Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Not Here

I have always thought of New Zealand as a safe place. Nothing happens here, we are always safe.
In 2001 as 9/11 struck, I was overseas and desperately wanted to return to the safe haven of New Zealand.
We have watched over the years the horror of other disasters and always been thankful that we don't have that here down under.

And now we do, everyone is speculating about their own home towns, what is the chance of it happening here? Are our emergency boxes up to date and ready to use? Do we have enough of everything to survive, like Chch is being told to, at home for 2-3 days with no water, gas or electricity. Do we have batteries for the radio? I know we currently don't and so will be purchasing from the store today.

Although staying at home is not really an option for Steve or I. Yes the schools are all closed so if it happened here in Hamilton we would have the boys at home but unfortunately we both work at the hospital. Yes ok as Steve mentioned last night, family comes first, but when you work in an area like we do you feel compelled to go and help, it is in our nature.
We discussed last night that only one of us would be able to go in and assist but which one.
I work in a clinical area and 90% of my colleagues are parents of young children as well, so we would be a little streched to get staff in, but we are in a specialised area and our area would be needed. Unfortunately, as already mentioned on the tv from Chch, people are having heart attacks and ongoing chest pain and they need to be treated. That is what I do.
Steve however, is the main person for the whole of our hospital looking after products. So he would be the main person coordinating obtaining extra products as required from the warehouse storage the hospital has off site. His job would be ensuring the products are getting to the right places as required and also obtaining further products, from medical companies, once the stock has been run dry, or more to the point getting the stock in so nothing does run dry.

So a little bit difficult for us, we are both in positions of need importance and would both feel bad for not being able to help in any way that we can.
Lets hope we never have to make that decision!

Mother Nature

I am one of those people that believes things happen for a reason, but at present I haven't established the reason for yesterdays earthquake in Christchurch.
5 months after the last one and they are just getting things sorted and wham the whole CBD is now flattened with many still trapped in buildings. The sad thing to me is all the old churches that have been destroyed, all that glorious history disappeared and crumbled, I know it is just a building but they are icons of Christchurch.

I discovered it at about 3pm yesterday and did not turn on the tv until 6, since then sadly it has been compelling viewing, even though they are repeating the same thing over and over you just don't seem to be able to resist watching further, waiting for news of wonderous moments etc and trying to comprehend the devestation that has happened.

I was thinking myself lucky in that I know no one down there, well a nephew, that I have not much to do with (sounds sad really) and wouldn't have any idea how to contact him, although his mother will soon let us know if there are problems.
However this morning I was watching some more footage and suddenly on the tv is one of the Doctors (Urologist) I use to work with in Auckland and now suddenly I realise I do know people down there. Not people who live there but unfortunately much worse, people who are visiting the city for a few days to have a conference. People who are staying in hotels in the CBD.
Suddenly it is hitting home a little more, are the Urologists I know from Hamilton there as well, we know one of them very well, seeing as they mentioned on the tv that they were all together, I guess they are all safe but I feel for their families all over New Zealand.

An organisation I am part of is holding its annual conference in Chch this year too, June July time, who knows if it will be held, will the CBD be able to hold it?
Who cares really, a conference is a minor thing and can be rescheduled when everyone is back on their feet and a little more stable.

Unfortunately life goes on, we will not forget this, but in a few days life to us in Hamilton will continue, you will work for 8 hours without thinking about them and you will catch up with friends over drinks the same as last week, but we need to still remember Chch is going through hell and we need to continue to let them know we are here and ready to help however we can.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

2011 for Alex

It seems this year as if any sickness or unwellness that is going to hit our family is going to hit Alex!

We started the year with him complaining (as he had been doing for a little while) about his bottom and it being itchy etc.
Turns out he had worms so we all got treated and yea ha for that little exercise.

Then I noticed that his bottom was still really red. Didn't want to clear and so back to the doctors we went with that one.
Now I suspected 'Strep' yes you can get strep of the bottom, Ben had it when he was 4, a nice big dose of antibugs and all is correct again. Don't know how you get it but it seems to last for ever unless you treat it.
So after voicing my opinion to I think the 3rd doctor we saw, I managed to get a swab taken (only way to prove it, by growing it) and 3 days later Alex had a 10 day course of antibugs to take.
They finished last week. He was actually very good at taking it morning and night as prescribed and we were very proud of him.

Yesterday we collected the boys from school at 5pm and Alex was walking with his head tilted to one side. Said it was sore and stiff.
My first thought was why hadn't the school called us, Alex said he hurt it at fitness, which was held at 9am!
Because he was perfectly fine in himself and had shown no previous signs of unwellness I did not even think of anything illness wise like meningitis etc, so was never really worried there.

A quick talk to his teacher, who was still around after the staff meeting, and she said he had not complained all day about any aches or pains?

Now to me a 5 yr old does not get a stiff neck, they are fit and active, I know it can happen, but they shouldn't get to the point of not wanting to move their head etc.
So we decided to do a range of movements with Alex and then make a decision about seeing a doctor.
Decision was made and off we went to the emergency doctor.
Her conclusion was that he had probably pulled a muscle in his neck, take anti inflammatory drugs, use a wheat bag to get some heat on the muscle and rest. Oh and also get him to do some basic exercises to make sure he moves his neck to keep it active.

So here we are today, he is off school today to rest. His neck is still a little sore and stiff to move although a good nights sleep did help that but then so did the Ibufen probably!
However, he is still complaining of an itchy bottom and it is still not settled enough for my liking, so guess what.............we have an appointment at the doctors for later today!

Will it ever end this year with him?

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Challenge 71 calls for me to create a recipe.

Now I am not very adventurous when it comes to mixing flavours or being able to tell what would go with what nicely to create a truely awesome new experience with food and there by create a new recipe.

I will however quite happily adapt an already written recipe, taking something out and adding something else!
My latest adaption is a salad. I found this one in one of my cookbooks, it is for a 4 Bean Salad.

For the Salad:
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 420g tin black eyed beans
1 420g tin chick peas
1 210g tin red kidney beans
OR 2 420g tins of 4 bean mix
4 tbsp chopped coriander
salt and pepper

For the Dressing:
1 tsp curry paste
1/2 tsp thin honey
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
6 tbsp oil
  1. Deskin the peppers with which ever method suits you, grilling or frying until skins are black and then peel away
  2. Discard skins, seeds and core and cut into small strips
  3. Drain and rinse all the beans together and place in a bowl
  4. To make the dressing mix curry paste, honey and garlic with a fork.
  5. Add the vinegar and then blend in the oil, whisking all the time.
  6. Add salt and pepper.
  7. Mix beans with peppers, coriander and dressing.
  8. Cover and leave to allow flavours to mingle for several hours before serving
I however am not a great fan of 4 Bean Mix (unless it is in Spaghetti Bolognese) or coriander. So I made it one day with just Chick Peas (which I love)
I, however, did not roast the peppers just finely chopped them and I also added very small pieces of Feta Cheese.
All in all, the feta, with the chick peas, with the curry and honey went very well together.
So here is my adapted recipe...
  1. Ingredients as above with the exception of:-
  2. Use 2 tins chick peas instead of other beans or 4 bean mix
  3. Deskin peppers only if desired
  4. Omit coriander altogether
  5. Chop feta cheese (your choice of quantity) into small pieces.
  6. As above chop peppers
  7. Wash peas
  8. Make up dressing
  9. Combine altogether in a bowl and allow to stand for flavours to mingle.
Guess you can adapt it for any bean mix if you happen to have a favourite one.

So back to the challenge, do you think it counts if I create a new recipe by adapting an already written one or should I create something new from scratch?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Living with 2 boys can sometimes be a challenge, but othertimes I am glad I have 2 boys.

Although it can get very challenging when one expresses an interest in doing something and then the other wants to do it as well, that is when I wish we had a boy and a girl cause then the boy could get on and do his boy stuff and the girl her girl stuff, and they would have their own thing to do.

Unfortunately our boys are very a like in their activities and so are both doing Judo and absolutely loving it.
Alex last year expressed a wish to play soccer, but being so little and us not quite ready to give up our Saturday mornings, then we managed to change his mind a little on that one, whew, at least for last year.

Unfortunately Ben has now expressed an interest in wanting to play soccer this year. We have started to check it all out and will attend the club muster in March, however, I have a strong feeling that it won't be too long and we will may have 2 boys playing soccer.
I already know that Alex has expressed a desire to play this sport before and feel that when we check it out they will both want to give it a go.
So once again they will both be doing the same activity. Now I do realise that with having 2 boys, this is sadly going to be the case, unless one of them suddenly developes a need for not doing sport anymore then they will probably be in the same clubs for a little while to come yet. Although on the extra plus side for us, it means they both have to be at the same place at the same time and not one at each end of the city 5 minutes apart!
I know that one day 1 will give up something that the other keeps doing and vice versa, and we will support them in their choices at the time.

Even at home they always want to do the same thing but with different approaches to it.
During the summer holidays they both sat down one day to build new Lego they had received as presents.
It was such fun to watch them build it.

Ben sat there and methodically seperated each piece into colour piles, as the instructions suggested (always one to follow the instructions to the letter!)
He followed each picture on the pages step by step and almost double checked each thing before moving onto the next step.

Alex on the other hand, well his approach was very different.
Lets empty everything into a pile.
Lets look at the picture but try to combine 2 pictures at the same time
Lets get really frustrated when things don't go together as they should.
Lets yell and scream and get very annoyed because it is not working!
So lets throw the Lego around and proclaim "this is stupid"
And generally end up sitting there frustrated and in tears because it just isn't all coming together nicely like Ben's!
Before the tantrum started

It was such fun to watch and interveen with, but at the same time so funny to see 2 little boys who are so a like in one aspect of their lives, sport, yet so totally different in their approach for other areas.

Man it is going to be such fun growing these 2.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Deals of The Week

Everyone I know loves a good deal, and I am definitely one of them.
Now you don't always get good deals, not ones that you really feel are worth it.
Maybe after the surprise I had on Friday then my luck is just carrying on over into the weekend as well.

On Sunday I went to the mall with a friend, not often I get the time to wander round a mall with a girl friend. Anyway, we passed the kids store and they had 30 - 60% of most things.
I noticed some undies for the boys that were 60% off.
It worked out that a packet of 3 for the boys turned out to be $2.39. Less than $1 per pair!
There were only sizes 8-10 suitable for the boys, but I know they will definitely grow into them and definitely need them. And we have brought this brand before and they are good and wash well.
There were other sizes available in the store but they only had 30% off, due, as I found out from the lady, because the ones in the store were this seasons design and the ones outside the store were last seasons!
Now I know my boys are not bothered whether they wear blue, red and green ones from last years season over yellow, green and black ones for this next seasons.
So I walked away with 6 packets ($13 for 18 pairs) that will sit in the draw ready for when they need them.
Definitely a good deal.

Next we went into the Homeware store and I discovered that they had a 'buy one get one free' on their cutlery sets. Now Steve and I have been looking for new cutlery for a while. The ones we are currently using are cheap ones one of us brought into the relationship 11 yrs ago, and we have felt for a while that it was about time we had a decent set of cutlery. The set I found and liked was a 24 piece stainless steel set (6 of each item) for $100.
To add to this deal I also had $70 in gift vouchers for this store as well.
So with the set costing $100, all in all we walked away with a 48 piece cutlery set costing us the grand total of $30.
(set = $100, -$70 of vouchers = $30 + 1 free set)
Oh and by the way Mum, we spent our Christmas voucher on cutlery, thanks very much x x x

The last deal of the week is more a deal of convenience than anything else.
Our school has a pool and during the summer they usually lend out keys to parents who ask for them. They charge you $30 for the key whilst the pool season is on, usually until about Mid March early April time.
Last year we didn't get one but I could so see the pleasure of having one, so this year we got one.
We have used the pool 3 times in the 5 days since having the key.
We have not had the chance to spend a long time there, maybe about 20 mins each time but the convenience of being able to go when it suits us, for how ever long it suits us is awesome.
If we paid to go to the public pool each time we would have spent over $30 by now and we also would have had to share with other people.
So this has definitely been the deal of the summer, no pool care to worry about, just drive the 5 nins down the road and splash to our hearts content in a nice clean safe private pool.

Happy Summer everyone.

Monday, February 14, 2011


For some people this number is totally unlucky, for others this is their lucky number.
Me, I come from the long list of people who are a little dubious of the number.

However for today only I am very happy with the number 13.

Why I hear you ask??

Today, as this post goes live, I will have been in New Zealand for 13 years.
Is this lucky or unlucky for me I guess you are asking...?

It is lucky.

I was 27 when I moved here and I don't know if my life would be where it is today if I had stayed where I was in England.
I was living at home, working as a Theatre Nurse at the local hospital.
I really, looking back on it, had no life.
I went to church every Sunday in the village but didn't really socialise much, there wasn't really anyone I wanted to socialise with. They were not my type of person. Don't get me wrong, I knew them all but they had all lead very different lives to me and some had great trouble in understanding the type of life I had lead up till then.
I had spent my main schooling years in a boarding school whilst my parents lived in foreign countries. I had travelled loads and had a very different out look on life. I was very strong willed, stubborn and very independant. If I wanted something to happen, well I just set about getting it achieved, within reason. I had very large grand ideas on what I wanted to do in life.

I hadn't dated for about 3 years, never met people to date either. So life just ticked over day by day never changing.

Coming to New Zealand, sort of made me have to start again. Make a difference, get a life etc and I did.
I met Steve within the first 2 months of working at Auckland Hospital but it was another 18 months before we finally got together as a couple and since we did that, then life has just rolled on forward.

So here I am now, 40 years old, married to my man of 11 years with 2 gorgeous boys, thinking how lucky I am to be here in this glorious country.
I am sure I would have survived if I had stayed in England but I don't think I would have been so happy, life would certainly have been very different there.

So happy anniversary to me and Happy Valentines Day to you all.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Pro Athelete

Well Ben now thinks he is a pro!

Last weekend, for the first time, he was finally the right age to enter the Weetbix Tryathlon.

Ready to go

The Sanitarium Weet-Bix Kids TRY-athlon is a community event in its eighteenth year where kids aged 7-15 can swim, cycle and run for fun, plus take home a medal and a certificate for having a go - because every kid is a champion!

Sanitarium Weet-Bix Kids TRY-athlon have a Philosophy:
They believe that inside every child there is a champion. It doesn't matter about their size or shape, it doesn't matter if they don't usually get involved in sporting activities. They want them to give it a go and feel like a champion. The emphasis is on being involved and giving their best.

Unfortunately we only found out about it happening in our area 5 days before hand, but Ben was happy to give it ago and try his best. We will train better for it next year, plus he is now registered with them, so we will gain email info months before when the dates for 2012 become available.

He had to swim 50m, cycle 4km and run 1 1/2km
He was very excited, especially as his big cousin, Ellis came over from Rotorua to partake as well.
All in all it was an awesome proud emotional day for me.
He tried his best and achieved so much for my little 7yr old.

Water, I need water....!

"I did it mum"

Look what I got
There were over 1600 kids taking part and it was so well organised. Never once did I feel the kids were lost or confused, there were so many marshals aound in red t-shirts willing to help and direct the kids.
Even in the swimming part, which due to the size of the pool space the parent's are unable to watch, the pool was a sea of people in red t-shirts, ( I spied through the fence when able too) they were spaced out in the water, all holding float boards, I don't think any child had to go more than 2m before they were in catching distance of the next guard, just in case they got into trouble whilst doing their swimming.

There were marshals in the transition area helping them find their bike, if they forgot where they put it! People along the whole course of the cycling and running, helping them, encouraging them and making sure they knew where to go.

Now which one will I take?

The entrance to the bikes from the swimming area with excited parents waiting for their little ones to run by

Keep going Ben
I even witnessed one helper see a young girl really struggling with the last 50m of the run (last activity) and he joined her on the course and helped her along so she finished with her head held high.

Looking down towards the finish area. The kids were running the other side of the people on the right hand side of picture

Everyone was so encouraging, it was an awesome atmosphere all day and a real privilige to be a part of it all.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


I love surprises, especially when they are for me, but occassionally I love surprises when they are for other people.
Yesterday I was the person who got surprised but at the same time it involved heaps of other people so was an all round great surprise.

I got a call from the boy's Principal yesterday telling me in no uncertain words that "I was awesome" (I always like phone calls like that, don't you?)
Anyway, turns out that I had forgotten I had entered a competition on behalf of the school and low and behold, WE WON.

Yep that is right, they had a competition on the radio for 4 weeks and each week they chose a school to receive a $3000 gift card for Paper Plus to spend towards books and stationary, as required by the school. Also a $1000 grant towards advertising our next fundraising event in the community.

All I had had to do was fill in my name and address, the school's name and contact for the Principal and say in I think (I can't quite remember) under 35 words why our school deserved this prize. I think I mentioned something about Education being important, the kids doing their best always (our school motto) and maybe something that was a play on words for the Paper Plus latest advertising etc
Obviously what ever I wrote went down well, cause we now have a whole heap of shopping to do for the school.

The Principal was beside himself with joy when he called me, saying thank you so many times, and telling me how astounding the boys were when they got called up on stage at assembly by the Radio Station people and interviewed etc.
The actually slot on the radio, I sadly didn't get to hear, as it was on during 1-2pm and I was working, although the local station will be playing it again at 6.40am on Monday, so we will all be awake and up listening for sure.

So a huge thank you to Classic Hits and Paper Plus for making this such a rewarding competition to enter. I never thought for a million years that we would win one of the prizes, but my boys education is very important, and any oppotunity to help them, then I am there, supporting them all the way.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Heat Wave

Yes, just like everyone else I am going to blog about the heat!

Yes it is hot,
Yes it has been a while since we had this.
Yes we would all like it to be slightly cooler.
But then we all complain it is not hot enough, so we can't win really.

But then our friends up in the Northern Hemisphere are wondering if their winter is ever going to be over with the cold snap that keeps on coming through. Would love to have a cold snap of snow like them, but not at the moment I am enjoying my summer way too much.

Although the heat is reaking havoc with other areas of our life. I am finding at present that I have to go to the supermarket everyday.
Now I try hard to budget, we do a weekly shop every Saturday and then usually I can get away with going to the supermarket for fresh bread, milk and veg 2 more times during the week. Sophie Gray, Destitute Gourmet, says you should try to make it last for the week otherwise you spend even more money, when you go to the shop. Now I am on the whole pretty good when going in mid week for the basics, although going in everyday has been a huge challenge.

It is mainly bread that I am going in for. I am finding that the bread is just not lasting more than 24hrs (and no it is not due to us having none left!) the bread is going dry and even mouldy very very quickly. Usually I will buy 2 loafs and this will see us through at least 2 days if not even into the 3rd, then it is time to go back to the shop. Sadly at present I am not making it past the 24 hr mark and so I am back to the shop after work everyday. Man it is a struggle to not walk out with the odd packet of nice biscuits as a treat, the odd little medium bag of lollies or even the latest special on meat.

So as much as I am loving, to an extent, this heat wave I will be glad when it chills just a scrap so food lasts a little longer and I don't have to enter the cool fresh air conditioned supermarket everyday!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Pretty Things

When will I ever learn that I can not have pretty things?
When will I ever learn that I am now the mother of 2 gorgeous boys and wife to that other male in the house.
When will I learn that between all those above sentences means no pretty things like cake trays, tableclothes and pretty frilly napkins!

I placed a tablecloth on the table at dinner time the other day, thought I would try and culture the heavin lot I live with, make them realise that things can be nice looking and tidy..........think I had forgotten to take my tablets that day!

2 minutes, yep that is right, 2 minutes of everyone sitting at the table and someone had spilt their drink all over the place. To an extent it was a good job the tablecloth was on because it soaked up most of the drink.

I don't actually want daughters, never have really apart from when I was pregnant with Ben, but every now and then I would love to do the frilly stuff and have tea parties with friends.

Is that too much to ask to keep my female sanity in check??