I’ve had a few queries from readers wanting to know not how I survived the cruise but how the family survived without me.  I can report they are all alive but as Alfie’s teacher just penned in a comment, ‘We’ve missed you and I’m sure Alfie has too. No wonder he’s looking a bit thin and gaunt and his pants keep falling down’.  Yes, there’s an issue with Alfie’s pants.  They are part of the school uniform and as he walks out the door in the morning I hitch them up around his armpits but by the time he enters the school gates they are down around his ankles.  He’s just so thin there’s nothing to hold them up.  And I do offer him food but he’s just not that interested – there are just so many more interesting things to do than eat.

Before I went away I stocked the fridge, pantry and fruit bowl with all the staples like milk, juice, bread, yoghurt and bananas.  I would have loved to have been one of those excellent mothers who stacks the freezer full of frozen meals but I just didn’t have time.  But I have done that in the past and it really hasn’t been of much benefit because quite often Carl would arrive home from work having realised he’d forgotten to take the frozen meal out of the freezer that morning so it was on with the takeaway.

During my absence there was a lot of takeaway dialed up including two nights of pizza and two nights of Thai and one night in a restaurant but Carl actually did cook twice.  On both occasions he made a tomato and basil pasta and was so proud of his efforts he sent me a photo.

Basil and tomato pasta

Basil and tomato spaghetti

Not a bad effort for someone who’s reluctant in the kitchen.

Archie finished his first year of Uni and gathered his band members to start rehearsing new songs and then headed down to local haunts to busk.  It’s an excellent time of year for busking with not only the weather being warm but also so many people out socialising and being in good spirits with Christmas just a few days away.

Archie and band busking

Archie and band busking

Arabella returned from schoolies and settled into a part-time job that actually is more like full-time.  There’s murmurs of a new chap on the scene along with a few requests to set an extra place-setting at the dinner table for an introductory dinner but having lived out this situation a few times before, I’m not rushing in to ironing placemats, marinating eye fillet, cooling beers and flaming crepes.  Experience has taught me to just relax and see how things work out.

I arrived home from the cruise last Saturday in the afternoon and announced we needed a Christmas tree.  I quickly unpacked and headed out to the car to search for a half-way decent tree and I wasn’t terribly optimistic knowing the best trees would have been  snapped up first thing in the morning and by late afternoon all the remaining trees are droopy and parched from the afternoon sun.  But I found a tree at my local greengrocers that had been kept right out the back and away from the harsh sun’s rays and although short in stature it is a pretty shape.  I brought it home, positioned it in the stand, gave it a big drink then rushed out to a Christmas party.  I decorated it Sunday night complete with the angel at the top of the tree made by Arabella when in pre-school from a toilet roll.

The Christmas Tree is finally up and decorated

The Christmas Tree is finally up and decorated

I’m starting to get back into my Christmas cooking and look forward to sharing a few recipes with you in the few days remaining.

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  1. Whew, the family survived! Love hearing about Alfie’s pants…haha. And way to go, Carl…my hubby would have been beaming with pride, too. Merry Christmas, my friend!!!

  2. I laughed when I read about Alfie’s thinness because my boy has always been incredibly thin, even though he eats. At nearly 19, he’s still tall and thin. But I expect that may change within the next few years.

    Well, we still have not gotten our Christmas tree. A friend, who is leaving on a trip soon, dropped hers off yesterday, warning that it was quite scroungy. Ah, yes. It was so bad I refused to place it in our house. So tonight it’s off to see if any trees remain in this town.

  3. That’s a fabulous looking tree Charlie! And glad to hear that they all survived 😀

  4. Sounds like your family missed your cooking while you were gone…but glad Carl stepped up to the plate a couple nights 😉 Maybe Alfie should get some suspenders! hehe.

  5. Hehe. We were all wondering. Good for Carl for trying. I wonder if school would allow for suspenders like older gentlemen wear to keep up his trousers.

  6. Cheers to your family of survivors! 🙂 BTW – I hope you stop by Christmas Eve (I actually hope to post early in order to have it for your morning) … it’s a holiday party and gifts for all … plus I invite your friends here as well. After all, you can verify that I am a gracious host.

  7. Maybe your family will appreciate you even more now that you’ve left them on their own for a while! I must say, though, looks like Carl did a nice job with the pasta. What a great photo of Archie and the band. I just can’t imagine Christmas with your gorgeous summer weather. We are all keeping our fingers crossed for a snow that is predicted for Wednesday. If it stays cool enough, we might actually get a white Christmas.

  8. Big hugs to your family for making it through your absence. It sounds like they’re getting pretty independent which is cause for celebration not sadness in case you’re feeling nostalgic. 🙂

  9. Alfie’s pants sound like Laith’s pants! He too would rather do other things than eat. Carl’s spaghetti looks great! Now you can have a night off once in awhile. Glad to know the family survived ( they always do).
    Christmas tree is beautiful and I can’t wait to see what Christmas goodies will be coming out from your kitchen.

    Nazneen xx

  10. I’m glad the family survived! Poor Alfie with his pants! What kind of tree is that? Ours are usually Fraser Fir which have very short needles that are a nice greens-blue on one side and silvery blue on the other.

  11. Thanks for the update. What would they do without takeaways? Great photo of the band – I would give them money.

  12. Such a guy thing to send a photo of his cooking! Maybe you should send him one each afternoon of your dinner preparation? 🙂 When I had my last operation and was ‘armless’, my hubbies idea of post op nutrition was to order 3 gluten free pizzas then pull out 2 slices each day and leave them on the bench with a drink for me.
    Poor Alfie, I hope he at least gets a decent Christmas dinner…. 🙂

  13. Glad to know that the family survived in your absence and even though there were a lot of takeaway meals at least Carl did manage and put the effort into making two meals for the family 🙂

    Oh poor Alfie he really needs to eat more >_< he's a growing boy, but maybe it's because he's still young and when he hits puberty he'll be eating everything you have in the fridge and pantry 😀

    So happy to hear that you found a Christmas tree that you like ~ I've put mine up for the first time and decorated it a couple of weeks ago hehe I was so impatient 🙂

    Now i've gotta get on with some more Xmas shopping and cooking yay! xox

  14. Glad they all survived without you! I would love to have a real tree, your house must smell amazing!

  15. Sounds like they all survived pretty well. The tree looks great.

  16. Lots of takeaway meals doesn’t hurt them once in a while, the odd bit of dirty clothing or shorts worn twice only makes them appreciate you more upon your return.

  17. It is hard to get back into the swing of things, BUT those cruise pics look like you had a lovely time!!! AND a relaxing time too:-) Hugs, Terra

  18. I, too, wondered how everyone fared without you to look after them. Seeing that everyone survived and, in fact did well, maybe you need to get away more often. You know, for their own good. 🙂
    Looking forward to some Christmas recipes from Down Under.

  19. Poor Alfie and his pants! My brother was like that, terribly thin all through primary school and also tall, so clothes were a challenge. Congratulations to Archie on finishing his year of study and your Christmas tree looks great 🙂

  20. Carl did a good job on that pasta! I think I recall you sharing about another time you did make the meals and get everything prepared before you took off and then realized they’d eaten out most of the time. It’s good for everyone to have a change in scenery, and for others to learn how to adapt to mom being away. After the months of costume making, party giving, baking those fancy cakes and desserts, and let’s not forget the weeks of life that went into Arabella’s prom while she was sick and I remember the escapades with all the tailoring for her perfect dresses…I’m surprised you came home as quickly as you did! 🙂

  21. Ha well done Charlie , cant mothers pack a lot into a short time?. The band looks great hope to stumble upon it somewhere and your tree looks extra special. x

  22. Good going, Charlie! I’m sure your family is happy to have you back.

  23. I love that Archie’s band busks with a double base, and no shoes! It sounds like life is cursing along happily enough! But I bet they’re glad to have you back!

  24. You are always so busy. I have the same problem with Tylers pants. We just get tighter belts.!

  25. I’ve been away and missed that you’d gone on a cruise.. it must have been fabulous! I, too, used to make meals for the family.. but now that they’re older, I figure it’s good practice (I meant the kids, not my husband.. well, he could use the practice as well;). Good luck with Alfie’s pants.. maybe that’s why suspenders were invented? xx

  26. I’m jealous of you tree Charlie, as we lack one for the second straight year. 🙁 We’ll make up for it in 2013!

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