Monday, February 21, 2011

Give it a go!

That's the slogan behind the Weet-bix Tryathlon. So when Ruby decided she wanted to give it a go a week before the event I decided to back her up. It was well-timed with tri training taking place at school just days before the event. I showed her the course map online and even length of the run (1.5km) (she doesn't really like running) wasn't enough to put her off.

The night before the event I was the one who couldn't get to sleep. And the next morning I had butterflies! Ruby on the other hand, was just excited – no nerves at all. Quite a few of her friends from school were doing it too, some for the first time just like Ruby.

Yes, you'd think it was me that crossed the finish line! I was so proud of my girl :)

Ruby with Olympic shot putter, Valerie Adams.

And a few of her friends that gave it a try.

Another party...

This time it was Ava's turn. We threw her a little party after school last Friday. I had a cunning plan to keep the girls busy and under control with modelling clay. The idea was to make little creatures which I would then bake in the oven. The end result was cute magnets to take home.

It all went really well, and the kids were right into the clay project but they still wanted party games [damn it]. Luckily I had a few ideas up my sleeve, such as Wrap the Mummy.

I'm not sure what Ava was so excited about in this pic. The birthday cake was an easy peasy ice-cream cake. It didn't look like much but was a hit with the kids [phew!].

I think the only way to guage the success of a party is the pester factor. If the kids don't pester you too much; it's a success. I think I passed.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Dinner? Seriously?

You mean I have to do dinner as well? I was soooo happy when I remembered that I forgot to serve the mini pizzas at the party. With that and left-over cake, dinner is sorted :)

PS. They really did taste good – much better than they look in the pic!

pARrtY giRL

Ruby had to wait 'til school went back before she had a birthday party. Little did I know that a lot of people do that, consequently there were a few girls who couldn't make it. Not to worry, she had a great time with a lovely group of girls.

Unwrapping some awesome presents:

The cake (darn that colour bleed!):

The construction site:

Some examples of the masterpieces:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Holiday snapshots

When we arrived back in NZ after our trip to Australia we did a lot of gallivanting around the country. So much so that I barely had time to do a load of washing or two before hitting the road again, let alone update my blog! Finally, with the holidays over and the kids back at school, I've done it.

It all started with a drive down to Taupo where Steve had entered a couple of swim races. For the record, he won his age group in the Epic swim one day then the following day he was the overall winner (without a wetsuit) in the Masters Open Water Championship which means he retains his title.

Some pictures I took of the girls.

Back to Auckland and back to work for Steve:( An "all girls" trip to Waipu Cove was suggested and we jumped at the opportunity. My friend Helen and her three girls, and I with my three, went to visit our friend Charmaine who has two girls of her own. Yep, altogether that makes eight little girls and three mums! We had a fabulous time – the girls didn't keep still which is why I couldn't get them all in one photo.

Back to Auckland again. Wash. Repack the car (in the pouring rain). Then we were heading north again. We took time to stop at the infamous Hundertwasser toilets in Kawakawa – one of the "101 must-do's" for Kiwi's.

Phyll and Bill (no, they're not a gay couple) from Steve's swim squad invited us to join them at their Tapuaetahi bach. Tucked away in a remote little spot, the road to which is not shown on any map. We needed detailed directions, an access code to a locked gate and dealings with unfriendly Maoris to get there. This is a pic of the front lawn at the bach.

The girls kayaking in the estuary.

My not-so-graceful exit from the kayak.

Painting driftwood – and anything else they were permitted to.

After we left Phyll and Bill's, we headed further north. The turquoise waters at Maitai Bay were beautiful. This pic was taken before the crowds set in.

After some fun catching waves at Ahipara – the start of 90 Mile Beach which goes all the way up to Cape Reinga.

At our motel overlooking Shipwreck Bay at Ahipara. Note how flat the surf is :(

The next morning at Ahipara. Don't be fooled by these pics, it was a long wait between sets.

We missed the car ferry to Rawene by 3 minutes. At least it gave us time to have a picnic lunch. Then we crossed the Hokianga Harbour to Opononi.

Translated, Tane Mahuta means God of the forest. Located in the Waipoua Forest, it's the biggest Kauri tree in THE WORLD!

The clearing of forestry land surrounding the beautiful Kai Iwi Lakes makes it look like a war zone – very sad. This pic does not show how truly amazing the lakes are.

Then we continued home.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A leisurely Sunday

Today we took a short drive to Milford where the girls and I played on the beach whilst Steve got the kayak wet (his latest toy). When he returned, the two fishes of our family took a dip. That's Rangitoto in the background.

When then drove up the road to Takapuna for a takeaway coffee. Eadie and Ava entertained themselves in a nearby tree with a game they made up – they could do that for hours and hours.

After that, we went home to do a bit of pottering...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Lighten up

The kids went back to school yesterday [ahhh!]. They were pretty keen too I might add, but I know that will probably wear off.

It's also the beginning of a new month and with all the festivities, holidays and sleep-ins over, I have declared February a dry month for me. Yes, I know I've said that before but that was not my idea last time – I was just trying to go along with it. And to be honest, even with all the allowances bestowed on me, I never really got back on the horse after my 40th. In hindsight I have to say, although I appreciate SOTH's motivation at the time, I don't think a challenge of that magnitude is ever going work at a time when festivities are just gaining momentum.

It was also back to swim squad yesterday. I think Simon, our coach, was a bit surprised to see me. In fact, I think most people in general are surprised that I have maintained my enthusiasm for swimming but I don't want to paint the wrong picture – I swim in a squad for one hour each week. It's not like I'm training to swim the English Channel.

Continuing with the "starting on the right foot" theme, I also made a batch of crunchy granola. It comes from the Lighten Up cook book by Jill Dupleix, and adds a bit of interest to Corn Flakes or Special K, or on top of fruit salad and yoghurt.

Crunchy Granola
400g rolled oats
3 tbsp sunflower seeds
3 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp pepitas
2 tbsp linseed or LSA mix
100g almonds
100g dried shredded coconut
pinch of sea salt
4 tbsp honey or maple syrup
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cinnamon
100g dried cranberries
100g dried sultanas

LINE two baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
HEAT the oven to 150°C.
TOSS the oats, seeds, nuts, coconut and sea salt together in a large bowl.
WARM the honey, olive oil and cinnamon in a pan, stirring, until just melted.
POUR the liquid over the dry ingredients, tossing well.
SPREAD evenly on the trays.
BAKE for 20 to 30 minutes, shuffling everything around once or twice to prevent sticking or burning
REMOVE from the oven and cool.
b the dried fruits.
STORE in an airtight container for up to a month (it won't last that long!).