Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Aaaaarggghh .... I've now got 'it'!

So Maia had 'it' first and she passed 'it' onto Cassia who has had 'it' for 10 days and now I've got 'it'. What is 'it'? A horrible, snotty, achy cold! I had woken up with a sore throats every day last week but managed to keep it at bay but it's now here in full on strength. We're heading off on the big bird 3 weeks tomorrow and there's still soooooooo much to do. Any tips for getting rid of it quickly?!!!!!!

Monday, 29 September 2008

A weekend of treasure hunting ...

This was the first weekend for a while that I have been actively seeking treasures! On Saturday morning there was a car boot, in the afternoon a jumble sale and on Sunday morning another car boot.

This item alone was worth the trip on Saturday:

I was loaned this book but the guy who helped us do the garden earlier this year - and it's great! I had just been thinking about it again on Friday night and thought I should look on ebay and amazon to see if I could get a copy and there it was on Saturday morning!!!! The lady was selling 3 books for a pound and so it cost the grand sum of 33p!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not only do I now have a copy but I got it at such a good price!

Nothing else to show at the moment because I left my bag at my mum's!

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Things about me meme ...

I was tagged a while back by the lovely Gabes over at SweetP Knits for a random things about me meme. So here it is!

Here are the rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know your entry is up.

1. I have been somewhere on this earth where no-one else has ever been (probably!). When I was 17 I went on an expedition to Iceland. The main aim of the expedition was to map the lava tubes for the Icelandic government and carry out some botanical studies in the region. Lava tubes are underground hollows/tunnels caused after a volcanic eruption when the surface of the land cools in contact with the air but the lave is still running underneath. So one day 3 of us went to do some plotting in the most fascinating underground environment. We crawled through spaces that just took our body width and found caverns and caves - awesome! Although when I think about it now I don't think I could do it!

2. I hate celery!!!! We went to an ante-natal get-together when Maia was about 15 months and they had celery sticks there. She found them and thought they were great. Luckily for me the dads were at that one too so that Craig could pick her up and put her in the car - when I tried I really gagged and couldn't do it!

3. I really want to be a 'surf chick', although I'm not sure that's the word now that I'm a mother heading to 40! When I headed to NZ to see Craig before we got married I was convinced I was going to become a surfer. He has surfed since his teens and I thought he could teach me. How wrong could a girl be?!! I first paddled out on his board at Pekapeka and caught a wave in and so had the bug and bought my own 2nd hand board. I had fun learning in the shallows at Lyall Bay and could paddle out and catch the waves but couldn't get up. Craig would be with me for all of 5 minutes before spotting sets out back and having to head off! I'd still love to do it but would probably now settle for a surf school and huge long board!

4. Although Craig and I travelled before we met we have never travelled together - something that we'll have to rectify in the future.

5. Not including when I've been travelling, I have lived in 28 different houses! I have physically moved more than this because I/we have lived in certain places more than once! So another international move is just another feather in my cap!

6. I would really like to be able to play the guitar.

Now as I'm pretty new to this I don't really know 6 people to pass this on to. So if you read this and think you'd like a go then please do - and let me now your entry is up.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

A seasonal swap...

Well finally I have done it! It was supposed to be done and sent so that the recipient could open it on Sunday but with children being ill I fell way behind in things. The swap was set up on the GP Forum as a seasonal table swap and I had a few ideas going round in my head. When it came to executing a couple didn't work so what S is getting is a lavender filled heart with a little pocket for all the autumnal goodies. She is a very patient, understanding lady - thank you!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

What mothers do ......

.... especially when it looks like nothing!

This is the title of a great book I borrowed from my LLL meeting library (click here to see book) and also what I've been upto the last few days! Since having two children I've found that sickness seems to linger - one gets it, the other gets, one gets a relapse etc, etc and we all go stir crazy!

So today, whilst it may have seemed to me like I was doing nothing, I was in fact:

  • making playdough flowers
  • making a hospital from playdough - and a boat to get the patients to the hospital!
  • doing jigsaws over and over again
  • making friends with a spider, who Cassia called Toad and despearately wanted on her hand - this actually took over half an hour!
  • reading, reading, reading lots of books to Cassia
  • drawing, gluing and sticking
  • making and eating food
amongst all the other day to day things us mothers do!

And we sold a car. It was due a service this morning and then we got the news that the repairs were going to be over a thousand pounds - ouch!!!!! So we sold it and got an OK price for it. Now all that's left to do is sell another one, rent out the house, sort, organise and pack and then get on that plane to NZ!

Oh we also found these:

Vintage Rupert the Bear snap cards - aren't they just awesome? And great to see a golliwog!

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

An accident ...

On Sunday I opened my second package from Jem, which was part of the seasonal table swap on the GP Forum. In it was a beautiful handmade painted red leaf - many thanks Jem. Now I have never had a seasonal table as such before, things are just usually strewn all around the house! So this was the motivation I needed to make a specific place for all our bits and bobs, however with a sick little one I knew it would have to wait so I placed the leaf well out of reach of little hands in a safe place. It was therefore with some dismay that when I went to make lunch yesterday I saw that the leaf was broken ......... and it was Craig who had done it! I am so sorry Jem - but I am going to stick it back together and it will have pride of place on the seasonal table!

A big heart ...

Just remembered this little snippet.
On the morning of Maia's birthday party my sister rang to say that her daughter was not very well and wouldn't be able to come to the party that afternoon. When I got off the phone I explained the situation to Maia and immediately she said "Mummy we must save some cake for C when we're at the party so that Aunty S can take it back for her when she's better enough to eat it"!! She really is turning into a lovely generous and considerate little girl - apart from when she's arguing with Cassia of course :)

Sunday, 21 September 2008

And the winner is ...

Me actually - look at what arrived in the post yesterday!

The note reads:
Things like this never make it to the freezer in our house because they are always eaten way too quickly (and Jem if you're thinking that you posted more than this - the others are already in our tummies and they are delicious!!!!). This were sent by a lovely lady, Jem, from GP Forum for our seasonal swap - the other pressie is not to be opened until tomorrow. Big thanks to you Jem!
The question when it came to making the draw was not "Where's a hat?"

but more like "Which hat will we use?"

Maia pulling the name out of the hat and the winner is ...................... Julie! And she really was meant to win because Maia decided to draw from the hat at least half a dozen times and it was Julie she pulled each time! Let me know whether you'd like the crochet heart or the beanie!
And yes that is a swimming costume Maia has on - she must know she's heading to warmer climes soon, although this week has been amazing. Unfortunately for me I have had two very sick little girls. Maia is almost better but Cassia is still at the incredibly irritable and clingy stage with gunky nose, eyes and bum! The best thing about breastfeeding a sick toddler? Instant silence for the time they are at the breast. The worst thing? Snot absolutely everywhere!

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

A big move in the offing ...

It's already been a week since I posted a photo of packing boxes and I've not got back to it since - where does the time go?! For those of you who don't already know we're heading back to NZ. The whys, hows and wherefores are not all worked out yet but the flights were booked yesterday - so we've at least got one definite!

To cut a very long story short we have decided to rent out our house in the UK and head back to NZ - whether it's 'for good' or not we don't yet know. Although what is 'for good' these days? Permanent doesn't seem to feature in our family dynamics - the longest Craig and I have been in one place since we met is about 18 months (and that's not all in the same house!). We have been called eternal gypsies, foolish, brave and much more by various people over the years and so it's not that much of a surprise to people that we are once again uprooting and moving back to the other side of the world! Of course one thing that is different now is that we have two children so they must be considered and it also sharply increases the price of any travel we do (this time they'll both be over 2 so have to pay 75% of adult fare - ouch!!!!!!!). I thought by the very fact of having children we would become rooted but 4 years later we're still not.

Lots of things have happened over the last 2 1/2 years, which aren't really suitable for public broadcast, but which mean that I have to focus on my immediate family - Craig, Maia and Cassia. And the decision has been made to return - an extremely hard one to make in some respects but we think it is the right one. However, we are not going with all guns blazing - we're going to rent out the house here and put our things into storage (those same things that were only shipped back from NZ last year!) and take some time to visit a couple of places we've dreamed about. It would, of course, be very easy to head straight back to Tauranga and our friends there (who I have missed dearly whilst in the UK) but we're after 'the dream' and so are heading off on our own modern quest to find it. Lots of places to visit, lots of questions to be anwered but I'm sure we're going to have lots of fun in the process along with some tears, heartache and frustrations!
No doubt I'll be keeping you posted - the whole nature of this blog will change for a little while because I don't see me having much time to be very crafty for the next 5 weeks with everything that needs sorting, packing and organising! Yep, 5 weeks until we go - so we'll make the end of spring in Aotearoa and are hoping for a lovely summer in which to explore the land of the long white cloud!

Party photos ...

Iced and ready to go - now I could have sworn there were two dozen last night!!!!!

Looking pretty on a stand - and they tasted pretty good too!

The birthday cake - yep that tasted quite good too! Along with the scones and tarte tartin that my mum made!

Vintage table cloth picked up at carboot for 10p

All laid up and ready for the guests

The birthday girl - in a dress that I had when I was little - she picked it as her 'party dress' -
of course I was very happy about that!

The birthday girl's little sister with felt all over her face - she must have been practising her moko whilst watching the All Blacks!

Monday, 15 September 2008

A little maths ...

Friend's 3rd birthday party
9th anniversary
Maia's 4th birthday
first week back at pre-school for Maia
sorting and packing at our house
biopsy results
planning overseas trip
planning 4th birthday party
actual birthday party
one very, very tired mama!
PS remember there's a give-away on - click here and be sure to leave your comments!

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Birthday preparations

Tomorrow's the day! Thank goodness I changed my mind at the beginning of the week as to what we were going to do for Maia's birthday party. It is currently heaving it down so I think it'll all be inside tomorrow - unfortunately for Maia, because she loves to play cricket with all of her cuzzies! Can you believe for her 2nd birthday we were all outside and in a swimming pool?! We headed over to my mum and dad's this afternoon and got most of the things organised so that they'll be no mad panic tomorrow (and of course not forgetting the finale of the Bledisloe is at 10.30am our time!).

I have now made 52 cupcakes in 5 days - waaaay too many!

The actual birthday cake is the one pictured above - an old family favourite. My brother and I always used to ask for this (he's going to be 40 and I'm 36) and I made it for Maia last year. When we started talking about this year's birthday she said straight away that she wanted a clock cake - a tradition continues! The recipe book is a copy of an old Hamlyn one that my mum had and I learnt to cook things out of when I was growing up. One Easter I went to the Book-a-rama in Tauranga and found the exact same book for $2 - I think the ladies were somewhat nonplussed at how happy it made me but hey! I've since found out that my sister has found a copy too so it's a real family book.

Just put the cake in the oven so all that's left to do tomorrow is the icing and decorating the cupcakes - and the girl's are 'helping' with that! It's strange for me to feel so calm and to be ahead of the game - fingers crossed there's no big hiccups tomorrow!

Friday, 12 September 2008

A smile ...

You've probably all heard this but thought I'd put it up because even reading it puts a smile on my face!
Smiling is infectious,
You catch it like the flu,
When someone smiled at me today,
I started smiling too.
I passed around the corner,
And someone saw my grin,
When he smiled I realised,
I'd passed it on to him.
I thought about that smile,
Then realised its worth,
A single smile, just like mine,
Could travel round the earth.
So, if you feel a smile begin,
Don't leave it undetected.
Let's start an epidemic quick,
And get the world infected.
Author unknown

A happy handmade birthday!

Vintage cards for a 4 year old? Well of course these weren’t sent to Maia this year but to me in 1976!!!! Now if you didn’t believe I come from a family of hoarders, who I really must blog about one day soon, you might now! I was over at my mum’s the other week and was looking through one of her old sewing boxes and came across these – how cool is it that I have these?

So Maia turned 4 on Tuesday and what a day we had. Monday night was spent baking cup cakes for her to take into pre-school. She was so excited about going in with her tin of cakes but was very worried that no-one would know it was her birthday. When I said she could tell them she replied ‘no, it’s a secret!’ – childhood logic for you!.

She opened her presents first, many handmade of course!, and seemed very, very happy with them.

You may all recognise these from previous posts – but they were just what she wanted! The pink gluing picture is one that Maia made for herself 'It's for my birthday mummy'

We had planned to go to the Cotswold Wildlife Park which I know both littlies would have loved but due to the rather inclement weather we have been having (and that really is an understatement but I tried very hard not to mention this topic!!!!) we decided to go to the Butterfly Farm, which I will blog about another day because it was sooooo cool, but I am really tired now!

The birthday girl singing and dancing in the rain

Out for tea, which is a really special treat, and then home for bath, books and bed – both girls were asleep in 5 minutes!

Thursday, 11 September 2008

What a lucky girl I am

Following on from my post They say things happen in 3s ....... this is three good things that happened today:
I knew these were coming - 41 Golden Hands Encyclopedia of Crafts booklets - a snip at 99p on ebay (of course there was the postage but we'll keep quiet about that!)
As printed on the front cover HOW TO PUT YOUR LEISURE HOUTS TO MORE CREATIVE AND MORE PROFITABLE USE - don't you love it?

These were delivered to me by a lovely lady from freecycle after I posted a wanted for sundae dishes/banana splits

Now, I know they are plastic and I know they are garish - but aren't they just the thing for a little girl's party?
And finally, a totally lucky event which puts meaning into the saying being in the right place at the right time

I was on my way to pick up Maia from pre-school this afternoon and passed a couple working in their garden. The house is just around the corner from us and I had noticed the beautiful lavender every time I passed. It took the trip into town to assimilate what was going on but on the way back we stopped and politely asked what they were doing with all the lavender they were cutting - nothing!!!!! Can you believe our luck - you can't see the scale on the photo but there's heaps and they were so happy to give it to us. I feel a homemade card winging its way to them!

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Sharing the happy news ... and a giveaway

1 Craig and I celebrated our 9th anniversary yesterday

With everything that's going on at the moment both of us had forgotten about it!!!!! I remembered at 4.30pm the night before and luckily a friend could sit Cassia for a couple of hours and Maia was going to pre-school so we got to go out for breakfast on our own. Now it doesn't sound huge but it is such a lovely luxury to be together just the two of us - no-one else to look after, no refereering the 2 girls, no sticky little fingers over you and no requests for that lovely last bite!

2 Maia's 4th birthday

We have had a delightful day and will certainly post more about this because it has been great!

3 I received great news today

I had a biopsy taken 10 days ago for a suspected form of skin cancer - today I heard it wasn't - hurray!!!!!!!!! Although I know I need to be checked every 6 months and be viligant about my skin, at least I don't need another operation - and on my forehead to boot!

4 50 posts!!!!!!!!!!

OMG, I can't believe I am now a blogger! I would like to thank everyone who has visited my site and for all the lovely comments that have been left. I haven't acutally told anyone I know that I have been doing this, because I didn't know what they would think of it and me! (Just like I wasn't sure what I thought of other people who blogged!!!!) However, I have really enjoyed doing this and have loved finding other people's blogs too - it's so strange how you seem to attract and to find such like-minded people. So as a thank you to you all I would love to have a GIVE-AWAY!!!! Any new comments to the blog within the next week will be put in a hat and one drawn at random (now isn't that something for this age of technology?!). What will it be? A child's beanie or a heart bag - you're choice! So leave your comments before the end of Tuesday 16 September - and be in to win :) !!!!

5 I have saved the most momentous news until last
Look at the picture and guess what we're doing?!

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Finished work and WIP

Well it's about time that I finally put up some more things I've been working on. Since starting to read blogs I have found a common theme - everyone seems to have many projects on the go and very often starts new things when they've vowed they won't until some of the old ones are finished! Now the term WIP, work in progress, I am very familiar with since I have an engineering background, but I especially like the term WISP, work in slow progress, which I saw for the first time here! I think it so accurately describes what's in my cupboards!
First I thought I'd do something with the hearts I've been making - so I turned them into a little girl's bag. It was a hit with Maia so I thought we'd give this one to her little friend whose party we went to yesterday, which means I now have to make another one for Maia before her birthday on Tuesday!

We spent a bit of time in the week sorting out all of my buttons. The girls love doing that and whilst they were so engrossed in it I thought I'd have a quick go at something. You know when you have these ideas and you spend time thinking, preparing and then finally doing them and for what? The end result is nothing like what's in you rhead and you wish you'd spent the time doing something more productive instead. I have many of these situations, so this time I thought I would just do it. Now the photo's not great but it does look nice and would look great put in a little frame - and then I see the huge crease right through the middle - aaaaaarghhhhh! However it only took a few minutes so will have to try again getting properly organised next time!

Now I can't say this is totally finished but all I have to do is stitch on the flower - one of today's jobs! I modified the pattern that I used to make this one and I have to say the fit is much better. I also found that halfway through it fitted Maia just perfectly so will have to get some made for children.

This is a work in progress. I had been to the wool shop and picked up some lovely cotton on special not really knowing what I was going to use it for but you never pass up a bargain! A few days later I was was looking through an old pattern book of my mum's and saw a lovely bedspread with this design. Now I'm not quite up to doing a bedspread at the moment but thought a smaller version would be great for my next blanket to donate to Cuddles.

Now this isn't strictly WIP but it's certainly helping me to get them finished! I was over at my mum's and saw this beautiful 'sewing/knitting bag' (I don't know if they've got a proper name) and it was just sitting in a cupboard! When I said how nice it was mum asked me if I'd like it - yes! It belonged to my great aunt and it's just beautiful and so functional too. It's got pockets inside to put all your little bits and pieces - I don't lose my scissors anymore!

And last, but certainly not least, is a bracelet my mum made. Having seen the one I knitted here she decided to have a go but crocheted it. She also has a formidable stash of buttons, seuqin, beads (in fact anything to do with any type of craft!) so was able to finish it with really striking embellishments. My nieces were around on the same day that I saw it and we were all fighting for it because it looks awesome on - who won? My mum!

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Pledge Update ... 7 done!

5 I will plan a weekly menu and shop accordingly

I used to do this all the time but it has fallen by the wayside somewhat recently. When I actually had a good look at the freezer and cupboards I realised that I could do with using up some of the food already in the house so this week's shop was very small. Tonight's dinner Shepherd's Pie with veg (the mince had been in the freezer for a couple of months so thought I'd better use it up!)
6 I will make one meal from leftovers

That's veg soup for lunchtime today - it was everything that was leftover in the chiller drawers of the fridge - and actually very tasty!
7 I will make something like bread instead of buying in plastic wrap

I made a loaf yesterday- sundried tomata and parmesan - yummy!

I still haven't got round to making bread from scratch and baking in the oven but we do use the breadmaker quite a lot (received from freecycle after I posted a wanted - in fact I got 4 offers and picked another one up for my sister!). I made this loaf from a packet mix so all I had to add was water and the only waste was the paper packet which can be recycled. However, I now realise that the bread I usually make isn't Zero Waste because the yeast comes in a non-recyclable sachet - so will have to explore other alternative for the yeast.

This whole prcoess has really changed how I look at things. I thought we did OK before I started working on the pledges, and I still think we are probably above average in our recycling/reducing efforts, however when I really started to think about how we use things and the waste that's produced I see we have a long way to go to reach Zero Waste. I'm very glad I did these pledges and although I have now finished I see it as just a start with more actions being incorporated into our daily life and continuous improvement with the ultimate aim of Zero Waste.
Yesterday I made some soup to go with the bread for lunch, Roasted Tomato and Red Onion Soup. It is so easy and so delicious that I thought I'd share it with you.
  • 6-8 tomatoes with stalk bit taken out and quartered
  • 2 red onions peeled and cut into chunks
  • Place these in a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt
  • Place in an oven at 220 degrees for 20 minutes
  • Make up stock - I used to use 1 litre but now Cassia eats soup it's better thicker so I've just been using 500ml
  • Add to pan and return to oven for another 20 minutes
  • Remove from oven and blend
Unfortunately the tomatoes we used yesterday weren't from our garden but I bet it would be delicious with ripe/overripe tomatoes from a glut in the garden.

Do you think Cassia enjoyed it?!

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Pledge Update ... 4 down 3 to go

4 I will use a refill scheme for one product

This is something I have thought about vaguely before, but taking the Pledge has made me do something about it! We use Ecover washing up liquid but unfortunately the health shop in our town doesn't do refills. When I went to the Ecover website I found you can search by postcode or county to find stockists and places that refill - click here. I have now found somewhere that does. We don't need any at the moment but I know where to go when I do - so I guess I can call that done!

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

People never fail to amaze me

Just had to share two amazing things that happened over the last couple of days.

I have got to know a lady through freecycle - she has picked up a fair few things that I've offered and has kindly dropped a few things into our house too. So on Sunday whilst clearing things for the Zero Waste Pledge she came to pick up a clothese airer. We had 2 bottles of red wine lying around too and since neither of us drink the stuff I thought I'd ask her if she'd like them - she did!!!! Well the following day I got a lovely thank you from her and she said she had been wondering what she could do for us - she's planning on brining the girls something back from France AND she offered us the use of the place they are renovating in rural France for a week for free!!! I was totally overwhelmed - what a great offer and what a great lady!
The other concerns my two little angels, because that is what they were all day long yesterday. The two of them played all day long really happily with no arguments!!!!! They started in the morning going through our whole day with Maia being mummy and Cassia, well being herself!, and then it progressed to playing nursery where all the babies, and again Cassia, were babies at the nursery and Maia was Miss Laurie and I was the grandmother! And then to playing with their toys - really interacting and helping each other. Miracles do happen!

Monday, 1 September 2008

The summer's end ...

Signs that summer's now drawing to a close:

- hanging the washing out first thing in the morning and it still being damp at teatime

- the ripening of the blackberries

- the arrival of these

- and of course the promise of what awaits inside