Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Undivided attention

French doors wide open
We perch ourselves in the sunniest spot
Taking in the Autumn sun
TV off, no computer screen catching my attention
No book or magazine or newspaper before my eyes
Nothing but you and me
I give you my undivided attention

No older sister or brother
poking their noses in.
Just you on your lonesome
Like a first born, I marvel at you
Your inquisitiveness, your movements,
How wonderful and fearfully created you are.

How blessed I am, I wonder in amazement
Dishes forgotten, washing left untouched,
Floors left dusty.
Captivated by you instead
All because on this sunny Autumn day
I chose to give you my undivided attention instead.

Whoop whoop...the chicken pox are clearing. Thanks for the love and concern on this post. Bubbas been a real trooper...and we are slowly coming out of quarantine... xx

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I hate getting fillings

I got a filling today...I hate fillings. The drilling sends my nerves jumping. I have such jumpy nerves I can't even stand to get my nails filed. The Hubsta thought my face looked hilarious, all droopy down one side from the local anesthetic. So I thought you might enjoy a laugh. I also need a laugh...because the bill makes me wanna cry. $117 for a twenty minute filling. I think I maybe in the wrong profession...dentists in this country are making a killing!
"See you 6 months for a set of xrays" he says. Not flippin likely! Who knows how much that'll cost!

Monday, March 28, 2011

addicted to coffee

I just love a good coffee. Mochaccino's are my favourite esspresso when out at a local cafe. But when I'm at home I plunge. I'm loving this locally roasted blend from this site. I bought a couple through "Grabone" and are now a regular customer. There seems to be a big difference in the fact that it is roasted the day or two before it's delivered. So yum!

I found this funny

For Coffee Drinkers: You know you are addicted to coffee if ...

You grind your coffee beans in your mouth.

You sleep with your eyes open.

You have to watch videos in fast-forward.

The only time you're standing still is during an earthquake.

You can take a picture of yourself from ten feet away without using the timer.

You've worn out your third pair of tennis shoes this week.

Your eyes stay open when you sneeze.

You chew on other people's fingernails.

The nurse needs a scientific calculator to take your pulse.

You're so jittery that people use your hands to blend their margaritas.

You can type sixty words per minute with your feet.

You can jump-start your car without cables.

You don't sweat, you percolate.

You walk twenty miles on your treadmill before you realize it's not plugged in.

You forget to unwrap candy bars before eating them.

You've built a miniature city out of little plastic stirrers.

People get dizzy just watching you.

Instant coffee takes too long.

You channel surf faster without a remote.

You have a picture of your coffee mug on your coffee mug.

You can outlast the Energizer bunny.

You short out motion detectors.

You don't even wait for the water to boil anymore.

Your nervous twitch registers on the Richter scale.

You help your dog chase its tail.

You soak your dentures in coffee overnight.

Your first-aid kit contains two pints of coffee with an I.V. hookup.

You ski uphill.

You get a speeding ticket even when you're parked.

You answer the door before people knock.

You haven't blinked since the last lunar eclipse.

So who wants a coffee?

Friday, March 25, 2011

I'm all spotty too

My name is Zak-zak and I'm all spotty. My brother and sister had chicken pox last week and now they have passed it on to me. I don't think it is a very nice present! Today I'm all miserable and don't know what to do with myself. I can't wait for these silly spots to go away.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


After years of wondering what after school activity to start for we have settled on Gymnastics. When I was growing up there was one choice...netball. I lived in a small town with not much to do. My parents didn't need to take me anywhere, I could rock up to the local courts and practice with my team mates. I started from the age of 7 and continued till 14. After then I was involved in other things.
Fast forward a couple of decades and the list of after school options is endless. Dance (ballet, modern, tap...), cheerleading, sports, athletics, girl guides....

In the end I went with gymnastics because:
a) both kids could get into the same class/session
b) it was something athletic to help build coordination and motor skills.
c) They show a good amount of agility after years jumping on our trampoline
d) It was fairly cheap as far as fees go

After the first lesson they absolutely loved it. They keep bouncing up and down on the mat just because its bouncy. Meanwhile I try and keep Zak-Zak occupied for an hour.

After reading a lot of literature and blogs about not over scheduling your family, I have decided that we will just have one activity/sport for the week...for now. With three kids, work and other commitments I hope I can try and make a good balance for us all.
Do your kids do any after school activities?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The year of I can....

This weekend I overcame a challenge. I mowed the lawns! So? you might be saying, big deal. Except I haven't mowed the lawns since I left home way back in 1998! thats almost 13 years ago! From the age of 8-17years I was our resident lawn mower, and I liked to do it. The smell of freshly cut grass, bliss. Since then we have lived in flats or it just became hubbys job. Inspired by Tracy from Inside the scrap heap and Kristy from Paisley Jade who had both mowed their lawns recently, I thought it was time to break the drought.

The back yard is pretty steep and the lawn mower is an old hand me down, but once I got going I got a pretty good sweat on. It was a great work out alright! I didn't quite do as well as hubby, but it was a start.

Some how this year for me has become a year of "I can" as opposed to living the last 29 years of "Meh... I cant be bothered or I can't and I won'ts". There is something about finding a challenge, taking it on and conquering it that makes you feel alive and invigorated. We should always be conquering life's little and large challenges. Moving forward... growing...evolving....changing. I really don't want to be stagnant and lifeless for the next 29 years of my life.

The bible has a cool verse that basically says we should always be growing in character. There's always more in life that we can improve and overcome.

"Because you have these blessings, do your best to add these things to your lives: to your faith, add goodness; and to your goodness, add knowledge; and to your knowledge, add self-control; and to your self-control, add patience; and to your patience, add service for God; and to your service for God, add kindness for your brothers and sisters in Christ; and to this kindness, add love. If all these things are in you and are growing, they will help you to be useful and productive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ"

2 Peter 1:5-9 (New Century Version)

Bring on the next challenge!
Have you been stoked with yourself lately because you overcame a challenge or tried something new?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Lego Creations

My Hubsta picked up a box of lego at a garage sale a few years ago. We have been slowly adding to it over the years with little cheap projects. Miss 7 has been enjoying it for a while now and now Master 4 1/5 is loving it too. They have both developed so much in their creativity. Initially they would bring us up their little projects and I would think to myself "What is it?". Now they bring up an elaborate house or a car...and I think..yes that really looks like... something!

From this site I learned the other things they are learning are:

  • Learning about Numbers through Play
  • Social development
  • Shapes and Colors
  • Ideas and Creativity
  • learning by doing, also referred to as hands-on learning or learning by making things
  • Getting a feel for [a grasp on, literally] the qualities of the materials at hand
  • learning about the powers of progressive refinement (trial-error), and of starting over (doing-undoing)
  • patience, determination and self-esteem

And here I was thinking it was just a nice way to get some peace and quiet!
Are your kids into lego?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Things Im lovin...

I'm feelin in a bit of a grump today. After a weeks worth of Chicken pox quarantine, finding somethings to be thankful for is going to be good for my soul :)

Linking in with Paisley Jades


So thankful for this week:

Watching Hubster (AKA Lesmond J) getting all trim and fit like. He has also been incredibly supportive of my effort to get fit for my Triwoman event. I think Yay for us! Its great to be fit and sets a great example to the kids.

Zak Zak having fun on a swing just for him. And Joe having great fun seeing him smile

Following Paisley Jades Recipe for the best Fudge Brownies..and them turning out great!

Poppa dropping by for a visit and a cuddle
Funny photos

Almost making it to the top...and watching the years worth of progress and over coming fear to get this far.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Rocky Road Slice.

Rocky Road Slice.

I'm sure I've said this before but if I wasn't a nurse I would probably be a food technologist or working in a test kitchen. I love experimenting in the kitchen. I hate the restriction of following a recipe. I get this from my mum, she never followed recipe books, choosing to make it up as she went along instead. It can work out good and sometimes not so much.
Today I wanted some rocky road. Not just a rocky road but some sort of slice, I googled it for some ideas then went for it and this delicious slice turned out. I have had some for lunch and afternoon tea (naughty me!). This is the recipe that I "tested".

100g butter, melted
1 cup flour
1 cup cocoa puffs (you could use rice bubbles)
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup castor sugar
1 egg

Combine together, press into lined square cake tin. Bake for 15-20 minutes on 180 Celsius until crisp on top.

1 cup chocolate chips or better chocolate if you like
50g butter
1 cup chopped marshmallows (I used some Marshmallow Easter eggs)
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1/4 cup coconut

Melt chocolate and butter over a double boiler or in microwave, then add marshmallows and nuts.

Spread evenly over the base making sure a good scattering of marshmallow bits all over. Sprinkle over coconut. Allow to cool on bench then pop into fridge until firm.
Cut into squares.
Try not to eat all at once.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dotty wot and Spotty wot

I have a Dotty Wot and Spotty Wot at home sick from school and morning kindy with chicken pox. Ready for it I stopped in at the supermarket for a good supply of ice blocks. I also stocked up on some activities from the stationary store. An assortment of paints, brushes, new felts, scrapbooks and foam shapes for gluing. Along with some learning books, I armed myself for home schooling for the week. Boy what a challenge on my patience this week has been. I have a renewed admiration for anyone who can manage to teach children for longer than 1 hour. Only 15 minutes into it, master almost-5 states I'm hungry!... But you just ate!... I'm still hungry! I try and get something done with miss 7, times tables, story writing, art...In the end we all stop frustrated with one another and out they go to play outside for a while. What ever the secret is to teaching children I don't have it! I am really looking forward to Monday!
And I'll stick to helping out with after school homework.

In other drama, bubba tried his first egg on toast yesterday. After he was finished he had a raised rash around his face, freaking me out a little. I have my car at the panel beaters for the week, and so the thought of not being able to get to the Doctors if he was having a real reaction scared me a little. I watched to see what would happen. Nothing much, it went away within 20 minutes. None of my other kids have allergies, so I'm not familiar with what to do...Guess I had better read up and avoid eggs for a few months.

Not such a good shot of bubba's rash around his mouth.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mummy Judging *tisk, tisk*

I have a confession... I have been guilty of Mummy judging this week. I don't know why we do it. A simple coffee with other mums starts out all innocent and nice and then out come the comments..."Her kids aren't sleeping through the night?!"...."I saw a mum give a baby some coke!"..."She still breastfeeds her 4 year old!"...
We all HATE being in the receiving end of mummy judging and we all want to do some face punching when someone questions our parenting choices, but we readily talk about others behind their backs.

I have to admit after three kids my judgments of other mums is on a rapid decline. I no longer hold on to the ideologies I once had when I was pre-children or even after the firstborn. My first born didn't have her first lollipop until she was two, of course the second born was no where near that old. Because after three children you realise you cant sweat the small stuff. You realise well into this parenting lark that its survival mode. Its a tough job...they wear you down to an emotionally spent wreck, you get 8 hours to sleep it off (uninterrupted if you are lucky!) and then you start the day again. You do the best you can with the time that you have.

I have decided that kids are a resilient bunch. They can make it through childhood with the most limited of resources. Kids in third world countries are making into adulthood everyday. I know of kids from the early 70's who survived drinking straight cows milk from birth, because they hadn't invented formula yet. And if cows milk wasn't tolerated the second choice was tinned evaporated milk! They seemed to make it to adulthood. This makes me feel that my parenting choices ("Shall I buy fresh salmon for healthy brain development for tea tonight?") on the grand scale of things is not so bad. Of course all children need to have all the essentials of a safe, loving environment with boundaries and nourishment!

Bottle or breast, to immunize or not to, attachment parenting or detachment parenting, disposable nappies or cloth; and that's just in the first few months of the kids life! All very important choices that each parent must decide on their own for their own reasons. So I have a challenge...for you and for about we stop judging each other. We all do the same difficult job...some of us just do it differently.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Whangarei's best kept secret

Well its not much of a secret judging by the amount of tour buses that hit the spot, but let me tell you about one of my favourite places in the city. The Whangarei Fudge Farm and cafe. This places has ruined all other fudge for me, if its not Fudge Farm fudge, it isn't fudge. My love affair with their fudge started years ago when it was a little business on the way out to Dargaville. Situated on a farm, the fudge was made by a couple who made their fudge from fresh dairy milk. Now a decade or two on it lives in the Whangarei town basin.
They do a range of coffees and drinks and also ice creams and hand made chocolate. But the one thing I go there for the a thing called "Fudge flavourama" And mix of fudge and vanilla ice cream whipped together in a cup or waffle cone. Heavenly! Add my favourite coffee blend and you have my favourite spot in Whangarei. Next time you hit Whangarei, be sure to stop in to this little place.

Russian Fudge for somebody special

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

When life gives you sour apples....

When life gives sour make apple sauce! Spicy apple sauce that is.

My awesome Pastor blessed us with a half sack of apples from his very bountiful orchard. So I gathered together a couple of workers and we set up a little production line. One peeling, one cutting and one grating in the food processor. One of the "workers" tried to see how long he could make his peel.

I have NEVER bottled anything...EVER. So I had to google it of course. And I had to make myself a little label just to add that River Cottage look!
I'm looking forward to frying myself up a pork chop just so I can use my yummy sauce.

Don't they look pretty!

The recipe is pretty much: Grate your apples, put them in a pot with some water, a bit of white wine vinegar, some chopped onion (red and brown) and garlic, some dark cane sugar, spoonfuls of all spice and paprika. Cook on a moderate heat for a couple of hours until all cooked up. Then use a hand blender to make into a smooth sauce.
Serve with Pork.

Monday, March 7, 2011


I've got a bad case of Monday-itis. Its actually in the wiktionary!

  1. "the tired and apathetic feeling experienced by persons returning to work on a Monday after the weekend"
Except for me it was working till 1215am Sunday night...and hour past home time and an 9 hour shift without a dinner break. A crappy night at work alright. And then waking up to get the kids off to school. Extra early today because miss 7 was doing an item for assembly.
Finding a bombsite that needs cleaning because of the effects of 5 messy bodies all being around on the weekend. I hate housework. Sometimes I think hubby got a real "dud" when it comes to my cleaning skills. Dusting, ironing, laundry... blergh. Theres no way when I was a little girl did I want to grow up and be a maid. But someone has to do I right? Whinge, whinge.
I put bubba to bed for a nap and cranked up my new CD and danced my way through my housework. (Loving this song).
Soon my attitude changed. Thankfulness replaced my unthankfulness. Joy replaced my weariness. The creative juices have started to flow, and I have officially got over my Monday-itis.
Does anyone else get a bad case of Monday-itis?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Jacksta B's guide to....fitting in at coffee groups.

I've just returned from a morning at my local Mums group. I always leave encouraged and inspired for another week ahead of the relentlessly tiresome job of mothering. But it hasn't always been this way. When I first became a mummy 7 years ago, breaking in to the coffee group scene was tricky! At the time I didn't have any friends who were pregnant with me. I was in paid employment before but had decided to take the full year off maternity leave thereby leaving the workplace social interaction. With most of my friends unmarried, childfree and carefree it meant I had to find some other mums for company. Enter the big wide world of mums groups. So after 7 years experience of mums/coffee groups I thought I might give a New Mums Guide to fitting in at Coffee groups.

1) Try and find one person you know and go to a group together. At least you will both be in the same boat and can hang together while you make new friends.

2) Smile and be friendly. I know it sounds obvious, but go with the intention of making new friends. No one is likely to approach you if you have "do not disturb" written all over your face. And like wise don't be afraid to approach someone new. You already have one thing in common, you are all mums! Things like "how old is your little one?" or "Whats her name?" are always good starts to conversation.

3) Practice the art of empathy. If a mum says to you "Man! I have been up 3 times last night with little Jonny" Instead of saying "What! he doesn't sleep through the night yet?!" Something more along the lines of "Wow that must be so tough for you". At the end of the day we all just want to be listened to.

4)Try not to think of them as "clicky" groups. It is hard when you go to a group that feels "clicky". Understand that people have already established relationships before the day you arrive. So it is natural for them to talk to each other like they already know each other, because they do. Its just a natural social interaction. Just try and find one person from the group, establish a friendship with them first and they might fill you in on everyone else so you can fit in a bit more next time.

5) Its not a competition. Sometimes you come across other mums who feel the need to use their children as a props to their ego. Children shouldn't be used for this! You are always going to find someone elses child crawled early, walked early, slept through the night early. Each child grows and develops at their own pace. If you come across someone like this who wants you to know there little Jonny is the bee knees, just nod and smile.

6) Try and find something else in common with each other, other than your kids. Crafts, work projects, where you are from, what brand of coffee you like....anything! Our lives are not all kids and neither should our conversation be. Its easier to connect with someone when you have at least one other thing in common.

7) If at first you don't succeed try again. If coffee groups don't work for you try a preschool activity like Mainly music or swimming lessons. This way you are doing an activity together and can have coffee later to continue the conversation. If you find it hard to fit in at one group or it really isn't working for you try a new one.

Being a new mother can be isolating enough without staying home all day and watching daytime TV. So get out there and use this opportunity to make new friends. It will enrich your life and and your child's life too!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My first book review.

A book review. I know! Me doing a book review! You may or may not know, reading books is not one of my favourite pass times. I'm more of a news paper, magazine, how to, blog, internet material, text book kinda reader. Escaping into a land far away in the form of a novel is just not me at the moment. I like reality. I want to read about; how did something work for them or how did they get over that challenge. That's probably why I enjoy reading peoples blogs. The last two books I have read have been biographies and I wanted to tell you about the latter one. "Going the Distance" by Tracey Richardson.

I remember hearing about her story on TV a few years ago so I knew who she was when Hubster brought us the book from the library. She is a NZ woman whose eldest two children have Cystic Fibrosis, an incurable chronic disease, which takes their little lives usually before the age of thirty. The story is about how she goes from depressed mother of four and overweight to two time iron woman in two years! An Ironman is the longest endurance sport in the world, a 3.8KM swim, a 180km bike ride and a marathon run (42.2km). Even elite athletes find it hard to finish this grueling event. All the while raising awareness and funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

This book is a no holds barred story about how she got to the Hawaii Ironman. At times her honesty astounds me. She certainly doesn't hold back what she thought of her ex-husband...I wonder if he was offended? She gives her account of what it was like spending a brief time in a Psychiatric facility, an experience she was very ashamed of. I also learned so much about CF and what that means to the kids who have it and their families who live with it too.

Does this story inspire me to do an ironman? Heck no! I better finish my triwoman event first! But it did inspire me to think no matter what the circumstances of your life, you can push yourself to the limits by as she puts it " one rung at a time on the ladder to success". A super inspiring story that is sure to encourage you to do all that you can with the life that you have.