Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Time again for a tip in this weeks Works For Me Wednesday over at Rocks in my Dryer.
My little tip is one I read about the other week, but sadly can not recall where I saw it.

Anyway, all kids love feeding the ducks, my 2 especially.
But keeping the bread until we have enough is not quite so much fun, but now it is easy.

Keep a plastic bag in the freezer and place the scraps of bread for the ducks in there.

When you are ready to feed the ducks, take the bag from the freezer and viola, bread for the ducks that is not mouldy.

Swimming Update

Ben got moved up to the next class at swimming on Monday.
He is now a Turtle.
He had his first Turtle lesson today and it was real swimming.
I am so proud of him.
He has worked so hard this last week on his swimming and he has come so far.
Today he was swimming with his head in the water, floating on his back. learning to get his hands in a diving position and also how to jump into the water in different ways.
Sadly when he goes to school in September we may have to cut down his lessons to 1 a week if he has other things he wants to do, but I will happily take him to lessons twice a week if that is what he wants to do.
I must say it wasn't an activity I had thought of him getting into.

Invites for Wedding

I have the invitations completed, and apart from 3 address's I am waiting on, I can now get them in the post.
Now everyone will know what time and where to come, so makes it even more real now.
They have turned out very nicely too, simple but elegant, just what I wanted.
I have made them up myself rather than have them all printed out professionally.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Dress Update

My mother has kindly sent over some samples of material from Dubai.
Things like Raw Silk, which, even though I am a quilter, I never realised how special it is to have silk as a wedding dress.

I like one of the ones she sent over and so I went to the Wedding Shop and checked out dress's in silk and liked what I saw.
I have sent the sample to the dressmaker and as long as she is happy then I have a feeling I will be wearing a silk dress in September.
Yes I am now aware that it creases very very easily but I think it will all go with the style/feel of the day.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


When Steve proposed in March we had this sudden thought about why wait until September to get married. We have been together for 8 years, what was there to wait for?
In fact the date we thought of was today, 26th April.
Now looking back I am so glas we didn't go for today, ok the weather is fine, but all that work we would have had to do, all the compromising we would have made just to get everything sorted in 8 weeks.
If we had had to do it we would of, but I am glad we are waiting.

Water Baby

We have created a water baby - Ben!

We are spending another weekend at our caravan and of course with the pool here we are in it at least twice a day, and that means his swimming is improving every hour!

After we spent Easter here we went home and sorted out swimming lessons.
So Ben now has lessons twice a week, Alex has 1 a week.
Ben has only been having lessons for 2 weeks now and I hadn't really seen too much improvement in those lessons but I wasn't expecting too much in the first few weeks, but I sure as hell wasn't expecting to see improvement in him in one day at the caravan.

Yesterday morning we went swimming and he was floating around the pool on his own with a ring, he would go over everything he had done in lessons with us and we practiced them so he was getting better at them. Things like floating on your back with float boards, floating on your front and putting your face in the water for a second.

Yesterday afternoon my cousin and her family came to join us for a couple of hours and everyone went in the pool, by the time we got out Ben was swimming under water almost across the whole pool by himself, although he can't come up for air as he doesn't know how to! But as long as he is swimming to someone he is fine.

He was taking himself under the water at every opportunity, and that was every second he was in the pool.
I have never seen such an improvement in confidence in such a short time frame.
He tried on Jazz'z goggles and that set him off further, he was going under to touch the bottom, wave at others who would go under with him etc.

So yesterday afternoon we went and brought him some goggles, and now all we keep hearing is "can we go swimming please?"
As I write this, he is currently in the pool, they have been for the last hour! And Ben has too much confidence for his own good. We are frantically trying to teach him how to come up for air, how you have to be able to swim on the surface to be safe and anything else we can teach him without scaring him, because now he has this new talent we want to extend it, but safely without scaring him, but I do feel he will come a cropper a few times before he realises just what he doesn't know, and until that happens we will be watching him like a hawk and being there to catch him everytime he throws himself in and swims under the water to us.

On Monday he has another swimming lesson, I will be making sure they get to see him in action because I think my little Octopus (swim class name) may just graduate up to a turtle by his lesson on Wednesday! Last week I asked the teacher what we could work on to help him improve...she said being able to put his face in the water for a few seconds. I.e stand in the water and just put your face through the surface, not quite sure she meant for him to be able to swim from one side of the pool to the other under water!

He reminds me of my brother, because when Iain was first learning to swim he swam like a fish under the water but it took him a while to master swimming above the water. One look at Ben swimming today and it is Iain all the way!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

New Title


A woman, renewing her driver's license at the Motor Registration office,
Was asked by the counter clerk to state her occupation.
She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.
'What I mean is,' explained the counter clerk,
'do you have a job or are you just a ..?'
'Of course I have a job,' snapped the woman.

'I'm a Mum.'

'We don't list 'Mum' as an occupation, 'housewife' covers it,' Said the clerk emphatically.

I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself in the same situation, this time at our own Medicare office.
The Clerk was obviously a career woman, poised, efficient, and possessed of a high sounding title like,
'Official Interrogator' or 'Town Registrar.'

'What is your occupation?' she probed.
What made me say it? I do not know.
The words simply popped out.

'I'm a Research Associate in the field of Child Development and Human Relations.'

The clerk paused, ball-point pen frozen in midair and
Looked up as though she had not heard right.
I repeated the title slowly emphasizing the most significant words.
Then I stared with wonder as my pronouncement was written,
In bold, black ink on the official questionnaire.
'Might I ask,' said the clerk with new interest, 'just what you do in your field?'
Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice, I heard myself reply,

'I have a continuing program of research, (what mother doesn't)
In the laboratory and in the field, (normally I would have said indoors and out).
I'm working for my Masters, (first the Lord and then the whole family)
And already have four credits (all daughters).
Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities, (any mother care to disagree?)
And I often work 14 hours a day, (24 is more like it).
But the job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers and the rewards are
More of a satisfaction rather than just money.'

There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk's voice as she
Completed the form, stood up, and personally ushered me to the door.
As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by my glamorous new career,
I was greeted by my lab assistants -- ages 13, 7, and 3.

Upstairs I could hear our new experimental model, (a 6 month old baby) in the child development program,
Testing out a new vocal pattern.
I felt I had scored a beat on bureaucracy!
And I had gone on the official records as someone more distinguished and indispensable to mankind than 'just another Mum.'


What a glorious career!

Especially when there's a title on the door.

Does this make grandmothers
'Senior Research associates in the field of Child Development and Human Relations'

And great grandmothers
'Executive Senior Research Associates?'

I think so!!!

I also think it makes Aunts 'Associate Research Assistants.'

This is my 300th post and I thought it was wonderful to celebrate 300 by gaining a new title to my exciting career.

I am well on track with my 366 posts for 2008, some days I get behind and wonder how I will make it but other days I am so ahead I have a few days off blogging when life takes over or I have a few more experiments to try on my lab assistants!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

How Big is the World?

This is a question a class in Winsconsin are currently asking in their computer class. How far will an email go if you send it to 3 people you know and then they send it to 3 people they know?

With the wonders of the computer and internet people now know and communicate with people all over the world.

I remember when having a friend in a different country was a very special thing indeed because you had to really know someone to know them. People nowadays have friends all over the world, who are just as special as my friends from when I was younger, but it is a lot easier to keep in touch with them now. You can communicate with them everyday, whereas we had to wait for letters to get delivered and then for the letters to be replied too.

Man this makes me sound very old, like I am talking about pre war time, but I was only born in 1970. Man how life changes in such a short space of time.

The class have sent out a very short email:

SUBJECT: For our school

To whom it may concern: Starting on Monday, February 25, 2008, the Computer Literacy Classes at Cuba City High School, Cuba City, Wisconsin, are going to pass on this letter to see how far across the world we reach.

Please write to our teacher, Mrs. Cohen, with your city, state/province and country.
The email address
We ask that you forward this piece of mail on to at least 3 people.
It would be better for our experiment if you send this message to people who are not local to your area.

Thank you for participating in our experiment.

Yes I kindly replied telling them where I live.
This is what I got back:

Thanks for sending us your name and location.
This activity shows the students how easy it is to connect in our global world.

Mrs. Cohen
Cuba City HS
Cuba City, WI

I hope their map of the world on the wall of their classroom has a button / pin in just about every place on there.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Dress Update

On Tuesday I drove to Rotorua with the boys so I could go to a wedding dress meeting and then we could go to my cousin Lucy's 21st Birthday.

It rained all the way to Rotorua and the visibility coming over the Mamaku Ranges was really bad, like drop down to 50k, windscreen wipers going full blast and hope you can remember the road type of bad!

Rotorua itself was wet, wet and more wet for the whole day we were there.

The dress meeting went very well. I meet with the lady who is going to make my dress and showed her the patterns I had and also the pictures od dresses I ahd tried on and also liked the shape of. She was great, feels she knows exactly what I want and feels she can make it from the 2 patterns I gave her.

Now I have to find some material I like for her to make it with. Have decided on Satin and will be either cream or ivory, depends on what I find.

On the drive back to my brother's house in the afternoon the rain was still falling really fast and all the roads were flooding. Fairy Springs Road, the main road into Rotorua was so flooded we were driving on the centre median as our lane was a wash with water and mud running off of the banks.

I very quickly made the decision that we were staying the night in Rotorua and driving back to Hamilton the next morning.

Now Hamilton is only an hour away but the Mamaku Ranges road is dark and spooky, add to this the boys would have been asleep and I was driving on my own and with such poor visibility from the continuous rain and threat of mud slides from all the water I made a sensible decision to stay put.

The next day driving home I am glad I did stay the night, the residue of mud on the roads from water and mud running over the road was very clear to see and I am glad I drove it during the day and not in the dark.

Moving and Mould!

Yes that is right I have said mould in the title.
Turns out I discovered a bucket in the garage today with a lid on, that I had planned to have in the bathroom for wet cloths that need to go out to the laundry, which is in the garage btw, and I opened it to discover a pair of jeans and a shirt of Ben's in there!

Thing is they were in the laundry in the old house and in the move the lid got put on and the bucket got placed in the garage, I consequently forgot all about it and 2 weeks later I have discovered these mould stained clothes!

I have rinsed them in very hot water and am soaking them in hot soapy water but have resigned myself to the fact that they will get thrown out as I don't think I will get rid of the mould stain on them!

Oh well the joys of moving house.

Ice Cream

My boys love this stuff, but then find me a child that doesn't!
Ok they don't know the likes of Baskin Robbins with their 31 flavours or Ben and Gerry.

All they know is it comes in a plastic tub from the supermarket and lives in our freezer!
Ben would eat ice cream at anytime of the day if allowed, although we do only have it as an after dinner treat occassionally.

Their favorites.....Alex likes 'Mina' aka Vanilla and Ben loves Vanilla and Chocolate, although seems to have a tendency for Vanilla at present.

My favorite is White Chocolate and Macadamia from the Gelato shop down town, yum
So what is your favorite ice cream flavour? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Hamilton V8 400

So the day has arrived for the whole of New Zealand to decend upon Hamilton for 3 days of fast, furious boys adrenaline rush racing.
The V8 Supercars and many other fast cars are here for the street racing.
Many city's within NZ thought about putting forward a bid to host this phenonemen (?) but Hamilton came out on top and have secured the privilige for the next 7 years!

Are we going? No
Why not I hear you say?........
Well in fact I would love to go and see the races etc, but unless something is happening constantly then I think the boys will loose interest very quickly, they won't want to sit still waiting for the cars to go past between races and it would bug me the whole time not being able to see what I want to see because they want to go somewhere else or even home for that matter!
If I had no kids and was not at work today then yes, I would wander down, get a ticket for the day and experience it with everyone else, 1) to be able to say I was there at the first Hamilton 400 and 2) because it would be fun.

But seeing as they have secured the right to host this for the next 7 years and seeing as how the boys are only 3 & 5, then give it a year or 2 and I am sure we will be wandering down all too soon.

Tickets are not even as expensive as I imagined. You can get a 3 day pass to certain grandstands for anything from $120 to $165 per person, under 12's or maybe under 15's are free, so father and son could go for 3 days and it is not expensive.
I was expecting the tickets to be $120 per day. I mean to go to the theatre and see a good show costs about $89 - $109 so I was quite shocked to learn how cheap it was. Good on them for keeping it at a price that everyone can enjoy it with.

So if you are into fast cars and motorsport then this is the place to be this weekend or planning to be in the years to come.

I am sure in a year or 2 my dad will come over with my brother and his 2 boys from Rotorua (1 hours drive away) for the weekend and all the boys will be gone for 3 days down town to see the fast cars. I am looking forward to that day.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Price Rises

Ok so which bright spark decided to make the petrol go up to such a point that it cost me $100 for 56 litres today?

Now we are a good family in that we only have 1 car. Sometimes it is a little hard organising how everyone will get to where they want to go at the right time, but 99% of the time we are fine.

If I have errands to run then I try and go out and do everything all at the same time, I also plan where we are going and try to do a circle so we are not driving around too much.
There is not much more we can do!

Dry Nights

After Ben taking almost a whole year to be successful at toilet training we are in no hurry what so ever to get him dry through the night.
We haven't even started toilet training Alex and he will be 3 in June. We continuously encourage him and occassionally he will use the toilet but not to the point that we think it is worth attempting to start with him.

Ben on the other hand has suddenly started giving us dry pull ups in the morning. For 5 days now we have had dry mornings.
He doesn't wake in the night to want to pee but he does go and pee first thing when he gets out of bed.

We are still giving him a drink as he is reading a story each night so there is fluid going through for him to pee, but his body is obviously waiting until morning now. Which is great.
Maybe we will leave it a couple more weeks and then try him without his pull ups.....

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Hamilton is famous for having a wonderful festival each year called "Balloons over Waikato"
For the last half of last week there was stuff going on each day.

On Wednesday morning we woke up to this sight out of our window. There were over 25 balloons flying past.

On Wednesday afternoon I took the boys down to the common to watch some of the balloons inflating and taking off. Ben thought this was fabulous. We actually stood right next to the 3 main feature balloons (Darth Vader, Spooky House or Nightmare as it is really called and the Pirate one) and watched them inflate, man are they large!

The boys just loved the Spooky House and the Pirate one, although the Darth Vader one was very impressive. I love the Pirate one with his little flag and his cat because he didn't have a parrot!

On Thursday morning I was stupid enough to get up at 5.15am and go and watch the Dawn Parade, (I snuck out of the house, leaving the rest of the family sound a sleep in their warm beds!) this involved about 10 balloons taking off just before sunrise. As it was still dark it was like watching chinese lanterns light up the sky as they fired up the gas.

They were able to do this in the dark because not long after, the sun came up and this gave the pilots the ability to see where they could land, so all very safe.

Unfortunately for them, but not for the people of Hamilton, there was no wind on Thursday morning, so as everyone made their way to work they had the pleasure of witnessing 20 odd balloons just hovering over the lake area. The sky was filled and it was a spectactular sight.

The boys daycare is next to Steve's work and looks out over the lake, so you can imagine what all the children were doing in the room, glued to the window watching this amazing sight before them. Again the Spooky House and Darth Vader were floating the skies for them.
On Saturday evening there was a big free party at the University Grounds. It was an amazing turn out from everyone in Hamilton. Just as the sun had gone down they did a Night Glow. The balloons formed a semi circle and staying tethered to the ground (or cars because of the weight) they kept turning on the gas to light the balloon up in the dark. It was well done, but of course the fireworks that followed were even better. The boys just loved all of it.

Me I found the whole 5 days really great and made me love Hamilton even more than I already do.
Roll on next year, we are ready and waiting!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday

Ok so I am a day or so out, but with the time differences etc I can be forgiven.
Shannon over at Rocks in My Dryer holds WFMW each week, this is where you post you tip saving ideas and then link it to her web site so others can come visit and read you marvelous tip.

Weekly Menus

When Ben was little I found after the long day of looking after him I had no energy to decide what to have for dinner! Were we going to have chicken, mince, sausages? If so how were they being cooked? What were we having with them? Had we had chicken the night before and now having chicken again tonight?

Some days it just became too much.
So one day I sat down and wrote out a list of all the meals we liked and ate.
I then wrote out a page with 4 weeks on it and started filling it in with the meals. (picture not the greatest, but gives you an idea)

Now this was the tricky part because I tried to make sure we didn't have chicken 2 nights running, also that what we were planning for the days when I was at work didn't take more than 30 minutes to cook, due to the time we got home etc.

Making pizza from scratch takes time so had to be something we had on the weekends, same with a roast dinner.

This probably took about 2 or 3 attempts before I had it finalised, but then I ran with it and it worked.
No more worrying about what to have, how to cook it or when to start it.
I could look at the menu at 8am and plan the day knowing when I had to start cooking dinner etc.

So if you want some control over meal times the try this. It is easy but can be time consuming to start with while you get it all set up, but the time saving afterwards is great.
So is the less stress from not having to worry each day about dinner.

I have since updated ours several times, as new meals come into play, the boys will now eat chilli, and other ways of doing chicken etc so I refresh the menu when we have new things to eat.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


This is Alex with his best friend Eleanor.
She is the same age as him, in fact she is 5 days older, but we won't tell him!
Now when these 2 get together they are like twins.

Alex is a different person with her. He goes all soft and docile.
They play together so well and as Alex has just learnt a lot of imaginative play from Ben, then he can keep himself and Eleanor amused for hours.
As you can see in the picture they were filthy from having been playing for hours while Richard (aka Eleanor's dad) sorted out our tv, but they had had a blast along the way.

All Change Please

This weekend the clocks changed from summer daylight savings to winter time.

I love this change as we gain an extra hour.
The day lasts so long and I just don't ever seem to feel tired.
Wish I could say the same for the kids. They can't quite understand why food doesn't come at the correct time and why we tried really hard to get them to stay in bed first thing!
The only thing is that suddenly the temperature changes drastically as well, one day you are in shorts and a t-shirt and the next you can't find your jeans and sweaters fast enough.
How does the weather know?

Satelite Dish

This nice man is our "sparky", also known as Richard and also known as Steve's Best Man for our wedding.
He is the husband of my best friend here in Hamilton.

He kindly spent all of Sunday trying to get our satelite dish on the roof so we could get some decent viewing on the tv.


I love the fact that the boy's cousins now live only an hour away not 24!
Ok we don't get to see them too often at present but when we do it is lovely to see them all together.

Ellis is 7, Ben is 4 1/2, Harvey is almost 4 and Alex is almost 3.

So they are all pretty close in age, as I had Ben, Claire (SiL) fell pregnant with Harvey and a year after Harvey I had Alex.
Can't wait until Ellis is 21, Ben will be 18, Harvey 17 and Alex 16, what an interesting time that will be with all 4 boys.

Maybe at their birthdays we can keep showing this picture


Everyone has heard of the chaos theory? Right...
I am sure there is an easier way to get things sorted before moving!


When the house is full of boxes and the boys are bored, the easiest thing to do is give them some boxes and let their imagination run wild.
They had a great afternoon when I was trying to pack playing with a few boxes

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

All Moved In

On Saturday we finally moved into our new house.
Our great friends and my brother and co all came and helped us to move in and when we were finished we topped the day off by having Pizza Hut.

Thanks to everyone who helped us, we really appreciate it.

Here is our new house

It makes the house look really old and worn, and yes it is, but it has lots of character and with a good decorate it will be a gorgeous place.

New Kitchen Pictures

You may remember this post about the kitchen in our new house.
Well here are the pictures of the new kitchen just before we moved in.....

Lunch Helper

Ben is ever helpful. Always wanting to know what he can help me do in the kitchen.
Usually it is placing the rice in the water to be cooked, or holding the sieve to drain it when ready. he loves helping to serve the food on to the plates.

But best of all he loves putting on the oven gloves and cooking something, anything in the oven or grill.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Book Review

I have never really recommended a book but this is one I just love, oh and so do my kids.

It is about Molly the bookmobile lady who drives her van into the local zoo by mistake one day and then introduces all the animals to the love of books.

The pictures are great, all sorts of different animals are mentioned and the rhyming pattern used throughout the paragraphs just makes it such a joy to read a loud to the boys.
We got this from the library in Auckland several times over the last year and then I actually purchased it for the boys last week.
It is fairly new, first published in 2003 I think. But such a delight of a book to read.


In 2 weeks time Hamilton is going to be huge.
The V8 Supercars are coming here to race.
They have changed all the roads, caused total mayhem and everyone is sort of excited.
The V8's will be racing on everyday roads around the city.
We have huge grandstands of chairs dotted around the city, the pit lane is just awesome to drive down, so wide.
The grid markings are now on the road and it is obvious that something is happening.
If only the boys were a little older, then I would so look at getting some tickets to some of the racing, maybe not the main V8 part but at least some of the test races etc, just to get the feel for it.


We are finally getting the much needed rain to the Waikato region.
Ok not a lot but some is better than nothing with the dry summer we have just had.

But could it have at least waited until I had the washing dry???

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Wedding Dresses

So I am stood there in this gorgeous wedding dress (not the one in the picture), Westlife is playing on the shop stereo quietly, the ladies from the shop are saying something, Wendy my best friend is saying something and I just stood there and cried.
So up came Wendy to give me a hug and cry with me and the ladies grabbed their conveniently placed box of tissues, commenting on how Sherly always manages to make her brides to be cry!

I know why I was crying...I had waited so long for this and I would have loved my mum to be there for my first ever dress search.
What started it off I have no idea I don't remember know, but wow what a morning.

I felt like a maniquin by the end of it, one dress on, strut round, comment and then change to another.
I must have tried on about 8 dresses in total.
The result was that I found the top of one dress I really liked and the skirt of another!

So now I have to try to explain all this to the dress maker next week and see if she can reproduce the whole effect!

The shop I went to have a gallery on-line, but of course the 2 I like are either not on there or such a crap picture of the dress you really can't tell anything from it. So will have to see what I can do about getting a picture of both dresses.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

New Kitchen

Last week these nice 2 men came and built my new kitchen.
It took them all day but I have a lovely new kitchen.

I will take a picture of the completed kitchen and show you before and after soon, just waiting for the oven and dishwasher to be finished so you get the real good effect.

Alex Sleeping

All of a sudden Alex has taken to sleeping in the hallway again.
This is how we found him the other evening.

All wrapped and snuggled on the floor.
He is so cute.


Ben unfortunately learnt the consequence of his actions yesterday.

I was just serving dinner and so called to them all to come to the table. Steve was outside so I went into the living room to inform the boys again.
All I found was Alex sitting quietly watching something but no Ben.
So I checked all rooms in the house, both bathrooms as well and still no Ben.
I checked with Steve if he was outside? Nothing!
BUT we both knew where he door at the neighbours house.
So off I marched and knocked on Tracey's door. Out popped Ben who got the shock of his little life when I scolded him for going off with out asking or telling us.
You should have seen his little face as he walked back to our house, head bowed in near tears (man I am a cruel mother!)

Anyway we talked through with him about what he had done wrong and why etc.
We then told him that he would have to have a punishment as this was a very naughty thing.
So we decided that he would go to bed without a story (he loves having a story at bedtime)

He was so good at bedtime, he got in the shower, put his pyjamas on, brushed his teeth and then climbed into bed to read a book on his own whilst Alex had a story out with us.
When I took Alex in I talked to Ben about why he was here and I am not sure it had really sunk in..
He said that if he does something wrong he has to say sorry and has to tell us if he wants to go to Tracey's house. Which is all correct, he just didn't realise why he was in bed without a story.

So even though we followed through with a consequence for your actions, he has no idea what happened, but I guess you have to start somewhere.