28 November 2010

Who'd have thought?

When I wrote My Summer Bucket List 2010, I couldn't have dreamed we would tick some off the list in just one week!

Today was a day I wished would never, ever, ever, end. It was perfect in every way.

Starting with a little early decoration of the Christmas tree. I just couldn't wait any longer. I was ably assisted by Santa's little helpers. One who found a couple of new uses for the Christmas stockings. And the other fascinated by switching the button for the LED light on the little box on and off. Ooo we do love our new decorations for the tree sent with love from English Grandma & Grandad. Thank you!

Little red robin is bob bob bobbing along quite happily in his new home.

Follwed by an impromptu trip to Island Bay beach. Tick that one off the list!

Looks like we might need a few more trips to get rid of those flourescent white arms and legs though! Eep.

And golly gee whizz that water was cold. You can see it on Mark's face. It actually hurt my feet and I felt like I was standing in the snow. I couldn't bear it for more than a few seconds without running back to the hot sand. I know, I am a big wimp. I can't believe people were swimming. Craziness.

Watching the boys so happy digging sand holes, being buried in it (and eating it - no two guesses who that was!) equals pure unadulterated contentment for this mummy.

And what is not to love about an unseasonably warm November afternoon? A Goldilocks afternoon, not too cold, not too hot,  just right.

We could have stayed all day, but it was just as nice coming home for smoothies, jelly tip icecream and a little sun worshipping whilst the littlest guy recharged his batteries with a wee nap indoors.

The smoothies and icecream must have hit the mark, as the boys found enough energy for a kick-around. And yes that is Daddy about to cop one in the gangoolies. Ha ha!

Then it was time for some jungle warfare.

And to top off the perfect day, we ate dinner on the picnic mat outside. Salad from the garden. Tick. Radler in hand. Tick tick.

This little dude enjoyed practicing his gymnastic skills on Daddy after dinner as the shadows advanced ever closer in the garden.

To get a day like this at the end of November, in Wellington, before summer has even officially begun is, well..I'd say it's unheard of.

It's what dreams and bucket lists are made of.

When he wears it better....

When I saw Paisley Jade's awesome crochet cap created here, I was a little gutted as only the day before I'd bought one on sale at Kathmandu, but it wasn't HALF as cool as hers.

So I said as much in my comment, kinda hoping she might put it up for sale in her felt shop. You should totally check out some of her other clever creations!

And so she did. Last weekend. My fingers couldn't push the buy button fast enough. And even though she clearly had had a rough as week feeling very under the weather, this lovely gal still managed to get it in the post to me quick smart.

I got to try it on before it was confiscated for my Christmas stocking, but not before snapping a few pics. It's gonna be a much sought after accessory in our house, especially when no sooner had I taken it off my head than this little dude was playing to the camera. I can see I'm gonna have to fight him for it.

And I have a funny feeling that he might just wear it better too. Sigh.

Oh and a Happy Birthday to the very talented Paisley Jade for today ;-)

25 November 2010

When 'Eeeew!' only goes so far.

Warning: reader discretion advised. Anyone with a delicate consumption may want to skip this post.

The other night me and the boys were outside watering the garden. I spotted something that looked a little like cat poo lying in a corner on the concrete. But then got immediately distracted by Noah stamping on a dead snail and squashing it.
I told him it was a bit silly as Mylo might decide to pick it up and eat it (like the time when I found him crunching merrily on a snail), so I asked Noah to go and get a trowel so we could pick the debris up and throw it in the garden. He dutifully obliged. And away went the snail - out of sight, out of reach.

I continued, pottering about my watering business, filling up the watering can, watering plants.

Then I noticed Mylo had gone a little quiet, and his mouth looked suspiciously full. I had momentarily forgotten about the 'cat poo' but suddenly it was top of my mind again. I rushed over and put my fingers in his mouth to fish out whatever was in there.

Sure enough, a very dirty looking oval shaped caramel object came out.

At this point, I did scream.


Mark rushed to open the kitchen window to find out what the heck was going on.

I meanwhile, held back my inner thoughts of vomiting (although TOTALLY grossed out at this point) to do some quick detective work.

I picked up the 'cat poo' with the trowel, firstly to get it out of Mylo's reach and secondly to get a closer look.

And yes, I did sniff it. I kinda had to know?!

And got an overpowering whiff of lemon.......what the?!

Yep, not a cat poo.


But still, a dirty piece of lemon rind that had been there for who knows how long, and came from who knows where? (um yeah just to clarify, we're not in the habit of throwing our lemon rinds out the back door in case you were wondering!)

In all fairness Mylo, it was dinnertime, and you probably were hungry. And I know how much you loved your first taste of lemon, as just last weekend you happily devoured a whole half a lemon, including most of the skin.

But really, a dirty lemon rind? I know what you're gonna say to that Mylo, it was way better than cat poo right?


Yep, you're mischievous AND you know it!

24 November 2010

When words fail...

the bonds of love still hold strong.

While the tears flow...
we stand shoulder to shoulder with you
although we may be miles apart.

With the knowledge
that they will not walk amongst us in this life...
your pain is our pain
your loss our loss.

When you grieve for your brother, son, father, lover
Know that the nation holds you all
In prayer, and in our hearts.

Dedicated to the Pike River families.

23 November 2010

We're recruiting for our marching band

Wanna join?

After seeing a few marching bands at the annual Christmas parade the other weekend

the boys decided to start their own...

New members with instruments welcome. The louder the better! :-)

22 November 2010

Recipe: Pizzas that pack a punch

I definitely didn't plan two recipes for the blog in one week, I must have food on the brain at the moment?

Anyway, when we were discussing Saturdays's meal before I went out to do the shopping, as soon as the words 'homemade pizza' left our lips, there was no going back.

The Mediterranean Food Warehouse in Newtown sells pizza dough by the ball - and at $3 it's really reasonable when it turns into 2 good sized pizzas and all you have to worry about is some creative toppings.

For today's pizza experience, we went for: Montelupo (Chicken Cranberry and Brie) and Hawaiian.
Here's the low-down:

The Montelupo (said with a good Italian accent MONT-EE-LOOOOOO-PO)
1 tin Chop Chop smoked chicken pieces
1 round of brie
Half a jar of cranberry jelly

Tomato paste base (from Jamie Oliver's Italy book)
Dollop of olive oil
Thinly sliced clove of garlic
Handful of fresh basil
Sea salt/ground pepper to taste
Tin of tomatoes

Cook these in a pan for a couple of minutes then add in the tin of tomatoes (and mash up).
Let this boil down for 20 minutes.

The Hawaiian
1 tin of pineapple pieces
Grated cheese
Shaved ham

Keep pizza dough in fridge until half hour before using.
Separate into as many pizzas as you want and roll out to 3-4mm thick (or thicker if that's your preference)
Tonight we let Noah choose his own toppings for his very own pint-sized pizza. He loved it!
Spread the tomato paste base onto each pizza
Put your Montelupo and Hawaiian toppings on
Cook in pre-heated oven on 200 degrees for 5-10 minutes or until edges start to brown and cheese is bubbling.

Voila- authentic tasting pizzas that really pack a punch!

21 November 2010

My Summer Bucket List 2010

1. Eat lots of fresh produce from the garden - keep growing lil garden!

These did taste as good as they look!
2. Make cool Christmas crafts - (I've cheated a little with this one since we already got a headstart this weekend)

3. Take the boys to a local beach for the day - just got to wait for that elusive warm, not windy opportunity - like on this day 3 years ago!

4. Make a cool necklace at a Bead shop - I can't believe I've never done it!

5. Go someplace in Wellington we've never been - like the Ataturk Memorial or to the top of Mt Kaukau. There's always more to explore right on our doorstep, and I for one wanna try and see it all!

6. Take the kids on the ferry to Days Bay - hopefully we'll see some dolphins on the way!

7. Get me some cool family pics taken by my very talented bro when we holiday together this Christmas. If his first foray into portraiture is anything to go by with his Swiss friend Rico in Sydney recently, we're sure to get a few goodies!

8. Not taking for granted the ever changing views from our house

9. Rekindle my love of reading and finish at least one book. And if you were only going to get the chance to read ONE book this summer, what would it be?!

10. Eating outside on still summer evenings, BBQs, homemade burgers, Radlers and wine chilled to perfection.

And even though it would be great to think that life is all about having fun and we need never do anything vaguely boring and mundane - I think we know better. We know that sometimes 'real life' rears its ugly head and just muscles its way right in on our fun. So in acknowledgement of that, these two things are gonna have to be fitted in somewhere along the way...

-Paint the bathroom...this cracked paint ain't gonna fix itself. And it's definitely worse since last time I moaned about it!

                                          Then                                                 And now.....................

-Waterblast all this green gunk away...

But hopefully there will still be plenty of time left over to....

Hear the first cicada chirp
See the first pohutukawa bloom
Smell freshly mown grass and warm tarseal after light summer rain
Taste peas fresh from the pod, and cherry tomatoes so juicy they explode on the tongue
Feel the warmth of the sun on bare skin.

So come on in Summer 2010, you are very welcome here.

20 November 2010

Recipe: Friday Night Favourite - Sweetcorn Fritters

If you spend any time in our house, you'll know that we are BIG corn fritter fans. They are one of Noah's most requested meals and a great easy Friday night picnic fare. Mark still says to this day that back when we first started going out, it was one of the first iconic Kiwi meals I cooked him. I'm actually amazed he ever ate it, since he wasn't great with any kind of veges back in the day. He must have been far too in love and too polite to say no!

Anyhow I digress. Back to the recipe....

The classic Edmonds cookbook (which every NZ household surely has!) provides a great starter for a classic fritter recipe, but we add our own ingredients to give them a bit more pizzazz. You can't even taste the grated courgette and it is a great, secret squirrel way of adding greens into the meal for kids.

So without further ado...

Sweetcorn Fritters..Our Style

3/4 cup flour
2 eggs
1 tin creamed corn
1 tsp baking powder
Good pinch of salt
Optional extras (any or all of these!)
1 grated zucchini (courgette)
1/2 chopped red onion or 1 chopped normal onion
3 rashers cooked chopped bacon (either on the side or chopped into the mixture)

Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
Add eggs, tin of corn and salt and all the optional extras.
Mix together until combined.
Drizzle olive oil in pan. When pan is medium hot, drop dessert sized spoon fulls (or whatever size suits - we sometimes do smaller ones for the littlies) into the pan.
Cook until just brown and flip over.
Keep cooked ones warm in oven till ready to serve.

It really is that easy!

Great served with sweet chilli sauce, mayo, tomato sauce, sweet fruit chutney or a combination of all of these for garnish.

Goes nicely with salad fresh from the garden in summer or a homemade rataouille in winter.

Best eaten on your knees around the coffee table on Friday night picnic night ;-)

18 November 2010

Punch Buggy

I love creating family traditions. The best ones are so unique that no-one outside of your family would necessarily enjoy or understand. Our latest creation is Punch Buggy.

Intrigued? Let me explain.

Back in August, when our UK family came to stay we did a fair bit of driving around, and often the boys (Mark, his bro, cousin Jack and Noah) roadtripped in one car whilst us girls and Mylo drove the other.

Uncle James and Jack were constantly punch bugging each other, and it really caught on with us. It's an easy game - the first person to spot a VW Beetle (a VW Bug ) gets to 'punch' the other person (in jest of course, no real violence intended!). Apparently James and Mark used to play it when they were little. Mark can't really remember it, but we reckon that's probably because he was at the receiving end of most of the punches from his big brother!

Anyway, it's become quite the tradition with us - mostly cos Noah is always on the lookout. At every opportunity - on the way to work or home, to the supermarket, football, you name it, every car trip is a potential scouting opportunity.

And now I can't stop looking for them everywhere I go! Aaaagggggh.

Even walking to work after dropping the boys at daycare finds me taking a pic and flicking a quick What's App (iPhone/Blackberry application) message off to Markie with the picture and 2 words.....'punch buggy'!!!!

What unique traditions have you and your family had fun creating?

14 November 2010

What's new with you kiddo?

At fourteen months, Mr. monkey britches (as he is affectionately known) is:
  • Signing and saying 'cat'. We've been doing baby sign with him (although not as religiously as we did with Noah) for the past month or so, and his communication has come on loads. He tries to sign the word for cat and says 'cat' whenever he sees Murphy. He can also sign more, milk and giraffe. A man of few words and a lot more action.
  • Being stubbon about walking. He will walk holding onto just one finger and even walk along kicking a football if you hold both hands, but the minute you try to extricate your fingers he just drops to the floor. A word that rhymes with hazy springs to mind?!
  • Quite happy climbing though?!

  • And posting his bunny out the window, or into the kitchen cupboards and drawers. Lucky we have a spare bunny as I can see bunny could well go on some big solo adventures in the near future. Whether he returns or not is another story!
  • Totally wishes he could feed himself all the time. And is pretty good at getting the food in his mouth with the sppon when he does. Finger foods are our friend! We try to distract him with some kind of finger food (usually fruit) long enough to shovel another mouthful of dinner in when he's not paying attention.
  • This is what I call his West Virginia hillbilly 'woodcutter' look.

  • Tried a sip or two of a fluffy (frothy milk) and is not that impressed. Noah on the other hand couldn't get enough fluffies at this age!
  • Experiments with either spitting his food out or throwing it on the floor when he's getting bored...yay for messy mats!
  • Would rather spend his time either 'naked just nappy' or outdoors. Let's hope we're not bringing up a naturalist hey ;-)
  • He totally gets 'high five'. Has quite a good slap on him too.

  • Crawls around the house with his favourite friends (bunny and giraffe) in his mouth. Perhaps some strange craving to become a puppy?
  • Still obsessed with wheels.

  • And the need to open/close open/close open/close E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.

  • Which (ahem) ended in a bit of a mishap today. Can you guess what happened? See anything missing from this picture...um yep that would be the catflap door. It's not the first time it's seen a tube of superglue...probably won't be the last either.

Excuse the drool....focus on my cool dude eyes instead!

  • Loves, loves, loves his cat. And amazingly he HAS finally learnt the art of gentle. His favourite past-time is to use Murphy's tummy as a pillow.
  • Weighs bang on 10kg, and is nearly a whole kg lighter than his big brother at the same age. Pint-sized with personality plus!

    • And capable of a whole lotta loving!


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