Thursday, 30 October 2008

We're here ....

and safe and sound!! So a very quick post to let you all know that we're are all happily on firm ground again. I wouldn't say that we are all with it yet but no doubt that will come over the next few days! The flight, of course, was very, very long but the girls were wonderful. I think Cassia has developed a defence mechanism and every time the plane took off she fell asleep and stayed asleep - no complaints from me!

It's very surreal to be back here with both girls and to know that it's not just a holiday. The weather was freezing when we arrived and I hadn't packed any winter woollies but luckily the sun is out in full force today and I must go and get some sun block!

I'm posting this from the library because we have no internet access yet and we can't get broadband where we are - aaaaarrrrghhhhh what am I going to do? How am I going to keep up to date with all the lovely blogs I read? I see myself finding an internet cafe with good flat whites and no children - not so bad eh?!

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Almost on our way!

The good news is that we are able to fly on Wednesday - hurray!!!
So I am just left with the last minutes things still to do - and there seem to be ever such a lot of them. We are leaving our house tomorrow to stay at my parents so I feel a late night coming on tonight. I had my first real panic yesterday and went into overdrive - it served it's purpose though because I looked for my Rescue Remedy to take and couldn't find it. Better yesterday than on the day we leave! All the boxes but 2 are packed and all the necessary paperwork/admin is done, the suitcases are another matter entirely!!!! Although I have been running down food stocks there was the inevitable items left and they have just been collected by a lady for the local Salvation Army Soup Kitchen, my last chance to extol the virtues of freecycle!
I probably won't get a chance to post again now before we leave and we don't have broadband set up where we are headed so I don't know when I'll next add to this, or have the time to read everyone else's blogs - I'm going to have a lot of catching up to do.
Please keep popping back to see because I've really enjoyed doing this and receiving all your lovely comments. Au revoir! xxx

Saturday, 18 October 2008

A little glimmer of creativity amidst all the chaos!

My creativity has faltered unerringly to a long slow stop - I am doing nada, nothing, zilch! Starting this blog back in July I was really in to my sewing and that then morphed into crochet. I think it was reading inspiring blogs and of course finding out about, and subsequently joining, Ravelry. (To begin with I thought it was just knitting so imagine my delight when I realised there was crochet too - I sent off my 'application' straight way and was gobsmacked to see that there were thousands of people in front of me waiting for their invite to be processed - this knitting/crochet community must be huge!) Since the beginning of September, once we'd actually booked flights, I've not done anything crafty (in fact my sewing machine is almost in NZ as we speak!). So this little show is the only thing I've been working on and was shown as WIP here. Earlier this year I sent a blanket to Cuddles, see here, and I made a pledge to myself to make a blanket to donate each season. So this is the blanket for autumn (not autmmn themed mind!).

It was very different this time because I knew I was making the blanket to donate. This really focussed my mind on the reasons for the need for donations and, of course, made me count my blessings over and over again. With the general frenetic pace of life and the ensuing chaos of an international move, I haven't always looked beyond the immediate picture and have sometimes got bogged down in what are, taken at base value, inconsequential things. Last night as I sat finishing the blanket, I thought about the girls having chicken pox, the chance that we may not fly out next week, the amount of work left to do if we do fly out next week and realised how lucky I am to have these so called 'problems' to contend with. Life is so precious it really is too short to worry about things beyond your control. Wishing you all lots of love and a very peaceful weekend. xxx

Friday, 17 October 2008

Visitors to our home, the welcome and not so welcome ...

So we have new visitors in our house, the mouse below is a very welcome addition. A wonderful present for Cassia from her very talented Nannan! Thank you very much Mum it's fantastic.

The other visitors, chicken pox, are not so welcome! Well certainly not at this time - did you know that airlines do not let you fly with chicken pox?!!! I am suddenly very up to speed with everything associated with it. As a truly magnanimous gesture Maia has shared it with Cassia - when we went to put her pjs on after her 'birthday party' her whole trunk was covered in little red bumps! Now we're assuming its CP because it would surely be way too much of a coincidence for her to have something else, but it's presenting so differently from Maia that I just don't know!! Well here's hoping that they both get better soon because although we can get a medical note from our doctors (they are no longer contagious 5 days after the rash first appears) in an ideal world you wouldn't chose to fly a few days after a child had CP and as it stands today I couldn't, with a clear conscience, put them through a long-haul flight! Keep everything crossed for us!

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

A very happy, if somewhat spotty, birthday ...

Cassia turned 2 today and if there's anything I've learnt since having children is that plans are made to be broken! A family birthday tea party was planned but her big sister has chicken pox so just the 4 of us had a lovely day instead.

A Sunday afternoon of family art produced this lovely banner

Hollering down 'her' phone whilst Daddy was on the phone to her uncle in NZ

What to do when plans are sent awry? Decorate biscuits!

After much playing, lots of jigsaws and some art the birthday girl slept soundly - 3 hours later than normal naptime - and then only for 20 minutes!

Birthday crowns made earlier in the day

The birthday cake! Now how much guilt did I feel that Cassia didn't have a homemade birthday cake?!!! We'd been up during the night with Maia for the previous few nights, most of the baking things are packed and I decided to take the easy way out - much better for me so why did I feel so bad?!! I couldn't leave it totally shop bought so Maia and I made it into a caterpillar.

Making her birthday wishes

Shop bought or handmade? It certainly looks like Cassia enjoyed it to me!

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Today ...

I've just found this whilst packing and thought I'd share. I'm not sure where I got it from, probably Parents Centre shortly after Maia's birth.


Today I left some dishes dirty
The bed got made around two thirty
The nappies soaked a little longer
The odour grew a little stronger
The crumbs I spilled the day before
Where staring at me from the floor
The dirt streaks on the window panes
Will still be there next time it rains.

"For shame, O lazy one" you say
And "Just what did you do today?"

I nursed a baby while she slept
I held a toddler while he wept
I played a game of hide and seek
I squeezed a toy so it would squeak
I pushed a swing, I sang a song
I taught a child what's right and wrong
What did I do this whole day through?
Not much that shows, I guess it's true.

Unless you think that what I've done
Might be important to someone
With bright green eyes and golden hair
If that is true, I 've done my share.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Autmnal colours ....

Of course there are the wonderful leaves ...

and then I found some in some fabric I was packing ...

These are a pair of curtains made up in a William Morris print which have been hanging in my wardrobe for a year since I bought them at a Jumble Sale. I had been awaiting inspiration, and was secretly a little afraid of cutting into them and then wishing I hadn't, but they are now packed away so will probably have to wait another year, or two, before they are given new life!

Not sure of the provenance of this fabric, but again a pair of curtains found at a Jumble Sale.

Now these are another matter entirely. I do not want to cut them up I want to use them and would plan a room around them! I don't usually go for fabrics like this when making curtains but there's something about them .... I don't think the photo does it justice but they are a beautiful rich green with the floral pattern picked out in white, pink and gold - in fact they don't sound great when described either. We'll have to wait and see where they eventually end up!

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Baking recipe

I didn't have time to post the recipe for the rock cakes I made on Saturday so here goes:

8oz plain flour
1/2 level tsp salt
2 level tsp baking powder
2 1/2oz butter
2 1/2oz sugar
4oz dried fruit (I just used sultanas)
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (you could use more if you like it)
1 egg
2 tbsp milk
  • Sieve flour, salt and baking powder together
  • Rub butter into flour until mixture resembles breadcrumbs (I put mine in a processor and it works just fine)
  • Stir in sugar, fruit and nutmeg
  • Beat egg and milk and add to flour mixture
  • Mix well with a fork, the mixture should be stiff but not too sticky
  • Divide mixture into 12 and place on greased baking tray
  • Bake at 200 degrees for 15-20 minutes

These were mine - have to admit they were done a little much, quite a common occurrence when you are busy with little ones and forget the baking! Doesn't look like anyone was complaining though!

The white container held chocolate and cinnamon butter which went on the fruit and nut loaf - as you can see someone wiped their finger around the dish - yes it was that nice!

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Baking and memories ...

We had my sister-in-law and her children around for afternoon tea today which is always greeted with great excitement from Maia and lots of baking from me! I wouldn't usually condone writing in books but my recipe books are an exception. It's nice to make notes on how a recipe went or if you made any variations and also the date you made it and if it was something special.

The first thing I baked yesterday was from my trusty Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook - rock cakes. The note by the side reminded me that I had first made it for friends in Tauranga after their second child was born. Just seeing the few notations bought back the whole day and the celebration of the occasion.

The next recipe also bought back huge memories but of a very different kind. When we were in New Zealand last year overseeing the sale of our house I made a bacon and apple loaf to take for morning tea at Pop's - Craig's grandfather's. He lived in Waihi and always used to bake the most amazing things himslef but at 94 we thought we'd take the food! It was also the first time he would meet Cassia. I was always overwhelmed when I thought about it because I never knew any of my grandafathers and yet my girls had a great-grandfather. He loved the loaf which was a great compliment and he thought the girls were amazing! Sadly that was the last time we saw him. Shortly after we returned to UK he headed up to Auckland to a home and quickly deteriorated. He turned 95 on Boxing Day and slipped away the next day. And with him went a whole part of the pioneering spirit of NZ - but that's a story that could fill a whole blog in itself! My life was immeasurably enriched by knowing this man and I am in awe to think that his blood is running through my children - if they do a quarter of what he did in his long life they will have done well.
Pop (94!) and Cassia (6 months), Waihi, April 2007

Pop (93) and Maia (17 months), Waihi RSA, February 2006

Rest in peace Pop - we love you and miss you terribly. xxx

Saturday, 4 October 2008

The good, the bad and the ugly ...

The good - I realised that I had never shown this although it was finished in July! I first blogged about it here and said I needed to make some contrasting tops and bottoms. Well here's one finished and as for the other? Well Cassia just wears the floral dress on its own!

The bad - I started this tanktop all the way back here and finally decided to do the front the other night. I was just going to rejoin the yarn to finish the last shoulder and held it against the back. Aaaaarrrghhhh I had done it wrong - all the way back to the shaping of the armhole! I guess I will unpick it one day but until then it will sit languishing in my knitting bag!

The ugly - I thought I'd make something for Cassia a while back and decided on a named wall hanging. So I was happy with the fabric square, I was also happy once I'd sewn on the letters of her name and then it all went down hill. I didn't really have the right material for the backing or binding but just wanted to get it finished so 'made do'. Why did I do it? I was working on it knowing that I wouldn't like the result but continued anyway. It's all out of square, the binding was atrocious and it's been stuck under a pile of fabric since it was finished! Lessons to be learnt - 1) be patient 2) sometimes you can make do and somtimes you just can't!

Thursday, 2 October 2008

3 weeks to go!!!! And a plea for help ...

It's now only 3 weeks until we head off to NZ!!!! How do I feel? Excited? Yes. Nervous? Yes. Totally overwhelemd by everything that's left to do? Absolutely!

One or other of the girls has been sick these last couple of weeks and then I got it at the beginning of the week which didn't bode well for the packing. If I could I would have rested but decided to just do a little each day and have early nights and I seem to be OK. The latest thing for me to think is that there's chickenpox at pre-school - aaarghhhhh! Neither Maia or Cassia has had it and I remember Maia mentioning that she was playing with Ellie last week - oh and isn't Ellie one of the girls who has got it! However, there's no point worrying because there's nothing I can do. In the past Maia has been playing with people twice who have then developed chickpox and she didn't catch it either time - so here's hoping.

Cassia is too young to understand what's happening but Maia isn't - I don't know if this is good or bad! She knows we're going to NZ but thinks it's for a month (not that she has a real concept of time) and she is very exicted. She remembers when we were there last year and people and places. She also really likes packing! I guess it's what you grow up with but she gets very excited when the packing boxes come out and loves packing and unpacking - you can imagine how helpful she is! The downside is that I know her little mind is doing overtime. When we sold the car last week she asked when we were getting it back. When I explained that we weren't she then said that dad was selling his so what car would we have when we got back. She also really wants certain people to come with us and has got really upset a couple of times recently when I've told her that they are not coming with us. I guess we'll just take things as they come and hopefully 'she'll be right'!

Everything is now booked - we're flying straight through! We've done this route before but did think we'd stop over this time. However, when we really thought about it it comes down to the same thing - you stop over, you go to the hotel and one of the girls doesn't sleep so you end up awake, grumpy and tired in a hotel when you could be awake, grumpy and tired but getting closer to your destination! We're going to have one night in Auckland before getting a domestic down to Wellington. Now this is where I ask you girls for some help (and I am notoriously bad at asking for help but thought what they hell!). When we first arrive we're going to be based at Waitarere Beach (about 1 /1/2hr north of Wellington) and just wondered if anyone who reads this happens to be in the area? Or if anyone knows anyone in the area? It's the area that Craig grew up in but has been away for a long time and I know no-one. I just thought if there was someone who had young children then I would love to have someone to catch up for coffee with and for the girls to have someone to play with occassionally. So there you go that's my plea for help!

Do you think the girls could go like this?!!!!!

Into the house ...

These beautiful little creatures arrived at our house last week. They came from the talented Becky over at different-choices and were a swap for some crochet hearts. Very many thanks - this is the only time that they have all been together since they arrived because the girls love them!

A jar of apple jelly. Whilst we were at my mum's she made this and the colour is beautiful. They were very small, very red apples which produced this. When you ate them the red colour bled into the flesh hence the vivid colour of the jelly. Thanks Mum!

Some pretty old hankies from my lovley aunty A. Thank you!

Now I know I should be clearing out because of the move, and honestly I am, but a few more things have sneaked in via the car boots!

And the best thing I've found recently? A Buzzy Bee for 50p - to you Kiwis that's about $1.30 - which is an absolute bargain since they cost $30 new! We were given one when Maia was born and the two girls fight over him so when I saw this I just had to get it - and at that price I had a smile from ear to ear!

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Today has been full of ...

lots of these,

lots of these,

and, unfortunately, lots of this!!