Thursday, March 31, 2011

Magnum P.I. (that's Problematic Icecream)

Let's see...yesterday I did a bit of catching up at work, with an extra two hours to fit in after Tuesday's fiasco. I'm doing some graphic design stuff at the mo which is super great. And really, this playing about earns me some $$$s too! Nick and I both skipped bible study to avoid spreading our germs but on the whole we're much improved. Today's work was much the same, continuing with what I started yesterday. Grocery shopping in the afternoon and it was a $5 week at PaknSave which means you get 2for$5, or 1for$5, or 5for$5 etc depending on the product. I bought Magnums on special - it's been ages and the trolley seemed to be filling with luxuries anyway. Mmmmmmmmm!!!! Aaron's ended up on the ground but he retrieved what he could and ate it off a plate. Nick also managed to make a mess of his but I'll leave those very undignified photos off the blog and for private viewing only...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Melodious odours

Yesterday the hospital phoned to say that they had had a cancellation and could fit me in for the nose job today...yay!! I rearranged my working hours so that I could write the whole day off for the anticipated waiting and recovery. Nick dropped me at the hospital shortly before 7.30 just after sunrise, then had to go back home to sort the boys out and get them to school. I had a book with me and sat in the waiting room for nearly two hours before a nurse called me to tag me and complete some forms. Then we were off to waiting room #2 which boasted lazy-boy chairs - very comfy! After nearly two more hours of waiting, a very apologetic nurse came to say that my procedure had been cancelled as the op before mine was taking longer than expected and they couldn't squeeze me in. I was disappointed of course but slightly relieved too - what would have happened with the mandatory cold-induced nose-blowing? Caleb had been participating in the Rural Sports Swimming Competition today, so we popped in at the pool on the way home. Caleb had already swum his one race and although he didn't place anywhere, his swimming teacher (who happens to be Rachel Cameron) said that he swam a good race and is making progress. So well done Caleb! Back home I crashed for a while (reading and lazing about all morning is totally draining and tiring) and then had a heap of beautiful fruit to preserve. I peeled and cooked blackboy peaches and a huge potful of apples. The smell of the peaches on the stove took me back to my girlhood when my brothers and I had to pick, wash, peel, pip and prepare peaches from our backyard trees for preserving. I had the odious job of gathering the scrapings into bags which always meant getting the peach juice dripping off the table on my legs and feet, and it always meant trying to dodge the worms creeping in and out of bad peaches. My mom would be stuck in the kitchen over big pots and bags of sugar and warm bottles while my dad was the general all-round worker and manager. That was the downside but it became a family tradition which I look back on with much fondness. The smell also reminded me of meringues and Christmas mince pies and love and holidays and summer as it was always in December that the big preserving event happened.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday's doings

After yesterday's heavy rains we were surprised to see an incredibly clear sky this morning, but it was cooooold. Nick had the fire going again until the sun regained its strength and warmed the house. The boys were off to school as usual but the Bucklands were still with us for the morning so we went out to town and thereabouts - these farm people don't have decent shops so conveniently located! I slipped off to work at the appropriate time, and when Nick picked me up later the Bs had pretty much packed up and were just about ready to leave. It's not too bad saying goodbye when there is a promise of 'next time' just around the corner! I've caught a mild cold so instead of cooking we went out for Dominos pizza which we ordered online and collected about 10 minutes later. Took it to Caroline Bay and let the boys play in the park for a short while.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Food for body and soul

The Bucklands boosted our numbers at church and Sunday School this morning; after the morning service we did a soup-and-rolls lunch at our house, having also invited the Phillipses. Although there were some heavy clouds forming, the kids were all outside during lunch and the rest of the afternoon which was an excellent thing as our house would not easily accommodate 15 people! Hannah was fascinated by the cat flap on our back door: The clouds opened up during the afternoon service in which Brendon was our guest preacher, and so we had to concentrate extra hard during the heavy downpour to get his excellent message. With the rain came some pretty cold weather too but this didn't hinder a trip to Burger King for tea (thanks Bucklands for treating us - Hawaiian burgers ARE amazing!). Nick had lit a fire before the pm service so we all gathered in the lounge for music, reading and chatting. Belinda was able to give me some very helpful pointers and tips on the violin, and Rachel and I tried our hand on a Silent Night duet - most of the time I was pulling faces to accompany the awful screeching or whistling emitting from my bow! It was really special to spend so much time just chatting though especially after the kids had gone to bed - Belinda and I both have our struggles as moms and it was good to encourage one another.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

To the Lake

We were truly blessed with some amazing weather for the day; we had planned to go to Lake Tekapo come rain or shine, but the shine was definitely preferable! It was mild, sunny and calm, the perfect day to be skimming stones across Tekapo's turquoise waters and dabbling at the lake's edge. Lunch was done picnic-style with a self-help array of buns and fillings. We drove up to the Observatory as well which was far more pleasant than our first excursion last year on that very windy day! From up there you really get a better idea of the colour of the lake which is quite remarkable. Home again late afternoon and ready to tuck into the chicken casserole which had been slow-cooking through the day. Had fun doing a few informal photos in the evening although I think I was laughing the hardest as Brendon tried to look serious :)

Friday, March 25, 2011


At last...25th March today which meant "Bucklands to Timaru" on the calendar was happening! The boys have been counting down for ages and couldn't wait - we were very much looking forward to their visit. Spent the morning cleaning the house and getting things sorted (I discovered that you can't spring clean an entire house in one morning but I sure tried hard); went to work slightly puffed and dishevelled. Brendon and Belinda and their girls Rachel, Ruth and Hannah arrived mid-afternoon and then the weekend was full-on!! After picking the boys up from school we headed over to Caroline Bay for a walk around the general area and a visit to the beach. Tea was fridaynightpizza with added chips - Nick and Brendon admitted that they were wrong and "the wife" was right when they had to brave their way through three HUGE scoops of chips instead of the two we had suggested - will they ever live this down? We let the three older kids stay up a little later while the two youngest bedded down in the boys room. Caleb and Aaron were sooo excited about tenting for the whole weekend!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


The Year 5s, along with several other classes, had a sports event happening today in lieu of school. While Aaron was slogging away with Mr Phillips, Caleb was at Morrison Park (which we didn't know existed until today) playing T-Ball for most of the day. I've never seen this game played but it's quite clever - much like baseball but instead of being pitched a ball, it's already waiting upon a stick in the ground to be whacked. Fielders field while batters run the diamond. TCS won all but one of their games against the various other local schools; Nick and I watched for the last 20 minutes before collecting Caleb and it was great to see him in action, really giving his all on the field. He's not mastered the game but his enthusiasm and effort did us proud.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Harmoniously done

Here's what's been happening in the last few days:
Sunday was not the best of days for me - you know when you put up a front of being cheerful but really there's nothing at all behind the facade? That was me. Sunny and full of poppy seeds on the outside, but hollow like the sound a baked-to-perfection kitke bread makes when tapped. Just one of those days. We did enjoy taking a meal around to Andreas and Danielle and combining it with whatever they found around the house - it was a fine spread of chicken casserole (had been slow-cooking all day), rice, peas, pineapple and biltong.
On Monday Nick wanted to clean the garage - I found a half hour slot to help him between coming home from work and going to the school for the boys. Er...this is the 'after' shot. Yes, looked much worse than this 'before'!! The boys are thrilled to have the tent up again and will be sleeping in the garage this weekend when we have the Bucklands visiting. We consolidated and resorted a few of our 'oh-dear-what-do-we-do-with-this-thing-let's-put-it-in-the-garage' boxes and Nick resurrected his hands-free harmonica arrangement. He was standing in the kitchen playing it with his hands in his NEVER stand around with your hands idle in my kitchen unless you're a house guest or an invalid!! I tasked him up. The boys thought the harmonica arrangement intriguing.
Tea was something different, which ran late because I was baking at the same time...not such a good idea but I suddenly felt a kitchen urge at 4.20 or thereabouts which found an outlet in a batch of cheese straws and spice and nut biscuits, along with ham steaks topped with pear and mustard sauce. The sauce sounded amazing in theory, but the boys and I were sweating and gagging on the spicy mustard...Nick loved it! I'll try it again but with a quarter of the recipe's suggested 30ml. If successful at the second sitting I'll post it to the blog.
Today, Tuesday, I was back to usual Lynnyness despite the weather which has turned south (that is to say, a southerly has blown in along with clouds, and it's been cold and windy today). I baked chocolate-chocolate cookies and currant and sesame oaty cookies before heading off to work which was, as always, just wonderful. Every day there is just a little more progress made toward the bigger picture stuff which is very satisfying, and also something new to learn or discover or enjoy. I also played about with polymer clay, having received via courier a pasta machine which will be used exclusively for clay - super handy for rolling out flat sheets from which shapes can be punched or cut. Nick has been hard at work with more wood chopping; he's had some chunks drying out on the garage roof which the boys helped him get down this evening.
And lastly, violin wars! Caleb is progressing quickly through his book - it's really helped that he's been taking piano, so dots on lines are not an unfamiliar concept. I've been getting a bit ahead of him which gets his goat in a big way, so tonight he did a bit of catching up. I was playing when he wanted to practice...I had to relinquish the instrument to its rightful player! Looks like we might each need one...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Jesus the Sinner's Friend

It's been one of these days today:Yup, rainy and grey and indoors, with a fire going after lunch. Seemed like a good time for Nick to finish recording a recent song, "Jesus the Sinner's Friend", using Charles Wesley's lyrics. He had already laid down the vocal and most of the music tracks, but just wanted the mandolin. This was a first for me - I thought I would simply be able to strum along but actually it took at least 15 attempts in bits and pieces before Nick was happy - each chord and note has to be spot on regarding timing and emphasis - it took a lot of concentration! Was fun though and a great experience...and I'm honoured to have been invited as a guest musician ;) You can click on the link above to hear it on YouTube!
Jesus, the sinner's Friend, to Thee,
Lost and undone, for aid I flee,
Weary of earth, myself, and sin:
Open Thine arms, and take me in.

Pity and heal my sin sick soul;
'Tis Thou alone canst make me whole;
Dark, till in me Thine image shine,
And lost, I am, till Thou art mine.

At last I own it cannot be
That I should fit myself for Thee:
Here, then, to Thee I all resign;
Thine is the work, and only Thine.

What shall I say Thy grace to move?
Lord, I am sin, but Thou art love;
I give up every plea beside -
Lord, I am lost, but Thou hast died.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Follow your nose

I had an appointment at the hospital this morning to see about the growthonmynose - I've been on the waiting list for three and a half months following a GP consult last year. For this event I rearranged my working hours, got myself all nervous and psyched for surgery, and pretty much wrote off the whole day in honour of the anticipated recovery. It turned into a major non-event though in a dramatically anti-climactic way as the consult was five minutes long! The doctor glanced at the growthonmynose and said quite casually that it would have to be done in theatre, so more waiting. Apparently it's not just a simple cut-and-heal job because of the location, and will need a skin flap or even a graft which would involve cutting a chunk of skin from elsewhere on me and pasting it in the hole. And then I'll be left with a deformed nose crease and lumpy blobule which is all in all rather disappointing and somewhat depressing. I'm tempted to say 'if only'...if only the doctors on St Helena had dealt with it a year and a half ago when it started as a tiny blistery thing, then I would have been able to avoid major scars now. But I know that the Lord's timing is impeccable and I don't believe in 'if only's'! Nick had kindly come with me for some hand-holding, so finding ourselves with no bandages or blood we went out for lunch. I made lasagne for tea (there were more greens than anything else in it - yay for good disguises for silver beet!) and pear tart for pudding, after which the sky had been clothed in a most photogenic way - time for a Dashing Rocks excursion again.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Not really gardening shoes

I don't normally post pics of acquisitions, but these cute shoes begged for a photo! I phoned Nick beforehand to ask if I could buy them...he gave his blessing, so these are guilt-free shoes :) I have most certainly borrowed inspiration (can you borrow it - do you return it? rather, taken inspiration) from Rachel's beautiful work in the composition of this shot - being surrounded by her mind-blowing photos rubs off in a very good way! After tea Nick and the boys headed off into the weed-patch where we also have potatoes and tomatoes growing and corn about to die off. It was time for harvesting. I couldn't believe the crop of potatoes that came out!! The biggest was around the 15cm mark but the rest are just a good usable size, and there are many. We've left them covered in dirt so they should last for ages!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

All things yellow and pretty

Just to be sure I retain the honour of 'employee of the week', I bribe the Boss Lady with gifts...Ha, not really. But I am challenged and inspired to new creative heights and a strong desire to make all things pretty. This was an attempt at lemon coconut ice, but unfortunately with not enough generosity on the essence side of things, lemon only referred to the colour.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"My Place" with a little HDR

7.20 PM: Welcome to my craft room - I DO love how the sun streams in through the windows at this time of day! Makes for a very inviting place to be in the late afternoon and early evening. We've been in this house nearly a year now; this is how my room looked a couple of days after moving in:

Monday, March 14, 2011

Meet the newbies

Yippee, Monday - that means back to work! I took a few Rosemary & Lemon cookies in honour of our first staff meeting where all the staff gather together informally in the gallery (i.e. the two of us sprawl on the floor with markers and huge paper!) Left the studio with about ten minutes to spare before getting to TCS for a 'new parents' tea'...Nick and I are new to the school since the last event, so we made the list despite being quite old to the school by now! Really enjoyed hanging out with some other parents though - there was a large contingent of South African moms :)
Janet looking very comfy there in a sunny corner of the staffroom!
And finally, Caleb wanted me to take this pic of The Wounded Finger and patiently rested his hand on a windowsill outside so I could make the most of the fading evening light. It is a fairly deep and wide cut but is healing well already.