Children have been busy

Last night the girls updated their sites. They have been pretty busy this past week or so with their friends so there was a lot to say.
You can go visit them and see for yourself if you like.

Nathan didn’t reckon he had anything to say because he hadn’t done anything worth telling – he’s just being a bloke, cause he really has been doing stuff! Maybe when I get back home I will encourage him to get writing.

also I would like to introduce you to a very special friend of mine – Bethel from Bethania.
She now has her own blog – that’s what happens when you come visit here
Go visit her and give some encouragement to keep on blogging.

I had so much whirling around in my head at 4am this morning that I finally got up around 5am to do it all before I forget and before we leave. Tim had the good sense to go back to sleep

I had better go pack now – I didn’t get to it last night cuz I was just plain tuckered.

PS – I am so excited. I have just learnt something new I couldn’t figure out how to put a live link in here but have just managed to do it – thanks Havilah for helping me – I must’ve finally pushed the right button or I was holding my mouth right for a change

Fond Farewells

Today the Peacock family took flight and left around 8am so they could catch the ferry to the North Island. It was heartbreaking for the girls. Friendships across the miles can be so hard. Mahalia was very subdued all day and Shoshannah spent her day engrossed in her book.

Bethel went for a spin in the dinghy with Nathan so she could check out Waterfall Bay and then she went beachcombing with Mahalia. She arrived back with a relatively conservative amount of ‘stuff’ but the three young’uns must have brought back half the beach. Shannie has it all spread across the verandah seat with a shop sign. I am totally thrilled at having more mess – not!
We managed to spend a wee bit more time in my corner. I was trying to get my project finished. Couldn’t take a photo because Nathan had borrowed my camera. Bethel will take photos and then I can post them to show you. It was an interesting outcome.

Alice was a great help sorting out all the beds and getting things back to normal. There was a mountain of washing again which I left to her. Sadly Bethel left on the mailboat. It was a beautiful day so she would’ve had a great trip. After I had opened the mail and sorted things out I went and found a comfy bed in Mahalia’s room and had a lie down. I have been so tired over the past few days so I was quite glad to get some time to rest. I think I did get a bit of a sleep until the phone went and because the girls were so glued to Little House on the Prairie I had to stagger out to answer it. It was good to watch the rest of the dvd with the girls while my body tried to come back to life again.

Nathan took my camera around to the mill and got a heap of good shots. This is one of the best. Graham, Seb & Tim were hard at it today. Last day for a while as Graham is also heading away next week and taking the mill with him. Quite a relief really as it has been very intense few weeks on the mill and taking quite a toll on Tim.

Brianna arrived home tonight and immediately showered Mahalia with birthday presents and Azzan with chocolate biscuits! Jesika has twisted/sprained her knee quite badly so it looks like Brianna might just keep the 3 wee ones here with her and Alice and Nathan will go an help Jesika. I am thinking she will probably need to go to town and get professional assessment & treatment done on it. She is worried because she has a multi day tramp planned in a weeks time with a group of friends and at the moment she can barely walk. Good to know Graham will be here to help keep things ticking along and to be an ambulance driver if needed.

Tim & I are off in the morning for 4 nights away. We are taking Seb to Kaikoura and putting him on the bus to Christchurch. He is going to stay with a friend and go on down to Wanaka to the Rally for the Sky over Easter. I am looking forward to the break away from the farm. Better go and pack, we leave in less than 10 hours…..
Be back on Wednesday

Tim Tam party time

Tim & David went out and did a few hours on the mussels this morning. The youngsters were very occupied with re-enacting Little House on the Prairie.


while they were all otherwise occupied us girls had a TimTam party.

Now, for those of you who don’t know TimTams – they are the yummiest chocolate biscuit – but you have to learn the secret ritual to enjoying them to the max.

Jesika demo-ed to the foreigners how you first have to bite off opposite corners and then you use it like a straw and suck your coffee (or herb tea) through it. When you feel it melting you have to very quickly shove it all in your mouth and let it melt down your throat – no chewing allowed! I ended up tipping my herb tea down my front and Alice didn’t get her TimTam into her mouth quick enough so it ended up in her drink.

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Needless to say it caused great hilarity which of course bought curious children from the back stalls who were told with great severity that this was an adults only thing

When Tim got back Jesika loaded up Graham, David & Alice and they went out in the boat fishing. The paua diving was a bit of a dead loss cuz David & Alice had no idea what they were looking for and Jesika wasn’t getting in the water – it was too cold! I was so looking forward to paua for dinner too.

Bethel and I spent a good time at my art desk. I am making good progress on my project. Hope to get it finished in the morning so Bethel can take it back and post it for me in Australia.

Nathan cooked most of dinner tonight with Graham frying the fish and me making chocolate fudge self saucing pudding with the help of Corrissia and Mahalia.

Before dinner the children were all dressed up and dancing – they had such fun.
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Azzan was rather short for Shalina so she was dancing on her knees but he insisted she stand up. He loves to twirl in his dress!

David, Grace, Shalina & Corrissia are leaving tomorrow – it is causing great sadness amongst the girls. Alice has managed to alter her travel plans to stay another week – Shalina was wanting to stay till Christmas-!! To bad Thailand is already booked.

Shoshannah’s new chickens are occupying a lot of her time. In fact I never saw her or Shalina for quite sometime this morning. They brought them down for me to see how beautiful they are.

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Alice and Bethel stewed up some pears and peaches amidst a lot of laughter and hilarity. Then Alice was assigned to making muesli – she did well, no burnt oats (like I normally do cuz I get too busy to watch them!) Grace spent most of the day cleaning out the pantry. It is now so wonderfully neat and tidy I am almost scared to move anything. She has labelled everything – it is great.

It was the turn of the younger girls to make dinner today. They made nachos. They did really well, chopped up all the veges and cooked them and the mince and beans in the wok. The shed a few tears over the onions Had fun grating cheese in the whiz – much easier than by hand. They made a wonderfully delicious salad.
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It was pretty easy so they spent the rest of the day playing and doing drawing competitions but the girls got very annoyed because none of the adults would judge whose was the best. Too much diplomacy I feel They taped the pictures onto the windows Grace had cleaned just the other day

It was trying to rain today – had to resort to the dryer for some of the washing. The guys went out and did some mussel work and then the guy came to do the annual audit on the 88 South. After he had done his thing and gone they went back out to the mill and dropped some more trees ready for tomorrow.

Bethel and I managed to find ourselves in the art corner after lunch. A few interruptions later, I was threatening to change my name! Jesika and Alice had gone for a run at lunch time and then she took Alice and Seb up the hill to harvest rocks for her garden. They got back in time to help Corrissia and Mahalia make profiteroles for dessert. They had found the recipe in their book and had asked me in the morning if they could make them. I breathed a sigh of relief when I realsied I could honestly say we had no cream However when I mentioned it to Jesika she said she had some so I said that if she was happy to help them then they could make them. The girls pretty much did it all – and boy! were they yummy. We all pigged out All that chocolate and cream was well balanced by the fruit salad.
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Well done girls – you did great. Dinner was enjoyed to the max with not a skerrick remaining!

Food and frustrations

Shannie and Shalina decided they wanted to cook dinner today. Shannie was up at 6:30am telling her Dad all about her cooking plans – (I know because Alice is sleeping in Brianna’s room directly above the kitchen and she heard every word). By the time I arrived in the kitchen she had made a pretty good start on things. She had the bun dough made and rising, and the pizza dough going in the breadmaker.
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The spent all morning making pizzas. Then this afternoon they peeled potatoes and made roasty garlic and rosemary potato cubes. Alice made the salad and then the girls made Mega Mud Puddle cake for dessert.

I cleaned up the mess – AFTER they had cleaned up their mess
They did real good for two young ladies of 11 & 9 yrs, cooking dinner for 15 people.
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Alice has been assigned to the pruning of the roses and lavenders etc. She is working her way around the garden with the help of local photographer Azzan.
Grace decided the plants had a better chance of living if she didn’t do them. So today Grace spent the entire day spring cleaning the wwoofers sleep out. It must be the cleanest it has ever been, so the next wwoofers better be very appreciative! Mahalia & Corrissia helped Grace and then spent some secretive time planning their menu for tomorrow night.

Jesika arrived back from town late this afternoon bringing with her my friend Bethel from Brisbane and a box of chickens for Shoshannah – plus other more mundane things. Shannie and Shalina had to take a break from their cooking to go find a home for them. They are 4 white Pekhen bantams. Absolutely gorgeous and Shannie is totally rapt.
Azzan decided Bethel was pretty good for lots of cuddles. He was very happy for her to sleep in his bed because he gets to sleep in Mum & Dad’s room. It was also good because I had to start cleaning up our bedroom. I now have some wall space to hang my huge wall hanging of the last Aztec warrior I bought in Mexico.

Alice also helped sort out a heap of old recipes and recipe books. It is amazing how much junk you accumulate and how easy it is to dispense with it – well most of it

Jesika bought back 3 movies from town to watch this week. It is tricky doing this because we have to make sure we have a return trip within the required return time. She was really excited because she had finally gotten ‘The Devil wears Prada’ – we had been wanting to see it when we were in USA last year but due to circumstances, like going to the wrong theatre – duh! we were unable to. Anyway, we were all getting the children off to bed so we could watch it and then found that none of the dvds had had the safety lock removed from them. She phoned the hire company but all they could do was give her a credit and offer free replacements some other time – needless to say she was pretty hacked off and went home most disappointed. So Bethel, Alice & I watched ‘Walk the Line’ instead.

Life in the fast lane!

I’ve been sitting here for the past 5 minutes trying to remember what happened over the weekend
Must have been exciting cuz I had to go ask Alice to remind me.

Saturday was occupied with 50 million loads of washing – I am deadly serious here, there was heaps – I lost count of the loads. Thankfully it was a good day and it dried fast enough that I could get the loads out in succession.

Alice was commissioned to the daunting task of cleaning the girls rooms. We packed the girls off for picnics and she did a highly commendable job without their help. I am always most pleased to see large bags of rubbish departing their rooms – the bigger the bags the better the job I reckon-!!

The guys spent most of the day out at the mill. Later in the afternoon Graham decided it was time to get his fishing rod wet so he took Alice & David fishing. They got a good haul of kahawai which has been smoked and enjoyed for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I was pretty had it by 4pm so went to bed for a rest and woke after 5pm and staggered out of bed to make dinner.

Grace helped with the washing and bathroom cleaning and then – ‘The Fridge’. It was a serious job. One likened to scaling Franz Josef Glacier in fact. The ice shelf had grown to such an extent that ice axes were on call. Instead though Nathan attacked it with salt – bright boy! And David added bowls of boiling water and shut the door. Worked a treat. It still had a huge lump of pack ice behind the cooling panel after dinner so Alice and I plonked ourselves down and watched ‘The Constant Gardener’. It was a brilliant movie. It was made even more exciting by the loud crashes of ice hitting the bottom of the fridge We were able to reload the fridge before going to bed.

Sunday was pretty cruisy. Shahar left early to go back apple picking. I stayed in bed for as long as I could, I was enjoying my book We had a late fellowship and then a lazy afternoon. I went to bed for a sleep and Tim & Jesika watched a movie. Everyone else just cruised then Graham took David, Grace, Shalina & Corrissia out for a fish. We made tortilla’s for dinner – they were yummy.

Why does Monday morning have to always end up being Monday? No matter how calm I wake up I usually end up with demands pulling me in multiple directions and I end up feeling stressed to the max before 10am
I think Mondays should be cancelled!

Seb & Nathan went out with Graham to pick up the net. Nathan took Alice & Grace and the two girls up to Jesika’s to clean the Lodge. I spent the morning doing school with the children. It went pretty well. They made Vindolanda books. They are very basic books styled on the early Roman thin wooden tablets which were linked together with string. We used card and they chose colours and topics of their own.

We have been watching the ‘Little House on the Prairie’ series over the past week. Today we watched two sessions. They are so good and the children love them. There is always so much to learn from them – in behaviour, manners and also historic ways of life.

The guys did more milling today and then later this evening Seb & Graham went out for more fishing. The kahawai are calling to him quite loudly at the moment so he feels he has to answer and not disappoint them

Tim is very tired and everyone is getting quite grumpy – I think it is time for a holiday. I am glad I have booked already for the two us to go away for a few days next week. It is all booked and paid for which means the dates cannot be changed and it has to happen. Brianna is due home Friday so she will help Jesika mind the young’uns and Seb is heading south with a friend to Rally for the Sky in Wanaka. So come hell or high water we are going!

A day in town

I was up at 4:30am and in the shower. Woke the children at 5:15 and we were gone soon after 5:30am.
We had a good trip out – no-one was sick – that’s always a good trip
Ivan was very obliging and bantered with the girls. Nathan dozed so life was reasonably peaceful. We stopped at Rai Valley for the mandatory steak & cheese pie but had to settle for mince because they had none. Then zipped through to my sister Ruth’s to drop Ivan back at his car. Ruth was ready to head off to do her postie run but was very upset because her two Alsatian dogs had totally debarked one of her lovely big kowhai trees. Effectively killing it. They must have been trying to get to a possum during the night. She was so angry that Ruby (13) thought her Mum was going to do the dogs in-!!

We headed over the hill and managed to do two jobs and go to Starbucks to complete our healthy and nourishing breakfast with a frapaccino each Just had time to get out to Richmond to MacMillan’s Ceramics and meet the other homeschoolers. We spent a lovely morning there. There were about 28 children so they took three sessions for the children to paint a piece of ceramics of their own choice. They are now going to be glazed and the children will have them in a few weeks. I took heaps of photos to share but have just now tried to load them onto the computer and found that somehow the whole card has been erased. I am totally gutted

We had a lovely lunch at the cafe there with Estelle and Jayden and then we shot back into Nelson and did a few more jobs before my 2pm dentist appointment. It was just a 5min adjustment of my bridge so we were outa there quickly and on to get groceries, shot through The Warehouse so the girls could spend their pocket money – they were very happy to find the two different Kelly dolls they had been wanting.

We then found Alice from Scotland waiting for us at the info centre. Went and got veges, pizza for dinner, petrol for Tim and then another frapaccino for dessert and headed out of town soon after 5pm.

Got home around 8pm and unpacked. Azzan had gone home with Jesika and the guys have been busy milling so Grace and the girls had a blissful day cleaning floors and windows etc with no-one under foot. She suggested I might like to go to town again tomorrow so she could get more done – I thought that could be arranged

Got an email from Cat tonight – Tim & I were thrilled to hear from her and find out what she and Anson have been up to. They sound very busy.

All in all it has been a good day.

Life on Thursday

For a change today Tim took Ivan & David out to do some mussel work. It was a bit choppy but they needed a change of scenery from the milling. They got back in before lunch so took another load of timber up the hill. Jesika took the two guys so they could help her load and unload a truck full of firewood. She got back in time to cook dinner again. It has been great enjoying someone else’s cooking and especially hers because she goes that extra mile and the food has a bit of a flair to it. Last night I would have dished up venison stew, steamed silver beet and mashed potatoes. She presented us with venison stew, silverbeet in a coconut cream & cumin sauce, stir-fried zucchini strips with other tasty stuff and roasty potato cubes and a baked pear pudding.

It is so good to have another responsible mother in the house – I was able to leave Grace to do stuff while I got on with some school work. She gave Brianna’s room such a thorough clean out – it looked cleaner than I have ever seen it. She and David have slotted in here very quickly and we are all enjoying their company. She has Portuguese parents so blames a lot of her quirkiness on her Portuguese heritage

It was quite interesting today because in the ‘Before Writing’ project that we are doing we are up to a page with an example of Victorian copperplate writing. The idea was to let the children have a go at copying it. I got three totally different reactions to it. Nathan boxed on and copied it as best he could, no big drama but he did make comments about how tricky it was. Mahalia was nearly in tears cuz she couldn’t do it. It was just too much of a challenge for her, whereas Shannie was right into it. Loved all the twirls and swirls. She commented that she loved all the loopy bits – well I sposed that figures cuz it matches her brain

Shannie updated her blog today – – and Mahalia wanted to begin one so I helped her get it up and running. Her xanga name is MahaliaRebie – so go meet her there –

They are enjoying playing with Shalina & Corrissia so much that I curtailed school quite early. The girls have all been helping with chores in between times too. Azzan just floats around and fits in where he can. I came out from the study this afternoon and he was no where to be found. I did a search – he was in the school room dressed in a green fairy dress – with some pieces of yellow paper, 2L containers of red & yellow paint and pencils. He was dipping the pencils into the paint and painting the paper. He was having a great time and actually wasn’t making a mess. He was most proud of his paintings so they are now hanging to dry in the living room.

As I am taking three of the children to town tomorrow it was hair washing tonight for the girls – always a bit of an act!. Shahar arrived back just before dinner for a few days break from his apple picking so he and Nathan went for a late swim – I would’ve thought it was a bit chilly

We had planned to feed the children and get them to bed early and then have our dinner but all those plans went out the window when I got word that our builder Ian was coming down a day early and Tim & I had to go to Waterfall Bay to meet him at 6pm. So we basically all grabbed our food and ate on the run. Left Jesika to finish feeding everyone and put the wee ones to bed.

We zipped up in the dinghy. Spent an hour or three looking at the tiling job in the upstairs bathroom – it is totally substandard and we are not at all happy and so he came down to verify what was happening. It looks like he is going to demand that the whole job is totally redone, which is what I was wanting. The tiler came down and did a patch up job but it is still not right. Trouble is that the same firm (different contractor) did the downstairs job and it is perfect so we have a yard stick to work with
Got home to find Jesika & Ivan have gone possuming – she is keen to get a good stash of fur to sell. Ivan is coming out with me and the children and we are leaving here at 5:30am so I am off to get some much needed beauty sleep

The Early Bird catches the Worm :-)

Jesika decided to stay over – making the most of Cat’s spare bed to get some company. She, Seb & Ivan went out possum shooting. It was a good night for it and they got quite a few.

I was woken up this morning at 2am and after half an hour or so of tossing around I couldn’t get back to sleep so I decided to get up and get stuck into the accounts.

Talk about success!
3 hours of total uninterrupted peace and quiet was worth so much. By the time the house started waking at 6am I had made a huge hole in them. The only things left to do were things I needed to ask Jesika or Tim. So I was absolutely rapt.

I have been having problems getting my printer to work on the Windows side of the computer – cannot find the installation discs so I have given the study a real good clean out. Thrown away so much junk that has accumulated, it feels so good to see clear and clean shelves. Still haven’t found the disks but at least I have a clean study!

Gustav left early this morning with Sandra from next door. And then at lunch time the Peacock family arrived – they are Canadian from Toronto. The two girls and Shannie and Mahalia have clicked and are having such a great time.

Jesika took Azzan & Mahalia home with her to unload a truckload of bark and sawdust onto her garden then she came back in time to get dinner organised. The children are a lot better today – not so many coughs. Although Seb is not feeling too great tonight so maybe he is catching it next.

The men had gotten totally involved in the milling, Seb & Jesika had to go around and convince them it was time for dinner when it was nearly dark. Apparently Tim and found a huge tree so Graham just had to cut it up.

I was commenting to them that it is a bit like patchwork & quilting. You take a large piece of material and cut it into small pieces and then sew it all back together again to make something big. They are cutting down trees and milling them into small pieces just so they can be all nailed together to make something big-!!

It’s Monday, again!

I got up early this morning – well, it seemed early cuz daylight saving finished yesterday.
So it was 5am but last week it would’ve been 6am!
So I was feeling like I was ahead of myself before it was breakfast!

Had a small amount of time to sit at my art desk and completed a page in a book club book, and nearly completed a card for another groups monthly image challenge.

On my art front I am thinking that I may just be able to get my thankyou cards finished – have decided I am not going to make any more, will use store cards or just write a note for the rest of them. Can only do so much eh? Then I may be able to get inspiration to finish the journal I have to post this week, well, I was actually sposed to post in several weeks back now but who’s counting….

THEN, I will be able to get started on the 39 pages for the chunky collaborative book swap I have been conned into joining.

But by the time I thought about it all, it was breakfast time and the children were up and about. Azzan is really grotty. He is so up and down it is driving me insane.

Tim went out mustering for a couple of hours. Gustav kayaked up to help Jesika. Tim got back in time to collect Ivan for another day on the mill. We got into school work. Had just finished the reading and maths and was about to begin the project work when I got an emergency phone call from Jesika saying her compost bin was on fire and she needed Seb fast cuz they couldn’t get it under control on their own. She has a huge compost bin so I was very concerned. So Seb was off in the dinghy at a rate of knots. Thankfully they got it dealt to without it spreading. But the bin is pretty much burnt out so plan 64 will have to be put into action now!

After lunch we watched another couple of episodes of Little House on the Prairie. At the moment it is about the only time of the day when the children are not being fractious with each other. I am almost tempted to let them watch it much longer but as a mother knows, that is not condusive to their health and well-being, so I booted them all outside for the rest of the afternoon.

Jesika came over with bags full of green veges, then she & Shannie loaded the ute up with sawdust and bark for her garden. She stayed for dinner and was a great help to me – I was nearly tearing my hair out after a day with grotty kids. So she fed them and got them off to bed while I was sorting business stuff.

After dinner we introduced Gustav & Ivan to lagretto. It was fun and despite me finishing my hand of cards first so many times Nathan & Gustav still won