We were graced with another wet cold weekend  this week. Yeah, another. Hello spring, feel free to come in soon. 

Some instapics form the last couple of days

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Cats being used as babies, cakes, more cakes, laundry basket den, signs of spring, some crafting, some cooking and more signs of spring.

We are finding some new fresh ideas and calmer but firmer approaches are seeing off the terrible two challenges and have restored us back to a happy peace, more listening, more understanding. I am blessed with friends who understand, who get it, offer great ideas at just that right moment and share the delights when it all comes together.

Best quote of the weekend 

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The little blip we have currently is her getting up before her glow clock lights up. 

Daddy “stay in bed until the sun comes out and you can have 2 tictacs in the morning” – dont ask, they are the ultimate treat *faceplam*

moo ” 5 tictacs”

daddy “no, 2”

moo “5”

daddy “2”

moo “4”

daddy “2”

moo “3”

daddy “ok”

Love this girl.

August 20, 2013 Homelife

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After a busy (wet) weekend we have tried to slow down this week. We are finding ourselves stuck in a cycle of toddlerisms, battles for control and the upper hand. Simple things are becoming tedious and hard. We need some time, some love and some strategies. 

In that quiet we found a lot of lovely moments 

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I think Moo finds it hard as we try to make sure that she is allowed freedom to make decisions, steer herself as much as possible. To be herself. Unfortunately for me her current ‘self’ is strong willed, opinionated, loud and stubborn – the last one, seriously. She’s always been a great listener but suddenly I’m finding myself being ignored, polite requests are rebuffed and she’s mastered the bottom lip pout (which is adorably cute!). I find that as she ignores me I get frustrated and snappy and she then ignores my increasingly desperate and cross ministrations and it all goes south really fast!

This weeks highlights include having to leave a store with her screaming under my arm, and screeching her way round 1/3 of the grocers. While I know for some that’s pretty normal – for me they were both firsts and left me feeling out of my depth and blindsided. Suddenly weekly tasks we usually breeze though have become fraught.

And while I would really love to bring the smack-down (proverbially not literally) I know that for the most part the blame, or perhaps a better word is responsibility lies at my door and how I respond to her. 

This book will be entering our home, as recommended by Little Coffee Beans – thank you!

And we are slowing things down, taking time to enjoy the little things. Focus on affirming her good behaviour (of which there is a lot) and our communication. Hopefully remove the pressure that exacerbates the behaviour – from us both. 

August 15, 2013 Homelife

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This was going to be a weekending post, but since I have no weekend pics – literally zero, zilch I decided to make it a ‘things Ive done’ post instead.

Things I do that me me, well, me. Bits of my life that define me and how I live.

I love to cook, Im not sure I’m a great cook, serviceable for family meals may be. We are passionate about trying to make our foods wholesome, tasty and healthy. And budget friendly. We are not vegetarian but we do aim to be low gluten wherever possible. I have a Thermomix which I love. Its not a ‘solve all’ that many expect but it does exactly what it says it can do and within those boundaries its great. I’m particularly fond of its risotto making capabilities! 

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So yeah, I cook (and currently take bad Instagram pics as I’m still sans camera) In order you are looking at; Crockpot cooked chicken, the stock made from it, banana apricot cake, black bean brownies – which are madams current favourite sweet treat. 

Hubbies favourite healty treat – raw food date and coco balls

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When I’m not toddler wrangling I can be found in the garden and I also try to run at least twice a week – try being the most telling word in that sentence. Before you go away and go ‘wow she runs’ I will admit I’m no ‘runner’. I jog at best and its a slow huffy puffy affair where I look like Im working extremely hard while not really going anywhere. Low points include realising that the dog is trotting, really trotting – no panting or tongue lolling in sight, along side me, and being overtaking by a 60+ something OAP who politely encouraged me to ‘keep it up girlie, your doing great’ as he sailed past.

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The garden is a happy place for us all. We have a decent sized plot which keeps us (me) busy. We are extremely fortunate that we have enough grazing for our mini – supplemented by a little feed and occasional visits to friends for R and R. Since we moved in 3 years ago there have been loads of changes and hubby built 5 raised veggie beds out the back as well as 2 by the back door. We inherited a lot of ‘borders’ which I’m learning to fill in and look after in a low maintenance high colour way (its a steep learning curve that Im not on the top of yet!).

Some of our other garden projects include re-seeding areas of muddy/weedy grass, re-stoning by the sleep out and moving the path boundary. Not to mention relaying and edging the driveway.
I have firmly advised hubby that the edging (with washed river boulders) is his job!
This weekend we had a lovely morning at the local wildlife park on saturday (in between rain showers) and a quiet afternoon as hubby was working. On sunday Moo and I drove out to Oxford for the weekly market and a garage sale trail which was a great laugh. She behaved so well all morning, tripping form one garage sale to the next, looking for treasures. Our haul included a couple of wicker baskets, a bread board, tray and lovely table centre with hand embroidery.
I do love a good garage sale/bargain hunt. After mum died I realised that despite the best efforts of myself while I was there to see her (for a week with a high needs baby) and by my awesome uncle and his wife after her passing, many of the ‘treasures’ that made up her home had found new homes with other people, bypassing them and me completely.The family china and silverware included.

It doesn’t bother me in the sense of possession. It just saddens me that some of the ‘old’ and ‘loved’ bits and pieces I remember from her home have missed out on furnishing our cupboards and tables. So I’m trying to rectify that in the way my mum did for so much stuff. Little by little finding treasures for a bargain. Bits and pieces that remind me of my childhood. Not to mention finding our own new treasures and memories.

Oh and in other news …. we are going to be going to Fiji on holiday in September, YAY. Can’t wait!
Sorry bombshell to end on, more later 🙂

August 6, 2013 Homelife

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We had a lovely weekend. The weather was great, cool but sunny today and only a little overcast on Saturday. We got lots of garden and house chores done as well as collecting a little (or not so little!) keyboard we found 2nd hand for madam as she loves her music in all forms. Since the collection was miles away on the other side of the city (and next to the beach) we made a trip of it.

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It was great to get to the beach but so sad to find ourselves driving through areas of town that are still so damaged and disrupted from the earthquakes which feel so very long ago. Feb 2011 will always be remembered in Christchurch, individually by each person for different reasons. Personally it was the day my mum went to town on her holiday over here with us. The one day she went to the city. A day truthfully, given where she was when the shakes hit, she was lucky to come out of unscathed.

It is so sad that it is still effecting so many people on such basic levels. We are so blessed her to be living like it barely happened and all lasting effect for us is positive. So many are still in flux and uncertainty.

Sunday we headed to our local market (we are creatures of habit) and on way serendipitously saw the steam train coming through our little town, great fun! We got pictures and drove along side it for about 10 km as we made our way towards Oxford.

At the market we unexpectedly but delightfully met friends there so shared our morning with them, ending with a trip to the river for our usual r&r before bedtime. The girls threw stones into the water, paddles (brave considering the temperature of the glacial river) and watched jet boats zoom about.

This afternoon I got chores done outside and we went for a bike ride. Poor hubby is still confined to walking slowly or the sofa so had to stay at home, this IT band injury is so unfair! Moo did some great stone painting with him afterwards and we had a delicious stockpot cooked chicken for supper with veggies and potato poms. Moo took down an entire bowlful!

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July 29, 2013 Homelife

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It’s been school holidays this week so all our usual activities are off so we have been catching up with friends, hanging out at home in the garden and riding. There have been ups and downs.
Our cat went in for desexing last week, friday she went back in due to a aspiration induced lung infection and high temps. A day of fluids and anti-b’s seemed to sort her out and we carried on ok. Mid week I noticed her stitches were a bit weepy so took her in. Turn out the fat beneith the incision had turned necrotic. 

Im cross for 2 reasons –
Firstly no mention was ever made last friday about a reaction to the stitches, I was told it was purely a lung issue and it was treated. If there had been a mention of it I’d have kept a closer eye on the wound for a start. Now they are saying both events are related. Secondly if they knew it was happening why didn’t the act then rather than wait until I brought her back in myself and they ended up removing huge amount of tissue. Now a simple spay has cost us over double the initial price, not to mention we have a cat who is still unwell and needs to go back in on Monday incase the op didn’t work and she needs a drain put in. 

I don’t care about the cost, I’m pissed that they seem to have changed their story simply to try and get us to cover the cost of the drugs administered last friday for the lung infection by saying it was to treat the reaction the the stitches. Which weirdly was never mentioned to me nor on her notes. Garrrr just be honest.

Right enough of my whining, some fuzzy not very interesting images form our week (miss my camera!)

This cup seemed to appropriate this week, and the fist garden colour made me smile

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Poorly fugly kitty

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So much pony love this week

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Other weekly highlights include a wonderful morning out at the local garden centre where madam ‘advised’ me on which plants to buy (out of the $5 bargain bin!), a lot of mumma and moo trampolining, swing time, coffee and fluffies together and hilarious conversations with a toddler. I love that during our down time away from the term time activities I get to really spend time just hanging out, listening to her, the stories and opinions and its brilliant.

“mama, we buy that plant, its lonely looking” – and dead by all accounts!
“I love Oobie, she has soft hair and pretty clips” – thats a deep friendship!
“I sharing my mallows with you mummy, but you not allowed to touch, share with your eyes”
Or my absolute favourite “I loves you mummy, you a funny bunny”

July 19, 2013 Homelife

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It seems that since I have become a ‘grown up’ the concepts of time have changed. My memories of the past include weeks that took soooooo long to pass, the concept of a month was an eternity. Suddenly now I find days flying by, the week begins and then its Thursday, literally what feels like minutes later. Plans to call frieds, meet for coffee, fit in that extra run all get pushed away. A quick ‘dash’ into the store to look for a picture frame and some spoons eats 30 minutes. Suddenly lunchtime arrives without the morning being used.

My mum used to say you have to ‘make time’ for things, but I dont think you can ‘make’ time. You simply ‘take’it. For me its about better organisation, portioning my time and fitting in as much as I can without feeling like I’m on a carousel that I cannot stop. Some day its about taking time to fit in all those little jobs, call the rubbish collection, call the physio, arrange the vet. Other times its actually about taking time to stop, taking a few minutes to simply sit and watch my girl. Learn from how she does it.

The daily rhythms of winter have started becoming ingrained to each day, fire lighting, wood chopping, indoor and outdoor activities. Running in morning frost and the sight of beautiful snow covered mountains.

We try hard to make sure that we balance the need to stay warm and dry with Moo’s need to exploration, physical activity and independent play. Inside we find she really struggles to settle down and play alone for any time, but when outside she’s totally happy to potter about by herself, chattering away just checking in with me. 

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This time of year both hubby and I find challenging around the property, everything looks a bit shabby (shabbier than usual!) and damp and brown and crusty. What veggies we have left are ending and looking decidedly unhappy, beds that I have turned and ready to seed are looking barren and empty. Branches from the recent storms litter the ground and the pea straw mulch all needs topping up as weeds and earth poke through the holes.

We have been looking round and see the drive that needs lining with washed boulders and recovering. The roof needs re-painting – after the earthquake repairs we have varies patches of different coloured steel mixed with the older moss green original roofing steel. Its a time of year we find ourselves planning, deciding what we need to do, the order of play. Start to dream dreams of summer and the things we can do to our little place in the world.

The days are flying by, but winter is feeling oh so long.

July 11, 2013 Homelife

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My plan for this summer, its till rough but I’m trying to give myself something to work towards and plan ahead as to where I plant things, rather than just putting them into any available gap!

Garden plan

The tramp is bring built tomorrow, to the right of the beds and behind the gate is the paddock, far left to the washing line is the edge of the house. The concrete flat is the foundations of an old garage and incredibly useful for summer dining, sitting, toys etc. I’d like to get more herbs planted around its edges. Above the swing in the image is the sleepout where hubby works out of the back of the garage. and around the ‘big tree’ are rhododendrons but the are needs some serious TLC.

At the bottom of the image there are trees on the fenceline and where I store peastraw and hay under tarps for the garden and pony respectively. Its a bit of a dark damp area but Im hoping to get it a bit tidied/hidden.

There is wood chip around all the vegi beds as pathway. I’d like to get some flowers and lavender planted in front of the beds to try and ‘prettify’ it as well as attract bees and discourage aphids etc. There is also a old rejected, flat tyres broken wheel barrow I have my eye on for planting a splash of colour. 

Veg wise Im focusing on what we really eat – experience has shown me that while I grow rainbow chard really well, we don’t eat it, so its a bloody waste of space! We adored onions and carrots last year but I grew a woefully small amount. Peas are a huge hit, this year I’m sowing dwarf versions to try and combat the winds we get. Peppers were also a hit but have moved location this year to hopefully get more sun so they turn red.

The berry bushes and peachcot should do well this year, hopefully I can split the raspberries and use some sticks to start a few extra patches elsewhere. The lemon tree only came out of a pot a few days ago so we’ll have to see how it goes.

I’m still debating where to plant the courgettes and squashes as they grow huge but need good irrigation – something in summer we struggle with

The plan make it look polished and organised. It’s not at all, its weedy, over grown, half finished and in places a bit threadbare looking!
And this is only a third of the garden!

July 8, 2013 Homelife

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We had a quiet weekend, it was cold and windy both days. The wind got so bad on Friday night we ended up with a little snuggler in bed with us. The tree branches were whipping against the house and banging and crashing, the big chimney was whistling its tune as usual and we all struggled to get a decent sleep. The morning brought a quick check (roof was still attached) and hubby found some fallen branches and moved out from beside the house. 

We dropped my camera off at the camera shop who are sending it away to Fuji to be fixed (ouch) and we drove out to a lovely little toen called ‘Little River’ where we got lunch, played and walked and saw a few chook houses as we are considering re-stocking chickens. 
Sunday we headed to the farmers market and the river after, but got blown home and huddled up inside away from the wind and rain. Moo has been really good considering being inside doesn’t suit her at all. She’s definitely challenging at times, but we pinch ourselves, take a deep breath and remember it could be so much worse. We can take her anywhere, never worry about embarrassing tantrums, she rational most of the time, listens and is pretty good at expressing whats bothering her. 
Many times I find myself stepping back, stopping and listening, making sure I’m not the one causing the issue, and often on reflection find that by altering my reasons, actions and expectations I can completely avoid any confrontation – mostly! Occasionally we just have to say ‘no’ to that second iced cupcake and its just not what she wants to hear!
Some images from our weekend

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First time on the flying fox by herself – so happy

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Book mail and sliding, two things that create joy in this family

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Climbing the hillock up to the slide, and thumbs up for slide time

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Garden supplies (I love this time of year, starting to collect seeds for future sowing) and walking home with Hobbes

July 8, 2013 Homelife

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There will be a lot of fuzzy phone/instaspam pics on the blog for the next wee while, on account of my breaking off a piece of memory car in my camera. And it needing camera hospital.

Bother wasn’t the expletive I originally used, nore hubbies. I’m very prone to this brand of blond catastrophe. Doing things that really take a whole unique type of ‘special’ to achieve. Seriously, who manages to break off a corner of memory car and end up with it stuck in the card slot ‘under’ the little mental ‘pins’ that connect the card. Special. Not to mention the home button on my phone which is only intermittently working now. Technological waste land. Thats me.

To be honest the week has been pretty low key and picture free, just ticking long to the usual routines, enjoying the mellow afternoons, a little bit of sun and some crafting. I found the most wonderful panel in TradeMe and have been dying to start a quilt for my craft room sofa (spare bed). I have ideals to get a embroidery hoop and hand stitch some detail into the panels, who know, I might get round to it! Once I get some batting may be I’ll start with some machine detailing! 

Lisa from Little Coffee Beans has been making some gorgeous mug rugs and I think I might give those a go too, they are simply gorgeous. And she makes them sound quick and easy (my skills may  not stretch to quick and easy, but I’ll give them a go!)

Anyway, here are some of those fuzzy phone pics i mentioned!

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I got photobombed by the cat! I plan to call this ‘scrappy edging’ on account of the complete lack of straight lines, I really need to get myself a mat and rotary cutter. I am totally pretending those wonky bits are intentional.
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He is actually striding purposefully away form a over affectionate toddler who is out of shot. It didn’t work, he got caught and ridden! And yes, Im aware the hat doesn’t fit (its mine – god only knows where my XC silk has gone) She’ll get her own at some point.

The garden has had a few hours, mostly maintenance, mowering, moving manure about to fertilise the veggie beds, hacking together some frost covers to try and encourage early planting, some pruning (I love a bit of chopping and hacking, its why I grow roses).

Nim has decided that a couple of days a week should be nap free, gymnastics is one day and the other we play by ear. This week we hung out in the garden in the 23 degree sun (winters not to bad in the part of the world, as long as you don’t mind the -2 overnight) She watered, spread dirt around and chattered, such a delightful companion to have. Once she got bored we took the Quinn for a ride. That pony really is a dude!

July 4, 2013 Homelife

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We had a mixed weekend. Some good things, baking, haircuts, delicious toasties, the end of a cold sleety week. And we had a 111 emergency, ambulance ride and 24h in hospital. It was a mixed bag! 

We pride ourselves in giving a good rounded diet, low in processed foods (the odd cupcake doesn’t hurt!) and high in veg, home cooking and balance. We grow a huge amount of veg through spring, summer and autumn and I try to cook from scratch using the best ingredients we can source. Moo is generally a good eater, small amount but loves an amazing variety, curry, falafel, wraps, stur fry etc. 

It would appear that sugar has much to answer for, and not just its inclusion in seemly all and everything, but its exclusion in home cooking as well. A lesson in moderation.

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On Sunday morning Moose popped into bed with us and snuggled up. We dozed for about 30 mins, I noticed she seems snoozy. Since she hadn’t napped on Saturday it wasn’t concerning. Until we   decided to get up and discovered she was pale, limp, and very barely conscious. So we called an ambulance. Her blood glucose very low, dangerously so.

Some glucose gel, pure apple juice and an ambo ride later and we were at the city hospital under the amazing care of the paediatric unit. IV line in and tests running. Moo was brilliant, so incredibly brave. It amazes me that children as so amazingly resilient, so stoic in the face of the unknown. She didnt cry, tantrum or melt. I was so proud of her.

She did however, look totally 100% well once the glucose kicked in. So we felt right frauds on the kids ward with our insanely cheery, chirpy child! We watched videos, played puzzles and read books. The staff were wonderful, so calm and engaging. There was a fantastic playroom staffed all day every day for activities. One of the staff used to work at madams nursery so Moo was very happy. Daddy was less so at car park charges of $3 an hour from the early hours till late. Seriously I think we burned through a months parking change in a day and a bit.

We got discharged almost exactly 24 after being admitted, with a clean bill of health and instruction to make sure we feed our toddler more sugary foods, umm yeah, her diet is too healthy. While we feed her well, and correctly, her glycogen stores were obviously too low. A couple of days of picking at meals and a big 12h sleep (her usual nightly amount) left her unable to function. We are blessed that there is no medical issue, we simply have to watch her eating carefully and make sure she is getting plenty of sugars as well as protein and veggies. A few newly introduced routines and some small alterations in our offered snacks

In other parts we had a nice weekend 

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This week has been quieter, more relaxed and we are finding our rhythms again, building in new routines and hoping this coming weekend is a touch more normal.

June 27, 2013 Homelife

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