Friday, January 29, 2010

Flotsam and jetsam

I just love scouring the beaches. Searching for interesting things that have been churned by the waves and tumbled over the rocks before being abandoned at the high tide mark. You never know what you might find and without a bit of imagination, most of it looks like junk littering the beach.

This gorgeous mobile was made entirely of things found on the beach: the stick, rope, shells, fishing line and coloured plastics beads on it (don’t know what they’re called).

Now I know I’m diverging a bit here, but do you remember the Wombles? Of all the old kids’ TV shows that have made a comeback I can’t understand why we haven’t seen the Wombles. They were well ahead of their time when it came to recycling and upcycling. The modern green kid would surely be able to relate to these guys, don’t you think?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Birthday cake

Eadie and I made a birthday cake for Ruby today. We took some photos so you can appreciate the results given what we had to work with. Yes, we did cook it in that benchtop oven!

Happy Birthday Ruby Girl!

Dear Ruby

I think you are amazing. You have so many qualities that I admire. I'm proud of the way you give things a go, even if they seem a bit scary. You have a beautiful smile and you often surprise me with how much you know about the world. Happy birthday beautiful. Love Mummy, xox

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Jumping off the bridge

Ruby was really keen to jump off the foot bridge into the water below. I told her that she should do it with Steve. So the next day we all headed down to the beach and Ruby, as keen as hot English mustard, got ready to take the plunge. Steve went first and without hesitation, Ruby followed. Steve then challenged me to do it. It didn’t take much persuasion–it looked like fun. Off I went. I think the girls were surprised I actually did it. They know me as the mum who is usually too lame to get into the water. It was fun. Ruby and I did it over and over again. And guess what? The water wasn’t too cold either!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


The end of our week at Raglan is drawing nearer but here yet. I love this place. It reminds me a little of Byron but way smaller and quieter. The bach overlooks the water and is really quaint. When we're not on the beach we spend time on the deck watching the tide turn. The weather has been fantabulous. Boy, I wish you were here.

The kitchen is basic but has an espresso machine which you all know is top priority. There is one electric hot plate which you plug into the wall and a benchtop oven in which I am going to try and bake a sponge cake for Ruby's birthday (I'll let you know how I go).

Much to Steve's delight, the surf has been pretty good. So often when we go on holidays the surf is crap. There is a surfing comp at Piha at the moment and as the competitors are eliminated they are heading down to Raglan so it is starting to get a bit crowded. This pic was taken above Manu Bay on our first day. Steve caught some waves whilst I searched for flotsam and jetsam. The girls played their modern version of make believe which goes something like “let's fake that we’re a...”.

PS. Happy Australia Day!

Resolutions [an update]

How boring am I do deliver such a stock standard list of resolutions when there is so much to work on? The truth is, when we dig beneath the surface, what we find can sometimes be a little confronting–even scarey. So much so, that we may want to keep it private and get used to what we find before sharing it with the world.

That said, my revised NY's resolutions are (and I figure it's not quite the end of January so I can probably get away with this):
Exercise: Well, I'm still on holidays but I'm committed!
Drinking: See above.
Passion: Still searching...
Food: I'm a carnivore but I think that most of us can benefit from eating less meat (and that doesn't mean substituting it for smoked salmon!). The truth is, I find it easy to create a meal around meat but without the animal, and apart from pasta napolitana, I don't really know where to begin. I am on a quest to have a few hearty, vegetarian meals in my repertoire.
Laugh: I definitely need to lighten up and laugh more.
Anger vs Peace: (this is the revealing one) I am going to try and deal with my anger. I'm not sure where it comes from but it's always there beneath the surface waiting for a trigger. I'm really going to work at resolving this because it has the potential to affect the rest of my world–for good or bad.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Plum jam

I recently made some plum jam and thought it would be great so post some pics of it bubbling away in the pot. Of course, once I got started, I forgot to take a pic. So here’s a pic of the empty pot and bottled jam instead.

Before you all start thinking I’ve gone all Martha Stewart, I have a confession. My friend Meri had been making jam with the plums she got from her neighbour’s tree. She boiled the plums, sieved them then found she had too much fruit and not enough sugar. Her original intention was to buy more sugar and use the last of the fruit puree but after the first batch was over it and offered me the puree. Well, with all the hard work done, how could I refuse. So that’s my confession, now back to the jam…

I thought it would be great to make a batch of scones with the delicious jam on top (I sooo want to by a food stylist for Donna!). Anyway, I didn’t get around to making the scones–I never was much good at baking scones and my attempts at the gluten free variety haven’t excited the troops in the past. So here is a pic of Ava with her 100th jam sandwich, dipping her fingers in the jar.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


The Waikato is the longest river in NZ. It starts at Taupo feeding from the lake, and ends just before Auckland. This picture of Ava is taken at Huka Falls. The water is really clear and amazing blue in colour.

We are lucky that Steve is such a keen swimmer, seeking out and entering all ocean swims within driving distance. He is now the Australian and NZ Masters' champion for his age group. A great effort–a stomach bug didn't even slow him down!

On the morning of our departure we found a natural hot water spring right on the edge of the lake. Too wimpy to swim in the lake, this will be the first place I go to when we visit next.

Monday, January 11, 2010

From the top

I climbed the mountain again the day before we left.

We're back home. On Friday we head off to Taupo for a few days.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Modern life

This is a picture of a few of the gadgets we bought with us on holiday. When I told the girls I wanted to take a picture they didn't quite get it. I had to explain how "When I was a kid..." we didn't have laptops, mobile phones, iPods and DSs.

An inventory:
2 x mobile phones
3 x iPods
2 x DSs
1 x laptop (includes docking station and webcam)
1 x camera
All the chargers and USB cables that go with the above!

While I'm on the "When I was a kid" subject, does anyone wonder how the Y generation learn to touch type? I learnt at school in Office Studies (I think that's what it was called). We learnt on old-fashioned typewriters, repetitively typing on the QWERTY keyboard without looking at our fingers. If you were lucky you got to use one the two electric typewriters. WooHoo! I think it's a good skill though – much quicker than using two fingers.

Another subject I did at high school was Parentcraft. Yes, can you believe it? A subject for girls only. Somehow we were meant to acquire the knowledge needed to be a good mother by cutting pictures out of magazines and sticking them in a scrap book. We also got to bath dolls and learned to fold cloth nappies. Wow, that was really helpful–not! I'm sure anyone with kids will agree, nothing can prepare you for being a mother. Parenting comes down to osmosis; kids learn by watching their parents.

Friday, January 8, 2010

How long will this last?

Another gorgeous day – I could get used to this. Knowing this is probably as warm as it's going to get here, I made myself get in the water again. It was torture for Steve to watch. First my ankles (5 mins); then my knees (another 5 mins); groin (at least 10 mins); kidneys and armpits (10 mins); and finally under! Mission accomplished, I stayed in for less than 10 mins.

We found a shady spot on a shelly beach with lots of exploring to be done.

Steve decides to swim around the island in the distance, returning 50 minutes later.


Eadie's shell sketchings.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Summer arrived today

What a gorgeous day. It's predicted to be raining on Friday which possibly means cold and windy too. But I don't want to sound like I'm complaining about the weather, we are making the most of it.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

You call this summer?

We are at Mt Maunganui, affectionately know as The Mount. Our first afternoon at the beach. It is quite late so the sun has lost it's heat (warmth). Steve and Ruby get in the water and catch a few waves on the boogie board. After getting my feet wet and a long pep talk to self, I don Steve's winter rashie (the one he uses in Australian waters) and decide to take the plunge. However, the process was not so much a plunge but more like a long drawn out wade. Everyone knows I am a complete wimp when it comes to getting into anything cooler than bath water.

So here is a picture (geez, I look old), taken by Eadie, just to prove I did it. Don't ask me if I enjoyed it, I think I would need a full wetsuit for that.

And here is a cute picture drawn by Eadie:

Saturday, January 2, 2010


I just love my Frankie calendar. I got one last year and fell instantly in love with the pretty pictures. So much so that I couldn't bear to write on it, opting to photocopy it and use that instead. I then framed some of the pictures. Is that a bit anal? I still haven't written on my 2010 calendar. What do you think? Should I deface it and use it as was intended, or treasure it?

New year's resolutions? I wasn't going to mention it but seeing as you asked, I'll share. You see, I don't normally 'do' them. It's not that I don't have anything that needs improvement. It's just that minor renovations can quickly turn into major reworks at which point you have to ask yourself would it be quicker to just knock it down and rebuild? And then there's the landscaping, but we won't go there.

Here are the big 3 (no surprises here):
Exercise. Usually at the top of everyone's list. It's at the top of mine too. There is sooo much room for improvement here all I have to do is put my walking shoes on and I've made progress. Of course, it's a good idea to start now whilst I can still bend over to do up my laces–unassisted.
Drinking. If it's your shout, I like G+T in summer; red wine in winter, thanks very much. Seriously though, I aim to reduce my intake. Enough said.
Passion. I am going to find a passion. Over the past couple of years I have surprised myself to find there are things that I'm good at. Some of them like Clean Up Australia Day, are worthwhile. So this year I am going in search of more passion. God knows I could use it.

Last year (or was it the year before), I started my own reward chart. I put little stars on the calendar when I did exercise or if I had an alcohol-free day. I figured if it was good for changing the undesirable behaviour of kids, then it should work for adults too. And it did! So that's where I will start this time around and maybe I'll write on the pretty calendar after all.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Twenty ten

We say good-bye to yet another decade, how quickly they fly by! It seems like just yesterday we were preparing to see in the new millennium. Many of us didn't have kids back then which meant that we usually partied in a completely different way (sigh).

To be honest, I forgot it was NYE and only just managed to pick up a few sausages from the butchers as they were cleaning up. Still, what started out as bangers and bread turned into a pretty good feast of bangers, grilled eggplant, baked potatoes and salad. This was accompanied by a bottle of Pol Rogers champagne (thanks Scotty and Sandy) and followed by a nice almond and polenta cake with cream.

Earlier in the day Steve and Ruby did some skating - all good fun, but unfortunately it ended in tears later in the day after Ruby had a stack. You should have heard the cries. Actually, you're lucky you didn't. I have no doubt it hurt but Ruby has a very low pain threshold. Sorry Ruby, you know it's true.

Before the skate stack, we had some fun at One Tree Hill. Here are some pics...

Me and Ava on the flying fox:

Cool big tree:

On the tree:

Best wishes to all my dear friends and family. Thanks for being so wonderful and supportive and willing to create so many memories together. May 2010 be happy and rewarding one.

Love m, xox