Friday, November 29, 2013

Going Underground

The other day I bumped into a school mum who I had't seen for a while.
We had a quick chat and a catch up on our families and then she apologized for not being around recently.

Apparently, as she put it, they had gone 'underground'
In other words....her husband's younger brother, who was only 40, had died due to a heart attack and it had caused quite a shock to their system so they hid away and concentrated on their family for a while whilst they came to grips with life.
They had reassessed their life, their work, their family time and what their family stood for and where they were going. They had spent some quality family time together too.

I gave her a huge hug and told her she never had to apologize for stuff like that. It happens to everyone now and then, ok some people don't go underground with it, but I sometimes think more people should.

You hear of people getting themselves so stressed out trying to do it all, when in reality if they had just taken a deep breath and said 'no' for a little while then they would have got through still smiling!

So where have I been for the last 6-8 weeks......?
Underground of course!

I got a little stressed out after my operation and things just weren't running smoothly adding on top of that we got told my husband's heart condition was worse than we thought and that he would require surgery sometime in the next 12 months!
By the way, we are talking the big type of surgery here, not your namby pamby stuff, the big kahuna open the chest and stick your hands in for several hours type surgery! The one that takes you months to recover from.

He is fine, at present, he has no symptoms and all the tests, whilst showing that yes he has a heart condition that will require intensive surgery at some stage, show that he is doing ok and we don't need to panic.
So after going underground and reassessing our own family life, we are now back on top, feeling our way slowly upwards and feeling like we can breath again.

Oh and did I tell you there is threat of his job disappearing in July too!

So life goes on and we just breath slowly in and out and take little steps forward.
By the are you?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Family Time

We are still Geocaching and are now onto about our 15th find.
In fact all the family are enjoying it.

Stealth movement is required at some sites as you do not want 'muggles' (none geocaching people) to know what you are doing.
This is important as you do not want people tampering with caches and stealing or destroying them!

Sometimes you need to just act normal, well as best as is humanly possible......

just chillaxing in the sun and wind
Just watching the planes come in!
Waiting for people to pay more attention to the planes than what we are doing!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Work Reunion

10 years, oh my, is it really 10 years?
Must be we have a 10 year old!

10 years ago Auckland Hospital moved to a new building and we were there, well I was on maternity leave but I knew it was happening!
So much has happened since then.

A reunion was called for and we gladly attended this past weekend.
Lovely to catch up with people you knew and find out what everyone is doing.
Amusing to hear people comment on how big the boys have got! Like they still expected them to be babes in arms!

Quick tour of the operating theatres was called for even though we have been there many times and I did actually work there for a few weeks at one stage!
But the boys enjoyed dressing up in protective clothing so we could go inside the theatres.

well maybe not everyone was impressed with getting dressed up!
but others made up for it with their enthusiasm!
They enjoyed seeing inside a theatre, talking non stop about what took place in there etc.
Although think we may have sparked some career ideas for them....?

budding surgeons in the making?
Better start that college fund really soon!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Hide and Seek

I thought this would be a great game to play with the boys.
However as you all know the boys are now 8 & 10 years old so even though they play this game well I thought they might like it if I upp'd the anti a little?
Maybe in the form of us trying to seek something that was already hidden?
Of course in this day and age of technology then there has to be some techno part to it and so that is why I decided it was time for us to get into Geocaching.

What is that I hear you cry....?
It is in simple terms a game of hide and seek that you use a GPS to find an item hidden by someone else in the town/country/world using coordinates.
There is a whole website dedicated to Geocaching and once you get started it is addictive!!

You can download an app onto your mobile phone and Bob's your uncle you are off!
You look at the map of where you are, locate a cache (item) to find and using the coordinates go off and try to find it.
It is usually a canister of some description that can range in size from a small pill box up to a 10 litre bucket!

However the whole purpose is to do it as discretely as possible so no one knows what you are doing as the cache needs to be found and then left as discovered ready for the next person to find.
You do however log on the paper inside the canister that you were there and also log it on the website so you can keep track of ones you have discovered already.

When you first look at the map on the website, it is enough to make you fall off your seat, there are hidden caches everywhere and I literally mean everywhere, all over the world to be more precise!
There are 12 that I can find that are within 2 miles walking distance of our house!
Stuck in a bush, up a tree, under a board walk even magnitised to a chair in a public place.

But it is just a fence?
Wrong! There's a geocache
The boys have already been checking out if there are any near Grandma's House, near the beach where we spend a lot of our summer time and near their school, although I have told them that they can not search for them without me as they need the coordinates and the GPS on my phone to assist them, however give it a few years and I can probably send them off for the afternoon with a phone and a list and they would happily entertain themselves around the city!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Tournament Time

There have been quite a few judo tournaments lately and Ben has been attending them all.
Sadly he has not been getting medals so he realised he had to work a little harder.

At the last one he did just that.....and walked away with a gold medal.

Well done Ben very proud of you.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Spring Time

I just love this time of year, when all the flowers are stretching themselves skywards and showing us their true colours.

Bird of Paradise

Sunday, September 29, 2013

5 Years

No that is not the number of years I have been blogging (been doing that for the last 8 years!)
No, this number is the amount of years hubby and I celebrated for our anniversary last week.

Yes we are just mere fledglings when it comes to this marriage lark, well we have been together just coming up 14 years, so maybe not fledglings anymore!

We were lucky enough to have Grandma come look after the boys whilst we escaped for the night.
We went out for dinner, stayed the night in a cute little B&B and then had breakfast in a quaint cafe and then finally came home in time to collect the boys from school.

I just had to show you my dessert from our dinner out......

That is a white chocolate mousse, with dark chocolate ganache coating the inside of the glass topped with raspberry coulis and some sprinkled pistachio nuts.
Let's just put it this way, as hard as I tried there was still some left at the end!!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Month in Numbers for August

Another month has gone by and I almost missed out on my month in numbers for August.

Julie over at Notes on Paper is probably just finalising her post for a few days time for her September numbers and here I am only just doing August, but hey, better late than never!

I managed to capture only 2/3 of the communal counts:
How many people visited your house this month = 1
How many usually live here = 4 people + 2 cats

You too can join in with this data collection for yourself each month if you are interested. Julie has an amazing page over on her blog that explains all about what we are insanely doing each month.
It doesn't have to be anything huge, you could even just start with the communal count that Julie has started each month in conjunction with MiN.

For September we have to consider counting the following:

  1. How far do you now live from the first school you attended?
  2. How much does a pint/litre of milk cost where you live? How much did you buy this month?
It really is quite easy to count your month, just keep a little note book near the diary in the kitchen or on a notice board in your home communal area and add things to it throughout the month. You will be surprised the information you consider counting!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Tea Time Catch Up

Wow, where does life go??
1 minute we were catching up in July and now suddenly it is September.
I am so glad Abi reminds us about this little monthly catch up otherwise another month would have just slipped on by for me.
The clocks go forward for us here in New Zealand on Sunday and I am not sure I am ready for summer yet? Where did winter go? Was that it? Are we in for some rough weather before we start getting all those nice summer days? That is the typical way things seem to pan out down here.
So many questions and the only thing I can do is sit tight in my house and go with the flow!

Welcome to my part of the world, how is life with you?
I just made some chocolate brownie, please feel free to have a piece whilst I tell you what has been happening here.

I firstly want to say sorry for having not visited your place in the last month or so, but then I haven't even been keeping my blog up to date as it has not been on the top part of my priority list, which is a shame as I do love catching up with people but I do have to keep my family flowing first.
Life has been really odd since I went back to work after my surgery. Thanks for asking all is well and I am all recovered.
However I have found that life just hasn't flowed well in the last 6 weeks. I had to look after some students who were half way through a placement and I found it very difficult to make it work well.
I am glad that placement has now finished and I am on to a new set of students right from the start of their placement and so far it is all flowing nicely and I feel more in control.
I think that was probably part of the problem, I wasn't in control for the last part of their placement and it was very frustrating.

Even if the clocks do change on Sunday we have had some nasty weather in the last week leading up to us officially accepting summertime ahead.
The wind was blowing and the rain was lashing down.
The windows were rattling and the house was shaking. I was so glad we were all snug in our beds last week when the weather turned nasty for a few hours.

Wish I could say the same for the tree we are now missing....!
We opened the curtains at the front on Wednesday morning and this is what we found!

Turns out it was rotten but we didn't know it at the time.
It sure was a fun way to spend an hour after school sawing and cutting up wood and leaves. The boys had great fun.

Of course it didn't take too long to clear everything away. The neighbour came round with his chain saw and made light work of the trunk of the tree.
Nice little pile of fire wood just a shame we don't have a fire to burn it on!

We put the pile beside the road and with a few hours it was gone. Glad someone somewhere is able to get use out of it. Always do love playing things forward and helping people if I can.

We are just heading into 2 weeks of school holidays here too, so I now have to use my imagination and come up with some interesting things to do to entertain 2 boys for the next week or so on the days they are not in care!
Good job we are not having this little catch up in 2 weeks time otherwise I might be telling a different story, one that starts with how I lost the boys and don't know where to find them!

Thanks so much for stopping by for a little chat, it has been fun catching up with you.
Till next month.......

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Scavenger Hunt 2013 Final

I can not believe that September is here already and more over the fact that the hunt has now finished!!

Life has been hard the past 6 weeks and I feel like I have disappeared totally off the radar.
Blogging has sadly taken a very distant back seat, but then so has most things if it doesn't come into the day to day running of life. However things are easing and I feel like I am getting on top again, so here's hoping things can start over and bloom towards the end of the year.

I have still been searching for my remaining scavenger hunt items but they have just not managed to make it up on the computer.
Seeing as today is the official last day of the hunt then today is the day they have to be completed.
Have I managed them all, yes I think I have, and I will be the first to admit that I have had to use a substitute item for 1 of them too.

Without further delay here are the remaining items that I had yet to post about, all be it a short quick description of the item, usually I would give each item its own post but life is just not playing that way at present, so I am doing the best I can!
I have written out the scavenger hunt list. Those items already found during the summer/winter I have linked too, those being shown for the first time today are completed below.

#1 - Open Air Market
The local Farmer's Market on a Sunday morning is always worth a visit.

#2 - Theatre for performing arts

#3 - City Hall, Capitol or similar Civic Building
Would you believe Hamilton does not have a City Hall or Capitol. So I give you our Court House.

#4 Airplane

#5 A Sunset
Of all the ones to have not completed yet this was a weird one as the sun has been setting everyday of the hunt and I have just not remembered to get a shot.
On the night I successfully got a shot I also got a picture of the reflection in the window of a neighbour's window, I just loved how it looked.

#6 - Someone or something taking a nap

#7 - A sign that is intentionally or unintentionally funny
I still love this sign as we have both children and cats, and believe me sometimes I really do want to get rid of the children and keep the cats!!

#8 - A tower

#9 - A photo with someone or something that is clearly out of place
This was a difficult one for me, I just never seemed to see anything that I felt was not meant to be!
Until I saw this entrance way into the local park.....beautiful archway however not sure who thought to grow daffodils on the top of it!

#10 - A bench that is outside

#11 - An animal in a zoo, aquarium or nature reserve

#12 - A cloud in the shape of something
I have to admit defeat on this item and bring in the substitute card....!
Instead I give you a sundial

This dial had many sides to it. Each side measuring a different aspect.
East and west vertical dial. North vertical dial, a south equatorial dial and even a polar dial.
I think you could have this sundial at sea and navigate the world, although bags not being the one to try that!

#13 - A fence

#14 - A stained glass object or mosaic

#15 - A fire truck or police car

#16 - A windmill

#17 - Candles

#18 - Your local pub/bar, coffee house or tea shop
There is just one place in Hamilton that I love to go for my hot chocolates and that is Scott's Epicurean. They do the best I have found in the whole city and the reason why? They use a chocolate syrup that they have created by melting chocolate and adding sugar etc to. It is divine and well worth a visit.

#19 - A fisherman
Usually something like this would be easy to find, wander down by the estuary at the caravan or wander along the Waikato River but alas it was not meant to be.
My son and I raided all their story books to find a fisherman but alas this was not meant to be either!
Finally I remembered that in my computer game 'Sims' (which I had been playing a lot whilst recovering) I had the ability to make them fish in the pond, so as a last resort that is what I offer up as a picture of a fisherman...!

#20 - A dinosaur

#21 - A photograph of you with an artistic tool or craft supply
Now do I take a picture of the computer, my ever faithful craft tool or do I use my pen and paper! How about some stickers I have to decorate things with?? So many choices but I finally went with a picture of me with my cross stitching

This stitching is a slow, very slow work in progress, but I love picking it up and just doing a little bit every now and then.


I was hanging out for this hunt this year, I was ready for it on June 1 and I got all the family involved.

My first item to find was #11 'an animal in the zoo' as we visited Auckland Zoo on June 1 and we didn't even know what was on the hunt list at that point! Something made me take several pictures that day as I had a feeling an animal would be on the list.

My favorite item for the hunt was #4 an airplane as we got to hang around the observation area at Auckland airport, something that we use to do a lot when the boys were little and it was fun to see their faces again watching the planes come and go. Something we haven't done for over 6 years now because we moved towns.

My hardest item was probably the one several people will admit defeat to and that was #12 a cloud in a shape! I searched and searched the sky but with no luck. Seems winter skies in New Zealand just don't play well with finding shapes in the clouds!

Thank you Rinda for running this awesome scavenger hunt for us once again. As always it has been a pleasure, if what sometimes frustrating, but always a pleasure and I so hope you run it again next year as myself and the family need this to get us through the winter months here in New Zealand.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Scavenger Hunt # 6 - Someone or Something Napping

Like many other people in this hunt who have animals in the house there is just no excuse as to why this was a difficult item to obtain?

Maybe we were all trying to be ultra amazing and find something else a sleep to catch a quick picture of?
Yet when all else fails we resort to our original plan and capture that ultimate picture of our own little 4 legged friend a sleep somewhere in the house!

I give you our 2 cats enjoying our bed in the morning because that is where the sun streams in nice and warm.

They are on the same bed at the same time, just that Barney had managed to snuggle on the bed before I managed to pull the blanket back over!

Friday, August 09, 2013

Scavenger Hunt # 20 - Dinosaurs

Since the start of the hunt I have seen many posts from the other participants on their dinosaurs.
The family knew to be on the look out for them too as I was never really sure where they were going to pop up?

Finally those good ol dinos popped up in the last place I ever cousin's bathroom.
Yep there I was minding my own business, as one does in a bathroom and I gazed across the room to the bath tub and there on parade, just waiting for me were the dinosaurs.....

I had great pleasure in informing the family that I had successfully found the dinosaurs for the hunt.
Yea go me.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Hair Styles

I like to think I am an open mother, allowing my boys the ability to try things that they want that I may not want so much?
When they both commented on having a rats tail at the back of their hair a few years ago then I couldn't see the problem, pretty much like when Alex asked for his hair to be shaved the last time it got cut, no harm there, would look short for a while but at least he can't say I didn't let them do what they wanted.
Point to self..........never let Alex get hair shaved again, it looked horrible and even his father thought so too!

Back to their hair.....these rats tails have been there for a few years now, luckily they have never complained at how theirs never seemed to get too long, like others they had seen. This may have something to do with

  1. they can't see them
  2. mummy was known to cut them at night without then knowing!
People always asked why they had them and how long they were keeping them for?
Ben finally answered that he was competing in an International Judo Tournament soon and that he would finally cut his then as his opponent could grab it during a hold down and use it to his advantage!

One evening not long ago we went out to my cousin's for his birthday tea and whilst there my uncle asked when it was being cut? Ben answered 'maybe next week' and suddenly my uncle was offering him $12 if HE (my uncle) could cut it now!
Ben was a little taken back but once he understood the idea he seemed to warm up to it slightly.
However then my cousin joined in an up'd the anti to $14. This went back and forth until such time as there was $17 in the pot, however my uncle put a time limit on this auction and Ben had to make a decision in a short period of time.

He didn't!

My uncle though agreed to start the auction one final time however he added a twist and said he would offer $12 if Alex would have his done too?
My cousin then up'd it to $14 and I joined in and told my uncle I would add $5 to his $12 and he could still have the pleasure of cutting the tails off? To me paying $5 to finally have them gone seemed reasonable enough.
My uncle then auctioned off the pleasure of cutting Alex's hair and so it ended with my cousin offering to pay my uncle $5 to cut Alex's.


It got very confusing at one point as to how much was in the pot and who was doing what?
But eventually it ended with my uncle cutting Ben's hair and my cousin cutting Alex's hair and the boys both walking away with $10 (which sadly they both owed us because they currently are in debt to us!)


Unfortunately we couldn't find really great scissors, so they were cut off using some simple kitchen scissors!! Which in turn added to the excitement of the moment.
It did mean that Alex walked away with a little bald spot on the left of his head, but hey it is at the back, he can't see it and no one else seems to comment!
It will grow back after all.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Scavenger Hunt #13 - A Fence

How can this be so difficult to achieve when every house on our street has a fence?
Instead I choose a picture of a fence in another street just round the corner from me!

A nice brand spanking new fence

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Month in Numbers for July

It took me until 3 weeks into July before I managed to post my June Month in Numbers! So I am doing well to get these up in the first week!
I happily read others that got posted and kept kicking myself to remember to sit and sort the post out for my first ever month in numbers.

Julie, however had no worries, she was just happy that we wanted to play along and express our life for the month in numbers.
I will give myself a break though, I was a little busy as my new month in numbers for July will show.

I managed 2 of the communal counts:
How many photos did you take = 101
How many did you get printed = 11, well that is how many pictures I got printed in July but they were not of pictures taken in July! Does it still count??

You too can join in with this data collection for yourself each month if you are interested. Julie has an amazing page over on her blog that explains all about what we are insanely doing each month.
It doesn't have to be anything huge, you could even just start with the communal count that Julie has started each month in conjunction with MiN.
For August we have to consider counting the following:

  1. How many people visited your house this month? How many usually live here?
  2. What was the earliest time you got out of bed? Is this usual for you?

So feel free to join in if you please, we look forward to seeing you maybe in September with Augusts numbers.
Happy counting 1 2 3 4 5 6............!

Friday, August 02, 2013

To Call or Not to Call

Why do I get the feeling that phone companies have nothing better to do in winter than grab peoples attention with 'super great deals' that in the end will cost you more?
Turns out I wrote a post about this last June, so definitely a winter thing for them.
Once again the phone companies have been calling offering us a super great deal if we transfer our provider to them. You know the calls....the ones where everything will be much cheaper than you current provider as long as you are prepared to tell them what you are currently paying and then they will undercut that provider just enough to tempt you to change, to then only screw you in 12 months time!

It got me thinking though, why was I hearing from all the companies that wanted me but not from the company that had me and could explain why I should stay with them?
A quick call to my provider and suddenly I had saved $25 of my home phone.

"Yes madame we can do something for you....did you know the current plan you are on has been discontinued 18 months ago?......Wonder why they didn't call me to change it? Oh yea I know because I am currently paying them more money than the other plans are and so why turn down a customers money!...Did you also know that by continuing to keep you mobile phone with the same company you can save even more off your home bill? ......Again something I didn't know and could have gained benefit from for at least the past 12 months!....Oh and do you want to rejig your mobile plan while you are on the phone madame?"

Suddenly our home phone bill has been cleaned up and is now cheaper and I remembered that someone had called me to discuss my mobile plan a few weeks ago, in fact it was on the day I was going to have surgery and I was definitely not in the right head space at the time to discuss my mobile plan and the great new advantages I could get by changing plans! So I asked her to call back in a few weeks time, which she never did funnily enough!

This lead us to visit the shop of the mobile phone company because I was also interested in maybe, possibly getting a new phone. Something a little more user friendly maybe.
1 hour later and I walked out with a new phone, a new calling plan that fits my life and 1 very happy customer.

And the greatest thing about my phone?

The text messages show up like a little conversation. How super cool and cute is that?
Funny the little things in life that make you happy!

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Scavenger Hunt #16 - A Windmill

I wish I understood why we get ideas in our head and then won't accept anything different?
The Summer Scavenger Hunt that Rinda is holding is a perfect example of such a thing.
I loved receiving the list from her at the beginning of June and was amazed at the instant pictures that appeared in my mind as to what I wanted to picture for each item.

Ok so some of them I had nothing from the very beginning and I have had to think a little about them but for the most I was doing alright, well I thought I was doing alright until such time as I had to actually find the said item I had pictured in my mind and then my luck got lost!

For the most part this is what I thought of when I imagined a windmill

Thanks to Channel 4 for showing Thomas the Tank Engine every morning during the school holidays and thanks to my husband for the fact we have a wonderful machine that allows us to pause live tv so I was able, much to the amusement of my children, run around the house like a headless chicken trying to find the camera so I could get a shot of the pause screen on the tv, all in the name of a Scavenger Hunt!!

I wish I understood why there is a lack of windmills looking like this here in New Zealand? I mean come on, doesn't anyone want the old fashion way of milling flour anymore? Obviously not.

This made me think of other places that usually have windmills.......maybe as ornaments in the garden, so off to the garden center I raced.
Yea right, cause people in New Zealand are obsessed with windmills in their gardens as ornaments.....NOT!
And yes before you ask I was going to sneakily snap a picture of an ornament in a garden centre and not buy anything!
"But your honour, it was the power of the scavenger hunt I was doing, it does obsessive things to your brain and body during the months of June thru September!"

I wandered all over this garden center, under the guidance that I was happily looking at all the beautiful plants that could adorn my garden. Alas a windmill did not come to hand.
I tried back in the gift area, as there seemed to be no ornaments in the outdoor area. There was however a beautiful sundial, it was impressive too, but sadly a garden center person was unpacking items just near by and even though I am sure they would have taken no notice of me quickly snapping a picture or two of this beautiful item, I was not taking the risk of them telling me 'sorry no pictures allowed' when I had yet to still locate a windmill!
And then suddenly something caught my eye, right over by the checkout.
Was it a windmill? Was it what I needed? Of course it was, it was just not the style I had been looking for.

Just to prove they classed them as windmills!
The pictures are not the greatest as they were taken very sneakily and very fast but finally I have found a windmill as required for item #16.
I wish I had been able to set the shot up nicer, although I did play with the red and white ones in the first picture to make them stand in the vase they were displayed in much better so I got a lot more of the heads in the shot. Anyone watching must have thought I was OCD the way I was trying to arrange the display of kids plastic toys.

This is after all a Scavenger Hunt and we will go to great lengths to obtain that one shot so we can complete the hunt successfully, well anyone with OCD will.

Happy hunting guys