28 August 2011

I sense summer

Perhaps I'm a little premature, or just somewhat hopeful thinking about summer already, given that spring doesn't officially even start till Thursday.

But this past week of sunshine and lighter evenings have made me a believer. In the change of seasons. And the circle of life coming around full-circle once more.

It's no secret that summer is my favourite season. I mean what's not to love?

We have been favoured with a milder than usual winter, if you don't count that freakish snow visit the other week. That could be why I've found it easier than normal not to wish the past few months away like I normally would.

But I think the credit for this winter being more bearable also has a lot has to do with the weekly dose of sensational summer photos displayed on Alicia and Kristi's weekly Crazy Days of Summer link-ups. I haven't been able to participate these past few weeks but as this is the very last week, I decided not to wait any longer to get my summer senses tingling with anticipation.

So awaken oh my soul. Let every sense come alive with:

Dreaming in fields

The blooms of our national Christmas tree (pohutukawa)

Excursions in pyjamas to watch Christmas lights

Wildflowers in summer haze

Picnics in parks

Sandy covered bodies

Learning to ride

Strawberries and cream

Jandals and sandals

Rolling in warm grass

Barefoot walks bathed in setting sun

So Summer, 
don't be a stranger, 
Come right in. 
You are very welcome here. 

26 August 2011

Things I'm Loving 26.8.11

It must be a first for me not to have had a Things I'm Loving post wing its way to cyberspace first thing on a Friday morning. There's a few good reasons for being slow to post this week:

Wowed by WOW
Last night I was busy being WOWed at the World Of WearableArts show. And since you are not allowed to take ANY photos at all, I had to nick a few of my favourites out the programme. It was truly an amazing spectacle and I'm already planning how I could possibly take my mum along next year.

Oh and remember this jacket I was saving for the occasion?

It got a christening too. This was me rushing out the door as I was running late and taking a photo in the mirror on my iPhone whilst trying surreptitiously not to get the toilet seat in the shot either - classy!  :-)

First ever school award
I also wanted to wait and post after this:

Noah's teacher gave us a heads-up earlier in the week that Noah was getting an award in assembly so we were able to make the effort and work around our work days to be there. The junior syndicate took the whole assembly and it was great to see Noah singing his heart out up on stage with his classmates.

And to see him confidently walk up and shake the Principal's hand and stand on stage as the first name called out of the group receiving awards, well...pinch me, is this the same shy boy that we were worried about at the beginning of the year?

Settling In
And if this mama's heart wasn't already bursting after attending assembly, then when we got a letter in the post this afternoon from the Principal about how well he has settled in together with a glowing Beginning Report from his teacher, well it was all a bit much for me (in a good way of course!).

Here's a few excerpts:

Noah is a confident speaker. He enjoys sharing his ideas and experiences with others, especially adults. Noah is confident to ask interesting and sensible questions related to class discussions.

Noah has made excellent progress in reading. He is quickly learning new sight words and can locate these in the text. He is learning to self-correct so that he reads for meaning. He likes to share his ideas and thoughts about the texts he has read.

Noah takes a lot of care and pride in his writing work which is very neat. Noah has a solid understanding of the alphabet and related sounds. He is confident to apply this knowledge independently when writing a story. Noah always has an original and interesting topic that he is keen to write about.

Noah is working on developing his mathematical knowledge, and is learning different ways of joining and separating sets up to 10 using equipment. He is very good at rechecking his answers to make sure that he has it right. This is an excellent skill Noah.

Noah has settled extremely well to school. He is extremely polite and thoughtful. Noah is very independent and will try new tasks with a positive 'can do' attitude.  He has easily and quickly made new friendships at school. Noah is considerate towards others and understands the importance of waiting his turn in games and accepting ideas that may differ from his own.

Noah is a sensitive pupil who thrives on praise, encouragement and one-to-one attention. He has a great sense of humour and likes to have a joke. Noah is trying really hard with all his school work and this has resulted in fantastic progress in all areas. Noah is a pleasure to have in our class. Keep up the great effort with all your work Noah. You have had a wonderful start to school.

Love You's
And a loving post wouldn't be complete without an 'I love you' or two, right? This week Mylo started saying 'Love you Mummy' 'Love you Daddy' in return to ours.......

And yes my heart is pretty much one big melted puddle of love on the floor right now.

Hope you have found plenty of loving in your world this week. Link up with other lovelies here:

23 August 2011

Recipe: Quick & Easy: Chicken & 2-Minute Noodle Curry

I'm beginning to think that 'Quick & Easy' might be the new motto for our family food. Because everything I seem to post lately has that element about it. Here's yet another example of a fantastic tasting and easy family meal served up regularly on our patch. Although it might look similar, it has a very different flavour to the Thai Green Curry recipe posted a few weeks back.

1 large chicken breast
1 Tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 capsicum, seeded and sliced
Enough veges to bulk out the meal (our standard fare is broccoli and courgette)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1 tin of coconut milk or cream (either low or full-fat works fine)
2 packets of 2-minute noodles Chicken flavour
Fresh coriander or parsley to taste

  1. Cut chicken into small chunks, and cook in wok/saucepan until golden brown and cooked. Remove and set aside.
  2. Add onion and garlic and all the veges and cook until nearly 'stir-fried'. Add the spices and coconut milk/cream and bring to the boil, stirring.
  3. Break the noodles and add into the wok with flavour sachets. Cook, stirring for 1 minute.
  4. Add the chicken and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
Serve and enjoy people! Serve and enjoy.

21 August 2011

Auckland..you were an amazing Adventure

Sigh....where to begin?

I feel as if there's just not the space to tell it all, nor the ability to do the weekend justice. But I'll try!

My little sojourn up to Auckland started off with a slight spanner in the works when I realised at 8am Friday morning my flight had been cancelled! Luckily (and in usual organised fashion), I'd been checking the departures for the day and noticed, or I'd have been none the wiser when I turned up at the airport at lunchtime. Luckily, I managed to re-book for the flight at 2pm (only an hour later) and so my weekend was back on track again.

I arrived to blue skies, warmth and sunshine landing at Auckland airport, and despite the woman behind me moaning about the fact that were were getting off the back of the plane and walking across the tarmac meant that she would be cold, I relished stepping out into fresh air, lifting my face to the sky and saying a thankful prayer to see the sun shining again, after a week of incredibly crazy winter weather back at home.

This weekend was also a wonderful opportunity to spend some time with my oldest friend Andrea from high school. We catch up every so often, and it is always as if no time has passed since the last time, except for the obvious changes in little Mackay who is now nearly 15 months (last time I saw him he was 7 months), and a lovely growing belly on Andrea as her and partner Andrew are expecting number 2 in mid-February.

They have punch buggies in Auckland too! I spotted about six! 

 After expanding my own belly full of yummy Thai takeaways on Friday night, I had a whistle stop tour of the local area which included yummy crepes in Kingsland when Sarah from Faery Sarah took me out for a quick catch-up as she wasn't able to make the lunch the following day. Oh yeah bloggy lunch friends I can't believe that in the excitement of the lunch, I completely forgot to mention I'd even met up with Faery Sarah! And I have no pictures to prove it, so you'll just have to take my word for it! 

It was great to finally meet her and we talked about the usual mummy stuff which included our littlies who are born only 2 weeks apart, although neither are that little anymore given that they're both turning 2 in the next few weeks. Oh and plenty of discussion around baby names, so I can't wait to see what name the littlest Faery pops out with in a few week's time ;-)

Saturday morning I headed out with my lovely hosts for an early breakfast in Ponsonby before ambling through the streets of Ponsonby and Herne Bay taking in the beautiful homes and boutique shops whilst little Mackay took the opportunity for a short siesta in the stroller bathed in morning sunshine. I'd have joined him if I could have fitted in there, it looked so cosy and inviting!

Then it was time to prepare for the big Bloggy Bash! I'd been hoping against hope I would be able to meet my dear friend Jaz from Treacy Travels for the first time. During the week, it looked like it wouldn't happen as she had been under the weather and confined to bed for a few days, and whilst I was at LEAST as disappointed as she was, I totally understood how important it was to look after herself and not push it after the very tough year this lovely lady has had to battle through. So when I got a text an hour before the lunch saying she was going to pop in briefly, my heart literally did a little cancan dance inside!

Meeting the lovely Jaz in real life made the day extra special for me!

Off I went in Andrea's car, armed with Google Map directions for the short drive over the Harbour Bridge to Birkenhead. I got out of my car at the same time as Sammy from Cherished and we instantly (although tentatively!) recognised each other. That was the first hug of many throughout the afternoon as more and more bloggers poured in through the doors to the Mediterranean restaurant.

The lovely Sammy from Cherished

It was a good thing we were the only ones in the restaurant, as I think anyone else would have thought we were all a tad crazy with the number of cameras out (I had 2 with me, 3 if you count the iPhone!). But I found I was quite restrained on the picture-taking front, instead soaking up the moment and it was all I could do not to pinch myself several times to believe I was really here meeting these wonderful girls who I somehow feel like I've been friends with forever.

Sammy's equally lovely little sister Penny from My Spirited Baby

Friends in real life and in blog life, Jackie from Jacksta-B and Kristy from Paisley Jade 

The lovely Leonie (Kiwi at Heart) who made the day possible (you rock!) with our lovely Simone from Great Fun 4 Kids

Leonie had organised the day beautifully. Firstly, everyone had made each other crafty name tags - mine made by the lovely Lisa of All in a Daze. And then there were spot prizes - I won a book (dammit now I have to actually find the time to read it, you'll be pleased to hear I did at least start it on the plane journey home). And it was so sweet that Leonie also chose me to win one of her delightful sock monkeys as I'd come the farthest  - this little guy was snaffled up immediately by Mylo and christened BoBo as soon as I walked in the door this morning.

In all the excitement it took us over an hour to even place our order for lunch such was the conversation flowing and picture taking happening, and so it was long past 3.30pm before we all rather reluctantly went our separate ways back to our lives, with the Whangarei posse having to drive the long 2-hour journey home to their families, with the rest of us dispersing back to various parts of the city.

And me......well you can pick the non-Aucklander! I had the opportunity to go to the toilet one more time just as we were leaving the restaurant but passed it up for the opportunity for more hugs and farewells, thinking to myself that it was only a 10 minute journey back over the Bridge to Andrea's. Well the joke was on me when I hit a wall of traffic before I even got there and a flashing sign that said 'Incident on the Bridge'. 

EEEEEEEEE! There was some firm bladder holding going on whilst I waited and drove at snails pace for the next twenty minutes, trying to distract myself by taking photos of the slow-moving traffic and the gorgeous back drop of the city. All's well that ends well though, I'm pleased to report there were no puddles to clean up in the car (phew!).

 After a glass or two of Reisling on the deck, I really wanted make the most of the golden day that was coming to a close (and the fact I'd lugged the big camera all the way from Wellington). So my fantastic tour guide Andrea kindly volunteered to drive me to some vantage points, each proving to be more spectacular than the last.

How thrilled am I that Andrea was willing to take me to these stunning locations in the dying stages of the day to capture these shots.

Auckland you really turned it on for me this weekend. You were utterly captivating. And I'll never forget that you were the host of an amazing afternoon. Where friendship and conversation flowed between blogging buddies sharing real-life connections that are usually only possible via super-fast broadband copper wires.

One of the things I love about blogging is that distance and time are no barrier to friendships that can be every bit as real as our friends just down the road. And while there's much to mourn about the loss of the good old days before technology invaded every inch of our lives, at least for today, I am so thankful for that same technology bringing us all together.

19 August 2011

Things I'm Loving 19.8.11

Maths Week
Last week was Maths Week at school. All the kids had to go 'themed' on Friday, so we made a little sandwich board. What other number would a proud five year old want to wear than FIVE?! But we did make an effort to count the buttons - there were 80 in case you were wondering. That's eighty times I lovingly glued a button to that cardboard! But it's good to see those free buttons from work getting some great mileage!

Letters in the mail
Two days after Noah started school this letter arrived in the mail for me. Aw, man - talk about a way to make this mumma smile!

Punch Buggies
We still spot punch buggies game every time we go out in the car, it's definitely a family tradition now. And how crazy that both sets of grandparents thought of a Punch Buggy for a present for Noah's birthday. It kinda reminds me of his first birthday when their great minds both independently thought of getting him a little Noah's ark playset with all the animals. But you can never love too many cool looking cars right?!

Go Bananas 
This is a new take on the classic Snap card game - and is such a fun game to play. It's especially great that you can play with up to five people. But you need to be on your toes looking out for a chance to 'Go Bananas' 'Gotcha Gator' and 'Splat' at every turn of the cards.

Riesling wine challenge
My good friend Tracey works at Te Awa winery in the Hawkes Bay and recently offered us a case of wine at a ridiculously good friends and family rate. What's special about this wine is that it's twelve different wines made by twelve different winemakers taking grapes from the same block and giving it their own distinctive take on the Reisling wine. The wines range from dry right through to sweet. My favourite is down the medium to medium sweet end of the spectrum and the first two bottles we drank were WOWEE! And given that we have drunk...ahem...five bottles in about 10 days it must be good. Yeah...so good we decided to order another case. That's us sorted for wine for the summer...and then some!

The last of the Great White
So long snow, it was fun while it lasted! Who knows if we'll see it like this again in this lifetime?!

This is a simply delightful video put together showing total joy this event brought to all in downtown Wellington on Monday lunchtime. Enjoy!

Another day, another city
Tonight I'll be laying my head to rest in another city, far far away. You know it'll actually be the first time I've been away from the two boys on my own. But you know what, I think I have plenty of fun adventures to look forward to. Enjoying the hospitality of my best friend from school Andrea and hanging out with her and the family for one, and also the prospect of meeting a whole bunch of dear friends for the first time in real life (I know that sounds weird...and only in blogland could that happen!) is filling me with a strange combination of extreme excitement and butterflies at the same!

Well friends I hope your week has been filled with things to love.

Link on up over at PJ's if you have some love to share!

And I can't believe I'll be meeting PJ in real life tomorrow.....eeek!



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