Friday, September 28, 2007

Breast Cancer

October is of course 'Breast Cancer Awareness Month'
Now I know it is not quite October, but women need you.

Please tell ten friends to tell ten today!

The Breast Cancer site is having trouble getting enough people to click on their site daily to meet their quota of donating at least one free mammogram a day to an underprivileged woman.

It takes less than a minute to go to their site and click on "donating a mammogram" for free (pink window in the middle).

This doesn't cost you a thing.

Their corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate mammogram in exchange for advertising.

Pass it along to people you know.

Holiday Recipe Swap

Got a favourite recipe for the up coming holiday times. Feel like sharing it with other people.
Then check this out to find out how and to also get in on hearing about lots of new recipes for the holidays.

Flower Friday

Flower friday is where I give someone a bunch of daisy's to brighten their day.
I will send them a link to this blog and let them know that I was thinking of them today.

My first recipient of this will be my mother (grandma) who has just had a few yucky days! So mum/grandma here are your daisy's to let you know we are thinking of you.

One of the blogs I follow has always got things happening on certain days:
  1. Favorite Ingredient Friday

  2. Pay It Forward Book Exchange

  3. Slow Cooking Thursday

  4. Works for Me Wednesday

She does all of these things on the blog and uses a link system to keep in touch with other bloggers (something I have yet to work out how it is done! Although I will try and take part in her next recipe swap to find out more.)
So that is what inspired me to do my Flower Fridays.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Rescuing Grandma

Grandma has been in New Zealand for the last week helping my brother and family settle into their new life in Rotorua.
Today she is flying back to Dubai.
On the news in the last 24 hours there have been reports on the fact that Air New Zealand have grounded some flights due to safety issues.

'Air New Zealand grounded about 60 flights to check 17 planes after a safety "issue" was found during routine inspection of an Eagle Air plane last night. '

It was only as I heard a news bulletin at 11am that it clicked that grandma was flying up from Rotorua to Auckland today, in a little plane, with Air New Zealand and more than likely one of the ones that had been grounded.
So I gave her a quick call and suggested she check it out, because as she was due to get a connecting flight up here in Auckland, she didn't have the time to get that flight if she only found out at 2pm that her 3pm flight was not flying (it is a 3 hour drive).
So she checked it all out and found that all flights were grounded until 2pm and they could give no reassurance that the 3pm flight would fly. So my brother and family suddenly found themselves driving to Auckland and back to deliver grandma to the airport.

So a good deed by me for thinking of her and getting in touch quick enough.

Unfortunately at 4pm I got a call from grandma to say she was at the airport BUT her wallet was still in the car with my brother and therefore she had no money!
No money means no leaving New Zealand as you have to pay a $25 departure tax before you can go through to the gate!
So off we rushed to the airport (20 minutes away) to rescue grandma again for the 2nd time today.
She was more worried about the fact that it was her wallet with all her cards and driving license, which she needs in Dubai, but unfortunately there was nothing we could do about it at that moment, so we paid for her to leave, we gave her some money for the flight and made sure she had everything she needed and then we saw her off.
Luckily for us, just after she had gone through another Emirates flight taxied down the runway to take off, so as far as Ben is concerned we saw grandma's plane take off!
Unfortunately due to the time at the airport we were never going to make it home in time to make dinner so ended up having to have dinner at the airport. Expensive and not the greatest actually.

So a wild day of rescuing grandma.
Luckily when we called my brother later he had grandma's wallet from the car, so at least it is not lost and we can now organsie getting it to her soon.

Blog of Note

Occassionally I surf the blogs and see what everyone else is doing. I have found one or two blogs of real interest by doing this.
One I have recently found is Overwhelmedwithjoy. The lady who keeps the blog is married with 1 son, who they adopted when he was born. She is just so good at keeping her blog. It is interesting and entertaining and she also has lots of connections to other blogs that are also fun to read.
A recent posting was about appearances and it so hit home, I am sure all mums out there can relate to this.
So come on girls, read the post and then lets make the effort.
We might all feel good after this.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


On route from Wellington to Auckland with the van we were lucky enough to have the ability to just stop whenever we saw something to look at.

As we past Foxton we spied a windmill, so turned off to have a further look.

De Molen Windmill - This is a full size operating Dutch Windmill. It is open to the public 7 days a week and allows visitors to experience a little of Holland. Tours of the working parts of the Mill are conducted and souvenirs and "milled flours" are available for purchase.

Another attraction we found right next to the windmill was a whole display of murals. It seems that Foxton has a large number of beautiful murals, depicting scenes from days gone by.

Here are a few that I liked.

Camper Van

As we flew down to Wellington we decided to do something different to get us back to Auckland. So we organised to relocate a camper van from Wellington to Auckland.

This means that we got a camper van very cheaply because they are always having one way bookings and then have vans stuck in parts of the country where they don't need them, so rather than pay for a driver to go and get the van, they rent them to the public at a very cheap rate, like $5 per day instead of the standard rate of $114 per day, you do have a limited amount of time that you can take to get the van back but they are very adaptable. Check out here if you want more details, it covers New Zealand and Australia.
The boys thought this was a wonderful idea and had great fun for 3 days in the van.
The van we obtained was a 6 berth, so had plenty of space for all of us and our stuff, was a little old, but served the purpose we needed. The boys thought the bed at the top was fun, but they were too little to be able to sleep up there, so it became our storage area, very useful actually.
It was good fun, but nice to eventually get home and stop moving! felt like I had been on the move for days.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Patchwork Quilt

At the conference they referred to all the different services involved with parenting like a patchwork quilt.
Quite a nice resemblence I think.

Several months ago National Office sent all centres some material and asked us to create a quilt block. There were certain specifications involved, but generally a block representing what our centre meant to the local community and when building the block we had to try to incorperate the 2 pieces of material supplied so every block had a common thread.

I was the lucky person who had the privelige of putting our block together. We didn't go for anything too fancy, found a design that represented what we wanted to say and then I printed it onto special quilting material you can put through your home computer printer and then added some borders. I was really happy with what we ended with, simple but nice.

It was quite funny because I had forgotten about this, as it was about 3 months ago I sent it in to National Office and then there they were talking about parenting and a patchwork quilt in one of the evening sessions.
Suddenly it dawned on me what they were about to do.
The quilt, celebrating 55 years of Parents Centre, it was a wonderful moment to be part of, especially as my block was part of it, even though it was for Central Auckland Parents Centre, it was still my block.

There were some amazing blocks in the quilt. The centre block showing the logo of PCNZ was so well done. In the blue plain squares the quilter had quilted in the shape of the logo, unfortunately it doesn't show here, but looked so good in person. A lot of effort had gone into this and it showed. It was beautiful.


The conference was something I wanted to experience as it was being run by National Office, the annual conference is usually run by a centre somewhere around New Zealand.
I have had the pleasure of attending conference for the last 2 years, firstly in Auckland and then last year in Christchurch. So I was interested to see exactly what National would put on and how well it all ran.

National Office is based in Wellington so this is where conference was held this year. They held it at Te Papa, the museum in Wellington, actually quite a cool place to hold a conference. Steve and I had been to a dinner there previously but not a whole conference.

Unfortunately due to the shuttle issues we had and helping Steve get the boys settled before I went to the conference area, I didn't have time to attend the official service, but I did get to the first session at 8.30pm

They opened the conference with the Annual General Meeting (AGM) but they managed to make this last 2 days!! We had half the AGM on the Friday night and then had the other half on Sunday morning! I have never known anyone be able to make an AGM last for so long, unfortunately it meant that attendance at the 2nd half was way down on the first half.

The speakers and break out sessions on the Saturday were good, some inspiring speakers. I found my first break out session a little slow to get going, but made some good contacts whilst in the session. Got to meet someone in a centre not far from where I will be in Hamilton, so we got talking and exchanged details, so will get in touch when I move.

I also got to meet 2 people from the Hamilton Centre, so know when their meetings are being held, so will go along when I have moved. Sounds like they are going through a small bad patch, sort of what Auckland went through last year, but looking forward to seeing if I can help and working with a different committee with a different way of doing things in a different town.

The conference dinner on the Saturday night was good, nothing too fancy but had a theme of 60's & 70's. We had some wonderful costumes appear and some people really went to town on their design. The entertainment was fabulous, they got
'The Beat Girls' who were just amazing. Played all the right music and they were so entertaining.

Sunday was another good day at conference, again some more good speakers and good break out sessions.
Something new they did this year was to have a Dad's Day, generally they ran sessions for the Dad's on the Saturday, so Steve was registered for this and he says it was very interesting. In total there were 4 dad's at the day but they had good speakers and good discussions on how this day could be better organised and planned so more dad's could attend. The only small problem to it is that all the dad's are at home looking after the kids so the mum's can attend conference, so something big would have to be organised about childcare to allow the dad's the advantage of attending conference at the same time, but Steve said lots of ideas were flowing around and it will be interesting to see what comes of it, hopefully that will not be the one and only dad's day at conference.

At the end of the day this is a conference for volunteers, apart from the paid people in National Office the rest of Parents Centre New Zealand (all 52 centres) runs on the wonderful enthusiasm of volunteers and the awesome time they are prepared to give.
Like all volunteer stuff, you can be involved a little or a whole lot, just purely depends on what you want to take on.
To meet up with another 150 people all with the same enthusiasm as myself is very inspiring, so I always come away from Conference with lots of ideas to try and help our centre over the next year.
Not sure where conference is being held next year, they are talking about having a 'Volunteer Symposium' instead, but hey will give anything ago, so watch this space and will let you know where and when and what it will be.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Parents Centre

The weekend has been very busy as we flew to Wellington on Friday so I could attend the National Conference of the organisation that I volunteer for Parents Centre New Zealand.
They are an organisation that hosts and organises Childbirth Education Classes and Parent Education classes once the baby is born. Check out their
web site for more exact details of what is on offer.

The boys had a ball on the plane, although Ben decided once we were about 2 minutes up after take off that he had had enough now and that we could go down now, but after a little reassurance everything was good, it was only an hour long flight so nothing too hard, although Ben didn't like the blocked ears he got as we were coming down and there were a few tears there. Alex thought it was all good fun and as usual didn't want to be strapped into his seat, but we survived and I think they both enjoyed their little adventure on the plane.
Unfortunately I wish I could say the same for the shuttle to the hotel, this was organised by the conference and it took an hour to get us from the airport to the hotel, after doing a ticky tour of Wellington to drop others off first! So that meant that at 5pm we were still in the shuttle, with the boys being so good but quickly loosing it because they had had enough and were getting hungry and thirsty!
So it was great to get to the
hotel and have them be so on to it, check in took 2 minutes and we were in the restaurant before they opened at 6pm, but that didn't matter, they were so good with the boys, even found out what the chef had in the kitchen that the boys could eat without us having to ask. The young waiter we had, Adam, was fabulous, he went out of his way to assist us and even predicted some of the stuff we would need and just appearred with it before we had asked. When you are travelling with a 2 & 4 year old, this makes all the difference to enjoying the time away or stressing out. Thank you Adam, you made our time away so enjoyable.

The room was small but suitable, it had 2 double beds and a lovely little kitchenette area, with dishwasher and washing machine!
Seeing as the boys were only going to be with us there for 1 night, it was just right.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Travelling with Kids

Yesterday we flew down to Wellington so I could attend a conference. We were actually amazed at how small the amount of bags there were to take with us, considering it was for all 4 of us and we were not coming home till Wednesday after getting a camper van for a few days (thus the car seats)
Due to how long we were going to be away, it was actually cheaper and easier to get a shuttle to the airport. The boys thought this was a good idea. Ben enjoyed the ride, Alex was so tired with it being sleep time, so he enjoyed the ride because he doesn't remember it!Luckily we were able to get him out of the shuttle without waking him, so getting around the airport to check in was easy. Just had to remember not to check him with the luggage at the counter!

PS: This is my 100th blog.

Friday, September 21, 2007


Seems my 2 love to hide. Alex is very good at it too, although a little dangerous at times because he will go and hide and is so good he won't say anything, even if you call his name, he stayes dead quiet and won't answer. Great when you are playing at home, but could be a worry if he ever ran off in a shop to hide!

Alex found a cupboard to hide in today, Ben did exactly the same when he was this age.

Shame it is the cupboard on our tv unit!


As we are flying to Wellington this weekend we realised that we really needed a new suitcase. We brought a new one not long after Alex was born, which the boys share, but Steve and I don't really have anything suitable for the 2 of us to share.
So we looked around and found something suitable.

Children being children decided that this was an ultimate hiding place.

So our 2 had great fun hiding, amazing how many kids you can fit in a suitcase!

Thursday, September 20, 2007


I announced I was going out for 5 minutes the other day and suddenly Alex was at the door waiting for me to go so he could wave goodbye.After a very early start to the day, 5.30am, because we had a house full of relatives with jet lag, and a big day getting to know his cousins, Ben settled to sleep very easily.
This is how we found him when we went back to turn his light out.
So peaceful and happy.

Here At Last

My brother and his family are here at last.
Iain is my little brother, oh and my only brother. He is married to Claire and they have 2 boys, Ellis who is 6 and Harvey who is 3.
They have emigrated to New Zealand for a new life and are going to be living in Rotorua.

Finally my boys have some other relatives their own age around.
So cute to see all the cousins together, they all got on really well, which is great to see.
Although how can you not like each other when playing with a Thomas the Train Set and Lego.

Claire and Harvey, still a little wide eyed from jet lag, but doing well.
Ben getting use to Uncle Iain being there.
I am so glad to have them here, I haven't seen Iain for 4 years, and prior to that would have been when I left England 10 years ago.
So I can honestly say I don't really know my brother and his wife, but I am so looking forward to getting to know them and their boys and having them in our lives much more than when they were 10,000 miles away.

Welcome to new Zealand Iain and Claire, Ellis and Harvey, we wish you all the best.
You know where we are in Hamilton if you need us for anything, so please do just call or come visit, our door will always be open to you.

We are so glad to have you here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

They Have Arrived

So after a manic morning at work I finally found myself, with the family at the airport.
We had our signs ready and we raced upstairs to the big windows to watch the plane land.
We were lucky enought to catch it land and taxi all the way to the gate right in front of us.
So the boys got to see the plane right up close and watch all the men doing the work as they emptied the luggage, checked everything and prepared it for the next trip.

Grandma and Grandad have been arriving at the airport so much in Ben's life that the sign we have to wave when they arrive is preprinted and laminated! Stuck nicely on a stick, it gets loads of remarks when ever we go to the airport.
People always smile to see Ben with his sign, they think it is so cute.

Here they come, nearly at the gate.
Unfortunately it was all a little emotional when we finally saw them face to face, so didn't manage to get any pictures, but had a lovely big cuddle, with tears, from my baby brother.

So great to finally have them here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Alex and Ben

Alex is not a happy chappy when he wakes from his lunchtime sleep!
As you can see all he wants to do is snuggle until something takes his fancy and then he is off.

Alex must have been sick too often this winter...because Ben now knows how to take his own temperature and tell us when he is sick!

Grandma's Camper Van

When you have a camper van in the drive way, then why not make use of it.
Our 2 decided they wanted to hold a party in there and then have dinner as well, who were we to say no.
So we set the table, placed a sheet down to catch the mess and away we went, sitting on our own driveway eating dinner in Grandma's camper van.

Unfortunately the fun ended abruptly when Alex fell out the door!

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Joneses

The Joneses are the real estate company we used to sell our house.
There was a letter from them when we got home yesterday saying congratulations on the successful sale of our house and thank you for using them over any other real estate agent etc.

They also included a CD of all the marketing pictures they took, so we have a nice memory of our house. The CD case has a nice picture of our house on the front with a SOLD sign over it.

They also wished us all the best of luck and included 2 lottery tickets for the next 2 draws!!
How cool is that, something so small but so cute.

That made us both smile and was such a nice token gesture from them.

So a huge thank you to Jane and Adam from The Joneses, we really appreciate what you did for us and all the help you gave us. Also thank you for answering all those silly emails and calls we probably made when trying to work out what happened next or when something was going to happen.

500 kms Later

This weekend has just been a marathon travel for us, and the boys have been so good during it all.
Yes we travelled 500kms this weekend.
We left home on Saturday morning about 10am, to go to Hamilton to meet the lady renting the house to us so we could officially sign the papers.
All went well here and she was very happy to meet us.
We will meet her again in 2 weeks time when we collect the key from her, we don't start paying rent until Sept 29, so can't really have the keys prior to that.
Then we got in the car and carried on to Rotorua, with mum and Iain & co arriving on Wednesday, we needed to make sure all forms of transportation is available for them to get home with when they leave us, so that meant we had to collect mum and dad's camper van.

So we had a lovely night in Rotorua with my Aunty and Uncle, who kindly put us up for the night. Ben and Alex spent time with Jazz and Chedan(my cousin's children). Steve and I got to relax a little.
We collected the van and then on Sunday morning we drove to Papamoa to:

  1. Drop of my cousin's children who had been in Rotorua and needed a ride home

  2. To go and look at the local campsite and see if they would have space to take our new caravan we are looking at getting.

This was a lovely time, despite the rain! Where had the sun gone from the day before? So we checked out the campsite and sadly we don't think we will be able to place our caravan there, but no worries we will sort something out.

So then we started the marathon journey home, unfortunately we ended up stopping 4 times, once or twice just to have a quick drink and a biscuit and yes once was for clearing up Alex who succeeded in throwing up spectacularly just before we were going to stop for dinner.

We stopped for dinner at the same restaurant we seem to have stopped at for the last 3 times we have travelled home. Beginning to get to know their menu and what is actually good and hot and what is not. The boys love their toasted cheese sandwich with a slice of ham on the side and at the end of the day it is their dinner that I am more worried about, Steve and I can eat anything later on when we get home but they are always so tired so we have to stop so we know they will eat.

So we finally got home at 7.30 on Sunday evening, very tired, but having successfully achieved everything we needed to this weekend.