We eight kids like to potter around productively...Mama wants to remember these delightful days when we have all grown up and left home, so we are creating a record for her.

Friday, August 3, 2007

do you have any trees that need chopping?

...coz M4 has a chainsaw to chop them down with.

He might need to learn a few safety tips before he's let loose with it though - he's insisting it should stand upright!

......and then who should come toddling up the stairs, but T3?
"Please may you take a photo of me an my twee-cutter-saw to put on da blog"

But that wasn't the end....L6 arrived with yet another one...we'll be needing a whole forest!

Monday, July 30, 2007

I wanna be dangerous

By K10

I wanted to make a catapault from The Dangerous Book For Boys that I got for my birthday, so I asked Mama if I could and she said, "Yes". I drew a plan, which I followed. Here's the end result:

I used chopsticks (which I got told off about), a bottle lid and copious quantities of wool.

Friday, July 27, 2007

lovely kiwis

The lovelies at Lovely Blogs are going to make us famous! Heehee.
You can see us in the *kids with blogs* section or just scroll down past a handful of other lovely photos and you'll come to our interview. It's very short! And lovely!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

How To Make Fabulous Felt

1. Tear up 100g of carded wool into strips. Then pull the wool out so it fluffs up.
2. Lay the wool so that the grain of your first layer (I did five layers) goes all up-and-down. Lay the next layer on side-to-side, the next up-and-down and the next side-to-side.
3. Now you are ready for one last layer of wool. We did fancy coloured wool.
4. Mix together three cups of boiling water and a squirt of detergent, pour this slowly over the wool and start to gently squeeze the wool. You will have to wear rubber gloves as it will be very hot!!!
5. Keep adding more water and keep squeezing until the fibres all matt together.
6. Turn the piece over and repeat the process on the back. The longer you work the wool, the tighter it binds together.
7. Rinse the piece of felt.

If you want to speed up the process, you can place your piece of felt in a pillowcase and put it in the washing machine. Just remember to use hot water and a wee bit of washing powder.

ER (14mo) can see

"Before" shots are never enhanced, are they? So we didn't wipe the snotty nose or airbrush away the lunch remains from the chin.

Look, I know what to do, Mama. And please straighten my fringe up a bit.

"After" is so much better. Even if I don't exactly look happy!

The first lock....

And where it came off....it's not as precarious a seat as it looks - I have my teeth brushed here twice a day and I haven't fallen off yet!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

sandpit sunshine

Mama lent out the window by the front door to take this shot without disturbing the happily playing littlies. More zoom would have been good, but that's A Wee Bit Technical.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

it never rains - it pours

By Mama

Having impressed me with their origami skills, the boys asked to try out their Dangerous Book for Boys constructions.....
"Can I throw it out the upstairs window Mama?" J11 pleaded.

Why, oh why, would I say NO to that request?
What else would you do with a water bomb?

Monday, July 16, 2007


on a wet miserable day

all sorts of things can happen

not the least of which was

K10 turning into a cow

Sunday, July 15, 2007

eyes as wide as saucers

By Mama

His eyes just about popped out of his head. K10 repeated over and over and over "Oh man, oh man, oh man".

We had pulled into the carpark at Gengys Restaurant and K10 had thought we were pulling their legs, and were about to drive out again. But then someone spotted Grandpa's car. And if Grandpa were there, maybe it meant we were going to stay for dinner.

It was a surprise too big for anyone to hardly believe! What a way to finish Dadda's week home with us. Eating this Mongolian food made EVERYONE eager about the day Dadda leaves work behind and we are all together - just like this last week - and hopefully in Mongolia!!

Eating out meant we didn't need K10's birthday cake.....so we get that tonight. YUM.
It looks like pizza and a glass of fizzy drink, but don't be fooled; there's a chocolate cake and carrot cake underneath copious quantities of sugar and food colouring.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

girls can use tools too!

By J12
(posing in the first photo, taken at Karekare earlier this week)

Wanting to attract some different kinds of birds to our garden, I decided to make a bird feeder. Before Dadda would let me use his tools, he required a plan! I provided him with a very detailed one. It was so good I had unlimited access to his saw, drill and screwdrivers.

Here's what I made
(with a little assistance from an interested J11):

The little piece of dowel held up by two small branches can be removed and have a piece of apple or something stuck on it, but we didn't have any spare. Water goes in the yellow container (Dadda said I should hollow out a piece of wood instead to make it look really natural - I just might yet), and seeds go on the other little platform. Any bird who happens to use the swing too energetically might knock itself out on the upright stick - that's a wee design fault, which could be fixed in the Second Edition!

Big Birthday Boy

By K10

Do you see that? K10, not K9!!

It's my birthday and so I'm very excited. I've been looking foward to my pudding breakfast. At our house, whenever you have a birthday you get to choose what's for breakfast.
Today it was caramel self-saucing pudding with whipped cream.
Yes, for breakfast!!!! Last year I had icecream and Weetbix (yum), but everyone else thought this year's was infinitely better!

Thursday, July 12, 2007


By J11

Mama and Dadda have been whispering to each other and have told us there is a surprise in the air. Yesterday we thought it was going to be going out for lunch, because we all got in the car just before 12 o'clock. But it turned out that we went to the plant shop for plants and had a late lunch! That wasn't it!
Actually, Mama said if we haven't seen it by 7 o'clock Saturday night, they'll tell us what it is.
We think it might be going out for dinner on K9's birthday, which is on Saturday, because Mama has got a soup simmering for tomorrow night and sourdough bread rising to eat with it. So it's not tomorrow.
At lunchtime today the girls went out for lunch by themselves. They packed sandwiches and bought a *special something* from the bakery - one whole thing each. The boys stayed home with Dadda and had a special lunch too. Dadda said it was a surprise, but we don't think it was THE surprise!!!! At least, K9 hopes it wasn't!!
In the afternoon, Dadda took the eldest six on bikes to a park 5km away. By the time we had ridden round the park a few times, the whole ride ended up 15km. This, also, was a surprise. But hopefully not THE one.

We'll have to wait and see.


Garden Day.

The rain had abated, but the wind had not.

That was no excuse to not work!

We spent the entire afternoon pulling weeds, moving plants around and spreading out bark.

It's so much fun having Dadda home for a week.


By J12 and J11 (self-editted without any Mother-Help)

In the pouring rain we dashed across MOTAT to the Robot Exhibition. There were some remote controlled robots, which we were allowed to have some fun with. J11's favourite was a dinosaur that could run quite quickly and move its tail and head. K9 directed one of the dinosaurs *almost* under one of the cars that was parked there. There was a robot robot (do you know what we mean by that? it looked like what you expect a robot to look like) - it could bend down, roll over and say Hello, as well as move anywhere you sent it.

Do you have any idea what this is?
It looks like a piece of cardboard with straws and string, doesn't it?
What you can't see are the rubber bands attached to the back.

They work all together as a robotic hand.
When you pull a certain string, it will move a finger, stretching out the rubber band (just like a tendon). Of course, when you let go of the string the rubber band pulls the finger back straight again.

When we got home Grandpa used this to explain to us about his Carpal Tunnel surgery.
It was also easy to see why the end of Mama's finger hung lifelessly when she snapped one of her tendons.

Very Interesting.


By K9 (and without Mama's help) - that's me in the photo!
On Monday Daddy said that we would go for a walk on the beach. It was a beautiful sunny day. We packed our new packs with raincoats just in case it rained and lunch and one with lots of clothes just to make it heavy.
At the beach Dadda took photos of us all by the car and on the beach too.

We walked along a track to the beach where there were lots of big sand dunes that we walked along. We came to a fresh water lake sort of thing. Daddy said that he would take us to a track that would take us back to the car, but he never found it. So we stopped at a hill for some lunch after walking for an hour or so. We made slides out of grasses and played on the slides for an hour.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Dadda Had These Blocks When He Was Little

How did I get to this old (14mo) and have missed the joys of knocking down towers? I knocked Mama's accidentally this afternoon and looked most surprised when it fell. Uh-oh.

It was pleasing to do a couple more times! But then I worked out I could actually put the blocks back. Well, to be honest, I've been stacking blocks up for ages (I just don't usually knock them down)

Then the whole block thing tired me - I really would rather sit in Mama's lap!

self-portrait of mother and child

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

plodding on

Do you know how far we walked the other day?
a l....o....o....o...n....g way!

We had spent all day walking round the Science Fair and had spent an especially long time at the physical education activity jumping over hurdles and side-stepping cones, kicking soccer goals and shooting baskets.

We were feeling a little tired, but there was over an hour to fill in before Dadda would finish work and so we started walking from the city towards his work. We must have looked quite a sight with our board games and balloons and bags and stroller and other paraphernalia! After about 2km M4 got tired....grizzly tired. Just at that moment Mama spied a sparkling coin on the ground and she told him he could keep it if he could carry it without complaining! After that he managed to go another 4km.

Yes, we walked 6km before Dadda came and picked us up.

Mama said it made her more hopeful that we'll manage to travel round the world without having complete meltdowns every day! It was a good day...and a good walk.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Judgement Day

K9's Story

Today was the day I had been looking forward to - the Science Competition Day.

It was the day I could take my game about a science topic to the university.

My game was called "Animal Hide & Seek". There is a Hider and A Seeker - the Hider puts one of his animal cards in the cave and the seeker has to try to work out which one it is. The Seeker reads out the question cards and the Hider tells the answers. If they don't know the answers, there is an information chart they can look at. The Seeker takes out any of his cards that are eliminated until there is only one left. It *should* be the same as the one which is hidden!

I really wanted to get a Highly Commended, but when I saw all the other games I wasn't so sure I'd get anything.

There was a solar system game that was very impressive. I thought it might get first place, but it didn't actually end up getting anything. The people on either side of me had made their games in two weeks. One was a spider game and the other was a dinosaur game.

When they called out the highly commendeds I was disappointed, because I thought I wasn't getting anything. Then they called third place and it was me. I was really really happy and couldn't stop smiling.

The two other things I enjoyed at the Science Day were making slime and dressing up in the clothes scientists wear to Antarctica.

J&J's Story

Our many years of weather watching proved to be the inspiration for this year's Science Competition Entry. Our task was to design a board game. But we didn't stop at that! We constructed a weather station as well - complete with barometer, thermometer, ananometer and rain guage...all of which would work apart from the rain guage as we wouldn't put the game outside in the rain!

To play the game, you race around the board answering questions, predicting the weather, collecting Information Cards and gathering signs until you have made your own weather station. Would you like to come and play?

The judges obviously liked it......so they gave us first place. For the Second Year In A Row! (but, shhhh - we didn't tell them we had won last year too!)

This lovely Lady Judge, who intereviewed us, was very friendly and interested in our game. She asked lots of questions and laughed at our funny information cards (for example, "In Bedfordshire, England, a tornado is said to have plucked the feathers off several chickens. Surprisingly they survived their ordeal.") She was particularly interested in how the thermometer worked - and we can understand that! We love watching the liquid race up the straw too when we put our hands around it!

When we saw all the other games we really weren't sure we'd get anything, because some of the others looked most professional and they had had a lot of work put into them. Fortunately for us, however, the judges liked the weather records we had been keeping (scientists do like measurements, don't they?)....and we have a sneaking suspicion they enjoyed blowing the anemometer around! We think Lovely Lady Judge would have liked to have seen it blow away the night it was really windy - she laughed when we told her about that escapade.

All in all, we had a great time....but the BEST was that K9 won a prize. We knew just how DESPERATE he'd been to win so we were very very happy for him.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Mobile Meatballs

we all worked together to produce
a MILLION meatballs.......
somehow we always seem to end up
making fun of our work!

Friday, June 22, 2007


We saw the biggest hailstones we've ever seen today! Some were as big as golf balls and most were at least as big as our bonkers (our largest marbles). Mama thought someone had thrown a stone at the car when the first one hit - it wasn't even raining and suddenly a big stone hit the windscreen...but then more and more fell and we realised what was going on! It got even better when the rain joined the hail - it absolutely poured from the sky - all the cars slowed down, because you couldn't see very far ahead. Some even pulled over to the side of the road.
That's our kind of adventure.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

walking winter wonderland

By ER(13mo)

Yesterday I took my first two unaided tottering steps....and I did it a few more times so everyone could see. I even took half a dozen or more steps across the room when Grandpa came over too.

This morning I walked by myself all the way from the ranchslider to the doorway - I really wanted that wooden eggplant J12 was holding.....and she kept moving it just out of my reach. But I got it in the end!

I'm also talking a bit more. My most useful phrase is na-na-na-na-na. I say it if I don't want something...like being picked up or passed to a different person.

A word that closely resembles "Grandpa" and is uttered whenever I see him would make his heart melt if only he could hear it - but by the time everyone else has quietened down enough for him to single out my little voice from the rabble, I've finished my greeting!

ooooooohhhhhh and mmmmmmm with rising and falling intonation expresses my anticipation at the food I've just seen.
Here I am saying "oooohhhhh"....some friends gave us some food and all of us kids got our first experience of raisins in little boxes!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Well, almost.
We are two weeks away from The Science Competition.
Yesterday the printer JUST STOPPED in the middle of printing out our cards.
Then K9 took his papier mache cave out of its mould and it fell apart in his hands - literally.

We are very thankful Mama suggested we try to finish a week early so that we would have time up our sleeves if anything went wrong.

We should be done by the end of the week - YAY!

Monday, June 18, 2007

paper and pencil

the big boys have been cartooning

baby sister seems to be the subject

Friday, June 15, 2007


By J12

A porcupine would be the best animal to make as a pincushion, but I've done an elephant, a crocodile and a giraffe. They are all hand sewn from felt with various little bits and bobs as decorations....if you click on the pictures you'll be able to see the details.

I'd like to sell my crafty creations one day, but I'll need a few more pieces before I can open a shop! Here's my first market research endeavour: how much would YOU pay for a one-of-a-kind hand-made-with-love 12cm long croc? ;-)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

an autumnal stroll

We just completed our first Walk With Real Packs. We crunched through fallen leaves and picked flowers and noticed new fences and talked about China.

We had walked a fair distance the other day with all our gear to the backpack shop in order to try out different packs, but that was harder, because our bags didn't have decent harnesses, and it's simply More Fun with these ones!

Today we did the 3.5km block and even M4 managed to go the whole way with his pack full and without complaint. His self-encouragements ("I'm doing so well") spurred him on to the end where he sprawled on the ground!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


"Chop chop, hurry up, into the car" Mama called out to us.
We had to go out for the day, because we were bombing the house to try to get rid of the fleas L6 brought back from the hospital last week! We had one of those days Mama calls "productive"....revised memeory verses in the car, looked at a section, picked up some card for the games we are making, popped into Kathmandu and snapped up a bargain (they had made some gloves too small so were getting rid of them for $2 and our little girls need extra-extra-small!!!), did grocery shopping, visited some more sections, had lunch in the car, drove into town to pick up packs for the Big Trip (now it seems like it's really happening), played in Albert Park, watched the flower clock, listened to the university clock in the clock tower, zipped home, emptied the car, tidied the house, read some stories, watched some Gladys Aylward movie, cooked dinner...oops chop chop again. J11 chopped the end of one of his fingers. Not a little chop - a chop that required visiting the neighbour-nurse who advised getting it seen by Someone Who Knew What They Were Doing. Good ol' Grandpa dropped his going-out-dinner-plans and came over to watch the rest of us kiddos (coz of course today was the day Dadda was working til 7pm!)....we raced down to the doc and got it patched up nicely. His verdict wasn't the most encouraging: "I can't promise you won't lose the end of the finger, but we'll have a better idea in a few days. Come back tomorrow and we'll have a look and change the dressing." Hopefully it will be fine...and in the meantime, J11 is sporting an impressive-looking bandage!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

one foot after the other

By ER(12 months)

Mama tells me I'm the first one of us eight to be willing to give this walking lark a go without holding a hand....all the others made sure they knew how to stay upright while their legs were moving before they were confident to push a trolley or pram along....not me. I can't walk yet, but I'll push anything around! On the other hand, I'm not ready to take any steps if all they let me hold on to is a hand or two. I prefer something much more substantial, even if it does race away from me when I apply pressure!
Mama also tells me all eight of us have worn this dressing gown. She made it when J12 was a baby and it's been used every single winter since then! Now she just needs to finish that sewing pile in the background!!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Knit Away Knit

By K8

My first ever cloth I knit was a blue one and I kept dropping stitches, so it was a holey cloth. For my birthday I got lots of wool, so I thought I could make some cloths out of it. I tried one the other day, twenty stitches and twenty rows. But it wasn't a square, and I worked out you double what you cast on and then it will be a square.
So now I have written my first ever knitting pattern (that's it in the photo).
Last night I knit a whole cloth and K9 did too. He wanted to do some knitting, but he didn't know what to do so I said, "You could knit a cloth." We sat together knitting and Mama said we looked like two old grannies.

Thursday, June 7, 2007


Sometimes our Dadda is a little bit crazy....and E-R(1) is a rhinoceros!

And K9 always likes to copy his Dadda.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

catch up

There's so much to write about.
We had four days without Mama and L6 who went to hospital. It was really nice to have Dadda round more and to spend time with our friends and with Grandpa.
We've been doing things like visiting open homes (Dadda looks like he wants to build another house!), gardening, working on our science competitions, shooting baskets, making glasses and weather recording equipment, tidying the house for when Mama came home, riding bikes, playing cricket and lots of board games....
Last week we learnt the whole National Anthem. AllFiveVerses.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

it's good to be a boy!

When we were gardening on Saturday we found a treasure in the bush. It didn't have a handle, but that didn't take long to fix!

We've also been making shanghais after reading "A Dangerous Book for Boys" (thanks Jonathan for telling us about it!). The postie has been giving us a pile of rubber bands if we're ever outside when she goes past. Mama thought shanghais were illegal in New Zealand - but she hasn't managed to find anything to prove this yet, so we are allowed to continue!

Monday, May 28, 2007

mandarin madness

It's a year since we harvested K8's first madarins. The second crop is NEARLY READY...we're checking every day!