Sunday, July 26, 2015

Project Life: Endings, Beginnings and Week 28

Hi there :)

I haven’t done a post for a little while now but I’ve had quite a lot going on lately which I’ll share with you in the next week or so.  In the meantime I’ve come to the end of my first album for the year and I’m ready to start my new one.

This is my third year of doing Project Life (I skipped 2014) and each year I’ve filled two albums and this year is no exception.  This time around I decided to do something different with my end and start pages… nothing dramatic… just different.

For the end of my first album I looked around the internet for pictures of ‘relaxation’… spa treatments, aromatherapy… candles and white towels.  I’m sure I can smell lavender too!  Here’s what I’ve come up with:END_1

For the start of my new album (which hasn’t actually arrived yet) I’ve chosen one large image… added some text… and then broken down the photo into the various sizes to fit the pockets.  I’ve had all the photos printed at my friendly photo lab today and I’m really liking the finished effect:album 2_1

So that’s the end of album #1 and the start of album #2 which brings me up to Week 28 which was July 6th to July 12th.  This was the week that Mike’s daughter Roxanne spent with us.  Here’s an overview of the week:FULL_1

Mike took a couple of days off work to spend some quality time with Roxanne and we definitely enjoyed just hanging out together.  Toby loved having a new big sister to love him and Roxanne was especially good at rubbing Toby’s ears and talking sweetly to him so he was in seventh heaven!

On Tuesday night we went over to Tauranga to visit Mum and then we all went to the Flying Burrito Brothers for dinner.  Mum and I have been there before so we knew that a ‘Plato Gordo’ would be a good idea.  We got two of them and Mike and Roxanne agreed that it was awesome!  There’s lots of delicious Mexican treats to try :)  I even managed to get a photo of Mike and Roxanne together.

Here’s a close up of the start of the week:LEFT_1

Mike got up into the roof to check out the insulation.  He was quite intrigued with our ‘attic space’ complete with a heat lamp.  We decided to remove the ‘walls’ so that we could get an expert in to have a look and advise us on the insulation.

On Wednesday Mike had to go back to work so I took Roxanne and Krystal for a girls day out.  We went over to Bayfair and did a little shopping… including buying some new creative goodies!  After all the shopping we started looking for somewhere to have lunch but nothing really appealed to us.  In the end we headed towards home and as we drove through Te Puke we came across Molly O’Connor’s.  If you live anywhere near Te Puke we highly recommend it!  We didn’t actually sit outside because it was a bit cold on the day we went there but their open sandwiches and burgers were super delicious.

In other shopping news… I bought a new printer.  I haven’t had a printer at home for a long time and I haven’t really missed it but right now I’m working on a special project that requires the use of a scanner so it became a high priority.  The new printer is fabulous!  It prints wirelessly and most importantly it scans photos extremely well.

Roxanne and I also taste tested the new Jaffa chocolate and decided that we quite liked it.  Poor Mike didn’t get home in time so he completely missed out!

Roxanne was quite taken with the large frames I’ve got with photos of my girls in them and she was asking me about when they’d had their photos taken.  I told her that I’d done the photo shoots with the girls and she was super keen to have a photo shoot of her own so she did her hair and make up and off we went.  We actually did the photo shoot twice… Once on Friday which neither of us were happy with so we went to another park on Saturday and the photos turned out great!

Here’s my favourite photo which we’ve got framed in our family room:


Is anyone else seeing the resemblance Roxanne has to Mikayla??  When I first saw Roxanne’s photo my first thought was that she and Mikayla could pass for sisters… check this out:

Roxanne & Mikayla

These are the girls photos from Facebook and I was struck by how similar they looked… in fact they have more than just their looks in common.  They’re only three months apart in age too.  It will be super cool when they finally get to meet each other! 

Before I get myself too side-tracked here’s a close up of the second half of the week:RIGHT_1

Roxanne and I really enjoyed doing a few things together which was just as well because her plans changed when the buses were cancelled due to the snow.  Instead of leaving on Friday night Roxanne ended up staying for the entire weekend and leaving for Wellington on Monday morning.  It was nice to have the extra time with her and we spent a bit of time in the kitchen.

I made us a tagine for dinner and Roxanne was really impressed.  I used some of the new pomegranate sauce I’d bought on one of our trips and it was excellent… absolutely packed with flavour!

On the Sunday Mike got busy changing the doors over on the fridge and it turned into quite a mission but it’s all working great now… and so much better having it open the opposite way.  He also made us a delicious lunch of toasted ciabatta bread, cheese and chorizo sausage!

I think he might have been trying to impress his daughter because on Sunday night he made his ‘world famous’ nachos for dinner and Roxanne loved them.  We even washed them down with home made margaritas.  It was a great end to our weekend.

So that was our week 28… lots of family time!  I hope you’re all having a great weekend xx

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Project Life: Week 27

I’m definitely catching up now!  This time I’ve got Week 27 which was June 29th to July 5th… yes I’ve finally made it into July!  Here’s an overview of the week:FULL_1

The birthday celebrations weren’t completely over yet… Krystal invited us for dinner at her house and she made a delicious roast chicken dinner complete with gravy and stuffing.  Even as a small girl Krystal LOVED roasts and she didn’t even mind breaking the bread up for stuffing… we didn’t have a food processor back then!  After dinner she produced a home made lemon meringue pie and it was divine. 

After a good start to the week I hit a complete road block health wise… migraine headaches, stiff muscles, aversion to light and sound along with complete exhaustion.  I ended up having the rest of the week at home! 

On one of my visits to the doctors I was flicking through a home and garden magazine when I came across the paint colours I liked so rather than write them down I whipped out my phone and took a photo… so much easier when I’m trying to explain things to Mike.

Here’s a closer look at the week:LEFT_1

Toby was excellent company this week while I was at home.  He loved snuggling up in front of the fire and he was more than happy to just hang out with me. 

Mike kept us well looked after too… he made sure the fire was going each morning before heading off for work by 6.30am… and he also made sure there was enough firewood to keep us going through the day.  That was probably just as well because although Toby is good company he’s a light weight when it comes to doing chores and he always uses his classic excuse… ‘But Mum, I’ve got no thumbs!”

There were a few good frosts during the week and I did capture one of them with my camera.  Mike leaves so early that the frost hasn’t really started yet but within a short amount of time the other car glistens in the sunshine.  Frosts are really lovely… so long as you don’t have to go out in them.

Krystal came to visit us on Saturday and she brought the movie Cinderella with her.  It was a lovely movie and it was great to hang out with my girl for the afternoon.  She also helped me make some yummy treats! 

Just before I went to pick her up I was making ice cream (my first recipe trial using my new ice cream maker).  I’d heated the milk and cream and ‘set it aside’ which is what the recipe said to do.  Then I whisked the egg yolks and sugar and it was looking pretty good.  Next I added the milk/cream mixture slowly and that was fine too.  Back into the pot and onto a low temp to cook and what do you know… I made a huge pot of SCRAMBLED EGGS! 

I was super disappointed so I headed over to Krystal’s to pick her up and I was telling her what had happened.  Apparently ‘set aside’ should have said ‘ set aside until mixture comes to room temperature’… basically it was too hot when I added it to my egg yolks and sugar.

I had enough ingredients to give it a second go and Krystal helped me with it.  The second mixture turned out perfectly and I did in fact get to churn it in the ice cream maker and it was DELICIOUS!  I added some vanilla bean seeds to it and loved how the little seeds flecked through the ice cream. 

Here’s a closer look at the rest of the week:RIGHT_1

Since I’d now made two ice cream recipes I had 16 egg whites left over and Krystal suggested I make a meringue ‘roll up’.  It’s basically a meringue cooked on a baking tray… flipped over and left to cool… smothered with some sort of fruit mixture/curd/jam etc. and then smothered in whipped cream before being rolled up like a sponge roll.

I had a couple of jars of lemon curd in the pantry so we used lemon curd and whipped cream to fill our meringue.  Krystal knew the recipe off by heart so we got busy and made one… which turned out brilliantly!  That was 5 egg whites used up so we made a second one… filled it… rolled it… and put it in the freezer!  We still had 6 egg whites left so we made one more for Krystal to take home with her… her partner Chris was very happy about that one!

Meanwhile, Mike was in the laundry working on the walls.  When he’d replaced the floor in the laundry the bottom of the walls were pretty damaged so we’d had to let it all dry out so we could remove the rotten parts.  Now that it was all completely dry, Mike got out the poly filler and started mending what was left.  By the time he’d finished that he was ready to jump into the kitchen himself and make mango lassies!  He’s discovered some wonderful mango pulp (which would also be good in a meringue roll up) and it made all the difference to the mango lassies… he’s got a GREAT recipe now!

Mum was also busy this weekend teaching herself to do mixed media art.  She’d watched some You Tube tutorials, gathered all her supplies and asked lots of questions so now it was just time to start!

Here’s a few photos to show you what she got up to:



I was pretty impressed with what she’d done… and I’m pretty sure she surprised herself too!  She’d made the tag to take to SENZ with her the following weekend and I know she got lots of comments on it while she was there!

We also had an exciting event happen this weekend… Mike’s daughter Roxanne came to visit us for a week.  Roxanne is about to turn 21… in fact Roxanne and Mikayla are exactly three months apart in age so we’ve got TWO daughters turning 21 this year!

Her bus was due in at 3am on Sunday morning so we got ourselves up and dressed and headed off to the bus terminal to meet her.  Toby was VERY excited to be doing something… he had no idea WHAT was about to happen he just knew it was ‘something’.  In the end we had to wait for a long time because Roxanne’s bus was 40 minutes late.

She finally arrived and we all headed home to get some sleep.  Later on in the morning Toby (and Mike) were both like cats on a hot tin roof.  Mike ‘accidently’ kept making a lot of noise to try and wake Roxanne up… and when that didn’t work… he let Toby into her room! 

The rest of Sunday was spent hanging out together and it was great!  So that was our week.  Thanks for stopping by again xx

Monday, July 13, 2015

Project Life: Week 26

This time I’ve got the last full week of June to share with you.  This is Week 26 - June 22nd to June 28th.  This was a big week full of birthdays… both at school and at home!

Here’s an overview of the week:FULL_1

We always make the most of our ipads at school but this week we’ve been making extra use of them as we worked on some research tasks to do with the Mars Mission.  It was all part of our ‘Think like an Astrologer’ theme this term.

I also had a bit of a catch-up with Mikayla and it was great to hear from her.  She’d just bought herself some new luggage and her cat, Jenny, was very impressed with it!

It was busy at school this week with the build up to the News Team competition.  The kids and I had put a huge effort into preparing and we had another big practice on Monday.  But it was totally worth it!  On the night the kids were entered into the section for schools with a roll between 200 and 400 and they came 1st, 2nd and 4th!  The boys only came 4th by 1 point so we almost had a clean sweep!  Super proud of them!

Here’s a closer look at the start of the week:LEFT_1

On the night of the competition I didn’t have time to go home for dinner so I bought a slice of wood fire pizza from Caprizza Pizzeria and it was super delicious.  You could really taste the toppings… I think I’ll have to take Mike there for dinner sometime.

Maia celebrated her birthday this week and her mother sent her a beautiful gerbera from the florist.  I thought it was a lovely thing to do and Maia definitely felt very special when it arrived.

Shriya’s Mum also decided to buy our class a HUGE slice cake to share.  She bought a coffee and walnut flavour which turned out to be very popular with some of the kids.

After all the birthdays and celebrations at school this week it was finally time for me and Sammy!  My birthday buddy and I share a birthday and it was OUR day on Saturday.  Mike spoilt me with an ice cream maker that fits onto my Kitchen Aid mixer… super pleased with it but I suspect it was bought so that he could be a ‘supportive taste tester’!

Toby might have been following Mike’s lead when it came to birthday presents.  He very proudly presented me with my card and present and waited while I opened it.  He wasn’t interested in the card but he was surprisingly interested in the present… turns out that it was exactly what Toby would like… doggie treats!

Here’s a closer look at the end of the week:RIGHT_1

Sammy had decided that she would really love a dress up party and Uncle Michael was very happy about that!  He insisted that we went down to The Warehouse to look at their ‘onesies’.  He found himself a crocodile outfit that he was just a little too pleased about… and Auntie wasn’t allowed ‘to be as cool as Uncle’… so I got a penguin outfit!

The kids were all dressed up along with my sister, Grandma and Krystal and Chris so we made a pretty good effort for Miss Sammy.  And while we’re talking about good efforts… there were the cakes!

Sammy had asked Grandma if she could please make a ‘monkey’ cake so Mum made loads of bananas and banana leaves… she also made several ‘5’ numbers along with two monkeys to adorn the cake.  She did some hand painting on them and they looked totally amazing and then Sammy cut into the cake:


And look what we found inside… LOVE those colours!DSCN3714

The cake also tasted pretty wonderful because within a few minutes it looked like this:DSCN3719

Sammy really did have a great party and we had a good time wishing each other Happy Birthday!  Meanwhile Mum had also made me a cake but everyone was super full so we took it with us and headed off to our next social event.

On Saturday night it was Mike’s work dinner and we all met up at an Indian restaurant for dinner which was delicious.  When the mains were finished we were all just sitting around enjoying our conversation when a HUGE cake from the Cheesecake Shop appeared and everyone sang me Happy Birthday!  Talk about a surprise!

We ended up taking the rest of the cake home with us as well so by the end of the night we had had more cake than we knew what to do with.  It did make for a lovely celebration though.

So that was our week… I hope you’re week is off to a great start xx

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Project Life: Week 25

I’m back again with another week from our life… this time it’s June 15th to June 21st.  Here’s an overview of the week:FULL_1

This week started off with Mike and I coming up with loads of questions based on what was in the local paper so that my news teams could practice for the upcoming competition.  It was definitely easier having both of us working on it together but it still took us a long time.  The effort was worth it though because when I did a time trial with the kids they really got to see what it was going to be like.

After Toby and Mike organising me a new baking pantry we decided we also needed new matching plastic containers to keep all my baking ingredients in.  I really love the teal colour Allyson Gofton used on her Sistema containers so they got the big thumbs up from me… and since we were having all new containers it made sense to label them as well.  We brought a brand new pink label maker and I really like it.  My pantry now looks super efficient and it’s really easy to find everything I need.

Here’s a closer look at the first part of the week:LEFT_1

At school this week our School Leaders all headed away to Wellington.  This was a big reward trip for them and they had a wonderful time.  They visited parliament and got to see the politicians debating (they were particularly unimpressed with John Key’s childish behaviour and it was the first thing they told me about when they got back to school at the end of the week).  They also went in the cable cars, visited Te Papa and went to see Gallipoli: The scale of our war (which they were SUPER IMPRESSED with!)  They had an amazing adventure!

During this week I had a big problem… I got up early in the morning (just like usual), popped my phone in the pocket of my dressing gown before the alarm went off (just like usual), went to the toilet (just like usual)… and then I bumped my pocket somehow and my phone fell into the toilet… most definitely NOT like usual!

I grabbed my phone pretty quickly and only the lower inch of the phone got wet.  I promptly took the phone apart and dried it all off but my phone played up all day.  I had a ‘pink screen of death’ followed by a ‘completely black screen of death’… followed by receiving texts and phone calls but not being able to see or answer them… followed by lots of random calls made by my phone to other people.

In the end I took my phone to Spark after work and I was pretty pleased I had mobile insurance… except it turns out that my insurance was on an old phone and my lovely 18 month old Galaxy S3 had NONE!  Bugger… damn… blast… (and possibly some other words ‘might’ have been going around in my head as well!)

Here’s a closer look at the rest of my week:RIGHT_1

I now have a lovely new phone… with insurance!  I also wait until after I’ve been to the toilet in the morning before I put it into my dressing gown pocket!

This week Mum went up to visit Auntie Daphne and she took some lovely photos of the newest addition to our family.  Chris and Sue completely dote on their wee daughter and she’s such a happy little baby.  Auntie Daphne is in her element as a Grandma and she loves her new role in life!

Meanwhile at home, Mike worked on Saturday and he rang me from work to ask me to go for a ‘date’ with him on Sunday… but he said it was a surprise so I wasn’t allowed to ask any questions.  On Sunday morning I was up, dressed and ready to go at the appointed time and then we headed towards Mount Maunganui.  On the way over I spotted a sign about a ‘Food Show’ and it turns out that was to be our destination.

Mike and I had a great time taste testing lots of different products.  He tried several types of coffee before finding one he really liked.  We tried bread, cheeses, relishes, chocolates, fudge and so much more.  We also bought a few goodies to take home with us and it was a great day out.

So that was our week.  I’ve still got one and a half more weeks on June to go and then I’ll be into July at last. 

I hope you’re all having a great weekend xx

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Project Life: Week 24

Welcome back to another week in our lives… this time it’s June 8th to June 14th.


At school this week we had the Go 4 It fitness instructors taking our kids for some ball skills.  They learnt skills for both rugby and netball and it was quite challenging for some of my kids.  There were a few tears and a few of the boys even had mini tantrums and sulks… but in the end they all learnt something and that’s the main thing.

Mike and I tried out some of the new Whittakers Artisan chocolate this week.  The Marlborough Sea Salt and Caramel Brittle gets the big thumbs up from both of us… and while I really like the Kaitaia Fire Chili Pepper Spice Mike thought it was too spicy for him!

I also did more baking this week… another Ginger Treacle Spice Loaf and some chocolate cupcakes.  Before I’d even had a chance to take photographs most of it had been eaten… actually quite a lot of it got taken to Mike’s work to be ‘shared with the boys’ LOL

Here’s a closer look at the start of the week:LEFT_1

It’s been quite stressful at work lately and I have to confess that I was being a bit grumpy at home so I decided to take Mike out for dinner to say ‘thanks for putting up with me’.  We went to Lone Star and had a wonderful meal… my steak was cooked to perfection!

Mike really wanted to try the cheesecake but after having roast pork he just couldn’t manage it so the waitress offered to put the desserts into a takeaway container… problem solved and Mike LOVED the cheesecake!

We also had ‘Support Staff Appreciation Day’ at school this week.  Every teacher was matched up with a Support Staff person to spoil them.  Some of us worked in pairs and others did it on their own.  It was all done anonymously and some of the teachers went all out.  I’m not sure who spoilt Erik and Dan but it was pretty impressive!

Meanwhile out on duty it wasn’t too bad… the weather was cloudy but at least it wasn’t cold!  When the kids have to stay inside for their lunch break it really does make for quite a long day.

This week Shriya had her 9th birthday.  She’s the youngest child in my class and English is not her first language.  She regularly goes to ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) class and this week they made ‘solar system’ cakes.  They gave one of the cakes to Shriya for her birthday and it came complete with planets and moons decorated on it.

Here’s a closer look at the rest of the week:RIGHT_1

On Friday night Carey and Chris came for a visit.  We’d organised a cheese platter since we had so much cheese from our trip up North and Carey and Chris brought some crackers, fruit and chocolate… perfect!  We all sat around in the family room with the fire going and had a few drinks and nibbles.  It was the perfect start to the weekend. 

Mike took a great photo from his end of the table but to be honest I still really like my ‘arty’ photo of the cheese!

After cleaning up some more of the backyard, Mike and Toby decided that I really needed a new ‘baking pantry’ because we’re fast running out of space in the kitchen.  They bought a kitset pantry that fitted the cavity in the kitchen perfectly and set to putting it all together.  Of course Toby was of little use since he’s ‘got no thumbs’ but he does like to be involved in everything that’s going on!

On Sunday I really needed some newspapers to make up questions for my news team to practice.  Mike went up to the dairy and came back with four Sunday News newspaper but I really needed the local paper so he kindly went back to get them for me.  What I hadn’t realised was that the Saturday paper is a completely different size to the week day newspaper so it wasn’t much good to me either.  In the end we went down to school since I had some spare newspapers in my class that we could use.

Mike also got busy rotating the tyres on one of the cars.  It didn’t take him all that long really and he was quite pleased to tick it off his ‘to do’ list.

So that was our week… and I’m just that little bit closer to having my album all up to date again. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Project Life: Week 23

I’m back again with the next weeks update.  This time it’s Week 23 which was June 1st to June 7th.  Since it was a long weekend we start off up in Whangarei at my Dad’s place.   Here’s an overview of the week:FULL_1

Before we had arrived, Dad and Jan had put a few things aside for me to look at in case I wanted to keep them and hidden within the box were some wonderful things including my grandparents marriage certificate and a copy of both of their birth certificates written in fountain pen!  There were a few photos of me and my sisters when we were little and some of my girls… and then I found a real treasure!

There was a wonderful photo of my Dad and his siblings.  Apparently none of them like the photo but I totally love it!  My Auntie Shirley looks EXACTLY like my cousin Gillian did when she was a little girl and if I didn’t know better I’d have sworn that Auntie Alice was actually my cousin Jennifer!

I have seen photos of my Dad when we was young… I’m pretty sure I’ve seen a few photos of him in his teens but I’ve NEVER seen a photo of him when he was a little boy so this was pretty wonderful for me.  Here’s a closer look at the photo:


I had to leave the original photo with Dad since we were on the bike but I’m planning a road trip in October to go and see him and then I’ll definitely be looking at getting this photo framed.  In the meantime I took a photo of the photo and it hasn’t turned out too badly.

Moving on now… Mike and I got our stuff packed and got on the road to head home again.  On the way we did a few stops including a couple of cheese factories - I love visiting all these little places that I’ve always wondered about but never actually stopped to visit.

As we were heading towards Auckland we spotted the satellites at Warkworth and Mike decided to take a little detour so I could get some photos.  I wasn’t sure if the satellites were for TV, radio or telecommunications so I asked Mike and as quick as a flash he said: Don’t you know that they’re DEATH RAYS for blowing up aliens before they reach the Earth and they’re our LAST LINE OF DEFENCE? 

Honestly!!  This man just cracks me up!  He’s so funny… and he says things like this all the time!  While we were standing there a vehicle turned up with a father and his little boy.  They were obviously doing the same thing we were and Mike and the Dad said hello. The next thing I know the Dad is telling his son that the satellites were DEATH RAYS!  Mike hadn’t even mentioned Death Rays to him but they were clearly reading the same book LOL  To his credit the son just rolled his eyes and said ‘Really Dad’… clever kid!

We got back on the bike with Mike feeling quite pleased with himself over being ‘proved right’ and we headed off to Auckland to have lunch with my Auntie and Uncle.  It was a great trip back although it took quite a lot longer then we had anticipated. 

Here’s a closer look at the start of the week:LEFT_1

My kitchen mixer had a good workout this week.  I also used my lovely new Mothers Day cookbook and tried a new recipe: Ginger Treacle Spice Loaf… and oh my goodness it’s GOOD!  It tastes like old fashioned gingerbread and I’ve now made about six of them so it’s definitely a favourite in our household.

I also made a lemon syrup cake and somehow Krystal, Chris and Julie must have known I was baking because there was a knock on the door just as the baking was cooling… talk about good timing!  They’re all very willing taste testers and everything got a big thumbs up.

This week I finally opened my new Big Shot machine.  I bought it just as I was moving back to Rotorua in December.  Spotlight were having a big sale and since there was no Spotlight in Gisborne Mum very kindly picked it up for me… and it’s been sitting in the box ever since.  I still haven’t unpacked my craft room!  I needed some die cut trees for the kids Autumn poetry so it has officially been open and used now and it’s a fabulous machine!

This week saw the birth of Chris and Sue’s precious wee girl.  I haven’t met her yet but Mum has had cuddles and Auntie Daphne hasn’t stopped smiling since she was born… actually I don’t think Auntie Daphne has stopped smiling since she found out she was going to be a Grandma!  Chris and Sue are both completely besotted with their daughter and I know they’ll be wonderful parents.

Here’s a closer look at the rest of the week:RIGHT_1 

I found a really neat card for Chris and Sue… loved the photo on the front and when I read the inside it said Congratulations on your new feet… I knew it was the card to get.

On the weekend we were very domesticated.  There was more cooking and household chores plus Mike and Toby went to the landfill to do ‘manly things’.  Toby ALWAYS goes with Mike to the landfill but this time Mike had the work ute and Toby really wasn’t sure about it.  He kept looking and sniffing but he definitely didn’t want to get into it.  In the end Mike had to lift him in!  Super funny to watch!  I don’t know if Toby’s pride was dented to much or if he was just pleased to be going with Mike.

Mike also got busy reinforcing the gate.  It’s a REALLY heavy gate and it’s been putting lots of pressure on the rock wall.  Unfortunately the bolts holding the gate onto the wall seemed to be pulling away so Mike dug a hole for a new post and concreted it in.  Then when the concrete had set he bolted the two posts together and now the gate is as good as new.

We also spotted a sale at Briscoes (strange but true!).  Mike and I bought ourselves a new casserole dish and a ribbed pan for cooking our steaks.  They’ve turned out to be a great buy and out steaks taste even better now.

So that was our week.  I hope you’re all having a good week and keeping warm xx

Monday, July 6, 2015

Project Life: Week 22

I’m back again with Week 22 - May 25th to May 31st

This was a pretty good week for us… especially since we were able to head off on a weekend away on Saturday morning thanks to Queens Birthday weekend.  Here’s an overview of our week:FULL_1

It was a busy week at school this week and we were lucky enough to have the Matariki Cosmodome at our school complete with an astronomer to talk to the kids.  You wouldn’t think that such a small area could fit all the kids but it was actually quite large inside.  The astronomer showed us through the whole galaxy and gave us lots of interesting tips and info along the way.

Mike also took a few photos for me this week… one of the dinner he cooked (which was delicious!) and one of his view from the top of the scissor lift!  It’s certainly not something that I would enjoy… I like to keep my feet planted firmly on the ground!

On Friday we had a Teacher Only Day and spent quite a lot of it sitting in a bus visiting various sites around Rotorua and learning the history and Maori ancestry to do with the area. We started off the day meeting the bus at the lakefront and I took a few photos and didn’t think too much of it but when I saw the photos on my computer there was one that I was super pleased with.  I’m even thinking that I might make an enlargement of it and frame it for the lounge.

Here’s a close up of the first page for this week:LEFT_1

After all the sitting around on the bus my back was feeling pretty achy and one of my teacher friends mentioned the massages down at the Queen Elizabeth health spa.  Since we finished a little earlier than I had expected I decided to treat myself to 30 minutes of pampering before heading home… and it was FANTASTIC!!  I’ll definitely go again!

On Saturday morning Mike and I had the bike all packed up and we headed out on the bike at 4.30am!!!  Yes that’s right… half past four in the morning!  Not only that but it was FREEZING!  By the time we got to Matamata my legs were numb with the cold and it was a mere 3 degrees outside although I suspect it was heading closer to zero when we were going over the Mamaku hills!

After a hot chocolate and toilet stop we headed off to the Bombay hills and my legs were actually in pain… it was like having needles coming in my knees and up into my thighs and I was very grateful to stop for breakfast.  While we had a delicious (and HOT) breakfast, Mike got onto Google and found a bike shop on the Northern side of Auckland that was having a sale so we stopped in there and bought some bike pants… SO GRATEFUL for feeling warmer!

Here’s a closer look at the second part of our week:RIGHT_1

We had a few more stops along the way but I have to say it was lovely to get to the top of the Brynderwyn hills and look out at the view.  Just in case you were wondering where we were off to… Dad and Jan had invited us up to Whangarei for the long weekend.

Rotorua to Whangarei 380km each way


We spent most of Saturday afternoon hanging out with Dad and Jan chatting and catching up on life.  It was so nice to be able to talk face to face and just spend time together.

On Sunday, Dad took us out to Tutukaka for a drive and we spotted the Marina Pizzeria… of course we HAD to stop for lunch!  Dad and Mike both ordered the blue cod and Jan and I both had pizzas.  I decided to try the chefs special… the blue cod pizza and it was DELICIOUS!  I highly recommend this place… great service, great food and I would imagine in the summer months it’s pretty busy.

On Sunday afternoon Mike and I headed down to the town basin for a look around.  We found a little fudge shop and a place that did great juice.  We also came across a very ‘exclusive’ little art gallery.  It was the kind of place where if you have to ask how much something costs you already know you can’t afford it.  It was also the kind of place that has big NO PHOTOS ALLOWED signs… but apparently Mike didn’t see those signs and walked out with about a dozen photos!

On Sunday night we went to a steak house with Dad and Jan for dinner and then Mike and I headed to Auntie Daphne’s for dessert.  She made the yummiest bread and butter pudding and it was also my cousin Chris’s birthday!  He and his wife were expecting their first baby to arrive any day so it was nice to catch up with them.

After that we headed back to Dad’s and on the way spotted the Whangarei War Memorial and we were so impressed.  We took quite a lot of photos and it was very special to be there late at night when it was really quiet.

So that was our week… I’ll share the rest of our trip in the next update xx

Friday, July 3, 2015

Project Life: Week 21

Hello again - Today I’ve got my album pages from Week 21 - May 18th to May 24th


This week when I took my class to the school library I discovered a really lovely little story book about a ‘big bad wolf’ wanting to eat a ‘poor innocent little duck’ but by the end of the book we were all feeling just a little bit sorry for the wolf… it’s definitely a book worth adding to my collection.

While we’re on the subject of books, my last math book arrived this week.  I’d ordered it (along with three others) at the end of Term 1 but this one was in the process of being reprinted.  I did have a little bit of a giggle of it having a ‘fragile’ sticker on it though!

Remember how I took Mike to Vetro on the weekend?  Well we totally forgot to take a photo of our goodies so we got out the camera and took it this week before we’d eaten too much of what we bought…those salamis are super tasty!

Here’s a closer look at the start of the week:LEFT_1

It must have been my week to receive parcels because along with my math book I also received my brand new Butter Bell crock.  I was really impressed with the one Carey’s mum had so I finally got around to ordering one of my own… and it works brilliantly!

Mike and I have both been in the kitchen this week… I’ve been making cupcakes and Mike has been ‘perfecting’ his baked potatoes.  The kids at school were really happy to see my cupcake containers arrive at school and they definitely enjoyed being able to taste them!

This week at school we had Bernie and Harold visiting from Life Education.  The kids loved their visits to the caravan and they learnt quite a lot about reading food labels.  It’s quite surprising how many of our ‘healthy’ food are actually loaded up with sugar!

After a busy week at work it was so nice to sit down with some cheese and crackers on Friday night and simply relax. The weekends have been getting really busy, especially with hockey taking over Saturday mornings so it’s nice to take some time out together and just chat about the week.

On Saturday morning we took the Harley down to the bike shop to get a new front tyre fitted.  While we were there the rain came bucketing down… not so great for going home on the bike… but it was so heavy that hockey was cancelled which helped free up the rest of the morning!

In the end we went into town and I bought myself a Kitchen Aid mixer… just like the one Nigella uses!  I’ve wanted one of those mixers for years but could never quite bring myself to get one but now that I’m doing plenty of baking it seemed a lot more worthwhile!

Here’s a closer look at the second half of the week:RIGHT_1

As soon as we got home from town I got stuck into the baking… I made a really yummy carrot cake loaf and then I found a recipe for a spicy chocolate torte that I wanted to try.  Both things turned out brilliantly and I even made the icing using the Kitchen Aid.  I know I’ll be using it LOTS!

On Sunday Mike had to do some work over in Tauranga with Mark so I went along for the ride.  I managed to find myself a quiet little space to do my school work on my laptop which kept me busy for a few hours while the guys got down to business.  At one point Mike asked me if I’d like to come and take some photos of the work they were doing and of course he just HAD to pose for the camera! 

By lunchtime they were finished painting so they got themselves cleaned up and then they took Rattaya and myself out for lunch.  We decided Mexican would be nice for a change and we headed into town.  The food was absolutely fabulous and we even had a couple of margaritas… super great way to spend time with friends!

After lunch we headed home, went to the launderette to get the washing dry, did a few chores and then headed out to pub quiz night with Krystal and Chris.  We got off to a great start with me winning us a free dessert and then we ended up coming THIRD!  It was a fabulous way to end the weekend.

So there’s another week in our lives… thanks for stopping by xx

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Project Life: Week 20

It’s definitely time for an update.  The end of Term 2 is upon us and I’m so looking forward to having some time to re-charge the batteries and do some things on my ‘to do list’… including getting my art room sorted out!

Meanwhile, here is Week 20 - May 11th to May 17thFULL_1

The week after school camp was filled with post camp activities, lots of talking about camp and viewing the hundreds of photos taken on cameras and ipads.  In my class we also painted the backgrounds for our Autumn poetry.  We were also the proud winners of ‘Class of the Week’ at school.  The kids were really proud of the trophy!

On the home front, Mike has taken it upon himself to master the art of making mango lassie’s.  We had one at an Indian restaurant during Easter weekend while Mum was staying with us and Mike kept mentioning how nice it was.  Several weeks later he was still going on about it so I suggested he have a go at making one.

Keep in mind that it was a ‘suggestion’ and not a ‘challenge’!  Mike quickly jumped onto Google to find out how to make a good mango lassie and he went ahead and bought fresh mango as well as canned mango, yoghurt, cream and milk.  He’s in his element experimenting with ratios and quantities… and meanwhile I get to be the taste tester… not a bad job at all in my opinion!


Meanwhile, I was doing a bit of Googling of my own and stumbled across a blog that I really enjoy… it’s full of great recipes and wonderful photography and the woman who writes the blog is down to earth. ‘Little Box Brownie’ is exactly the sort of blog you can spend hours reading and I might just have to keep an eye out for her book as well!

In my own kitchen I’ve been adding some more magnets to my collection by Suzy Toronto.  I love her uplifting quotes and the artwork is fabulous.  They really do brighten up the fridge!

The cold weather really hit this week and we had a few frosts.  I didn’t think there was any chance of the tomatoes to ripen so Mike and I got stuck in and picked them all before they got spoilt.  We ended up with several kilos of green tomatoes and thankfully Google provided me with a fantastic Green Tomato Chutney to try!

I’d never made this particular recipe before but it worked brilliantly… I followed it pretty strictly since it was my first attempt and the resulting chutney is extremely moreish! Just right to go with cheese and crackers… or on a ploughman's platter.

First thing on Saturday morning we went down to the local market.  We hadn’t been for ages due to hockey but this weekend we made a real effort to get there.  There was one man selling guavas… the little ones just like my grandmother and great grandmother used to grow. 

When I was a little girl I would pick as many as I could reach and then I’d have to rely on someone helping me get the ones that were up higher.  I absolutely adored them although it’s probably good that I only got to have them once a week.  Anyway back to the market… I spotted the guavas and bought a bag to share with Mike.  He tried one and wasn’t keen at all so I got to have the whole lot… lucky me!  One bite of the little fruit and I was instantly transported back to my childhood memories.


After going to the market I took Mike to Vetro.  He’d never been before and there were a few spices I wanted to get for my chutney.  While we were there they mentioned that a ‘salami tasting’ was due to start at 11am… exactly the sort of thing Mike likes!

Since we had to wait a little while we bought a little tub of chocolate gelato to share and my oh my was it good!!  The salami was also delicious and we bought a few home with us.

On Sunday we decided to go for a ride on the Harley.  I mentioned to Mike that I’d always wanted to go to the cheese factory at Waharoa and he was keen so off we went.  We had a wonderful ride over and did a couple of stops along the way. 

Every time I’ve gone past this cheese factory it’s either been closed or I’ve been on a time frame to get somewhere so I’ve never stopped but it really was worth it.  We shared a cheese platter and I was really impressed… great value for money!  I also loved the atmosphere! Here’s what it looks like inside (photos from the internet):




Of course we HAD to bring some cheese home with us!  As we headed home on the bike I was thinking about what a great life I have… it was definitely one of those ‘feel good’ days.

To end the weekend we joined in with Krystal, Chris and Julie (Chris’s sister) for pub quiz night.  We had an absolute blast!  There were lots of questions we just had to guess at but there was also quite a few we got right.  It was a wonderful way to finish the weekend!

I’m planning on getting myself all caught up during the term break so keep an eye out for the updates.