Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Circle Punch Art

More artwork for the boys bedroom wall.  Although this hasn't actually made it onto their wall yet. Its in our family room, and I think I want it to stay there!  I really like it and seeing it on my buffet with all my other favourite things makes me happy.  And to be honest, the boys don't actually seem too worried about it not making it into their bedroom.

I found this idea on Pinterest, the original link is here.  It would be a great way to use up scrapbooking paper scraps.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

New Discoveries - Bridal Veil Falls, Raglan

We've been adventuring around the Waikato again today.  I just love the school holidays and the break in routine, meaning there is lots more energy for discovering.

We headed out to Bridal Veil Falls near Raglan.  Its about 38km from Hamilton, so was an easy afternoon trip for us.

The walk to the top of the falls was easy and pushchair accessible.  261 stairs down to the bottom of the falls and the kids just charged down them.  And then back up again.   This included The Girl, who at 2, amazes me sometimes!  There was a stop halfway down, with a viewing platform, so a great chance to rest for tired little legs (of which there were none in my family).

They had great signposts during the walk explaining how the falls were created from volcanic activity and the boys loved learning along the way.

Once we had finished up we headed into Raglan for a well deserved ice cream.  A great way to finish the day that started at a Retro Fair.  Couldn't get better really!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Dr Suess Quilt

This has been my most favourite quilting project so far. I backed it with cuddle fabric and its heavy and so snuggly.  The perfect winter warmer.  Almost tempted to keep it for myself.  In fact the hubby said we should.  Dr Suess fans in the house maybe?  It looks so good on our bed....

But it is for Sprat.  He independently read his first book off the bookshelf at home this week (this is a big deal for us) and it happened to be a Dr Suess book.  The theme fits in perfectly.

I had this quilted by Donna from Donna's Quilt Studio in Hamilton.  She does such amazing work.

Monday, July 22, 2013

New Discoveries - Karangahake Gorge and the Waihi Mine

The children and I spent the most amazing day together today exploring the wonder that is the Karangahake Gorge, between Paeroa and Waihi.

The main attraction for the children was the 1km long tunnel and the torches they had to carry. We parked at the first carpark on the right (coming from Paeroa), over the bridge, and this takes you straight to the beginning of the tunnel walk.  The tunnel is lit, but the extra light from a torch definitely helps the process.  Its honestly the tunnel that never ends.  We got to the 500 metre mark and I had by this stage thought up all sorts of disaster scenarios that I was convincing myself could happen and had managed to freak myself out.  Thankfully I had to keep cool in front of the kids and the giggling echos from the boys kept me from tipping over.  Tunnels and caves are not my thing, but there is always light at the end of this one and the kids loved the experience.

On leaving the tunnel, we followed the track around to the right until we reached the beginning of the Windows Walk.  The children still had an abundance of energy here, so I decided we'd tackle this as well.  It was amazing.  The scenery was stunning.  You can't do this walk without torches though.  You enter pitch black tunnels which are broken occasionally by a 'window' to the gully below.  I really needn't tell you how my nerves were once we came out the otherside, but the children again thought it was great fun.

During the walk there were swing bridges to cross, which of course needed jumping on to make them swing as much as possible, a heap of old mining ruins to clamber through and old machinery to awe the children with their size.

The children amazed me.  The Girl, at 2, needed carrying up the steep stairs, but she walked a fair bit.  Sprat (6) and Danger Mouse (4) walked the whole way (just under 5kms) without so much as a single complaint.  I took a pile of food and drink and just kept feeding them the whole way around.

There was a stretch along the river which was a bit hair raising, as the path dropped off straight to the river.  Being the confident beings my children are they just charged ahead with my instructions of staying close to the wall, while I flitted and flustered behind them thinking do I ditch the backpack or just jump straight in if one of them falls in?

Once we had exhausted ourselves, we headed over to Waihi Beach for a picnic lunch.  It was only a 20 minute drive from the Gorge and a great place to just chill out and get sand in everything.

Bellies full (how they could pack anymore in after what they ate on their walk I have no idea) we headed back into Waihi to check out the mine.  We parked at the top of the main street and headed up the grass hill.

Whoa.  In all the years I have driven through Waihi I had no idea at all I was passing this.  The children were fascinated, and stood at the fence for AGES watching the tiny (yea right) trucks and diggers at work.  Its mindbogglingly huge.

Across the road from where we parked is the Waihi Information Centre, and in the basement is a Mine Information Centre.  Its quite informative and has a small play area for the kids where they can wear hard hats, hi-vis vests and play with Tonka toys.  Its free to get in as well, always a bonus.

Sprat mentioned at this stage he wanted to go to the Museum so that was our next destination.  It cost us $8 to get in.  Under 5's are free, and I think it was $5 for adults and $3 for children.  I was slightly disappointed.  It was quite small, with a lot of static mining models and some old TV's and radios.  A lot of information on the mine was provided though, but it just all looked ... slightly rough around the edges and a bit unkempt. Just my opinion though remember.  They do have the old Waihi jail there though, which was quite cool to see.  It scared the kids but I thought the padded cell looked quite appealing for naughty children ...

On heading home I noticed a sign for the Owharoa Falls opposite Waikino Station.  A sucker for waterfalls I couldn't pass this by.  I parked on the verge of the road about 30 metres up the hill (on the righthand side) and it was only a 10 metre walk down to the bottom of the waterfall.  Totally worth stopping in for a look.

A massive busy day which I totally loved.  We honestly could of spent more time there as there were things we wanted to see but we ran out of time.  It was a 'cheap' day out - for the cost of our petrol and the $8 museum fee, we were entertained, exercised, educated and exhausted.  I am planning on heading back over the next 2 months or so to see all the stuff we couldn't fit in today.

And what drive through Paeroa wouldn't be complete without a stop at the L&P Bottle.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Canvas Artwork for Kids

Our bedroom walls are bare.  We are in transition in our house, knowing that we'll be shifting before Christmas, but not knowing yet when or where.  So I've never really decorated the kids bedrooms as I would like.

They are boring.

I promised the kids they could paint their own artwork these holidays and I would put them up over their beds.

I brought 3 cheap canvases from the Dollar Store and let them loose with the paint.

There was much concentration and talk about who was going to paint what.

Danger Mouse was painting whatever Sprat was painting.

The Girl was just into the sensory experience of smearing paints and watching them merge.

There was a great sense of achievement when each painting was finished.  They all named their paintings, with a bit of help from me.  I can't wait till they are dry so we can get them up on their walls.  As a child I would of been so proud to have my own work of art hanging above my bed.

A rainy afternoon well spent and such an easy activity with a great sense of achievement.

The Girl and 'My Rainbow'

Danger Mouse and 'Motorbike in Gardens'

Sprats 'Motorbike on Rainbow Road'

Friday, July 19, 2013

Did Someone Say its Winter?

We spent four days at the beach this week.  Love school holidays.  We had the most stunning weather.

The kids swam everyday.  But its winter you say?  Someone needs to tell that to the Coromandel. And probably the children.  The water was freezing but the sun was hot.  

The kids spent precious time hanging with their cousins and Grandma.  Memory building.  You just can't put a price on these types of holidays.  

Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Family Trip to the Movies

What were we thinking?  The hubby and I must of had simultaneous brain malfunctions when we decided it would be a wonderful idea to take all three children to the movies.  Together.  Yes, at once, in the same movie theater.  What a wonderful way to kick start the holidays and blow a major portion of my holiday budget in one go.

Sprat, at 6, and having been to the movies before was highly excited and knew what was expected of him.

Danger Mouse was extremely hypo, as it was his first trip to the movies, and had no idea it required him to stay still for the duration of the movie.

The Girl is 2.  I need not say more.

It really wasn't all bad.  I just wasn't as prepared as I should of been.  Sprat was fixated on the screen and loved every minute.  Danger Mouse lasted about 40 minutes (which I am quite impressed by) before he needed more food, was thirsty, needed Daddy, needed Mummy, had a sore bottom, an itchy toe ... you get the picture.  After bribing him with lollies and a quick run up and down the aisles we managed to get him to stay still for the final 10 minutes.

The Girl was hilarious.  I had the forethought to bring her blankie, so she sat happily through the first 5 minutes of the movie chewing that.  Then she decided she wanted the Hubbies ice cream. That kept her sitting for 5 minutes more.  We then gave her her own container of popcorn.  About half an hour into the movie, as she was bouncing off the chairs in front of her (empty thankfully, or else we obviously wouldn't of let her) she thought it would be hilarious to come over and cover the boy in front of me with her blankie.  Poor boy.  After we managed to stem her hysterical laughter at giving the boy a mini heart attack it was time to bribe her with lollies.  She had a few marathon runs up and down the aisles, a trip outside to run around a bit with Dad and then for the final 10 minutes happily slurped down the rest of Dad's raspberry drink.  Something she has never had before.

Here is the final result of that raspberry drink. One crazy hyper child going mad in her carseat from the sugar/colour rush.

I actually think she did rather well for a 2 year old.

I realise now I should of been way more prepared.  For a starters I should of prepared a pile of food at home and brought that along, including water bottles, and drip fed them throughout the movie. Food that wasn't loaded with sugar.

Secondly the iPad would of been a great idea for The Girl, as I am more than convinced that when she got bored with the movie she would of happily sat on the floor playing games on the iPad.

Am not sure that there was much I could of done about Danger Mouse.  He is just not that kind of child to sit still through a movie but with the distraction of a longer supply of whole healthy food we might of managed it.

It was a fun (frustrating and stressful at times) way to start the school holidays, if not a little bit expensive due to me being rather unprepared.  Would I take a 2 year old and active 4 year old into the movies again?  Absolutely!  There goes that brain malfunction again ....

Bring on the next two weeks of special time with my treasures!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

KitKat Cake

This is such an easy cake to make.  And hides multitudes of cake disasters.  Like massive peaks and lumpy ganache ....

Bake your cake of choice.  Cover with icing of choice.  Stick your KitKats around the outside and then tie a ribbon around it.  Fill with lollies of choice.  Then laugh yourself silly when the intended recipient tries to cut it and can't stem the avalanche of falling pebbles.

Happy Birthday to my wonderful SIL.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

New Discoveries - Ashurst Park, Pukete

We discovered a gem of a playground in Pukete (Hamilton) today.  Just off Ashurst Ave in Pukete, Ashurst Park has a purpose built scooter track, flying fox and a small, but fun and challenging playground.

The boys wore themselves out racing around and around the scooter track and The Girl spent her time moving between the different swings and trying out the flying fox for the first time.

This is now the kids favourite pick of playgrounds in Hamilton.

We've decided to expand our horizons and start exploring around the parks of Hamilton a bit more to give the children more variety and challenge in their playground play.  I'm hoping this will help beat the winter blues, for both the kids and the hubby and I, and give us a reason to get outside on a cold winter day and burn some pent up energy.  Who doesn't like discovering new fun?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

A Dream Holiday

Things have been a bit quiet on here lately.  That's because the hubby and I have been sunning it in Thailand together.  We get away alone with each other once a year, with every second year being an overseas holiday.  It was one of the best holidays we've had together yet!

Totally child free.  We enjoyed our together time, no pressures or interruptions, finding 'us' again outside of the seriousness of running a business, child rearing and everyday life.

Can I be honest though.  I missed my children crazy, crazy bad.  It was hard to leave them and I had a few moments where I wanted to get on the next plane home just so I could cuddle them.  I only cried a little bit once ...

Missing the children aside (they, by the way, were having the time of their lives with Grandma and not missing us one bit), it was just one massive, exciting adventure where we crammed as much in as we possibly could.  Active relaxers we are - there'll be no lounging around in front of the pool drinking cocktails for us - we might miss out on something cool!

Back home, revived and renewed, to real life, beautiful children, business and building and fostering our lives together.  Lucky just doesn't really cover it.