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, 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!