Saturday, December 31, 2011

it's a wrap

I think most of us Christchurch people are so glad 2011 is almost done and dusted. I think Christchurch people have learnt that you really do require an emergency kit, lots of water and a charged cell phone. I'm hoping some New Zealanders may have learnt this too. I've also (re)learnt that the most important thing is people- friendships, community and caring. 

So 2011 was full of ups and downs but when I reflect I feel a sense of satisfaction that while its been hard my little family and myself have accomplished a lot. We have been resilient, strong, and stubborn. It feels like the kids are flourishing and as a family are starting to enjoy some time together after a very busy year. Unfortunately in the last week we've had lots of aftershocks and they are quite simply unsettling. So please Mother Earth go back to sleep. zzzzzz

Here is how December ended up in pictures. 

If I get time I'll sort some more photos out as we packed in lots. 
First 2012 goal: 1. to truly start Christmas preparations early

life is a jornery

I have some regrets about not connecting with some women I've met in 2011. 
2012 will be different. 
"Carpe Diem". 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

my creative space: Christmas Ornaments tick

Here's some photos of the process of making my ornaments. 
I loved it and made more to give to friends and family. 
Everybody seems to be enjoying them. 

In the above photo you can actually see that they are sparkly. 

Doily wrapping paper too! and ric rac another current fav. 
Merry Christmas if I'm not back before. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

things on you tube

OK, so I've tried to stay away from you tube it seems for no good reason. Since this post about picture books you can watch on you tube by Megan at mousehouse I'm hooked*. 

Since yesterday we have watched far too much but I'm so excited as I've seen some of my favourite old movie scenes/music. One of our Advent activities was to "Watch a Christmas movie with popcorn". I'd love to do an entire post on Advent Activities, which has been marvellous, but fear I shall run out of time before Santa comes down the chimney, that is unless I don't sleep and I need to sleep otherwise I'm not a great Mama). I was quite clever and planned this for yesterday, a Saturday, where hubbie and I could get some things done, although I would have liked to have sat down with them. Needless to say we didn't have a Christmas movie but I'd noticed lots of references around about for "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" by Dr Seus. So after a search of "Childrens Christmas Movies" on google I found a list of the top ten. Then a search on you tube really opened my eyes to all the goodness that can be found there. 

So since yesterday the kids have watched:
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas. To which the comment at the end was: "Christmas isn't about presents it's about being with family". Life lesson right there. 
- Mickey Mouse Christmas Carol. Same life lesson as above. 
- Hakuna Matata: Lion King. It means no worries. 
The rainbow connection: Kermit the Frog. Song still in my head. Love. 
do ra mi: The Sound of Music. Check out this flash mob clip at a train station in Antwerp. 

Next I'm going to show them The Lion sleeps tonight, aka Mbube. So many great versions, from the original by The Tokens or The Lion Kings version, or Miriam Mekeba (Famous African Singer), or Ladysmith Black Mambazo, or even the Soweto Gospel Choir. So exciting.

For a lovely version of South Africa's National Anthem, aka N'Kosi Sikeleli, sung by Miriam Makeba, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Paul Simon check this out. Yes I do love Africa. 

Shame my parents have dial up for next week when we are there as I'd love to have this as a resource. I don't think any of us have been as excited to go stay with them (with all the dramas that brings let alone the on the car trip (4.5hours)). We have not been there since after the February earthquake and after having a bitter sweet Christmas last year as my MIL's last we are looking forward to the crazy excitement and shouting from my Dad that occurs with my family at Christmas. 

PS. Much more positive post today after my last post of all my random thoughts. In order to stay on top of being sometimes blue one must focus on doing the things that make you happy as then being happy is much easier. Rocket Science I know. 

* BTW Megan's blog is LOVELY and one of my favourites. You'll notice I have copied lots of her lists on the sidebar of my blog.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

random thoughts

1. I found out a family member came to ChCh last weekend and didn't drop in. Grrr!
2. Dan Carter got married to Honor Dillion in Blenhole (Blenheim) on Friday at Timara Lodge. My Dad used to supply Timara Lodge with veges and fruit from our vege and fruit shop. I was thinking about this and, along with wishing them luck, I was remembering that at the beginning of the Rugby World Cup I thought we'd be OK only if Dan stayed fit. Funny as we went through 4 number 10's and Beaver ended up the hero in his non-fitting shirt as he'd been eating all the pies and not training. Funny and happy we won. May they have lots of little Dan Carters.
3. I'm an Auntie for the second time last week. My little nephew and his family are doing well but all the way over in Perth and that is sad.
The current master pieces: the planets (including saturn with its red storm), two colours painting (ie. at kindy: painting tick, next activity), marble painting, fairy glitter painting. 

4. Master 2.5 is both adorable and annoying. I really should cut his day sleep as then he might sleep ALL night. But no sleep = disaster pm and kindy asked that he have his sleep!
5. We are all enjoying our advent activities. The kids worked out the idea quickly and we are doing something little each day which while it means we are constantly busy I'm not stressed about trying to do lots. Today we dropped off some scorched almonds (my family treat) and some crackers to the City Mission. Three homeless men were hanging around outside and my kids were polite to them when they said Merry Christmas to us.
6. I really should be making the quilts now but ... (tomorrow I have a few hours where I can with no children around so I'll get everything out then and hopefully get a bit done).
7. Next year I will start making things for christmas earlier not just thinking I will.

Sorry not all positive but these are the thoughts in my head today.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"have yourself a doily little Christmas"

Lately I've been receiving my Christmas ornaments from the swap. What a lovely feeling to receive handmade Christmas ornaments as cute little packages in the post. Check out what some of the others made here, here and here.

I really wanted to make something from a doily. So another trip off to the opp shops to hunt out doilies. A hard life.
* FYI this is our totata tree in a pot along with the placenta from Master 2.5's birth. It used to be by the fence but the neighbour (different neighbour to the earth mama neighbour comment) cut the top off. I was fuming.
1. She should have asked. 2. She should have looked down as she would have seen it was in a pot. End rant.

And tomorrow I'll show you what I did with them.
And also to come a round up of the ornaments I received. Ah the suspense.

Christmas Book Advent idea/plan/list

I saw this idea some time last year and loved it. A Christmas Story Advent. Brilliant. As I had put away our 7 Christmas books I got them out on December 1st last year and we read them ALL December. Every. Day. Every. One. So the more I thought about it the more I loved the Christmas Book Advent idea. Hence I've tracked down a few (lots) of probably good Christmas books. I don't actually know they are good but other people say they are. 
image via
Here are most of the books from babyccinokids blog's advent. 
1. Mr Snow – Roger Hargreaves
2. Little Elephant’s Christmas – Heluiz Washburne & Jean McConnell
3. Madeline’s Christmas – Ludwig Bemelmans
4. Petunia’s Christmas – Roger Duvoisin
5. A Star So Bright – M Christina Butler & Caroline Peder
6. Mog’s Christmas – Judith Kerr
7. The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey – Susan Wojciechowski
8. One Snowy Night – Nick Butterworth
9. Lyle at Christmas – Bernard Waber
10. Letters from father Christmas – J.R.R. Tolkien
15. Little Rabbit’s Christmas – Harry Horse
16. Albert le Blanc – Nick Butterworth
17. Bear Stays Up For Christmas – Karma Wilson & Jane Chapman
18. Paddington and the Christmas Surprise – Michael Bond
19. Mr Willowby’s Christmas Tree – Robert Barry
20. The Little Fir Tree – Margaret Wise Brown
21. One Thousand Christmas Beards – Roger Duvoisin (out of print)
22. Christmas Day in the Morning – Pearl S. Buck
23. The First Christmas – Jan Pienkowski
24. ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas – Clement C. Moore (Illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith) 

Some other ideas also from babyccino:

  •  The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
  •  Olive the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh, J.otto Seibold
  •  Dream Snow by Eric Carle
  •  Lucy and Tom's Christmas by Shirley Hughes
  •  How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss
All these winter/snow Christmas books made me search for New Zealand Christmas books (you know where Santa has a black singlet and everybodies at their bach at the beach). I found what I'm guessing is a great list on the Christchurch Libraries website. Here it is:
  • The Christmas Caravan by Jennifer Beck
  • Harvey Slumfenburgers Christmas Present by John Burningham
  • Merose and Chocolate by Clark Chichester
  • Mrs Wishy-Washy's Christmas by Joy Cowley
  • Cowshed Christmas by Joy Cowley
  • Slinky Malinki Christmas Crackers by Lynley Dodd
  • The little reindeer by Michael Foreman
  • Wombat Divine by Mem Fox
  • Toot and Puddle I'll be home before Christmas by Holly Hobbie
  • Two cans of corn beef and a manulele on a mango tree: a Pacific Christmas by Sarona Aiono-Losefa
  • The watchmaker who saved Christmas by Bruce Whatley
  • The road to Bethlehem by Brian Wildsmith
  • A Christmas Story by Brian Wildsmith
  • The Christmas mirace of Johathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechourski
So my plan was to use the books we had. Namely,

  • Dear Father Christmas by Alan Durant
  • Twelve hidden days of Christmas by Macky Pamintuan
  • A Kiwi Night before Christmas by Yvonne Morrison
  • 'Twas The Night Before Christmas' by Clement C. Moore (Illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith).
  • Room for a little one: A Christmas Tale by Martin Waddel 
  • Christmas by Dick Bruna (in dutch) 
Plus go to the library and maybe put some books on hold. That was the plan. But trying to get these books at the library turned out harder than it sounds. I did find a few but most where out and really too expensive to put holds on them when most people would keep them most of this month anyway. So reading the books we have and some from the library at the moment and kids still loving so not disappointed as it wasn't for a lack of trying or time spent finding good books. And now I've created this list for future use.  
(Maybe libraries outside of ChCh where lots of books aren't still lying on the floor might be better. I kid you not the city centre library still has lots of its collection on the ground within the red zone.)

So again another lesson for me: BE HAPPY WITH WHAT YOU HAVE 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Earth Mama

So my neighbour asked me what I was doing a few weekends ago as I had pulled all of my MIL (find out about her here) clothes out of our sleepout and had spread them out in our front garden. You see I'm planning on making 3 quilts using the material for her sisters and grandaughter for Christmas. I know. I'm crazy. Even more crazy as I've never made a quilt in my life. Ha de Ha. I got the idea from the grief counsoller at the Hospice. It's important to me to make them as I've wanted to do it all year, then decided making them for Christmas would give me a deadline. I will feel great about using the material and capturing her.
 image via
Anyway's my neighbour looks at me in amusement and shakes her head and says to me "You really are an Earth Mama". Initially I took it as an offence but after reflecting about it that day then I was pretty darn chuffed.

And now a few weeks on I've been thinking about it a bit. When I was pregnant I knew I'd: have a home birth, wear my baby, breastfeed, use cloth nappies and I wondered if I'd end up co-sleeping (even though I was a bit scared about it). Once I had my baby I realised I'd be a non-vaxed (an educated one) too (shsh don't tell anyone). As from a teenager I'd been intrigued in things African. To me how African woman parent was natural. I also thought I'd bring them up greenish but I really didn't feel I had an instinct for what would or even should work. I did know I didn't want to be parent how I was parented (although as my Mum tells me I turned out OK).
So when my baby arrived into the world and turned out to be very "spirited". I used to say "unsettled". I constantly wondered about how to do this or that and over analysed everything. But after a wee (long) while, like maybe 18 months (when breastfeeding was still going strong), I realised I was always going to be an Earth Mama (a soft one at that). So I should just accept it and enjoy it. Which I did, second time around.

While I may live a greenish life. Do you wash plastic bags? Truly living and contributing towards a sustainable Earth I have not. It's funny (its not ACTUALLY funny) that 2011 and living on my husband's student allowance has led me to live cheaper out of necessity. And living cheaper is better for the environment in so many ways. It's ironical.

These are the changes that have occurred in our life this year and the reason my neighbour who sees me most days thinks I'm an Earth Mama (she's the complete opposite but that doesn't mean I don't like her):
- Handmade Washing powder
- Dishwashing Powder
- Homemade Shampoo
- Old towels for dishclothes (not just for rags)
- Homemade mayonnaise
- Making pastry (most brought pastry has palm oil in it)
- Lavendar Night Cream
- Lavendar Childrens Bath Oil
- All Cleaning supplies (tea tree oil, baking soda and vinegar)
- Using flour to make scones, muffins, bread, pancakes, waffles, piklets for everyday fare (not just as a rare occurrence in the weekends)
- Generally cooking from raw ingredients (Not much processed food in my pantry. Sometimes I open the cupboards and wish there was). 
image via
Check out this website about living like a Nana for most of the recipes I've been using. And Alison Holst cook books and recipes are awesome. Not lots of expensive ingredients, but yum and easy. 

I couple of weeks ago I made kids toothpaste. If I wouldn't brush my teeth with it I can't expect my kids too. This week I tried making rice milk yoghurt and rice milk itself (as rice milk ACTUALLY is expensive). Complete flops but they were the first flops I've had.  

What I've discovered, being the Earth Mama that I am, is you need TIME and a few simple ingredients. I wonder as I see more Mama's wearing their babies and using baking soda in Generation X and Y's has a solution been found in our use of TIME. I guess time will tell. I still have some way to go but I am gradually realising becoming green and my 'natural' parenting approach is pretty darn fun. 
image via
PS. Still only just started the quilts but have got lots of other stuff off the 'to do' lists lately so they are next. Well probably after we have pretty much everybody we know around for Christmas afternoon tea and BBQ on Sunday. I wonder if African women keep a tidy house as I can't seem too. 
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