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A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014.”

 Nixon and Dumptruck

 nixon: “dad-dad, i’m going to need this dump truck up there NOW”.  look at that little face!  you are desperate to get outdoors every second you possibly can, you love grass, dirt, sand, shells, rocks and what you love best is throwing all of these things.  15 months old this week little bear, i love you x

Brothers Playing in Sandpit

ethan: we were pretty sure your little brother would love the new sandpit, but it’s been so lovely to see you jump right in there with him and start playing!  you ran right inside as soon as you saw it and found some of your giant bugs and dinosaurs to donate to the sandpit toy collection.  you really do surprise me everyday x

linking with www.practisingsimplicity.com

20 School Holiday Boredom Busting Ideas

Finally the spring school holidays are here!  One more term then we can all relax into summer, it feels like it’s been a long time coming this year right?  I am quite surprised at how Ethan has finished the term; usually he slides into the holidays in a state of mental and physical exhaustion which takes him a few days to shake off.  This time, he’s happy, feeling good and pretty much ready for action!

I’ve been thinking about the next two weeks, what we are going to do and what I would like to achieve as a family.  Following on from my #100daysleft post , I realise that thinking “ermagad, two weeks of holidays, WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO???” is a bit scary and totally counterproductive.  Breaking it down into thinking about daily activities and planning one day at a time is going to set us up for a pretty wicked two weeks.  It will also keep the cost of activities at a minimum and prevent last-minute {read:expensive} boredom busting scrambles.

So, here are 20 ideas to get you and your kids into creative holiday planning mode.  I’ll expand on each idea below;
School Holiday Ideas

 1.  Baking

Why not use the holidays to teach your child a skill?  Pick one day each week and use it to teach them something you love doing or are passionate about.  It could be cooking, gardening, sewing, building, whatever floats your boat,  they will find your enthusiasm contagious and this is a guaranteed memory maker.

2.  Hit the Pools

Around Auckland we are lucky enough to have lots of swimming facilities.  All Auckland City council pools are free to kids under 16!  Find out more here.  If you fancy venturing further afield, Parakai and Waiwera are great options as the thermally heated water is still entirely doable even at this time of year.

3.  Hit the Library

Stock up on some fresh books early on in the holidays so the kids have something quiet to do when they need to chill out after all of your awesome adventures : )

4.  Go for a hike

Easy peasy, FREE and awesome.  Hiking is one of our fave family activities, E loves getting out in the bush.  Not sure where to go?  Start here for ideas in Auckland 

5.  Rock Pooling

This is another of Ethan’s favourite past-times.  Grab a bucket, kick off your shoes and head to the beach!

6.  Game Day

Our kids pretty much all love their digital technology so how about embracing it for one day and plan an official Game Day.  Set up a gaming station, maybe around the dining room table, invite friends, plan some snacks and a fun lunch and leave them to it!

7.  Movies

Plan a movie date, at home or the theatre

8.  Picnic

Pick somewhere you love to visit or somewhere you’ve never been ie the North Head tunnels.  Get your kids input on the menu and require all hands on deck to prepare the picnic.  It could be lunch or dinner, just take the kai outdoors and have fun!

9.  Farm Day

On Sunday the 6th October, Ambury Regional Park in Mangere Bridge is hosting it’s annual Farm Day!  It’s free and there are heaps of activities on offer.  Find out more here

10.  Indoor Climbing

Have you tried this?  So much fun and a great workout for you and the kids.  Not too expensive either {Clip n Climb charges $10-$15 per climber}, try googling indoor climbing to find a venue near you.

11.  Art Gallery

Get some culture into the kids these holidays!  The Auckland Art Gallery currently has a very cool installation called The Cubic Structural Evolution Project which basically means the kids can build with Lego at the Art Gallery!  Fancy & free!

12.  Zoo

13.  Plan a Party

Parties don’t have to be just for birthdays, Simone from Great Fun For Kids plans a party just about every holidays and I think it’s fair to say all those in attendance love them!  Check out her School Holiday Book Party idea here

14.  Plan a ‘Fancy’ Lunch

Put the sammies away for a day and plan a special lunch that’s a bit out of the ordinary, it could be Fish ‘n Chips, homemade Sushi, high tea, or a trip to a new cafe or restaurant.

15.  Plan a sleepover

Easy-peasey.  Kids too young?  Plan a sleepover in the lounge with Mum and Dad as the guests, put the tent up and go indoor-camping, holidays are about a break in routine so make sure you bust out and surprise your little ones every now and again, they will love it!

16.  Catch a bus or a train!

Cheap fun, kids LOVE public transport and you don’t have to worry about parking!  Take a trip just for the sake of it, plan a scavenger hunt or make some eye-spy bingo cards for the trip.

17.  Fishing

Pick up a couple of hand-lines and some chicken hearts from your local butcher {these are SO cheap $3 and you’ll be sweet} and head to a wharf, jetty or even a boat ramp.  It won’t matter if you don’t catch anything, trust me!

18.  Nana Date

Take advantage of the time off and get your kids to help plan a date with their grandparents.  It could be as simple as taking over a shared lunch or including them on one of your outings.  Think about some interesting conversation starters that will get the kids immersed in a story form ‘the Olden Days’.  Both the grandies and your kids will love and appreciate some special time together.

19.  Challenge

Set your kids a challenge to complete before the end of the holidays.  It could be build a fort, write and illustrate their own picture book, invent a recipe, complete a self-portrait, learn a new loom technique……anything that will encourage persistence and creative thinking.

20.  Explore!

This my favourite.  Pick a place in your town, or slightly out of town, where you have never been and go and explore!  There are so many corners of Auckland I have never been to the possibilities are endless.

 

Project 52 | Catch up

A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014.”

Phew, life got in the way a bit there and I’m 3 weeks behind, but I’m determined this will be the ONE memory keeping project that I start and finish this year!

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Baby Nixon
nixon: we had been jammed up inside for what seemed like an eternity so I took you to a large field, carried you to the middle and let you loose! You were stoked. We ran, played, yelled and finished up on the playground. Little Man Unleashed!

My Big Boy

ethan:  a teasing glimpse of summer.  also, your hair is like a wire brush poor child.  you are such good company, i’m crossing my fingers that this will carry us through turbulent times ahead as you creep towards those teenage years x

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 Ethan and I

ethan:  the old glassy-eyed not quite looking at the camera fake smile.  you should be smiling, you were just awarded Player of the Year!  so so proud of you, your are the mega-achieving, pride of my life x

Baby Boy and his Dog

nixon:  a boy and his dog.  it’s all i can do to keep you indoors these days, i’m quite sure that you actually cause as much mischief as possible so i throw my hands up and throw open the doors as soon as possible!

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 Ethan and I

ethan:  home from camp!  3 nights on kawau island left you positively amped, we were so happy to have you home, things were too quiet and ’empty’ without you here x

Sleeping Bubba

nixon: a rare car-nap.  you are definitely not a good sleeper, never have been.  when you do nod off we roll with it and i always enjoy the minutes of peace that force me to sit still in the car with you and just be x

linking with www.practisingsimplicity.com

100 Days Left. Thanks.

100 Days LeftWow, you guys were really feeling that post!  It was so awesome to read your comments on here, IG and FB – I hope ya’ll read ya’lls comments as well as there have been some beauties.  Basically, it seems, we are not alone in our suckiness and the consensus is that it’s GAME ON for the remainder of 2014!

For me, the ritual of actually writing the post, mulling it over, then tapping it into life here on the blog, solidified my discontent, made it a ‘thing’ and gave me the impetus to make some changes.  That’s the beauty of writing in any form, gathering your thoughts enough to craft them into words kinda acts like a sieve for your brain.  Admittedly my sieve has some holes in it, but when I can sort the important stuff from the garbled storm of the century, usually some good will come from it.

Yesterday was awesome.  I powered through so many things (except the handwashing, that’s still shooting daggers at me from the laundry);

  • I planted one vege garden ? – On Dave’s to-do list is building the new one
  • I opened our Holiday savings account ?
  • I delivered our rugby teams last coaches gift ?
  • I mowed the lawns ?
  • I exercised ?
  • I cooked a kick ass dinner ? (homemade fish fritters – 1.5 kg of hoki @ $9.95kg fed four for 2 dinners this week!)
  • I replied to ALL emails rather than looking at my inbox as it’s very own to-do list ?
  • I installed a new app to help me keep track (thanks Tara for the suggestion!) ?
  • I didn’t have any wine – Mon, Tues, Wed all AF ?
  • I didn’t buy anything ?

I’m going to use the hashtag #100daysleft on Instagram to share my progress in making ALL of my days count, so join in if you want, I’d love to see you rockin’ out the rest of the year x

Losing Track | 100 days until 2015

When I say I’m losing track I’m not talking about trotting out the old Mum adage of “where has the year gone?”.  We all know that once you have kids time becomes a slippery slope of years passing as quickly as our many failed diet and exercise fads.

I’m really meaning, we are 9 months through 2014 and I’ve lost track of my life.  In SO many ways.

I’m pretty sure it’s a combination of massive cabin fever due to a miserable winter, Nixon’s surgery and recovery, getting used to SAHM life again and just complacency with the status quo that has left me feeling continually overwhelmed and overcommitted, but with a severe lack of motivation and focus to be able to mentally ‘clear the decks’.  That was a  l o n g  sentence but this is going to be a long post so get comfy.

I have never in my life had a veritable MOUNTAIN of things on my desk that remain there for days.  Behind one couch is my pile of shame;  another mountain, this time of outgrown baby clothes, toys etc that could probably fund Christmas – if I could get around to listing it all on TM.  I have started SO many projects this year and failed to complete them.  I have shopped up a storm and left things in their packages, unopened and unappreciated << how disgraceful/ungrateful is that?  I have indulged some horrendous eating habits, specifically, unbelievable levels of chocolate consumption.  I’m not even going to tell you how much and when I eat ALL the chocolate because you wouldn’t believe me anyway – it’s THAT bad.

Basically, I’ve just been sucking at my life.  I’m pretty sure my kids are ok though, they aren’t made of chocolate so I haven’t eaten them.

I’ve also been totally sucking at my blog and that makes me really sad.  I’m sorry about that.

But, it is spring and spring means change and promise and brighter {drier+warmer} days ahead and I’m going to rock summer this year so I need to get started NOW.

Here’s how I’m going to shake things up before the close of 2014;

  1. Finances: Dave begins a new contract October 1st which means he is going to be paid monthly instead of weekly.  Conveniently, I had forgotten about this until he reminded me last night.  As I mis manage our finances I now have two more pay checks to prepare for a month between $$.  It’s beyond time to vastly reduce the discretionary spending and put some goals in place.  I used to micro-manage our budget and I was really good at it.  In the past few years I have let this slip so I will be reinstating the budget and setting up a new savings account.  Call me frivolous, whatever, but I want to holiday next winter.  I want to have something to look forward to, to work towards and somewhere to escape the hideousness of winter in Auckland.  We don’t have credit card debt and won’t be getting into debt for a holiday so, it seems we will be saving.
  2. Health:  I’m going to shake my mega chocolate addiction.  I didn’t buy 4 king size blocks at the grocery store on Monday so that’s all that needs to be said about that.  We also need to reduce alcohol consumption.  Dave and I have slipped into the habit of “it’s been a rough day let’s have a wine” or “it’s been a wicked day, let’s have a wine” or “today is a day that ends with Y, let’s have a wine!”.  This will also go some way towards saving money and reducing the old discretionary spending.  I also realised that I went 3 days without drinking any water at the end of last week.  Hells bells I need help!
  3. House & Home: It’s time to stop procrastinating and get cracking, and by cracking I mean purging, selling and cleaning.  Around the house I have a to-do list as long as my arm that includes such good times as; water blasting the house before it stops raining for the season, planting my vege seedlings, weeding the rest of the gardens, getting our dining room table painted, spring clean Ethan’s room and the family room……..and more of course.  None of them especially onerous or particularly time-consuming, but the motivation to actually do them is what has been lacking.  I’m thinking, lists, lists and more lists.
  4. Blog:  Writing makes me happy, and sometimes, I think my writing makes you happy too.  So, I’m going to prioritise some time each day to spend right here, mummy-blogging it up.  This may eventuate in getting up earlier to fit things in, but this also has the added bonus of a guaranteed shower each day.  Yay for clean!

So.  That’s all of my dirty laundry aired.  I’m going to update you on my progress each week and please be a champ and let me know if you’ve been sucking at life too ok?  Maybe we can all reform together and start a commune or something?

If you have any amaze apps that you love for to-do list type stuff I would love to hear about them.  Anything I can do on my phone may help me keep on track.

Finally, if you have made it to the end of this monstrous post, you, my friend are a Champion Reader of Blogs, so go and find yourself a button for that and pop it in your sidebar or something mmkay x

 

 

 

Cook Eat | Try something new – Black Rice

Back Rice

Ok, first things first; black rice is SO hard to photograph, black rice would get in all kinds of trouble as a food model – hard work yo!

Secondly; Dave and I ate black rice as a side dish at an event a couple of weeks ago and it has kinda been stuck in my brain since.  I was grocery shopping by myself yesterday {the luxury of that little excursion was NOT overlooked}, and despite having left the list at home, I had enough concentration to remember that I was wanting to get some coloured rice to try at home.  Fancy rice isn’t cheap, I perused the shelves and walked away, balking at $6-$10 for a 500gm pack.  I did end up returning to the aisle ‘O rice and grabbing a box of funky black rice for $5.99 before I left the store, it was one of those things I just needed to get out of my head!

I’m SO glad I did.  It takes longer to cook than regular white or brown but holy smokes, it actually has taste!  And apparently more nutritional value {according to my very quick perusal of the interwebs}.  Black rice has one of the highest levels of anthocyanin antioxidents found in food.  Let’s be honest, I’m not too sure what that means but I haven’t heard Nigel Latta tell me not to eat it so it must be ok!

Best of all, the family loved it.  Even the nine year old.

I’m calling it a win people!  Stoked to be able to simultaneously increase the yum+health factor of something as simple as rice.

Now, get back in the kitchen!

 

7 Days

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Worn out. Sunday night and I’m done.

Big weekend down here in old NZ, our incumbent Prime minister John Key and the National Party have won the election by a landslide indicating a firm shift to the right by New Zealand voters. Nothing too out of the box but the amount of people not bothering to go to the polls at all is pathetic.
Ironically, during one of the wettest weekends in recent memory we cleared an existing garden, laid the sleepers and began levelling the ground for a jumbo sandpit for Nixon, and we went to the pools with Ethan’s rugby team (amidst torrential downpours).  A little bit of sun to go with our springtime activities wouldn’t have gone amiss!
Big week though;

  • Ethan was awarded Player of the Year at his Rugby Prizegiving!
  • One day, Nixon restarted the washing machine 5 times before we got through a full cycle, it was hilarious. SO WAS NOT HILARIOUS.
  • E spent four days on Kawau Island at school camp and loved every second of it. I thought I’d love every second of the very quiet week too, but I really just missed him.
  • I walked 3 kms every day for 7 days, measly I know but I do haul ass while I’m doing it
  • Husband is the best.  We came home from our wintery swimming excursion to a messy, messy house and we power cleaned it together, including vacuuming, 3 loads of laundry sorted, some spring cleaning done and happy kid status maintained throughout yah!  And then he cooked dinner x
  • Bitches be bitchin’ at the moment right?  Serious nastys going on the world of health and fitness blogging {and other places}, play nice ladies
  • Lightbox, Lightbox, Lightbox.  We LOVE you.  For real.  Lightbox combined with our Igloo for PPV All Blacks test matches is the best most economical formula of paid premium content I can fathom.  Peace out Sky, I will not be back.

Have a fab week my pretties x

Acquisitions | Monochrome Birkenstocks

 

After a short stay in customs jail my comfy, velvety, gorgeous {“super ugly hippy shoes” – Husband} black and white Birkenstocks have arrived!  I ordered from Amazon through a seller in Germany which actually took  f o r e v e r, but still worked out cheaper than purchasing here – even with the ridiculously exorbitant customs charges added on, hello revenue gathering : /

Anywho, I wore the White Gizeh sandals out the other night in a desperate bid to hasten Summer but Summer aint listening people!  Can.  Not.  Wait.  

14 months Old|Hello Nixon 6 Weeks Post-Op

Baby Boy

Same old, same old – how time flys – yadda yadda, but really?  Six weeks? 

Thank you so much for all of your kind messages and concern it has meant so much to us!  The good news is…………..Nixon is doing amazingly well!  His little bowel that was obviously SO excited about being able to poop has calmed itself {thank god!} so we are no longer dealing with 7 dirty nappies before lunchtime – he seems to have a regular routine now, twice a day which is pretty normal I would say!? – I think?  

His hideous, bleeding nappy rash is also entirely gone and really, my only concern is that post-op he hasn’t gained any weight.  Zero grams.  He’s still sitting at 98th percentile however………….so, I guess there’s not too much to worry about lol.

The Hirschsprungs diagnosis still seems completely surreal to me, even more so since his excellent response to the pull-through surgery.  We are now fully immersed in the normal trials, tribulations and JOY of having a 14 month old toddler ruling the house – and believe me, the tribulations are many.  

This kid doesn’t take no for an answer, he laughs in the face of NO and carries on his merry way.  There is so much I want to remember about this age as Nixie’s rate of growth and change is incredible right now;

  • I love his little voice, our house is constantly filled with babble – ‘shooz’ – shoes, this means I want to go outside Mum, ‘huss’ – hush, this means shut the hell up you barking a-holes, ‘dish’ – Dash, barking a-hole #3, plus eyes, ears, up, door, nose, mama, daddad, Nana, yum, uh-oh, digger, dump truck………so many cute little words
  • I HATE the obsession with one of my surfing trophies, he pulls it off the wall approx 173 times a day, brings it to me and says NO NO
  • I love how he pulls every book off his bookshelf and sits on top of the mountain and reads them all one by one
  • I love watching him learn new tricks {like climbing up on the couches!}, when he succeeds he sits back, satisfied with a grin on his face

Life is pretty wicked aye?  Feeling quite grateful right now x

 

Cook Eat | Easy Eggs

Sponsored post, but you all know I LOVE eggs right?

 

Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time will be familiar with my love of eggs.  All the eggs please ALL OF THE TIME!

I’ve been eating eggs for breakfast for 3 years now.  I find it a really easy and quick way to squeeze in a complete protein based meal that seriously keeps me full until lunchtime.  I cook them the same way, every day, in the same bowl and I love the simplicity of my little morning routine.  When I was pregnant with Nixon and still working I often wouldn’t feel like eating too much when I first woke up so I would take my eggs and cheese to the office with me and microwave them at work!  So good.

Last winter, as I was struggling with the hectic, erratic non-schedule of a newborn and a nine year old {and a husband!} my trusty 2 minute eggs were still the hero of the morning for me.  Protein is SO important for breastfeeding mums both in terms of increasing milk supply and just basic energy levels, luckily the speed of preparing an eggy-based breakfast makes them a time-poor mummy’s perfect go-to.

Here’s how I whip them up;

You will need;

2 eggs

splash of milk to taste

salt

pepper

cheese {if desired}

Tip: I use a noodle bowl with a smaller top diameter than the bowl in the  image below.  This helps stop the eggs from over-cooking in the microwave.  This is very much a trial and error process which you will fine tune according to your own bowl, microwave combo!

  • Crack the eggs in a microwave safe bowl, mix with milk – maybe 2-3 tblsp – until whites and yolks combined
  • Season with S & P to taste
  • Microwave for 1 minute, remove and whisk with fork
  • Microwave for a further 45 sec – 60 secs depending upon how much milk you used
  • Add cheese and enjoy!

For more yummy ideas with eggs which are super kid friendly, click here to download a Quick & Easy Recipe Guide

Microwave Eggs Recipe