Sunday, April 20, 2014

And the winner is...

A big thank you to all those who entered my birthday giveaway last week.

And the winner is....

Congratulations to Nina Buchanan. Ill have it right out to you asap. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

last chance

Don't forget to head over to here to be in to win my birthday giveaway. 
Drawing it tomorrow the 18th April 2014




Friday, April 11, 2014

My Birthday Giveaway

In recent years every time my birthday rolls around I'm more excited than ever. As you know I work as a nurse.A lot of my job is helping people get well and out the door to live their lives, but part of my job is helping people deal with death. I find that every time I comfort a family who have just watched their loved one breathe their last breath, I am faced with my own mortality and how much each day is a blessing. I choose to celebrate my birthday as a great day to be blessed with another year. I use it as a day to look around at my family and friends and be thankful that I get to share my life with them.

{Whoa...Google knows its my birthday!}

With that in mind I decided it was a good reason to gather my favourite long time friends and have a fancy dinner out at a swankie restaurant.  I have known each of these ladies for over ten years. We've laughed together and cried together. They've cooked me dinners when I have had a newborn and have always had a listening ear and are just a fab bunch of gals. I tried really hard to get them act more lady like at our fine dining experience but you can't take the Northland out of them.
We had a great pre-birthday night out with loads of laughs and the most delicious food in Whangarei at A'Deco with Top NZ Chef Brenton Low. Super Yum!
That's us "posh fake laughing"

{My dessert}
~Giveaway~
And since its my birthday...I've decided to do a giveaway...just because...

So these are a few of my favourite things at the moment.

  • Loving the coffee from  Northland roasting company “Max Coffee”. Roasted in Kerikeri. Gets me going in the mornings.
  • Still loving the Fudge farm! Today I have for you their delicious Russian Fudge sauce and some of their Bailey’s Fudge...
  • I'm currently enjoying the Joyce Meyer book “the Confident Mom” as an ibook which only hit the shelves this year. As usual she is super relatable and it is a great read.
  • And you must check out my friend Emily’s website for her range of handmade Goats milk soap. This stuff lathers so nicely with a range of smells. She also has products for people with sensitive skin. Today I'm giving you a Goats milk Soap with Ginger & Lemongrass Essential Oils. 



The Nitty Gritty!

All you need to do is be a follower of my blog and fill in this sentence in the comment section below to be in to win....that's all!


PI_K      MEEE____EEEEEEEE!!

Make sure I can Email you if you win. Competition closes in a week....on Good Friday 18th April 2014.

"May the odds be ever in your favour"...ha ha couldn't resist! Good luck! NZ and Australian bloggers only sorry.

Friday, March 28, 2014

bullet point ponderings

  • Why hello there?! I trust all is well in your neck of the woods. Just me, checking in with my favorite bullet point ponders. 
  •  I'm not sure whats going on with me at the mo. Social media. I'm a little bit over it. I finally took the first step, I got  rid of Facebook from my phone. I was getting a little bit ridiculous, checking it constantly and it was bringing out the worst in me. So both the hubster and I have taken FB off our phones..and he went one step further and got rid of instagram too. I still  dig instagram for now, so it stays. And I do still  check in with my favourite blogs too. Although our kids don't have phones yet I am trying SO hard to prevent them from getting trapped in the social media black hole. I would much rather they met or  talked to their friends in real life rather than these silly screens! You know....like WE all used to do once upon a time. 
  • Anyhoo...I don't know what the answer is. We will probably all end up like these people from Wall-e

link
  • SO I did something fun a couple weeks ago ....I got a nice long needle to the shoulder joint! I may have mentioned before that I have had this crappy painful shoulder since October last year. Well I saw an orthopedic surgeon about it and he diagnosed it as "adhesive capsulitis" or "frozen shoulder". He recommended another steroid injection but into a different spot. Man it was painful! But guess what!? Now my shoulder is mostly pain free! Now I just have to improve my range of movement and I'll be playing golf in no time...ha! Maybe. My lovely physio "invited me" to our work gym and gave me some exercises to improve my strength and range of movement. And guess what? I actually enjoyed it...so much so I'm thinking of joining one of the local gyms while our work one is getting remodeled. Time to get this fat butt into shape. I say that every year!
  • On the mummy front the kids have finished their athletics season. The conclusion is long distance running is their strength. Throwing things like a discus and shot put....not so much! They do have the skinniest arms around! Anyway, its all good learning. 
  • We have also been doing cooking lessons with mumma again. I honestly think the food tastes better when they help me. I take the time to teach...and we taste and take our time, and in the end the food is better. Case and point. A while ago I was teach miss joy to make the perfect steak. We like it medium rare... and this piece of rump steak was one of the best we had ever cooked! Perfectly pink in the middle. And I have found their taste buds are changing as they try new things. Win for all. 
{Delicious butter chicken and homemade naan bread}


 In other news....
{I went to the beach recently with the sole purpose
of eating this ploughmans meal for a picnic} 
{And of course to hang out with this lot}
{A day at the beach is never wasted}

{ I started a skin care regime for the first time in my life.
With the help of my beauty therapist I am trying to get rid
of my "pregnancy mask" using the Aspect range.
 Morning and night!} 
{ I tried my first ever spinach smoothie...
thankfully the banana and blue berries disguised the flavour}
  • My birthday is coming up next month. Just saying. There may well be a giveaway...
  • I'm thinking of doing what Katie from Mummy Adventures  does this year. She thinks up a number of  things to do before her next birthday that is about her age. Since I'm turning 33 I have to think up 33 things to do before my next birthday. I have an idea! Can you throw some suggestions my way in the comments section below. OOOhhh This could be fun or rather daunting! Making things...reading things....watching things...doing things....climbing things.....Help me out here! Ill take your  suggestions and come up with some of my own and we'll make a birthday thing out of it!

{ #nomakeupselfie}

Thursday, March 27, 2014

My new toy

This Christmas I gave the hubster two options for my present: 1) a Juicer or 2) a Juicer. To which he replied “not another kitchen appliance!” Okaaaay! So I have a little addiction to collecting kitchen utensils and appliances, but in my defense I use them all! Weirdly though instead of breaking this bad boy out of its box as soon as I got it on Christmas day...I waited while I researched and contemplated what exactly to do with it. It’s a pretty big contraption that needed a space in my already full of crap kitchen. I also needed an abundance of fruit to juice.  Then out of the blue I was given a giant bag of unwanted home grown grapes from my parents  and in-laws. First juice in juicer....grape juice! Delicious! It was a good start.

{Breville juice fountain}
This week I was given a big bag of home grown apples and I bought some beetroot hoping to try a new mix. During my research I found that juicing is a good way of getting a good dose of vitamins  and a whole bunch of nutrients  but dietitians and nutritionists are skeptical of the fact that while the juice may be good the fiber that is left out from the juicing is a real shame....queue today’s experimental cooking!


{Zak Zak is absolutely obsessed with helping me juice. He keeps asking when we can do again.}

{Apple and beetroot juice}

My juicer can apparently take whole apples peel and pips in all, but I took the time to peel and cut out the flesh from each one and I did the same for the beetroot. After the juicing process the pulp I was left with was quite dry so what I did was, I added the gross frothy stuff that comes out and a little tap water to re-hydrate it and then I popped it in the microwave to cook for about 4 minutes. It looked just like actual apple sauce except with a few larger bits of pulp. I then used a hand blender and blitzed up the fruit pulp until it was smooth. 
{Re-hydrated and cooked apple and beetroot pulp from juicer}

 ~Apple and Beetroot Chocolate cake~

{super moist}

Righto ready for some cake!

I turned my juicing pulp into a chocolate cake...but a healthy- good for you- version!

I haven’t quite perfected the recipe yet but here's how I did it:

Beetroot and Apple Chocolate cake

200g butter melted
1 cup white sugar
1 and ½ cups beetroot and apple cooked pulp
1 Egg
1 cup self raising flour
½ dark cocoa
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.  Pour mix into a greased cake tin and cook until skewer comes out clean around 40 minutes on 180 degree oven.

When cool. Ice it with your favourite chocolate icing. 

The result a super moist cake.

The kids have almost finished the whole cake and because it has beetroot in it... I'm just stoked they are eating it! Especially since they didn't really like the juice I made them.

Next time I might try and see if the same works for carrot pulp from carrot juice.

{Not usually a cake eater!}


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

ba hum bug


  • So finally after a couple of years of this blogging thing...I have finally have to write the words I hate reading on other peoples blogs..."hello poor neglected blog"
  • I'm not going to say I told you so...but I will... instagram has killed the blog mojo. I knew it would happen...I saw other bloggers fall into  instagrams miry dark underworld. A place where friendships soar over a picture of a cup of coffee and followers are gained from a hipstamatic picture of pink neon nails. Curse you instagram and your ease of use. Your ability to fill my time in line at the coffee shop as I scroll through endless pictures and comments and short descriptions, simultaneously placing me and other strangers connected by the same hash tag in real time some where, some place. Interconnected and scrolling. Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling. Curse you little heart that quickly informs the instagramer that I have indeed seen their picture and have decided to 'like it". And curse you little heart that make me want my pictures to have many hearts also. *waves fist*
  • If only blogger could figure out a way to be easier to use on the iPhone...or at least figure out a way to leave comments on other peoples blogs from the iPhone/Android. Unless you have already figured it out...please share with it with me! Until then reading blogs and commenting while on the go will remain a mystery to me. 
  • On a lighter note. I watched Pitch Perfect again recently, and I cannot get the songs out of my head! I think I might get the DVD version. I think it is going to have to be a "I'm having a bad day" movie pick me up. SO far my current bad day pick me up movie is "50 first dates". Oh I love that movie. 
  • So we are back into some semblance of a school routine. Except for today. I'm bunking Mainly Music. Been working the last 4 days with this afternoon to come, and I'm kinda tired. Clapping and pretending to enjoy myself so that Mr Zak zak will finally show some enthusiasm for it was not on my agenda today. Honestly why I force it, I don't know. Maybe its the coffee and the cake for the grown ups and a natter with a friend that keeps me going. We are  having a quiet morning  instead.  
  • On the first day of school Joe had his bags packed, lunch made and was ready to go to school at 7am...only a cool hour and half before necessary. I'm glad he loves school so much. Miss Joy couldn't wait to see her friends again too. It seemed like a really long summer holiday...7 weeks! 
  • Although I must say we did squeeze in a few adventures....
  • These two gorgeous monkeys entered into their first real sporting event. Both were rather apprehensive but gave all their athletic events a good go. Over 1000 young children aged 7-14 descended on Whangarei early in January for the North Island champs. What dedication these parents and children have! And I was so proud of Miss Joy who managed to get a gold medal with her mixed medley relay team. Initially she didn't even want to compete in this event! SO pleased we encouraged her to fulfill her potential! Well done my girl! Joe won himself a few ribbons for his troubles. 




  • Exploring:  So there's this one museum we walk past on a weekly basis in our city..The Claphams Clock Museum but we had never been to it. One day on a rare occasion when we were all together we rather spontaneously decided to do it. And we really enjoyed it! The cuckcoo clocks were our favorite. I highly recommend going when the tour is on. The lady was quite knowledgeable and gets to touch the clocks and set them off together.  Zak Zak was a good boy for the most part and kept his hands in his pockets under my instruction. He did try sneaking through the barriers a few times though!




  • Off the beaten track:  SO we have been to Auckland so many times and done all the usual kiddie things.  I thought this time we would try some different activities. I saw the ad for the Maize Maze. I googled and decided we would try it. We were staying in the area for it so it worked out well. It was super creepy driving in to the place. It is situated where the "Spookers" attraction is at an old mental health hospital. Its all abandoned, derelict and creepy as!!



{creepy place}







  • The three year old was pretty over it quite quickly stating every few minutes "I want to get out of here". Dadda found another family who were losing their way a bit...and suddenly it was on! Us against them....who could get out alive first! They beat us by a narrow margin...only because we got stuck behind their push chair...Ha! Ice blocks all around afterwards. It was super hot and only 10am. Great fun for the family. 



  • The Next day we thought we would join half of Auckland at the Pukekohe race track to watch the Colour Race. Major traffic jam getting there...but I managed to direct us through a few back roads. A friend was doing it...but do you think I could find her any where!? Needle in a haystack. We all decided we would be back next year to compete in it our selves. It looked like so much fun. 







  • And on the way home we decided to take the scenic route home through Mangawhai...a bit of detour...but the coastal route home. We stopped off at the Bennetts Chocolate Factory for some goodies! And found a couple of fun play grounds for the kids to explore too. 




{The glee of an inward facing swing set}


{mmm Chocolate...}


{ Mangawhai }

Mandatory Selfie...otherwise who would even know I was on this trip!

I've decided...its fun exploring with this lot...and may there be many more adventures to come. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

holiday catch up

Hiya!
I thought it was about time to catch you up on the haps around here in my favourite format..bullet point style!


  • We celebrated Miss Joys Birthday the week before Christmas with a bowling and laser maze party. Oh the pain of hearing the balls bounce on the floor! 

  • One of the joys of parenting is watching how your kids interact when they around their friends and peers. Their personalities come out and its like you are on safari and are watching a lion cub in its own environment somewhere in Africa. There was one friend who was apprehensive about trying bowling. They patiently tried to encourage her to try it when ever it was her turn. She declined. They just made light of the situation by cheering her up, until finally when it was one of the last turns she surprised us all by having a turn. Watching this lovely group of friends about 6 in all made my little heart happy. All friends since year one or two displaying beautiful personality traits that I'm happy for my daughter to be around. No cattiness that is synonymous for this age group, just a bunch of sweeties. May it stay this way, even when the hormones kick in!  



  • I was pretty happy with how my cake turned out.The ladies at the bowling place were pretty stoked with it too! It was a pretty cool cake to make...I printed out a template from the computer of a blown up ten pin and cut it out of a rectangle banana cake. The icing was just lemon flavoured butter icing whipped up for ages to get a white colour for the pin colour. 

{ten pin bowling cake}


  • Christmas celebrations began on the Christmas Eve in my parents back yard. 




{I didn't realize I bought so many book presents!}


  • After stuffing our selves with a selection of cooked glazed ham and veges....I brought out my contribution which was a Baked White chocolate and berry Cheese cake. Oh my! this was so good...and we had no trouble finishing off the left overs a couple of days later. I HAVE to  make it again some time soon! I got the idea for the design on top from where else but Pinterest here at this link.  So yum!




  • The next day we spent Christmas day at Hubsters parents place. We started eating early with croissants for breakfast followed by present opening and then proceeded on to a gourmet lunch. I forgot to take my camera with me but got a couple of pics on my phone.


{Grandma dressed the kids as elves!}

{Gourmet Christmas lunch....
Salmon ceviche, roasted duck breast with cherry compote, Individual tiramisu and port, crackers and cheeses} 
  •  I made the tiramisu and it turned out so much nicer than I had hoped. Quite light and fluffy. There was a general consensus that most of us hate soggy desserts like trifle...so the challenge to was so not let it get too soggy. Those lady fingers had a one second dip in the coffee! And I only prepped it a couple of hours before it was due. So yum.


2 for 2 for Christmas desserts this year! 

{mwah}


  • The eating continued on boxing day! My bothers came over to my place for a BBQ and stuffed lamb.
  • This blog post makes it sound like I have done a lot of eating! Well you would be right! The eating continued the week after Christmas when my MIL and FIL invited us to stay with them at a book a bach place on the Tutukaka coast. The house had a little pool at the back which kept the kids occupied all week. So blessed to be able to be out at coast. I had to drive back in to town  couple of  the days including New years day...which made for very little celebrations for new years eve...again! I really hope to be dancing next new years eve! 
  • With all this holiday eating..I'll be going on a diet! The walking will have to start again. AND the hubster gave me a juicer for christmas so Ill have to get on that bandwagon! 
  • For a lot of the last part of the year I have struggled with a sore shoulder. I have just lived with the pain.. hoping it would go away, but it hasn't. I can barely brush my hair,  get stuck in tight clothes and wake up in searing pain after I have moved it wrong somehow in my sleep. SO I finally went and saw my GP...a "rotator cuff injury". Darn it. I need it to get better. Its been getting sore at work...so that is sucking.  
  • Reading. I bought a couple of  NZ authored e-books that were on special on my phone (just $4!). Jay Jay Feeny's "Misconception". An honest account of their troubles with fertility and their quest to have a family, with a little of her life story too. And currently reading her other half's book "The bucket list of an idiot" by Dominic Harvey. Laugh out loud funny. 
  • Hope all is well in your neck of the woods. I think I am finally up to date with all my favourite blogs on the reading list. Once all the "noise" has died down around here later on this month and normality resumes...and I can hear myself think...I may have something a little more inspiring and insightful to say! Until then...enjoy your holiday...while I countdown the days until school begins...which for the record is...10 days! Wait 10 days??? is that it? Yeah!
*Amendment!! I had another look at the calendar! I think I'm the one who needs to go back to school! I have recounted the days...I was a whole week off! Its seventeen days....17 days!
Oh gosh...what I'm I going to do with this lot for that many days! I'm sure we will all think of something!