Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Diago, the light bulb holder

Saturday Morning: Miss Joy says..there's a funny smell in my room. Its just the eggs we are having for breakfast I assured her. Turns out... not so much. The smell was more of a burning smell...plastic McDonalds toy verses hot bulb from her bedside lamp.
Luckily we found it before I burned in my sleep while I slept off my night shift.
The culprit...Mr Zakzak.
This naughty little stunt ranks up there with the other kids doing things like:
a) finding all the cameo cremes have had the cremes licked out of them with the biscuit parts all over the floor.
b) Someone had peeled all the bananas...not to eat...  just peeled.
c) Having poo finger painted all over the back of a white bed room door.

Kids are cute...but they sure do break a lot of stuff.

There is this funny website dedicated to stuff kids ruin...maybe I should submit the photo.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Life in bullet points.

  • Its been a while since the last bullet points post. 
    Doing dishes in PJS
  • Schools back! These holidays went way too fast. Now the older two are at a nice age where they can mostly entertain doesn't seem so stressful. I just added a smattering of fun stuff...intermingled with "if you haven't tidied your room and done your chores...then we cant do tomorrows fun stuff", the house stayed fairly orderly. There was however twice as much laundry!
  • Last Saturday after I slept off my super busy night shift, my darling hubster came home and announced we were going out for a surprise dinner. All of the kids were away with both sets of grand parents and it was just the two of us. Eek! He did not give away where we were going at all! This control freak is not a big fan of surprises...but this one was kind of fun. We ended up at a newly opened restaurant 20 minutes out of town called Outboards Resturant. The menu sounded quite delicious... and I really wanted to try about three of the entrees. I opted for one, a poached salmon Tian. Whats a Tian you ask? I didn't know either so I googled it at the table on my smart phone...and then decided it looked yum. Yay for technology. A nice little place, would definitely recommend it. 
    Salmon and Shrimp "Tian" with avacodo and micro greens
  • I'm doing a new challenge,  a movie challenge. I am trying to make my way through the greatest movies of all time, as rated on IMDB. I like movies...but I'm trying to get out of the usual ROMCOM, comedy and action/genres. Hubster doesn't see how this is a "challenge", but it is for me. I don't generally enjoy fantasy...made up worlds with new creatures and place names. It all gets a bit much for my little brain, so I am trying to get out of my comfort zone and try new stuff. I also as a rule hate watching anything made before 1990! So the first movie I watched was a black and white movie called "Casablanca"...I finally watched the classic line "here's looking at you kid".  So for the last month I haven't even been near the new release section of the DVD store...and these movies are $1 on a Monday. Good cheap entertainment. 
  • Here's the list of the top twenty of all time. Have you seen many of them? I'm avoiding the R18s and if my local DVD stores don't have them I wont see some of the older ones. Turns out I have seen most of them. I got to the Star Wars one and decided to watch it all from Episode 1.  

IMDb Charts

1.9.2The Shawshank Redemption (1994)  1,009,339
2.9.2The Godfather (1972)712,529
3.9.0The Godfather: Part II (1974)461,084
4.8.9Pulp Fiction (1994)783,229
5.8.9The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)304,307
6.8.9The Dark Knight (2008)984,506
7.8.912 Angry Men (1957)247,823
8.8.9Schindler's List (1993)514,363
9.8.8The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King(2003)717,958
10.8.8Fight Club (1999)766,939
11.8.8Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back(1980)491,032
12.8.8The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring(2001)742,130
13.8.8One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)420,244
14.8.7Inception (2010)794,869
15.8.7Goodfellas (1990)438,220
16.8.7Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)552,242
17.8.7Seven Samurai (1954)153,738
18.8.7Forrest Gump (1994)666,713
19.8.7The Matrix (1999)725,450
20.8.7The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)644,289

  • I hung out with these lovely bloggers in the holidays. Good times.  

  • My kids are all germ free for the first time in MONTHS. It been a long while of snot noses...especially the little guy. I was starting to call him the runt of the litter.
  • After a lazy last term of no after school activities I have re-started swimming lessons. They cost a fortune..but I have a pipe dream of one of my kids being a triathlete...I'm thinking maybe Joe could. That boy can run... And the littlest fella master Zak is going to start kiddie Gymnastics....surely one of my kids could make me proud by representing NZ in something!

  • MY lovely MIL celebrated her birthday last weekend. We went out for pizza and champagne...

  • How exciting is the whole royal baby thing!? I know some people are over it already...but this is big. The boy will be the future KING. I was hoping for it to be a girl. The Queen had recently changed the law so that gender was not a factor when deciding who was in line for the throne which was a great movement towards gender equality. Obviously the Queen decided...being a lady never stopped her from being a great head of the Monarch. Very cool Queen indeed. 
  • READING:  "the Happiness Project" My first bought i-book Im reading on my phone. I'm a little bored with it..but I'm going to finish reading because I paid for it. 
  • LISTENING TO: Kim Walker-Smith and Skyla Smiths new CD "HOME". Very folksy.
  • I was thinking of starting a new regular feature on my blog called FOOD FRIDAY. So watch this space on Friday...if I could work out a linky party...I would...
  • EEEK Spring is around the corner! 

Friday, July 19, 2013


I may not have much talent with the crochet, quilting or knitting like a lot of you gals...but one thing that I do like creating is food. I see something I would like to try and make and then figure out a way of making it.
Because the post children body is no where near what it should look like, I try and cut out the extra sugary baking treats...or try and tweak them to make as great tasting but slightly healthier. Which is why I love the "Healthy Food Guide Magazine and website". Have you ever tried their website? It has a great database of all their recipes with the calories worked out. Best of all it is a NZ you know we have all the ingredients at the local supermarket.  It also has a selection of recipes that are gluten free, low GI, low cost and vegetarian etc.

HFG Chocolate Brownie

Their latest magazine cover had their most favourite recipe of all time...chocolate brownie (recipe). It is made with apple sauce as the base instead of the copious amounts of butter and sugar and eggs that are in the regular recipe. I just happened to have bit of stewed apples that my MIL had prepared for me from her orchard... so bonus!

HFG Chocolate Brownie

While it wasn't as chocolaty as the regular was still a nice treat. Unfortunately I didn't have any walnuts, but substituted them with macadamia nuts. The kids were none the wiser and gobbled them up! It was a winner at a dessert night I took them to also. The top had a nice crunch while the centre was super moist.  Will definitely try this one again.

Lemon Slice

I had a bunch of lemons in the fruit bowl and decided to make some lemon slice. I wasnt following a particular recipe...I just had an idea of how I wanted it to look and taste and made it up as I went along.
I went with a shortbread type base...a lemony/condensed milk filling and a sprinkle of coconut over the top.
It didn't quite turn out as gooey as I had hoped...I had used the light version of the condensed milk...and whole eggs..instead of just the yolk. It still tasted great...and again the kids loved it. I'll try this one again...tweaking the the ingredients a little until I get it right.

Lemon and coconut Slice


You may remember we bought our selves a pasta maker...and when we have few extra hours(!) up our sleeve for dinner we give it a go. It takes us a while to make our pasta sheets from scratch. 
I had an idea to give cannelloni a try. The filling was made out of spinach, onion, salami, garlic, and ricotta cheese.  Pasta is thinly rolled and is then cut into rectangles, filled and rolled. 
The rolls are placed on top of a tomato pasata (pureed tomato and herb), and then have a bechamel (cheese) sauce over the top. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top.  Baked until all golden and cooked.  
Overall it was quite a nice dish...but it lacked seasoning...more salt and more pepper.
 It was a fun dish to make....but next time I'll find a meatier filling with a bit more kick.  


hubby rolling
Place into oven dish with a layer of tomato underneath.
Then a layer of tomato over the top.

delicious cheesy goodness.
My new camera is getting a work out with these lovely food shots. Looking through them makes me want to make them all over again!
Nothing like getting in the kitchen next to a warm oven and making some delicious food.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Family Fun


We took the kids to their first time ten pin bowling. 
A great time had by all. 
I got the WORST score, which was a little bit embarrassing. 
Even Zak Zak had a great time 

We rounded off the night with Hot dogs and chips...along with funny faces

And just to prove that I was in fact there

Here's me with my eyes shut again!
Sporting a new cut and colour...and extra chin. Chin up Chin up!

Monday, July 15, 2013

like a prisoner in my own home

I feel like a prisoner in my own home.
Stale air forced through the dehumidifier.
Made fresh with technology instead.

A feline friend has adopted us
She is not wanted.
Not needed.
Yes she is friendly
But she is not ours. I'm being a little bit melodramatic...but here's the story.

This my blog a stray cat that has decided that she would rather live around my house rather than her own. For months we wondered who she belonged to. She had a collar but just always hung around. Until finally I saw a young lady chase her on to our property. Apparently she has a family, and was very much loved and fed, but wasn't coming home any more. That because she's always here! I told her.
Initially I liked her. She was super friendly...but I hesitated...who knows who she belongs to and how many flees she has I scolded the kids. We fed her the odd thing, but I insisted she "go home", because she didn't live here.
One day I left the laundry window open to let out the dryer moisture. I came home and found she had eaten the chicken thighs, (boneless and skinless no less!) off the counter.She had eaten half of the packet... $8 worth of chicken you horrid cat! I had to biff out the rest of it. I muttered under my breath...I had thought about what I would do with the chicken...what delicious dinner I would create out of it. Now wasted in the bin.

That cat is now no longer my friend.
She sneaks in every time I have my french doors open. Which used to be every sunny day available.
She sneaks in the laundry windows.
She even sneaks in to my car when the doors are open...clawing at the carpet and upholstery of my new car.
One night at 8pm...Joe lets me know that the cat is sitting on my dressing table. He must be kidding...the doors haven't been open for hours...sure enough...there she is. Sitting she owns the place.
Dead mice and pretty coloured birds...all brought for offering right on the foot path. Offerings I don't care for Miss CAT!

ARRGGHH. Flippin cat!
Go home!

You might be thinking perhaps Im not a cat lover...You may be right. Hubby...he very much wants a cat...has been wanting one for years...I say lets wait until I don't have to toilet train a kitten and a toddler at the same time. All the while just putting off the inevitable of eventually having a cat.
Our own that we actually have de-fleed, de-wormed and de- whatever else they carry around. One that has been taught not to take food off my counter.
Not this stray...who actually belongs to someone else!

Any ideas about how to get rid of it nicely?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Miriam comes to visit

Look who came to visit our hood this week? The lovely Miriam from  Create Hope Inspire. When she sent an email saying she'll be in town and would love to catch up, I thought absolutely! I would describe Miriam as Sunshine Personified. After being such a wonderful hostess while Kristy and I were down in Christchurch  for the bloggers conference, we jumped at the chance to show her some Northland fun. I rallied a few of Whangarei blog crew together and we met at the "Fat Camel" our very own Isreali cafe/resturant. Babaganoosh!

The hide the "waddle" pose. Kristy and Miriam

Kristy, Miriam an Rachel

painting of camel?!

Simone and I discovered that we both have "flash eye" know that problem when you close your eyes with the flash. We had to laugh at this shot of us with the exact same eyes!

{Miriam, Stacey, Simone, Me and Becky}
We had a fun night eating humus, pitas, babaganoosh...and baklava.
Thanks for visiting Miriam! Come again :)

Blog links:

Monday, July 8, 2013

How to make Chicken Soup

On these cool winter days, what would be more heart warming than a bowl of chicken soup?
I tend to cook bacon hock soup in the winter and since I had already made one of those this winter it was time for a change. Delicious and healthy...what more could be better?!

3 litres of water
1kg of whole chicken legs (thigh and leg). Skin removed.
1 packet of chicken soup mix or other soup mix (barley, lentils grains etc)
1 chicken stock cube or pot ( I used "Continental")
1 onion (diced small)
5 cloves of garlic crushed and chopped
2 large carrots (diced small)
5 stalks of celery with some of the leaves chopped thin
1 zucchini (courgette)
herbs (Parsley, thyme)
salt and pepper

In a large stock pot, place water, chicken peices, stock and soup mix up to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the Onion, garlic,salt and pepper and continue to simmer for a further 20 minutes. Next add the celery and carrot. Simmer for a further 20minutes. By now the chicken should be about to fall off the bone. Carefully remove the chicken pieces on to a plate or board and start to remove meat off the bone. Careful to remove all the little sharp pieces of bone. Shred or chop the chicken into small pieces and place back into the pot along with the zucchini and herbs. Bring back up to a gentle simmer for 10-20 minutes until all vegetables are tender. Adjust seasoning according to taste. 
Serve with crusty bread and enjoy.

Place left overs in containers of single serves ready to pull out of the freezer for a yummy lunch on the go.

  • Using the thigh/leg cut of meat ensures it remains deliciously moist and adding the vegetables in this kind of order  ensures all of the goodness is not boiled out of it. 
  • The cooking liquid can be adjusted to how you like it. Add more water if you prefer a thinner broth. 
  • This soup is a great low Carb meal too.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

June catch up

Well I had better catch you up on the highlights of June since I missed ya'll.

Zak Zak celebrated his 3rd birthday. Yuss! We are officially out of the terrible twos range. I said this to someone and said they can go on to the troublesome threes?! Well I'm rejecting that notion. I'm hoping for less tantys and more cuteness thanks. 

This birthday was especially cute. He was actually aware of what a birthday was and was really looking forward to it, singing himself happy birthday for days.  He's a bit Mickey Mouse mad so I baked a cake that he would love. It was my second fondant attempt..and it went a lot smoother that the last one. Using a bit of icing sugar to help with the rolling helped a lot. It was a layered chocolate cake with chocolate butter icing. Quite tasty. 
The sequels of excited delight were so cute as he opened his presents from his grandparents and us. A nice little family party.

Mickey Mouse cake. Chocolate layer cake with Red and black fondant icing

In other news we bought a new car. Finally. We have had the same car for 9 years. While it was fairly reliable it was time for an upgrade.
While we were in Auckland buying our car we decided to take the kids to Motat. I had never been, usually choosing the Zoo instead since they live down the same street. We were lucky enough to be there on the last day of special exhibit in the main exhibition area. It was a hands on motion and movement type thing.
After exploring Motat for a while we hopped on the tram (included in the price of the ticket) and it took us all the way past the Zoo and to the Aviation Display Hall. We had no idea this was included in the pass. What a cool place. Generally we all had a good day and would recommend it.
I'm loving the age that the older two are at when it comes to taking them to new places to learn and explore.

olden day class rooms
Walk way of mirrors
Zak Zak holding on to his ticket on the tram. 

One of the giant plane at the Aviation Museum 

Me and my love.

Also in June we celebrated our wedding anniversary. 12 years we have now been married. Yay us! Our wedding day seems like such a loooong time ago!
 I would have loved a weekend away but getting three kids taken care of is a mission so we settled for an afternoon of golf and a fancy dinner out at one of our favourite restaurants and then a movie.

We were both really out of practice and lost a few balls.  I managed to score one par...the rest were bogeys! But it was nice to get out in the fresh air. 

This meal here is actually a dessert! Its called a "kiwi fish n chip". The "fish" is actually a pineapple fritter. The "chips" are shortbread. It has a little banana milkshake and a caramel Sundae. Super fun dessert to eat!

Other things:

  • I did about half the things on my  to do list. Perhaps Im better at having a "TO DON'T" list since it was fairly easy to abstain from FB. 
  • I read the "Great Gatsby"...I know! a novel! Its been a few years!
  • I bought us both an older model iphone that was on special at Vodafone. 
  • I knitted a scarf.
  • I hired a treadmill for a couple of months to get back into running. I am thinking of signing up for a race...just a short one. But I'm scared my knees are going to play up. I should just harden up and do it. 
  • Miss Joy and Joe both did really well in their cross country, both coming first in their years. I was such a proud mumma. Maybe I should go running with them! 
  • I finally got around to putting their school certificates and class photos in some sort of scrapbook. They spent ages looking through it.
  • Zak zak has increased his hours at Playschool to three mornings a week since turning three. So far my dreams of having the house all to myself have not happened as at least one kid has been home sick  instead. 
  • While I was on my break I thought I would try an organize my time a bit better like a little time table of sorts...I do it at work, why cant I do it at home? I'll let you know how that goes. 

That about sums up my June.
I have caught up on my favourite bloggers and its good to back in Blogland with you gals.
I missed you!