Monday, July 30, 2012

Brain Welfare

The child welfare people may not be happy with us over the next 2 weeks as we are encouraging a hell of a  lot of television watching. This as we all know, goes well against everything that is ever told about how much we should be encouraging our children to watch and also what is good for their welfare and development.
BUT the Olympics only comes around ever 2 years (with the fact that they have now separated the summer and winter to different years) and we are loving how much the boys are wanting to know about different sports that up until now they have never watched.

Ok it only started 3-4 days ago but we have seen some awesome stuff in that time.
We have cheered at the Judo, encouraged the rowers, watched in awe at the diving and consoled with the cyclists as they all crashed in the first 4 mins.
We have had amazing fun watching high level judo whilst watching them do such basic moves that the boys can see how important it is to know the basics.

We have watched the dressage, of course not something to have been seen before and judged the synchronised diving to see how in time together they really are?

The opening ceremony was not the greatest, I can honestly say I have seen better over the years, it is my favourite part after all. But it had some great moments in it. The boys just loved Mr Bean aka Rowan Atkinson playing the keyboard, very well done.

So like the rest of the world, the world has stopped for 2 weeks. Many people I know have already confessed to having had some very late nights, as the time difference means that it is all on during the night here if you want to watch it live! 1 friend also said that church was very empty on Sunday morning, obviously as everyone was just getting their sleep ready for another hard day of tv watching!

For us, we are just glad that New Zealand has been so kind as to show a lot of judo (especially as there is no one from NZ in that sport this year) as the boys are enjoying it as much as Steve is.

For me, I love the cross country and show jumping.

So I wish you all well, hope you find a sport you love to watch and get to enjoy all it has to offer.
I look forward to catching up with you in a few weeks time if you happen to go missing at any stage during the next few weeks!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Just to Smile

Happy Friday to all

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Gifts in a Jar

Last Christmas someone gave me a gift of a brownie mix in a jar.
I loved it.
The brownies were to die for and so easy to make. Soft and gooey in all the right places.

So after begging the recipe off the friend I finally got round to making a gift in a Jar for my friend who just had her birthday this week.
I even managed to get the label to go how I wanted and managed to find some simple ribbon with 'Happy Birthday" written on it.

I was really happy with how it turned out.

I have managed to find loads of websites that have the recipes for Gifts in Jars. Some easy to follow others a little more difficult but the thing that has struck me is exactly what people are prepared to gift to others in jars. To me if you are gifting something to someone then you want it to be as simple a gift as possible. By which I mean the recipient should not have to add too many things to make the gift work (I don't want them to have to spend too much money just to use a gift I have given them!) The brownies I use only require the recipient to add eggs, oil and vanilla (normal basic pantry items)
Some of the recipes I checked out had an ingredient list longer than the ones already in the jar that needed to be added. So it definitely pays to check out the recipes to see if they fit with what you would like your gift receiver to have to do to make the gift work.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Scavenger Hunt #6 A Historical Landmark

This was one of those that I was a little worried about. Not sure what I would take a picture of?
Had a big think about what was classed as a landmark within Hamilton but could come up with nothing. So resorted to the good old computer and had a look to see what Google Search brought up for me.
My first search was for Historical Landmarks in New Zealand? This brought up some of the following:

  1. The beehive building (political building in Wellington)
  2. One Tree Hill
  3. Mount Eden
  4. Goat Island Reserve
  5. Rotorua
Not sure that any of those really classed as an historical landmark, I mean Rotorua is in fact a city not a landmark! Have a feeling this was more of a list of places to visit whenever this way in the world.
I tried to think about landmarks for other countries
  1. Big Ben
  2. Empire State Building
And could think of nothing like that that people here in New Zealand associate with Hamilton.
However then I stumbled across a website explaining about a heritage trail around Hamilton and realised that just over the river was a bunch of places classed within Hamilton as places of importance to the history of Hamilton. I am not actually sure if too many people have wandered around the city determined to view all of these places but I like to think so.

I finally went with a beautiful house in Hamilton that is very old but has also been for sale for the whole time that we have been living here. Now let me tell you, if I had a current $1.4 million to spare then I would have loved to have purchased it, but alas it was not to be, someone finally beat me to it!

Nothing too special from the back on the road

But just look at the front, wow!

Wouldn't just everyone love to have the ability to own and live here?

Although at the end of the scavenger hunt if I had been unable to find an historical landmark or a heart shaped stone (a fill in item you can use if unable to find one of the listed items!) then I could have always just gone with this statue......

That is right...Riff Raff from The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Richard O'Brian the writer, creator and everything else to do with it is well associated with Hamilton and has just returned to live here.
Me, I am not totally all up on this movie, have only watched parts of it. But give me The Crystal Maze from the early 90's and I know exactly who he is!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Scavenger Hunt #14 Someone Playing with a Ball

Seeing how we went to the rugby a few weeks ago and I managed to forget this hunt item made me more determined to accomplish it sooner rather than later.
It also helps that the boys are current both playing soccer so there was bound to be a point when I would remember the camera and achieve taking pictures of them.

This happened last week when they both had soccer practice at school at the same time. I was able to stand between both fields and snap happily away.
They both managed to be wearing the black top of their school uniform that day so it made it very easily to see which kids belong to me!

Ben getting ready to move in and tackle

Not sure what the hand in the air was for but sure he would explain further if asked!

Alex getting in there and having a go at getting the ball

Ben hoping to just touch it over the goal line (in fact I think he did manage to score a goal)
So next item accomplished and crossed off the list.
How are you doing finding all 21 items, almost finished yet?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Happy Mail

Everyone loves receiving surprises and things that make them feel special.
Well I am no exception to that and so was really lucky when I got a little package from my friend Alison over in Spain.
I say my friend, but we have never met, but in this day and age I don't think that makes any difference. You connect and bond wherever possible. As the saying goes....A Season, a reason or a lifetime. People come into your life for whatever the reason.

Here is what I was lucky enough to have received:

An adorable little handmade card with some lovely reassuring words inside. Just what I need at the moment whilst desperately seeking a new job.

A cute little mixed package of cross stitch stuff, several little DMC threads, how well she knows me to know I don't do Anchor! A lovely little cross stitch kit to make and a little bird to watch over me whilst I sew.

The kit is of a milk jug with tea cups and comes with everything you need to complete it. I will have fun one day making that up.

So thank you Alison, it finally arrived and in good time too, only took a week, although customs had opened it to inspect it (I know as there was a slip of paper in there telling me so!) but that doesn't bother me as one reason New Zealand is so beautiful is because we have such vigilant custom people who keep the country that way.

Thank you

Story Time

When Grandad was here during the holidays the boys got him to read them a story one evening after we had been out.
He turned the story upside down and added names for the characters that were different to the book. The boys were enthralled. They laughed and giggled their way through both stories and hung on every word Grandad read.
Steve and I got to sit across the room from them and listen, it was so great to see it all. I managed to take some pictures of them all together, however they are not great but they show 2 little boys loving on their Grandad.

Grandad please read us a story?

It was quite dark in the room so the camera had to be really still to get a great picture. As you can see I never quite managed the stillness but the pictures didn't have to be perfect.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Scanvenger Hunt #4 A Roadside Stall

Now you have to remember is winter here at present, ok so our winters are not as bad as some, for example we don't do snow, I have to drive at least 4 hours south if I want to get any sort of glimpse of the white stuff! And even then it will be quite a distance upwards before I come across any!

So we can survive the winter time quite nicely thank very much.

However this does make it a little more difficult to obtain pictures for the scavenger hunt that are of a more summer nature, for example the roadside stall. Not many people selling things beside the road here in winter, nothing much to sell, so very few and far between to find a stall.
However on our sudden weekend to the beach I did manage to find one

This such stall is selling some winter fruit mainly madarins. This is because the beach is right over in the Bay of Plenty which here in New Zealand is known for its fruit growing abilities. They just seem to have to land and weather for growing some amazing tasting fruit. So in the summer when the vaste amount of fruit is out the roadside stalls are in abundance.
Honesty stalls like these pop up everywhere. Vans on the side of the street pop up as well. Come December and January I would be able to get pictures of these stalls every few miles.

So another item crossed off the list....many more to come....happy hunting all

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Surprise Visit

We have just survived the first week back after the 2 week school holidays. The boys were great through it. They managed a few days at a holiday programme which they loved. I do have pictures of the production they were both involved with at the end but I will post those pictures another time.

My dad currently works in China, and he suddenly surprised us all by coming back to New Zealand for a visit just as the holidays began. It was awesome to have him here. He managed to come and stay with us twice and each time he stayed for 2 nights. The boys had such fun with him, it was lovely to see them with him. We even managed to attend a Super 14 Rugby match. We don't watch a lot of sport but to have the opportunity to go and see a live game is always fun.

everyone is chewing on warm mini doughnuts

I was actually taking part in the Scavenger hunt at this time and totally forgot to get a picture of someone playing with a ball!
The game was very interesting, a lot was always happening at the other end of the field to where we were sat so everyone had to keep turning behind them to look up at the large screen. Seemed very odd to have the game happening off to our left but everyone was turned looking up to their right!
The team I was supporting won but it was also the oposing team to the grounds we were sat in so sometimes it was difficult to cheer for your team as the other supporters were more dominent. It was fun though and we had a super time.

What did catch my eye though was this ATM machine in the grounds

Yep its mobile and stored in the back of a transit van. What I loved most was the wheel clamps on all the wheels, just in case someone tried to drive away!!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Need to Bug the Kids?

Found this on Facebook via my brother.
Thought it was actually so cool.

The instructions read as follows:
  1. Pack straws into a cup and secure with a rubber band
  2. Make up jelly and pour carefully into the ends of the straws
  3. When jelly is set rinse with some warm water to release the jelly from the straws
  4. There you have worms
They look gross but kids would love them!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Scavenger Hunt # 5 - A Train

For all of everything that New Zealand has, a great train service is not one of them.
They seem to have enough track laid everywhere but they have stopped most trains running due to cost.
There is a train that runs from Auckland to Wellington but it only runs every other day, it goes down to Wellington on Monday back up to Auckland on Tuesday and then repeats until Saturday, when it ends back in Auckland ready for Monday morning. Not exactly your most efficient service, nor popular one obviously. It does also take 10-11 hours each way!

It does pass through Hamilton but you would never know it. It is called the Northern Explorer and for all its slowness and lack of service I do still want to take the boys on it as it passes through some gorgeous scenery of New Zealand on its way from the top to the bottom of the North Island. They have just rehashed the timetable and that is why it now runs even less than before, however I have a feeling that one day it will cease to run altogether and I hope to have taken the boys on it for the experience more than anything before it stops.

We have a few tracks that are used for cargo trains but again you are lucky if you happen to see them, however I do manage to hear them....they have a train that passes through Hamilton at about 11pm and again at 4am. When laid in bed at night reading I can hear the train go through as it is so quiet, same with 4am if I happen to be awake.

So you can imagine finding a train to picture was going to be slightly tough unless I went for a model train or a picture. I so didn't want to end up taking a picture of my sons' Thomas the Tank Engine set either

I was thinking that I may end up cheating and just show you lots of pictures of empty track and tell you that sadly we missed the train, but things took a turn for the better.....

Whilst away we did manage to see the pleasure train that runs between Waihi and Waikino in the Bay of Plenty. It is a train that has been made over by some enthusiasts and runs on weekends for a 25 minute trip from Waihi to Waikino and then back again.
I managed to get a picture but we were a) driving past in the car and even though Steve managed to slow a little it was lucky that I got the picture when I did and b) it was raining just a tad, like it had been since early hours of the morning and continued until Monday afternoon!

So there I had it, an actual train which is a very rare find in New Zealand.

Although whilst driving away at the weekend we passed a sign for an upcoming train track and there was a perfect train picture on the sign. I told the family that on the way home on Sunday we needed to stop and picture it for the hunt.
So even though we managed to get a picture of the real train an hour before hand on the drive home, we still stopped so I could get a picture of the sign....

Here's hoping your train picture was easier to find than mine?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Scavenger Hunt #11 A Shadow

This was one of the hunt items that I knew would be easy to complete....well as long as the weather was on my side!

However from when I decided to do this we have not really had a nice sunny day to achieve such picture/s.
Yesterday whilst at the caravan with the family the sun actually shone, well for a little while anyway, would you believe it?
So whilst obtaining a shadow picture I actually ended up with several. The family joined in and we had a lot of fun obtaining some pictures with shadows.

I also informed my family about this scavenger picture hunt I am doing and suddenly they were all excited about trying to help mummy find things to picture, so we actually achieved several pictures this weekend. I will share only the shadow ones for this post and put some others in another post soon.

This is what I decided my shadow picture would be of.....the swimming stuff drying in the sun, but then the boys wanted to join in so we had some fun

they enjoyed moving around and making fun patterns on the ground


but then so did I

had to get a sneaky picture of hubby joining in, even if he didn't know he was joining in at this stage!

although hubby got with it for this one, he is the one trying to make bunny ears over the top of Ben!


So this item was a lot of fun to achieve and the whole family joined in. Which they also managed to do for a few more of the other items to come soon.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012