Thursday, October 27, 2011

I might be a wool addict

I've been trying to get some more wool for a few weeks.  I popped into our local (NEW!!!) Spotlight store a few weeks back but wool was sparse and not on sale so I came home empty-handed. I wondered if I'd manage to get any, seeing as summer is on the way and knitting probably in decline for most over the warmer months.

Then a week or two later I thought I'd just drop in again.  I'd not had a flier, so wasn't exactly expecting a sale.  But I thought I'd just ask God if wool could be on sale for me please, so I didn't have to make yet another trip back (I was buying yet another batch of nails for the chook cage at the nearby Mega10 but that's another story!).

Well, you should have seen me.  Oh, for a video camera.  I stood there and read the sign, then reread it.  Outloud.  30% off all wool!  Seriously.  There it was, bold as day, staring right back at me from the wool display rack.  I think I ended up with 15 balls of wool by the time I'd sorted through the colour options, picked some, changed my mind multiple times, put wool back, took it out again, put it back again, and kept telling Munchy that Mummy was nearly finished!  Poor baby, I am not known as a decisive shopper.

I am now knitting a gorgeous bright orange square and loving the colour change!  I'm quietly hoping that this will now be enough to finish a blanket.  Hoping.  But either way, it's nice to have more wool.  I am wondering if I might be a wool addict.  Hmm. 


Amy

Walking the Talk

A few weeks ago we went on a walk.


Now, you might be wondering what the big deal is. If you know Boyo, Munchy, and myself, you would know that we walk frequently. People are often surprised at how far, how often, and what weather we will walk in. Walking is part of our lifestyle. It's good for us, good for the environment, and quite frankly, it is something we love doing. To borrow a quote from Pride and Prejudice, "Walking is very beneficial exerise." Walking is also good for the soul. Feeling the breeze, listening to the birds, and having time to think, relax and recharge. Ah. Walking.

But this walk was different. Special.

See?


We were walking with a friend. We met her on the City to Surf walk and went part of the way with her. She was participating in the 12km walk in order to raise money for Tear Fund's Famine Relief Appeal. You know, the people in the Horn of Africa who are in severe drought and famine? She was walking for them. No one set her up for it. She just felt like she needed to do something, and as a Uni student didn't feel like she had much to give. So she decided to walk, and ask others to give. She raised $448.80!!!


We heard about Eve's walk through church. I wanted to donate, partly because I've been reading and hearing about how severe the famine in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya is and wanted to help. But there was another reason too, and in all honestly, this one was more personally compelling. I wanted to encourage Eve. I figured she had done something really brave, deciding to do such a long walk. Then to ask people to sponsor her, well that was extra brave! Asking people for money is never easy. Choosing to sacrifice for someone else is hard and I think we should honour those among us who do. In the Bible there's a verse that says we should not stop spuring one another on towards good deeds. Very true, I think. We should always be encouraging each other, patting one another on the back when we do something well or something good. Coming up with more creative ways to help each other.

So we walked with Eve as well as making a small donation to Tear Fund. I got a few photos along the way of the runners and walkers, the views, and of course, Eve's cool tshirt (made by one of her friends - another person honouring her commitment to help those in need!).


It was a fabulous morning and I'm really glad we did it! We even skipped church to go. Somehow it felt like God would be okay with that!


Amy

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cheers to That!

Slugs.  Who needs 'em, right?

I certainly don't.

Here's to dead slugs.  Cheers!


Yes, that is me with a bottle of beer.  And no, I did not drink any of it.  Never will.  I hate the smell of beer.  I am really glad my man is not a beer drinker.

But beer has its uses.  Slugs like beer.  They might even like it more than many kiwi men.  Maybe...(the jury is out on that one as I can't actually ask a slug how much they like beer!).

I don't want my lettuces, cucumbers, broccoli, or anything else eaten by slugs.  They have already killed a perfectly lovely lebanese cucumber plant and hacked into a zucchini (I have no idea why they are going for these above the juicy succulent lettuce leaves nearby!).  The theory is that if I put a little bit of beer in the bottom of a glass jar the slugs will be wooed by the sweet, yeasty scent and plunge headlong to their doom, drowning in their own obsession.  Cheers to that!  Death to all slugs!  Gross!  But it beats squishing them with my fingers every night.


I would extend that slogan to include "Death to all snails," only I find it much harder to wish snails dead.  The problem is that they look cute.  And I used to keep them as pets when I was a kid.  We had snail races.  I kid you not.  They were really quite exciting; you should try it sometime!  Snails are not as lazy as their reputation may lead you to believe.  I do squash them in the garden, but only if they are inside their shells...if their little antena are poking out at me I feel so remorseful that I just can't bring myself to crunch!  Hopefully the beer will do the deed for me.  Cheers to that!

I'm trying all avenues to combat the munching thieves this spring.  I squish and squash.  I booze them up.  And I Quash (garden, pet, and baby friendly slug bait - I pop it into a glass jar lying on its side in the very middle of the garden so that hopefully Munchy won't even realise it is there).  It might cost more than 'regular' slug bait, but the peace of mind is worth it.


And finally, cheers to a fruitful garden.  One in which most of the produce makes it to human consumption.  I don't mind sharing a few mouthfuls here and there.  The problem is that the local munchers don't seem to agree that a mouthful or two is enough and I do insist on getting some return for all my hard work!  I have no desire to run a free slug hotel!


Amy

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve

Another batch of Peggy Squares completed!


Purple and grey as I said they would be.  I'm really enjoying the pale blue too.

And the wool stash has dwindled while the square stash has grown!


Amy

GO BLACK!

I am not a die-hard sports fanatic.

My husband is.

I just keep up with the play by necessity.  If I wasn't married to a sports enthusiast, I could probably quite happily live my whole life rugby-less.

But I have really enjoyed seeing all the flags, messages, and support for our team during the World Cup.

Here is just one of the many flags and banners decorating our city and countryside.  We've seen flags taped to powerpoles along a farm, Go ABs written with car tyres, and big banners hanging from houses and walls.

Here's a creative one that I actually managed to get a photo of - this was near Tauranga Port.





The National Anthem is playing as I type.  My husband is antsy, waiting for me to join him.  (...in the bonds of love we meet....)
GO ALL BLACKS!!!!
(...guard pacific's triple star...)
Time for me to go!

Amy

Monday, October 17, 2011

Shower Power

I have been wanting to get Munchkin a new plastic mat for awhile.  His current fish mat has seen better days.  It still works for potty-sitting, but is breaking along all the fold lines.  I went to Spotlight.  A plastic mat there would cost me over $30. 

Then we went to the Warehouse.  I was actually looking for clothes, but surprise, surprise, didn't find any (I loathe clothes shopping, it is so hard to get anything that works for me!!!).  Instead, Munchkin had fun running round with a tot's trolley while I chased the waving flag on top (at least they are tall enough that you can see them over top of racks of clothing!). 

"Is this a good size for me, do you think?!"
Then we ended up in the bathroom aisle. 

"Ah, hah."  thought me.  A shower curtain would work as a plastic floor mat for painting or playdough, surely.  Look what we found!  It is a map of the world, labelled!  Fabulous!  And it cost $12.  YES!


It has already provided entertainment to both the Munchkin and Mummy and I'm looking forward to hours spent either painting, gluing, eating, etc on it, and of course learning all about the different countries of the world!



Amy

Birthday Boy

It is Haji's birthday in November.

Being a sponsored child, we have to allow a long time for mail to get to him.  Sometimes it can take up to three months between New Zealand and Tanzania!!!

Last year, we made him a poster.

This year, I made a pop-up card.  I must admit this was a time factor as much as anything else.  The card was super-duper easy to make, and looks great!  I'm sure he will just love it.  Cool wrapping paper animals on the outside, and a big happy smiley face that pops up when you open it!




Next stop, Christmas cards and photos!  Yeah, that might be awhile yet.  Assignment due in two weeks.  Exam two weeks after.  Hmm.  I'm trying so hard to get cards sent to the kids so they are not months and months late but this might be stretching it!

Well, at least we have managed to get Haji's birthday card sent!


Amy

It's Not Fair

It's not fair.

You may recall my ponderings around Fair Trade bananas a few months back?  We have been buying, and loving All Good Bananas.

But we have had to stop.  Back to stock standard, stingy bananas for us.

I console myself with the thought that this is just a temporary set back in my quest for a fairer world! 

But I am still gutted.  I just keep wondering how I'd feel if facing those who grow the bananas I eat, and having to tell them that we can't afford to pay them a decent working wage, when I know we have so much more than those people may ever hope to have.  But our grocery budget has been over budget again and again over the past few months.  The bananas are just part of the issue.  But they at least we have the ability to economise on.  I am eating less of them too.  Somehow they just don't taste as good as the Fair Trade ones.  I am not kidding.  All Good Bananas seriously taste better, and keep longer! 

But I digress.  Our grocery budget is strained.  Boyo has cut back his juice intake (on weetbix for breakfast) to the point he is barely having any - it is more water than juice.  We have been trying Munchkin on cows milk for his lunchtime milk feed...not completely happy with that as he has a rash under his chin I'm keeping an eye on, and seems very coughy/coldy/chesty but then it is so hard to tell if that is just the usual run-of-the-mill bugs that have been doing the rounds or that he is more susceptible due to too much dairy.  Ugh.

Life is so not fair.  We have grand dreams and schemes, but so often that is not how things pan out.  I know we are truly blessed to live where and how we do, but I still sometimes find myself wishing we had more income, more fruit, more this, more that.  Or less.  Less baby-waking-up-in-the-night, less pollution, less stress, less assignments.  Never a perfect world, or a perfect day I guess.  I guess we just choose how we face the day and circumstances that we are given.  So for now, we are buying standard bananas again.  But I have hopes that maybe come Autumn we can go back to Fair Trade again, if we don't have to buy much other fruit and veges.

Amy

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Spring is Here, Outdoors and In

With warmer weather making an appearance, Munchkin and I have been gardening.  While we usually spend some time outside every day (unless windy and bucketing with rain!), we have been spending even more out there lately.  I will have to get some more photos for you!  Munchkin is discovering the joys of dirt (and how much fun it is to throw clods of it into the wheelbarrow and watch them break!).  He is learning how to use the brand new watering can.  He is picking daisys and dandelions from the lawn.  And violas too from the garden, which I keep trying to convince him to leave alone!  The strawberry plants are covered with netting: he has yet to discover their flowers.

Recent activity has seen a whole lot of old lawn clippings dumped onto a 1m2 area of the small vege garden. 


I moved a whole lot of self sown violas out of the pebbles and into the narrow garden beside the driveway.  Hopefully they will be happier there.  I also dug out all bar one of the Italian parsley that has been very happily going to seed.  It was kind of swamping the whole pot!  I will probably collect seed from the remaining one, seeing as I'm already on my second germination attempt from last years bought seed acket.


 A few gems I found alongside the driveway recently, and just had to bring inside.




Amy

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Still Growing!

Munchkin is still growing.  Just in case you were wondering!  Which you probably weren't.  I mean, kids grow.  That's kind of the point in being a kid.  You grow up, physically and mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

You'd think I wouldn't be surprised that Munchkin is growing up.  But I was still taken aback when I sorted through his clothes last week, and discovered that he needs a whole new batch.  Again.  Thanks to the Onesie-bummsies we are at least getting some really good mileage out of his singlets!  But I finally had to conclude that the long sleeved onesies were too short in the arms.  He's still wearing some to bed at night, 'cos I have yet to figure out what else to dress him in for bed!

I ended up with a massive pile of culled clothes, and nowhere but the dining table to store them. Not a good look, especially when trying to keep the dining table clutter-free.

The clothes containers re-sorted

The discard pile!

I had to go on a household mission and find another container I could empty out to use for Munchkin's clothes.

This is now the post-Munchkin pile.  We have sold a few things.  And loaned out a few more.  But this is most of it.  Now, just to remind you that my boy is only 16 months old.  Yup.  That's a whole lot of clothes for one body for a short space of time!


Let me put this in perspective for you.  The bottom three boxes in this pile contain JUST Munchkin's clothes.  The pile comes up to my shoulders.  I am 160cm tall (five foot three).

See what I mean?!  HUGE PILE OF CLOTHES!

I had to put his gorgeous red winter cardigan into storage today.  Very sad.  It is SO cute.  But the weather is getting warmer and the boy is getting taller. 


Amy

The Last Ones

Last week I bought the final items for my Christmas Child shoeboxes. 

YAY!  Horray! 

They are now all labelled, rubber-banded, and ready for shipping.  I just need to wait for the warehouse to open for collection now.  I ended up getting these tshirts for the boys at the Warehouse, $6 each or 2 for $10. 


They are pretty basic, but somehow I don't think anyone will be complaining!

Amy

Which Country is that (Free Rice September)

Free Rice for September saw a marked increase on August.  Not that it was hard (considering I'd not done ANY in August!).

My total?
3,200

Of that, 1,150 was not vocabulary. 
I'd noticed that they have increased the options available to play.  You can now learn some Spanish, German, Italian or French through Free Rice!  As well as vocab, you can now test your skills in Literature, Famous Paintings, Chemical Symbols, Multiplication, Basic Maths, Flags of the World, World Capitals, and Identifying Countries.

I had a go at Identifying Countries on the Map.  Thought it would be quite hard.  I was surprised at how much of my rusty geography from high school is still somewhere in the recesses of my brain!  It was a little bit addictive.  As  you might be able to tell, considering I only played it one night this month!  Usually I just stick to vocabulary, as part of my aim is to get as much rice in as short a timeframe as possible, but I'm thinking I might just have to head back to Country Finding again sometime soon.  So tell me, do you know where Tunisia is?  How about Georgia?  Or Yemen?  Or Lithuania?  Costa Rica?  Haiti?  Kenya?  Have a go, you might find it really interesting!

I'm thinking I might see how much of my very basic high school Spanish is still hanging around next time I feel in the mood.  Learn a bit more.  I have a friend who speaks Spanish with her boy, so it could come in quite handy.  Grin.

Amy

Monday, October 3, 2011

Never Stingy

One could never claim a cold is stingy.

Nope.  Never stingy.

Always generous.

Here, have some of my bounty!  Let me SHARE with you.

What, you don't want a runny nose, a pounding head, a raspy throat?!  Why ever not?!

Colds.  Yuck.

As you might have guessed, I have a cold.  A MAN-COLD to be exact!  The sort of cold that Mummies hardly ever get.  Mummies usually just get Mummy colds.  You know, where they sniff and cough their way through the house, dragging their weary body from chore to chore, quietly suffering.  This time, though, I have a man-cold.  The sort that leaves you weak, shaky, and moaning.  The type where you find yourself lying on the couch for a few minutes, to arise an hour later only out of dire necessity (bathroom, or food!).  Man colds are nasty things.  By all accounts they are viscious.  They take colds to a level most women never experience.  Well, I can now tell you all about them.  And in case you were wondering, it was my darling husband who told me, ever so graciously, that I have a man-cold!  I don't mind.  He stayed home from work yesterday and looked after Munchkin all day, leaving his exhausted wife to lie on the bed, the couch, or the armchair, sniff, and moan to her heart's content.  Munchkin did think it was a bit odd that Mummy was recumbent for so long.  He wanted to bring things to her, to lean on her, to drool over her, to pat her with his stick (Munchkin, NO, you will hurt Mummy!).

We spent some time trying to track the progress of the cold from one relative to another...like we can accurately tell who it came from anyway!  Colds are just generous.  Some days it seems you simply have to THINK the word "cold" and there it is!  I'm guessing my immune system is a bit tired.  Surprise, surprise.  And the really sweet slice and drink of coke and icecream on Friday afternoon won't have helped one bit.  Punishment for a sweet delight?  Oh, how I wish I could go back and choose nachos or something in the hopes of adverting the cold!

This morning finds me upright, and heading out to do grocery shopping.  Why, I ask myself, do I always seem to end up with a cold when it is time to do the monthly grocery shop?!?

Anyone want to share in my bounty?  Surely you have a secret, burning desire to sniff and moan your way through a few days?!  No??  Oh, fine then, I will try and keep my cold to myself.  But I'm warning you; colds are notoriously generous.  Never stingy.

Amy