Saturday, January 7, 2012

Christmas fun and holiday frolicks

Christmas has come and gone and this mad mama is planning for the next one already in a bid to achieve some of the things that didn't quite happen this year. The key one is that I'd like to have an item for each boy to hang on the tree after we read each of our daily Advent stories from Light in the Lantern. That's about 50 odd things so I figure I need to plan and start now..... Crazy I know!

Thanks to my eventual ability to let go of many projects that just weren't meant to happen before Christmas, we found ourselves with some calm, relaxed time on Christmas Eve afternoon. Having suddenly realised that the past years Christmas wrap supply was actually somewhat non-existent, I set up a potato stamping station for the Big Pickle. Little Pickle woke from his sleep first and was not going to miss such an opportunity. He enthusiastically stamped his way through about six sheets and then insisted he'd like to do a painting also.
In another gentle indication of the different crafting personalities of my two Pickles, Big Pickle stamped one sheet then said, 'I'm not enjoying that mummy. Can I do a painting?' so, he produced a flamboyant and intriguing 'Christmas zombie' - sadly I forgot to photograph it.

Big Pickle looking angelic in Christmas Mass

Christmas morning was a blur of activity and indoor bike riding.

Then it was over to Mr Pickle's sister's for Christmas lunch and fun.

Midway through the afternoon we experienced an unusual Australian Christmas wonder - a white Christmas. An hour long hail storm had the children young and old watching transfixed at the windows.

Nothing like a touch of Christmas sparkles.

Next day it was off to the country to do it all over again. Sights like this tree buried in presents make me feel incredibly blessed and horribly spoilt and indulged. Of course the presents weren't all for me and its somewhat unavoidable to have such a scene of abundance when there are twenty-six people in the house.

Two rooms of immediate family gathered together for lunch is a heart-warming and beautiful sight.

Back home in Melbourne we soon found a day to enjoy our generous gift of an annual membership to Zoos Victoria by visiting Werribee Open Range Zoo.

Like all the zoos in Victoria this one is really well designed and has lots of quirky and scene setting side activities like the rope walk and the boardwalk surrounded by African plantlife.
There are less animals to see here than at Melbourne Zoo but with the fantastic experience of the Safari bus ride through the savannah and other environments where you can see giraffes, rhinocerous, antelopes, hippos and other animals up close it feels like you have really been somewhere amazing .........and much further than 20 minutes from our house.

Lots of space to enjoy a picnic too and eating strawberries outside under trees is Little Pickle's idea of heaven.

Mr Pickles final days of holidays inspired an impromptu lunch a local Vietnamese restaurant that we originally heard about here. Then we made a quick stop a few doors up at the fabulous Little Saigon Market where you can handpick your strawberries by the kilo - what a sight!! Though we didn't find this market through her you can read more about it on the fabulous Footscray Food Blog. This blog is such a fantastic source of information for eating in the West. It was thanks to her that we found our favourite, superbly priced Thai restaurant too.

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