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.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Blissful Day Off

Last week my neighbour came over to tell me that I'm having Tuesday off and she was taking my three darlings on an adventure for the day. I could hardly believe how amazing this sounded. And I didn't need any hints as to what I wanted to do with my day . . . a trip to Rotorua to the closest Spotlight store would make me the happiest girl in the world.

Well, I did take my camera (and my mother and our friend Ann Marie) in hopes of being able to show just what a wonderful day it was; unfortunately, the day was so wonderful I forgot to take any photographs. Added to this were the giggles we all got when one of the staff at Spotlight commented that we three had been browsing for most of the afternoon. I came home terribly happy as I'd spent just over half my budget and had two big bags full of goodies.

We also had more visitors yesterday and so last night I spent time with 16 year old Mary and 14 year old Lena teaching them card making with some of my new treats. The table was covered in beautiful paper, alphabets, scissors, and ideas were flying around the room so much they were contagious. At 11 last night I had to tear myself away and go to bed. I did, however, manage to get two scrapbook pages done and I'm now determined that I'll redo the two pages I've already done. It seems, at last, I've kind of got the hang of this.

  Here's Kayley's page . . . all about swimming.

And Rogan's all about pre-school. I think Nana (the recipient of the scrapbook for Christmas) will enjoy these little gems of childhood activity.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Reason to be Proud

I feel like today is one where I can pat myself on the back. Last night I took the plunge and sent Rogan to bed nappy-less. This morning we all awoke to dry beds and very proud children.

Added to this, Janae is almost toilet trained. She got totally into it yesterday and wanted to go on the loo every five minutes (or so it seemed). I exchanged her nappy for a little pair of knickers and they remained dry all afternoon. (Well, let's face it, it's difficult to wet your pants when you spend more time on the toilet than off.)

So I'm feeling just the tiniest bit smug today. I'll let myself wallow in it until about lunch time and then I'll drag myself back down to reality.

By the way, the rose is nothing to do with potty training, nappies or under pants . . . it smiled at me so beautifully every time I passed it on the lawn mower yesterday that I had to capture it.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Crafty Kids

It's only Sunday . . . the school holidays haven't officially started; however, with a need to amuse three children for an hour I got out some scrapbooking stuff and let the kids make anniversary cards for their grandparents.

Well, I very much guided them in their design (shame on me) but Kayley's would have been covered in little embelishments and Rogan's would have been a plain piece of purple paper.

Nevertheless we had lots of fun and have three cute cards to give. Mine is the pink flower.

Rogan's is the I Love You card.

Kayley's is the Happy Anniversary one.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Anniversary Love

My parents were married on 1 October 1966. The first of October in New Zealand is the official start of trout fishing season. Needless to say, my folks have spent many years heading out on Lake Okataina in search of large trout. However, for many years they've not had a boat small enough to tow behind a vehicle so Dad finally found the perfect boat and they've booked into the Lodge and will head off for their nuptual celebrations on Wednesday afternoon.

I had to add this photograph of Janae. She was being so very cute in the boat. The children had a great time getting under Grandad's feet while he tried to inventory all that came with the boat, take out carpets etc. I'll give him credit though, he held his temper with great patience throughout the evening.

So, inspired by my father's very kiwi romance I've knuckled down and made their anniversary card tonight. It never ceases to amaze me how long it takes to arrange three elements on a piece of card. Very pleased with the rose photograph though.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Time for a name change?

I just had to post this in hopes of getting it off my chest. My name "Aunty Mum" arises from an attempt to play the role of a mother while only truly being an Aunt. However, there appears to be quite a lot of amorous connotations to the idea of an Aunt.

Just today I checked out my Feedjit log and saw that someone had arrived by googling "Aunty naked on bed" and I've had a lot of searchers in the same vein. Makes me wonder whether I really should change my name: or perhaps I will fool myself into thinking that by visiting my site, even by accident, I might bring a little culture, craft and laughter into the lives of people who are probably not looking for anything like that.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


My children spend most of their time at odds with one another, telling each other off, arguing over who had what toy first and basically making an enormous amount of time. Today, however, there were two occasions where I had to let the frustration go, smile with pure delight and enjoy their team work.

Rainy afternoons are not much fun for anyone so when I heard them playing on the other side of the table with the big blocks I peeked over to see cars racing backwards off an old toy conveyor belt and a huge garage being constructed.

Later, Kayley pulled out a huge amount of books she was allowed to bring home from her reading teacher. Knowing these were all books she could read alone I suggest she be the one to read Rogan his bedtime story. To my surprise she jumped at the chance. Again, it was a sight to behold. They were snuggled up together as the story unfolded.

There are days when I wonder what on earth I've let myself in for, days where I wonder if I'll survive the chaos that is three children. Then there are moments that make those days seem insignificant. I have been blessed with more than the necessary one today. Thank you Kayley and Rogan.

Getting There Slowly

Thought I'd take the opportunity to write while I'm child free for the first time in about eight weeks. This morning Janae grabbed her coat and shoes and waved them in my face. As I was putting them on I asked her where she thought she was going. "To town" she replied. "Oh," said I. "Are you going with Grandad?" "Yeah," she responded. So we went off to find Grandad and tell him that apparently he's taking her to town. Nanny got on the bandwaggon (the promise of a hot coffee and savory muffin) and ten minutes later the house is empty. It's the most amazing feeling.

So, I've whipped out the camera and taken the table runner at it's current stage. I'm now over the quarter finished mark and moving steadily to half way. I need to take a photograph with a coffee cup or something to show just how huge this is. Once complete it will cover almost all of a six seated table. Last week was a bit of a dud so didn't get too much done, but now the visitors have gone it's back to full steam ahead. I'd love to sit down now and do some more but I've instructions to have two slices and two fruit loaves made upon the grandparents return so I'd better knuckle down . . . after I've played with my new cuttlebug for ten minutes of course.

By the way, thank you to everyone who popped in to see the "Mirror of My Soul" doily. If someone could explain the sudden interest in it (I've had hundreds of views) I'd be grateful . . . but that in no way deminishes the lovely comments and keen interest. Thank you.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Best Thing About a Bad Day . . .

Is that there's always a good one to follow.

I got the children off well this morning (only one brief tantrum over which school bag had been packed) and I rushed into town to get my hair cut. Alas, the hair dresser is closed on a Monday so I'm still a wooly sheep. I did, however, manage to go get a bunch of stuff for Nana's Christmas present.

I've been wondering what I could do that would partly make up for Nana not having full access to her grandchildren and I hit upon the idea at the last Crafy Girls session. I'll make her a scrapbook throughout the year. So today I started. Granted my first efforts are mediocre but they'll get better as I do more. The added bonus is that it's another reminder to get the camera out more regularly and snap those silly moments.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Epiphany

This morning, out of sheer despiration I dragged Rogan and Janae down to the little beach by our house to give all the occupants some time out. They played for about five minutes and then started to misbehave (as children do).

I quickly got the camera out and snapped some photographs. That's when it dawned on me. I see pictures of other people's children and marvel at what a perfect and happy family they are. And yet, after today, I'm certain that some of them are taken under the same circumstances as mine.

I found myself still nagging, still encouraging children to get off my lap and actually play rather than glue themselves to me, to come up with fun things to discover and do. I found myself wondering if ten minutes was long enough to stay down there and just how much longer I could endure. I found myself dreaming of a child free Sunday morning.

We survived 40 minutes and then Janae cried all the way home as I refused to carry her, she screamed when we got home because I left her in the kitchen to put her shoes away, she shouted at me because I was getting the lunch out and hadn't yet got the high chair out. At last it all got the better of me and I dashed off to have a jolly good sob in a private place somewhere.

Needless to say I've had a good two hour sleep, Dad has taken Rogan off to the boat with him to play with a fishing rod for a couple of hours, Kayley's at the neighbours (having just come home to shout at me that she hates everyone because she can't do what she wants) and I'm waiting for the netball test to start so things aren't looking quite so bad this afternoon. Roll on Monday!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Dressing Up

It was Pirate Day at school on Thursday so we, once again, used the fabulous outfit loaned to us by Greedy For Colour (we'll be returning it any day now) and headed off for a parle with the other pirates at school. 

The fun of dressing up didn't stop there. Because we had to get the bag of dress up clothes out of the wardrobe Rogan and Janae decided they'd better have a rummage around before it was all packed away again for the next rainy day. Rogan found something that resembled a super hero cloak. Without a mask it was all a bit dull so I fashioned him a mask from a piece of fabric.

Janae decided on a pink sparkly evening dress, a pink gingham cooking apron and a red riding hood cloak (she's never one to do things by halves). She stayed in her clothes a lot longer than Rogan and got very upset every time the hood slid off her little head. At least I've got one child who truly enjoys the wonders of dressing up.

Roof Shout . . . At Last

We finally got around to having a roof shout at the house. Well, in all honesty, we put it off as long as possible so that we could include as many of the contractors as possible.

We also had some neighbours and other friends. Here's Dad busy cooking up venison on the BBQ. It was great to be able to show people around our new home, the pride I have in it and the laughs I had remembering my attitude when we first discussed building a home for the children and myself.

Dad had said he'd found a design he thought would work well for us. My response was "I don't care what it's like. All I need is four bedrooms and a dishwasher. Well, we have sooooo much more than that and we're all incredibly grateful for everything inside and out.

This coming week the decorators arrive and start painting, which should take about two weeks and then it's really onto the final leg of carpets, tiles and drapes. Once that's done we are able to start moving. I'll have all the furniture shifted and then take about a week to unpack everything, put pictures on walls, make sure the furniture is in just the right place. I'll do this in the evenings while the children are in bed and before they know it, there'll be a lovely home for them to move into. I think we'll have our first night on a Sunday so we start a new week and a new life all at the same time.

Right now we three adults are trying very hard not to lose our tempers with one another. There's an air somewhat like having resigned from a job. You're still there physically but mentally you've moved on. That's when you start slacking. We've still got to live with each other for another month so we've still got some work to do.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

And One for Me

I am not quite sure how I managed it, but this morning I found myself at home while the children went to Mainly Music with Nanny. So . . . what should I do?

I've been working on a painting for my new bedroom (I mean, why should the kids have all the art?) and it's been sitting almost finished for a few weeks now. I'm glad it has sat almost finished as last night I had a brainwave. I've been asking myself how to finally turn a canvas of lovely colours, that looks far too much like a flag, into something that makes me think of a tropical beach on a warm evening.

Hopefully this is what I've captured. As I'm not really an artist I printed off a palm tree and turned it into a stencil, taped it to the canvas and got out the black paint. I'm quite happy with the result. Of course, I started with just one tree and suddenly I'd gone from a flag to a marajuana/rasta type image that I didn't really want to put on my wall. The second palm, however, has just finished it off. All it needs now is one coat of Mod Podge and I'll be ready to stack it with all the other paintings for when the house is complete.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Perfect "Customers"

We've often had a giggle at the funny words Rogan comes out with . . . once we've decifered his meaning and context. This weeks is probably one of the cutest though.

We have family from Wales staying for a few days. Because of family relationships over the years, explaining their connection was always going to be difficult so I've simplified it and explained that the children's cousins will be staying (they're something like step cousins I think).

Well Rogan's taken quite a liking to this lovely young couple: they're out there playing with the rugby ball, throwing the kids about, chasing them around the lawn. But, last night when they were still here at Rogan's bedtime he was most concerned. "But where are the customers going to sleep?" he asked. Customers? Hmmm. Oh, you mean the cousins.

Some of his other favourites are:
Amablance = Ambulance
Owbarrow = Elbow
Tixie = Taxi
He's just the cutest sometimes.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Crochet Like Crazy

Thought I'd better give an update on the table runner. It's all going rather well and, surprise of all surprises, I'm not fed up with it yet. I'm almost a quarter of the way through and I do kind of wish that I'd worked it in a 20 gauge cotton as opposed to a 10 as it's getting more and more huge. But it's still going to be good and it'll cover almost all of the table (being more of a table cloth I guess).

Mum's eagerly watching the progress and at the end of each evening I lay it out on the floor or coffee table so she can see how far it's come. I've been working on it seven days today so, all things being equal that means that it should be about a month in the making. That means I should be almost finished by the time we move. What an awesome moving out gift that would be. She'll be able to look at her table (minus all the junk we leave on it), heave a sigh of relief and wonder how we're faring . . . just around the corner.

A glimpse of the future

We had a beach walk trip with preschool this morning and Janae was allowed to come along too.

We arrived and Janae had a little bag with her drink in it, just like her big brother. She waltzed on in, hung it on a hook and headed off for the sand box. Wow, she's not even two yet.

The best part was to see Rogan totally helping out his little sister with the sand toys and making sure she was okay. Only a matter of months and this will be happening two mornings a week.

The beach walk was fun, the weather was amazingly warm and most of the kids had a blast. You know, I take my hat off to early childhood teachers. They have so much patience and tolerance and they have all the tricks of using words to achieve an outcome. I think I should hang around there more and steal all their ideas. (Apologies for the photograph. I took it with my phone and it's got a blue cast I can't get rid of without my mac.)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Baby's Bath Time

It seems that my little one is just doing one cute thing after another these days. Today was so beautiful (until it rained) that I had to get the toy baby bath out, with baby and a cloth and let Janae go to it. She had a ball, got completely soaked and cleaned not only her dolly but the windows of the conservatory, the paving stones and even had a dab at the slide.

The one thing that surprised me was that she didn't climb in and wash herself. All the while the baby bath has been indoors she's been sitting in it as a boat or some other vehicle. But no, she didn't brave the cold water mean old Aunty Belinda provided this morning. Maybe she can have another go all by herself when the big kids are out of the way tomorrow.

Coincidence or Karma

I've spent the past week admiring a beautiful white stem appearing on my peace lily. This plant is a couple of years old and it's not flowered since I bought it. A month ago I repotted all my indoor plants and decided that this one should go in my room. Not long after I was tidying up and moved my little piece of craft over to this surface. Yesterday, as I admired the flower beginning to bloom I noticed the words. Hmmmm, now how did that happen without my planning it?

I also couldn't resist taking yet another photograph of the emergence of spring. It's my favourite time of the year, not least because it's a season of discovery every morning. The colours, the scents and the beauty. Thank goodness spring follows winter or we'd never appreciate it fully.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Small Step for Janae . .. a Huge Step for Aunty

We've hit another milestone with Janae this week . . . she's decided that she needs to sit on the loo. She keeps coming up, pointing down and saying "poo, poo". So we rush off to the loo, down trou and sit; and sit; and then get off.

So far we've not had any little parcels left but it's only a matter of time and she loves being there (just look at the face). It's a great way to end a pretty good week for our little girl.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Huge Undertaking

When my mother requested a table runner I was only too pleased to oblige. I searched the net for just the right pattern and found this one. It's gorgeous: It's huge!

Now I'm patiently working my way through. The best part is that it's intricate so it's not boring. I got all excited last night when I got to the stems of the daffodils. Imagine, once I've completed this chart, I have to turn it upside down and start all over again. Ah well, it'll keep me out of trouble for a while.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Extreme Makeover - Pantry Edition

Now, it's probably become abundantly clear over the last nine months that I'm just a little anal retentive. While I'm not a perfectionist by any means I'm certainly the kind of person who enjoys organisation and neatness. Knowing this a friend asked for my assistance in re-organising her pantry. I jumped at the chance.

I arrived ready for the challenge and opened the pantry doors. We'd already had a discussion about pantry size and she'd confessed that she needed a bigger pantry. I disagreed and stated that once everything was categorised she'd be fine. Well, now I agree . . . she needs a bigger pantry. I thoroughly loved the challenge and only hope it meets up to her expectations . . . especially the alphabetised herbs and spices.

As I was leaving I noticed the most beautiful pot of colour at the front door and couln't help but whip out the camera. Hope you enjoy these as much as I did!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Time out at the beach

Sundays, as I've no doubt posted before, are notoriously difficult in our house. I think it's something to do with the lack of structure to the day. So, feeling completely jaded, put upon and sick of the sound of our own voices, my mother and I bundled up the children and various bits and pieces and walked down to the beach. Alas, my children don't appear to be all that good at entertaining themselves. As this picture shows they spent more time on the grass with us than they did searching for strange sea creatures.

I shouldn't sell them too short however. They did spend half an hour trying to lodge the ball into the Norfolk Pine, then another half an hour figuring out how to get it down again. Following that they rummaged around in the native bush behind us dirtying their third change of clothes for the day.

We managed to drag the ordeal out for over an hour and we've come home with that lovely feeling of windswept hair, a bit of salt and sun on our tight faces and a weariness that reminds us it's not far from dinner which is one step closer to bedtime. Of course, with father out of the house hunting down the kai for our roof shout next week, we sneaked fish out of the freezer and I'm about to take it down to the fish and chip shop for them to cook it up, add some chips and play lazy women tonight. Yum. Can't wait!

More Spring

Crazy Old Men

Early yesterday morning I awoke to the ruckus of a chorus of ducks. Living by the sea one might expect a chorus of seagulls, but no, it was ducks. Accompanying this cacophony was the voice of an old man very dear to me saying "quack, quack, quack, quack." Dragging my sorry body from my warm bed I sneaked around the corner to see my father feeding not one, not two, but a total of seven ducks on the front lawn. Hmmmm I can't help wondering where senility starts: I'm guessing it's not to far from our front lawn at seven on a Saturday morning.

Green Fingers

The notion of a whole acre of land to play with has been something that's filled me with joy. Today I finally got the first patch of vegetables in. We've planted two varieties of potato, some capsicum, carrots, spring onions and lettuce.

One of the things I love most about my mother is that, despite being brought up in the heart of London, she knows vege growing. Complaining that I've never had much success with growing carrots she informed me that one must pour kerosene over the dirt once the seeds have been planted. Who knew that one? Alas, I forgot to find the kerosene so I'll head over tomorrow and do it.

Of course, there's always a downside to every gardening experience. Mine was putting my hands into a sack of sheep poo shaped like pellets. Poooo! What a stink. However, I know that this remedy is fail safe. I've even informed Kayley that it's going to be her job to go out into the paddocks, once the sheep have grazed, collect up their poo in a bucket and soak it in water for our roses. She thought I was joking. My mother spent my youth doing this and she had the biggest, most luscious and fragrant roses in the district. Furthermore, she never had aphids or spotty leaves. Told you she was a bit of a whiz in the garden.

Friday, September 4, 2009

My Little Swimmer

Kayley's been going to swimming lessons since she was two. She's always been a water baby and it's been great to see her get better and better. We all felt lots of pride this year when she was put in a class with children all quite a bit older than her and see her keep up with them.

Today I felt a pride beyond anything I could have imagined. The best part about her class is that there are three girls and three boys and the competition is rife. At the end of every session they have a relay race between girls and boys. Alas, today, Kayley was the only girl in the class . . . meaning she had to swim three lengths on her own. Boy oh boy did she pull it out of the hat today.

Today's race stroke was back stroke and she tucked her chin under, had super straight arms, strong legs and went for it. She led all the way to the last half length. Two of the boys are almost eight, much taller and have many more muscles than my little girl and, between them, they managed to catch and overtake her . . . but not by much.

The most incredible thing to me, more so than the fabulous (nay beautiful) swimming, was a HUGE well of pride I felt. I could have jumped in the pool, wrapped her up in my arms and kissed her for hours. I love that depth of emotion about the children: it makes them feel mine.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Cuttlebug

Thought I'd explain what the Cuttlebug is. It's a fabulous little paper cutter that uses dies. These are little metal plates that, when pushed through the machine with your choice of paper or card, cut the shape for you. Then, you have embossing folders that emboss the cut image to give it more texture and shape. They're just fantastic. Check out this site for more information.

Crafty Girls

After what was a pretty successful day yesterday I had an even more successful evening at Crafty Girls. We did scrap booking last night and I'm now scared it could become another craft addiction. I used a Cuttlebug for the first time and think I just may have to get one because it's so useful for my painting as well as card making and the such like.

I got a seal of approval from both mother and father when they saw it this morning and even have leave from father to do some more along these lines. He'd like something to hang on the wall. So, it'll be happy snapping, gorgeous paper, lots of fun shapes and hours of enjoyment. Yay! I love finding another thing I'm quite good at and enjoy as well.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Too much to say

I had to create separate posts today as it was one full of activity. Hopefully you enjoy all we've been up to. Oh . . . and an update on the crochet. I must be fully over my ills as I'm currently working on crochet projects and loving it. I've started a gift for a birthday that's coming up soon. I have the cotton of a summer shawl that I anticipate wearing on the summer evenings on my new patio and mother has put in an order for a table runner. Busy, busy busy.

Our House

It's all so exciting now as every day there are major changes. All the dirt here is a result of all the drainage. Today I decided to girlie myself up and put on one of my favourite pink dresses. While waiting for the bus Rogan managed to throw his truck into one of the trenches of the effluent field. Who had to clamber down and get it? Me!

I wasn't impressed!

Super Spring Days

It's been one of those days where so much has happened you just want to write about it all. Alas you just can't.

Here's a pic of Janae with a face full of sand. She's spent the entire afternoon getting dirtier and dirtier. When I got off the lawn mower and saw this face I couldn't decide if she was a boy or a girl.

The best part about this day and age, of course, is that children don't have to behave just like "boys" and "girls". Why, even Rogan has taken to wearing mis-matching boots . . . one blue and one pink. Now that's what I call "expressing your feminine side:.

The First Rose

This is our first rose of the season. I love rose buds because they're like a tight little ball of happiness that just keeps on giving over the next week or so. And, being the first, it's also a promise of many more beautiful blooms to come.