Friday, December 31, 2010

Day 7 #blog12daysxmas In which water fights were had

By members of the family - DS has been agitating for a Big Purple Water Blaster from the Red Shed so today we went to see what was available. DH found one he liked too so the game was on!

DD escaping - she wasn't so keen.

The boys fight it out.

I joined in the fun (in my togs) too though my weapon was a bit pathethic - it had prostate problems some of the time.

Doing the last grocery shop of the year I saw that red capsicums are starting to come down in price so I got some to roast. To me, nothing screams summer more than the vegetables that come available at this time of year. This is one of my favourite dishes for summer.


Grease a roasting pan. Halve the capsicums and put some of the following in each of them:
  • a garlic clove
  • olives
  • capers
  • anchovies
  • basil
  • dollop of olive oil
  • feta cheese cube
  • pesto
  • tomato quarter or sundried tomatoes
Sprinkle with pepper and salt and sprinkle a bit more oil over the edges.  I sometimes use the spray oil for this.  Roast in a very hot oven until the edges start to blacken and the capsicums start to collapse. Mmmmm.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Day 6 #blog12daysxmas In which I make rum balls

Rum balls

The sad thing is I intended to make these on Christmas Eve to take up north with us. It never happened. The mixture has been sitting in the 'fridge until today. I need to invite some people around to help eat them!

I also did a scrapbooking layout - the first in about 6-8 months. Pretty sad that it was of DD's 3rd birthday - her 4th birthday is next week.

Birthday Girl

I'm a bit Meh about it but it will do to break the drought. I've got plans to do some 6x6's for Southern Cross Kids Camp and get them off to Trina.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Day 5 #blog12daysxmas In Which Purchases Are Made With Christmas Money

Santa kindly bought us "pictures of the Queen" or to be more exact, "pictures of Ernest Rutherford", (aka money) so we popped out today to exchange them for some Items of Desirability.

Christmas Presents

I bought myself a mug that I liked. ;) I also got a new ice cream scoop since I broke the old one last night serving up home made strawberry cheesecake ice cream. This one looks nice and sturdy. I also discovered that St Lukes has a little chocolate stall place (near Starbucks) that sells Schoc chocolate - a chocolatier that I have great admiration for. 

Christmas Presents

I was given this Annabel Langbein book for Christmas too, so a nice little foodie haul here in this photo.

We also made arrangements to purchase a Big Girl's Bed (to be delivered after January 10).  Yes, my baby is finally moving from the toddler bed into something more suitable for a growing girl. *sob* She turns 4 on the 7th. 

I did not, however, manage to find a swim suit.  I suppose it was a bit optimistic of me to think I could walk into a store and find one I liked. I like one piece suits and found one store that had nice ones but I had to walk away.  Call me Scrooge but I can't bring myself to pay NZ$229.00 for a pair of togs!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Day 4 #blog12daysxmas Garden bounty

This is what happens when you go away for 4 days and leave the beans just as they are about to be useful. They become enormous!  I hope they are not too stringy.

Seven cucumbers and more on the plant... oh man.

cucumbers & beans

Oh - and if you wish to see the first attempt by DH at taking photos of damselflies, he has posted one here on the AFN forum.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Day 3 #blog12daysxmas

So I missed yesterday. Too bad. Tummies, tempers and tiredness got the victory over me. Thank goodness for new mercies each morning!

Movin' right along. We ventured down to the Quarry Gardens today so DH could practice with his macro lens. We were hoping for dragonflies & while some were observed they were the darting kind so too hard to capture. Oh boy those babies can fly! We did find a damselfly & a spider with 2 horns on his bum... Names and photos to come. (Blogging by iPad so no Sd card facility).

Considering heading out to find some smallish waves for the kids to try their Boogie boards.

The lurg is making the rounds of the house.

I have to say this weather (overcast, drizzle now & again) reminds me of the Christmas of my youth when in never seems to be fine for when we wanted to play with new water toys! Still, sunny in parts and we're on holiday so got to make the most of it.

Probably going to visit great aunties this evening.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Meri Kirimete! #blog12daysxmas

Reporting for 12 days of Christmas blogging starting from today!

Having spent the early hours and morning of Christmas eve with a tummy bug I managed to scrape myself together enough to pack the bags to come up north to the in-laws for Christmas. Fortunately the traffic wasn't too bad by the time we left. Secreting the presents into the car without two interested parties seeing was tricky but we managed it.

Today we woke to two excited kids(at 615am)to see Santa had been. They managed to hold off opening things until after breakfast.

In my half dead sate yesterday I managed to forget to bring my camera so will edit this post with photos when I get some off The Mad Photographer who, as you might imagine, did not forget his!

Hoping to feel more like eating in order to enjoy Christmas dinner.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Blogosphere November Book | Reading Round Up

Hmmm.. November was a sparse month for reading.

The redbreast / Jo Nesbo ; translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett.
In 1944, Daniel, a soldier legendary among the Norwegians fighting the advance of Bolshevism on the Russian front, is killed. Two years later, a wounded soldier wakes in a Vienna hospital. He becomes involved with a young nurse, the consequences of which will ripple forward to the end of the century.1999: Harry Hole, working alone having caused an embarrassment in the line of duty, has been promoted to inspector and is lumbered with surveillance duties. He is assigned the task of monitoring neo-Nazi activities; fairly mundane until a report of a rare and unusual gun being fired sparks his interest. Ellen Gjelten, his partner, from his police officer days makes a startling discovery. Then a former soldier is found with his throat cut. In a quest which takes him to South Africa and Vienna, Harry finds himself perpetually one step behind the killer. ~from the blurb
This was a well executed thriller/crime novel.  I enjoyed it.

The optimists / Andrew Miller.
His optimism about life shattered after a visit to an African massacre site, London photojournalist Clem Glass falls into a deep depression and withdraws from everyone except his mentally troubled sister, whom he nurses back to health, until an opportunity arises to confront his own demons.~ from the blurb
It was ok. It felt a little slow to get started.

The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks / Rebecca Skloot.
"Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer, yet her cells--taken without her knowledge--became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first "immortal" human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer and viruses; helped lead to in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta Lacks is buried in an unmarked grave. Her family did not learn of her "immortality" until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. The story of the Lacks family is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of."--Publisher's description.
I found this book fascinating on a number of levels.  Firstly from the viewpoint of scientific development, secondly, the ethics and the development of the idea of informed consent and thirdly, the human side of the story - namely Henrietta and her family.  Parts of the story are very sad but the ending is ultimately uplifting. I would recommend it.

November Blogosphere Book Circle Book

The road / Cormac McCarthy.
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2006. ISBN: 9780307476319

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. They sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.~ from the blurb

I have to admit I'm not a fan of apocalypse-style fiction.  I remember having to read Z for Zachariah for school and struggling with it.  This book was no exception and I have to say I skimmed most of the last part to get to the end quicker.  It wasn't as though the writing was bad or anything, but the subject was so depressing.  Being a disgustingly optimistic person I prefer to think that in such an apocalyptic event there would be people who would allow some inherent goodness to come forward rather allow the amoral, animalistic side of human nature to control.  I guess it is a naive viewpoint.

So yeah - it wasn't my cup of tea at all. I hear they are going to/have made a movie of the book but I don't want to imagine how even more depressing a visual depiction of the book would be. Ugh.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

In which I boast about my husband

This man (whom you see here watering the garden)

has had 6 images published in this book

published by Potton.

We now have a box of 12 of these. Guess what his whanau are getting for Christmas!?

Homemade Christmas 2010

Around this time of year I find myself thinking of making stuff for Christmas.  I enjoy making it and giving it away.  Many of the food related things I make are found in this document here Homemade Christmas Recipes.

My Eco-bag tutorial is still available but there are many more tutorials on how to make eco bags, gift bags and totes out there on the "Internets". Try searching the Sew Mama Sew blog for example. Or, download the free patterns from Ottobre.

You might like to make a fairy skirt for a little girl.

This year I want to make this fudge that Mel posted.

I have cheated a bit with the family Christmas card this year.  I herded the family out to the park for family photo - always tricky to get one where everyone looks semi normal.  Anyway, we got something that is ok (posted on Facebook).  To take some of the stress out of it I used some of the free templates for digital cards found on Write.Click.Scrapbook and uploaded it to Snapfish. 

Miss 3 discovered my stash of pirate clobber (in preparation for the work Christmas party which is pirate themed).  Apparently the sword is for sawing which makes sense if you just listen to the word sounds and ignore the spelling.