Tuesday, May 28, 2013

See you soon.

Sushi buddy.

aaahhhhh. *sigh of relief* 
Yep that's how I feel right now. I'm having a little alone time. It's only four hours, but I'll take it. Zak-zak is finally okay enough to go back to play school after his surgery. I'm not going to lie, its been hard week for the little lad, but he has coped well.

So far this morning I have taken myself out for coffee and a breakfast bagel- cream cheese and lemon curd to be precise. And then I have perused the wool isle at Spotlight. Paisley-Jade knows how much I get into a panic when ever I hit the fabric isle of Spotlight...but I'm pleased to announce today this did not happen!
Without my impatient little 3ft side kick I was able to pick a nice ball of wool to knit myself a scarf. I know, I know...that's pretty much the first thing EVERYONE knits...but not me. So far I have made a hot water bottle cover...which was pretty much a rectangle piece of knitting...where I ran out of wool...and decided that really it was the only useful thing it could become. I started it last year when Zakzak had his first surgery...but for the last year it had stayed on the knitting needles because I hadn't read my "Dummy's guide to Knitting" in order to figure out how to cast off.
But now I have.

My current project is also a hot water bottle cover, but for Miss Joy. And I have used it to practice new stiches I have read in the book. I spent a nice few hours on Saturday at my MILs house bonding over knitting. She is great knitter and gave me some pointers.
I know Crochet is the rage..but quite frankly...I'm just going to stick to what I know...and knit.

My new wool to make a nice warm scarf for myself. 

Scary running story
I took up running. And by "take up"...I mean I went for run yesterday and today I can still walk. I am ashamed to admit I haven't exercised in over a year. So it was supposed to be just a walk around my hilly neighborhood to start off with..you know just to ease me in. I had made the family dinner and by the time I set off it was 5:20pm. At first I was thinking how lovely getting out at sunset...and then I thought yikes I better hurry up...before it gets dark. So I started running up the hill. The reason I stopped running last year was because after doing the same circuit and running down the hill...my knees got really jarred and hurt. It hurt a lot. So I stopped. I didn't go to the doctors...because it only hurt sometimes out of the blue.
Any hoo so last night...it was getting dark really fast, and this dude passes me in the opposite direction. And I keep walking down the hill...around a corner...I then he passes me coming down my way. I ignore him...and he stops under a tree to do some "stretches". So ignore him again...and speed up and then start to run down the hill. I'm getting a little spooked, I look behind my shoulder a lot and just keep running. He doesn't look like he's following anymore so I stop and walk for a while. The road forks into two separate lanes. I decide to go down the right lane..still periodically looking over my shoulder. By now its proper dark. But I know the only way to get to the safety of my place is to keep moving as fast as I can. "I don't do night time running...what was I thinking...and I haven't bought my cell phone.. please don't rape me wierdo". My mind is going paranoia nuts.
I see the same guy running again...except he has decided to go down the left lane. I hope like mad he is not waiting for me at the bottom of the hill. I feel like Sherlock Holmes...trying to get all my senses awake to see through every bush and tree, listening for any rustling. I get to the flat part...and the streets lights are so dim on this stretch...but I still have 2km to go. And so I run as fast as my fat little legs can carry me...and stop for a breather and run again...look over my shoulder...all the way home. Maybe it was just my silly little brain paying tricks on me, but I'm thinking I won't be doing that again! I might just go and run on a treadmill at the work gym.

I bought myself a turkish rug. Rocking it super old school. But I love it. It  says it is stain resistant...but have the makers met my kids...they can ruin anything.
Social media break
So as I mentioned last time, I'm having social media break. I did this last year because
a) Facebook status's and blog posts start to consume my mind.
b) It makes me procrastinate and stops me from doing a myriad of other jobs that need to get done.
c) It prevents me from getting out of my house and seeing people in real life.
d) It is an unhealthy way for me to fill my boredom.

Other people go away and have holidays or are able to switch off from Facebook and blogging but I can't. It's like an addiction. It's the first thing I check on my Ipod in the morning and the last. Not good. I'm not saying FB or blogging is bad or anything...I just know that I need a break. Sorry Meghan but Words with friends will be on hiatus too.
The biggest thing I will miss about it is, it is now the main way I communicate with people. So I will have to go back to good old fashioned phones, Txt messaging and Email....or even snail mail. So don't do anything fun or interesting while I'm gone please. But if you do, email me. And if you are visiting the area...and want to catch up..email me.

So I have compiled a few things I need to do in the month of June... 30 days!!! (last time I only lasted 28!)

Stuff to do instead of wasting time on the internet.

  1. Do work portfolio.
  2. Print off a years worth of photos and put them in an album
  3. Get rid of baby stuff. Take stuff to Hospice.
  4. Go for walks.
  5. Read/listen to the bible.
  6. Read the "Purpose Driven Life" book
  7. Draw pictures with my kids.
  8. Write a love song
  9. Write thank you notes to people who have made an impact in my life thus far.
  10. Put together the boys scrap books.
  11. Finish knitting projects
  12. Finish quilt project.
  13. Have an empty washing basket all month.
  14. Have coffee/lunch dates dates
  15. Have baking in the cupboard everyday.
  16. Read magazines I have bought but haven't read. 
  17. Do something for Wedding anniversary
  18. Take photos with my camera...and not put them online. 
  19. Not think about how desperately I want to be online and reading other peoples Facebook statuses and blog posts. 
  20. Do some volunteer work. 
  21. Back up my hard drive. 
  22. Have people over for dinner. 
  23. Hang out with these munchkins

I bought these guys some winter knits and they reminded me of Rocky training for a big fight. 

 I will see you in JULY.

Friday, May 17, 2013

I was brave

I was brave.

I was brave when it was decided that I would be the only one to go with you to Star-Ship Hospital because Dadda had to stay home to work.

I was brave when we set off that morning for the two hour drive to Auckland.

I was brave when I had to figure out exactly where in the inner city  we had to drive to.

I was brave when I had to lug you and all the things we would need for the afternoon on a push chair and all the way through the biggest hospital in NZ just to find the right ward.

I was brave when I realized this place was completely different and new compared to the the day stay surgery unit that I remembered from last year.

I was brave when lunch time came and went because I couldn't eat in front of you while you were nil by mouth.

I was brave when you started to get a little grumpy since it was now your nap time and you were hungry too.

I was brave when they said it was finally your turn and we had to go the theatre.

I was brave when the surgeon came to talk to me and I tried to make him see that things needed fixing.

I was brave when I had to gown up and take you to the operating theater, and put you on their table with so many machines and new equipment I hadn't seen before.

I was brave when the Anesthetist put the gas mask over your mouth to put you to sleep.

I was brave when the surgeon rang me later to tell me that I was right, things did need repairing and it had been a lot more complicated than he had thought.

I was really brave then.

I bravely held back the tears as I texted Dadda who was sad he couldn't be there with me.

I was brave when I found you in recovery all sleepy and so small in such a big bed.

I was brave when I decided it was best for both of us if we drive home that night 2 hours just so you could recover in a familiar environment.

I was brave when my head hurt and I was so tired and all I wanted to do was just get home for the both of us and into our nice cosy beds.

And because I was brave, so were you. 

You were brave driving all the way there. You were brave when we had to talk to Nurses and Doctors. You were brave when they put you to sleep, you didn't even cry! You were brave when you woke up out of your anesthetic, again not even a single tear. You were brave and slept all the way home and all night. And today even though it hurts you are playing with  the new toys I bought to keep you occupied yesterday.

We were brave!

{thank you for your prayers....the number one reason I was brave was the amazing peace of God}

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Bullet point pondering's

  •  Well Hello! You know what time it is? Its time for a bullet point pondering's post. A bunch of random thoughts I have at the moment.
  • First off thank you for the overwhelming response on the last post about "being less sensitive". I had been put off hitting publish on it because I didn't want to come across as being insensitive to  sensitive people. Its hard when you have a straight up kind of nature to learn the right time to be empathetic and sensitive and when to be straight up with people when they need it. Fortunately in my line of work I get a lot of practice.  
  • I have woken up with a the sorest back...and I have no idea why? The bizarre thing about it is that the very last words I said to my husband last night was how much I love our newish bed. My exact words were..."its not like our old bed that would leave me with a sore back in the morning". How weird is that!! Any way I have done what any good nurse does..and popped some pain killers. Panadol and ibuprofen does wonders for my "nurses back". I also tried at one place to fit in a back massage but they were all booked. Boo :(
  • "Nurses Back" : definition: A strained back after lugging dead weighted people around after an extended period of time. 
  • You know what might be cool to do one day? Do a real life monopoly tour. Take photos of all the places on the London monopoly board. Then come home and make them into a real monopoly board.  I think I might add this to the  year 2028 world tour. In the year 2028 our youngest will turn 18...and that is when we will embark on our world tour. Or if one of us gets a life ending illness....which ever comes first....or if we win lotto...then that would be awesome.
Onions in the right pan this time!
  • Well on the family front we are back into school term mode. I revised our family routine schedule and have put "cooking time with mummy" in for the kids one night a week each. They are my little sous chefs for the night. Yes, it takes time out of my dinner prep time to teach them but...it will pay off in the long run. I'm not a natural teacher...I have to really try and be patient. For instance Miss Joy and I worked on making spaghetti and meatballs from scratch, one of her favourites. She did her best to cut up the onions, we have one pot of boiling water on the stove for the spaghetti and another frying pan with oil warming for the onions to go into...and I say okay carefully put the onions in...I turn my back and she put the onions into the boiling water....gah! I held my self together, and we found another onion and started again. At least she figured out wearing goggles helps with the onion tears. Clever girl.  And another time Joe and I made roast chicken and veges, he cut himself with the knife....just a small cut....but you'd think he had sliced his entire hand off. He's not so good with blood. 
  • IT. WILL. PAY. OFF. IN. THE. LONG. RUN. I have to keep telling myself.  I really want them to be able to cook and be able to look after them selves, so I have to put in the hard yards and teach them other wise how else will they know? They can now confidently make them selves breakfast and lunch. One of my food rules is-  you don't get afternoon tea until you have finished whats in your lunch box. This works for us because the schools policy is kids take home their own food rubbish so you know what they have and haven't eaten.
  • I'm thinking of taking a social media break. I did this in May of last year. A no Facebook and blogging month. I lasted 28 days. Maybe I could do June? I dunno. I'll let you know. 
  • Zak Zak and I are taking a little trip to Starship on Thursday. Dadda couldn't get time off work so its just me and him...YIKES. Please pray for us if you think of us. Its nothing major...just a little repair of his last little surgery. I might take last years knitting project I never got around to finishing to help keep me calm.
  • And you know I will have to stop in somewhere and find me some macarons somewhere in Auckland to make me feel better. 
  • I have found a little OCD way of doing the washing. When I bring the washing in from the line outside I fold the washing in order of the person. Like...I fold all of ours first...then zak zaks and then the Miss Joy and then Joe. And then I bring it all in and do a drop off into the rooms. I think its a time saver. 
  • Having said that...doing the washing is my least favourite chore in my maid service. I pretty much have  a week long routine....wash one day....hang out the next... and bring it all in when it is stiff as and few days later. Yep...House keeping is not my favourite. 
  • This mothers day I was grumpy. I could hear a lot of squabbling and yelling coming from the kitchen far too early in the morning for my liking! As the day wore on I began to dwell on all the sacrifices that have come as part of being a mother. To my career, to my talents as a singer, to never getting to fly anywhere, to my relationship with God and to my dreams of being something or someone great. Some how they all have gotten lost and sacrificed while I encourage these little people and one other big person with all of their dreams and talents and lives. I haven't figured out how I can have and do both?  
  • I have been trying to think of a cool header for my blog. If you look to the top...you can see a whole lot of open white space....But I can't think of what to put there?! I don't really know what image would sum up me as a blogger. 
  • I have decided what New Zealand is missing is more Black people! My top three videos of funny black people being interviewed on TV 

Sweet Brown is the "Ain't Nobody got time for that" lady.

And recently the Guy who saved the 3 girls from their 10 year ordeal after being kidnapped. 
Wait for the last line!

And finally this one from Jay Lenos Pumpcast! This hilarious couple just pumping some gas ends up tv!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Jacksta B's guide to being less sensitive

artist here
I wrote this blog post last year but never pressed publish? So today I will. 

I have been meaning to do a blog post on this subject for a while. And then an incident reminded me of it. I was at a book store and bumped into a former member of our church, an elderly lady. I said "hi" to be nice and she makes a comment about my hair, she didn't like it. It made me look "old". I just ignored it and changed the subject to something else then moved on rather quickly. As I thought about it, I was a little bit miffed. But not in the way you might think. You see her comments although rude and a bit too forthright didn't bother me...but I thought what if she had said that to someone else..someone more sensitive...how would they feel.

You see stuff like that is water off a ducks back to me. I grew up around relatives and acquaintances who were all too ready to tell you "you are too skinny, too fat, I don't like what you are wearing..." You name it I have probably heard it. And for a time these words may have hurt a little...but I have never let them overcome me.
In general I have good self esteem and an air of confidence about how I look and live my life. I'm carrying around a few extra kgs, but who isn't. And now that I have a daughter I want to ensure that I am role modeling a similar feeling in my daughter. I want her to be confident in who she is.
Maybe you get down when people make comments about the way you look or live your life. So here are a few thoughts about becoming less sensitive.

What you say is what you feel.
I remember when I was growing up, when I observed my mother getting herself ready in the mirror, not once did she ever say out loud..."I'm looking fat...or I don't like this or that". Never. She just put her make up on, dressed the best for the day and got on with it. She always thought of her self as beautiful. So cut out the negative talk on yourself first.

Perfection doesn't exist.
Hollywood has us drawn to the celebrities enticing us to want to look like them. But just because they look great doesn't mean they are perfect. Naomi Campbell has an anger problem, many of them have drug addictions and are desperately unhappy with themselves. As soon as you realise you are most likely not destined for the cat walk...and look normal like the other 99% of us in the world, the sooner you can accept your self.

People say stupid stuff.
There are just some people in life who don't know how to filter their thoughts before they say them. Just recognize it for what it is and move on. I have a particular Uncle who is bad for this. Just no insight into how someone might feel after his verbal diarrhea hits the atmosphere. They just don't realise. If you are confident enough with who you are...just hit them up about it. Tell them they being rude and you don't appreciate their comments.

Learn to laugh at your self. This is so important. You can't take everything so seriously.

Some people just won't like you.
It ridiculous to think that everyone in the world will like you.  For those of you that have the need to be liked, you'll just have to get over this one. There will always be someone who doesn't like the way you dress, the way you talk, your shade of lippy. Who cares!

Practice being sensitive to other people.
You reap what you sow. If you are kind to others, most of the time people will be the same back. Focusing on the needs of others gets your thoughts off yourself.

The only thing that matters is how God feels about you.
When I have borne the brunt of other peoples hurtful words...I always remember what God thinks of me. He says He made me and loves me unconditionally. That I was worth dying for, and my value as a person comes from Him NOT what other think or say about me.

So grow some balls and don't let people make you feel like crap.

  “Do not give in too much to feelings. A overly sensitive heart is an unhappy possession on this shaky earth.” 
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Wild Date.

A couple of months ago I purchased a Grab one deal to go and visit the Zion Wildlife Gardens doing the "Enrichment Tour". The young'ins had already been there with their Aunty a couple of years ago...but Hubsta and I had never been so we ditched them and made it a date. 

When it first opened we had watched eagerly along with New Zealand when the "Lion Man" made his TV debut... but since then the whole place had been in the news for the wrong reasons with troubles with management and the mauling of one its keepers Dalu. However in recent years someone new has taken over and have they are trying hard to make it work. 
I have always had reservations about the whole place. Is it right to bring animals native to a place like Africa to a completely new environment like NZ? It is right to then have them caged in enclosures? I decided to go with an open mind and just explore an attraction of my home town with my new camera in hand. 

The first thing you notice is the lovely rolling meadows on the drive out there. A 10 minute drive out of town takes you on a peaceful country drive...reminding me that I really need to do get out of the city and drive out in the country more often. 

A description of the 90 minute "Enrichment tour"
"You've probably seen cats do a lot of interesting things. But you've probably never seen a big cat play tug of war or slurp an ice block on a hot summer's day. The enrichment programme is all about making things interesting for the animals – and interesting for you to watch too. By varying their food and giving them different objects to play with, the cats are stimulated, curious and alert. It means that when you go to see them on this tour, you'll be seeing them at play and exhibiting different behaviour."

♥ Just the two of us ♥

The day we went was a touchy day for weather. Gale force winds and rain were predicted...but we had our brolly ready. 

 The first cat we saw the the Mandla the black Leopard. The sunlight would bound of her coat and reveal her spots. The keepers had put some rabbit meat in her enclosure and she had to find it. 

Throwing in a special ball for them to play with. 

So big! 

Interestingly all of the keepers are chicks! 
They reckon the female keepers have a calming effect on the animals. Interesting! 
There was this one moment when one of the cats let out a roar and she didn't even flinch. 

They have a real hands off policy preferring to stay out of the enclosures for safety reasons obviously  except for with the cheetahs. And you can do a "feed the cheetahs" tour...I think I'll pass!

Hard trying to get good shots through the fencing.

Here is some footage of the  park I filmed  that lets your hear what we we heard!
Amazing roars...our favourite part of the tour. 

There are 34 big cats all up. And all were amazing to see. It was especially cool recognizing the names and animals of the animals we had heard from the programme. My favourite was ZION. As you can see from the video clip....such a powerful sound!
The owners have big plans for the park...and have some plans drawn up that have enclosures that are more like their home environment. See here. 
All in all definitely worth checking out and supporting. http://www.kingdomofzion.co.nz/

Monday, May 6, 2013

BATMAN 40th cake

On Saturday we celebrated my older brothers 40th. He wasn't too happy about this milestone....feeling really old. So when I asked him what cake he wanted he requested a batman cake. He is a Gen X through and through...sci fi, comics, super heros, action movies and all things geek. Pretty much the opposite of me...sometimes I wonder how we came from the same womb. Any hoo like a good little sister I obligingly made him a Batman cake.
I decided it was time....time to give working with "Fondant icing" a go. There are two reasons I have never tried using it before A) I have bad memories of wedding cake icing...sickly sweet and disgusting and B) I was scared of having to roll it out...sticking and ripping etc. I found this tub of stuff at Spotlight..."butter cream fondant...easy to work with..great for beginners". That sounded like everything I needed. I got a black and a yellow. Honestly the colour palate worked a treat. I'm a bit OCD about getting the colors right, and the yellow was EXACTLY right for the batman yellow logo.    

One chocolate cake mix doubled and cut into an oval. Then iced with a chocolate butter cream icing for the crumb layer. 

I rolled out the yellow. 
Trying to get the shape right was super hard...and then getting it onto the cake...sheesh...I was seriously thinking of going back to butter icing!

Hmmm this is kinda hard....maybe I need some help....hubby only too happy to help me get the "BAT" right. 
Rolling out the black was super cool. Just like leather! I had printed out a template from the computer, so we got it just right.

The finished product. Not perfect...but pretty good for a first attempt working with Fondant. I MAY be temped to try it again some time. Maybe!

For the dinner...I went with an Asian inspired theme. Little brother was in charge of nibbles. He did wontons, spring rolls and dipping sauces
I did main course... A "Donburi" which is Japanese for bowl... where you have rice on the bottom with toppings.

Asian salad (thinly sliced red/green cabbage, carrots, red capsicum, cucumber, spring onion, mint and corriander with squeezed limes and special soy dressing.
Tempura veges
Tempura squid
Tempura prawns
Teriyaki and seaseme salmon
Teriyaki chicken
BBQ marinated pork ribs.

And we had cake for dessert.
Birthday Boy taking a photo of his own cake

It was such a fun night, and later when the kids were in bed I had a game of Texas Holdem Poker with my brothers and our spouses. Good times just hanging with my family.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

photography lesson

Today I bundled the kids and the Nikon in the car and headed for the country. 
We headed out to see the talented (writer, musician and photographer...Words with Friends extraordinaire) Stephen Garton. We share a mutual distaste for all things #hashtags.  He was visiting from the South but managed to squeeze in an Idiots guide to photography lesson...me being the idiot.  
After reading the instruction guide I could at least understand a few of the words he was talking about...but I hadn't quite figured out which buttons to push etc. 

{Playing around with the Shutter speed}

So as far as I understand from the lesson was..."to get the perfect picture you need the perfect balance between the aperture and shutter speed,  and to take a shot in a way that no one else has ever done before".

We pushed a lot of random buttons like white balance, ISO and I even had a go on Manual focus mode. 

So I got snapping. 

What are the chances that I would be taking a close up shot of this flower and a bee would plant itself right on it!

My models weren't compliant enough to stand still for long enough,  but I got a couple of lovely portraits of my darlings.

We left their place and instead of driving home we headed further in to the country...I still wanted some more shots...as I still had some battery power left!
We came to a small town with a little cafe. I did need a coffee break first. And what a find! This cute old time town with all original buildings from many  years ago turned out to be a little gem of a place.

I am always looking for cafes that have a point of difference and quite frankly stuff for my kids to do while drink my coffee. I was quite surprised to find this little cafe bustling with people. I saw a great spot outside...I needed to find somewhere for my noisy non-shush-able two year old to hang out without disturbing too many other paying patrons.

Out side in the garden area were picnic tables,  a little tree hut, a hammock, rocks to climb and pretty landscaping.  

Cute place.
Who would have thought.