he gazed around the playroom. He has done a terrific job indeed, no stone unturned - although the way he's been carrying on you would have thought I had never cleaned a surface in the two and a half years we have been here. 'Look at the mess your bloody cats make!' he grumbles, or 'Tut, have you seen the colour of this water after cleaning those windows? Disgusting'... I have to admit though, the house looks a hundred times better since Hurricane Noel passed through it armed with meths and vinegar spray. Even he has been impressed at how well the vinegar spray works. If you haven't tried it yet, give it a go - you'll never have to buy Spray & Wipe again! There are several recipes in the Vault, but the one I use is to put half a cup of white vinegar in a spray bottle, fill to the top with water and add one tablespoon of cloudy ammonia. That's all there is to it, and it works just as well as any bought product. Obviously it's going to smell more like vinegar than Ocean Breeze or other flashy fragrances, but it's not unpleasant.

The menu planning is still going strong and we've been enjoying some fantastic new meals as a result. I'm all set for Christmas dinner - normally I would be having kittens at the thought of cooking for so many people, but thanks to a few Simple Savings changes learned earlier in the year, it's going to be a breeze. You see, heaps of it is done already! Apart from the roast potatoes, all the other vegetables were bought in bulk, chopped, bagged and put in the freezer last week. No flapping around in the kitchen on Christmas morning for me! All I'll need to do is fill a few saucepans with water and bring them to the boil, how easy is that? Thank you once again Elisabete Basilio, your hint has been worth its weight in gold this year!

The only thing I must get around to doing is wrapping the kids' presents. It's all getting rather tiring hurriedly transferring all the bags from my car boot to the toolshed, then to Noel's car boot and so on, every time I need to vacate the space without the boys seeing! Would all be a lot less hassle if I just wrapped them up...

Mind you, one thing is for sure - this Christmas is going to be a lot noisier than any other. Our house has been reverberating with the sound of wannabe karaoke stars since I decided a little festive entertainment would be fun. We bought a 'Singstar' set for the Playstation - which is basically a couple of microphones and some software containing all kinds of popular songs. It's absolutely hilarious, as the software 'judges' your progress as you go along and tells you if you're tone deaf or star material. The idea was that it would be a bit of a giggle for the slightly inebriated adults on Christmas Day, but so far the kids haven't given us a look-in, as they belt out Tina Turner's 'Simply the Best' and other such gems thirty-odd times a day. Noel and I knew when the boys launched into a noisy duet of 'The Final Countdown' at six o'clock in the morning that we had unwittingly unleashed a monster. I didn't even think they would be interested - how wrong could I be!

So, we're all set; the lights are strung up and twinkling merrily, the cheesy Christmas CD's are all out and there are not too many pine needles on the floor yet. The kids are on 'present watch' to make sure Amy, our cat with a paper fetish, doesn't rip the presents open and eat all the wrapping paper from under the tree. The weather couldn't be worse - gale force winds and torrential rain, but there's still time for it to improve, I hope. I have to admit, Christmas Eve is actually my favourite and most magical time. Tomorrow night, we'll sit and enjoy some Mulled Wine, gaze indulgently at our excited children and sing Christmas songs (and more than likely 'The Final Countdown' for good measure). Then we'll put all the lights out, fill the house with candles and watch 'The Snowman' video, which only is allowed to be watched on Christmas Eve. I'll sit and bawl my eyes out as I do every year when the poor snowman melts, by which time the boys will be fast asleep. Until about 3.00am on Christmas morning when they'll be raring to go! Have a wonderful Christmas!

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