Monday, April 06, 2015

Easter weekend in Doncaster (Street, that is)

After the successful Nelson camping in December, we were keen to get away again sometime before December. The Easter weekend was an ideal time but we needed to be local enough for Nick to still preach on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It wasn't too difficult talking the Gregorys into hosting a paddock-camping-party - and this was well before they had spent a few weeks with their tent pitched in any case while a family of 14 occupied their house! Said family moved to their God-given new farm-house-with-job on Wednesday and Thursday; we pitched our tent on Thursday evening and then pitched in with a cleaning team to spruce up the Gregory's house. With many willing hands it didn't take long to get it sparkling.
Nick and I were up early on Good Friday to go home so Nick could do his sermon prep; we had a blessed time at church remembering Jesus' death for us as He became our sin-bearer.
Friday and Saturday were spent much like this - eating hot cross buns, playing games in the paddock, having serious and non-serious conversations with friends, old and new.
We also ate superbly well!  Liz easily pulls out kitchen skills in providing food for crowds.
Sunday saw a few more guests arrive for the day, in time for church and then staying on for our monthly fellowship lunch.  Again, a blessed Easter Sunday message on the Resurrection and its importance.  Great to see the Hardys, Allnutts, meet the Givens, hang out with the Stantons, apart from our usual delightful company of the Gregorys, Lauren, Rosey and many others!
Monday morning, our final day of camping - it was an early brekkie of cereal, then a trip to the grocery store to buy supplies for Eggs Benedict.  Lauren ran a demo on Hollandaise Sauce - yum!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Sew sew

For a lark, and on a friend's recommendation, I entered the Timaru Sewing Centre's Make'n'Model competition. The making part was easy, with the dress and jacket being ready by the end of the summer holidays. The modelling part, as all those involved realized on the day, was a little more nerve-wracking as we had to become ramp models and display our finished garments on a catwalk. It was a great evening of fashion though and well organized by the Sewing Centre - hats off to them for all the hard work leading up to the event!
Nick kindly photographed me as part of the entry requirements.  I hadn't been too sure that the dress had been a success (you know how it is if you sew - it didn't turn out as I'd pictured in my head) but seeing the photos gave me a bit more confidence that it looked just fine.
The jacket was the easy part - I had this piece of grey wool in my stash which I bought from an op-shop for about $5.  I love how wool throws itself together!
I was genuinely surprised to win second place in the "Open -> Daywear" category, ie open age group, and an outfit suitable for any daytime activities.  Even more so to win the special award of "Best Workmanship".  Thanks to the Timaru Sewing Centre for some really great prizes!

Friday, February 06, 2015

What to do with your kids' milk teeth when they are no longer attached to gums

Spoiler alert for those who believe in the tooth fairy...

Once upon a time I used to keep and label the boys' teeth, after exchanging them for money in their slipper at night. However, one day the boys stumbled onto the apparently-not-so-secret location of their milky-whites and realized the tooth fairy was all a hoax. That story aside, I still had their teeth neatly labelled with the intention of one day reassembling them for fun. That day came! Waitangi Day proved to be a chilly indoors sort of day, the kind where children are inclined to easily bore if left to themselves.  Out came the packet of teeth (we discovered that I hadn't been as diligent as I thought and they only had about six teeth each, but it was enough) and out came the polymer clay.  I presented a few ideas to the boys and their creativity took its cue and got busy. 
Aaron made these two adorable monsters (I helped a bit, but the ideas were his entirely);
Caleb produced this cute thingie...
...and this less cute snake using an inverted tooth - those are the roots sticking out!! 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Nelson Camping 2014/2015

It was around September this year that we started feeling that we really could use a proper holiday - not the kind where you're at home so you find all kinds of things to keep busy, but rather the kind where you go away somewhere and spend all day not being busy at all. We suggested the idea of joining the Gregorys and their annual crew in Nelson to the Gregorys (they planted the seed a year or two ago) and were met with the kind of enthusiasm which leaves no room for second thoughts.  We got ourselves kitted out with a tent and various things we'd need (including bunting, because really, who wants to CAMP when you can GLAMP) and set off on the 27th December for a glorious 10 days away (which became two weeks because it was so goooood to be on holiday). 
Bit of a tight fit getting everything into the back of the bus but Nick cleverly did it.
We met up with Graham and Liz in Christchurch for breakfast, then travelled the rest of the way together, stopping several times along the way to explore and eat ice-creams...and lollies...
Finally arrived in Nelson late afternoon and got busy setting up camp.  It took more than the first day to really get the site properly decorated, but when it was done I loved our temporary home!
Being an inexperienced camper I was nervous about the food side of things but Nick assured me that he was ready to barbeque every night if need be.  He and I ended up doing most of the cooking together, either at our site or joining the communal area at the top of our slope.  It worked out well and I have a few ideas to gather together for next year's holiday.
Some of the days were spent lazing about the campsite doing absolutely Very Little Indeed, while other days saw us heading to interesting places around the northern reaches of the South Island.
We were in Nelson over two Sundays; one week we went into town to join with an evangelical Anglican church (it made us miss our own church!) and the next Sunday we gathered a congregation and held a small service in the marquee on the campsite, with our very own dear pastor in the pulpit. 
We even had a few surprise visitors to the service, who stayed on for a fellowship lunch afterwards - great to see Rob and Alison Harrod up from Christchurch, as well as Brian and Agnes McClintock and kids who were in Nelson on business.
One day we took a drive to Takaka (two hours of winding mountain passes and a car-sick vomit-break later we found a good place for lunch). 
After an expensive but delicious lunch, I had a walk around town; Lauren and Elliott started their way home to Timaru, and most others went to explore some of the beaches around the area.  I'm told they found an idyllic beach which will surely be revisited in the future.  Another short drive took us to the Labyrinth, a weird series of limestone rocks worn away over time to produce a natural maze.
The rocks were perfect for spiders...the bigger the web, the more fun to poke gently with a stick to produce vibrations to entice the spiders out from their hiding places in the crevices.
Our final destination on this Takaka day was Anatoki Salmon, where the point is to catch a salmon, have it cleaned, filleted and smoked by the team of professionals, and eat it straight away. 
Caleb was the first in our group to reel one in...
...impressive catch! 
Other fun times were had around the campsite and the Holiday Park makes quite an effort to make the summer holidays exciting for families.  One day they set up a mini carnival with free face-painting, temporary tattoos, giant swings...
...another time there was an outdoor movie night featuring Mary Poppins.  There were also discos and live bands and a magic show. 
We thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the six or seven other families who link in every year (mostly friends of Graham and Liz), playing games, chatting, and fellowshipping together.  Caleb and Aaron were off on their bikes most days with a crew of ready-made friends, and made some good connections with some fabulous kids.  Can't wait for next year!