A very sweet day

I began my day in the spa.
Then the next few hours were spent trying to get some mussel spreed sheets up to date and ready for the accountant.

Then Tim took off out on to the hills and I managed to round up the troops to get chores done and then into some school work.

Today, after Maths and English, we built molecules from marshmellows and toothpicks.
The children had lots of fun.
First of all they were given licence to build whatever they wanted with as many toothpicks as they desired.
Then the instructions became more and more restrictive until we were building more realistic atoms.

They had to record the shapes they were making.

Nathan is working on the older grade Chemistry so had more specific directions to follow.
Here are four of his molecules.
Top H2O (water) and NH3 (ammonia)
Lower – CH4 (methane) and CH3OH (methanol)

I think he may have missed the methanol slightly but the first 3 are pretty accurate.

Azzan had fun building some crazy mutant molecules.

Then when we finished I allowed them to toast a couple each as they were all drooling.
Mahalia was finding the heat of the fire a bit too much

Mahlai & Azzan had their lunch out on the deck.
Despite the sun shining on the wharf it was still a trifle chilly so they wrapped up cosy in their cuddly blankets.

I took my lunch to bed and had a rest for an hour while the children went bike riding and walking etc.
They did a few chores and then watched ‘Enchanted
When I walked through the door I did a double take because I saw ‘Derek’ on the screen and thought for a split second they were watching ‘Grey’s Anatomy’.
But then I realised he is Patrick Dempsey playing lawyer Robert Philip.
Good actor – well named ‘McDreamy’

I finally got onto Harvest-Curric-Swap-NZ, a yahoogroup and began listing a heap of home schooling curricula that I have had boxed up for ages. It is crazy, I sorted it all out a couple of years ago and have just not made time to actively sell it. So today I began listing.
Within half an hour I had sold one book already!!
I am impressed.
Let’s hope that the other books sell too – it would be nice to not have to be falling over them all the time.
It was very strategic of Cat to leave the boxes right outside my study door

The sky was so awesome tonight.
I managed to catch the reflecting sunset colours.
There is a southerly bank rolling over the hills opposite us and they provided a wonderful backdrop.
Absolutely glorious.

I made a chicken casserole in the slow cooker today and we ate it with roast veges.
It was delicious.
Then we followed that with an impromptu fondue.
Shanni melted some chocolate and cut up the fresh fruit to add to the marshmellows and we dipped and dripped it all over the place.

Azzan of course had to use a skewer rather than a toothpick!!!

Very yummy but also rather sickly sweet.

I keep forgetting to mention that we got word from my cousin to say the horse we were looking at recently for Mahalia had gone lame. It apparently had been injured but the seller hadn’t really mentioned it.
So I am very glad Michelle was able to suss it all out for us before we bought him.
So we are back on the look out for a horse again.
Anyone know of a lovely quiet 14-15 hand standard breed who could make a little girl happy?

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Exciting news :-)

My friend Rachel took these two photos when they stayed during the holidays and emailed them through.
I love them.
They just show Azzan at his best.
Everyone else on the wharf is fishing

and he is dancing

Thursday last week we were back to normal.
Left home at 6am.
First day of Term 3 for us.
It was wet.
We had about 25mm of rain overnight.
But thankfully the roads were actually really good.
The only pain was some quite large potholes which were full of rain so I was able to see them and was playing dodgems around them.

My day was made so much less stressful for me though due to help from friends.
Nuana met us when we arrived and took Mahalia & Azzan out to riding.
It was a grotty wet day so they did inside project work which they opted for in preference to no riding school at all.
Shanni had speech and during that brief half hour I popped into town to visit Carol Priest.
Next door to her shop is Mariposa.
My all time most favourite shop.
I just had 5 minutes to have a quick browse
In that 5 mins I found a top on sale which will go really well with 2 olive green skirts that I bought quite a few years ago and have hardly worn because I haven’t managed to find anything to go with them.

Shanni & I then went to the chiropractor.
Nuana picked Shanni up after her appointment while I had my massage therapy.
From there I met them all at the library.
Zipped back to the Info Centre to say hi and bye to Conor and Michael.
They were heading off to Westport.

Then over the hill to Tahunanui where I did a stock up on bulk goods at Trents.
Just had time to cruise past the music shop and pick up new reeds for Shanni’s clarinet before gymnastics.
Chrissy was there with Nathan and her boys.
But Nathan, Joel & Yari were all sick so sat it out.
Victoria took Mahalia & Azzan to dancing and then back to her place.
Chrissy took Nathan to History & More for his first tutoring lesson with Rene.
I dropped Shanni at Soundstage and flew across the town to my dentist appointment.
Everything was happening at 3:30pm so I was extremely grateful to Chrissy & Victoria for their help.
James was running late.
I sorta figured by that time of the day he would be so I had Shanni & Nathan prepped to stay put till I got back for them.
I am having a crown made for the tooth I broke a few months back.
Once that fitting was all done I took off to get Shanni.
Then got caught up in the pre 5pm traffic and crawled along Waimea Rd.
Got there at 5pm and found Nathan & Rene were still working.
She had been late arriving so the lessons was late finishing which worked well for us.
It was pretty crazy trying to get back into the traffic and head the opposite direction to everyone else.
Mental note for next time – try and figure out an earlier pickup!!

We got groceries and then were outa town fast.
Stopped to pick up the kids from Victoria and Hira then home.
It was wet and foggy the whole way home.
My eyes felt like they were sticking out on stalks by the time we finally got here

Since coming home we have all crashed out.
Nathan has been recovering.
I have been sneezing and blowing my nose profusely.
I am taking all the vitamins and mineral I can to get on top of it.
It appears to be abating which is good.
I spent about 3 hours in the spa on Friday morning with my book.
It was great.
The wet southerly was swirling around my head.
I love the spa on a cold blusterly day.

I spent time getting the gst & filing finished.
A very good feeling to have it all done and filed before the final day for once!
The mail boat came Fri arvo but there wasn’t too much to have to deal with so that was good.
I hate it when I just get all the filing up to date and then a whole heap more paper work arrives.
It would be really nice sometimes to have a break before it all starts piling up again.

Saturday morning I was working on the computer when I received a file from Bri on Sype.
I opened it and found this picture.

I figured from that that she was making an announcement.
So I called her and sure enough
Bri & Nick are now officially engaged
Congratulations to you both.
Love the ring.
Now all the plans and schemes can be not quite so secret

The other exciting news for Saturday was that the sun is now back on the house.
It has been covering more of the wharf each day and the children have been excitedly letting me know all the other points it is hitting.
But this time it was definitely on the house for way more than a few seconds.
There are also daffodils blooming and the daphne bush is blossoming.
So Spring cannot be too far around the corner.

Yesterday the children were playing  – they had made some sort of running course through the house.
I heard Azzan call out –
‘…and if I fail I shall suffer the consequences.’
I am not too sure what he was trying to do but it sounded funny!

Last night I found Mo sleeping here in my laundry baskets.
He looked so funny way up there.

Today we have been doing some school work.
We carried on with our chemistry.
This time though Nathan was with us so we reviewed atoms and their make up to catch him up with the play.
Then we moved on to finding out about protons, neutrons & electrons.
I am finding it all very fascinating as I never really did science at school.
So I am learning all sorts of cool things.
Like the Periodic Table of Elements and how to find out the number of neutrons in each atom.
For those of you who are as ignorant as I was before this morning.
You take the atomic number – which actually represents how many protons & electrons in the atom.
You deduct that number from the atomic weight of the atom and the remained is the number of neutrons.

From there we read about molecules.
That was pretty cool too.
Can you tell I am having fun?
The crazy thing is that Azzan & Mahalia are comprehending it all so much better than the older two right now.
Maybe cuz Nathan is not well?
But tonight at dinner it was Azzan who had most of the answers.
I just love the way the book is making it so much easier to understand than I ever realised it was.

Over the past few days I have gotten totally engrossed and completely absorbed into the world of Grey’s Anatomy.
Cat lent me the complete first 5 series when she was last home.
I am now zooming through Series 2.
I even resorted to taking the dvd player out to the spa this morning so I could watch it before breakfast!!
We don’t have TV so I have never seen any of these before and am finding them really gripping.
I was telling Tim about all the medical things I am learning and that I am now ready to perform open heart surgery, remove tumours from anywhere you could imagine and remove metal spikes from limbs, etc

This arvo all three children were practising their music all at the same time.
Azzan was in the far corner of the living room doing scales

Mahalia was in the centre of the room doing whatever she was meant to be doing.

And Shanni was practising clarinet over near the kitchen.
Needless to say it made interesting noise music!

Tim & Anson have been out most of the day doing mussel work.
They also went fishing this arvo and brought home a lovely feed of fresh fish for dinner.
I made a beef & cheese pie which we ate with fresh carrots from Shanni’s garden.
I got all carried away before dinner and made a new recipe from my Moosewood Cookbook.
Sour Cream Orange Cake.
Delicious.

Farewell to the guys, a visit from Seb, and getting ready for town again.

I had a much better night’s sleep so felt okay when I woke today.
Still got a head cold but not as bad as yesterday.
I took my book out to the spa and had a read and soak before the day began.

The guys were up and packing.
They weren’t in too much of a hurry.
Well, maybe John was as he was keen to get back to civilization, a doctor and fish & chips – not too sure in which order
It was calm and the rain had stopped.
Perfect day for mussel working but as Tim had no one to go with him he stayed and did some welding in the workshop.
Before he took the guys up to the top of the hill to their van we had a photo shoot.

Tinga – the bird the guys will not forget – or miss!!

Shanni got behind my camera and was soon having a field day with the zoom lens before we realised it!!
Conor

Michael

John

They finally got the hut cleaned and their gear loaded.
I had packed them a tucker box of cake and toasties to take with them which they were pretty happy about.
Then Tim took them up the hill.
He took ages to return.

He said to them that we don’t do snow boarding here but he could take them skidder boarding.
They had been pretty disappointed not to get work in Queenstown and get to snowboard there as it was all just way too expensive for them.
That’s why they ended up with us.
A win win situation

So he towed the ‘three big kids’ up and down and around the air strip for ages.
They had a blast.
The ground was pretty greasy so they were flying around very easily and Tim managed to get Conor and Michael both off their boards!!
I just hope that there were not too many others to go to the doctor with John by the time they got out to Nelson tonight!!

Seb text me and said they were working in the bay and were there any muffins available.
So being the wonderful mother I am, I dropped everything I was doing and got to and made a batch of blueberry and white chocolate muffins.
He arrived in on the boat and came up for a few moments chat while they were finishing baking.
Then he went off with container full to keep him and his work mates happy for the arvo.

I have been trying to get some engagement cards made and finally spent a few moments on one today.
Must try and get it finished tonight.
I have so many birthdays etc coming up and just no momentum to create at present.
This term is going to be really busy with not too many days at home.

Azzan has found the guidance button on Jesika’s Clavinova and he is playing along with Swan Lake theme.
It’s really cool and he is loving being able to play along with the orchestral background.
I am hoping if he plays it enough he won’t need the guidance button for long.

Dinner was a bit of a hodge podge of left overs and whatever I could find in the fridge.
Some had the leftover fish casserole.
We all had fried rice with egg.
The kids had raw carrot and celery sticks
I had salmon & haloumi cheese fried up with onion and shared some tired lettuce, tomato with Tim & Shanni.
Beetroot can was emptied.
Dinner was over!
Everyone seemed okay with it all thankfully.

It is now getting later and later and I cannot move the kids to bed.
They are a bit out of routine and are not really getting the message that it is back to early starts and town tomorrow.
I am going to go shove them along and try and get myself organised too so I don’t have a late night.
I am really really tired and aware of not pushing myself too much after these past few days of being unwell.

Tuesday feeling grotty

I had a very disturbed night tossing around with a slight fever.
Woke feeling really grotty in the morning.
We did manage to get some school work done while I was making lunch.
Then because I was feeling so bad in more ways than one I started the Chemistry unit I had been promising the kids we would so.
Azzan has been wanting to do it so badly and I have always been putting him off due to other things taking up my time.

I bought the books ages ago because I was so impressed by the clarity and ease of understanding.
They are called Real Science-4-Kids by Dr RW Keller.
I have the Level 1 and Pre-Level 1.
Chemistry was never my forte at school so I am happy to be joining their learning in it.
We did the first chapter in Pre-Level 1 all about atoms and then did some charts on observations.
It was all a bit rushed cuz the guys came home early but the kids were happy with what they did.

Tim and the guys finished fencing early so there would be time to help with the vege garden.
Shanni caught Michael at his favourite occupation – eating

John was quite unwell so he went to bed as soon as they got home.
Conor and Michael got stuck in to the garden with Shanni.
They dug up another load of sheep manure from under the woolshed.
Then that was dug into the beds and then they were covered in pea straw.

The top garden is getting readied for an asparagus bed.

I was feeling really out of it so I went to bed with my book for the afternoon.
I read and dozed for a few hours.
I came to with a jolt at about 5pm.
Raced out of bed and totally lost my equilibrium.
My head was spinning and I just couldn’t get my balance for ages.
I sat in the study to try and get myself together and then went out to get some dinner ready.
It took about half an hour to finally feel like I was okay.

Michael & Conor had gone for a walk through the bush to Waterfall Bay.
They came back very exhilarated by the walk and the bush etc.

I wasn’t up to eating so I watched the guys have dinner.
I had made a coconut cream sauce to go with the grouper fillets.
Apparently it was delicious.

The guys decided they needed to leave and take John to the doctor so I got them to bring all their washing down so we could get it done over night before they left.
They like to save it all up so there was two large loads to put through!
Tim went off to bed after he got the children settled but I ended up talking with Conor and Michael till around 11pm.

Building Fences

Tim has had the Conor, Michael & John here for the past 4 weeks.
They came to dig fence post holes and they have done just that.
They have been posting up 3 different fence lines.
Depending on the weather as to where they go on the day.

I thought we should at least show them at work and not just at the kitchen sink so I asked Shanni to go take a few photos for me yesterday.
She came back with about a hundred!
Once I had removed all the random ones of dogs bounding everywhere and the odd blurred one I narrowed it down to about 40. So here is a few of those.

This is proof of blistered hands, muddy clothes, tired & hungry men that walked in the door at the end of each day.

Conor

Conor & John

The scenery that they were subjected to throughout their ordeal

Michael.
Too busy to get mugshot!

Where they have already been – way up there!

Tim carrying another matchstick!

Mountain goat territory!!

The old pro showing them how to do it

The guys did a brilliant job.
They were totally unused to this sort of work but pitched in and gave it their best shot with great attitudes.
Thanks fellas.
We really enjoyed having you all here.
After this anything you do will seem like a summer holiday

Come back again soon eh?

Sunday & Monday

You know, I really shouldn’t leave so many days in between blogging cuz I really struggle to remember back beyond yesterday!

I do know that Sunday morning was another early start for Azzan.
He got to the spa before us so we joined him this time.
Nice cosy threesome

Graham came down before midday so we did have some fellowship.
Then a late lunch which the 3 boys managed to get out of bed in time to for.
They had stayed late around at Anson’s and watched a movie.
Sunday is their day off so it’s good for them and good for us.
They get to sleep and we get some time out from having extras in the house.

After lunch they tried to get their van going without much joy.
By the time they and Tim came in for dinner they were most perplexed cuz they could not find the battery.
They made phone calls to no avail.
They were thinking of seeing if Google would tell them.
But while they were eating I called up Herbie/Nathan!!
Of course he knew.
He’s way better than Google.
Also had a good catch up chat cuz we haven’t seen him since his wedding.

Monday.
Azzan woke us at 5:30am wanting to have a spa.
I went out to check on him at 6am and found he had set the breakfast table and was just sitting.
I suggested he should go hop into bed with his Daddy.
So he did and immediately went back to sleep until 8:30am.
I was in the study so Anson took the phone and sat on the end of our bed to talk in a quieter spot not realising his wee bro was sound asleep beside him – men!

The day began clear and beautiful.
There was still a southerly cloud bank on the hills opposite but for us the sun was shining.
It is coming back more each day.
The children come in excitedly to tell me,
The sun’s on the aviary.
The sun’s on the dog kennels.
‘The sun’s on the back lawn.
so soon it will be
The sun is on the house for all day’

We got some school work underway in the morning.
I was also cooking at the same time.
It takes quite a bit to keep the food up to three extra hungry lads.
When the children are just doing their Maths and English I can supervise from the kitchen bench.
I had some soup heating on the stove for lunch when I got a text from Nathan.
He wanted me to call him.
I knew he was about to hop in the plane to fly back to Nelson so I zipped through to the study to call him.
His plane was canceled due to fog and he didn’t know what to do.
It took a wee while to get him sorted.
He was rerouted onto a later plane.
Then I got an email from the accountant.
He had been having problems opening my gst files so that took a bit more time.
When I finally got back to the kitchen I was greeted by a pot of soup boiling and burning.
It was splattering all over the place.
There was pumpkin soup all up the walls, over the stove, on the floor, over the plate rack.
It was stuck good.
Shanni put the pot in the sink and filled it with water.
I was almost in tears.
It was nearly midday and that was all I had organised for lunch.
The men were up fencing at the top of the Cow Paddock and were due home to eat.
I scrubbed off the splatters.
Shanni suggested making pasta spirals for lunch instead and then proceeded to begin getting them ready..
She is a wee Godsend at times.
Makes up for all the blonde moments we have
Then while she was cutting the onions and cooking the pasta I got a text from Anson wanting Shanni to pop around and see how to feed his dogs while he was away this week.
Good timing – NOT!
Anyway, she zipped around on her bike and I carried on preparing them.
Only to find just as she walked back in the door that we had 1 egg left in the house.
Mahalia mentioned that Anson had come around for stores in the morning and had taken a carton of eggs.
He was leaving that arvo for a week away so I was a bit flummoxed as to why he had taken so them.
Anyway, Shanni biked around again and brought them back.
Apparently Leeann had bought them for him the previous week and he hadn’t claimed them yet.
So we have one dozen eggs left till I shop on Thursday!
I had better remember to replace Anson’s dozen eh?

In amongst all of this school work sorta went out the window!

 
Shanni was busy constructing this play area for Tinga.
He seems to like it.
She hides peanuts for him to find.
He loves that.
Gives him things to do and keeps him occupied outside of his cage.

The wee budgie has made itself at home here.
He is a wee character.
He flies to and fro the top of the fluorescent light in the dining area – it is warm up there,
and back to his cage periodically for some food.
On the way he pecks about the floor finding scattered seeds.
He did fly out the door once but came back.
The cats come in when I am not looking but it has survived even them.

The guys didn’t get back for lunch till quite late in the arvo.
John is not at all well.
He is suffering from stomach ulcer pain.
So he is not functioning on very many cylinders at present.
Then after that Tim towed their van up the hill and after several towings along the airstrip they got it going.
Must have just had some damp terminals or something.
They drove along to Waterfall and walked down the hill to see Glen and use his internet.
We carried on with dinner and they had theirs later when they got home.

I was not feeling terribly great all day.
I don’t often get sick, sick.
But I was beginning to get head cold symptoms and was sneeezing a lot

 

And the rain came back again….

I woke early this morning and decided to get up and file accounts while it was all quiet in the kitchen.
Makes it easier if I can spread the paper work out on the table with now one around.
The rain began around 6:30am.

Tim headed off to do mussel work with Conor & Michael after breakfast despite the rain.
It was calm – that’s all he needs.
John missed the boat as he was rather tardy this morning so he ended up helping Anson and stacking firewood.

Nuana & Shanni baked biscuits to fill the tins.
Nuana made a new recipe – chocolate pinwheel biscuits.
Yummy!

Cat and Leeann packed up and left at 11am.
There is a 35knot south easterly forecast so they wanted to get to Port Gore tonight and then try and get over to Mana tomorrow as it drops.

They went over to say goodbye to Tim before leaving the bay.

  This arvo the children watched ‘Mao’s Last Dancer‘.
Azzan has been wanting to watch it for ages.
It was a bit tricky as there are subtitles and they were a bit quick for Mahalia to read out to him so I had to explain the gist of the politics involved in China at the time of the Cultural Revolution throughout the movie. I think I might have to do some Chinese history with the children to help them understand it better.
I wasn’t really paying attention to closely as I had my nose in a new Karen Kingsbury book which just arrived on Friday – ‘Take One‘.
I was supposed to be getting on with the gst but a good book is always a much better option
I have made a lot of progress with the filing all done now so shouldn’t take too long to finish coding on the computer.

Azzan has found the music to Swan Lake so he has been dancing to it.
He is also practising his handstands etc.
I caught him in mid flip on the couch tonight.

He is getting really good at back arches.

Love that flat tummy – long time since I had one of those!

Mahalia can do them too but Shanni collapsed mid arch.

Azzan had Nuana practising dance moves too and then they decided to build a tower.

We had an early dinner and all went around to watch the All Blacks vs South Africa.
2nd match of the Tri-Nations.
It was a really good game.

We won – 37-17
There were some great tries and fantastic tackles.
It was a wet and windy night but they all still played really well.