Friday, December 13, 2013

Is it Christmas Already!?

  • Well we are well on the way to Christmas now. The kids finished up school for the year on Tuesday, and we are in holiday mode. Me included! Every afternoon this week I have spent a little time in the back yard on my swing seat and read a book. Not just any book! The freakin HOBBIT! This book is such a challenge for me...because a) I usually only read biographies and b) Im not a fantasy fiction fan. Honestly the only reason I sat through the Lord of the Rings trilogy was because it was NZ made. And you know how I love NZ made. But I am determined... and so far I am pleasantly surprised! I am really 'getting' why people love this stuff so much...hubster included!
  • Our advent calendar is up and running and we are counting down the sleeps to Jesus Birthday and special times with family. We started the advent calendar last year, which I had put together from a kit set I bought at the lovely Tracy's Shop. The boxes are quite small, and can only fit about three lollies and a teeny piece of paper. And on that little piece of paper I have Advent Activities that we complete that day. Here are a few of the highlights so far...

bought a keepsake ornament

bought food for the food bank

  • So far we have also been to a Christmas Parade, put up the tree, read a Christmas story, made paper chains, written out Xmas cards and done Christmas coloring in pages. I think having a little Christmas activity each day gives the kids the best gift ...and that is TIME...and they like a little sugar too! But we have so much more to come...Christmas baking...attempt to make marshmallows...go see the lights...make ginger bread men... so much fun to be had at this time of year! 
  • As mentioned on this blog post...I took my annual Christmas card pic. I went for a beached theme once again... I cant help it!...we just love our Northland beaches and they provide a lovely back drop for my little sprogs. And as you can see by their faces, the sprogs love the beach...which means they smile more because they are just happy. I picked the beautiful Langs beach this year. Its not a beach we go to very often, but after this photo shoot Hubster and I agreed...if we won a million dollars we would retire here! Yes it really is that stunning.  
  • Again Master Zak Zak proved to be an unwilling muse. You really have to have patience for children's photography...something I have very little of. This year I took literally hundreds of photos so there were lots to sift through. I did the stupidest thing, I left the boys nice shirts at home on the couch, so unfortunately they are in their beach clothes. Oh well! Miss Joy looked beautiful in her new dress and was photogenic as always. Hubster was in charge of project managing the "Snowman". I think he did a good job without a bucket or spade. Once he finished his project he spent the next hour in the surf, while I wrangled the kids into my shots. 

The Final Product

To all of you who read this silly little blog, Thank you! 
Your comments and well wishes really warm my heart and make it all worth while. 
I so enjoy sharing snippets of my life with you to inspire, encourage or give you a laugh. 
And So with that...May I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, filled with fun, joy, family and great food.
I'm off to spend the next wee while wrangling my kids and enjoying the sun and holidays and possibly a little less blogging. 
Stay safe and may the Lord Bless you and yours. 

♥♥♥ Jacksta B ♥♥♥

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Family and toolbox parenting.

Way back in April when I went to the Bloggers Conference in Christchurch, Leonie and I were at the table at the same time filling in an entry to win a Parenting Place (formerly Parents Inc) competition for a "toolbox parents course". We both looked at each other and said the same thing... "I hope I win because I'm a terrible parent!"...We both had a laugh when we both won a prize each. The prize was for one or a couple to attend a 6 week course. And ever since April, I had been on the look out for one in my area, but none seemed to be offered, until last month a Facebook friend invited people for one at her place. Phew!...I was considering giving it to someone in Auckland. And it was exactly the age group I needed..."the Middle years 6-12 year old's".

The group had eight of us and one facilitator and we met for 6 weeks from 7:30pm to 9:30pm. The course has been created by the genius parenting Gurus and mentors from the Parenting Place such as Ian and Mary Grant and John Cowan. Each of us were given a Participants Handbook to keep and to write notes in. The night is run by a mix of reading the handbook, watching short snippets of a DVD with presenters, some group discussions and review activity's. Time and care was taken to listen to each participants views and thoughts, but our facilitator kept us on track and moving through each of the nights topics. And there was a huge range of topics covered!

What did I come away from it??
Well I learnt perhaps I wasn't such terrible parent after all! I had found that over the years that I had been a parent, I had managed to glean a lot of the ideas presented in the sessions from reading the Parents Inc Magazine and from a couple of Ian and Mary Grants books I had on my shelf. My down fall was that I had read them...but hadn't been applying them.

So after attending the course these are the take home things that we have decided to apply to our family.

  • There are a range of parenting styles...but our aim is to be a parent coach style...with a backbone as opposed to Sergeant-major parent we have been at times. 
  • Trying really hard not to discipline with anger. I learnt that the emotion of the anger will override the lesson that can be learnt to improve behavior for next time.
  • I want to to try and encourage good EQ in the kids by teaching good manners. To get along in the world they need social skills and our home is the first place they learn to get along in the world. Habitual good manners will lead to habitual good treatment of others.
  • I learnt about the Anger Rules: "Its okay to feel angry, but the rules are...I must not hurt others or things or myself. And I must talk about it." I have thought about putting this one up on the fridge for the couple of hot heads in the included! Along with some cool down strategies mentioned in my manual. 
  • We did a session on personality types...the animal one: beavers, otters, golden retrievers, and lions. I almost cried when I realised each of us represent all of the  different personality types! No wonder we all clash sometimes! There was some good strategies on how to coach each kind of personality which was fab. 
  • Understanding this is the perfect time for family traditions and creating great memories. Exploring together andhaving fun as a family. 
  • Putting in the time and effort at this time in their lives will help us A LOT when they get to the teenage years. 
  • But the major thing we have instigated is the "Family Meeting". I was a little apprehensive about it...but gave it ago. Our first family meeting was about family meetings! I introduced what it was about and how it will work. We decided a once a week family meeting on a Sunday would work for us...AND the kids loved it! They were asking for a family meeting every second day! I said NO..put it on the agenda for next time! How hilarious! 
  • Things that we have on the agenda were: Chores for the week...they decided that doing the same particular chore for the week was better than we let them do it. Other things we talked about were the things coming up the next week like what days I was working and who had school activities. One person is the scribe for the night and one person gets to have the gavel and be the chair person. The Kids Love being able to put forward ideas like "Saturday family  Movie night" etc. "Hmmm Mumma and Dadda will think about those ideas...." we reply! We make it fun by having ice creams or chocolate and a game after the meeting, like Uno. 

Lately as we have been eating our dinners at the table and conversing I have been looking around at my little family with a feeling of contentment. Like...we are on the right track if that makes sense? and we are making progress to making ourselves a nice little family unit. My hope is that we would one day use the words "we are a close family". Or that my children will grow up not only as siblings but have genuine friendships with one and another. That they will look back on their childhoods with fondness and joy. And  that I will make it through the other side with all my hair still intact and preferable my not grey from stress! 
So doing courses like this really helps! Looking forward to the next one!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Perfect day.

Today was the perfect day.

  • It started rather bright and early. We woke at 0630 hours, which we NEVER do on a Sunday. But NZ  played England in the Rugby League World cup semi-final. It was a nail biter of a game...England were 4 up in the last two minutes of the game ...and then in the final play we snatched the victory and won the game. We play Australia next weekend in the final. Cant wait. And we will HAVE to watch it live! We are the current world cup holders so it would be great to take it from the likely Auzzie winners.

  • We made it our church on time even! I love hanging with my fellow God loving Peeps. This morning we were on Creche duty which is always fun. 
  • Arriving home just before midday...I decided today was the perfect day to head to the beach for my Christmas shot. We decided to go to a beach we never go to...Langs beach. It is a 30-40 minute drive away from Whangarei. 
  • Just before we hit Langs beach we came up over the hill and we were faced with the most most amazing view of the horizon ever. Literally breath taking. The blues were amazing, so many beautiful colours. When we saw this sight, we knew we had made the best decision to drive the extra miles to this beach.

  • We drove on trying to find the best part of the beach and parked up. And this sight was right by the car on the side of the road. 

{ Langs card perfect}

  •  We got to work on our project with Dadda in charge...but more on that another time... Then it was play time. 
  • I kept on snapping away with my camera trying to capture some great shots of the family and beautiful scenery. The kids were mighty sick of me and the camera...especially Zak Zak. 

  • On the way home we decided to stop off at Waipu Cove for an ice cream. The cove was a lot busier than Langs Beach with the waves being a bit better for the surfers. 

{waipu cove}
{waipu cove}

{Waipu cove} 

Family Pic. Ice creams at Waipu Cove

  • We topped off our perfect day with a pizza and a cold one at the Waipu Pizza Barn. So much fun all one day. Now Im pooped! 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Bullet point life

  • The other day was takeout night...the kids opted for McDonalds, while we had Thai. I realized I should really be up for worst mum of the year when I looked back and saw that while were going through the drive thru, Zak Zak was sucking on a giant lollie pop! Ha! McDs and lollies Tisk Tisk!
  • Ive been keeping up with the walking most weeks. This is a patience exercise for me...because I really really want to try and run it...but I'm trying to build up the strength in my sore knees. Today I tried running  anyway, for about 20 seconds before I realized I did not have the bra for it. Yep these former breast feeders need a double sports bra when undertaking anything more than brisk walk. They could take my eye out. One of these days I'll get back to a B cup! 
  • So I told you awhile ago I started instagraming? Well Ive found on my walks its quite cool to take in the sights of the neighbourhood and look for good instagram opportunities. Its good fun and keeps my mind occupied from "ARGGHH this sucks!" to....."ooh look at that pretty thing" And so I stop and take a photo and a breather at the same time. You should try it. I never used to be a Hash tag fan...but Im seeing the point now. So I hash tag it #onthewalktoday, and can look back at the pretty pictures I've taken on the walk. Its a good motivator. So if you take your phone out for a walk with you and instagram,  hash tag it #onthewalktoday and we can be virtual walking buddies :)
  • Here's some of my #onthewalk pics. Its amazing how diverse peoples front yards are aye? I try so hard to look casual when I take pictures in case a car drives past or the neighbours catch me...I pretend to be changing a track on the music or something. a stealth ninja!

  • I have probably mentioned it before, but since arriving in Whangarei, I am yet to find one particular hairdresser that I love. Not a word of a lie..Over the last 12 years...I have been to every single hair salon in the CBD. That's a lot! I am weird about my hair....when I feel like a haircut...I need to do right then and there. So the other day I was having one of these moments and stopped in at a couple of places...and they were booked, but there was this one place that I always drive past but have never tried, so I stop in and they have an appointment available. Yay. It turned out to be the first time I've had a transgender person cut my hair...or to be honest... spent much time with. We got to chatting and it turned out we knew some of the same people. I in turn could tell him what I hated about my hair...and he gave me some tips and all in all it was a really fun appointment. By some random spontaneous need to have a haircut, we crossed paths and  it helped me get over my prejudices. 
  • This was how it looked the day I did it. But do you think I could get it to look anything like it a couple of days later?? Darn you hair dressers and your hairdressing superpowers!! *waves fist*

  • Alas my month off work is over. Boy, is it over. People....Stop being sick! So I wont have to work so darn hard! 
  • So I have started the Christmas Shopping. Have you? On one hand I like the giving...on the other hand it does get a little stressful. So I'm going to pace myself...Like... buy a present per week! Its only once a year...its only once a year....breathe people!
  • of my favourite programmes "Private Practice" ended. Like completely ended!  And TV2 had the brilliant idea to bump it even later that started at 1130pm! It used to be at 930pm...sheesh...its was bad enough that it was ending let alone making me stay up so late for it. In other news TV4 have stopped showing New Girl until they get their Poop together...Argh Come on! Guess Ill have to get some new hobbies since there's nothing good to watch. 
  • Does anyone else think we should invent the word "pinteresting". Here, Ill use it in a sentence...."ooohhh look at that, that is so Pinteresting!" It would be in reference to something that is beautifully crafted and or photographed...worthy of being on Pinterest. 
  • On a side note....please do not follow my Humor Board on Pinterest...I'm a afraid you'll notice my strange sense of humor and no longer respect me as a person. But I am getting a pretty good collection of ecards....those things crack me up.
  • I read this interesting blog post from the Matt Walsh Blog on parenting that I thought was worth a linky. He has an interesting point of view on a lot of topics. 
  • And this article minus the colourful language summed up how I feel about the whole INTRAVERT/ EXTROVERT debate : "15 signs that you're neither an introvert nor an extrovert, you're just a human being with largely the same responses to social situations as everyone else." Link Here
  • I saw "The Help" movie on TV the other night...and have an overwhelming desire to make "Minnies Chocolate pie" and Fried chicken!
  • Okay so I have to end with a funny picture from my Humor board on Pinterest...

I told you my sense of humor is weird! So funny.
xx Jacksta-B

Friday, November 8, 2013

Christmas photos

Its coming up that time of year again...Time to take my family Christmas photo. I started making my own photo Christmas card way back in 2008 when miss Joy was 4 and Joe was 2. Even back then it was a mission to get the "money shot"so to speak. If there is one thing I have learnt is that my children don't really want to sit for anything more than one shot!
" Just one more...and smile this time...not like that like this...hey stop elbowing your sister...hey don't throw the baubles!!! " Argh the frustration!!
Generally I try and get as many shots as I can...and pick the best of a bad bunch!

I was looking back on what I had done over the years...and I'm so glad I took the time and did each one. It takes time to set up and process..but it gives you a treasured memory of Christmas that year.

Down memory lane....

The first one is probably my favourite. And the one that got the most oohs and aahs from the recipients that year. I had set it on a handmade black card so the colours really "popped" from the photo.


That years was shot at Takapuna Beach with Rangitoto in the background. I was so mad at my self this particular year..because it wasn't until I got home and put the photos on the computer that I realized all that photos had a little blurry spot in the middle. I couldn't figure it out..until I realized I hadn't cleaned the lens after hubster had taken the camera on a wake boarding trip! The pohutakawa tree looked amazing that year. The sky was blue and the ocean looked amazing...Just a pity the camera and lame photographer (me) couldn't capture the beauty on film.

This year we added a cranky baby into the mix by the name of Zak zak. He was 5 months old and in no mood for photos that day...this shot was the only photo he wasn't upset in. Taken at Whangarei heads somewhere.

This year I made letters to spell JOY. I bought them from Spotlight and painted them red. I tried sitting them all together, but Mr Zak zak again wasn't very compliant..he started stealing all the letter off his siblings. In the end I did each shot individually  and collaged them together. Joe had taken some skin off his nose days before so, he was looking a bit worse for wear. 


I was keen for another beach shot this year and had some ideas for props. Again Mr Zak Zak wasn't having a bar of it this year. Luckily the other two are quite photogenic, so I could instruct them to hold their pose while we got the naughty toddler back in the shot. 
Next time I do a beach shot I will check the tide chart too...the sea would have looked better at full tide. This is the beautiful Matapouri Beach...make sure you check it out if you are a visitor to Northland, New Zealand. 

I have been having a look through Pintrest for this years Christmas card idea...Cant wait! Hopefully Mr Zak zak will sit still this year!

Have you got any ideas for getting the ants in your pants type kid to sit still for a shot?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Experimental cook: pipis, mussels and ginger slice

Pipi Fritters
You may recall a couple of weeks ago we went pipi picking...and by "we" I mean he. I "watched" the car...and by watched the car,  I mean... did some sun bathing, and avoided the inevitable nail breakage that comes with pipi picking.
Any hoo...the Hubster has developed a very systematic approach to pipi shelling. The pipi sit in a bucket of sea water overnight. And then he steams them open...a small amount at a time... shells them...then steams some more...shells them. It takes a long time. But the result is non rubbery pipi that are just barely cooked.
Good Hubster.

Once they are all shelled...its my turn. I put them in the food processor along with onion, garlic, egg,  fresh parsley, pepper and some lemon zest and juice. I then add little flour to bind right at then end. Spoonfuls are fried in a little vegetable oil in batches until golden brown.

{NZ Pipi fritters with a side salad}

Crumbed NZ Green Lipped Mussels.

I recently read that mussels are really high in Heam Iron content! Like higher than red meat! I found this out here. I've had a bit of iron level trouble so when I read this I was stoked...because when made right...they can be a really yummy dish. Our local New World has them sitting under spraying water and is some what fresh...and on special at $3.50 per kg, it can be quite economical too. The last few times Ive made it, I ve done the white wine creamed recipe, but hubster wanted to try a less mussel tasting I came up with this. The mussels were cleaned and de-bearded in fresh water. Steamed in a pot until just opened then half shelled. 
In the food processor  blitz a couple of slices of fresh bread, a small onion and parsley to a fine crumb and then add a little olive oil  to moisten. Lay out the mussels on a tray and put spoonfuls on each mussel pressing down slightly to get it to stay on the mussel. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius until crumb  is golden. 

The kids havent quite found the taste for mussels so they had their favourite fish, baked salmon.

{delicious NZ seafood, with a side of bok choy and home made potato chips}

Healthy Ginger Slice.

I was having a friend around for coffee...and I know she loves ginger crunch. I also know she is a I tried to experiment with the recipe to try and healthy it up a little. My go-to site for healthy food (HFG) didn't have a healthy version of it so I tired my own.

The original recipe has a lot of butter in the base, and flour and sugar. So I reduced the flour and butter and added: oats, an egg, and shredded coconut. Instead of white sugar I used brown sugar.
The icing was pretty similar except that my ground ginger was pretty old so I used freshly ground jar ginger.

Overall the base was less "crunchy" and more of a "slice". We all liked it, but I'll tweak it next time to try and make the base a little more crunchy. The dietitian prefers the crunchier ones too but appreciated my efforts to try and make it healthier.

{Ginger Slice}
Any hoo as usual I liked playing around with ingredients to try something new...

Friday, November 1, 2013

and the winner is....

And the winner is....

Thank you to everyone who checked out my friend Olivia's new business and entered into the competition. Every entrant was deserving of some pampering but there could only be one winner.

I went over to "The Bach Beauty Therapy" today to get my self a relaxing facial to celebrate the last day of my holiday and to help pick out the winner of the draw.

the impartial name picker.

And the winner is....fellow blogger Sima J
She will be pampered to the value of $75!
Yay for her!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Last day to enter competition

Just a reminder you have until Midnight tonight (31st October 2013) to be in to win a Beauty Therapy Voucher to Spend at the THE BACH BEAUTY THERAPY.
Check out this blog post: "When Dreams become a reality" to see how.

Good Luck!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


  • I wonder if all the pumpkin flesh that America wastes from carving out Jack o lanterns during Halloween season could cure world hunger? 
  • On a side note...Pumpkin curry is one of my favs. Chopped Pumpkin, onion, garlic, dash of tomatoes (fresh or canned), curry spices: Mustard seeds, cumin, curry powder, and turmeric, chilli. Goes well with  freshly made roti or naan bread. 
  • This week I saw how fat my arms were getting and decided I better do something about it. When it comes to being healthy, I'm an all or nothing kind of person. Been more of the nothing lately. So this time I'm trying to be sensible and try a regime that eases me in slowly instead of scaring me off after the first day. I'm working towards an achievable 9km Fun run in March. I need to be realistic and balance shift work and children. I forgot how addictive the endorphins are, and how nice it is just to spend 45 minutes to your self and just think and pray and listen. 
  • Speaking of Listening! I had a funny God inspired revelation about "TWINK PEN" ...or "Correction fluid"... of all things on my walk today.  Someone had written on a wooden letter box, "I am cool" in Twink pen. I thought to myself who uses twink anymore? I certainly don't. As a nurse when we write notes at work, we are specifically not allowed to use twink. If you make a mistake you have to make a cross through it and write above it or next to it "Written in error". But everybody can still see your mistake. Sometimes its an embarrassing mistake! It got me thinking about how if my life story was hand written on a piece of paper, and I had made an embarrassing mistake, or a mistake that I was really shameful about and I had to cross it out, people could still quite easily see it even though I had crossed it out. But it is written,  if we come clean about our mistakes to God he blots them out of our story and never thinks of them again or holds it against us. In a word picture it describes our mistakes like they were the color scarlet, and He makes them white as white as liquid TWINK!! Nobody needs to know or remind us about our past mistakes or transgressions because the God can get out His "Twink" and erase them from our story, bring healing and help us to live better lives with hopefully less mistakes!
          Hehe...all that from a little graffiti on a letter box!

  • Sometimes when my 7 year old is reading to his really slow and  boring...still learning to read voice...I get lost in thought about how beautiful his face is...and can't believe I helped make that. He has the most stunning blue eyes and the darkest eye lashes.
  • One time when Miss Joy was doing her reading homework  in her still learning to read voice, I fell asleep! It was only 7 pm and a woke up to find she had gone! She quietly tip toed away so I didn't wake up. I felt so bad! 
  • Yesterday son number two fell asleep on me while were watching TV. He had missed his afternoon nap while we were out for the afternoon. Snug sleepy naps don't happen very often, so I took time to enjoy it while I could.
  • I am going to be attending a  Parenting "TOOLBOX" parenting course! Way back in April when I attended the Christchurch Blogger conference I won something! It was a voucher to attend a TOOL BOX course, but there wasn't  any running in Whangarei. But recently a Facebook friend announced she was running one at her house, So I signed up.  The hubster is going to stay home and babysit while I shyly meet some strangers. Hopefully I wont feel too crappy about my parenting skills and will learn some new things! I'll let you know how I get on. Our church is running a really fun sounding Marriage Course the same month that Id love to go to...but I don't think I can fit in both and work some evenings too! Typical! ...after a pretty quiet year, everything happens at the same time. 
  • And speaking of giveaways...if you are a runner, Rachel from Curious Runner Girl has a giveaway for a race entry on her blog today. 
  • The Hubster finished the retaining wall and  painted the hallway. Good Hubster. The poor fella has gone back to work for a break! But on the last weekend of his holiday, we decided we needed to go to the beach. The MIL and FIL had the same thing in mind, so we chucked the BBQ in the boot, and a picnic lunch and headed to Pataua South for lunch and a spot of Pipi picking. Kiwi As! We spit them over night in bucket of sea water and then made Pipi fritters for dinner the next night! So good!

I could do with a pedicure!

A seagull photo bombing my shot of the bridge and blue water

Picked Pipis!

A little game of swing ball. 

Getting a good dose of Vitamin D in my new Sunnies from Pagani 

Hope all is well with you and yours!
xx Jacksta B