The Domestic Goddess Continues

Wollongong Harbour - waiting for the NYE 2013 fireworks
Wollongong Harbour – waiting for the NYE 2013 fireworks
New Year's Eve excited faces

New Year’s Eve excited faces

Take one childless, retired couple who are set in their ways.  Add four boisterous grandchildren aged nine through to fifteen.  Promise them a week or more of non-stop fun: sun, sand, surf, swimming pool, tennis, cinema, outings, and New Year’s Eve fireworks.  Put all six people in a small apartment with three beds.  You have a recipe for chaos.

Hats off to all the single parents out there – it’s a good thing that Bill and I are in this together.

A pattern has formed over the years of our grandchild visits.  Bill is on fun, and I am on food. Kids are always hungry, and they are always hungry for rubbish food.  I know I cannot change their eating preferences in a week, but I’ll be darned if I will capitulate either.  I confess – I am a veggie pusher. And I don’t have too much trouble with this brood.  As soon as they see me chopping garlic and onion – my job is done.  Courtesy of my Italian step-mother, all I do is sauté the onion and garlic in a little butter, throw in the vegetables with a little stock, simmer briefly and serve while still crunchy.  I don’t cater for individual taste.  If one really will not eat a particular vegetable – cooked carrots in the case of the eldest – I just cut it large enough to pick out when dishing up.  And I don’t restrict the variety either.  Brussels Sprouts were not in season, but I did get zucchini across by grilling it with shredded cheese on top, and broccoli is a given in this house.

So we worked our way through pasta mince bake, corned beef and parsley sauce, butter chicken (finally had enough mouths to feed to make it worthwhile dragging out the rice cooker), and countless other kid-friendly concoctions, until we finally got to needing to eat up the few treats I had bought.  The final night, we still had a packet of party pies and sausage rolls in the freezer, which I had bought as a stand-by lunch.  I didn’t want that hanging around after they had left, so it was Bill’s turn to cook that night i.e. put the pies and chips in the oven.  Guess what?  The kids were still hungry afterwards.

One of the challenges of having the group together – apart from as soon as you are settled to one activity, they are hankering after what they will do next – is convincing them there needs to be a delay between eating lunch and going swimming.  We overcame this one day, by involving them in preparing chicken schnitzel for that night’s dinner.  Slicing, pounding, flouring, egging and crumbing – fun for all the family!

Exploring the Kiama blowhole

Exploring the Kiama blowhole

What the boys got up to while the girls went shopping

What the boys got up to while the girls went shopping

At the end of the first week, Bill loaded them all in the car and drove back to Sydney, with the intention of handing them over to various parents, but when he returned, there was still one buckled in!  Her mother had agreed to her staying on a few days more.  Well, that was a week ago, and she just left now.

I always so look forward to seeing the grandchildren, and I wish we saw more of them during the school term.  As it is, we mostly have contact in the holidays, and it becomes a whirlwind of entertainment, activities, cooking, cleaning up, and washing.  I wonder sometimes, what they will remember of these times, when the baton is passed on.  At the rate this lot are growing, that will happen in the blink of an eye.

Garrulous Gwendoline, Wollongong, January 11th 2014

9 thoughts on “The Domestic Goddess Continues

  1. Hey Gwen – gosh they are all so grown up!!! Great photos and I particularly like the schnitzel making – budding Masterchefs perhaps? Bet you are ready for a bit of a relax now and a quite wine on the balcony! xxx K

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    • Oddly enough, the one most interested in the kitchen is the nine year old boy. So maybe in twenty years he will be on one of those cooking programmes, crediting his Nonna with all he knows…….. LOL ….. in my dreams. And that is a BIG TICK to the balcony + wine. xxx

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  2. Wow I’m hearing you as I’m having trouble keeping all these stay-overs and play-dates busy and fed during the holidays. So much work! At least you do get the love, the kids might not realize now but that’ll come: I still remember all the holidays with my grandparents, they were a different kind of magic 🙂

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  3. OHMYGOSH the GRANDKIDS would have the most amazing memories of the fun laughter food activities etc with u both !! Kids never forget the LOVE!! Do enjoy a rest now!!!

    We r in our car waiting to attend a funeral. I read it out aloud to john. Your blog was fun It lifted our spirits!!!

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    • I’m just hoping they won’t remember me as the wicked witch grandmother. Seems all I did was rouse on them. TR cracked me up when she said “I love coming here. It is always so CALM!” Anyway, glad that you managed a smile on this sad day.

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