Tuesday, 17 March 2009

And the winner is ...

We were waiting for a certain little someone to wake up from their nap, then all the names went in an eggbox (what else could we have used?!!), the little one drawing the name put on her little chick hat and she got down to business!

Not that you can see it very clearly on the photo but the winner is Heartfelt. Congratulations Janelle the eggs will be with you very shortly. Thanks to everyone who left a comment - it's really lovely to hear from you all. x

PS A happy St Patrick's Day to you all too! Being from Irish heritage I usually try to do something for St Paddy's Day and to show the girls their ancestry. This year it has come up on us a bit quick so it's just a bit of baking for tea - Irish Soda Bread - never made it before so will let you know how it turns out!

Monday, 16 March 2009

An unexpected walk

We set out yesterday to drive through the Manawatu Gorge and explore the other side. We got as far as Ashhurst and the car started making funny noises. Things didn't seem as though they were going to turn out very well when we opened the bonnet and there was some smoke/steam - not a great sign. Needless to say it doesn't put you in a very good mood and a few choice words were aimed at all and sundry!

Fortunately for us we had pulled into the parking area just by Ashhurst Domain so I thought we could all do with getting out for a walk and cooling off. I'm very glad we did. There was a track lined with eucalyptus trees. I love the scent from the leaves and Maia was amazed that you could just bend the leaf in half and such a beautiful smell would come out. I also love the way their bark strips off revealing the pure trunk behind it. Now if only I could think of something to do with all the bark strippings that were on the floor!

There was quite a chilly wind blowing but in the sun was glorious. These little fellas thought so too!

We don't get cicadas in England so I'm entranced by them. I only recently saw one as close as this and the colours on them are amazing. I can't believe how much noise just one of these creatures can make. The girls, of course, find them fascinating but want to prod and poke them - what is it about little ones little fingers?!!!!
Then we came across this lookout. The wetland area was awash with pukekos, which I think are amazing. I remember when I first saw one I thought they were so cute and the name is great. They have blue feathers with a white dash underneath their tail and bright red beak and legs. I guess you could say they are a bigger, different colour version of a moorhen! - although I don't think they are the same family. The mountains on the left are the Ruahines and on the right are the Tararuas - the Manawatu Gorge runs through them. On both sides there are wind farms. If you look really closely you can see the windmills on the left! My girls are fascinated by them and so am I. I think there is some majestic beauty in them standing tall on the mountain ridges. The fact they can provide electricity from a renewable, 'free' source is just awesome. Apparently you can get close to them up another road so will have to explore further.

And you can't go on a walk like that without bringing something home. 4 beautiful big pine cones still attached to the branch!

Aren't the colours wonderful?

And the car? When we got bak we were able to check everything in the engine and it looked as though the coolant levels and power steering fluid levels were low. We hadn't checked them recently but it had just had a service so you don't think you have to! Lesson learnt there. Luckily there was a garage in Ashhurst with someone who knows about cards working. Topped everything up and made it home. Fingers crossed we've figured out the problem! x

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Sayings and giveaway

We have been so busy today that I've not had time to post and I'm too tired now!! Just a quick reminder about the giveaway I have going at the moment - leave a comment on this post and go in to win some Easter bunting.

Thought I'd just share these 2 little sayings with you, that I think are oh so true!

"The only normal people are ones you don't know yet" - Joe Ancis

"Friendship is when people know all about you but like you anyway" - Anon

Saturday, 14 March 2009

A cautionary tale about smugness ...

Yesterday I dusted the crockpot off. I don't particularly like making my tea first thing in the morning, there's just something about handling meat at that time of the day, but when it's all done and cooking I'm always pleased I've bothered. It also means that you can go out for the afternoon knowing that you'll be coming back to tea. Some days I find mid/late afternoon a really hard time to deal with. I'm tired, the children are tired, if arguments are going to happen it tends to be at that time if day.
So yesterday I suggested a walk at 3 o'clock. We had found a new duck pond earlier in the day so I thought I would get a few jobs done, we'd feed the ducks and we'd all be happy.
It was all going to plan. Walk done. Jobs done. Ducks fed. Then I thought why not go to the park aswell, I've nothing to rush home for. The girls raced ahead delighted at the prospect of playing in a new park. I meandered slowly behind drinking in the sunny afternoon, thinking I really should have bought some crochet to do whilst the girls played. I found a seat and sat down feeling, yes you guessed it, very smug - it was one of those rare 'all's right with the world' moments.
Then I noticed that Maia had already been up and down the slide 3 times whilst Cassia was just standing at the top. "Cass, what's wrong honey?" "Done wees." Now sometimes this means 'I need to do a wee' and sometimes it actually means 'I have done a wee'. I went to look and there was a lovely puddle, wet trousers, knickers, shoes - the whole caboodle. I hadn't taken a change of clothes - the bubble was well and truly burst!

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Small celebrations and a giveaway ...

The world seems to be getting more crazy each day, in fact I don't really like to watch the news anymore because it seems like all there is is bad news and the bad seems to be getting worse than ever, if you know what I mean!

So I have decided to celebrate the small things, I guess a way of counting your blessings. Here goes:

1) we started in our garden today and went from this:

to this:

with plenty of these:

"long worm mummy, looonnnnnngggg!"

"this is mummy worm, mummy"

one very relieved worm back in the soil!

with none of the threatened rain:

2) Cassia wet her knickers today, but on the wooden floor not on the new carpet!

3) What's better than finding one of these?

Finding two of them of course! And for only $3.50 each they were a fantastic buy for my little girls. I had thoughts of repainting them but that can wait because they like them just the way they are.

4) Having an idea and trying it and it works! I wanted to crochet an egg shape. When I googled it I came up with lots of patterns but they were for 3D eggs and I just wanted 2D so I took my heart pattern and figured out the rest. It only took 2 attempts and I had an egg shape! Hurray!

So that nicely leads on to the giveaway! This is my 100th post - wow I can't really believe it so let's celebrate. Leave a comment before Monday you can be in to win the giveaway. What is it? Well it's crocheted eggs of course! 7 different eggs made into a bunting - sorry no photo of it hanging - the light is fading and I was lucky to even get this one!

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

I've got me some worms!!!

I finally have some worms to eat our kitchen scraps! I read about worm farms years ago and have always wanted one but, having never settled anywhere, it's taken until now to get them. This really was quite an easy item to cross off my 37 Things because I knew I was getting them - you see they were my birthday present! Everyone I've told that too thinks I'm somewhat crazy but when you've wanted something for as long as I have then I was delighted to have them for my birthday!

We went for a Worm-A-Round worm farm in the end, mainly because they were designed and are manufcatured locally and I'd also heard good things about them. When I first got back to NZ I picked up a leaflet at the local tip shop which states that Palmerston North City Council have placed a Worm-A-Round unit in every school in the city - pretty progressive eh? We picked our up from their agent in Palmerston North but I believe that they are available at Mitre10 and Bunnings.

Basically there are two trays that sit on top of each other. They each have a tray with holes in that sits on a ledge, this is so that the worm wee, aka as vermijuice and leachate, can trickle down to the bottom tray and be taken out by the tap. The photo shows the first tray in place.

The worms like newspaper!! Shredded newspaper is used as their initial bedding, which was soaked in water in a bucket, wrung out and then placed in the tray. The girls loved this bit. In fact whilst it was soaking Cassia sat outside and played happily in the bucket for about an hour - she wasn't a pretty sight afterwards but at least there was no arguing for a while! Then for the fun bit - opening the worm parcel!

I got tiger worms from Wormz Away in Christchurch. They were by far the cheapest supplier and I ordered 500g which is about 2000 worms and they arrived by courier last week! They were safely parcelled up in their little package and surrounded by the shredded paper which you use for the bedding. The girls were enthralled:

Maia had first dibs, followed by Cassia:

The worms were then very pleased to be settling into their new home, with no chubby little fingers poking at them!

They eat upto their own weight in food scraps every day so once they have settled in, reproduced and reached their optimum population (around 8000) they should be able to handle nearly all of our food waste. Apparently they will also eat tissues and hair - does anyone else put these in? So one week on it now looks like this!

I'm still can't quite believe that they are going to turn this lot into something that's really good for the garden! Each day we have fed the worms and the girls are taking this very seriously! In fact I have to have two bowls with equal amounts of food in for them each to give to the worms. I have to say the other night it almost looked like a ancient offering ritual with both girls holding their bowls before them and walking quietly and solemnly to the great and mighty worms! Long may this interest continue. Maia's already invited everyone at Kindy to 'come and see my worms'!

Monday, 9 March 2009

More post, including an invite ...

We're now all doing much better -many thanks for the good wishes! I managed to go to Martinborough Fair even though I should have known better. I took painkillers to get through the drive but it was worth it once I was there!

Last week was very bountiful in the post department, on Monday I posted about what was in the letter box, click here.

Then I received an invitation to a powhiri. I have decided to do a Maori language course, Te Ara Reo Maori (I know there should be accents on some of the vowels but I don't know how to do that on blogger yet!). It starts tomorrow but I was invited along today to be welcomed to Te Wananga o Aotearoa. I have always been fascinated by the Maori culture and so took the opportunity to go this morning with Cassia in tow. It was just amazing! I don't know all the correct words for the protocol yet so bear with me, but we were welcomed onto the site by two ladies 'singing' and a lady at the front of our group 'sang' back - the karanga. We were then walked through the campus to the karakia room (literal translation is prayer) with this interchange going on. It gave me goosebumps! When we entered the karakia room there were about 60 people welcoming us with the most amazing 'song'. I'm certainly not doing this justice it was spellbinding and spine chilling at the same time! I also did my first hongi - Cass was somewhat shy for hers. The course runs for the whole year and I attend one night a week but I believe there will be weekend workshops on a marae aswell. I am so excited by it all! I guess that this counts for number 7 on my list of 37 things - "Learn something just for me". No doubt I will be updating you as I progress.

On Wednesay I received this:

not something you usually see on an address label!!!!! Lots to tell you about here but will do another post.

I also received a lovely letter from one of my nieces with photos of the family from Christmas. It's always lovely to receive such letters and to physically have something to read and show the girls (as opposed to a computer screen!).

And last, but by no means least, I received a lovely little parcel from Janelle over at Heart Felt. I bought her Kiwiana patches on Trade Me and they are wonderful. Many thanks Janelle! I had thought that each of us girls would have one but now I've got them I WANT THEM ALL! Once I've decided what I'm going to do with them I'll let you know.

A tui in our feijoa tree - now I know they like native trees but I don't think that includes feijoas! These are really awesome birds with a very distinct call. We had one at the back of our house in Tauranga and it was great to know when it was nearby.

A fantail, also in the feijoa! I just LOVE these birds. I've only ever seen these birds whilst tramping in the bush. When we've done the Lake Papaitonga walk, just south of Levin, a couple have always followed us through the bush. I like to think of them as our little guardian angels, in truth they follow you to pick off the bugs/insects you disturb when walking!

And finally, a tiki. I love this imagery. There is an awesome big carved tiki in Te Papa which I seek out every time I go.
The feijoa was full of blossom and looks to be bearing a whole load of fruit - unfortunately I don't like the fruit so the girls and Craig can have their pick and then I guess the rest will be passed out at Kindy! If anyone's got a chutney recipe maybe I'd try it.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

My deepest sympathies

I haven't done a post like this before and don't really know how to do it but I guess I'll just say how I feel. What I was going to post about seems pretty insignificant now.

Yesterday I was driving back from the Martinborough Fair and noticed that the bridge just outside Woodville before you enter the Manawatu Gorge was all sealed of by police. I guess I really took notice because we were just on it last weekend. I, of course, wondered what had happened, told Craig when I got home and then promptly forgot about it.

I just saw the news headlines and a young girl lost her life there yesterday. She was a new student at Massey and was doing an Orientation Week activity with the Alpine Club. Apparently there were 100 people and about 80 had down the bridge swing before her. It was her turn but she didn't survive.

What can you say? What a tragic loss of life. My whole heart goes out to her family and I hope they find some way of getting through this ......

Thursday, 5 March 2009

When I was little and I was ill I thought I could still do everything, even though my mum told me to rest and take it easy.
When I moved out of home and I was ill I knew I probably shouldn't go out but did anyway, reasoning that a few drinks would make me feel better!
I then began to really learn about my body and gain a greater understanding and respect for it. When my body was in pain it was trying to tell me something and if I just listened I could help myself regain good health. I got to the stage when I wouldn't take a painkiller at the first sign of pain, in fact I try not to take anything at all. Often times all the body needs is rest, relaxation, good food and lots of sleep. It's quite surprising that if you listen and respond appropriately at the outset of minor illness the length of illness can very often by curtailed.
Then I had children!!! They get bugs and inevitably pass them on to you (although I have to say a few times last winter everyone else got the cold but not me!). If you're lucky they are at the convalescing stage before you get it. Unfortunately this week we are all sick at the same time. Nothing serious just sore throats, colds and shivers but the very things I need and the children need, ie rest, relaxation, good food and lots of sleep, are hard to come by when two of the patients are at the stage of still thinking they can do everything!!!
In fact I felt somewhat like a 'bad mother' on Tuesday because I let Maia go back to Kindy due to the fact that when I kept her off on Monday the whole day was awful!!!!! We've even been walking into town because somehow it seems easier to cope with sick girls when we're doing things. But I know this isn't what our bodies really need and I know the recovery will take longer. I guess it's just one of the many compromises you make when you become a parent! On the bright side when they not 100% you do get a lot more cuddles and kisses! x

PS I had been looking forward to going to the Martinborough Fair on Saturday and although I know I'm not really up to it I may still go yet!

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

You know you have a problem when ...

- you tell your little girls that we are going for a walk and the 4 year old says "To the Sallies Mum?"

- you say you have to pop out to get something and the same 4 year old says "Where from? The Sallies?"

- you come home with something new and that very astute 4 years old says "Where's that from?". You reply "Guess" and there first answer is "A garage sale" and when I say no their next answer is "The Sallies"!

- you are in town with both little girls and say you've just got one more place to go, when you say The Sallies both 2 and 4 year old whoop with delight and sing The Sallies all the way to the store!

- and probably most worrying, when you walk into town, switch on to auto pilot and find yourself outside The Sallies when you are supposed to be the other side of town!!!! (And yes that did happen this morning!)

Monday, 2 March 2009

In the post today ...

Two sick little girls and one sleep deprived mother is not a recipe for a pleasant day however, what we found in the post box this morning has certainly bought a smile to my face.

The bottom two are for free coffee - which is always a delight in this house! One was from our local independent cinema, which is an awesome facility with big plush seats where you can take food and drink in. I haven't been yet but I got a voucher for it for Valentine's Day! I popped in the other day for a coffee whilst I was in town with Cassia and saw a customer survey form and thought I may aswell fill it in and be in with the chance to win a month's worth of movies. I didn't, but I got a lovely letter from the owner thanking me for filling out the form and enclosing a coffee voucher. My kind of lady and my kind of business! The other was just a flyer but it offers you a buy one get one free deal - and it's from a place we frequent regularly so yet again, awesome! Now the top letter is a first for us - a hand signed letter from a Member of Parliament. What a surprise it was to get a letter from Nathan Guy welcoming us to the district and hoping that he can be of service. Now we have moved around a lot and so have had our details changed on the Electoral Register many, many times both in the UK and over here and not once have we ever received a letter like this!
These lovely hand knitted socks were sent to me by my Mum for my birthday. Thanks Mum I just love them!
Receiving these today reminded me that I didn't show these lovely socks which I received just before Christmas back in the days when I was broadband-less! Way back here I bought some wool and sent it of to the lovely lady at A smile a day for a swap. Well when I got these I was stoked because I'd never had hand knitted socks before and I just love the colours. A very big thanks to you Denise.x

Lovely warm tootsies for winter - which by the temperature these last few mornings doesn't seem too far away!