This post is a bit long winded and changes tack a few times so brace yourselves. I'm trying to catch up with all the backlog of things I haven't mentioned yet so that we can all start off the new year fresh.
These first pics are from my bro-in-law's wedding a couple of days before Christmas. It was such a lovely wedding - just the immediate family at the old treasury building, with a feast to follow. There is going to be a big reception in about a weeks time so hopefully I'll actually manage to take more than three photos during part 2! Note Turi's liberty bow tie. I swear that liberty fabric has been like the magic pudding - I've made so many things out of it and I still have some left! I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to whip up another pair of trousers for Turi for the reception because these ones I made are seriously tight… and getting a bit short in the length - he really does need to stop growing so I can bottle up the cuteness!
Onto Christmas itself…
We spent Christmas Eve at my sister's for an amazing lunch. Strangely despite taking my camera along I didn't take even a single photo (too much wine perhaps?). So you'll have to just take my word for it - it was like stepping into the pages of a food magazine… delicious and beautiful - there were even raspberry stars on individual puddings for dessert… yum!
It's difficult with an extended family who all adore christmas to swing a gig as hostess for the big event. We're in those strange transition years where our parents are still young enough to want to carry on the traditions they all established when we were growing up (and don't get me wrong I love this) but we're old and crusty adults ourselves now, some of us with kids of our own and I guess it's only natural that we'll want to start doing things our way. I guess this year I've just been starting to think about which parts of Christmas I want to focus on for the kids, the things I want to become Christmas traditions at our house and which parts don't fit quite as well. So since both our extended families were having an 'off year' (with my family celebrating 'faux' and my husband's family celebrating on boxing day) it was nice to be able to spend Christmas morning in our own home.
We started the day off with santa stockings, which we kept very low key. Turi got a few balloons, a tiny toy plane, some chocolate money and, strangely the highlight, a banana! Minty's highlights were some bubble mix (her only request from Santa), and some fancy coloured pipe cleaners for her 'heart' work. I finally finished Minty's quilt which was her gift from 'mum and dad'. Turi missed out on a 'mum and dad' gift this year because I kinda ran out of steam after working on the quilt and he's one and frankly didn't notice the difference (case in point he was most thrilled by the banana!) I'm well aware that next year the 'less is more' approach to gift giving probably won't cut it but for now at least I think it's nice to try and instil some sense in the children that Christmas isn't all about the presents. Before anyone gets concerned about the children missing out, remember this is all in the context of extremely extravagant gift giving from the extended family.
We spent a quiet morning in the garden blowing bubbles, and followed this up with lunch just the four of us. I made the two Christmas foods I couldn't possibly live without - roast potatoes (Jamie Oliver style) and chestnut stuffing (thanks Nigella). I didn't make any meat because having meat from a bird bread to a point that it can't even naturally reproduce or from an animal with the intelligence of a four year old child (however humanely raised) staring up at me from the table doesn't scream 'Merry Christmas' to me. But because I am all about the contradictions I then put bacon in the stuffing (it just wouldn't taste right without it!).
After eating far too much we then visited the inlaws for a second lunch… enter the 'polar bear's jacket'. My husband's brother's girlfriend (that's a mouthful) joined us for Christmas for the first time this year. She is originally from the Ukraine and shared with us some spectacular Russian dishes. The 'polar bear's jacket' is a salad (though I guess I'm using the term salad loosely here) - the top layer is egg, then beetroot with salmon below. I love how shockingly evocative the name is - slicing through the thick white polar bear pelt to the blood and flesh below! It's difficult to come up with any western food names that even come close to this… 'toad in the hole' maybe? She also prepared a 'red head' cake - I can't quite figure out the name of this one seeing as the cake wasn't red but whatever it tasted delicious. Layered with walnuts and custard. Sadly no photo of the cake (I promise not to be so slack with my photography in the new year!)
Boxing day was another full blown Christmas celebration at the inlaws. We really were spoilt this year with some amazing gifts… we got a dehydrator! Stay tuned for some dehydrating adventures in the new year (jerky anyone?)