Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hosting our hosts

Tonight we were privileged to have Carl and Miriam and the boys to tea. I was a tad nervous as they are both excellent cooks, what with my cooking skills being a bit rusty, but stuck with a trusty favourite of South African bobotie, a fruity mince dish. All turned out pretty well and we had a lovely evening together, both around the table and later split in various directions around the house - Miriam and I in the kitchen, Carl and Nick in the lounge and the four boys in Caleb and Aaron's bedroom.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Location unknown

Had a far better time of it with the boys seated at smaller desks today – they looked far more comfortable than they were perched at the diningroom table where their noses almost touched their books. Finished around 12 (while I had about three loads of curtain-washing going) and then the boys disappeared to play outside in the dirt. I had to forbid them coming back inside at one point because they were so filthy! They sure did have fun though, digging in a vacant vegetable patch and making tracks for their Hotwheels (a revived craze for them). When Nick got home from his day’s work at the church he suggested going out to take advantage of the afternoon sun – a much paler version than we are used to on St Helena. We took a short drive south to the outskirts of Timaru, to a part of the coast where heaps of driftwood washes up, making for an interesting excursion. Came upon a rather sad find of a dying seal, apparently not uncommon.

Monday, March 29, 2010


Monday morning’s school…the bane of my life…the boys take a long time to get out of weekend/silly/play mode and into a school frame of mind, added to which the rather uncomfortable setting of the too-high table in the diningroom making any kind of correct posture impossible. It was with relief that we closed Treasure Island after lunch. Rachel and Josh stopped by in the afternoon with a carpet man, to measure up for recarpeting. After a cup of tea, Rachel helped me shift rooms around, swapping my craft/guest room with the boys room. The boys seemed to be crowded in their old room, and although the corner room is the same size, it is better configured to accommodate bunk beds. After tea Nick went to collect two cast-off school desks from Matt which will be hugely helpful for the boys’ written work.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Today being the first Sunday of occupation in our home, we had an open day for our church people for a soup and roll meal after the first service. It was a great afternoon – we had at least 45 people around, gathering in the kitchen, diningroom, courtyard, lounge and front deck. It was awesome and quite chaotic! Thanks to so many who provided and helped – Miriam with a scrumptious tomato soup, Shirley who donated a pumpkin soup, Rachel with a veggie and lamb soup, and the various breads and juices which appeared. I made a thick vegetable soup overnight on Saturday, and had the bulk of Thursday’s carrot soup in the fridge. There was plenty for all with heaps of leftovers. By about 2 pm the house had substantially emptied and just Rene and Bronwyn stayed on (or rather, left and came back). Rene has a photography interest as well so we had some fun snapping shots. At 4.30 pm we were back at church for the afternoon service, in which Nick preached on “the Unforgiveable Sin” – a fantastic sermon which evoked some comments and questions afterwards. And then home for more soup for tea! It’s been horridly cold today so we’ve had a fire going and the heatpump doing its thing. The house seems tolerably warm at this point.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


After dropping Nick off at John and Joan’s place to help John with some tiling (although apparently more talking than tiling was done), I joined in with the Timaru masses in attending garage sales. It seems that it’s a common Saturday occupation, with weekly sales advertised in the local paper. We recently heard one stranger ask another, “did you get any good deals today”? Seems we live in a consumer-driven society. Later in the day we went to Briscoe’s Homeware where there was at least 30% off everything in the store, and up to 60% discounts on some items. We wondered whether the constant sales meant that people keep swapping old stuff for new – buying the newer and better model at a great price and flogging the old. I would be interested to hear people’s comments on our theory! At any rate, we bought a lovely Russell Hobbs kettle from Briscoes at a massive reduction, and I picked up a great sofa bed for $20…now who’s complaining about the old junk?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sewing, garden, shopping and some school

Day 5 at's agony getting up in the mornings as the bed is so warm and comfy, and it's sooooo cold and dark early in the mornings. Indeed, the sun rises at about 7.30 am! Daylight savings kicks off at the beginning of April though so we get a lighter morning but the days will suddenly feel so much shorter. Rachel brought two sets of kitchen people to the house as she is wanting to upgrade the kitchen counters and cupboards - how lovely for us! She makes a fabulous landlady. After lunch we quickly dashed to a $3/bag clothing sale at a church charity shop and found a dressing gown for Aaron, two other tops for the boys, and Aaron's choice of blue hibiscus shirt. No punishment for him if he ends up not wearing it! Dropped Nick and the boys off at home again and went out to the Warehouse, alone, to browse - looking for something specific which I didn't really find, but I do enjoy familiarising myself with what the shops have to offer. Back home I hemmed the tablecloth (using a borrowed machine) which took considerably longer than anticipated. Meanwhile, Shirley and Miriam arrived to sort out some of the front garden. Nick and I are useless garden people so were more than happy for them to bring their expert green fingers in to clear away some garden debris. Nick pitched in as well, and Caleb and Aaron were great with keeping an eye on Peter and Harry.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ah, organization...

We passed a "3-2-1-Zero" something or other bin system inspection today - it's taking some serious concentration knowing which bin (red, green or yellow) to dispose of waste in. Had a thoroughly domestic day…both because I love being in my kitchen, watching the roses in the courtyard swaying in the wind, and because I love being in charge again. I enjoy a sense of organization, having fresh produce prepared and frozen in neat little family-sized portions, all lined up in their self-sealing bags; having cheese grated and ready, and having frozen meals on hand. All these things I battled to do on the island both because I had a small freezer and because I seldom had a glut of fresh produce that called for freezing. Now, after four years, I can run things the way I like them again. Thus it was that I was hard at work scrubbing carrots for use, chopping and freezing beans, making carrot and potato soup, pureeing tomatoes, grating my 1kg cheese purchase, and even making lemon juice with the lemons from our own little tree in the front garden. In between this we had our own school, and accompanied Nick to the Timaru Christian School where he took the assembly again. Also made proper food for tea – soup for starters, and beans, mash and mince for the main course! Nick busied himself making a bookshelf with the oddments of packaging from the flat-pack furniture – did a great job and we now have a place for all the boys’ school books.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Nothing new!

Good to start getting back into proper homeschool again, and we’re almost back to a regular day although it’s still difficult settling into sitting down at the table with the boys when there is so much I want to do. We called in at Carl and Miriam’s place during the afternoon to borrow some pots and a blender and to make some headway with our telephone and internet connections. Other than that there was just more unpacking and organizing to be done, and then bible study in the evening.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

In the kitchen

Slept well on our second-hand bed, the first night in our new home. So great to wake up this morning (and just look at that sunrise from the kitchen window) knowing that we had a busy day ahead, and meander to the diningroom not worrying about getting dressed or looking in the least bit presentable first! (Note to Carl and Miriam – yes, that WAS me looking presentable first thing in the morning…in case you were wondering J ). Had a lazy start to the day but eventually got some school going – the boys did some of their written work while I worked in the kitchen - and it's not always boring for the boys! They were laughing hilariously at their own sentence fragments... Nick did some prep at home in the morning and then tucked back into the business of furniture making. I went out to borrow Carl’s drill (power screwdriver), hammer, and internet connection, then did a few more bits of shopping for necessities before settling in to help Nick. I got pretty adept at making drawers while he built the frames for our wardrobes and bedside tables. Also had to go out in the afternoon to collect my antique Rimu writing desk. At about 5 pm I thought I had better start putting a meal together. Truthfully told, I was putting it off as the thought of preparing a meal with one pot and a frying pan was a little daunting, apart from the fact that I’ve cooked about three times in the last three months. Managed to pull together a spaghetti bolognaise though, leaving the mince mix in a pyrex dish in the oven while I cooked the pasta. Turned out pretty well despite taking so long to make – I’m already missing my Braun! Chopping onions, green peppers and carrots by hand (okay, I grated the carrots) is no joke. Loved the luxury of my sea-view though as I prepared a meal. I love my little kitchen. I also love the laundry where my brand new washing machine and tumble dryer proudly stand side by side. I did my first load of washing in it today with joy.

Monday, March 22, 2010

22 on the 22nd

The boys were disappointed to find out that we had time for school today, after packing up the last of our things from the Lucas’s home. We had no idea what time we would be getting into our rental so played the day out as it came. Had most of school, went home for lunch, and hung around for a while wondering what we could do towards moving. Didn’t really have long to wait though before Rachel texted to say she was on her way to pick up the key from the lawyers. From then until about 23h00 we were busy flat-out with the move – loading cars and trailers, unpacking them into the house, unpacking and washing boxes and boxes of kitchenware, and so on. We were blessed with so many people helping – Carl and Miriam with the car and trailer moving tons of stuff; Rachel, Josh, Shirley, Marg and Les offloading cars and cleaning cupboards and helping in the kitchen; Simon and Debs and the kids coming by with more furniture; Gilbert and Ailsa with sandwiches and fresh produce, and then later on Carl, Miriam, Matt and Rachel stopping in with fish and chips and pizza for tea – what a perfect way to initiate the new table! And not forgetting the biscuits and treats which had appeared in my pantry, as well as the groceries which had been collected before we even arrived. By the end of the day’s work we had semi-assembled the first of our flat-pack furniture (Steve and Maureen, we thought you would have been proud of us, and Pam – eat your Ikea-heart out!) but stopped short where we needed a hammer. Oh, during the day we also had our TradeMe fridge delivered. I bid on it without measuring the space it would occupy as Rachel said the drawers next to the space could get removed if need be…but we were amazed that the fridge slid into place with about half a centimeter on each side!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Good food in so many ways

Almost ran quite late in getting the boys to Sunday School this morning after I only got up after 7.45!! Such sinful sloth. Carl was making pancakes by the time we came through so we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast together. Had a bit of a rush to iron Nick's church clothes, but ended up getting to church with about two minutes to spare and not in the least stressed. I have taken over the "getting-the-song-words-into-the-computer-for-projection" ministry which will be easier once we have the Mac running at home which has powerpoint - for now I'm putting the presentation together at church just before the service. Thoroughly enjoyed Nick's message on the Sovereignty of God and the Vision of the Local Church with the application of finding and using our gifts and every-member ministry. Shirley invited us around to lunch where we enjoyed..., along with corned beef and a variety of other homegrown veggies,...yesterday's beans! They had also invited John, a farmer who drives the 25 or so km to attend our services. Had a super afternoon together chatting about cars and consumerism, although we left fairly early so Nick would have time to go over his sermon before the afternoon service. This gave me time to sort out our sleepouts before we pack up and move out tomorrow. I enjoyed the afternoon service - Nick preached a slightly more doctrinal message on the Jesus in the Old Testament and the Trinity which I have heard before (the disadvantage of being a pastor's wife!) but I love finding Jesus woven through the stories in the OT, like hidden jewels. We went with Carl and Miriam and the boys to Patiti Point after tea of bacon, eggs and hashbrowns, taking advantage of the gorgeous evening - still and warm.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

These spoons are close?

Had to go fetch our TradeMe bed from Ashburton today - about an hour's drive north, about halfway between Timaru and Christchurch. Kurt had offered us the use of his trailer, so after a quick fill up of petrol (I'm still a bit nervous about filling the car - in case I overfill and petrol goes spilling everywhere or something) and pick-up of the trailer, we were off. It was an easy and pleasant drive along one straight highway until we reached Ashburton, and then two right turns got us to the house. (Dad, thought you would like particular vendor in the photo). Found a shop selling breadrolls and chips so had chiprolls in the car on the way home. Took the bed-laden trailer back to Kurt and Shirley where it will stay until Monday, and found Shirley picking beans... Tea at Matt and Rachel's place with Simon and Debbie Bruce and their three children Simone, James and Daniel - they attend MRBC so it was great to be able to spend some time with them outside of church. Played a few mind/guessing games - Nick and I had a few up our sleeve and Matt had one or two new ones for us, and Nick did his chicken trick for the kids!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Stone, swimming and synergy

Wednesday night's bible study at Nigel and Peggy's place: from my left - Peggy's knees, John, Miriam, Shirley, Nigel, Grant, Caleb, Nick, Aaron, Lorna, Marg and Les. On Thursday morning I had my first "Bible in Schools" lesson at the Waimataitai school. Bible in Schools has been running for 35 years in Timaru, where once a week a Christian volunteer goes to his/her assigned school and presents a bible story to the primary aged children. I will be doing a regular slot here every Thursday at 9 am. It was sad to note that after I had finished telling the story of the baby who was found in the Nile river by the Pharoah's daugher, the kids could not attach a name to the baby - some made random guesses, but they have almost zero biblical literacy. This is the result of the government's decision to remove any sort of religious instruction from the schools many years ago - the grandchildren of these kids were the last ones to have bible teaching as a norm in school! Anyway, the lesson itself was fun. I have about 23 kids aged 8 or 9 who listen well and respond enthusiastically. Nick had a Timaru Ministers' Fraternal thingie at lunchtime, meeting with the various ministers in and around Timaru. That was followed shortly by his assembly-taking at the Timaru Christian School where he spoke about natural catastrophes and God's involvement, plans and goodness even when we don't understand His ways. Then we went shopping! In the evening Nick had a deacons and elders meeting, so it was really a busy day all around.
Today was no less busy. We tried to get through as much of our schoolwork as possible before 11 am at which time Rene came to fetch us so Nick and I could photograph some of the projects that Timaru Bluestone has undertaken, for their website redesign. Halfway through we stopped for lunch at Rene's house, then rushed off to watch Hannah and several of the other kids we have met swim in a gala. Caleb and Aaron met up with Caleb, Josh and Jayden - I was so impressed with Josh walking right alongside Caleb while he swam, shouting encouragement. All "our kids" did really well. (Hail the conquering hero! Josh, Caleb, Caleb, Aaron and Jadyen.) That done, we completed the photography and quickly dumped the photos onto the laptop which we took to Kurt and Shirley's place - Nick visited with Kurt while I edited our takes. Then had to drop those off at Bluestone (right on the way home) and haretail it home so Nick could wait for the courier to deliver his new TradeMe guitar (a necessary item on our list now, otherwise he'll never get it to replace the one he had to give up before we left the island). Miriam took Caleb and Aaron to a park with her boys and Max while we waited, which was great for them. For tea we were at Grant and Petru's place where we were amazed at their teamwork in the kitchen - they produced an awesome pork roast with accompanying veggies and goodies. The boys were swallowed up amongst Erin-Marie, Danica, Jayden and Dinae and we barely saw them all evening, leaving us grown-ups to chat about God and life and coffee and everything in between.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The daily report in an undaily way

So, what's to say about the last few days? Sunday was church, morning and afternoon, and between that we spent a relaxed afternoon at the Lucas's. After the afternoon service Nick and the boys went to the park with three other families, while Bronwyn and I scoffed cheese rolls in her kitchen (cheese rolls are not what you may be thinking - these are pieces of bread spread with a mix of cheese, onion soup and boiling water, rolled up, and then toasted - yummmmm!) and google-earthed our childhood homes. Monday was churchschool, thankfully the last week of school at the church before we move into our own place next week and can resume HOMEschool. In the afternoon I took the boys to town and acquired a 'vehicle infringement fee' for not displaying a receipt for parking on my dashboard. In utter ignorance I had paid for the parking when I returned to the car and was surprised to find the slip under the wiper. Doh. Tuesday was like Monday except we had pizza for lunch (takeaways which we took away to Caroline Bay), I didn't get any parking tickets, and we had a super tea with Les and Marg Nieuwoudt, a lovely SAcan couple in our church who also happen to be the parents of one of St Helena Baptist's previous pastors. Thoroughly enjoyed our evening with them, as did the boys who got to play with tumbling monkeys and chinese puzzles. Today has largely followed the pattern of the regular stuff - school (and it's been going so much better the last few days after much prayer), browsing for furniture on TradeMe (we now have a queen bed), attending to various relocation admin things (got the boys' homeschool exemption application posted), and time at home. And I did prep for my first 'Bible in Schools' lesson at Waimataitai school which happens tomorrow morning. Still today we have Miriam's fishy dish tea and bible study to look forward to (the former has been sitting invitingly on the stovetop for the past while causing much dribble and temptation).

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Joyful Day

The day to sleep late rolls by again...we have found it hugely difficult to wake up early when it's still dark and cold, so consider Saturdays a treat! We had a definite treat lined up though by way of breakfast with my cousin Joy and her husband Ken. Joy and I haven't seen each other in at least 25 years - we know that it definitely hasn't been more than 31 years as she apparently stayed with our family when she was 18 but my four-year-old memories are somewhat foggy and I don't remember. Whatever the case, it's been a really long time. We had been in e-mail contact in recent years though so weren't complete strangers - and we would have recognized each other without the prior text lead-in of our outfit choices! It was a marvellous reunion and we found plenty to chat about. It is so special to family living right here in NZ, although they are on North Island. After a glorious breakfast at the Purple Lizard in town, we took them to the church for a look-see, and then tackled a few garage sales together. Also took a drive past our house-to-be. Had a very blessed morning together; enjoyed McDonalds for lunch then came back to the Lucas's house for coffee and more chatting. Ken and Joy needed to leave here around 3ish for the 2-hour drive back to Christchurch, so we parted with many hugs and the assurance of another visit in the next year or three! For the rest of Saturday afternoon we took a quick trip to the Crows Nest, a last-stop for old goods before they get tossed on the rubbish heap (didn't find anything suitable by way of household goods), and then on to Patiti Point. This is a little part of the beach which is popular with surfers. We spent a long time there, watching the surfers, looking at driftwood and examining the variety of pebbles. Such spectacular scenery so close to home...praise God for the gifts He has lavished on us by way of nature's beauty.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday's exploits

Had another coooold day in school at the church, but thankfully we were on Friday and had the hope of the weekend! Nick finished off the morning with the reading of "Treasure Island". Home for lunch, and then Nick went to watch a game of tennis and Miriam took all the boys and me to a park - first though, a short drive to a few points of interest - good to know where the places to go are! We went first to Leckie Street Park which was super windy (the rain had dried up but there was a cold wind blowing), then left for Centennial Park which is absolutely huge and contains ponds, gas BBQs, playground equipment, cycling/walking tracks, a BMX course, and lots of grass and trees. You really have to drive from one end to the other. Spent a bit of time there enjoying a sheltered playground.
Later in the afternoon I took myself to the Warehouse for a good browse - the department stores all have perpetual sales. I'm convinced that the Warehouse constantly rotates their sale sections, so that within the space of maybe, six months, everything in the store has had a turn at being on sale. Works for me. Tea at Matt and Rachel, and the guys brushed up on their Geek. Oh, ha ha, what a funny typo. I meant Greek.