About Me

My photo
The past two years have been all about adjusting to motherhood and finding my way through it via craft. The out pouring of this came in the form of my blog Aunty Mum. Now I'm finally finding my feet, the children are growing, I'm getting some independence and my interests are morphing . . . into cooking. Join me in exploring creativity in many forms, food, fabric, frowns and laughter.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bathing Beauties

We thought that having one water baby was doing pretty well. Since Kayley was about two she's spent more time under the water than on top . . . and that's by choice as opposed to near drowning experiences.

Now at almost seven she's a pretty good swimmer who is very good at freestyle and back stroke and is getting there with her breast stroke and butterfly. She can swim 25m without any hassle at all.

And then water baby number two came along.

Rogan took to water like . . . well a duck really. He's not far off four and he's a real little swimmer. He's learning freestyle (they call it "arm circles" at his stage of swimming) and he can swim about 15m without assistance. It won't be long before he's almost totally independent in the pool. Just a couple more inches in height and he'll be away.

So we were feeling pretty proud of our two water babies when . . . you guessed it . . . number three came along.

Janae is probably the most advanced for her age. Kayley and Rogan weren't nearly at the stage she is when they were her age and she hasn't started swimming lessons yet.

She has no fear of water, loves to be underneath it and, as you can see, she has almost got the "rocket arms" sorted and has figured out how to hold her breath and even blow bubbles.

The most difficult thing for Janae when she starts lessons in Feburary will be waiting her turn. I have to have eagle eyes with her because she just decides to take off and her range of swimming is about three feet as opposed to the meterage the siblings get. Ah well, won't be long and I'll be able to relax in the pool and watch the three of them have races and loads of fun. Bring it on!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Superb Silicone Sweets

No, I'm not talking about breast implants, but these fantastic silicone baking trays.

So often I'm tempted by the cook books on sale at preschool, but this month it was the silicone bakeware. And it's as fantastic as they say it is.

We got it home and Kayley and I couldn't resist giving something a test drive. So we whipped out the ingredients, threw it all in the loaf "tin" and made ourselves a delicious sultana loaf. There was no greasing, and no problems getting the loaf out once it had cooled. My conventional "non-stick" loaf tin requires copious amounts of grease as well as some baking paper along the bottom to stop anything sticking to it. And my conventional tin is about twice the required size so it's wonderful to have a smaller one that does all it promises.

There's just one problem. I'd hoped this loaf would last us until Christmas but we're quarter of the way through it (it's one of the kids favourites) so we may be whipping up another one any day now.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Life's a Beach

The question running through my mind for most of Friday was, how are we going to survive the afternoon of the last day of school? Everyone was pretty shattered from a very late night carol singing the night before and Kayley was shattered from simply putting in a whole year of school for the first time. (Last year she missed over half the days of school, and this year she missed just three.)

So I loaded the little ones intot he car, picked Kayley up and we headed for the park/beach. A little afternoon tea picnic and then Rogan's anticipation of a swim got the better of him.

He donned his togs (old fashioned ones his father used to wear at the same age) and headed down to the water. Kayley and Janae joined him and they all trooped down to the water. Unfortunately, within minutes Rogan was crying and hopping around madly. I couldn't believe it. "I saw a crab, I saw a crab" he shouted between sobs. That was the end of his swim and Kayley had to peform the rescue mission.

We all got clothes back on and headed for the swings and slides. Ah well, maybe next time, when the tide's in and the crabs are hidden Rogan will have a much better time.

There's Finally a BMW Parked at the Front Door

I know it's close to Christmas but Nana can't help herself and continues to bring stuff from her house to our house. This week it was a bunch of bikes and riding toys.

There's been much merriment on the drive as the three children race up and down chase each other. Even Janae gets in on the act but she's often left in the others dust. She doesn't seem to mind though.

But I had to laugh this morning as I opened the front door to let in the light and fresh air. There, parked right outside my front door was Rogan's BMW. Unfortunately it's not large enough to carry the golf clubs or the shopping but it's prestigeous nonetheless.

Another milestone in life reached!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sometimes you just have to . . .

google yourself.

Today I needed, desparately, to do some baking. We were out of cookies and I've promised myself I'll only go to the supermarket once a week so there was nothing else for it: I had to bake. With it being so hot and so busy (being almost Christmas) I've not had the energy to get the baking goods out.

I grabbed the core ingredients, greased the slice trays and went hunting for the two recipes I had determined to do. Could I find them anywhere? Nope. But, I remembered I'd blogged them once before. I searched and searched through my almost 200 posts to date and could find nothing. Then I remembered, someone had googled Rocky Mellow Slice and had found my page. Great! And that's what I did.

It was a strange mixture of feelings: firstly a little like my two seconds of fame; and secondly shame that I had to google my own recipe due to lack of organisation. Ah well, the baking is done, the children were happy when they got home from school and all ended well.

Oh and some fabulous news. I got a call from the preschool last week. Janae's off for her first day there after Christmas. I'm a little disappointed that it'll be more than six weeks before I truly get a child free zone for three hours as Kayley will be home from school. However, I'm already spending those three hours over and over in my head. I'm almost convinced that the anticipation will be better than the real thing. What will I do with those hours? Not housework! I'll probably end up on the sofa enjoying a film or something I've recorded and saved for this momenteous moment. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

What a Difference a Day Makes

Last night I had my first real night out in so long I can't remember. Nanny and Grandad babysat while I jumped in the car and meandered over to Rotorua to hang out with ex-colleagues at the Rotorua District Council Social Club Christmas Party. The drive was lovely as the sun had come out, the evening was warm, traffic light and the solitude welcome.

A beautiful dinner, some great laughs and another hour home in solitude left me feeling strangely refreshed despite not turning the light out until midnight. And this morning?

This morning I have three children who seem to have been whipped into shape by their grandparents. Manners have returned, quietness prevails and indepence is abound. I know it's not yet time for even the birds to be fully awake but I'm unusually relaxed. Now I need to figure out how much is due to my "time out" and how much due to my parents influence over the space of a few hours.

Going out is something I might have to do more of.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I'm Such a Girl Sometimes

We came home from a lovely morning at Mainly Music, awash with the glow of Christmas; we enjoyed a lovely lunch and the children were all tucked up in bed. Enjoying the peace and quite I went to open the dishwasher to remove all the clean dishes in order to put the dirty ones in.

Disaster! I could not get the dishwasher open; more than that, I could not get it to turn on or do anything. The lower drawer opened but wouldn't work. Panic stations as the dishwasher is only five weeks old.

So I got straight on to the supplier who have this fabulous customer care hotline. I'm not joking about this either. We all know that most customer hotlines are run from a foreign country and we speak to people who can only just speak our language. Fisher and Paykel are not like this at all.

So the young man on the end of the phone calmly told me to turn off the power and turn it on again as this usually resets the machine and all is well. I stressed for a nano-second while I tried to remember where the power supply was. Ah ha! Under the sink. I opened the sink, moved the industrial sized box of dishwash powder out of the way. Wait! Was that the dishwasher kicking in? Oh no . . .

"I'm such an idiot," I informed my wonderful customer care man. "I must have bumped the plug loose with the dishwash powder. It all appears to be working perfectly. Thank you for your time," I said quickly (while he laughed on the other end) and hung up with very red cheeks and shame consuming me.

How do I manage to do all sorts of handy things with spades, hammers, screw drivers and yet I couldn't take the time to figure out the problem with my dishwasher on my own?? I guess it's just being a girl sometimes.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Day in the Sun

It was Kayley's junior athletics day today and what a brilliant day for it. The sun was shining, the kids were looking forward to a huge variety of activities and I was looking forward to a relaxing day in the sun.

I got my day in the sun but not quite relaxing. It was, however, fun and I thoroughly enjoyed watching my girl try her hardest in each event. Gone were the memories of that dismal cross country run. Here she is in the potato and spoon race.

And here's the kiddy variation of the shotput . . . the softball put.

She performed best in the long jump and high jump and my favourite event was the obstacle course with it's hoops and moon hoppers.

I think Kayley's favourite event was the sprints. Here's why . . .

Kayley's very sporty but she's not a runner. Thus, she wasn't part of the sprints teams. She wasn't bothered in the least; sucking on a lollypop was much more fun than running!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Jam Packed

The sun's going down and I've just finished a long day's work. As I look around I realise why my children passed out by 7pm tonight. A freshly mown lawn (the first mow);

Newly planted trees. This is a weeping cherry blossom that was kindly given by Ann-Marie;

and the little camelia also donated by Ann-Marie;

Freshly swept drive and patios;

Baking filling the pantry; mountains of washing dried and ready for folding and putting away; a trip to the park and the beach.

Yep we've had a full on day. Now it's time to relax with a bottle of water, a cup of tea and maybe a taster of that baking before the kids eat it all.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Best of a Bad Situation

You may ask why my children are all bathed and dressed for bed and it's not yet 4pm. Good question.

This afternoon the sun finally came out. Like sun starved children they dashed outdoors. The afternoon started with a tea party on the patio with Janae's new tea set and quickly progressed downhill from there.

Kayley and Rogan discovered a lovely big puddle beneath a huge pile of dirt. Kids being kids they had to throw themselves off the pile of dirt into the puddle and were absolutely covered in mud by the time they had had enough. They even managed to coax Janae into the fun. The only thing for it was a bath and change of clothes.

Not liking change Rogan and Janae insisted on their pajamas. And then it hit me . . . this is the perfect way to get them in to bed early on a Saturday night. They can't tell the time so dinner at 5.30 (usual for a week night), a bit of a romp around after, stories and then slumber. So, it seems that every cloud does indeed have a silver lining. I could even plant another load of spuds in the bath now instead of cleaning out the left over dirt.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Happy Birthday Janae

Our little girl turned two today and what a fabulous day she's had. She started out by carrying two presents out this morning with not a clue what to do with them. By this evening when all the grandparents arrived she was sitting on the floor, arms out awaiting gifts to unwrap knowing the pretty paper held something awe inspiring.

We also had a real taste of what the "Twos" will be like with a fabulous tantrum because I wouldn't let her wear her dress up high heeled shoes to the school pick up this afternoon. I've had a few weeks to get used to these moods though so I wasn't phased.

She's now fast asleep in her cot exhausted from the festivities and cake. Tomorrow is a whole other chance to fight with her siblings over gifts. At least it's one way of learning to defend her position in the world.

Happy birthday my special little treasure. I love you.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sometimes a Husband would be Useful

This morning, as I prepared for the arrival of my new bed at long last I thought, hmmm, a husband would be very handy right now. I had to deconstruct my existing bed and lump it into the spare room/office. That was fine, done it a thousand times so I could just about do it in my sleep.

However, I had expected this lovely, large, heavy bed to arrive in one piece, for the mover men to struggle and curse as they tried to get it into the room. Alas, I was left with half a dozen pieces of furniture and a bag of screws. Thanks luv, see ya later.

However, I prided myself on not being useless (having kicked myself for not having a husband) and set to work. An hour later and here it is in all its glory. The bed itself looks good, works with the decor exactly as I planned. What I could never be sure of was comfort. That, I can say, is the cream on top! I could not resist a wee afternoon nap and as I crawled in it was like laying down on a cloud. My eyelids slammed shut with a will of their own and did not open until Janae started shouting that she'd been awake for ages and would I kindly get her out of bed please.

And after this wonderful, blissful sleep this afternoon I'm very happy I don't have a husband. This bed is all mine!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dinner Al Fresco

Our lovely home is proving to be quite a scorcher in the afternoons and evenings so what better way to beat the heat? Eat outdoors. And this proved to be such a hit that I was begged if we could do it again tomorrow night.

Tonight was an easy dinner due to the heavy workload today but it was so nice to sit outdoors and enjoy the shade. It also helped me overcome the grumps. Rogan woke Janae before she'd even had time to sleep today and he was heading for the over tired, cheeky yet fragile little boy he becomes some afternoons so by the time Kayley got home from school I was a bit of a bore. My mood wasn't helped by three children wallowing in the mud that resulted from Grandad watering his earthworks this afternoon. I know water and sprinklers are child magnets but I had to go rescue Janae from certain stuck-ness twice, I had to chase her up the hall as she tromped muddy boots through the house and I had to hose the three of the down before bath time. Never mind, we were all pals again by bed time and everyone was asleep in minutes. It makes the evenings nicer to end that way.

The Great Outdoors

It's been such amazing weather lately that there's been no excuse to get outdoors, shovel in hand and shift dirt, dig holes and generally get grubby. And, there's been no excuse for the children not to join me.

This morning Rogan and Janae found a big, dirty hole that grandad hadn't quite levelled out yet. So, while I was backfilling around the drive way and digging the holes for our clothesline they were wallowing.

This picture doesn't even do justice to what a fabulous time they had. Thank goodness we have a bath, just a shame it's white. Lately we've had lots of silt at the bottom of our baths; and, last night, I almost considered putting Kayley and Rogan back in for the second time as they were very dusty post their after dinner play.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Feeling Irish

I've been feeling a little like the Irish this week as my potatoes appear to have developed a blight of some kind. Wanting no potato famine in my home I consulted the Prince of Potatoes - my cousin Peter. Consequently they've had a spray (much to my disappointment as I'd like to have gone spray free) and have dug up two plants just to check out what's going on. And see . . . lovely potatoes. They're definately a bit early as they tasted of nothing much really at dinner time but they're promising.

And for Janae, the little girl who loves to tell me what's dirty and what's clean, has had a day wallowing in dirt and loving it. First she started off in the vege patch rubbing dirt into her skin. I'm thinking it's some kind of new beauty treatment. 

I'm sure the cool dirt just felt nice on her little legs.

And then, while we were watering the concrete (to make it grow according to Rogan) she found a nice little puddle of mud and completely relished in that. Nanny sprayed her down with a hose before letting her come inside to the bath. Of course, upon getting to the bathroom I found masses of mud everywhere from the two older ones. Ahhhh, children are a blessing, or so I'm told. Still, it's a good excuse to get the place spruced up tomorrow morning.
Now it's bedtime so I'll trot off, dispence with the stories, kisses and doses of forgiveness for a day filled with mischief and relax for the evening.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Interesting Birthday Treat

Yesterday mother treated me to a cut and colour as a birthday treat. Today I got a driveway. Bet not many women can boast about a driveway for their birthdays.

Actually, it was more of a treat for the kids (as you can see from the photographs). Rogan loves concrete trucks but he'd never seen just what a concrete truck does until this morning. It was difficult to drag him away for swimming lessons.

And now? Now I'm getting a hole dug outside my driveway for . . .  a letter box . . . at long last. What a day!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sunny Days and Birthdays

Well, it's that fated time of the year once again. I had wonderful plans of 12 hours alone with a satay and dvd. Unfortunately that's not about to happen any time soon so I've bitten the bullet and I'll have a bit of a kid's party for the children tomorrow night instead. Fish and chips and a few treats are on the menu, as well as being allowed to stay up a little later than usual. It means I'll have to cope with three tired children all weekend but that's just life.

Apart from the major birthday disappointment it's been a fun week. Janae discovered Rogan's Banana's in Pajamas rain coat, managed to get it on and went out (in the blazing sun) to ride her bike. She was so cute but it got a little annoying as she kept taking it off and then asking me to put it on her again.

We've had more sprinkler madness with the squirty octopus.  Janae and Rogan had heaps of fun racing around and getting soaked and then laying in the sun before another dash. The best part about these photographs is how green our lawn is at last. I'm sure we'll have to mow it soon. This makes me happy as I love a crisp cut lawn more than almost anything.

And, as I've been writing this Kayley and Rogan have been hiding out in the bathroom with some makeup I've given to Kayley through the unpacking process. Take a look at this handsome devil. He reminds me of Violet Plum from Charlie and the Chocolate factory. And here I was about to relent on bath time tonight. Gotta have a bath now . . . head first I think.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

How Time Flies

I cannot believe that a whole week has flown by already. I also cannot believe how busy life has become with a big home and huge garden to tend to . . . as well as three lively children. Phew. I'm exhausted.

So what's the week held? Firstly some terrible baking. I like to think of myself as quite a good baker. I had huge success with some nenish tarts that I took to a Guy Fawlkes celebration last Friday and since then it's been downhill. I made my banana loaf that is usually so perfect as it comes from "The Perfect Cookbook" and it came out of the loaf tin and fell about all over the rack. I made a russian shortcake that rose beautifully and appeard cooked and then flopped and was still that half cooked chewy in the middle. It wasn't until I made a lovely roast for my parents that I realised my new oven's setting were not the same as my mothers. Where I thought I was cooking on fan bake, I was in fact cooking on defrost. Ah well, it's all part of the learning curve.

We've also been spending every spare moment in the garden. I have been given two lovely Puka trees and they're now planted in pride of place along one fence. Can't wait to see those in a year. I have three roses now, a bunch of blue and purple ground cover, some hot firelike canna lillies, and a lovely little bedding garden full of summer favourites like begonias, impatiens and other pretties. I'd show you photographs but I have yet to unearth my camera charger from a box so can take no photos at the moment.

But, the kids have had some fun too and here are some pics of their week.

Janae enjoying a tea party for one.

Rogan had discovered an old hat of mine and has barely taken it off since.

Rogan was given a bike by the physio from Te Whanau Ko Tahi and Janae has claimed it as her own.

So that's life over the past week. As you can imagine I've been shattered by the time the kids are in bed. I pull up the foot rest on my lazy boy chair, flick on my favourite shows that I've recorded (Master Chef Australia especially) and look longingly at my crochet basket. I just haven't the energy I'm afraid. I'm crashed out in bed by about 9.30 and up tackling another day by 6am the next morning seven days a week. Hmmm, when will it get a bit cruiser I wonder.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Growing Grass or Children?

Because of the lack of rain and the newness of my grass I've been running the sprinkler constantly and also constantly nagging the kids to stay off the tender shoots. Sunday, however, it was hot, I'd been in the garden two days running and they were looking longingly at the sprinkling water. Ah well . . . yes you can play under the sprinkler. What fun they had.

They were soaked and semi naked in minutes and they had a blast. Having lived with a pool for so many years I'd forgotten the hugely innocent fun a sprinkler head can be. I parked myself in a shady corner of the patio and laughed with them.

And, just like we did as children, once we'd got too cold to run anymore they spread their towels out on the hot concrete and relaxed and warmed up. I must remember what a great way that is to kill off an hour of a Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Our Strangest Visitor

This morning the children were all agitated at the breakfast table. "Quick, quick" they said. "Come see the pheasant on the patio." I rushed over thinking they'd gone mad. In fact, they weren't quite made enough. There, strutting across the patio like he owned this place was young Mr Peacock.

We've had all manner of bird friends on our lawn gorging on grass seed. We've had a beautiful white dove, golden chaffinches, big black birds wallowing in the puddles from the sprinklers. But today was a first. Where did he come from? A question with no answer. Will he be back? Let's see tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Week One

Wow, it's been an interesting few days so far. It's amazing how much there still is to do, how many boxes there are to unpack and how shattered I keep feeling come evening. Don't get me wrong. I'm certainly not complaining - I'm revelling in the autonomy of it all.

So, as promised, here are our first photographs . . . our first photographs of firsts.

Kayley and Janae playing on the patio with the doll's push chair on our first day.

My first rose bloom. It's called "My Girl" and is just gorgeous.

Our first meal . . . home made meatballs, pasta and salad. Yum.

Our first baking. Banana muffins with a secret pocket of chocolate in the middle. Double Yum.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

We're Home

Just a quick note to say we're finally home. The children are all asleep in their new beds (although Janae is asleep in her old cot). It was the most stress-free move I've ever made. All that's required now is a day's work tomorrow finding a home for everything. I'm so happy I could just about cry. Instead, I'm off to curl up on my very own sofa, in front of my very own telly and enjoy Midsommer Murders. Hopefully there'll be photographs tomorrow, and much more blogging now that I'm my own master again (excepting, of course, three little bosses that I answer to).

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Key to My Heart?

Nope, better than that. This gorgeous little pink beauty is the key to my home. At long last (almost eleven months) I have my own home and I've even unpacked half a dozen boxes, made afternoon tea for my parents in my own kitchen and have just five sleeps until we have officially moved in.

Anyone that wants a sneak peek can feel very free to come visit. I'll be round there most evenings this week (except tonight as I'm shattered and will be in bed by about eight). And remember . . . no invite necessary . . . we love visitors!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Three Cushion Patterns

As promised, here are the charts for the two cushions I made last week. Unfortunately I can't upload pdfs so if you want the charts they'll have to be jpegs I'm afraid.

This is Jill's cushion. The flip side is just a basic granny square with a flower in the middle. This is, by far, the most interesting side. Here's the chart.

Here's Mum's cushion . . . side one. Just a basic flower, but quite cute. And the chart . . .

and finally my favourite the other side to Mum's cushion.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Bright Spot

This latest project is the bright spot of the toughest week of the year to date. Wow, what can go wrong etc has been my mantra and, despite everything, I've done my utmost to keep my chin up and keep smiling. I failed tonight. I finally caved in to the pressure and crumpled into a wet teary mess. That it's taken this long is very suprising. Let me explain:

Dad and I have been working hard to get the grounds done ready for the handover for the house, I raced into town with two children yesterday to pick up the handover papers and my car broke down. Couldn't call Dad cos he was out fishing so had to call a friend. Thanks John for the rescue. I had to leave the car where it was because it just wouldn't go. Then I had to get to the house to get the gas fire from the shed to the house without the aid of the tractor and forklifts (even if I'd had them I couldn't have used them as I don't know how) so thanks for the lift John. I lost my wallet three times yesterday. Janae's just started dreaming so she is waking with screams about two times a night so sleep hasn't been high on priorities this week. Today I forked out to get my car towed to the garage to be fixed and discovered the repairs will cost $500 so there goes my budget for patio furniture I'd saved hard for. I lost my wallet again this afternoon. I was 20 minutes late picking Rogan up from preschool due to massive amounts of road works on our roads at the moment. I've had a row with Dad tonight because, after him pushing to get settlement on the house tomorrow, he's starting to change his mind and thinks we'll leave it until next week. To top it all off, I had a really good browse around the inside of my new home and all I want, in my heart of hearts is to be there now, children asleep in their beds and writing my blog in the privacy of my own home without mum and dad coming in to see what I'm doing, do I want anything, remember I promised I'd go to bed early. Sigh . . . what a life I've chosen for myself.

But, I keep on crocheting. I made two cushions last weekend and realised how silly I am. I crochet with fine cotton so much that I convince myself I prefer it to wool. Having made the two cushionsI remember how much I love crocheting with wool as it's quick results. Poor mum, her table runner is left on the shelf for another couple of weeks as I'm in love with this blanket I'm making for Kayley. Please excuse the rumpled look of it. Some how it ended up under Grandfather's bum.