Saturday, July 31, 2010

Splish splash

Enjoyed a chilled morning at home complete with a sleep-in and cooked breakfast - so great to relax after a busy week. Went to the Warehouse together for a look around and bought shoes for the boys on sale - which won't fit them for at least a year, maybe two! Drove around until we found a fish'n'chip shop and bought hot chips for lunch, then took the boys swimming at the public pool which is indoors and heated. Nick took out his Greek cards and I paged through a photography magazine. The boys had a splendid time in the pool and I had to worry neither about erythema nor hypothermia! Home by about 4 pm, made the boys hot chocolate, then we watched Monsters vs Aliens and a short 3D movie. After the 12-minute movie with green and red glasses our brains had started compensating, such that when we removed the glasses each eye was giving a separate tint on the world! Surely that can't be good for you. Thankfully it wore off after a few minutes.

Friday, July 30, 2010

More dashing rocks

I decided to put off our science section of school until the afternoon again, giving our sprouts a few extra hours before charting their progress. Just as well that we were finished the rest of school early as I was called in to Timaru Christian School (TCS from now on) to help out with the Wetland photography competition - the kids were editing their photos and I helped out with a bit of advice - cropping, boosting colour and contrast and so on. The sun came out in the afternoon and Nick could spare an hour to do the coastal walk I 'discovered' yesterday. Amazingly he found a better route through the muddy paddock over higher ground and dried grasses. Didn't I feel silly when I looked to the left and saw the wet track I had so carefully adhered to yesterday. He and the boys liked 'my beach' as it will henceforth be known and together we explored the rocks and tidal pools and cliffs. Caleb stopped to listen for trains on the way home and predicted that one was coming. Within about five minutes one had rumbled by! Got home just in time for Nick's two guitar lessons. The last item on the day's agenda was Mac Club...this happens once a month where Mac users get together and discuss Macish things. We don't normally attend but Matt had invited me to do a Gimp presentation (Gimp is a freeware graphics package not unlike Photoshop). I showed the Macees how to fiddle with photos and put together a digitally scrapped page. It was a fun and interesting evening.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Discovering Waimataitai

Started the day with my bible lesson at Waimataitai School. I only had to finish off a small section from last week, so I invited the kids to ask me questions. I could tell they were thinking because they showered all their hardest questions on me. Almost all their hands were up and as soon as I answered one question they came up with another, ranging from God's age and beginning to dinosaurs, to man-eating lions, to time and infinity, the meaning of 'Amen', and whether I had knitted the jersey I was wearing. It was great fun and very interesting! Came home for the rest of our school although we put off our science observations until a little later in the day when the sprouts had had a bit more warm time to grow. Seriously, it makes a difference. The boys were not so happy about the delay in end-of-school, preferring to get it all over with at once. Caleb played around with an electro-magnetic science kit in the afternoon and then tackled a wooden helicopter model/puzzle, while Aaron read, transferred rub-ons to a helicopter he made yesterday, and then started on a racing car. I think. I couldn't really be sure what he did other than that their room was a shambles afterwards. Had a lovely winter afternoon again and since Nick had been working at home, I took the opportunity to sneak off on my own with my camera. I found a Coastal Walk just around the corner from our house - we are so blessed to live such a short distance from the ocean! A ten-minute walk down the road, across a railway line and through a sludgy paddock brought me to a rocky bay and a short boardwalk. Turns out there's a coastal walk which extends all the way to Caroline Bay. We'll definitely be tackling this as a family some time!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sprouts, music, baking and meeting

School...we have language arts before our break, then launch into science, completely skipping (for now), our history, reading and read-alouds. The boys are observing, charting and drawing their radish sprouts, and every day we plant new seeds for some further experiments on growth. In the afternoon we went to Bronwyn for a music practice - we sometimes play together in church and don't often manage to fit in a practice so far in advance. Was great to have it sorted so early in the week. The boys kicked a ball around in their back yard and then played Rummy-O, sadly missing their buddy Sam who was at badminton. Home at 3, then spent the next three hours in the kitchen. I made macaroni cheese for tea and got a batch of peanut butter cookies ready so they could all bake together. While that was cooking I made coconut ice; Aaron wanted to help with the messy bit but was outside with dirty hands when it came to that. Found that damp hands are more effective with the sticky mix! In the evening we had a church members' meeting which is more of a spiritual family gathering than a formal meeting, with much laughter and joking around and very little serious stuff.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Radicles emerge in empty milk carton

Today we found radicles growing in a milk carton...that is to say, the radishes seeds we 'planted' yesterday in science have started sprouting (already). The boys are excited about this new unit as they will be observing daily change and growth in the little plants. It's awesome that after one day they're already growing! God has sure made things in an amazing way.
Yesterday when I was out shopping I saw the Warehouse was running a scrapbooking competition; well, more of a lucky draw really but to enter you had to submit a page. Closing date is 31 July - not much time, so I threw together an A4 submission during the afternoon and went off to post it. Nothing ventured...?Took some updated photos of the boys after their bath. Caleb doesn't usually like having his photo taken but was quite co-operative this time. Aaron always loves to pose.

Monday, July 26, 2010

26th July (for want of a better title)

Had a beautiful sunrise this morning and from there the skies got bluer and bluer - had a really gorgeous day with clear skies and warm sun, a reminder that spring is coming. I'm sure we'll have several chilly days yet as we're only just halfway through winter, but there is hope! The afternoon was busy with shopping, baking, a walk to Harvey Norman, and then a quick visit in the evening to the Kempfs and the Phillipses for drop-offs and collections of various goods.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

To coruscate or obfuscate?

Had the Klazinga family over today for lunch. I had some moments of panic well in advance in pondering the menu but settled on a huge pot of stew and heaps of rice, which I made yesterday (after the photowalk). It successfully fed Julie, Ben, Micah, Naomi, Irene, Caleb, Izak, Nick, Caleb, Aaron and me, with a bit left over. The Littlies and Middlie were occupied in the lounge so us Oldies had us a game of Balderdash. We had some hypoprosexia issues but none that didn't have a successful underfonging. Hmm, these didn't get fluctustressed by the spell checker...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

3rd Annual World Wide Photo Walk

Unlike our typical Saturdays, today's was a whirlwind of activity revolving around a tap and the photowalk. This morning we discovered that the bathroom tap was leaking in an alarmingly gushy way; a call to our trusty landlords resulted in some speedy action. Matt, Rachel and the boys were here within about an hour. The four boys threw stuff up and down the passage and ran around and laughed a lot. A Philippino brother from our church was riding his bike down the road when Nick happened to be outside so he was invited in for tea and got embroiled in the bathroom story; extra plumbing help was also brought in by way of a friend of Matt's. Two hours and a houseful later we got a brand new tap. Fed the boys then threw everyone out so we could prepare for the photowalk. Last year I led the St Helena walk, but this year I cast it on to Nick. Organizing the island's walk was much easier as we knew more people and word-of-mouth was louder, so this year's walk was less organized and, er, less well attended. We had a few sign-ups but almost as many cancellations, so it ended up being Nick, me and one other photographer from Twizel who we had not previously met. Good to get to know him as we meandered through the Caroline Bay area, along Stafford Street and other bits of town, to the harbour and then finishing off along the boardwalk. Timaru really has bits of everything - a really interesting place to photograph and definitely wanting several more hours. We spent two hours walking which was quite enough for one day's podiatric limitations. The boys had been at the Camerons while we walked, so after finishing off in town we fetched them, had coffee, then came home to unwind.Nick spotted this statue and took an awesome photo of him from a slightly different angle. I was instructed not to steal, so I changed direction and have to give credit to Nick for the observation!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Caleb's turn in the kitchen

Caleb has just been dying to wear his apron again; he wanted to make tea, or bake, or do something. I had in mind to make a carrot cake so I let the boys in on the action. For the most part I stood back and let Caleb physically do the mixing and measuring while Aaron read out the recipe, although had to intervene to pick egg shells out the mix! It was a good baking lesson for them. It's hard work now, but in the long run any cooking and baking teaching will pay off - hopefully in a few years I'll tell the boys to make a cake then wait until it a piece of it appears on a plate for me with a cup of coffee! I finished off my monstrous to-do list in the afternoon which included sewing a new zip into a pair of Nick's jeans. In my mind this was going to take hours, but in fact only took about twenty minutes - a great relief to have it done! Had the Camerons around for pizza and chips for tea and a super and late evening.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wet Lands and Cheese Rolls

Bible-in-Schools was back this morning after the holidays. It was lovely to be back, and during a lesson on the Lord's prayer I deviated and shared the gospel instead. We continue to pray that the Holy Spirit uses these lessons and that a seed will be planted in these kids' hearts. At noon I met up with a small group of children and two parents (one was Rachel and the other was Kerry who attends our church) from the Christian School to take them to the Wetlands. We've had a lot of rain though which didn't let up while we were there - gave new meaning to the term. Hardly ideal conditions for non-waterproof cameras but it was kind of fun in a strange sort of way. There is a competition running for all school children so today's efforts was to facilitate the taking of photos for that. They will have to try get back on their own steam though to sit quietly and wait for birds to come to them. Nick, meanwhile, had been doing the assembly at the school, so we met up there again. He spoke about John Newton, a spiritual 'Rags to Riches' story of God's amazing grace. Back home long enough for a cup of coffee, then off to do grocery shopping, after which I made my first batch of cheese rolls. Here's how (this is a simple recipe; there are fancier ones out there using cream or ideal milk):
500g grated cheese
1 packet onion soup
Approx 1 cup hot water
2 loaves sandwich (thinly sliced) bread
Mix ingredients together in a bowl and microwave until cheese is fully melted. The mixture should be a thick but runny cheese-sauce consistency. Spread on single slices of bread and roll each one up. Freeze until needed, then grill until toasted and spread with butter. Yummy!Had nachos for tea, then after the boys were in bed I made a batch of "Chocolate Marie Biscuit Squares" which will now have to be renamed "Chocolate Round Wine Biscuit Squares" - as much a mouthful as the squares themselves. Good to be back in the kitchen now that I have the right ingredients again!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Granny Bread

After finding Bovril on the shelves here, the boys have hit on a new name for 'toast with Bovril' - it's Granny Bread, named in honour of my mother whose daily makings of toast clearly stuck in the boys' heads. We now have Grandpa's Fudge, Granny' Stew and Granny Bread.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Little junk models

Have been trying to catch up on some projects and a multitude of magazines, books and bits of paper needing attention on my desk. Worked through a fair amount over the course of the day. The boys pulled out their polymer clay book and the clay and wanted to make some models. I didn't realize that this was the baking sort of clay, which makes it a whole lot more interesting and fun. We each made a little figure, adding to them beads and findings from my jewellery-making stash. Now that I've had a taste of this medium, I think I might want to dabble into it some more. this space!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Back for more birds

Back to the books today...first day of our forthcoming 10-week term. We had no problems settling back into it, apart from the usual minor disturbances. Good to get back into the routine. In the afternoon I headed down to the Wetlands again but once more was frustrated by timing - not enough of it, and wrong time of day. Was still great to walk around the area though.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Acts of the early church

Nick's sermon this morning was on Acts 2:42-47, about the early churches and how they would meet together and have all things in common - the marks of a healthy church. After church, there was a lot more hanging around and chatting than usual. Hmm. Very nice though. The Leevers and us were the last to leave, so we just extended the fellowship to our house (being an attentive pastor's wife and applying the message) for an impromptu lunch. Nick went for some scoops of chips while I started preparations for chicken tortillas. Joan brought some bits and pieces to add to the fray and we had a jolly good meal of it despite the complete lack of planning. I like ad-hoc invitations as it totally takes the pressure off - you take what you get or give what you have! Perhaps in the early church they were always prepared for the "in case", or maybe they had a roster of who was bringing the bread, who was on fig, olive and date duty and who got to provide the lentils. The boys and I called on quickly at the Phillipsies for me to discuss a scrapping project with Grant's sister who is soon to be re-relocating to SA, and then it was church time again, for a message on Psalm 5 with the title of "The Suffering Subject before his King".

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Chilled cheese rolls

Saturday mornings in our household are pretty chilled...I mucked about with photos and scrapping, the boys played Uno and read books, and Nick did something nondescript (ie he couldn't remember when I asked for detail). In the afternoon he and Rene had to get together for a sound check for two musical items they were performing in the evening, so the boys and I went around to the Kempfs as well. Bronwyn happened to have scheduled the making of cheese rolls, which are a kiwi thing completely unlike other cheese rolls we've had in other countries. Five loaves of bread were sitting in readiness on the table, so I had arrived at a good time to help. I'll detail the making thereof more when I've made my own batch, but I suspect these will be a good thing to have in the freezer for a quick grilling when needed. Hannah tried to hide away just as I was taking the photo. Or she was trying to get into the photo. I can't be sure.Called in at the Camerons for Caleb's guitar lesson, just long enough for a quick cup of tea with Rachel and for Nick to say hi to Matt for a few minutes after teaching, but had to rush home so Nick could have a bite to eat before going to the fundraising evening to sing with Rene. They did two items: a hymn and one of Nick's compositions. The fundraiser was done by the Jericho Trust who put on a Christmas dinner every year for the poor and people passing through Timaru at that time.

Friday, July 16, 2010


The boys got to use their well-earned movie voucher this morning. They still had to contribute $6 each (kids' movies are $8 - expensive) but were happy to pay and thought the experience of watching Shrek 4 on a big screen well worth it. I dropped them off and headed off to the Otipua Wetlands which I had not previously explored, but needed to try some shots before meeting with the group of kids at the Christian School next week, as I will be helping out with a Wetlands Competition. The wetlands are beautiful and abundant in birdlife, and makes for a great round-trip walk - you just have to be careful if you decide to pick your way across the springy grass clumps which lie thickly over swampland. We went as far as the ocean and then headed back on the other side of the Salt Water Creek.Our dinner guests this evening were Nigel and Peggy Barrett and their children, Hillary (one of Nick's guitar pupils), Felix and Devon. Had a thoroughly enjoyable evening - it's a blessing to get to know our church folk on a deeper level than a casual chat on a Sunday affords.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Egg and tie

During the morning I left the boys with Nick and wandered around town. It was a welcome break to get out the house by myself - just to be entirely alone. Took the boys to the Aigantighe Art Gallery in the afternoon - had been wanting to see what it was all about. They had a special holiday program running for the kids, with questions about the various paintings and artworks to be answered, earning them discount vouchers for the movies. The gallery is set in a beautiful old part of town and was originally built as a retirement house for a couple. Regrettably no photos were permitted in the gallery itself, but we made our way to the sculpture garden outside as well. Across the road from the gallery there is a 5-star B&B for sale, reputed to be one of South Island's finest. Nick's dream home!