Posted on May 24, 2013
As I haven’t yet nailed down what subjects this blog is allowed to include, I’ve decided that (for now) this means I can write about whatever I feel like. The purpose of this blog for me is to get my writing brain back into gear as I’m required to write for my job, and also, it is a neat way of chronicling what is going on in our life as a family. I am all too aware of how quickly our time together is racing away. It’s nice to be able to read back on what was, especially once it no longer is.
I’m a fussy brownie eater. It’s such a shame to me that so many bland and/or dry abominations are passed off as brownie. I have a favourite recipe and it includes generous amounts of chocolate and butter. Don’t let me anywhere near one made with premix, no chocolate or – almost as bad – cooking chocolate (it’s the devil). To be christened with the brownie moniker (in my book) it should be fudgey, moist, dark, rich and full of chocolatey good stuff. Another personality revelation… I don’t like Annabel Langbein (I don’t know her personally, but something about her TV persona just grates ok?) so have avoided her recipes with snobbish disdain. So, how many hats/words/feet am I eating now that my new brownie discovery is an Annabel Langbein recipe that doesn’t need chocolate. Whaaaat?
It won’t be replacing my favourite for special occasions, but if this recipe means that we can have brownie in the freezer on a regular basis for school lunchboxes (and post kids-bedtime snacking) without busting our grocery budget on chocolate AND with a bit of added nutritional goodness, then Annabel, please accept my humble apologies, I’m your new dedicated fan. (Whew! Big sentence) The recipe is here, and yes it does have broken chocolate pieces in it, but you know what? While it is yummy to have them in there, the brownie is delicious even without (I’ve made it both ways). The secret is dates. Softened and mooshed into oblivion, it lends the finished product that all important fudginess without tasting date-y. Give it a go.
So I mentioned yesterday that I’ve scored myself an ex-highschool sewing machine. She is beautiful and I’m in love. I am very much a sewing novice. I’m learning as I go from the school of google. So for the first project on my new baby (need to think of a name?) I decided to give the 90 minute shirt a bash. Using a 50 cent top from the Sallies in a knit that is possibly a merino/cotton blend (or boring old acrylic) I chopped it up to re-fashion. Dana’s tutorials are always amazingly easy to follow and she takes photos every step of the way to help. Here is the result!
Without some proper ribbing, I finished off the cuffs and envelope neck bits (see I don’t even know the words) with an old t-shirt of my husbands, double folded into a bias tape (I learnt about that in another tutorial). It worked fine aside from on the front, where it kind of pushes it out a little and makes it not sit properly, but I’m happy with the result, and the lesson.
Finally, this is my favourite photo of the week. It’s a little out of focus, but captures the look of utter adoration on my eldest’s face as Miss wriggle does something (probably cute) out of frame. I love these guys.
4 THOUGHTS ON “I’VE BEEN MAKING THINGS.”
What a morning. With a bit of effort, and a few more ‘photo stops’ (maybe just breathers in disguise) than were necessary. We rounded the point and began the descent to the secluded spot. Otarawairere is also known as Shelly Bay or Shelly Beach (easier to say). Because of it’s steep shore, abundant sea life and sheltered cove shape, tonnes upon tonnes of shells in various stages of disintegration into sand, cover the beach. It’s soft, deep, pretty, and at times almost musical as the waves stir, and turn them.
A relaxed picnic morning tea of fruit and biscuits, hampered only by the impossible task of keeping toddler food un-sandy.
The boys found some acquaintances on their way to a secret sprat fishing spot and spent ages reaching into tide pools and hauling out various sea life. Giggling and laughing and accessorising with starfish.
With lunchtime approaching, and lunch being all the way back at home, we called an end to our stay. Back over the hill and round the headland. Tired, sandy, and refreshed.
Goodbye Otarawairere, we plan to come again soon!
I love living here because my children are free to act like children. The two boys come home from school scruffy, with dirt smeared, grazed knees and holes in their jeans (ok I’m not stoked about that usually). In summer they run unsupervised along the sand to the playground with it’s flying fox, where they test their physical limits, balance and grip often to the point of injury. A valuable lesson on invincibility – or lack of it. They splash around in the stream hunting for eels (they haven’t found any, I imagine once they have, they won’t splash in the stream anymore, we don’t build them brave genetically). They get themselves to school on their own wheels – no mad SUV dash/parking joust for us. I frequently run along with them pushing the buggy with Miss Wriggle (1), sometimes she rides in the MacPac carrier so I can de-shoe and come home along the high tide mark, toes in the sand, collecting things and finding oddities on the way. Life is simpler. I hope I don’t sound like a dirty hippy, when I say that life feels closer to the ground here. That is the best way I can describe it.
Our neighbours are of the garden vegetables/todays catch/baking swapping variety. Currently there are 5 sets of houses that I’ve given to or received from. Makes dinner infinitely more enjoyable when 3 or more elements have come from various neighbours as a gift. Feeds your very soul.
I hope to remain here for quite a while longer. We’ll see I guess. Life has a habit of being wonderful yet unpredictable…
3 THOUGHTS ON “LIVING HERE”
Not something I saw coming. I imagine that most of my posts will have something to do with my children, as they occupy quite a big chunk of my life. So, to start as I mean to go on, I’ll tell you about yesterday…
Our eldest has always been somewhat of an information sponge, absorbing everything (including adult conversation – Taringa flap-flap is one of his nicknames) from his environment. He’s a reader, he writes well (and often humorously), he’s ingenious and he THIIIINKS. He is now 10, but as an example of the depths he plumbs with his thoughts, I remember often as a 2 year old he would be reduced to tears as he pondered his own mortality. He explored the concept of death thoroughly… as a toddler, before he’d ever been stung by loss. He’s odd. In a beautiful, sometimes bewildering way, but odd nonetheless.
Yesterday he floored me again.
As part of the first term of the school year, our boy’s school holds a goal setting evening, where we as parents meet together with the teacher and our child for 10 minutes to discuss and establish some academic and practical goals for the school year. It’s usually pretty brief and perfunctory. Yesterday, the meeting with my second son’s teacher (he’s 8) came first, and left me yet again wondering how I can possibly hope to mould him into a child that knuckles down immediately upon being given some directions. Ha! I’m not sure the teacher realises that we’ve been trying to work on that for the past 6 years at least. He is adorable, he’s sensitive, he loves to laugh, a snuggle is the best thing in the world, and for him, people make life worth living. Work is boring. People are fun. Thoughts are fun. Little odd things you notice on your way to do that thing you’ve been asked to do, are fun. But work is boring. Hehe, we’ll try Ms Ward, we’ll try. ANYway, I digress. The eldest’s appointment followed. The teacher handed him the sheet that he’d written his goals on so he could read them out to me. He read something a little like this…
“This year I would like to be thankful for what I have. To achieve that, I am not going to want a billion other things”.
Woah. This kid is a gadget geek like his Dad. If it has buttons and a screen and is most likely flippin’ expensive then he wants it. He’s been asking for a laptop with internet since he was two. He usually doesn’t like to share, he’s a hoarder and he holds onto lollies and possessions with an iron grip, sometimes managing to weasel some more things to add to his stash out of his generous little brother by using his superior reasoning skills. He spends money as soon as he gets it. Money burns a hole in his pocket. This. This was out of the box. Then…
“I would like to be nicer to the year 5’s. I want to be a good example to them”.
He’s never been a bully. He’s generally a caring sort of kid, but awesome goal. Woo! Then…
“I want to be happy and content. I want to leave a good name for myself in my last year at this school”.
Holy Crap! Those are some decent goals! The teacher was flabbergasted. In a classroom full of children who wrote about being faster at running, knowing more spelling words, more proficient at maths etc. He, un-prompted, looked internally to see who he would like to become by the end of the year. Proud Mum moment? Heck yes! – I nearly cried (I managed to keep it to a minimum watery eye though). I know we have done an alright job as parents, but this kid really is quite amazing on his own merits. I’m humbled to be a part of raising someone who is clearly destined to do great things. Can’t wait to see it.