Thursday, May 31, 2007

One Skein Projects

I love my two new knittings books I got for Mothers' Day. One Skein and Knit 2 Together (thanks for loaning me your copy to peruse, Andrea) arrived on my doorstep this week.

I wondered why I couldn't find a park outside my local yarn store and was most gratified to discover it's because they have a sale on! Clever me for having One Skein tucked into my handbag.

Now, I'm all set to try these three projects:

I need to get a-clackin'!

Favourite Things #1

I like to surround myself with pretty things that are also practical. One of my absolute favourites is my Burleigh Arden teapot. Two reasons: 1) Husband bought it for me showing how much he "gets" me. 2) It's a great pourer and gets used everyday, cheering me with prettifulness.

My tea is kept warm for that much needed second cup by a pink and blue tea cosy knitted especially by the splendiforous Rachael. She made this for me before we'd even met in real life and I'm constantly reminded of how blessed I am to have found such a kindred spirit.

I'm currently enjoying T Leaf's Red Baron Chai Rooibos tea with a wee bit of sugar and dash of milk. Refreshing when I need to hit that second wind with the kids.

Boys and Girls

I was so convinced #1 was a boy, that it didn't occur to me till a couple of weeks before my due date that I could possibly be having a girl. I was so shocked at this notion as I wasn't sure I could "do" girls! Surprise, surprise...Mummy's Instinct was wrong for the first time (and not the last) and out popped a sweet, gorgeous 7lb3oz girl with rosebud lips and ginger fuzz on her head. I promptly fell head over heels in love and dressed her in pink and frills day and night, having sworn I would never "allow" a girl to wear pink.

Yesterday, I indulged in one of my favourite things...a Girl's Day Out. I borrowed two extra "daughters" (thanks Ali) and with my two we went to the ballet!! We were blessed to be able to see the Royal New Zealand Ballet's school performance of Swan Lake for only $6 total. What joy to see the sheer wonder on little girl's faces at the grace of the dancing and sumptuous costumes.

To top it all off, a car load of girls singing along to Abba on the car stereo just made my day!

After two girls, I had some trepidation about the possibility of #3 being a boy. I don't "do" boys. But this time, I just knew he was a boy. There was no surprise when my strapping 10lb5oz son made his way, kicking, out of me. I didn't notice much "boyness" in him as a baby but now, as a 2yr old, he constantly surprises me with it. I even notice him lowering his wee voice when he talks to his Dad or other boys!

In the midst of my Girl's Day Out I couldn't resist buying The Dangerous Book for Boys for my two men. I have one very excited Big Boy, dying to try out all the stuff in it, with the accompanying Mummy warning "Be Careful!". There is almost an entire home-learning curriculum in there!

Incidentally, two very excited Little Girls are intrigued with the contents too! Pink swiss army knife anyone?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

For Such a Time as This

We've been doing a lot of thinking, talking, reading and watching around current global issues of peak oil and climate change and trying to figure out our perspective and response as a family.

We were remembering back to when we first got together 17 years ago, being alt-rock hippy types with an interest in alternative lifestyles, eco-living, justice, poverty and environmental issues and generally "swimming upstream". Somehow in the move to the 'burbs, the addition of 3 children, and working for "The Man", some of our dreams and ideals were put on the backburner. With our awakening interest in some serious issues, we are now reconsidering the important things that drew us together, and pondering important decisions for our family.

Some interesting viewing we've done or are planning to do:
The End of Suburbia
An Inconvenient Truth
The Crude Awakening
The Community Solution

I'm keen to explore these issues in the context of an Abundant God of Hope, without being blinkered to current realities. Like Esther, we are considering the choices we make in "such a time as this" (Esther 4:14).

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Dina Dilal

The sewing produced snippets of fabric every day, and Shirin Aunty suggested collecting them. 'Waste nothing - remember, there is a purpose for everything. These scraps can be very useful.' She quickly demonstrated by making a lumpy sanitary pad.
'What a good idea,' said Dina. Her budget needed all the help it could get. The textile stuffing was not as absorbent as the pads she used to buy, but the homemade ones could be changed more frequently since they cost nothing.

Sometimes Husband of Mine calls me "Dina Dilal". She is the central character in the stunning book, A Fine Balance, by Rohinton Mistry. I squirrel away scraps of my sewing fabric to make cloth mama pads for myself, as she does.

In the five years since I first started using these, the reusable cloth market (both nappies and mama pads) has exploded in New Zealand.

Check out these products:
Outrageous Pads
Mooncup Menstrual Cup
Red Rag
Sew your own

I am very thankful we don't live A Fine Balance lifestyle like the characters in this book, but it's great to be able to make a positive choice to use cloth for myself. It certainly helps our budget, feels more "natural" and give me a feeling of independence from big companies when I skip the disposable products aisle in the supermarket.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Small Things...

...amuse small minds.

I never claimed to be above this sort of thing;-)

Thursday, May 10, 2007


It's been particularly difficult for me to say goodbye to Autumn, a season I love, and truely embrace Winter, a season I struggle through.

I enjoyed watching the kids making the most of the last Autumn leaves.

And now they're gone.

I(nearly)5 and I took a photo of this pretty fungus we discovered on a recent walk, down one of our town's "posh" streets. I think it's a Fly Agaric! We left it well alone;-)
Now, to plan some hibernation activities to get me through winter without the aid of Amanita Muscaria...lots of knitting, methinks.
(Off for a family break for a few days too.)

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

One of those days

It was one of those days, a couple of days ago. One of those GOOD days where the rhythm of our day is gentle and I want to yell out to everyone, "See, this is what home-schooling is all about!".

I got to make some poppyseed crackers for lunch from Enjoy, the new Sophie Gray book.

While I was being productive in the kitchen the girls worked together, unprompted by Mummy, to make a new game together. How gratifying to see them working so industriously and nicely together.

(So, tidy handwriting and correct grammar are not high priorities currently.)

Then, in the afternoon, we took advantage of the sun and slight breeze to fly kites with H10. At this point I should probably say something deep, meaningful and metaphorical about kites and children's hopes and dreams...but as the kite spent more time on the ground we'll leave that one.
Not to paint too rosy a glow on our learning lifestyle...somedays we have one of THOSE days, too. I'll tell you about that sometime. When, instead of flying kites with the kids, I'd much rather they were at school while I curl up on the couch with a pot of tea and chocolates in front of Dr Phil and Oprah.

Monday, May 7, 2007

In my defence (Part III)

It's so small it doesn't really count? I thought I'd try to sneak this one by.

I recently read a fantastic book, A Time to Read, which recommends good books for kids. Maurice Sendak's Nutshell Library was on their list so it came home. We're currently having a Sendak Retrospective at our place and the kids are completely captivated. Who can resist Where The Wild Things Are?

If you're looking at developing a good quality reading list for your kids and yourself (you can never grow out of a good kid's book) then I highly recommend A Time to Read and Honey for a Child's Heart.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

In my defence (Part II)

I'm not really convinced there is a defence for my current consumeristic budget blow out. I've used the justification that a woman needs the right tools for the job, and that it's good to have hand-made decorations and that you can never have too many good books in a house. Does that fly?

First, it was all about the Knitting. I'd gotten sick of seeing cool patterns, each with widely varying needle sizes, none of which I owned. So I decided that Denise Interchangeable needles were a necessity at our house. PINK Denise Interchangeables, of course. I have a hankering to knit this gorgeous nativity set for this Christmas. I think I'll need to start now to have it finished.

Then it was all about Amy Butler. I am a huge fan of hers and had been coveting her book In Stitches for ages.

How did Amy know of my Apron Love?
Now, to find that elusive thing...crafting time! And a place to stack all these crafting books I'm collecting.

Church of Bike

Today we fellowshiped with 700 children on bikes and their parents at the annual Kid's Bike Jam. Our girls have been excited about it for weeks and awoke at 6am in anticipation.

Dad is proud of his biker girls.
Mum & A2 were there to cheer the crew on. Thanks for the loan of the Ergo, Mrs S. Mum was amused to observe all the posturing of the Dads eyeing up each others fancy mountain bikes and gears.

I(nearly)5 and her biker buddy, K(nearly)5 are itching to get going.

And they're off!!
Racing to the finish line to collect her first medal which is now proudly displayed.
Thanks to the McG family for fantastic French toast, bacon, banana and maple syrup afterwards.