About Me

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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, June 30, 2009

Thanks Vicks Vapo Drops

At last, a product that does what the advertisers say it will . . . soothe the throat and clear the nose. Yep, round two of winter colds is upon me so it was a solo trip to the chemist (again) to load up on the necessary drugs.

Last night I had one little boy who spent the whole night believing his bed was full of spiders, a little girl who fell asleep upside down in her bed and proceeded to cough, sneeze, snore, splutter, burp and fart her way through the night . . . all while I was trying to ignore a sore throat and get some sleep. Needless to say things are a little hazy around here today. I discussed making Kayley sleep in my bed tonight and I sleep in her room so that I can get a decent night's sleep. Dad has gallantly given up his room so he can sleep on the boat. I think his chivalry has a lot to do with having a few hours of solitude himself. It means I'll miss Crafty Girls this week, but that's probably necessary anyway. (Can't go spreading germs to all and sundry.)

We had a visit from my parent's Best Man today. Bob Lynn has been a name bandied about in our family for as long as I can remember. He was the only non-English member of the congregation at my parent's wedding. So, I think it'll be reminiscing around here this afternoon. Great . . . good excuse for me to head off for a long, warm snooze.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Two Down. . . One to Go

This morning was Rogan's first full day at preschool. I had expected to feel a range of emotions including guilt, worry, sadness at him being put in an educational institution for a full eight hours at only three years old. I had expected that he'd be a bit clingy when he first arrived. I was mistaken on all counts. As I settled him at the art table and started to dip cookie cutters in vivid colours of paint he looked at me, said "Here, I'll give you a kiss and then you can go." He planted me with a sloppy kiss and pushed me towards the door. Getting into the car, Janae sitting in the back I smiled. It was like a huge relief to know that I had the rest of the day with only one child to care for. And did we go for it.
Janae and I spent the morning racing about town buying birthday presents for Kayley's party on Saturday, cottons for more crochet, returning unwanted Sky decoders, buying replacement breakfast bowls (Janae managed to smash two in one evening yesterday) and groceries. She was a gem. She enjoyed the one-on-one I think.
So I got my latest doily completed, had a lovely nap this afternoon and had a nice time playing Guess Who with the kids after school. I'm thinking I'm going to really enjoy being the parent of school aged kids when the time eventually comes.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Oldies but Goodies

In the realm of baking, I like to try new and exciting things. I like to think I'm adding to my repertoire of yummy things for us all to eat. However, on many occasions my three taste testers devour the sight of a new recipe, but let me down on the enthusiasm of the actual taste. "Wow, that looks amazing" I hear. Chomp, chomp, chomp . . . "Can I have a biscuit please" is quite often how my new recipe is received. Now, not everyone is of this mind. Grandad and Janae are only too happy to eat absolutely anything I throw at them (Grandad, who doesn't like cheese, finished off all the macaroni cheese last night).

So, I decided that today (Sunday being baking day) that I'd go back to a couple of old favourites . . . the stuff my mum used to make and then forbid us to eat. And I'm sharing these ancient recipes cos they've just got to be made and loved.

Rocky Mellow

(This recipe is from the Girl Guide book that came out when I was in Brownies
many, many moons ago)

2 1/2 crushed weet bix
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons Cocoa
1 Cup Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
175 gms melted butter

Mix all the dry ingredients together and stir through the melted butter. Press into a greased slice tray and bake at 180 degrees (c) for approximately 15 mins. (I have made this a little too dry sometimes, so if it looks really dry before you press into a baking tray then add a little more butter).

When it's cool, ice like so:
Dissolve 1 dessert spoon of gelatin in 1 cup of boiling water, add 1 cup of sugar and mix with an electric beater until creamy and beginning to thicken. Add food colouring of your choice and pour over the slice. When it's set, cut up and serve.

The next recipe is one that's hand written in my mum's book so I have no idea where this one came from. I do know it's circa 1985 though.
Russian Shortcake
5 oz butter
5 oz sugar
9 oz flour
1 Tablespoon Golden Syrup
1 Egg
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence
Pinch Salt
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 cup sultanas
Melt butter, sugar and golden syrup in a pot on the stove. Once melted take off the heat and stir in the egg previously beaten with vanilla essence. Stir in sifted flour, baking powder and salt. Add sultanas. Pour into a greased slice tin and bake at 180 degrees (c) for approximately 15-20 mins, or until golden brown on top and soft to touch. When it's cool ice with lashings of chocolate butter icing and serve.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Always my favourite

When ever I have just completed a project I sit back and think . . . "Ah yes, this is my favourite so far." This particular project though I think may just go down in my all time favourites.
I am so pleased with the colour effects from the variegated yellows and purples, it sits so beautifully and it just jumps out and says "love me, I'm gorgeous." I got this pattern by typing Free Pansy Doily into the Google search engine . . . and up this popped.
So, five doilies down . . . four to go. Can't wait to get started on the next one. This one looks very like peacock tails, which is never a bad thing.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Motivating Factor

Grandad has been very patient with us really, all the noise, chaos, grumpy daughter ruling his house. So last weekend we went off to buy him a thank you gift. We came home with a weather station. It is this, sitting on the bench by the stove top that has been my motivating factor today. I watched the temperature plummet to -0.2 this morning, saw that there was rain coming in the next 24 hours, remembered that I have to take Rogan for a hearing test tomorrow morning so today was my last chance to get stuck into washing.

Now, I have lovely, fluffy, clean sheets on my bed, made with no ridges or bumps, not clothes strewn across is, books waiting to be read or put away, balls of cotton and wool begging to be turned into something wonderful, pajamas wishing they could stay on the body instead of be thrown down carelessly: all these things missing from my room and it just makes me want to go in there, shut the door and enjoy the tidy solitude of it all. Mmmmm can't wait for bedtime tonight.

So the sun is shining, the children are happy, I'm starting to feel more like myself and the chores are almost done. Must mean it's time for a cup of tea!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Don't be afraid of swine flu . . .

Just going to the doctor's can be a near death experience.

I bowed to pressure and went to see the doc this afternoon. We sat in a window seat and waited, saw the doctor and then went to the pharmacy to have our prescriptions filled. Not being in there two minutes someone called out . . . a car's just driven into the doctors. Wondering what was so exciting about that I popped my head out the door. A car had literally driven into the doctors, through the very window we'd just been sitting at. How scary is that . . . almost as scary as the HUGE bill I had to pay just for walking in there.

Needless to say, it's probably best to have a sensible diet, keep warm and dry, keep fit and then you have much less chance of being run down by a car while you're waiting in the doctor's surgery.

A light at the end of the tunnel

I got the phone call this morning that I've been waiting for, for what seems like months. The house has finally been started! Granted, there's a very long way to go, however, the pegs and string lines should go up today, the prefloor plumbing should be done by the end of the week, and, with a bit of luck, we should have a floor by this time next week. Yee Ha! It's the very best news when I'm feeling akin to death being warmed.

I've bowed to pressure from father today and booked an appointment with the doctor. I'm getting worse not better and now just speaking is difficult. Why does life get busy when all you want to do is sleep? Today has to be one of the toughest and all I want to do is be in bed in the sun. We have Virginia from Linmark coming in ten minutes; we have a paediatrics visit with Rogan this afternoon, we have my doctor's appointment later this afternoon; and, this morning, Kayley woke up with her version of this cold/flu. Oh, and our cleaners are in today. As I take five minutes to put this together they are kindly engaging the three children in cleaning chores, refereeing fights and giving me some much needed space. Thank you so much ladies. I feel a small bunch of flowers might be in order next Wednesday.

It's days like today that I wish my mum was home. I hope you're having a great time my lovely mother, but know you're sorely missed.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Doily Delights

I've been feeling completely under the weather over the weekend and the past two days so I've been hiding myself away at the dining room table trying to keep the brain functioning by making doilies (as I posted a while back). Despite the horrible cold I've got it's been so much fun. With modern colours these treasures are looking amazing.

I did briefly discuss how these might be displayed as images rather than doilies with a friend who has an art degree that was based around textiles and fabrics, but she wasn't all that sure of how she'd go about it. We have a picture framers who have always framed my cross stitches so I think I might take them down there sometime and discuss the options. Steph did mention that old laces are often displayed in frames so it might not be as difficult as I thought. Just need to figure out whether I'll need to wash and starch them first.

As for the children, bless them so much. I've been very clear that I've been feeling like death warmed up and I'd appreciate all the love, patience and good behaviour they can spare and they've done just that . . . for the most part. And today Dad took himself off fishing so we've had the house to ourselves. I'm kinda hoping he'll stay out for a bit this evening so I can sit by the fire and chill out rather than rug up and head for the mudroom for my daily dose of solitude. Keep fingers crossed!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Living Without Violence

Yesterday, when collecting Rogan from preschool I had an interesting experience. One that's make me think over the night about human nature. I was, strangely enough, talking to one of the teachers about how she worked with the Living Without Violence programme for 11 years. While we talked my three children were playing on the slide. Janae sitting at the bottom really was a sitting duck for an accident. Of course the older two raced down the slide and bowled her right off the end. That's okay as things go. But when Rogan got over excited and got her in a strangle hold I raced over and cuffed him about the ear to get him to let her go.

My very first instinct was "Crap, who saw me do that?" which disappoints me. My first instinct should have been to check if Janae was still breathing. However, it seems society has degraded our parental instincts to the point where we may be more concerned with appearances than with the health and well being of our children. Now I understand that's probably a huge leap in logic, but when you look back at society from its inception, you have to wonder just how harmful a smack really is.

Don't misunderstand me. I'm not condoning violence in anyway; this is not a diatribe on the rights and wrongs of New Zealand's Anti Smacking legislation. It's merely an observation of the history of man. I've just about completed the four novels on Boudica the Celtic queen who almost defeated the Romans in Britain in the early parts of the first century. Wow! These were people who were peaceful and lived in relative harmony but trained as warriors from a young age. Then there's the Bible right from Genesis through Revelation: wars, Crucifixions, violence . . . all allegedly condoned by God. Looking through history we've fought against one another, we've tried to dominate one another, we've tried to discipline one another.

Is it human nature that triggers our instinct to smack? The monkeys doe it (to whom we are closely related genetically). Even cats (I have no idea of the genetic connection there) swipe their kittens around the head when they're fighting.

I do my utmost not to smack the children: I prefer Time Outs (for me and for them); I try positive reinforcement of good behaviour, I try using life's lessons to help them understand the rights and wrongs of living. However, I will smack when they're injuring another child, when they're about to stick a screw driver into a plug socket, when they're about to touch something that will burn them badly. I'll smack when it's an urgent matter of safety. There are times when my hand itches and all I want to do is leave a nice hand mark on their bottoms. It's not proven to be a particularly effective method of discipline I must add.

I will leave this with one question though: are our children being battered to death because their parents are at their wits end, it's the last straw, because they feel so constrained, judged and powerless in their own families that they can no longer figure out how to deal with bad behaviour and lash out at a defenceless child?

I want Kayley, Rogan and Janae to grow up to be self-disciplined, well rounded, intelligent children. I don't believe violence is the way to achieve that. However, these are not children at risk of being battered within an inch of their lives.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Good Ole Days

Do you remember the stories we used to hear from grandparents and the such like about how they trekked miles a day on a little pony, an inch of snow on the ground just to get a loaf of bread or to get to school? I know I do and used to laugh thinking of them. Unfortunately, the way petrol prices are going I think those days are coming back.
I filled my car this morning to the tune of $70. When I bought my car I lived in Auckland and it used to cost $45 to fill, and that would easily be a round trip from Auckland to Tauranga and running about as well. When I moved to Rotorua it used to be $20 round trip easily. These days, when that horrid little orange light glows on the dash board, $20 barely brings the dial round to quarter full.
So I'm thinking, when we move into the new house I'll have to purchase a pony, a warm coat and teach Kayley to ride. Then she can hop on her pony and head off to school every morning. I laugh as I write this as I know she'd think that was the best thing in the world . . . until she had to carry her own school bag, put on lots of clothes and head off alone with no one to play "Spot the Red Car" with her. Then again, with petrol prices the way they are maybe there'll be lots of kids riding to school and they can play "Spot the Piebald Pony" with one another.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Morning Suprises, Man Colds and Crochet

With my ears blocked and ringing, my throat rasping, my head throbbing I struggle to remember my euphoria of this morning when I bounced out of bed to find Kayley packing up her school lunch. She'd pealed the Nashi all by herself, cut out the core and sliced it into wedges; she'd packed up some sultanas, got herself a muesli bar and was about to make a sandwich. What joy it was to see her so happy to be independent and what a joy it was to know that, when she got home that afternoon, she couldn't blame me for any part of her lunch.
This afternoon I hid myself away in the conservatory where the winter sun was streaming in the windows warming me to the very core and got started on my "Art" project. You may recall that I was going to do nine little boxes for my house. I still intend to do something along those lines, but as I trawled through thousands of vintage doilie patterns last night I realised that they are, in their own right, an art from. While I'd probably never have one on my dressing table, if they're displayed on the wall in just the right way they will certainly be a tribute to two hundred years of imitation lace, two hundred years of fabulous designs and imaginations, two hundred years of painstaking hours creating tiny stitches to display on favourite pieces of furniture.
Alas, but half an hour prior to picking up the children I started to realise that my father's man flu has mutated and I've got it . . . or the beginnings of it (as you may have guess from the opening statements). My main concern is that my left ear is ringing - this is never a good sign for me. So, it may be a trip to the doctor for me tomorrow, but we'll see how things progress over night. This will be my first big test as a mother. I've never been sick and had to raise three children before, so we'll just have to see who breaks first. (I have a sneaking suspicion that it won't be the children.)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I phoned a friend today to ask for a favour and I nearly made her cry. (She was feeling blue anyway, so I'll not take all the credit). But as we chatted and laughed about kids I realised how lucky I have been since moving back to Tauranga. I've met some fantastic people and have one or two lovely friends that I'd do anything for. It is what makes getting up every day and dealing with children, parents, school, pre-school, work and myself so much easier.

I don't think I made an ounce of difference to my special friend, but if she reads this she'll know there's one more person who cares . . . a lot!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fabulous Organisations - Thank You So Much

I have been constantly amazed at how many organisations there are out there for children and their families; institutions that are there soley to help parents and caregivers (such as myself) get the best out of and for their children.

I had my first visit to Plunket last week. What an awesome experience. We had lots of amusing things to play with while we waited for our appointment time and then, once we got in, there was no rushing, no fussing but lots of patience and lots of support. Both Janae and Rogan appear to be doing fine in height and weight (even if Rogan is at the bottom end of height).

We have Linmark come to see us once a month to assist with learning in the home. Virginia brings us fun toys that are also educational . . . although when I see the amount of water on the floor instead of in the bath I wonder how educational some of them are. We have a folder each for Janae and Rogan where I can put photographs and pictures they've done and keep track of milestones.

Each week we go to Mainly Music and dance and sing. Not only is it great fun for the children, excellent for their self expression, it's a great opportunity for me to meet other mums, discuss how difficult parenting can be, have a coffee and a chat while the kids fun about like mad things.

And, let's not forget school. I chose Kayley's school because it's where I was educated, it's the most amazing location, it's small and it's a place where ordinary kids go. What a success it's been. Kayley's reading has increased three levels in six months, her maths (which was non-existent) is becoming very good and her socialisation skills are becoming more advanced by the day.
It's been a challenging journey thus far; without the help and care and friendliness of all these fabulous organisations we'd not be in the place we are today. Friends and family are also the cornerstone of our success, but we cannot forget those who chose to help us even though we're strangers, even though we struggle, even though we haven't a clue what we're doing most days. THANK YOU!

Monday, June 15, 2009

My Box of Sanity

I am feeling more like a human being today. This is due mostly to a much needed nana nap. I so struggle putting myself to bed in the afternoon. I realised this afternoon it's because I have so little time to myself that it's almost too precious to waste on sleep. However, it was worth every dreamy second as we had a virtually drama free evening, every one's in bed asleep and now I've got a few hours to myself.
So, I thought I'd show what I call my Box of Sanity. It's pretty full right now as I'm making some more of the cushion covers that I made a couple of weeks back. I dragged Rogan and Janae through the Bernina Sewing Centre in search of just the right beads and sequins and it's all piled into my little basked waiting to be make into something beautiful (hopefully).
I also got extravagant and went to the 11th ave wool shop and splashed out on fresh wool for the third pillow. When I think about the time spent and the cost of materials, they're pretty extravagant cushions but the pleasure out of making them and from cuddling up with them and a good book is priceless!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

New Shoes


and Peppermint Creams

Sometimes having a melt down can be a motivating experience.

I have had a productive day, as you can see. Still got the blues a bit but the up side of that is the ability to let so much crud go completely over your head. Added to this Kayley's spent the whole day playing at the neighbour's (she snuck out of the house in her new "high heeled" boots this morning just after breakfast. And, it's almost the end of the day so only baths, dinner and bedtime stories to go and I'm free for a couple of hours.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Melt Down

Ah dear, it was too good to last. Only this time it was me having a tantrum rather than the kids.

Suddenly I'd just had enough come dinner time. The kids had been winding up Dad while he tried to watch the telly (that always stresses me out when I'm rushing about getting dinner on). I got them all seated and Janae threw her plate full of food on the floor. I lost the plot a little. I put her out of the high chair, told her off severely and burst into tears. Oh my how I wanted my mother right then (still do if I'm honest). But, she's 12,000 miles away so I've gotta suck it up and get on with it!

Now it seems Dad's got the hump with me. Oh well, being thankful for small mercies, he won't be regaling me with stories from his hunting books tonight. Think I'll curl up in the foetal position in a chair and lose myself in 6ft tall rugby players beating the crap out of each other in the hope that NZ can pull off a win.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Good Life

It's the end of our third week without Nanny and this week has been a whole lot more civilised. Granted, it's Friday afternoon and things usually kick off in our house on a Friday afternoon due to over tired children and a fairly shattered Aunty Belinda. However, I'm determined that this Friday will not be that way.

In some strange little ways I've thoroughly enjoyed this week. We've had the usual ups and downs. One of the highs came last night. I scoured our little local library for books on hunting for Dad and I've taken them all out to keep him amused (all three!). Well I was about to rue the day that I'd done that last night as he came into the lounge, armed with his book and a silly grin on his face right in the middle of a good guy v bad guy drama on telly. However, the story he shared was so funny that it took twice as long as it should to get through it while we both giggled like little girls and wiped the tears from our eyes. I'm going to post the story here once he's finished the book because it's just too funny not to share.
The other high came from finally completing the blanket. As I posted earlier this morning, I had a child free couple of hours. I ended up by watching Becoming Jane on DVD and completing this gorgeous array of colour. To be honest, it's got way more colour than I'm usually comfortable with, but it's soft, it's warm, it's big and the kids love it. And, it's the single largest project I've undertaken to date. I did give myself a little mental pat on the back for completing it - along with the very strange reverse single crochet stitch in which you work backwards along a row, stitching to the right instead of the left. Looks good though.
So now, just the weekend to survive. Grandad is doing a little baby sitting tomorrow morning while Kayley and I go shoe shopping. She's been wearing a very pretty pair of pink shoes all week that are at least one size too small so we really need to get her something that fits and blends well with all the fancy shoes the fancy British kids wear to school (hopefully at half the cost). Added to this, I know crocks are comfortable but I really need something more socially acceptable also . . . I can't wear crocks every day for the rest of my life. (A shame, I know.)

The strangest feeling

I've just watched the last two of my three children leave the house this morning and I just can't believe how weird it feels. Dad told me that he'd take the kids into the supermarket with him this morning (he's a braver man than me) and give me a couple of hours off this morning. I was soooooo excited. But the strangest thing is it literally felt like little pieces of string were pulling at my heart when they drove away. This is the first time in three weeks or more that I haven't had at least one of them just metres away. Don't get me wrong . . . I'm going to finish folding the washing and putting it away and then I'm going to kick back and relax (maybe catch up on last night's Shortland Street) and start on the boarder of the blanket, nice cup of Earl Grey and truly relish this rare occasion, but I'll miss them, which is quite reassuring really.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My Little Helper

While I may not enjoy being woken at 6.30 each morning to the sounds of tiny television, rows over space on the sofa and the tugging at my blankets as small children beg for food (i.e. please make my breakfast now) I do relish the fact that by starting early all the really onerous tasks are over by about 9.30 or 10am and leaves a whole chunk of the morning for fun things. I quite often take up a pew at the dining room table where I can chat with Rogan and Janae as they play and do crochet; invariably Janae shouts her version of "up, up" and sits by me going through my sewing basket cherishing each little trinket, each rattle of a needle caddy, each feel of fabric and wool . . . never minding when I say "put that down, don't touch that, don't climb on the table".
But this morning, I just couldn't resist this photograph. I had put the blanket over the back of the chair while I threw together yet another square and when I looked around there she was wrapping herself in it with such a look of love on her face. So I'm going to believe that her presence next to me as I create warm and cuddly things for our new home is the element of love infusion that is required to make something warm and cosy into something cherished for a lifetime.
Of course, she the love infusion didn't last long once the plumber had turned up with a big bag of goodies (spanners, screw drivers etc) to service the gas fire. Now he was far too interesting to even let a blanket get in the way. Needless to say, she parked herself on the sofa and engaged him in a full 30 minutes of baby talk. He must have children at home because he seemed to follow the flow of conversation effortlessly. Ahhh, it's always nice to have someone else to amuse your children while you take the opportunity to have a sneaky cup of tea in peace.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Uh Oh!

After a pleasant morning at Plunket today I decided that, once again, the cupboards were bare and it was time to do some baking. So I got the kids doing something constructive while I did some baking. Between racing to get done before lunch and having Rogan screaming due to his little toe being slammed in a drawer by Janae (a whole other story) I didn't put the large cupcakes into muffin trays but the little cupcake trays. As you can see . . . it was a bit of a disaster shape wise.

However, they taste absolutely scrummy and we had lots of fun after school decorating them in all sorts of fashions. The kids have one each with the letter of their name, Grandad and I have some pretty heart ones.

It's days like today that I look forward to being in our own home, having my mum back from the UK and looking after the kids at her house for a few hours so I can really have fun playing. Ah well, it was a great way to kill over an hour after school, the mess was confined to the kitchen bench and we have something lovely for pudding tonight. We win all round. Of course, now the mess in the kitchen is all cleaned up the children have moved to another room and the little girl next door is on her way over . . . chaos ensues once again!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Ahhhh gadgets

Having sent father off on a fairly unsuccessful grocery shopping trip last week (he remembered wine and beer and forgot a number of staple items, despite the list) I wasn't expecting a great deal of success on his trip to Briscoes yesterday. Alas I was presently surprised and can't wait until dinner tonight.

Having a Dad who's a keen hunter and gatherer we have lots of healthy and wild options in our freezer. Last week was a haul of fish. We usually take these down to the local fish and chip shop who kindly cook it all up for a fraction of the cost of purchasing fish and chips. But, not to be outdone by professional fast food cooks, Dad has purchased a big, shiny deep fryer. Tonight he's in charge of dinner . . . I'll add that I'm apparently in charge of batter preparations . . . and we are all keenly awaiting our scrummy take-at-home (as opposed to take-away).

He also purchased a man gadget, namely a special machine for vacuum packing the aforementioned wild foods to be frozen. I'm also looking forward to seeing how this works. I'm also hoping that, as we have no fresh venison to be frozen it'll spark a week's hunting in the back of beyond. That's a selfish wish as it would mean a few days on our own in the house.

And a quick note about a comment from Liz at Day Care yesterday. It was freezing so I sported my Sugar Bowl Beanie and rugged up warm for the various collection of children. "Oh, I love your hat," Liz says enthusiastically. "Did Kate make that for you?" I'm not sure whether to be flattered or a bit disappointed really (that's a joke by the way). It seems that our Greedy For Colour gal is making quite a name for herself and it's only a matter of time before she's the Alan Sugar of all things crafty (and that's not a joke!).

Monday, June 8, 2009

Waiting Patiently

My 9am appointment cancelled on me this morning (whooping cough in their house, so they can keep it in their house) so all my hard work yesterday meant that we have a fairly open schedule this morning. It's been just lovely really.

I have tried out a new cupcake recipe from my new Cupcakes, Cheesecakes and Cookies recipe book. It's one I will serve up for my two favourite gluten intolerant morning tea visitors next time they come around. One of them will no doubt read this so I'll not give away too much . . . but to say think Mars Bars, rice bubbles and marshmallows. Yum! They look almost as good as they taste.

Having got the cupcakes made I sat down to my unfinished blanket. I laid out what I've got complete on the floor so I could see the next move (much like a very serious chess game . . . not) and got to work. Within minutes Janae had taken claim and hopped aboard. It's not even half way put together and she's enjoying it already. I can see this is one that's going to be well loved and well fought over for early mornings in the lounge.

Super Sunday

Well, it was with relief and a smile on my face that I sat down to a relaxing Sunday evening with my work-in-progress (blanket) and the Beatrix Potter story on telly. We'd had the most lovely day.

It was a day virtually devoid of any tantrums. We'd been along to see Greedy for Colour's stall at the Lions Market in Omokoroa; from there we went down for a lovely play on the beach and at the park and then long leisurely sleeps for the afternoon. The afternoon's play was all about markets and stalls and selling things. I even had to go looking for the tribe later and found them at the end of the drive under the big tree trying to hock off bits of bark to any passers by. Thankfully passers by on our street are very few and far between. Then they had a quick visit to the neighbours (all three of them).

It's plainly obvious that we were all in fine spirits by bedtime. Even Team Kiwi had a look in yesterday. He is Kayley's class mascot and each student gets to take him home for a weekend and take him on their adventures. They have to write a short explanation of what they got up to and have pictures. This one's a gem of Kayley.

So let's hope the week continues in such a luxurious and friendly manner.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Getting Lost in Creativity

This evening we had a fairly good night. We had a very easy, yummy tea and I let the family eat in the lounge as a treat. (While Nana is away, we'll enjoy ourselves.) Got everyone to bed, realised there wasn't much on telly to while away the hours so got out my fondant and tried to be creative.

I had a lovely time really. Then decided that since I don't own any colour dust I'd make up a mix of gin and conventional kiwi food colouring and see what happens. The outcome isn't brilliant but still inspiring to continue on this road of flower making. Take note . . . they don't last long in our house as there's always someone willing to devour a sweet rose for morning or afternoon tea.

The next time I get a chance to go to town alone I'm definitely going to the cake decorating shop in Otumotai and have a browse around for colourings and things. Then all I'll need is for Mum to come home, the house to be finished and the children at my folks for a night so I can let loose and have some real fun!

Friday, June 5, 2009

The smallest things . . .

For the most part I feel like I'm floundering in this new life of mine. This life where time is measured in three and six minute time out increments rather than long leisurely hours of peace and solitude; this life where I feel more like a referee in a wrestling match than a mother; this life where I feel like I speak in raised voices most of the time instead of intimate whispers; this life where the I love you comes in a little innocent voice and you know it's meant from the heart; this life where every detail is organised to the tiniest degree rather than being able to just wing it and see what happens. Yes, for the most part, I feel like I'm floundering. So when I hear what, to most people, is a throw away comment I really pat myself on the back.

I got two of these this morning. I was watching Kayley perform her jobs that are required on arriving at school when the mother of one of her class mates came up and told me that her daughter loves Kayley's array of crocheted hats and why can't her mum make her some. I smiled then because so often my crochet time feels more like a self indulgent waste of time rather than having an impact on anything greater.

The second comment really was a throw away comment from the teacher. We'd forgotten Kayley's home reading book: "Never mind," says the teacher. "You're always so good at remembering to bring everything every day, so just bring it back on Monday". So maybe all that organising isn't in vain.

So this morning, I sit at my computer with the washing machine whirling, Rogan trying to hack his way into his grandparent's computer, Janae re-arranging all the shoes on the shoe rack and the weekend baking begging to be started and I don't mind. I may feel like I'm floundering, but I think we're doing okay really!

Raincoats and Breakfast

I understand this isn't usually a combination for a happy child, however, Rogan has fallen in love with his Banana's in Pajamas raincoat and wears it at every opportunity. Now I understand that it was freezing this morning, gorgeous white grass, beautiful clear skies, the harbour looking exactly like a glass mirror but a raincoat at breakfast was a bit of overkill. One thing I have learned in my short life as a mother is that "if it's not broken, don't try to fix it" and Rogan was as happy as a sandboy this morning so I wasn't about to argue the finer points of breakfast etiquette. Let's just hope we don't have to undergo a battle at dinner time. He's already informed me that it will be his fashion statement at pre-school this afternoon.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Oh Dear - Cross Country

I went along to cheer Kayley at the school cross country this afternoon and arrived with a feeling of doom. I couldn't figure out if it was merely flash backs of my own cross country disasters at the very same establishment or it was some kind of weird premonition about the outcome of Kayley's race. Unfortunately it was the latter.

She walked across the courtyard full of excitement and the possibility of what was to come. She sat patiently while the Year One children had their turn running around the field. All the while I remembered my first cross country where I was about three metres from the finishing line and could see Mum jumping up and down cheering me on (despite my grand effort for last place) when I put on one last burst of speed, tripped over the blade of grass and landed flat on my face inches the wrong side of the finish line. The shame! (And the look of pity on my Mum's face as she rushed over to pick me up and hurl me across to the other side.)

Kayley started off, got a bit of a trip from someone in front and fell into last place. Ah well, I thought to myself, as long as she gives it her best effort, it doesn't matter where she comes. All the other little Year Two girls came staggering over the finish and Kayley was no where to be seen. I found her about three quarters of the way around crying because everyone else was faster than her. I tried to run with her but one of the mums suggested it would be kinder to sneak away and let the next race start. In hindsight it wasn't kinder. She should have finished, got the number on her hand and been proud to see it through. Ah well, there's always next year, and next year, no matter what, she'll get all the way to the end!

The beauty of sharing

I love going to Greedy For Colour's place for a cup of Earl Grey and a catch up. I always come away feeling creative and inspired. Granted, I don't always come away with an idea but often with the possibility of something fabulous. Today was no exception!

I dropped Rogan and pre-school and had a sneaky look at the books for sale. The very first was something of a sister book to my beautiful Baking Soda book and I just had to get a copy of that. But, as soon as I saw the cover I knew what my next creative idea is. I saw a decorating show the other day where they had nine small frames with cool things inside and thought . . . I know where I'd put that in my new house, but what to have in them. Now I know . . . three variations on my three favourite things: Shells and the beach, crochet with cotton, and flowers. Now I need to source nine little paper toll boxes and get to work . . . once I've finished my blanket and the half dozen baby's hats I've promised the local Mainly Music group as gifts for new mothers. All I need to do now is make sure the idea grows rather than gets lost in the myriad things running around my brain at any given moment!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A hope for our new home

Mmmmm I've unfortunately been woken from the deepest afternoon sleep I've had in a long time by a telephone call of all things . . . and not one that had anything to do with us. However, the lull between waking and the children waking game me pause to think about the bliss I'd just left and how much I hope there's a place just like this in our new house.

Upon having a disaster of a long weekend due, in a large part, to my own exhaustion, I vowed that Wednesday afternoons would be my sleep afternoon to give me strength to see out the rest of the week. It's more difficult than I thought as my will would much prefer to be sitting in the sun crocheting, even at the computer working, or out in the garden or something. But I dragged myself off to Kayley's bed and was out like a light in minutes. As I drifted off I could feel the sun slowly creeping from my feet up my body as if the room was rotating independent of the rest of the world, and just for me. The silence of slumbering children muffled the sounds from others activities and the dreams came. I dreamed of old friends on a camping trip; of an old love who had always been blissfully unaware of my affection (and still is to this day). I dreamed of laughter and affection and of plans for the future.
Where did all this come from I wonder. I'm sure now that it was the magic of a little girl's room full of imaginings and little girl treasure. And added to this magic was the warmth of a winter sun through a single pane of glass. So, that's what I want in my new house . . . a magic room of imaginings, warmth and peaceful slumber. I even hope there might be four of those rooms: one for each of us!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Baking Soda!

I got the most wonderful gift last night . . . a book all about baking soda and all the things it can be used for. I know! It sounds like an unusual gift but it's fabulous. This morning I was all eager to try it out so Kayley and I made some scouring scrub and attacked my ensuite. It sure goes a great job on stainless steel taps and stuff, great job on porcelain and not too bad on the shower. Now I'm eager to try out some of the other things, like stain remover, shampoo and soooo much more.

So that kind of set the scene for the day. It's been a Martha Stewart eat your heart out day. I made batch of lemon cupcakes and iced them. Yum they were delicious. By this evening I had a beautiful roast in the oven, a lemon merengue pie (made virtually from scratch) in waiting, the lawns were all mowed, kids bathed and all of us feeling a whole lot better than we have all weekend due to some much needed sleep this afternoon. And the best part? School's back tomorrow. Yay!