Saturday, March 31, 2012

March weather sure is lovely

Nick was in Christchurch for the day attending a "Roving Classroom" - he says that Rob Harrod did an excellent job with an introduction to Church History. Nick will be having his turn in May, on Romans. The boys and I stayed home with no car, but did venture a walk to Briscoes in the afternoon. We spent some time rearranging the lounge and hanging a mirror and two canvasses in the diningroom (my photography competition prize!) so by afternoon were ready to hunt down a few extra bits by way of a proper mat for the diningroom and some throws for the lounge where the recliners are now in full sun. It was a profitable and productive day but we were glad to see Nick when he arrived home around 8 pm!
Stunning day - look at the colour of the sea as seen down someone's driveway (what a view as you drive home, ey?).
Ah yes, the all-too-familiar Briscoe's sale :)
And the diningroom by the end of the day - the mirror will hopefully brighten that wall.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Long days numbered

I really haven't baked much (at all?) since my parents visited in summer...time to get at it again.  I produced a biscotti and peanut butter biscuits - just wished they lasted longer!
With the shorter days rapidly approaching, we thought it expedient to take advantage of the 8 pm sunset and stunning day - bought pizzas and took them to Caroline Bay; after eating we took a wander to the rose gardens where the sun was so perfect and the light just beautiful.  I am dreading the approach of winter, although autumn still has a way to go and much of interest to appreciate - but on 1st April when daylight savings reverts, it will mark the onset of my least favourite season :

Monday, March 26, 2012

In the skies

There have been a bout of fires around the outskirts of Timaru lately - I googled to see if there was any news about them but couldn't pick up any info - possibly farmers burning their fields after harvest? Beautiful puffy pink smoke though!
We don't often get spectacular sunrises - either the sun rises into a perfectly clear sky or it doesn't appear to rise at all behind heavy grey clouds, but sometimes we get brilliant reds and interesting formations.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Another bye-bye at the Bothas

The sun was supposed to be shining this afternoon so we thought to organize a picnic at the Botanical Gardens after church - instead we were invited to the Bothas for a BBQ as a farewell for Mr and Mrs Wilson (our farmer John's parents) who return to Ireland on Thursday after their four months in NZ.  They are a regular part of our congregation as they come here for summer each year, returning to the UK for their northern hemisphere summer (I like that way of thinking).  Andreas and Danielle had a crowd - John and his parents, Olive and Mary, Cynthia, Les and Marge, and the four of us all managed to fit around two tables in the diningroom.  And what a BBQ it was - genuine SA boerewors made by a genuine SAcan (not Andreas), chops and chicken, salads, breads, potatoes, carrots...we ate!!  Thanks again, Bothas, for a really lovely afternoon and some excellent multi-cultural company and linguistics :)

The boys teaching Danielle and Margaret some UNO rules, below...
Unfortunately we didn't get a repeat of yesterday's weather - instead, it was strange and unusual in the opposite direction with a HAIL storm!!  Some heavy rain rained itself out after about an hour and then the sun was out again, but it turned chilly. 
Above: Aaron trying to catch hail!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Blowing hot and cold

Timaru achieved the highest AND lowest temperatures today - we were the hottest and coldest place in NZ with a low of 8 deg C and a high of 29.2 deg C - we felt the heat!!  It had been a cold cloudy morning but in anticipation of the forecasted sunshine I had two loads of washing out - had to bring them in at 3 pm to prevent them overdrying (that NEVER happens here, even in summer).  Nick took the boys to the beach for a swim in the afternoon (I stayed home and practiced violin but my hands were sweating so much with the heat I couldn't get it right!).  Normally this kind of weather changes suddenly to a cold southerly, but today it stayed hot until late into the night.  The good weather is not quite over yet despite many trees changing to their beautiful autumn colours already.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Wacky Hair or normal?

All good fun and laughs today at school as most of the kids and staff came with wacky hair-dos - don't know how anyone got any serious work done with seeds falling out of seed pods all over the floor (well done to a very creative mom on her daughters' winning do's) and hairspray fumes heating up the classes.  Had the lovely job of photographing some samples from each class.  I had to pop out during the morning to get a document signed and, feeling just a little embarrassed about the bird in my hair and faux-beehive style, I explained to the chairman that it was an occasion at school.  "Ah," says he, "I didn't notice."  (I wasn't sure if this was because he isn't big on details or because he thinks I am normally weird and this didn't seem unusual??)
Above: Caleb, in Room 5 - all quite serious and hard at work; Aaron's class below (Aaron to the left), not so serious!
Wow!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mo(o)re enjoyment

Fast forward through the week to Thursday evening, which was when I took the next photo of an event in our lives - Rachael to tea.  Made a chicken pie and had much laughter and fun around the dining table, moving into the lounge after tea for a video clip viewing of silly things we find amusing: annoying orange, the duck songs and honey bear, blind cricket...we laugh every time! 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saturdey-hey-hey

It's official: today was a cracker-lackin' day!  We had weather such as we seldom even have in summer - clear blue skies without a hint of a southerly.  Bliss!!  As such, it was a very Saturdayish kind of Saturday with many Saturdaily activities happening.

Collectively as a family we:

Finished our sermon and played some iPod between times;
practiced cricket, both bowling and batting;
did three loads of washing;
practiced music;
chainsawed down the prolific bushes outside the diningroom and got as much into the green bin as possible, saving the rest for next week;
gave the boys a haircut and did a trial run of coloured hairspray, procured today from the $2 shop, for Friday's wacky-hair day;
and mowed the lawn.
That's not including the other unphotographed stuff, like cooking (mashed potatoes, chicken nibbles and steamed julienne carrots), cleaning the house, trying to organize a fundraiser wood-chopping event, and sitting in the sunshine eating hot-cross buns.  Phew!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Well swum, swan!

After my morning at school, I put on my 'supportive mom' hat and went to watch the boys at the inter-school swimming event which had been on the go since 9 am.  I felt for all the very dedicated parents and teachers and helpers who had to be there all day with the constant noise of the cheering schools, the starter clappers, whistles blowing, splashing and babble in the indoor swimming complex, but for an hour and a half it was quite manageable.  Caleb and Aaron had already swum two of their mandatory three events by the time I arrived but I got to watch one each of their events plus an extra relay for Aaron.  Caleb won his race (I joked to a mom who has superstar swimmers that now I know what it's like to have overachievers as children...but jokes aside, I was really proud of him) and Aaron came second last in his breaststroke event - to be fair, his swimming group had only had one crash course in the stroke the day before!  He did superbly in the freestyle relay though, knifing through the water really well.  The senior relays were probably the highlight of the day though for most as this was when the best swimmers competed - TCS won two out of three events!!  So proud of our school. And on that note, I'm happy to say that now it IS my school - I have been appointed as the permanent Office Administrator starting in Term 2.  Shortlisting, interviews and decisions were all made this week and now I am officially on the staff.  Thanks to Shaun Brooker for installing me in the office off the street back in August last year; thanks to Bethany and the Board for keeping me on, and mostly, thanks to God for this huge blessing!
Above: thumbs up from Caleb! 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sweet notes

Had a music practice with Liz and Graham in Liz's shop this evening - good fun to play music together with passersby looking in the shop window and smiling (okay, well, only passerby, but she looked like she would have liked to stop and listen!).  Whipped through the songs in record time - we shall see what happens on Sunday in church!
During grocery shopping this afternoon my eye fell upon a box of cannelloni tubes.  Had heard of cannelloni but never tried it, definitely never tried making it.  Had some spinach in the fridge already, so made a spinach, ricotta, and tuna cannelloni with tomato sauce (I modified the recipe on the back of the box).  Wow!  The bitter tomato combined with the creamy filling, sweetened with a hint of mixed spice, with superb.  I'll definitely be trying that again!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

When in Rome

Always glad when it's Sunday and we can go to church - I still count it a huge blessing and privilege to be able to attend two services, and have Nick as my pastor!  Romans in the morning (and Andreas has uploaded the message super fast especially for our friends in Egypt ;) ) and baptism in the Holy Spirit in the afternoon.  Extremely enlightening message in the afternoon particulary - yes, Baptists DO believe in the Holy Spirit!  Called in at Andreas and Danielle after church in the evening ostensibly to give Andreas a few violin pointers (I shall refrain from officially calling them lessons as I'm not far along enough to be a teacher...but I can certainly pass on what I've learned in a year!); Matt and Adele and the girls were also visiting and so it turned into a merry music evening.   Good fun!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Chirpy, like cricket

Before dawn had even cracked, Nick and the boys had been whisked off to Dunedin with Tom and his boys to watch the fourth day of the test cricket match between NZ and SA.  This was the boys' first live match and they enjoyed the action, although test cricket can be a little dull.  Their day was certainly enhanced by being able to get autographs from several of the players, get their faces in a TV camera (although no one has claimed to see them on telly yet) and claim free gear - they came home around 9 pm with mini cricket bats, balls, wickets and thankfully no sunburn.  It was an awesome day out for the men - thanks again to Tom for their treat!
Below: Daniel Vittore, past captain of the NZ side.

Below: Jacques Kallis, for SA.
I had been looking forward to an entire day of unbroken solitude, but by around 11.30 the house was clean, two loads of washing hung, and I started feeling lonely.  Not bored, just lonely.  Kept busy during the day with cleaning the church, practicing music, crafting a little, shopping and what not, but came to the conclusion that there's more to life than productivity, and a day flying solo is not all that great after all.  At 6 pm when I went to buy fixings for a meal-for-one I really felt like a desperate single, sure that the cashier was inwardly laughing at me and my solitary tomato, taking malicious delight in my sad little Saturday night salad.  But ho, I have friends and knew that I would have been berated at church if I confessed to my status the next day, so called up the Gregorys and invited myself over for company and crafting.  And actually the salad was amazing!  On St Helena we used to get Sally's every Friday and eat it in Castle Gardens - I would habitually get the chicken pasta salad with sweet chilli sauce.  This came pretty close!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Hot shots

Ta-da!  Made the front page of The Courier today, being second-place winner in a photography competition.  The prize is a voucher for a canvas, so at last we'll have some wall art :)
And this is the photo I entered which impressed the judges - Caleb walking through the doorway at what used to be a store in a Chinese Settlement in Arrowtown.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Doing it the SA way

Every other Tuesday we have staff lunch at school, for which two staffers cater. This week it was Grant and Petru's turn, and being 'regte, egte Suid Afrikaners', they decided to have a full-on BRAAI (aka BBQ).  Apparently I got blamed for the chaos on Tuesday as the pair of them had some mild panic attacks in the kitchen and around the Weber...I take full responsibility if that's what came from egging them on, encouraging the crazy ideas, and helping them go all out!!  It was super fun and tasty as a summer braai should be, with potato bake, lamb, wors, chicken, pap en sous, salad and best of all, Coke!  Our fun and fellowship was cut short by a playground accident and the calling of an ambulance for a broken arm...never a dull day!

Monday, March 05, 2012

180...

Breaking News: Today, 10,000 DVDs of the 180 Movie were distributed across New Zealand to high school and university aged people. The movie is a documentary of a horrific modern-day holocaust, made by a kiwi film maker living in the States. Timaru was gifted 600 DVDs to distribute; we had several teams in different locations across Timaru both at lunch time and after school. Curious? You can watch the movie for free on YouTube or at www.180movie.com. It'll blow you away!!

So here's how the hand-out worked - I was with Graham and Liz, Amy, Mark and Viv, Tom, and Jeanette at the Polytech. Simple as...
video

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Isn't every day Children's Day?

Although there was a chill wind blowing, the blue skies lured us outdoors and to the bay after the fellowship lunch following the morning service. It's autumn now; summer's over but we can still take advantage of the sun while it's available! Turns out it was Children's Day today which meant that the fair rides were running and were FREEEEE; there was free-face painting, free fruit, lolly scrambles, clown performances and much more. Of course we missed most of it because we arrived about 20 minutes before everything closed, but it was good to catch a bit of the vibe and a few lollies. Met up with the Phillipses and Gregories at the Bay; Graham and Liz shouted us to miniature golf. The joke was that we were the only ones with cash available - I loaned them the money so they could pay for us! Doh :)

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Titleless (ie I couldn't cook up a suitable title...like the potatoes)

Big DONE on the to-do list was the church directories - updated, photocopied and ready for distribution.  Had a music practice in the afternoon with Bronwyn; straight from the church we went to the Camerons for tea as they were kind enough not to turn down our self-invitation - sometimes that's just the way you do it ;)  Had an interesting Mattmeal (ie Matt cooked his own concoction) which was tasty and nearly crunchy...mmmm, potato bake.  Hee hee...thanks guys, it was really enjoyable!