and so we celebrated by doing one of our favourite winter activites: making huts
Mama sewed and sewed and sewed T2's quilt for her birthday and we made huts all over the house. We even had lunch in one under the dining room table. If we are all quiet for Grandpa tonight we will be allowed to sleep in one tomorrow! K9 knows this is bribery!!
This morning you came to me and said, "Mama could you take a photo of this for tomorrow's blog? This is the best apron I've ever made and I really like it". Sweetie, I loved how you were so proud of your effort, your smile stretched across your face as you pointed out the special features, the double pocket, the small handsewn stitches. And so I thought I'd surprise you and sneak in a post for you....today! Love ya lots darling....and I'm sure ER will love this first birthday present from you. She'll be able to wear it when you teach her how to make salads or spaghetti!
L6: We had fun in the truck and using the remote-controlled tanks. I shot J11 and K9. M4: We went on da steam train dere. Dat was fun. We saw a horse break da fence. And da steam train went very fast. T2: In Motack. I had a face paint. We went on a swain. I sat wif Daddy and looked out da window for da swain to come and it was at da fwont and it was dwiving fast off now fast. K8: There was a truck that you could have a ride on and there were very steep hills you went over and it felt like you were going to tip off your seat (T2 interjects :actually no you just hold on! And Daddy just hold me). There was a motorbike with a sidecar on it and we got a ride in the sidecar. There was a battle with guns and at the end we were given empty cartridges. K9: My favourite part was having the ride on the truck. It was exciting going over all the bumps and down the steep steep hills. I liked watching the battle because the noise was loud and there were explosions with lots of smoke. ER(10mo) fell asleep in the middle of it and didn't even get woken up! J11: I liked doing the remote controlled tanks even though the batteries died and I had to wait a few seconds for it to charge up. The mock battle was also very interesting, espeically the noise and the big tank which came over the hill and fired some blank shots. The Nazis arrived on a train. J12: My favourite part was the steam train ride. If you put your head out the window, the steam and smoke blew in your face. We waved at each other from the ends of the train. In the first class carriage the back of the seat could be moved so you could face whichever way you wanted. There was a helicopter there and we all wanted a ride, but at $95 for one person for ten minutes we didn't get one! Levi said "You could pay with your credit card Dadda and it wouldn't cost you anything!" We recognised the soldiers who were at the Howick Historic Village when we had a pass to go there a couple of years ago.
This is old news, but we need to put up a photo of it before the next birthday comes creeping up. (You see Mama is going to print all our posts out and make a book for us and we'll want all the birthdays in it!)
K8 wanted a gingerbread house....with the three bears taking a stroll in the forest.
We love soup.....any sort of soup....but our absolute favourite is pumpkin.....yes we all share the same favourite (well we don't know about ER, but she sure liked this one).
Yesterday we picked our first pumpkin and Mama made Dadda's favourite chewy crusty bread and we had a scrummy dinner.
Here's the soup recipe: 2 onions, carefully chopped as much garlic as you can manage, chopped as well as a 6 year old can a good shake of cumin (2 teaspoons perhaps) a little bit less coriander about the same of turmeric a pinch of ginger a pinch of nutmeg a few cracks of black pepper as many mustard seeds as you feel like fry together in a little olive oil and butter until nice-n-smelly
6 parsnips, chopped up 3/4 large pumpkin just picked from the garden(that's all that would fit in the pot) this one actually
a few cups of chicken stock left over from the other night add and bring to the boil, boil for five minutes or so transfer the pot to the cooking bagand leave a few hours
a can of coconut cream just before serving stir in and sprinkle fresh coriander on top- oh yeah, you need to whizz it up so it's nice and smooth like this:
The other day Dadda put me in my cot for my morning nap. I went to sleep. I woke up pretty early and would usually go back to sleep again. But my world was different this time. The bars of my cot were not up. So I sat up. I pulled myself up to standing. I put my leg over...... .....I do love to climb, you know.... and before you could say "bounce baby bounce", I was on the floor.
Yesterday we drove out to an avocado orchard near the airport. You're only supposed to pick five per person......so we weren't supposed to bring home more than fifty!!!!! Unfortunately there were only two ripe ones. But we had a lot of fun running amongst the trees and climbing them - avocado trees are so big. Well, not big like a kauri, but certainly bigger than our mandarins or plum trees! And it was interesting to see just how many avocados grow on one tree - they hang there like decorations on a Christmas tree! ER(9mo) particularly liked the wind - she was snuggled up with Mama in her wrap and she kept opening her mouth and trying to catch the wind on her tongue!!!! A light drizzle moistened our picnic lunch.....but we didn't mind a bit. It was just great to be out with Dadda, coz he's been working really hard and having lots of meetings. We stopped at the vege shop on the way home.....we think it was funny that Mama bought 5 avocados for $1.50.
ow! ow! What's happening to me? I'm bleeding. Someone has poked a long, skinny, shiny, sharp spear into me. Oh dear. Have you ever had this kind of hurt? No? Well, I guess you're not a pincushion then!
I'm a pincushion made by K8. She gave me a sad face, because I don't like getting pricks.
L6 broke his arm. K9 broke his leg. M4 broke his finger. K8 had a baby. T2 didn't break anything - she just lay in bed.
All in all, we needed a hospital! J12 and J11 were the nurses and doctors and turned the boys' room into a hospital. There were beds enough for everybody. Even ER(9mo) crawled up to the beds, pulled herself up and "said" HELLO to everyone. She was a kind visitor.
And yesterday K9 made a wheelchair. Here he is using it with his broken leg:
PS from Mama....while the kids go to race round on the wheelchair outside! On Thursday M4 gets to have another real hospital visit. He's having an ultrasound to see why some lymph nodes in his neck are enlarged. Actually, he's been really well this year - he's just had one fever bout and a couple of times when he looked like he was about to ail....but he came right before going downhill. So we are hopeful that whatever *it* is that's been knocking him down for the past couple of years, is working its way out of his system. But we'll still keep the appointment and hopefully rule out a few more nasties.
Bikes play an interal part in many of our outdoor adventures...actually it's an adventure just to find your own bike in the assortment! Apart from the fun of biking, we like to be like our Grandpa too. He's in his late seventies and he still gets out on his bike a few times a week. This summer he did a cycle tour with some other mates round the East Cape - 450km in three days. And he always does the 160km Lake Taupo cycle challenge. He's a legend.
L6 felt the need to identify his bike with a number plate - Mama thought it said COPS TEA, but in fact it's 78PST34....and that's just the first line! Numbers are routinely written backwards - seems to be a feature unique to our left-handers.
When Mama is particularly dreamy, she would like to get a bike and one of these for the littlest kiddos. Then we could all bike to the local shops instead of walking (which takes a couple of hours there and back) or instead of taking the car (which pollutes the atmosphere)
Summer parties in New Zealand revolve around the BBQ.....so we are finishing our party week with a "barbie" tonight (and not the doll sort!).
We've got lamb chops as well as lamb, mint and rosemary sausages to eat with lashings of mint jelly. We'll stirfry some veges from the garden on the hot plate to go with the sweetcorn. YUMMO. We love summer evenings.
Look who ended up coming for dinner.....Grandpa (well that's usual enough)....and he brought his brother and his wife and daughter too......when T2 saw Grandpa's brother she said "There are two Grandpas". They sure look alike!
After weeks and weeks of clear blue sky, we got the first rain in a long time for our pool party! But a few raindrops have never kept us out of the water. In fact, we swam during the last thunderstorm!!!
* LET'S JUMP IN TOGETHER *
Our favourite pool games are CASTLES (working in teams on each other's shoulders to knock opponents into the water) MARCO POLO (a water variation on hide-n-seek!) WHIRLPOOL TRAINING (swimming up and down and up and down and up and down) BOMBING (when we're allowed)
Specialbiscuits and muffins we made that were not ready in time for lunch called out to be eaten at an AFTERNOON TEA PARTY. Mama even set the table with a tea set from her childhood and the remainders of a painted-by-K8 porcelain one. L6's flowers-for-Mama decorated the table.
K9 had made T2 a very special skirt to wear. He sewed it by hand.
Having a Malaysian grandmother (Poh-poh) is a great heritage, especially for the foodies of the family. Yesterday we beavered away in the kitchen cooking a very tasty sour chicken laksa and chopping lots of veges from the garden to make spring rolls. Mama accommodated our request for steamed BBQ pork buns from the local Chinese vege shop - she thought that was a pretty easy contribution to the meal. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm.
yesterday it was PJ party...today it's blog party...we've never been to one of them before!
we love to party and play and potter and ponder and play-dough and pick (veges from our garden) and paint and picnic...come join us....we're going to party all week.....we'll have our party and while we're sleeping you can come and see what we did "tomorrow" (coz we're ahead of most of you, you know!)
T2 enjoys helping make the pasta.....this batch is full of basil from our garden.....mmmmmmm
Look at this whopper - it greeted us when we got back from our camping holiday.
And we can't wait for Pumpkin Soup. We've got quite a few pumpkins growing this year. J11 wanted to feed a milk pumpkin just like in "Farmer Boy", but there were already too many on the plant by the time we noticed them this year.