Monday, January 31, 2011

take me back to the rainbow

Rainbows End was awesome fun.  The boys are both over 120cm now so they could go on almost all of the rides.  At the end of 2010 we started saving up the $156 for tickets.  We explained to the boys that we'd need to save up especially and that we could sell off some things on trade me that we didn't need or use any more.  They were keen to contribute toys (farewell little people and preschool games) and I sold the last bits of baby gear that I hadn't passed on.


Our favourite rides were the log flume, the gold-rush and the corkscrew roller coaster.  We ate candy floss and crazy chips on a stick.  It rained after lunch (we'd packed our jackets) but that didn't slow us down.  At the end of the day the two blondies (below) went on the corkscrew eight times without stopping!!  Once was enough for me! The two of them also did the fear fall (a drop from 18 stories up).  B looked a little green afterwards but our almost school boy was keen for another go!



The only dud ride (as far as the kids were concerned) was the dinosaur motion master 3D ride.  They were both freaked out and in tears.  We weren't sure if they'd manage the bumper boats but they were just fine.

Better than fine even.
So much fun.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

intentional acts of kindness

So the linen cupboard clean out helped us in more ways than originally expected.  While wondering what to do with the old towels etc I remembered that the SPCA is uses that kind of thing.  I looked up their website and sure enough they always need towels, newspapers and blankets.  

It fit in perfectly with what we're doing this year.  I've been very inspired by photographer Katherine Marie, and her 52 Smiles project. It's all about creating intentional acts of kindness (surprises, community service, helping, thanking, giving) every week for the year.  I won't be posting them all here but some I will.  I know how inspired I can feel reading other people's blogs and so I hope maybe to be able to pass that on.  In January we've delivered dinner to a local family, left surprise post it love notes and picked up rubbish in the local shopping area.  
So this week the boys and I went around all of our neighbours and collected up their unwanted stuff for the SPCA.  Yesterday we loaded up the car and (on the way to Rainbow's End) delivered to goods.  A big part of doing this project is to teach the kids about giving and the value of kindness, but honestly it really feels great to make a difference!  Let's see what we can do next week before school goes back.

Here are some links (from Katherine) for more inspiration -

Secret Agent L  Specializing in Random Acts of Kindness
Kindness Kid Activities Scroll down- list of neat ideas
For Teachers PDF project for your school or classroom

Saturday, January 29, 2011

water babies



 We're loving the swimming this summer.  Since the kids are having lessons now it's so much more fun.

Friday, January 28, 2011

this moment

{this moment} -  A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Thanks SouleMama for the inspiration.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

organised home project: the linen cupboard

Megan at MouseHouse (blog) is doing an organised home challenge this year.  I figured that with both boys off to school soon I have hardly any reason not to have an organised home (at least some of the time!).   So this week's challenge was the linen cupboard.  It took a while but it was so worth it.  I also did the cupboard beside it (games, crafty stuff etc) and between the two managed two bags of stuff for charity and a big lot of rubbish.  I moved the towels down to the kids level too, for those times when I forget a towel and call out to the wee slaves to grab one.  

We use duvets on all of our beds and so once we've folded a bottom sheet and duvet cover I put them into one of the pillow cases (top shelf).  It makes it so easy when it comes time to change the beds, no scrounging about for the right bits and pieces.  I even found room in the cupboards for our duvet (which had been neglected under our bed in the heat), the extra shopping bags (most of them are in the boot of the car) and I moved the big crafty box from under our bed too (really shouldn't have been there all these years).

Is it weird to love decluttering?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

pretzels

One of the first things we did when we got home was some baking.  Our lovely German friend's pretzel recipe was used to make delicious bread for our lunch.  I thought I'd share it here in case anyone else wants to try it. The dough can be made in a bread maker (maybe you could try gluten free ones Simone? you never know).  There are five steps to baking pretzels, sounds complicated but really worth it, and it's much easier second time around.  First you make the dough, let it rise, shape the pretzels, briefly boil them and bake them.

Pretzels

3 Tbsp sunflower oil
450ml water
2 tsp salt
760g high grade flour
2 1/2 tsp dry yeast

If you're using a bread maker add the ingredients in the order listed and run the dough cycle.  If you're making it in a bowl you'll need to dissolve the yeast in the water (lukewarm) first before adding it to the other ingredients and mixing it to a dough.  Let the dough rise in a covered bowl till it's about double in size.  This takes about an hour I think.

Heat your oven to 220degrees celcius.

In a pot on the stove heat till simmering:
1 litre water 
1 Tbsp salt

Once simmering add 2Tbsp baking soda.  (This is the briny solution that you'll boil your pretzels into before baking).

Sprinkle some four on the bench and give the dough wee knead before dividing it into 12 pieces.
Shape each one into a pretzel shape (you could do any shape you like here, maybe hearts for valentines day?) and immerse them, one at a time, in the brine for 20 seconds.
Drain them on a drip tray (I use a cake rack) and sprinkle with salt.  If you want you can do an egg wash before adding the salt, I haven't tried this but I think I will next time.
Bake for 10 minutes.

Yummy!



Friday, January 21, 2011

this moment


{this moment} -  A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Thanks SouleMama for the inspiration.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

if you live in Christchurch...

...you must see the amazing Ron Mueck exhibition at the Christchurch Art Gallery.  It's only on till the 23rd which means you'd better hurry up!!  We went with the boys (kids are free) and both sets of grandparents.  You're allowed to take photos so I snapped a few and thought I'd share them here.  Once again I wished I had the big camera with me (it's excellent in low light), but when we were camping I was glad not to have to worry about it being stolen.  Anyway onto the photos... which don't do the work justice, you really have to see them up close. The detail is incredible.
They were all so real!
I loved this woman so much,
really got the feeling that she was hot and heavy and over it.
I feel like this some mornings.
The two nanas.

kids photo scavenger hunt

Simone called us up this morning and asked if we'd like to come along on their kidsclick photo scavenger hunt.  So we slapped on some sunscreen and helmets, grabbed our wheels and a camera and off we went.  Then kids all enjoyed the fresh air and hunting for cool things to photograph.  I'm feeling inspired now and might make the kids a (non photographic) scavenger hunt around school (good to familiarise the littlest one for when he starts in two weeks).  I'm thinking of that big and little brother can do it as a team.  Perhaps we'll have to invite some other families along too.  Anyway back to the kids click... you should do it with your kids too here's the linky.

First M's photos...
something beautiful
something you can eat
something alive
something tiny
something old
something disguisting





 And R's photos
something old
something beautiful
something disgusting
something you can eat
something alive 
something tiny


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

we're back!!

Did you miss us?  I hope not too much.  We've been down in shaky quaky Christchurch for the past 3 1/2 weeks and although we had a brilliant time it's oh so nice to be home.  It's lovely to be back in our own beds and I'm loving being back in the kitchen!  It's funny what you miss when you're away.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

literacy festival

 He was Geronimo Stilton for the book character parade.  Crazy cute.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

five at last

Excited?  No not at all.

We played pin the star on the rocket.



Then the kids made space telescopes (poked holes into a piece of paper stuck onto a cardboard tube) and decorated paper bags and party hats with stickers and twistable crayons.

A few impromptu games of twister, and then the smashing of the cake (photo of cake).




Soon followed by the gobbling of the cake (and all those lollies hiding inside the rocket's dome).

We had an indoor treasure hunt for the silver painted moon rocks which we then decorated with googly eyes and marker pens, instant pet rocks to take home!  So in the end the fact that it rained wasn't really a problem after all.