"We have brains, we have brains..."
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
I've been engaging the boys in the kitchen a little this holiday - part of our master plan to empower them with the knowledge of a wooden spoon from a spatula by the time they leave home. They made chicken jambalaya for tea one night, which turned out really well. I need much more patience and time to make it fun for them though - you can't really teach a 12-year-old and a 10-year-old to be efficient in the kitchen and multitask when they haven't got the basics down yet. It has to be a sloooow process - agony for someone who likes to be in and out the kitchen as quickly as possible!
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
The boys have been largely confined to the great indoors as we've had a lot of rain, drizzle, cloud and gloom outdoors. They've watched a DVD or two, listened to audio books, read a lot, played Lego, built a puzzle (not their idea), and have been to the shops with me. In the brief periods of nearly-sunshine or at least non-rain, they've played a bit of basketball and hung out with the other younger kids on our street. We have new neighbours with four children!
An obvious delight of holidays is all the extra time one has - I've been saving my craft projects for these two weeks, and have been looking forward to getting tucked into some sewing! My tie collection hasn't grown very rapidly, but I had enough for my first project, being a skirt. Unfortunately I mismeasured the length I'd need, using the tips as the length instead of the side where it's shorter, so the whole thing was shorter than I would have liked; the length also had an impact on the shape of the skirt, making it more straight up and down. But on the whole I'm satisfied.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Today was such a miserable day, weather-wise, that the only thing to do (aside from reorganizing a wardrobe and shifting summer clothing to alternate cupboards) was go on a family outing to the Warehouse (where everyone...?). It definitely wasn't the weather for working on chicken coops and yards either, as Liz and Graham evidenced by also popping up at the Warehouse. Great to discuss the weekend's plans in person - decided on a soup and Balderdash evening at their place, and quickly got Viv and Marc in on the deal. I made a tomato soup in the afternoon and Liz did pumpkin; Viv brought bread and a yummy blackboy peach pudding. Balderdash was great but after one round of dashers, we got distracted with YouTubing and ended up not finishing the game, leaving Marc hanging in the lead. Fab evening with a cosy fire and so much laughter (particularly watching Mister Epic Mann) that my jaw hurt :)
Friday, April 19, 2013
Phew, we survived! 12 weeks of school is a long term - we knew it would be when we planned the dates last year, but having the Easter break helped us push on for the last three weeks. We like to do something as a staff to celebrate our sanity, so we had the "Three Cs" in the staffroom after all the kids had left - cake, chocolate and cheese. Happy April holidays, everyone!
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Happy happy birthday to Caleb who turns 12 today! Technically we should only celebrate around 1 am tomorrow morning, given the timezone change and his actual birth being at 15h08, but we're lenient on this one and allow 18th April to be close enough :) Given that it was a regular school day today the celebrations were pretty low-key, starting with presents at 6 am...
Saturday, April 13, 2013
Nick and I have been taking regular swing dance lessons for about nine months now, by mutual agreement and enjoyment. This weekend was a big dance event for the Timaru swing dance club, "Swingkatz", who are celebrating their fifth birthday - to celebrate, tutors were brought in from Wellington to teach 11 different classes from 'stealing' to 'musicality and performance' and everything between. The Friday night social dance featured two live bands and a vintage theme - super exciting for Liz and me who love the dress-up aspect of the swing scene; Nick and Graham displayed some rare performance qualities in allowing themselves to be outfitted (we actually hired the vest and cap for Nick!), and they did look great. So, after some running around to accommodate our busy schedules (youth group for Caleb, orchestra for me, and then dropping the boys off at the Rawlins for a sleep-over), we met up with Liz and Graham, Andreas, Chrissy and Jeremiah and Diana who had all enjoyed a dinner at Speights, to enjoy some quiet time together before the dance at 8.30.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Two interesting things happened this week. The first was that I joined Timaru's Youth Orchestra in the string section - totally out of my depth but not embarrassingly so. Of course I'm not a youth, despite still thinking of myself as a 25-year-old, but I'm not the oldest person there either. We're practicing for a "mid-Winter Christmas" concert at the end of June, so the pieces are Christmassy and fun (and difficult, for me). All good - it will be a stretching and growing time. The second thing was that I realized that a sewing mannequin would be a most useful addition to my sewing kit and ability to produce clothing that fits. I Trade-Me'd and found this model at a good price, closing later on the same day. Had a bit of competition right in the last two minutes but either they weren't really all that interested, or got distracted at the end, so the bid closed without too much ado. I received it by special-order courier on Wednesday morning, and am now looking forward to the school holidays when I'll have a bit of time to use it!
Thursday, April 04, 2013
On Easter Tuesday the boys and I went shopping; Briscoes was having a sale (nothing unusual there), and I invested in an stovetop-to-oven pot and a new cookbook, "Easy Tagine" - tagine can refer to either the pot in which the dish is made, or the dish itself. Tuesday night we had Tagine of Lamb and Vegetables with Mint; Wednesday was Beef Tagine with Sweet Potatoes, Peas, Ginger and Ras-el-Hanout, and tonight was Chicken Tagine with Pears and Cinnamon, served with couscous. I've had to buy new spices and even fresh herbs, since buying a few leaves for nearly $4 each time is not going to suit the budget. The boys are getting less and less fond of my tagine book, but admittedly the meals went on a slow downhill slide during the week. Caleb's comment after tonight's meal was, 'there doesn't seem to be much to it'. The pears cooked away, so it was really just chicken on couscous with some yummy flavours, but flavours don't fill a stomach. Will have to start modifying the recipes to include more substance! The combinations of ingredients are fabulous though.
Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Last month I mentioned that I photographed Joan and John Leevers' beautiful home, which is on the market - here are a few pickings. It's still available if anyone is looking! It's gorgeous and tidy and bright, and with not a speck of dust or unruly item anywhere to be seen, an absolute pleasure to photograph!
Tuesday, April 02, 2013
With the extra day off school today, I had time to do all sorts of stuff. I washed windows, washed the kitchen floor, got through some ironing, cleaned the house, finished a piece of sewing, and cooked a superb meal for tea. I found this frumpy old dress in an op shop a few days ago - ankle length, long sleeved, and shapeless. I didn't even try it on, but for $1 I knew I could resuscitate the gorgeous fabric. I've also been on a tie hunt - (I'm still looking...men...ahem...) so had this one ready and waiting (I daresay it tied in rather well). I know, that's knot funny. Anyway, here is my new "upcycled" top!
Monday, April 01, 2013
With Tuesday being a holiday for all schools and some businesses, we were keen to have a night out and some fun! Took ourselves to Graham and Liz, along with Tom, for toasties and balderdash. We were hoping for the usual table-tennis, but it turned far too cold and windy so we stayed indoors for the most part. Graham and Liz have made excellent progress on their chicken coop and we were shown around - the oohs and aaahs were genuine, but through a gritted jaw to prevent shivering they probably didn't sound as impressive!