Monday, August 31, 2009


Last week we had some horrific thunder storms at night.
No obvious sign of them coming over, just 1am and crash, boom and down comes the rain!

The first night it happened it was all anyone could talk about the next day.
We didn't notice any damage anywhere. The trees were all still standing etc although it was not exactly very windy so we weren't expecting too much damage anywhere.

However, several days later Steve happen to notice that one of the ariels was hanging off the roof of the house! We hadn't noticed any change in tv reception, although we haven't been watching much tv now we have the Wii!

So a quick call to our friendly electrician who has an extra long ladder and all has been fixed.

September Challenge

Mary over at Owlhaven has many times before set challenges to spend less each week on groceries.
She has even written 2 books on the subject of feeding a feast on a set amount per week and also how she survives with 12 in the family! Yes she has 10 children!

So I have decided that I am going to try my hardest to cut down on our grocery bill during September. It means no more impulse buys in September. No deciding to just nip to the supermarket for some meat for dinner when there is plenty at home in the freezer.

I do go to the supermarket during the week, but only for bread and fresh fruit. I have always done this and have always managed to walk in and walk out again with only the things I need. Sadly I love fresh bread rather than frozen and I am not stopping this as this is one area I will not compromise on!

It means sticking to the menu that my shopping list is built around.

It means using what we have at home in the cupboard first before deciding to rush out to the supermarket because we feel there is nothing to eat. Maybe even making up a batch of cookies from scratch so that there are sweet things to eat if someone fancies something.

I do already look at our weekly bill and sometimes wonder where the money goes, I do follow a budget shopping list that I created, along with the menu, with advise from Sophie Grey, Destitute Gourmet. But still each week I look at the bill as we pay and wonder what the hell I have brought that made it cost so much?

I could go the whole hog and totally buy budget products on everything, but I am sorry, you only live once so why should I have to eat tasteless spaghetti on toast and use shampoo that always seems to dry my hair out?

I do already look at the cost of what I am buying and see if there is something slightly cheaper. I also check out the cost of buying the product in bulk over the single pack we need.

A classic for this is the rice we buy. You can buy it in a 1kg bag or a 5kg bag.
The 1kg bag is about $3.75 whereas the 5kg bag is $19.99.
A quick calculation and you soon realise that it is cheaper to buy 5 x 1kg bads than it is to buy 1 x 5kg bag. Sneaky on their part!

I am also getting very good now at buying only what we need for that week, not just deciding that we need tomatoes, so lets just buy 3 tins, when in fact for the week we only need 1.

So here goes the challenge, on Saturday, our first weekly shop for September (as I only just read about the challenge today so couldn't start it at the weekend just gone!) I will indever to bring our shopping bill down, I will question every item that goes in the trolley to ensure we actually need it. I will try to find a slightly cheaper alternative with out compromising my taste.

I will also keep you posted with how it is all going.

Wish me luck....! Oh and maybe you could set yourself a challenge too?

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Last weekend we went to the caravan.
On the Saturday we had gorgeous weather and so we went for a walk.

Steve knew of this secluded beach that he wanted to find.
He said he knew where the path was, so off we set to find this beach, which can only be accessed by this path.
We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day to go for this walk. The sun was shining, the water was blue as blue and it was awesome being out in the fresh air.

I took some pictures of the Harbour around by where the caravan is situated from the top of the hill we were climbing to find this beach..

It is beautiful and reminds me all the time why I love New Zealand in the winter and why we have our caravan situated where it is!
Once at the beach, when we had found it, the boys thought the water was the best place to be, Alex just can't resist getting wet!

Friday, August 28, 2009


Alex is just at that point where the current carseat he has is still just suitable but at the same time the next stage of carseat would be fine too.
So today I finally sucumbed and went and checked out what the local shop had to offer.

They had a lovely next stage seat that in fact will cover the next 2 stages. A booster seat with a back and then the back comes off to make a big boy booster seat.
In fact I was so taken with the seat I decided to get one for Ben as well. His booster seat is ok, but it is very rigid and cheap and I really don't feel it was giving him adequate support and safety in the car.

So we came home with 2 seats, one blue and one grey.

Alex is still wearing a harness in this new seat, but it won't be long before he is just using the regular seatbelt like Ben.
The seats that they are coming out of are not ruined, they are in fact still in very good condition, but I do know some people are set against buying 2nd hand carseats. I know I am, I always prefer the boys to have brand new, then I know what has happened to them and how they have been treated. Not been involved in an accident or anything. Although at this age it really doesn't make any difference. But when they were little then it was a biggy with me.

So I put both seats on Trade Me, New Zealand's answer to Ebay.
I gave as much description about the seats as possible and I made sure the price was sensible, because after all, Alex's seat is in fact 7 years old. Most literature will tell you that you shouldn't buy a carseat that is more than 10yrs old. There is nothing actually wrong with a seat that is 10yrs old, just wear and tear could have affected it over that amount of time.

So in fact I was very reasonable with where I priced Alex's seat, so much so that compared to the others being sold at the time, ours was a scream. That was proved by the fact that it sold within 2 hours of being listed.

And they want to pick it up tomorrow!

Talk about not having it hang around the house and garage for several weeks before listing it! I haven't even had time to ensure it is clean!


Sadly I have not been doing any posts due to a major distraction!

On Monday I won 'Mother of The Year', nothing official or anything like that, just in the eyes of the 2 people where it counts 2 sons.
I won because we finally agreed to purchase a Nintendo Wii and yes you guessed right, Monday was the day I went and got it.

So I was the best mum in the world, because they had so desperately wanted one.
So all week we have all been finding out exactly what this wonderful family toy can do.
Who can beat who at what sports game.

On Monday night Steve and I played some great games. We were laughing and fighting all at the same time. I don't think anyone needs marriage counselling, you just need to put the couple in a room together and get them to attack each other at sword fighting on the Wii. They will have the world sorted in an hour!

The boys are actually very good at some of the games, their fine eye motor skills are definitely improving.

Anyway, got to go, it is my turn to crucify the family at 10 pin bowling....!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Alex decided the other day that he wanted to cook a chocolate cake!
Unfortunately I didn't have all the ingredients necessary for him, but I did however have a Betty Crocker Double Chocolate Muffin box in the cupboard.

So he sorted himself out and with a little help from mummy, made muffins.
He mixed and stirred the mixture.
He put the muffin cases in the tin.

Then he started to spoon the mixture into the cases, using his finger to scrap the mixture off the spoon.

Sadly he also learnt how to lick his finger after each time that he filled a case, so a little bit of Alex was in every muffin.

He had a ball and made some beautiful muffins, although not that you can go too wrong with a box mixture.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Where Does the Time Go?

This week seems to have just disappeared from under me.....!

Steve went to Christchurch on business at the weekend, so that saw me at home single parenting from Sunday to Tuesday.
It was a good time and we had no major rows or tantrums.

Tuesday morning was a little bit of a nervous time as I started my new job that morning and I had to start work at 7.30am. Ben had to be dropped off at Before School Car, that opened at 7.30am and Alex needed to be at Daycare, again which opened at 7.30am.
So I organised to start work, on my first day!, at 7.45am so I could dump the boys prior to starting.
All went smoothly and I had an awesome first day at my new job.
I am working at a Private Day Hospital in Hamilton. Resonably new place, only been open 2 years and still only a small place, 2 theatres, but they are getting there and getting their name out there as a nice place to bring your little minor day procedures. So quite a few surgeons are giving them a try and liking what they offer. The patients seem very happy with the level of care they are receiving as well, so that makes all the difference.
The boys enjoyed going to the airport in the evening in their pyjamas to collect daddy as his plane landed. They even had a little sign that said 'Daddy'. They looked so cute.

Wednesday saw me back at work again, but I ended up there till 6pm, although when Steve came with the boys to collect me, I was in the tea room having wine with the manager and the owner, so Steve joined us, and it was really nice to get to know people. The boys thought it was awesome wandering around mummy's work checking everyone out!

Thursday saw me back at work again, I am still doing 3 days like previously, but now doing the 3 middle days of the week rather than split days. Is going to take a little bit of planning on my part with dinners and how the week runs, but hey, this was only the first week, it will get better organised!
The work was good and I even managed to get a scrub or 2 in, so really felt that I was actually doing something rather than just watching what they do from the sidelines. Need to watch from the side a little but when you have been in theatres for 15 odd years, it doesn't take you long to click right back into what needs to be done and just getting on and doing it.

So here we are today, Friday and it is my first day to stop and think all week. Although Alex and I have had lots of errands to run and loads of washing to put on.
I have been a good girl and went and had my annual mammogram today and check up with the Breast Specialist. So I have been poked, prodded and squashed all in the good name of knowing that everything seems good and clear for another year. Don't forget to go for your checks ladies, it is easy and painless for a nice peace of mind.

So here we are heading into the weekend, hoping that the weather will stay nice and pleasant.
Have a good one, smile and I will catch you after the weekend.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bag Swap

I found a little swap going on over here a few weeks ago for a little friendship bag.
I have never made a bag before, but thought there ought to be a first time for things.

So I followed the directions from an awesome tutorial here and came up with this....

This is my first attempt, I have already learnt a few little things from making this first one. This is not the bag I will be using in the swap, I will be bettering the art of bag making and making another for the swap, but for a trial run, I was impressed with myself.

My mum has a pattern for another bag as well, so will give that one a trial run.
Depending on how easy the 2nd bag is, will decide on which style I decide to make for the friendship swap later on.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

New Skill

Today, Alex learnt a new skill.

The skill of being able to swing on a swing on his own.
He has learnt to kick out his legs and bend them back again to move himself.
He was so chuffed at his new skill he spent half the day out there, although when it rained he came in, and then rushed back out there with a towel to wipe the swing dry!

Current Quilt

A few years ago I started making this quilt by Bronwyn Hayes.

I have done several of the embroideries necessary for the quilt top, but like most things I still have a few to go!

I have all the fabric for the quilt, have gone for a grape and maroon colour instead of the blues, so once all the top squares are finished, then I just have to piece it all together, oh and do that bit that I don't enjoy, quilting it.
I am in no rush to finish it, it is an easy thing to have in a bag and take with me to the caravan or away for the weekend, it is also very easy to pick up and do a few stitches and then put back down again.

Now the boys are letting me get a little bit more time to myself, then maybe I will get this finished!
Yea right, and pigs will fly! Back onto the UFO pile it goes!

Friday, August 14, 2009


Last year, I got in a bad way with my job, nothing too bad, just got a little restless and bored and needed to do something totally different!
So I changed my job and became a Vaccinator for the School Based HPV Vaccine (Cervical Cancer Vaccine)
Unfortunately this was only ever a 7 month contract and that has now sadly finished.
Today was my last day, yea!

Whilst the job has been different, quiet and not stressful, there have been other challenges along the way. For instance a manager who has the communication skills of a donkey!
That in its self has been the main challenge, but alas no more, I have handed in my ID Badge and I no longer work as a vaccinator.

On Tuesday, I start my new job, back to the Operating Rooms, but I don't mind.
I know my way around a theatre like I was born in one! I wasn't by the way.
It will be nice to go and work for a while where there are decent hours and I will just get on with the job without thinking. I love that feeling of being able to get on with your days work, knowing what to do and just running with it.

So tonight, I feel stress free, knowing, ok that my next week of work will be a little testing as it is a new job in a new company, but it is theatres, I have been doing that for 15 years, it just comes naturally!

Oh and my husband has a job interview on Wednesday for a job that I think he will really enjoy. So keep your fingers crossed for him for next week please.

First Quilt

When I moved to New Zealand in 1998, I had just started to get into quilting.
I didn't however have a sewing machine nor in fact a sewing kit!
I did however have the afternoon free one weekend to go to a quilt show. Whilst there I got some material and decided that I could do a quilt by hand, why not? Everyone use to do it that way before machines etc.

So I started with a simple straight forward 9 Patch design.

And I sowed the whole thing, more or less by hand. I did spend a weekend at my Aunty's house one time and finish piecing the top with her machine!
But the backing fabric is 2 pieces joined together by hand.
Then I set about tacking it all together and then quilting it all by hand, with a hoop.

I started this quilt in 1998 and to this day it is sadly not quite finished!
I have all of the bottom row and a few squares up one side to finish, oh and then the binding.

One day I will get it complete, I will get in the right mood to want to sit down and finish it, but for now it is all wrapped up in the cupboard, waiting for that 'one day' to come along!

Thursday, August 13, 2009


We would like a 'Wii' in the house.

Several people we know have one and we, as a family, have had many a go on it. We have played bowling, tennis, even ski jumping with the Wii Fit Board, oh and tightrope walking and hula hooping!
At the weekend we played with the one my brother has, everyone had a great time, even Grandma was bowling some 'strikes' although she did say she would rather be playing the 'real thing'.

So on Monday, Alex and I crawled around several of the large shops that have them and checked out prices and deals available.
Quite interesting the difference in price in different shops, but in the end pretty much the same.
Noel Leeming did more or less the best deal. They will match the price of anyone or let you take it over 12 months interest free.

Now we would like:

The Console
Battery Charger

Wii Fit Board

And game for the Wii Fit Board.
We would also like to get a 2nd Nunchuk and a 2nd Remote Control straight away as well, then you can play 2 people against each other.
We are not in any hurry to purchase this, so are waiting for a good deal to come up.
We have decided that we will get this for everyone's Birthday and some of Christmas, seeing as we have Ben's, Mine and Steve's Birthday in the next 3 months, also Father's Day and of course Christmas. We don't actually know what to get for everyone for gifts, so even though we will get Ben something little for the actual day, we will explain that this is part of his present too. I will get Steve something very little, worth about $2 for Father's Day and his Birthday, but we won't go all out because we will have the Wii.
We do have some vouchers for this store, so that is nice. So now we will just sit and wait.
So if anyone is wondering what to get Ben for his Birthday or even me for that matter, then some vouchers for Noel Leeming would be nice, but could we have them in advance so we can use them towards our family gift now please?