Monday, July 26, 2010

Scratches and bruises

I bought this set of drawers, dare I say it, back in May. Yes, I know it's nearly the end of July! But only a true friend would point that out, so thank you.

As you know, we were in desperate need of storage and after spending countless hours scouring second-hand shops I found this beauty. Actually, it was more of an ugly duckling, and after a make-under, her true beauty was revealed. To be honest though, she's no crowd stopper–with a few scratches and bruises, let's just say she's a bit rough around the edges. But you all know me well enough to know that I, too, am a little rough around the edges, so it suits me fine.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Vege surfer dude

I don't know how he surfs in those boots!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mud pies and glue

A few months ago we visited Mangawhai Heads which is a quiet patch of beach. It wasn't the beach the appealed to the girls of this occasion however, but the hill of clay soil. You know where this is going, don't you? Amongst the playing, which occupied them for hours I might add, they scrapped and gathered till they were happy with the contents of their "take home" bucket. Arriving home late that day, I was very quick to put the bucket out of sight.

Well, the past few days they've been asking for it and there has always been a valid excuse, I mean reason, why "now" was not a good time. That was until today, when it was a perfectly good time to get the stuff out and make a huge, gooey mess–all good, clean fun.

Watching the girls through the window, I was transported back to my childhood Sundays. After the family lunch at Nonna and Pop's farm, Corina and I, along with our cousin Simone, would would sneak spoons from the kitchen drawer and take them under the house where we would proceed to make mud pies for our imaginary pie stall. We would stay there for hours until our parents called us and it was time to go home. Of course the spoons didn't always make their way back to the kitchen and we had guilty looks on our faces when Nonna asked us if we knew we they'd gotten to.

Sadly, Nonna passed away a couple of weeks ago and for our family it is the end of an era. We have said good-bye to the head matriarch and the glue of our family—through thick and thin, Nonna was the one who held us together. And even though we may come unstuck during the rough patches we will no doubt encounter in our own lives, I hope we all remember the strength Nonna showed us.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A frosty start

Just when I was beginning to think Auckland's weren't really that bad, this morning we discovered Jack Frost had visited! (You can't really see the detail in this pic but the car windscreen is covered in a film of ice.) It was the coldest night so far this winter. I just love my electric blanket. So does Steve who, when I first raised the subject of getting one, said "Buy one if you think you need it.". He almost whimpers as he gets into bed if one of us forgets to turn it on.

We got our first delivery of fire wood today which was pretty exciting. Normally in charge of the fire building, Steve was heading off to Eden Park to watch the All Blacks vs Springboks game so he left me with a few instructions on which wood to use, and when. It all started out well and Ava declared that I was as good a fire builder as Daddy–a little prematurely in my opinion. Take it from me, it is a full-time job keeping a fire burning, making toasties and ensuring my wine glass is topped up. And here I am daring to type away on the laptop. I'd better just go and check it is still burning... Phew! It was almost out but I rescued it. The girls are so easily impressed with my skills. They see me as the "Provider of Food" so by keeping the fire burning, I think, has pushed me up a few ranks. Still, I dare not leave it any longer. Good night.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Waitomo Caves

OK. This isn't a picture of the actual cave. Merely the Visitor Centre but nonetheless, it was an impressive structure.

On our way back to Auckland we stopped off at the Waitomo Caves to see the infamous glow worms. We weren't allowed to take photos inside the cave, and they probably wouldn't have turned out anyway. After being guided down the deep cave we got into boats which floated out into the river for a good view of the worms. It was magical, just like looking up into the night sky on a clear night. The pic above was taken outside the cave at the end of the tour.

Some other pics taken at/near the caves.

We passed a herd of ostriches (is that what you call a collective of them?) on our way to the caves which deserved a photo.

Snap, crackle, pop!

Wouldn't you just love to add these to your fireplace!

Whakapapa: Day 3

Gale force winds meant there wasn't really a Day 3 on the snow. We did drive up the mountain and have a coffee whist waiting–ever hopeful that they would at least open Happy Valley. But alas, it wasn't to be. We had lunch there and enjoyed the wild view.

After lunch we sought refuge from the weather in the opulent Chateau. The kids watched a movie there and Steve and I enjoyed a drink. It was like free babysitting!

Whakapapa: Day 2

Well the weather on Day 2 was just as good as Day 1–thank you Hughie.

The girls had another lesson. Ruby and Eadie moved up the mountain to the Rock Garden. Ava stayed in Happy Valley for another beginner lesson with a cute instructor who piggy backed her up the slope (not even I would have done that!).

After Ava's lesson and doing a few Happy Valley runs with her, Ava moved up to the Rock Garden area where she entertained herself on the flats while the rest of us did our own thing. As long as someone waved to her each time they came up on the chairlift she was happy.

It was another long and happy day for everyone.

Whakapapa: Day 1

I feel like a naughty kid swearing when I say Whakapapa (prounounced fuka-papa). Last Friday we hit the road and drove down to Ruapehu. Arriving at 3pm, we drove straight up the mountain to check out the scene. The terrain is so different, it's like being on another planet. What a glorious day! After running around and throwing a few snowballs at each other we were so excited and just couldn't wait to get up there again the next morning for some real fun.

It was Ava's first time on skis, Ruby and Eadie had had lessons a couple of years back when we were in Queenstown so they weren't absolute beginners. They all had lessons and then spent the day in Happy Valley. I hung out there too brushing up on my boarding skills whilst Steve went a bit further up the mountain to the Rock Garden.

The kids had a brief break from skiing when someone passed on his toboggan rental to us. Ava was the speediest by far and knocked over a smaller, stationary kid in another toboggan–it was a bad place to sit and watch the scenery. Eadie could take it or leave it. And Ruby didn't get what all the fuss was about. They much preferred being on skis.

We were really lucky with the weather–sunny and no wind. After a good dose of Happy Valley we were all tired and sore with smiles all 'round.


Have you ever wondered what an ipod touch would look like if it were run over by a car? Well, this pic is the result. It was truly bad luck as it fell out of a child's pocket (who will remain nameless) whilst walking down a dark and deserted street in National Park Village one cold night. There was hardly another soul around. In the 30minute period between realising it was lost and finding it, someone had driven over it. I only hope our insurance will pay out on this. If not, it could very well be time to change policy!

For the record, it doesn't work! Let this be a warning for all of you folk out there with iphones!