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.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Still Hot

Plum sauce in the pot

Plum sauce bubbling hot

Plum sauce in a jar

Can be smelt from afar

Plum sauce rich deep red

Plum sauce thick to spread

Plum sauce tastes so good

I would eat it if I could

written by J12, J11, K9

The plums off this tree were very tart this year so yesterday I made plum sauce.

1 large green apple
1/2C water
Simmer, covered for 10 minutes

2 fresh chillies, chopped finely
1.5kg plums, halved
2C brown sugar
1 1/2C white wine vinegar
1 onion, grated
1/4C soy sauce
2T fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Add and bring to the boil.
Cook uncovered over medium heat for 45 minutes
**stir often**
Remove from heat and press through a seive
Discard the stones
Return to heat and cook rapidly, stirring constantly until thick
Pour into clean warm jar and seal
Leave for a month before opening

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


We were all in hysterics this morning. Mama has started reading us Pinnochio. Gepetto, his creator, called him Pinocchio because "It is a name that will bring him luck. I once knew a whole family so called. There was Pinocchio the father, Pinocchia the mother and Pinocchi the children, and all of them did well. The richest of them was a beggar." Isn't that funny?

But the author is not only humorous, he really understands people. We were reading this bit just before lunchtime:
"Night was coming on, and Pinocchio, remembering that he had eaten nothing all day, began to feel a gnawing in his stomach that very much resembled appetite.
But appetite with boys travels quickly, and in fact after a few minutes his appetite had become hunger, and in no time his hunger became ravenous - a hunger that was really quite insupportable."

Don't you love it?

We think M4 is enjoying it the most out of all of us. Whenever the author asks a question, even if you're not meant to answer it, M4 does!

And when Mama read that first quote above he really laughed hard. When Mama read the other one, he groaned with his own hunger! He giggled lots when the carpenter and Gepetto were fighting too. It was really funny. And especially when the carpenter was sitting on the floor and Gepetto asked him what he was doing and he said, "I am teaching the alphabet to the ants".

We love reading aloud.

Monday, February 26, 2007


I (J11) have been rather fond of codes for quite some time.....I have a wee notebook of various ones I have invented. I never fail to be surprised when Mama manages to break my codes without seeing my key! Ah well.....maybe this time!

So it's inventing at my end of the table today...and adventuring at the other - K9, K8 and L6 are all making games that we will be able to play later.
If you can break the code in the title, you'll know what game they have based their ones on!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Family Church

Mama writes this time:

This morning I stood at the back of church, ER snuggled in my arms was adding her own gusto to the singing and would continue even when the other musicians stopped! I looked at the couple of rows our family was occupying...J11 standing next to Grandpa....Dadda holding T2....*everyone* heartily singing one of the hymns we have learnt recently as a family.

It was a special moment to be a family and to be part of an even bigger family too. I felt privileged to have friends who are just like family to us. I thought of our special friends and family all around the world - Australia, America, Malaysia, Nepal, Romania, Poland, England.


Friday, February 23, 2007

Ride the Wave

From the littlest boy to the biggest boy, we've been drawing boat plans:

But we didn't stop there......we built a boat too. At one stage it had a big (tarpaulin) cover in case we encountered a storm, but the wind got up and blew that off as well as blowing the ti-tree supports down. So for now we're sticking to scurfing on the ocean.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Look What I Can Do!

A week ago Mama came in to get me up after my nap and I surprised her....I was sitting up in my cot. I had never gone from lying to sitting before. Mama thinks I used the bars of my cot to pull myself up, but I haven't said;-)

A few nights ago Mama heard a little maaaah come from my cot. As I usually nod off quickly, she came to investigate. I had sat up again....and I couldn't get back down!

A day ago I played Sibling Surprise and was STANDING when they came in to get me.
I'm trying to run before I walk....or crawl for that matter.

Today J12 put me down for my nap and I stood up straight away. Mama raced round the corner with a camera to catch this latest adventure. I just LOVE adventure.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Needle Natter

(K8's thoughts today)
Last year Mama learnt to knit and I wanted to aswell. For ages I busied myself with plaiting wool (Dadda got a bit annoyed at times with all the plaits that somehow dropped around the house). Then I taught myself to crochet chains. That was much quicker than plaiting! Finally, after I had really tried for a few weeks with bamboo skewers, Mama put her needles down and helped me with mine. Once I got going it was so easy! Now I can use circulars too.
I got the PERFECT birthday present this year. It was a basket to keep all my knitting things in - and it was full of wool and new needles and a knit-a-teddy-bear-kit. Well, none of that was actually *new* because we are doing homemade or recycled gifts this year - but it was all more than I could have hoped for!

Now that I can knit and crochet and embroider, I really want to learn to sew - using the machine!! I'm going to make gift bags out of Christmas material so we reduce our waste at Christmas-time. Mama says that will be a good thing to start with and she's got lots of material for me to practise on.
While I wait to learn, I've got a BEAUTIFUL sewing book out of the library. It is just right for anyone who is just learning to sew by hand. I love the illustrations and would like to make some of the projects too.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

work or weed

This morning we didn't do our chores properly.


So this afternoon Mama worked us.

tidying tidying tidying

weeding weeding weeding

and there's even more to do tomorrow if we forget our lesson

Monday, February 19, 2007


Before the sun rose we were up, preparing to race.
breakfast * drink bottles out of freezer * bags in the car * securing bikes * bursting with excitement *

200m swim....8km bike ride....1.5km run (for J12 & J11...half the swimming and biking distances for K9, although we all trained together, so he really could have done the longer one!)

waiting to start * 2697 other competitors * warm sea water * in the mouth * kicks in the face * transition area * trouble finding the bike * overtaking * riding on the road * little wee nose-to-tail * cold breeze in your face * sweltering sun * puffed out * receiving a medal * ALMOST winning a bike

PS Thanks Mama for giving us a snazzy title!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

A Moment in Time

Saturday morning chores are complete and we are free to pursue whatever takes our fancy.
ER8mo takes a nap - as usual, she has kicked her blankets off.

The big three are resting in preparation for tomorrow's triathlon! Monopoly keeps their minds off the big event!

K8's mind is working overtime. "Mama I can do up to 10 or 11 on the clock but I don't know the ones after that" she said as she chopped up garlic to go in the savoury bread they were making. A few minutes later she was enlightened as to how the 24 hour clock works! But subtracting 12 was a bit tricky, so she used the cherry tomatoes just picked from the garden to help her!

The two little boys were in the garden....catching cicadas. Cicada-buzz is surely the most distinctive sound of summer round here.

T2 accompanies dolly playing with the playdough.

It's now 10:26am.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Child's Play

Today it rained (which is fantastic news for the garden)...and so we couldn't sit outside to read. We each got a little something to do...and then instead of starting Pinnochio, we listened to music from 1685-1740, because Mama wanted to do embroidery (see her quilt on the coffee table?)!

J12 is handsewing little animal pin cushions, K8 knitting a bag on circular needles, T2 is "cooking", M4 is making a boat out of the mancala game, L6 doing the same with mobilo, K9 is building a castle and ends up designing a canon which even works, and J11 is establishing a town for the Playmobil men.

After an hour of Bach, Vivaldi and Purcell, we jumped into the 21st century and listened to Hillsong.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I'd rather be fishing

After a recent weekend sailing at Lake Rotoiti with friends, a lot of the outdoor games and Lego constructions around here have revolved around sailboats.

K8 made a fishing boat - do you see the polarfleece fishing net with fish in it? The fisherman is wrapped up in his towel asleep at the front of the boat. Just in case he gets in trouble, there are two oars and even a motor for real emergencies.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Time Traveller

Petrarch lived over 600 years ago....and he liked to read ancient history because it allowed him to forget some of the ills of the day and rejoice in the grandeur of the past, especially of the Roman Empire.

We love to read too. The past few days it's been outside under the plum tree while M4 and T2 potter nearby in the sandpit. Today we were enraptured with the relationship between Donatello and Brunelleschi - you've got to find out about them; they're sooooo funny.

The trouble with reading about places is that you want to go and visit them - it would be amazing to go and see Brunelleschi's dome on the cathedral in Florence. Just imagine standing inside it, knowing it took over 200 years to build and that they started it without knowing if it was even possible. Imagine standing there and thinking about the architect who suggested they fill the cathedral up with dirt so they could build the dome! Imagine.

Here's another book that has sparked our imaginations - we've been reading through the books by Holling Clancy Holling (or "Holey Clanky" as K8 calls him!). So far he has transported us all around the Great Lakes and we've passed through China and Hawaii after spending time on a whaling boat.
Do you see M4 with his arm round Mama's neck? He's always very snuggly.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Flashing Lighthouse

We were gardeners yesterday...electricians today. K9 K8 and L6 made a house under the stairs complete with two lights - and one of them flashes! Woohoo!!!
Mama loves these days that we do things she didn't know we could do and play nicely together.

Many Hands Make Light Work

Mama said we could make a path on the bank....we didn't need any more encouragement...off we went, K9 K8 L6 M4 and T2 for a couple of hours of hard work and lots of co-operation.

We carted the rocks around and laid out the path.

K9 had mowed the path first with the handmower and then went on to do the grass at the top of the bank too as a surprise for Dadda.

How do you like the handmower? Mama is really in to recycling things and she bought this for $5. It didn't work too well, but we attached the rollers at the back and now it does a great job. It doesn't pollute the atmosphere either ;-)

A Stitch in Time.....

K8 making repairs to a stroller we picked up off the side of the road a few years ago....She loves her dolls, almost as much as the real-life baby we have!