Sunday, January 31, 2010

Thirty something............

I have decided the joy of being thirty something is that you are finally starting to grow out of the 'egocentric' twenties and trying to find other things in your life of interest. It's only taken four years to accept the thirties, but better late than never!
So I have spent the 31 days of 2010 deciding what my thirties will bring me:

Writing is a certainty, loving it beyond expectations.
Music remains a love and now that my children are growing up at the speed of sound I want that in their lives as well.
Teaching, because I'm good at it and I love it.
Fitness. This was never a goal during my twenties. Honestly, I used to 'feel the burn' just unscrewing a really stubborn jam jar lid. Suddenly, with gorgeous responsibilities running about my feet I want to be healthy and fit.
Growing food. We don't grow a lot of food in our current living arrangements and I miss it. As we will be moving on from here at some point during the year edible gardens are a must for the rest of my thirties.
Flowers. I'm a girl, I love flowers. I don't wear or decorate with floral patterns but I love to grow them. At my last property I grew roses, irises and lavender. My favourite combination.
Garlic Aioli. Well, maybe not the entire six remaining years, but I have fallen in love with it this summer. Mmmwha!
But, I have decided that in addition to my family and 'thirties' hobbies, I want to add WINE.
Yes I consume it on a regular basis, but I'm talking about actually having a little knowledge about what I'm buying and drinking. Even being able to match it to food would be fab.
A conversation over Christmas with a family member made me think a little harder about wine. Our discussion, while drinking wine of course, highlighted 'wine memory'. She described her complete lack of memory for white wine, but in contrast could name easily which red she would prefer. I was amazed I feel exactly the same. Red is easy, white baffles me.
I have a really big sweet tooth, so Pinot Gris and Rieslings are a big yes, but only if I'm craving sweets. Oh but then there are rose, sparklings etc etc. I don't yet know the names of them all.
So it seems I"m going to spend the next six year plastered. Well, at the end of the week anyway. I restrain myself from Monday to Thursday. Please don't worry about my children. They will only be exposed to sensible social drinking as French families have done for years.

Maybe you should consider the decade you are representing. What will be your legacy, and what will you do for your mental, emotional and spiritual well-being? The wonderful thing is, surely it will have a positive spin off effect on our families.

There's still time!!!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Summer Novella

She lets her feet sink a little into the warmth of sand. The beach seems to stretch forever before her. The recently bought bikini top digging in a little, tied neatly at the nape of her neck. It is her first ever halter neck, an attempt to banish the insecurities of her twenties. She is a 'thirties' girl now. Time to allow her own skin be seen by the rest of the world. The bottom half remains unseen....thighs winter pale. Some things must remain for herself.
She sits with her book, children playing in the surf. She is proud of their summer born confidence as they leap across waves. Three children have left the stomach less flat then her twenty-something self. She gazes longingly at the 'foxlet' strutting the length of the bay.
Where do they order legs that start at the neck? She wants the catalogue.
She averts her gaze and stretches contented with her lot. The smallest makes sand castles beside her. She feels the sun warm her skin, sweat beading......................
The girl sits now in the cool breeze, margarita in hand, stretched on her own private deck. She curses the bikini and new found confidence. Skin sears, post baby belly stings from the sun. The mirror reveals the raw burnt skin beneath a sensible T-shirt. She is a thirties woman now cursing that new found confidence.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cover-seal................I will not be defeated!!!!!!!!!

Today the school office opened which meant we could buy our stationery packs and Molly's school uniform. Tuesday is the big day, which I'm sure I will find an emotional spare minute to blog about it.
Molly has gone beyond excitement. As soon the the front door was unlocked on our return home she was flying up the stairs, half undressed ready to try her new digs on!
And here is my number two baby in her first school uniform.........

There are two different coloured polo shirts as the mustard/gold is being gradually phased out.

The girls and I then continued on to drool over the stationery packs. We are all hopeless stationery addicts..... in obviously serious withdrawal from the holiday break. I wrestled with cover-seal for about an hour. All books now deliciously wrapped and in a neat pile ready for the big day. Note to self; add 'coversealing' to C.V as I have got very good at taming the beast and avoiding the dreaded air bubbles.

So as the day wore on and then to a close Phoebe had obviously felt a little left out of the excitement and attention. She did a fabulous display of bubble blowing in the bath this evening. All I have to do now is get her to sing "Yellow Submarine" at the same time :-) xx

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Another lovely weekend.

Spotted a rainbow from our lounge window.

Well I haven't written for about three days, but that doesn't mean that nothing has happened. Far from it, we have been keeping ourselves very busy.
The girls have now learned the art of pizza making, including the dough. I have been meaning to encourage their participation in cooking (other than biscuits and muffins) for.........ever. I finally got around to it. They were very proud of their efforts and it was the first dinner in ages where everything on their plates was devoured. Maybe I should get them to cook their own every evening!!!

I finished another book. It was written by Jools Oliver. Jamie's wife, chef, know the one!!! "Minus nine to one- the diary of an honest mum". It was her account on pregnancy with her two girls, Poppy and Daisy. I enjoyed it even though I am totally and completely OVER the pregnancy part of having children! Her writing style is honest and light hearted. For anyone who is pregnant or thinking about it, a great read. made me think about my own..........maybe that could be my next writing venture.

On Friday I had a really lovely day. In fact, so lovely it really wasn't long enough. I had recently got in touch with another schoolmate from Mahurangi College, Warkworth, from approx 20 years ago. I drove the girls up to her house snuggled in the Northland countryside to meet her family and have a good catch up. As a bonus, another old friend and his wife met us there and we had a great old reunion. My kids played happily with their kids and we ended up spending a very good chunk of the day there. As I said above, one day was really not enough, reluctantly, with still so much to be said and old stories to be enjoyed I finally left to get my kiddies fed and off to bed.
This shift to the North Island has made me realise how important some people in my life are to me, in fact most people. The environment is so beautiful and I love it, but when I get a day like I had on Friday with a group of great people I am surprised how much I need other people around me. I always thought I was a bit of a loner because I love my own company, but in my current situation my need for conversation and banter is becoming more apparent.
Thanks to both couples. I enjoyed your company and hope to see you all again soon, there are still a few memories to enjoy and bottles of wine to empty :-)

The last week of the school holidays begins tomorrow. Thus far I am proud of my achievements for 2010. I went to the movies last night to see "It's Complicated" starring Alec Baldwin and Meryl Streep. Totally a 'laugh out loud' movie. A chick flick for sure, so of course I loved it. YES! I went without children, bliss. Just me and one of Mark's female work colleagues. I went to the local circle lounge cinema which meant I could have curly fries and a glass of wine, served to us during the first half of the movie....more bliss! You might smirk at my excitement over a night out. To put it into perspective for you. I have not been to a cinema, without a child for .............ummm................about 17 months. I saw "Sex in the City" with my bestest friend in Christchurch just before Phoebe was born. ( Well, ok, I was carrying an unborn child, but it still felt like an adult night out!! lol).

Mark and I have chilled for the rest of the weekend, sneaking out for the open home on our rental property (sigh) but the walks on the beach and chapters of books read were fantastic.

I'll leave you with some shots of the girls making their pizzas!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Good authors...taking my hat off to you.

I'm enjoying the last few weeks of the school holidays. We are really making the most of each day. I went to a friend's house today and let the kids have a good play with other children. Not unusual for most children's holidays, but when in a new place where you are still building relationships and finding friendships it was WONDERFUL!
My new friend also loves books, yay!! Another self confessed nerd like myself, another kindred spirit that is extremely happy to sneak off to bed early just to get in another pleased to have met you my new friend and thanks for a nice catch up :-)

No family pics today, the girls have been busy, getting their school stuff ready and spending most days on the beach. Loads of fun enjoying the last days of freedom from the classroom.
But.......we are going on a road trip up north of Wellsford on Friday to see two school mates from twenty years ago. Can't wait!

Books, books, books!!!
Girls, ladies, women, cougers that like to read. DID YOU KNOW....................there are fabulous short story collections written by women, for women, about things that amuse women (aka men lol). No, they are on a variety of topics and they are COOL. cool as a library book can be.
If you enjoy short stories, are often pushed for time or you're the type that with good intentions gets into bed and only makes it through two pages before your eyes are drooping then a short story collection is a brilliant idea.
The collection I found recently is called "Girls Night In" - all women writers and so far I love five out of the six I have read!
I am so pleased to have struck a couple of really good authors recently. It has certainly got me back into reading again and inspires me to write. I have always dreamed of writing a novel one day. Got a few preschool books and poems tucked away, but the novel just hasn't come to me yet. Well, plenty of life in me yet, I'll keep you posted on that one :-)

I have borrowed a book about becoming mother which I can't wait to I'm sneaking off now..................

Monday, January 18, 2010

Splits and Novels

Part two of the video documentation of Phoebe's new moves is here. Being the third baby in our household she is doing everything so much faster than the others and completing tasks the other girls never even attempted at such a young age. Phoebe has some pretty special role models.
She adores Molly and all that Molly can do. Watch the vids to witness Phoebe doing the splits, a Molly trait copied.

I have finished reading my book. As I said in an earlier post this one is not my normal read.
It was a good read though. Harrowing, but compelling. Once again a story of someone's life to learn and be inspired from.
It's title; Criminal by Caspar Walsh. I read it because it is another story of someone overcoming adversity, a quality I admire in others. The author writes about his life as a child and teenager born into a world of drugs, abuse and crime. Ick, I know, but the boy after finding himself addicted to several class A drugs and a destructive lifestyle (by the age of approx 12!!!!), turns his life around as a 20 year old. He rehabilitates and in turn teaches Creative Writing in UK prisons.
The book is not for the faint hearted. There is plenty of unhealthy behaviour, abuse of children and adults, the dramatic and painful experience of drug use and it's withdrawal. BUT, if you can get through those bits it is rewarding. It treats you to a human survival story, and I enjoyed his eventual success.
I've now run out of purchased books, I'm off to the library today, and so pleased to be back into reading. It's too hot up here at night anyway for sleeping!!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday drive

Our Sunday drive took us up to Leigh and pretty close to Goat Island. We had intended to park up and explore around Goat Island but there were huge crowds of people and cars. We got there about lunchtime and it really was too late. We plan to try again another weekend leaving earlier in the morning. So we can actually get in before the crowds and snorkel for a while!!
Instead we found a bay called Matheson Bay. Black sand and rugged rocky inlet. Gorgeous surroundings and a mild balmy day. The sky was a little gloomy which made the sea and sand look even more ominous. We ate our Calzonis and muffins for lunch...delicious.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Laugh like no one can hear you..........

I had a long, productive week. I must admit, I'm finding the school holidays in a new place a real challenge. Don't get me wrong, I love my kids' company but I've been hanging out for a chat with an adult all week. The poor checkout lady on Friday............ :-)

The weekend has been so much better and I have continued to make challenges for myself everyday as I promised myself in earlier posts.
I wrote a story, which was fun and helped Molly write some more letters. She is very motivated to be ready for school, cute girl.
I made Calzonis today, which was my first attempt. They are an Italian closed pizza. I even made the pizza dough from scratch, watching it rise over a few hours was great fun. I'm not eating them until tomorrow, but they smell soooooo good.
We ventured out to Wenderholm today, few minutes north of Waiwera Thermal Pools.
Wenderholm has the most amazing Pohutukawa trees all along the beach front and through the grassed picnic area. I love the shapes they make.
I sat on the warm sand for about two hours with Phoebe, the others swimming. Initially I felt lonely, needing a glass of wine, margarita or even my book (which I'm nearly through). A best friend or two would have been nice, or a family member to catch up with. Instead, I watched Phoebe push her toes into the sand and roll around on it. She must have enjoyed the warmth. If you can tolerate it getting into all sorts of places..............sand is lovely.
So, while I was dwelling on little melancholy, I heard in the distance the most infectious laugh. Some Maori guy, up to his waist in sea water was "belly laughing" with his family. It was the coolest sound I have heard for quite a while. The awesome thing was, he kept on laughing, the breeze carrying the sound easily across the beach. I couldn't get over how happy a sound it was and how much it made me smile. It got to the point when I found myself giggling aloud, although I was more reserved than him. The sight of me rolling about on warm sand laughing out loud could have caused members of the public to grab their cells and phone the local mental health division.

Once my family came bumbling up onto the dry sand wanting dry towels and cuddles I didn't notice that laugh again.

Thanks Mr Maori guy.............for your uninhibited and joyful made my day!!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Slapstick school holidays!!!!

Phoebe has starting entertaining us in a different form of late. She is now creating her own style of stand-up or maybe slap-stick is a better description. Falling over, especially on her bottom got her giggling and we discovered that if we cheered her on, she got more and more creative.

Personal achievement for the day......
I am hopeless when there are chores to be done or something in front of me to clean. I have this urge to do it, even when my kids are begging me to do something fun with them. I always feel great after the job is done but this is quickly followed by guilt at not playing with my kids.
So, today I left a sink full of dishes (YUK) and went to the beach. Molly, Phoebe and I lay in the warm sand for an hour. (Caitlin was swimming at a friend's house). It was lovely. I got crawled all over, shells put on me like a scrapbook, treated like a horse, sand stuck to the sunblock on my face and a BIG bunch of fun in the middle of it all.

Sometimes it really does pay to stop and smell the warm sand:-)

I'll leave you with another funny Phoebe moment from our day.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Molly.......aka Johnny Cash!!!!

Today I tried to be creative, although the title"housewife at home" doesn't always lend itself to creativity. Here is what I managed though.

I made a cake, really yummy spicy banana. Which stuck to the cake pan so was turned into a yummy pudding to be eaten with ice cream. That's creative right??

I cooked a chicken, smothered in yummy Hoisen and garlic. That's sort of creative.

I got out the guitar and let the kids, without tuning it first, have a jam. What a giggle that was. Actually this might be the hour of the day I am most proud of. It really was fun sitting on the floor being folk singers and cracking up, us FOUR girls :-)

I "power sorted" the rest of all my family photos. Including some really old black and whites of many years back. They are now all ready to be put into albums and journalled etc.

.........and it rained today, finally after about two or three weeks of virtually none. Which is very unusual for this part of the world. Our water tank is looking healthy and proud.

Check out Molly's first composition. In the key of 'gee wizz' ??!!??

Sunday, January 10, 2010

What day is it?

I love it when we catch moments of sisterly love forever :-)

The joy of being a mum on school holidays is not really needing to know what day it is. When others have or are returning to their daily grind, I get to take the day at a more leisurely pace. Sure it can be challenging entertaining children. But really, while the weather is good, it's not too tricky.

So today I didn't really look at the clock. We did a lot; housework, lunch at cafe, grocery shopping and lots of reading and mooching. Fabulous.

Personal achievement for the day........
I managed to spend only $160 on the week's food bill (normally for five of us it's up around $220). I am using the ingredients already in the pantry to create great dishes this week, I hope. I couldn't possibly do it every week but we are paid monthly so the last week of the pay cycle means scrimping and stretching. It's amazing what you can do if you plan carefully.

Being a stay at home means I have the time to plan these things for my family. We'll enjoy it while it lasts.

Ooh, ooh, ooh......I finished my third book. Onto the next one, it's VERY different from my normal read, but looks compelling. I'll keep you posted. xx

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A warm and lazy day.....

So one of the the things that I love about school holidays is READING. It is the only time of the year that I purposefully make time for it. My third book for this period is called "A puppy called Aero" by Liam Creed. I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy it. But I'm now struggling to even put it down to write this post!!
It is about a young teenage boy (the author) who lives with ADHD, and his life is transformed, for the better when he works with a Labrador called Aero. He channels his boundless energy into training the dog to work with wheelchair bound people. A lovely book, especially for those of you who are either labelled as rat bags or are animal lovers.
While we were staying in Canterbury we lived with a honey-bun Labrador Saf'

So my personal challenge...............
While reading the book it mentioned the origin of the Labrador dog.
Labrador is a region within Canada. As is also New Foundland. While reading the book it mentioned the obvious history behind the word retreiver, but I had no idea where the name Labrador had come from.
I learned something new!!!

This evening Caitlin helped me prepare salads for dinner. Caitlin, nearly ten, has recently expressed an interest in cooking, so we had some fun and invented a "new" salad. Well it is new in our house anyway. We named it "Summer Blush", and it is Y.U.M.M.Y. Recipe follows......

Green apples
Beetroot (whole baby beets sliced)
Splash of lime or lemon juice

Try it ,,,,,,,,it's really fresh and goooooood!

Hey, that's a couple of achievements to be proud of today. I'm on a roll!!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Another day, another lovely drive.........

Today we drove half an hour North from our peninsular to a beach called Snells Beach. ABSOLUTELY gorgeous place to sit amongst the Pohutukawas and take in the fresh air.
We took a big picnic basket and togs and found a good pozzy to lay the picnic blanket. Despite the whining in the backseat about how 'starving' they were, the girls (all three of them) instantly ran to the water, clothes flying off in all directions across the sand. Snells Beach is flat with a very gradual slope of sand and shells. This means you get what seems like miles of shallow water to lie in. WARM water. Even Phoebe, squealing with delight, couldn't wait, she was in the water before the nappy was removed. Swimming costume never donned.

We ate lamb and vege wraps, Christmas cake and fizzy, watching the misty rain approaching the coast. We knew it was forecasted, but thought we would try our luck anyway. It didn't take long to hit, so unfortunately the picnic basket went back in the car. We still managed to get some bike riding and playground action in before leaving though.

On our return home we stopped at Warkworth for a stroll. Used toilets in Wenderholm, found a fantastic picnic spot for next time with a fishing jetty and made it home tired but very happy.

This is the kind of day which at the end I am often tempted to order fish and chips. Not this time. I remembered my personal challenge and whipped up bowls of steaming Carbonara, the chicken, bacon and mushroom variety, of which ALL bowls were licked clean.

Day 8 achievement completed!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day 7 of the New Year

Well, here I am nearing the end of a beautiful day here on the Hibiscus Coast. One of those days when it really is healthier to stay indoors especially with my french vanilla complexion.
(HA! Neapolitan more like it :-)
The girls played "shops and schools" inside for most of the day. Two activities dear to their hearts at such a tender age, bless 'em. personal challenge begins. What am I proud of today?

Firstly this morning I met up with an old school chum from TWENTY years ago. We had coffee and chatted for a good hour and half. It was so cool to see her and I am proud to say that I actually let her talk as well. ( Talking the ears of any living thing has been a skill of mine since about my second year at primary school, the first I think I was finding my feet lol)

Secondly, I unpacked two remaining boxes in the laundry to find some treasures. I had been putting these boxes off because they contain bits and bobs that I had to fuss over and make decisions. (Yes, another skill of mine is procrastination, of which I"m not as proud ;-)
I found a handful of dusty, family photos, my late mum's teddy bears, my brother's first roller skates and a pair of very tiny jeans from my pre baby days.
What an achievement. All items now have a home. I feel great for finding my treasures and between you and me I could almost do up those jeans. Although the fashion police would probably not recommend it.

A good day for me....................but also for Caitlin and Mark

Caitlin moved into the spare room and is now enjoying the sunny, airy feeling her new bedroom brings. Those of you who have come to stay with us will recognise the old spare room as her new room in the following photo. Her old room was nicknamed the 'Batcave".

Mark finished making a guinea pig cage today. His very first DIY project since living in the North.
I think he has done a great job, Caitlin and Molly are anticipating the guinea pigs and Phoebe just wanted to help her Daddy.
The following photos made me smile. I have photos of Caitlin at about a year old, then Molly six years later, being apprentices for their Daddies. It only seemed right to capture history repeating for the third time.
Okay Dad, here's your screws............

Two peas in a pod :-)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Year Resolutions

The Treacy family had a lovely break in Canterbury. Here are some photos to keep you all up to speed with our happenings.
Some quality parent and child time.

We took relaxed walks with the family and their dogs.

We played with our new toys and our cousins.

Beautiful angels..........but I'm not fooled :-)
One of our gorgeous Christmas feasts!

Thank you so much to all our family and hosts while we visited Canterbury. It was wonderful to see you all and appreciate the effort it takes to accommodate all FIVE of us, our luggage and the inevitable noise and mess.

New Year Resolutions......
So I have been thinking about the new year....of which six days have passed already.
I have made a long list of tasks that need to be completed over the next month. The list continued to grow into a year long list. I have been brave and included my "wishes" on this must do list. Thinking that if I include them here, they may actually be achieved.

It was a movie I watched a few nights ago that has inspired me. Julie and Julia; you know, the one about the young woman that sets herself the challenge to cook all of Julia Child's 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking' recipes in 365 days. She then blogs her progress which in turn encourages her to continue her demanding challenge.
Well, I have no book that inspires me so. But I really felt 'up for a challenge' this year.
Daddy T likes the idea of me blogging about our daily life (obviously his is more inspiring than mine if he thinks it is worth blogging about, maybe I'll suggest he blogs about life behind a
desk !)
Personally, 2009 was a HUGE challenge for me. I'm either growing up really quickly or have simply learnt that life can be unfairly short. So I plan to live each day of 2010 creating my legacy.

So, I have set myself a challenge. I have 359 days left and I have decided I will learn, do something new or achieve something I am proud of EACH DAY! I will announce my daily achievements as a personal record (a tool to keep myself on track). This will hopefully keep all those mundane tasks in perspective, not allow the piles of washing get in the way of real living. Jeepers, I'm a bit scared actually. It means I have to think about each day and not muddle my way absentmindedly.
An easier challenge would actually be to record the things daily that I am not proud of (a job half done, a scowl at a child etc), we kiwis are so much better at finding our weaknesses. But I'm a teacher and despite the fact that I am currently out of the classroom, I will always be a teacher, so learning is important to me.

I'd be grateful if you ever find yourself doing something you are proud of, then drop me a line :)

Today's achievement..............realising I am brave enough to set myself a public challenge!! LOL
Now I just have to do it!

ps: Just finished Tony Parsons book "Starting Over". About a 40yr old guy, married, with two teenage kids. Has heart attack and receives a donor heart. He continues to live life, grasping every moment, with positive and negative consequences. It's a good, easy read about life and how to survive the mundane. I enjoyed it.

Happy New Year to you all xx


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