Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tawhitokino Sunday

Through rain showers and sunshine, last Sunday we walked through Tawhitokino regional park. To get there we walked along the rocky shore of Waiti Bay then up, up, up the many stairs. Three days later, my calves are still aching.

As we approached Tawhitokino we could hear a plane taking off–then landing. It proceeded to do this about 30 times! Getting a bit of practice I suspect.

The kids love bouncing on the branches of the pohutukawa trees.

Having recently dined on Clevedon Coast oysters in an Auckland restaurant, we decided to forage for some before heading back. We managed to get a few without injuring ourselves. Even Eadie and Ruby sampled a few. There was no way to tempt Ava to put something so smelly and slimy in her mouth. Next time we will make sure we are equipped with the right tools.


A couple of weeks ago we went to Tawharanui. Steve had discovered this place a couple of weeks earlier when he went off looking for surf. Tawharanui is a regional park and open wildlife sanctuary. The park is a haven for many bird species including the North Island brown kiwi which was reintroduced to the area a few years ago. Sadly we didn't see any kiwis:( The area is surrounded by a 2.5km predator-proof fence design to keep pests out of the park. As you drive up to the gate it opens automatically and you feel somewhat privileged to enter this protected little part of the world.

As we walked the Ecology Trail we passed through different habitats including the seashore, streams, bush and wetlands. Funnily enough we also walked through a pasture of grazing cows which didn't seem to fit the "native animal" theme. It was fun trying to dodge the fresh cow pads and out-stare the BIG cows–if not a little intimidating.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Newly weds

Congratulations to the newly weds.
m, xox

Friday, June 18, 2010

Wedding bells

Dear Corina and Tomaz

So tomorrow is the BIG day! But as I am in NZ and you're in Slovenia, I'm probably a bit ahead of myself. It's so beautiful to witness the love you have for each other. Sending the very best of wishes and all my love your way. Mara, xox

This excerpt from The Velveteen Rabbit is a message about the strength and power of true love:
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."
"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"
"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


But doesn't look a day over 3o (at least not in this shot).
Happy Birthday Steve!
Love ya'
Mara, xox

Monday, June 14, 2010

Cooking lesson

The girls have been keen to take on the responsibility of cooking one night a week–we'll see how long it lasts!

It was Ruby's turn first and she cooked a fabulous vegetable frittata. Packed with veges and full of flavour. Well done Ruby! This could become your signature dish!

Coffee break

This tea towel was a little pressie from Corina. With my new haircut, I even look a bit like a 50s housewife–don't ask. Thanks Cory.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Green beans

As June marks the half-way mark for the year I thought it a good time to post a progress report on cooking more vegetarian dishes which you may remember was one of my resolutions (updated version) for the new year. Sadly, it's not going as well as I had hoped. Everytime I attempt to make a meal without meat I end up adding a bit of bacon or tuna to boost the flavour. It's not all bad news though, as I now have a new favourite side dish.

This Lebanese bean dish is delicious and great for BBQ's. This recipe makes quite a large quantity which usually (but not always) means you have some left-over for lunch the next day–you gotta love that!

Lebanese Beans
1kg fresh green beans, washed and strings removed
½ cup borlotti beans, soaked overnight*
¼ cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
¼ cup water
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

Cut the top and bottom off beans and cut in half. Heat oil in a frying pan. Fry onion until golden brown.
Mix borlotti beans* and green beans with onion. Toss on high heat for about 5 minutes. Stir in water, salt, oregano and pepper.
Simmer, covered, for 1½ to 2 hours or until beans are soft and have been infused fully with the taste of other ingredients.

* If you want to make this dish and haven't soaked the beans overnight (or couldn't be bothered as may be the case), simply use a can of beans instead (any type). If you do use canned beans, makek sure you rinse them well and add about 1 hour after the green beans so they don't overcook and turn to mush.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Indoor rock climbing

Eadie chose to go indoor rock climbing for her birthday so that's what we did last Friday. We had a great time and, for a change, the kids were the ones climbing the walls!

And the birthday girl got a free drop slide from 6.5 metres.

Lego girl swaped the horses for indoor rock climbing! This gluten-free chocolate cake was sooo moist and yummy! Post a comment if you want the recipe.

EIGHT today!

Dear Eadie

Eight sounds soooo big! You're going to catch up to Ruby soon. I can't believe how much you have grown up in the last year–it's truly amazing. Your smile lights up the hearts of those who love you. Keep smiling for us.

Sending you lots of birthday wishes your way today beautiful girl.

Love Mummy xox