Friday, April 30, 2010

Brown's Beach and the Kempfs and Nieuwoudts

Nick had finished his week's work and so got to have some of his day off today. In the morning he went to visit Rene who had returned from a missions trip to Ecuador where he and the team had been involved in building a communal multi-purpose training facility thingie. In the afternoon we got in the car and drove northwards of Timaru to Brown's Beach in the Temuka district. Very pretty beach flanked by wide open spaces and cows to the west (inland). Nick and the boys threw long pieces of driftwood into the sea for the fun of it while I squelched shoe-deep into a muddy hole.
Had Les & Marg and Kurt & Shirley around to tea, for which I made "Granny's Stew" as the boys call it (a mince stew) and foccacia bread. Enjoyed our evening of chatting with our mature brothers and sisters. As the small world turns, Les and I used to work in the same street in Sandton about ten years ago!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Patchwork pieces

Yesterday was such a non-day in terms of anything happening worthy of description that I shall entirely skip over it, save this one-liner. This morning I was back at Waimataitai School for my Bible-in-Schools lesson in which I told about the first nine plagues. Nick had been doing school with the boys in the meantime, doing a lovely job of filling their minds with learning and spelling. He lit a fire shortly after I got home and sat there doing the rest of the his reading, but it warmed up significantly during the afternoon.
Joan is taking me through the book "Communion with God" by John Owen (the RJK Law rewrite, anyway), and after our first blessed meeting on Monday she showed me the quilts she has been making. I am inspired! Decided then and there to take it up as a hobby, but when I started looking into prices I was thoroughly discouraged. The patterned cotton fabric is hugely expensive, aside from the backing, batting and tools...realized I would have to put it on the back burner for now. However, while I was doing the grocery shopping this afternoon, Joan phoned to say "come over, I want to show you something." The something was two HUGE bags of curtaining offcuts which she had procured from a place in Temuka earlier on - freely given as they are destined for the rubbish. Wow!! Need I say I was thrilled...took the bags home and sorted and folded the scraps into neat piles. I suspect I may wait until our boxes arrive in which are my scissors and sewing machine, but I can start planning in the meantime. Watch this space for progress updates on My First Quilt.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Capital Idea

caleb and aaron have never been so keen on using capital letters to begin sentences or for proper nouns. I was glad that it came up in Language Arts this week, but it doesn't seem to be sticking - this morning I had both boys constantly erasing incorrect answers to replace them with the capitalized version. In frustration I asked what we are actually learning this lesson, to which Aaron replied, "how to rub out".
We've been reading the story of Wilbur and Orville Wright and the boys have been very interested in how they would take things apart and remake them - especially Caleb who tends to be somewhat of an engineer. Inspired by the book, they acquisitioned an old telephone destined for the rubbish, and unscrewed it all. I don't think they particularly learned anything but they certainly had fun doing it! And I cleaned the house.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Windmills are for sunny days

Last week Caleb ordered (with my help) a solar-powered robotic kit off the web. It arrived by courier this morning and there was no way we could wait until after school to open and build it. I considered it an educational experience so we got busy straight away, abandoning all book study until later. We first built the motor and then the solar unit, and from there all the pieces can be interchanged like Lego. We assembled a windmill but as there was no sun it was difficult to test! I plugged in a desk lamp but no results - thought maybe it needed to charge so we left it for a while. It was Caleb who discovered that the light source just needed to be closer, and suddenly we had a working model. So exciting! Caleb later built a puppy, aeroplane and boat.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday's Food

I've joined the Sunday School team along with Miriam, Grant and Les, with the class of senior primary girls. Today was the first lesson of the new term with new material, and I'm taking my class through the Ten Commandments. It was a very enjoyable lesson despite having only one pupil - Hannah! We finished quite early (neither of us having much to contribute by way of chit-chat) so joined the 10 am prayer meeting before church. Nick preached on prayer and revival at both services, reading several accounts of revival in the afternoon service which can do nothing but inspire and challenge! We visited Leon and Magda Swanepoel and their daughter Lisa in the afternoon for a cup of tea and South African fare of Romany Creams and Ginger Nuts, enjoying the hour of chatting about SA.
After the evening service we invited the Camerons around for tea - spaghetti bolognaise, easy to whip up quickly. After eating we sat around the table and had a devotion and prayer meeting - what a blessing to enjoy fellowship with brothers and sister - and wonderful to hear the four boys praying for each other!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Chilly weekend

Friday...finished school early and thought "hooray" - had the whole afternoon free. Unfortunately I didn't have any little projects on the go so the long afternoon would have been very long but for some friendly visitors. Was glad that Bronwyn could pop around for a cuppa - great to catch up after they'd been away on holiday for a week and a bit. Rachel brought her Caleb by in the early evening for a guitar lesson, and a fairy who would probably prefer anonymity called in with homegrown peaches and apples. Nick went out to do some car paperwork and discovered that he needs to visit an optometrist. Consequently his international drivers' license is delayed, but the car is fit to drive.
Saturday...Nick played badminton with Matt during the cold, grey morning while I did church admin. Because we knew we were going out late afternoon we didn't really bother with the fire - so we sprang at Matt's invitation to come around earlier to their warm house! I hadn't made my pudding yet but took all the ingredients and made it there - a pineapple tart with sticky topping from my aunt's collection. Nick and Matt chopped veggies, looking ever so domestic. We met Andrew and Sally, friends from the Bible Chapel, and their three children who all came around to join us for an informal tea.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Which tells of sales, socks and the Leevers

I love sales, specials, give-aways and clearances...Briscoes, a large homeware department store, is having a huge ANZAC-special for four days (that's right fellow consumers - best you hurry on down) with up to 60% off selected goods. I bought winter-weight duvets for the boys at silly prices and other housey things. Added to that I had a $10 voucher for signing up on their website, making the specials even better. Then I went to the Powerstore to claim my Fisher & Paykel free socks, from a voucher I downloaded off a TradeMe link. Yes, I am a superconsumer!
Last night was Nick's and my first Marchwiel Reformed Baptist Church AGM. Although it was a long (very long) meeting, it was very enjoyable - unlike other church business meetings I have attended, we all sat in a circle at the back of the sanctuary as one family with a lot of chit-chat and laughter between the serious discussion. The chairman (ahem) was not very strict in calling rowdy attendees to order, which I guess contributed to the late ending. Still, a blessed affair.
The last three days have been largely spent at home, except for today's foray to the shops. I have cleaned, sorted and organized to my heart's content, and now simply have to wait for our 68 boxes of goods to arrive. The ship conveying them arrived in Auckland last Sunday, so it's just a matter of customs clearance and transport down to Timaru - which could be days or weeks, with no indication from the shipping company although they did furnish us with a document instructing us NOT to phone or e-mail their company asking for a date. They are apparently quite busy at present.We had John and Joan Leevers around to tea - I was roasting a chicken and also wanted to make a dent on the 100kg potato donation we received. We had a super evening together over a meal and then further chatting in the lounge - John has plenty of very interesting stories to share!

Monday, April 19, 2010


Had a very productive day today - first day of the new term, and after a mid-morning pep talk with Rachel I am determined once again to try be "nice". It seems that school has drained my nice-levels, and even a two-week holiday has done nothing to replenish them. I guess the more I practice the more it will come naturally. Ah the effects of the sinful nature. After school I took the boys to town so Caleb could spend some birthday money, and they each bought a skateboard from the Warehouse (Aaron had some of his own $$). Skateboarding is big here (as is cycling).
We weren't out for very long, and then while the boys were practicing and playing with their new gear, I cleaned some parts of the house and got the pot belly fire going. Turns out that I'm a really useless fire-starter, but I managed to get a suitable fire lit which I kept going during the afternoon - apparently it works better if you don't throw in crumpled up newspaper after putting the wood on the bottom. The potbelly did a grand job of heating the house - we can see that it will be marvellous in winter! Nick came home in the afternoon to continue the job of splitting wood.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Caleb's 9th

Caleb's birthday today...we started with the pressie-hunt and opening, and then a little later we were off to church. Came home for toasted sarmies for lunch and then the blowing out of candles on the cake-substitute, inspired by Genevieve's traditional American choc-chip biscuit!
We arranged to have a picnic tea at Centennial Park, extending an open invitation to friends to join us there. The weather was beautiful for which we thank the Lord, and to Him we also give thanks for our precious 9-year-old boy!
Thanks Erinmarie and Danica for the cupcakes, and also Grant for that very special 100's and 1000's arrangement...
Went straight from the park to church, and then to town to hire Planet 51 for us to watch together at home. Caleb said it was a great birthday!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Light up the fire and get them marshmallows

Had a wonderfully relaxed and even somewhat lazy morning at home, pottering about. Aaron and I popped out briefly so he could buy Caleb a birthday present, and then at 1 pm I dropped the boys and Nick off at the Camerons for more wood chopping. I went home and baked a batch of biscuits (cake was not even a consideration when I realized that I didn't have my electric beater), and made my traditional island pizza to take with us to the bonfire. Nick, Matt and the boys came back here late afternoon to offload wood from Matt's ute and get it into the woodshed - it is hard work but by all accounts it's enjoyable manly sort of stuff.
Then we all went back together for a bonfire. It was a goodie...huge fire, plenty of marshmallows, and good company. There was a mix of folk from our church and the Church Street Bible Chapel - good to get to know some brothers and sisters.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Lasagne night

Finished off the curtain sewing for the bathroom, and fashioned some tie-backs from driftwood - awfully pleased with the effect which is not only (to my mind, anyway - Nick was less encouraging) attractive, but also works as a functional curtain - ie outsiders can no longer peer in at the unsuspecting showerer. Not that we were having issues with that, but one does want to enjoy a certain amount of privacy!
Grant and Petru, with Erinmarie, Danica, Jayden and Dinae came for tea. I resorted to my lasagne, but this time had it with spinach layered in, and made a HUGE salad which was mostly made of leaves as I've seen my kiwi buddy do (yes, you know who I'm talking about). It's an easy way of making a big bowl of salad, and then you deceptively sprinkle tomato, capsicum, and any other bits you have over the top. But it's kind of like a gift basket filled with straw with just one layer of goodies at the top...or a whitewashed tomb... Anyway, the evening with the Phillipses was very enjoyable and the salad wasn't bad either.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Clean flues and special mince

Yesterday the boys and I were mostly just at home - I still have a lot of 'at home' stuff (settling in stuff, sewing curtains and things) I want to get done during the holidays, so was glad for the time to do just that. Today we visited Cynthia and Olive, two sisters in our congregation, who were in the middle of pickling but happily obliged us to take a tea break long enough to accommodate our pastoral visit. I was looking forward to getting to know the pair a bit better and was not disappointed. Pity no photo! We left at 11.30, just in time for the chimney sweep. My sister-in-law commented that this event sounded very Victorian, but even so I was surprised that the sweep came complete with brushes, sheets and sooty face. He told us stories of sweeping over the last five centuries which involved children being made to go up the 8x8" flues, and getting asphyxiated and dying up there...they would tie rope around the children's legs to pull them down if they died! Those children wouldn't live past the age of 21 back then because of the damage to their lungs. What a sad tale.
In the afternoon I went grocery shopping - still highly enjoyable, and I came home feeling so blessed of the Lord for the specials they had on! It happened to be a "Thrifty Thursday" where they have heaps of things on special. Mince meat (Gen, would that be 'ground beef'?) was going at $4.95 per kilo. I was very good though and (mostly) only bought things that were actually on my list.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Retreat to Mt Hutt

Matt and Rachel are friends with people who run a retreat in Methven. They invited us to spend a night with them there, so yesterday after lunch (and after Nick got in as much prep as possible in the morning) we piled into Carl and Miriam's graciously loaned 8-seater, and Matt drove us the 1 1/2 hours to the venue. It is settled in the foothills of Mt Hutt and extremely pictureseque. We had an awesome 24 hours of fellowship and activity ranging from abseiling, archery and the "Flying Fox" to watching a movie and reading quietly. Our hosts, Steve and Monique and their children Megan, Moriah and Blake, were excellent to get to know and we enjoyed the time spent with them as well as the Camerons. All the boys, including little Blake, did superbly with the abseiling. This was a first for Caleb and Aaron who sailed over the edge with no worries. Aaron made us nervous with his totally relaxed approach to the edge, in fact! The archery was also great and the boys loved using a REAL bow and arrow. Turns out their mom was a pretty good shot. After some target practice we let fly with some distance shooting into the field. I think Nick was the winner at that!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Reds, blues and greens

The day started out with sun but after breakfast a huge fog rolled in and we could barely see where we were going on our short drive to church. By the time the morning service was over though the sun was out again and it turned into a gloriously sunny and warm day. Nick preached a rousing sermon on the Great Commission - very challenging and convicting. Came home and made toasties on our George which we took to Centennial Park, along with the boys' bikes. The Camerons had popped on at our place while we were making lunch to collect Josh's bible, so we suggested they bring their take-aways to the park as well for a quick meet-up. I am loving the autumn colours appearing in concentration now - we did not have these seasonal changes on the island!
The afternoon service was again very challenging on Haggai 1 and the rebuilding of the temple, with the application of 'seek first the kingdom of God'.