Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Rainbow Cookies!

What do you get when you mix 3 kids, 1 egg, 80 grams of melted butter and 1 box of cookie mix...

Then leave the room intentionally to let the kids learn how to work together? (as seen on Rabbi Shmuley's "Shalom in the Home"!)

A great lesson in teamwork skills and a plate full of yummy cookies to scoff with a cup of tea!

Thanks Shmuley!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Like father, like son.

Gareth worships the ground his Dad walks on.

He is forever trying to be like Byron. To run as fast as him, have muscles as strong him, be as clever as him. He often sits on the side of the bath and watches Byron as he shaves in the morning.

Today is the first day of the school holidays. No rushing around and nagging the kids to get dressed quickly.

All the time in the world to sit and watch Dad and even join in with a squirt of shaving foam and cotton bud!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Australian beach V's Irish beach

What's the difference between an Australian beach and an Irish one?

You might be thinking water temperature? Bronzed lifeguards? Sunshine? All good guesses. Until you look more closely in the rockpools....

What on earth are these?!!

Crazy coloured beetles

and sea snails the size of an apple!

Deja Vu.

Another fabulously sunny Saturday. Another birthday party in Hype at midday for Gareth. Another early start to put the croissants in the oven and brew some fresh coffee before jumping in the car to drive to Caves beach. Another wonderful breakfast under the shade of a gum tree, listening to the waves crash on the sand. Another relaxing few hours of building sandcastles, walking through rockpools and soaking up the warm sunshine. Another quick brushing off the sand in the car park and driving gar to his party with rosy cheeks and salt stiff hair! Another perfect day!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Gin and Tonic.

We have a lemon tree in our garden. We are excited about being able to pick a lemon off it to slice up and put in our Gin and Tonics whenever the mood takes us!

We have really looked after the tree this year and it seems to have paid off. Two years after buying the tree it is finally growing fruit. They are about the size of a golf ball and still green.

What have we done differently this year to last you might ask? Well we watched a film. The World's Fastest Indian (2005), is a film based on the legendary New Zealand speed bike racer Burt Munro. Munro set numerous land speed records for motorcycles with engines less than 1000 cc at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in the late 1950s and into the 1960s. Many of his records still stand to this day.

What has this got to do with our lemon tree you might ask? If you have seen the film you will already know the answer. Burt pee'd on his lemon tree every morning. He believed it fertilized the soil around the tree with the perfect nutrients for producing perfect fruit. While he was away breaking speed records he asked the young boy next door to pee on it for him. Gar thought it was a great idea and has taken to fertilizing our tree regularly!

G+T anyone..?!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Rhiannons School Band.

Today Rhiannon went to play a concert at a local Aged Care Home. I had the day off work so I transported Rhiannon, Gemma, Belle, Madison, four music stands, two flutes and two clarinets from school to Carey Bay and watched them perform.

Between songs the music teacher spoke about the music and the students, giving a little bit of background to them. He said that some of the students were as young as 8 and asked all the eight year olds to stand. When he glanced at the band he looked back and forth. Only Rhiannon was standing but she barely showed behind the music stand. When he noticed her he laughed and said "Oh, she is standing" She got a big round of applause. All the other band members were older and she looked so little compared to them. Her cheeks were pink but she was smiling.

Later she was asked as the youngest band member to introduce a song. The old people made a big fuss of her afterwards. I was really proud of her. She has come a long way in the last 6 months and really has shown a huge musical talent. Keep it up Rhiannon !!!

Little White Hen

I spend most Wednesday mornings in the kids school helping out with reading. First year 3 with Rhiannon's class, then year 5 with Sian, then finally Kindy starting with Gareth and then reading with as many kids from his class as I can until the bell goes for recess.

Today in particular one little kindy girl made me laugh. Her book was a simple one: "Little White Hen"

Each page was a simple picture followed by "The little white hen was......" If you memorised the first part of the sentence and looked at the picture you could "read" the book without actually reading. This little girl read "The little white hen" paused to look at the picture and then turned and looked me straight in the eye and finished the sentence from her head.

"The little white hen dusted the clock"
"The little white hen cleaned all the messy dusty stuff"

"The little white hen ironed the clothes"
"The little white hen got the uniforms fixed up"

"The little white hen mopped the floor"
"The little white hen cleaned the mucky dirt up"

and finally the last page where the little white hen had finished her chores and was sitting down for a well deserved cuppa..

"The little white hen had a cup of tea"
"The little white hen was fed up of all her boring jobs so she sat down for a rest and decided to have a cup of tea"

Before I dissolved into laughter the bell rang for recess and I was able to send her off to play and headed off home with a grin on my face!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A perfect day.

Yesterday was the best day we have had in ages.

After months of wearing jeans and woolly jumpers it is finally spring and the weather forecast for yesterday was sun, sun, sun!

Byron decided we should have a beach day. He hadn't remembered Gareth was going to a birthday party at midday. Instead of abandoning the beach idea we decided to leave the alarm set for its normal midweek time (6.30am!) and go really, really early....a great idea in theory but when the alarm went off he was less than excited.

An hour later we were in the car driving to Caves beach. We sat on the dappled shade of a gum tree and ate warm ham and cheese croissants and listened to the sound of the waves crashing onto an almost deserted beach. A hot steaming cup of coffee from the flask in our hands, we wandered down onto the warm sand and sat on beach chairs while the kids ran around building sandcastles, ran up and down the sand dunes and paddled in the sea.

The waves were really strong and there were about 30 kids practising for lifesaving club. They were running into the water with surf boards under their arms, paddling way out beyond the breakers and then turning around and racing back in to shore. Byron and myself decided to go swimming. It was FREEZING but exhilarating.

When we finally packed up at 11 and headed for the ice-cream shop we felt we had been at the beach all day. We brushed off the sand, dragged a brush though salt stiffened hair and headed off for the party. We didn't know what to do for the 1 1/2 hours Gareth was going to be racing around getting high on sugar. Our friend John was standing around with Harry having dropped Tom to the same party. He was also at a loose end with his lovely wife Maree having a well deserved weekend away with her sisters. I'm not sure who suggested it but a short while later I was walking around a local pre-school fete with Sian, Rhiannon and Harry while Byron and John were sitting under the dappled shade of yet another gum tree sipping an ice cold beer and putting the world to rights! When I ran out of money at the fete I joined them and we got a few more chairs for the kids and bought them cold cans of fizzy orange and sat and chatted until it was time to collect Gareth and Tom.

Not having quite put the world to rights enough we then decided that poor lonely John should come back to our house for a barbie and a swim. The kids ran around the house playing while John, Byron and myself sat on the swing seat by the pool with a glass of fabulous New Zealand Pinot in our hands (Thank John!) The sun went down, the stars came out, we carried on laughing and telling stories of our pasts until finally the glasses were empty and we had to call it a night.

We went to bed tired, tipsy and smelling of the sea.

Life is good!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Masquerade Ball

Last night was the culmination of weeks and weeks of planning and organising by Maree, Monica and myself.

It was the St Joseph's Masquerade Fun Ball, a fundraiser to help buy some more laptops for the school kids. For weeks we have made invitations with glitter and feathers, made posters and canvased local businesses for prizes and donations.

Yesterday morning we headed into the club where the tables had been set up. We decorated the tables with helium balloons and streamers.

We then inflated a further 60 helium balloons with tickets inside for people to win prizes that had been donated by local businesses.

When we returned later in the evening we were all dressed up. Each table ad a theme that was based on their choice of masks.

Our table were trying to look formal on the top with black tops and bow ties. Under the table was a whole different story with a casual mix of swimmers and grass skirts! We had silver candle sticks on the table and buckets and spades on the floor.

Byron grabbed two boogie boards from the garage as we left and they finished off the outfits really well!

Our other friends had great themes.

Maree's table was posh with full dinner suits and black dresses and black pussy cat masks.

The women even had velvet chokers with little bells on and the men had black tails swinging from under their dinner jackets.

Monica's table was done up as Dame Edna Characters. The ladies looked like something out of an eighties wedding and the men looked hideous with their pillow beer bellies and stained shirts. They ended up winning the prize for the "Best Dressed" table. surely that should have been "Worst Dressed" !!!

The evening was great fun. Starting with a sumptuous three course meal and ending with dancing to a great band until the lights came on and we were asked if we had no homes to go to!

The evening was a financial success which was the initial aim but I think it was a great success from a fun and social perspective too which is probably just as important.

I swear I am never, ever going to organise another big event like this, EVER!

Until next year maybe....

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Dizzy is a cheetah.

Dizzy is a social experiment.

Dizzy came to visit us today.....

Dizzy came in a cloth bag with a book. The book was called "Dizzy's Adventures" The book was made up of white A4 pages on which each kid in Gareth's class wrote/drew/stuck in pictures of the adventure that Dizzy had in their houses when he was visiting them.

And so we had to ask Dizzy what he wanted to do. Gareth was the interpreter. We found out that it was Dizzy's birthday! Gareth thought that Dizzy might like to sit on the computer monitor and watch him play computer games all afternoon (good try Gar!) Instead we decided to celebrate Dizzy's birthday with a party!

Out came the play food and lots more stuffed animal friends. Some real food was required to feed the hungry Sian, Rhiannon and Gareth.

Gar decided we should bake cakes. Dizzy was very helpful. He spilled the sugar into the food processor (and over most the kitchen floor)

He thought the cake mixture smelt good!

We blew up some mini balloons (Thanks Nicola, they were from our packet of water balloons you sent this week!) It was a pretty exhausting day.

The last part of Dizzy's adventure was spent cuddled up in Gareth's bed!

Here is Gareth's page he put in Dizzy's adventure book....

Monday, September 08, 2008

Rhiannons First Holy Communion.

Rhiannon made her First Holy Communion today. It was a very special day and one she has put a lot of preparation into.

She wanted to wear the dress that I made for Sian 2 years ago and luckily it fitted her perfectly.

We had an early start this morning as the actual ceremony was at 8am but we needed to leave the house at 7.30am to get a car space. We got up and had a light breakfast before getting dressed. Rhiannon looked so lovely. Very fresh faced and angelic.

Only 12 children were making their Communion today as many chose to make theirs at last nights mass.

It was a really lovely ceremony and Rhiannon really seemed to enjoy it. She got to carry a candle to the alter and looked totally angelic as though butter wouldn't melt in her mouth!

We went home afterwards and put on a pot of coffee and sat out on the patio chatting.

Byron did a cooked breakfast on the BBQ and we sat and talked and laughed and drank refills of coffee for the next few hours.

The kids ran around the garden and blew bubbles and stuffed their faces with cup cakes we had iced very late the night before!

Nessa had to be at the train station by 4pm so we did a bit of packing and jumping up and down on the weighing scales with her bags in between cups of tea. It was sad saying goodbye to Nessa but it was great that she managed to plan her trip so that she could spend this special day with us.

When we got home from the train station Rhiannon sat back on the orange sofa to chill out with her new book from Joe and Rhonda "Pippy Longstocking" and sat reading with the sun pouring through the window on her. She was happy and laughing way to herself at all the funny things Pippy got up to!

It was a very simple day but great fun.