Saturday, 30 November 2013

(84) Seeing Family

I'm so blessed that my brand new son got to meet my beautiful Aunty Claire and cousin Dayna, who were over from New Zealand.  If not for his prematurity, the wouldn't have met him.  I last saw Aunty Claire in 2010, and Dayna in 1998!!!!

Aunty Claire and brand new Memphis
Zavian with some family <3  Dayna on the left

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Hello New Zealand! (38)


I had hoped my big overseas adventure would be somewhere cool... but no, it was NZ ;)
Ok Ok, people travel there all the time, but we have to remember - I was born there!  That said, it had been 1 month shy of 15 years since I had left the New Zealand and this was my first trip back.  And the trip back was for one helluva good reason - my cousin was getting hitched and I was their wedding photographer!

In Nelson!
Instead of just going back for the wedding though, I actually up and left my family for 12 days - the longest I've been apart from the kids, ever.  And the longest I have been apart from Ty since we started seeing each other.  I won't lie - it was hard being away from my babies, but at the same time it was kind of nice to only have to worry about showering myself, going to the bathroom ALONE, and just in general being able to relax.

The weather wasn't as hard to handle as I thought it would be - except in Wellington... but they have a climate of their own really.  And I probably could have done without the earthquakes that shook up the last 3 days of my trip... but it was a nice time.  I'd probably not go in winter again though!

I got to take my first trip to the South Island, the wedding was held in Nelson.  So that was pretty cool, flying in over snow capped mountains and landing in a brisk 3 degrees!

The wedding was beautiful - Jason and Sarah did an amazing job organising it all from another country.  It was a lovely, intimate, beautiful wedding.  The bridal party was awesome and so much fun to work with.  And it's always wonderful to know that your much loved cousin has found someone absolutely perfect for him.

After a fabulous wedding and a few days in Nelson with family - some I had not even met before or hadn't seen since I was as young as three - I flew back to Wellington.  It was a quick overnight stay there with a friend I've had since I was born!  I got to spend time with family friends and help them celebrate their grandsons 1st birthday.  Considering they were all around for my first birthday, I thought that was pretty cool!  It was absolutely blustery, freezing, windy and wet conditions... I even cracked out the thermals that day!!!!

I caught a bus up to my old home town, where one of my closest friends met me.  We took a quick little drive in to Otaki and checked out my old house.  I guess there's really only one thing that can be said about Otaki... it's exactly the same as it was 15 years ago.  Even my old house still had the frilly duck net curtains in the kitchen window!  After grabbing a pie (I ate my fair share of pies when I was back there, haha) we headed back up to Jade's 'farm'.  The real relaxation started out with Jade and her little fam, out in the hills of Wanganui.  No phone reception, no nothing... it was fabulous!  It was so nice to spend quality time with Jade and to just properly catch up.


We had a really nice time, and I even stayed on an extra day because I didn't want to leave her haha!  I do wish we had spent a lot more time together when she lived in Australia... but that said, we've grown up heaps and our lives have changed so much that I think now, they fit together better than ever.  I have been lucky that she's put up with me for over 21 years!!!

Jade and I on the road out from her place!!!

From Wanganui it was back down to Wellington by bus.  I spent my last few days staying with my cousin at her place.  I visited family and caught up with a couple of old friends and got to celebrate another little birthday (2 year old this time!!)  It wasn't an overly busy end to the trip though, as they bunged on a bunch of earthquakes!!!!  I was worried I wasn't even going to be able to get on a plane and come home... 

That said - I have clearly made it home!  And whilst it was nice to go to a fabulous wedding, and to catch up with friends and family - it was fabulous to come home to big cuddles and special pictures drawn by my beautiful babies!

HOME!  Finally - at the airport with my two favourite people!

P!nk - The Truth About Love Tour

#59 - See P!nk live in concert

P!nk would easily be my favourite female artist.  Even Ty doesn't mind me playing her music ;)  Last time she was here I was so upset to miss her - I did have a pretty legitimate excuse (birthing the oldest child... lol) but I was gutted I missed out!  Then last year she announced she will be here in 2013 for her Truth About Love tour... and I couldn't get tickets.  BOO!

The joys of the internet though?  I managed to snag 2 tickets - for me and Laura!  WINNNNNNNNING!!!!!  Even if I was quite pregnant at the time hahaha.

There she is... just dangling up there!

What can you say about a P!nk concert?  That woman is AMAZING.  There's no words really.  She has so much energy, so much talent.  She is so fit!  Unreal.  It was easily the best concert I've ever been to, and I didn't think I'd ever say that after seeing the Foo Fighters.  It was so awesome to be able to go with Laura, as well.

Being that it's just so easy and simple to do, she flew around the arena and landed right next to where we were.  So cool!!!

So thank you to my bestie because not only did she come with me, crossing this off wouldn't have been possible without her!!!!!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Big Brother Eviction!! (100)

#100 - Go to a Big Brother Eviction night

Here's the thing.  I have a guilty little addiction - Big Brother.  It's terrible television, yet here I am... I love the show, I watch it every night when it's on and I start to pick and choose favourites.  Last year I loved Zoe and Michael.  And guess who I got to see on the eviction night I went to!  And I've actually doubled my mission because I've been to one this year, too!

Ready to see my first live eviction at Dreamworld (Nov '12... oops!!!)

I chose a great night to go (and yes, it's taken me almost 12 months to update this) last year in November!  My friend Caitlyn and I attended the big eviction held on Day 85 - two nights before the grand final (that Ben took out the title of Winner 2012 for!)  It was a pretty awesome night, I'd been watching and loved seeing most of the remaining people in the house.  It sucked seeing two of my favourites evicted on the same night - but at the same time I really enjoyed seeing them right there, live! 

Zoe enters the Big Brother arena!

Michael makes a grand entrance!
It was a pretty good night.  They actually filmed the opening to the grand final show with our audience - it was great!  Lots of crazy and excited people and all of the evicted housemates were there that had been evicted!  Oh and I even found a link on youtube!  If you knew where to look, you'd even be able to see Caitlyn and I ;)

Me and the bestie!!
This year - I went to one of the earlier evictions with my bestie, Laura!

It was quite different to last year - the had closed in the back of the arena, and changed where the housemates made their entrance.  Last year they entered from a side stage (first year for that), but this year they have changed it so they are back to coming down the centre of the arena and able to high 5 and walk through the crowd.

Now... I took photos of the stage, and of Sonia Kruger (who I still can't bring myself to like) and even of the poor bugger who was evicted (Caleb... shoulda been Tully!)... but I can't find where I've saved/uploaded them to!  Woops!  

So I have stalked Laura's facebook and stolen a picture of Caleb.  But yes... slack Genes - I KNOW!  It was one of those evictions where the vote to save scheme means that they completely sucked having 6 nominees to choose from and instead of seeing the most hated housemate leave, it meant that one of those people that the public think is safe, ended up going instead.  Poor Caleb!  Even had a bit of a cry leaving his bromance behind hehe.  Caleb gave us all a giggle by coming out early and before Sonia had announced him, sneaking up behind her and surprising her.  Always good to see how she comes back from that sort of thing :/  haha.

Caleb makes his (far too early) entrance!

It was great to go with Laura though!!!  So glad that we were able to get to an eviction and as the series comes to an end I hope we can go again!  I'd love to snag tix to one of the final shows, as the atmosphere is completely different! At the moment it's just so/so housemates up where I could give or take who ever leaves.  That all said - TIM for the 2013 WIN!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Oh look what I remembered!

I was really bad at keeping this up, wasn't I? (Consider that a bit of a fail for number 5 on my list ;) heheh)

My bad!!!!

Life got busy, life got away from me!  I have completed a few little bits and pieces of my list, but I have really let it slip away from me (a multitude of reasons behind that!)  I've been preoccupied by kids, life, ups, downs and oh... you know... I'm having another baby!  Yeah, that wasn't on my list now, was it!!!  I am now 31 weeks, and we are due on December 10th!!!!  This bubba will be our 3rd, and our last - and we have no idea if we are having a girl or a boy.  After losing this little ones twin very early in our pregnancy, the importance of gender does not even rate for us.  I look forward to meeting our new baby, who will hopefully be as beautiful, happy and healthy as his/her siblings.

Our newest addition - this from our 20 week scan!

My other two little monkeys - they are doing fantastic!

My big girl and HER babies.
Miss Alexis is 4, she turned 4 in June and celebrated with friends and a fabulous Peppa Pig cake!

At the beginning of the year, she started attending a school based pre-prep program so we could start preparing her and giving her some school readiness.  10 months ago I honestly was not sure we'd be able to start her in the correct year of school - we considered holding off 12 more months (she is born pretty much on the cut-off for the school year, making her one of - if not the - youngest).  That said - 10 months has improved so much for her, and I do feel the pre-prep program has been extremely beneficial.  This beautiful child of mine can now write her name, she is drawing (funny looking) people, her speech has improved a lot (still struggles, unfortunately), she will count now, and recite her alphabet.

She is artistic and dramatic, I can see her growing up to be more interesting in that area, than her academics!  I am so proud of her, though.   She's definitely still a child full of spunk and attitude, she's feisty and excitable, she is so beautiful.

She is so excited to have a new baby in her life!  I think we will have a right little mother hen on our hands!  That said she starts Prep (full time school!!!) a month and a half after the baby arrives, so she will have to drag herself away from the baby she very affectionately refers to as HER baby Emma ;)  (Oh so help me if we have a boy... dibs on NOT telling her haha).

My cheeky, spunky little man!
My sweet little Zavian is two and a half and is growing in to a very bright and funny little boy.

He loves puzzles and books, and is a really eager learner.  Zavian is stuck with a lot of little girls to play with, who indulge him in playing home corner games, dolls and dress ups.  That said, the little spunk loves motorbikes, Superman and football!  He goes to kindy once a week, and is adapting well (as we have recently changed centres).  He enjoys the stimulation they provide, the messy sandpit time, and being part of a group.

Zavian is such a sweet, affectionate and cheeky little boy.  At the same time he is also very determined and stubborn and can throw a wobbly, like no other!!  He is (as he has always been) a real little mama's boy.  Sometimes he is keen on the idea of a new baby, and other times he seems put out.  I think he'll struggle with the shift in attention, but he will be ok once he gets used to the changes.

I'm not really sure as to what to do with my 101 list now!  Do I amend a few here and there,  so as to make it more compatible with the changes we'll have in our life?  Or do I just keep it as is?  I don't know!  That said I'm happy to keep plodding along - I guess I best think about that!!!  I do have some updates I need to add in, and to cross some of my list off though!  I guess that can be my 'mission' for the next week or two!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Chilli Con Carne

One of the reason I added a recipe challenge to my list was to inspire me to try new foods, but also to try and change the way we eat.  I've recently discovered The Healthy Chef (recommended to me) and I don't think I'll be looking back!!  Awesome array of recipes and all so good for you!

Last night I trialled Chilli Con Carne.  I have never had it, let alone cooked it - I wasn't sure whether it was going to be a winning recipe in our household but the kids ate it and Ty went back for seconds.  Must have been ok!  I doubled the recipe and we have 4 meals out of it :)

Chilli Con Carne

1 onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 large grated carrot
2 sticks sliced celery
250 g lean mince (beef, chicken, game meat are all great) - I used beef
1 red capsicum, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
400 g tomato puree
400 g cooked red kidney or adzuki beans, drained  - I used red kidney beans
125 g cherry tomato, halved
100 g baby spinach leaves
1 avocado, chopped
1 bunch coriander, chopped
1 lime
Chopped red chilli to taste
Sauté the onion carrot and celery for 3 minutes until softened.
Add the spices and mince and cook through for 5 minutes until the mince is browned.
Add the capsicum, tomato paste, tomato puree and beans.
Pour over 2 cups of water.
Simmer over a low – medium heat for 30 minutes until thick.
Season with ground pepper and a little salt add cherry tomato.
Fold in spinach and coriander just before serving.
Spoon into bowls,  top with chilli to taste, avocado and a squeeze of lime.
Enjoy by itself or with a side of steamed green vegetables, brown rice or quinoa. - we had it by itself

Monday, 14 January 2013

Easy Cheesy Muffins

I'm always on the look out for simple, tasty and cheap recipes to try out for the kids lunches.  At home we aren't restricted by allergies as to what we can eat, but at daycare there is a total egg and peanut ban due to having kids in the centre with allergies.  My kids take stock-standard, same ol' same ol' lunches to day care - week in, week out.

I stumbled across this Easy Cheesy Muffin recipe in my facebook-trolling today and with 3 simple ingredients that I keep as a staple, I was able to whip them up.

Cheesy Muffins with delicious fresh herbs
For my test run, I halved the recipe (using 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of tasty cheese), and it made 8 good size muffins.  I didn't hold out a lot of hope for taste and flavour with those basic ingredients, and I didn't really have a lot here in the fridge to add to it.   It needed more.  So I raided my herb garden for some chives, basil and thyme and roughly chopped those (about a tablespoon full I'd say) and added them to the mixture.  I also added a teaspoon of tomato relish, although I imagine corn relish would work equally as well.  I felt that the mixture was too wet, but I left it as was and it was fine - it made for a really nice, moist muffin.  Make sure you grease your tray well though as it's a sticky recipe.

Our new house has a shit oven... so I set it to around the 160C mark and baked for about 20 minutes until they were golden and soft and the knife came out 'clean'.  I think one of my biggest problem with making muffins is that I over cook and essentially dry them out.  Keep an eye on them, golden tops are a good indication of readiness.

I didn't actually take pics of the processes as I actually held little hope they'd work/taste any good.  Woops! Rest assured they were yummy, and the kids also liked them.  I'll whip up a full batch this week and will mix break that in to 3 lots and do different mix ins (bacon and cherry tomato, more of these herb ones, maybe mushroom, herb and brocollini).  Then I'll freeze them up for lunches for Ty and the kids.  Can't go wrong!

I get a thumbs up from Lexi for these ones!

Friday, 11 January 2013

A Night of Bowling (73)

#73 - Take Zavian ten pin bowling with Sarah and Craig

When I lived in Canberra, I always went bowling with Sarah and Craig.  When I first took Tyron to Canberra, we went bowling.  They were there when Lexi first went to a bowling alley, because we went when they were visiting us.  I wanted them to be there when Zavian went bowling for the first time, too!

We visited Canberra in October, and stayed with Sarah and Craig - we made a ten pin bowling date and off we went.  Lexi had been before so she was excited, even more so because this time she got to wear bowling shoes as her feet are finally growing!  Zavian couldn't, but he still was quite excited when we got there.  The noise, lights and music - he loved that!

Zavian takes his first turn - his first time Ten Pin Bowling

Lexi has a turn, too.  They only have one bumper as one is broken!

Too fast for me, Craig!

Zavian watches on as Alexis does her celebration dance

Sarah, Lexi and Craig wait their turns

Zavian has a great time!

Big girl in bowling shoes!

Celebrations for a great bowl!

The kids with Sarah and Craig... not sure what Ty's up to!

Sarah and Zavian - he loves her!

The kids had a combined game, they're under "Warey" with a score of 79

Our little family :)
It was a great night, and as usual, great company.  Zavian had so much fun.  He enjoyed helping Ty line up the stand, and pushing the bowling ball down.  Best of all, he enjoyed when people knocked down pins - and he would laugh and cheer and clap and run up to them to give them a big high five!  Such a champ!

#73 - great fun, great times, great people.  I'm happy that this one came around so early!

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Whale Watching (49)

How over due is this?  Well - I scrubbed this one off on October 16th, 2012 :P  Nearly 3 months in the making, this post!

Number 49 on my 101 in 1001 List was to go Whale Watching.  I've always wanted to go Whale Watching, yet despite living on the coast, or near the coast, for a good 10 years I've never gone!  Scoopon offers up some great deals over Whale Watching season, and we took advantage of a fabulous offer from Tallship Island Adventures.  A day cruise that included whale watching, an island stop off for a BBQ lunch and activities and then a cruise back to the marina.  Last year Ty and I did the Island Adventure (second half) of this trip and it was fantastic.

 We had the kids up early, trying to explain to them what we were doing.  Zavian was excited by the boat, and Lexi was excited by everything.  The day had seemed cool to start with so we entirely over dressed!  But it was too late, and in the end we just stripped the kids right down!  We got lucky with clear, lovely weather which made for a smooth boat ride.

The kids eagerly climbed the stairs and we positioned ourselves up the top in a great viewing area.  The boat was packed, so we were lucky to get where we did.  The kids (and us, too) enjoyed a light morning tea as we cruised across the water and then we got to enjoy seeing whales!  It wasn't the greatest day for whale numbers, right at the end of the season.  But it was still great and we still saw a few.  Zavian found it all overwhelming and fell asleep in Ty's arms.  Lexi enjoyed looking out for whales and pointing them out.  She found an elderly lady and made friends with her.  It was so great to take the kids, they really enjoyed the boat and the experience.  I'd happily take them again!  We had a couple of shy whales who didn't do too much, just avoided us really!  When I was starting to think the day was a total flop, a mama and her baby came along and put on a bit of a show for us, breaching and creating lots of splashes.

Looking out over Gold Coast
Ty and the kids wait to get moving

Lexi and her friend discuss how big the whales were

Little man finds the whole adventure a bit too much!

Lexi finds a hidey spot at everyones feet with prime position for viewing

A shy whale!

These two stayed around to play
A mama and her baby show off for us

 After seeing the whale we went to South Stradbroke Island to McLarens Landing.  The area is set up with a bar, a BBQ buffet, heaps of tables in an island set up (it's a great wedding location).  It was right on the waterfront and seeing as we didn't have any other plans and forgot togs, we didn't do any of the water sports or the 4WD tours.  Instead we stripped the kids down and let them swim.  The water was great, there were lots of little kids to play with and one kindly let Lexi and Zavian play with his bucket and spade.  They had so much fun and Ty and I got to chill and enjoy them.

Little show off!

Zavian cops a Lexi-hug

 On the island, the kids had a great time running around and making friends.  They teamed up with a group of Japanese tourists where they posed, danced and ate chocolate with them.  They thought they were the bees knees.  We sat with them on the cruise back too, and the kids played peeka-boo.  I love the way my kids interact with everyone :)  The ride back they were both tired and sunkissed and by the time we got in just after 4 they were ready for dinner and bed, super early!  But we still had a long ride home, and they slept the entire way!  Such an awesome day, so glad to go and do it and SO glad to scrub this one off the list!  Awesome start to my 101!

Back home, what an awesome day :)