Mud pies?

Kia Ora, welcome back to term 3. It is great to have all our children and their whanau/families back after a two week break.

We were straight into it this morning with the children spotting the changes that have happened over the holidays. No doubt everyone noticed the huge deck that is in the process of being built – this will be a wonderful, valuable space for us when it is finished (hopefully the end of this week!).

Christine and Kim were busy over the holidays building a new mud kitchen for outside. The children had an amazing amount of fun exploring this today, creating lots of mud pies and mud soup.

Shinayah “I’m making some yummy food

Briah-Rose “you know this isn’t fun. We’re having to work really hard on this

 Finn “We’re making mud pies, would you like to try some

Today we had this outside near the building, however we have designed this so it can be moved around our outdoor space easily; thereby introducing different materials for the children to use in their outdoor baking. We hope soon to add a blackboard so the children can also write or draw their favourite mud recipes – delicious.

A Mud Pie Kitchen is an incredible way to encourage imaginative play, leading to creative thinking, curiosity, and experimentation.

Gooey, gooshy, squishy, gushy mud! 

Playing with mud is “not only loads of fun, but blends together science, art, math, social studies, sensory input, and language by providing opportunities to accomplish, communicate, conserve, cooperate, create, count, facilitate, differentiate (size, shape, amount, colour), discover, explore, express, converse, initiate, and be gleeful” (Zavitkovsky, 1996)


Things That Make You Go Yuck......

Stepping barefoot on slugs

Deep and meaningful question no. 34

Little T today asked me "Does God control everything we do ?"

Cue rambling answer including concepts of free will, right and wrong etc.

Little T's question of relativity

"Daddy, to an ant, would the TV look as big as the cinema screen ?"

Easy Homemade Smoothie

Easy Peasy Homemade Smoothie
It didn't take me many trips to Jamba Juice to realize that I could work that same magic in my own kitchen. All I needed was some fruit, juice, yogurt, a tall cup, and an immersion blender and voila!  Fresh homemade smoothies, any flavor I wanted, at a fraction of the cost of a Jamba Juice.  Now, I realize, a lot of people don't mind paying for the convenience, but if I can make something comparable at home without too much trouble, I'm going to do it.  So, here is what I do to recreate a Jamba Juice smoothie.  I'm not sure what its name is, but I changed it up anyway by adding mixed berries.

Homemade Smoothie


  • 7-8 large whole frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 1 small ripe banana, sliced
  • 3-4 oz. Greek yogurt (I used AE Clementine flavor)
  • 1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
  • water

In a tall plastic cup (I use a 32 oz. cup from an Angels game giveaway), place all of the ingredients in the order listed.  Fill with enough water to come about 1 inch from the top of the fruit.  You can always add more water to thin it out later.  With your immersion blender in hand (I use my Braun Hand Blender), push down into the cup as far as you can and then start the blender.  Blend gently with up and down motions, pushing down on the frozen fruit to break it up.  After you've gotten the blender to the bottom, keep blending for another 30 seconds or so, moving the blender up and down until you have a smoothie texture. Add more water & blend if the smoothie seems to thick.  Pour into a glass with a straw and enjoy!
Makes about 1 1/2 servings--enough for me and my 8-year-old eating buddy.

The Many Faces of Katherine

FIVE years!

5 years ago today was one of the happiest days of my life, I married my best friend, my hero, my favorite person on the planet!
Thank you Tony, for my best five years thus far, cheers to many, many more!

15 min Banana Bread, chewy biscuits, gingerbread cake

Had a big baking day yesterday, I was bringing cake to a meeting in the hope of luring volunteers to help out with Junior Landcare. I thought I might as well add a few more things to the oven while it was on.  Not a huge turn up so I had cake to bring home - the poor banana bread didn't look too fancy after the kids attacked it and chewy biscuits on the way home from school.  I walked out of the school with an open plate and was mauled by children as I left the grounds - was pretty cute but had to call a halt before it all disappeared.  Made about 50 chewy biscuits (much like anzacs only chewier) and a huge gingerbread cake that tastes more like golden syrup.

After all that baking I didn't feel much like cooking so it was cheese toasties for dinner, no one minded.

The banana bread was by far my favourite and the kids really loved it which was surprising as they don't normally like banana cake.  Bought organic bananas for $10 kilo today and the little one ate 4 in a row, we're really missing having them but hard to justify the expense.  I have finally used the last of my frozen banana supply from the days before cyclones and bananas were cheap.  Might not be making this recipe again soon.

Easy Banana Bread Recipe (without using a mixer) from Easy Banana Recipes
Servings: 1 loaf
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 1 hour
Comments: You can also add a little orange, lemon or lime juice for a nice tangy flavor, or ground cinnamon and nutmeg for a spicy twist to this easy banana bread recipe.
4 medium over-ripe (1 1/3 cup) bananas, mashed
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Pinch of salt
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine mashed bananas with butter.
3. Add in eggs and vanilla, and mix.
4. Add in sugar, baking soda, salt, and mix.
5. Add flour last and mix until just combined.
6. Pour mixture into a greased and floured bread loaf pan.
7. Bake for 1 hour or until a wooden pick comes out clean.
8. Allow to cool before removing from pan. 

The Many Faces of Rachel

Orphan Lit

Katherine has been reading a LOT this summer.  That's no real surprise, of course, but it has been fun to see what she reads.  Over the past year she discovered the American Girl books and has fallen madly in love with historical fiction (which I am happy to encourage!).  She's read nearly every book in the entire series and we've had some interesting discussions about the characters and events that happen to them.  Late this spring she mentioned that one of the main characters in one of the books was an orphan and we talked a little about that.  This summer, she discovered simplified versions of classic children's books (which are often rather difficult to read, although the stories are wonderful).  Her bookshelf now holds The Secret Garden, Ann of Green Gables, Heidi, and The Jungle Book.  All are fabulous books and all are about orphans.  Katherine has discovered Orphan Lit.  When I thought about it, the theme of orphan overcoming obstacles is huge in literature!  And while I love the characters in these books, Katherine connects with them in a very personal way.  We have had on-going conversations about orphans and even the meaning of the word "orphan".  We've talked about how Mowgli and Mary Lennox were a traditional kind of orphan, someone who parent's have died, and how she was once a different kind of orphan, one who's birth parents could not care for her.  We've talked about how important it is to have a family and how the orphans in those books found or created their own kind of families, even if they were different from most people's.  It has been a great way to talk about her life and it is clear that she has taken on these characters as part of her support system.  Samantha and Mary, Ann, Heidi, and Mowgli are her friends.  I think the subject of orphans will continue.  At least I hope it does.  Because down the road there are so many other wonderful orphan characters to introduce Katherine to.  There's Harry Potter, of course, and Ponyboy in The Outsiders and Lily in The Secret Life of Bees and.....

Jack Frost

It's all sparkly said the little one

poor Sam seeks the only rays of sunlight on a frozen lawn

One of the heaviest frosts we've had, still, cold and beautiful.

Spider genius all lit up by sun and dew 

Yesterday's op shop finds

Lovely lamp and basket which I thought was for me but my two year old has usurped it, she insists it's for her birthday which is next year!  I nearly bough a garlic press but it was $5 - that doesn't seem right from the oppy.  What if it's a dud like the others I've bought?

I got a postcard with my purchases, the Salvos want you to get on Facebook , Twitter and their online site, very high tech! they now have a Look Book (bit naff, trying just a bit too hard) and have an ebay store coming soon. Perhaps the days of a bargain at the Salvos are numbered? It's all for a good cause I guess.

 They are promoting fund raisers for organisations, community partnership program, where they will give your organisation $5 for every bag of items brought in - sounds quite generous - who doesn't have a bag of stuff they could lose?

‪Dot. The world's smallest stop-motion animation character


Thought the crafters amongst you might appreciate this little clip (click on Dot). Spot the little lady bird in there, think I've got a theme going. Animation is such an exercise of patience, there is also a great film online on how this was produced.

Alexander Beetle

After posting my pictures of a mosaic ladybird I have been humming the Alexander Beetle song, mum used to sing it so beautifully to us as kids. I had to find the proper lyrics

had a little beetle
So that beetle was his name
And I called him Alexander
And he answered just the same
And I put him in a matchbox
And I kept him all the day
But nanny let my beetle out
Yes nanny let my beetle out
She went and let my beetle out
And beetle ran away

She said she didn't mean it
And I never said she did
She said she wanted matches
And she just took off the lid
She said I mustn't worry
And I really mustn't mind
That there's lots and lots of beetles
The she's certain we could find
She said I mustn't worry
But it's difficult to catch
An excited sort of beetle
You've mistaken for a match

If we looked in all the places
That a beetle might be near
And we made the kind of noises
That a beetle likes to hear
And I heard a kind of something
And I gave a sort of shout
It was a beetle house
And Alexander beetle coming out
It was Alexander beetle
I'm as certain as can be
And he had that kind of look as though
He thought it might be me

And he had that kind of look as though
He thought he ought to say
"I'm really very sorry that I tried to run away"
And nanny's very sorry too
Cause you know what she did
And she's writing Alexander
Very blackly on the lid
So nan and me are friends because
It's difficult to catch
An excited Alexander
You've misstaken for a match 

Here's Melanie Safka singing it 1971

Like your version even better mum, thanks for singing to us when we were little, a new (old) one to teach the kids
Juvenile Coccinellidae (Baby Ladybird)baby lady bird

Too much fun in the Sun!

I think my love of the water is rubbing off  a bit on my girls,
past few days we have busy playing in all types of water spots...
first of which was Moonlight Beach.
I met my friend Lindsay and her little ones for a morning at the beach.
It was a wonderfully relaxing morning to say the least!
Declan, Lola, and Ellie are pros at the beach these days! (of course baby Lexi was doing exactly what Lindsay and I wished we were doing...napping in the shade to the sound of the waves.)

Lola was having so much playing in the waves, just look at that smile!
next was La Costa Resort and Spa what a great place for kids!
My friend Anida came into to town and was staying up there, we met her for the afternoon and had a blast taking advantage of the super cool pool and the toddler save water slide!
last was just some Fun at our own pool!
Kathleen, Bailey, and Amy came over for the afternoon to enjoy the sun and get a little wet. I actually made the pictures this time... Ellie and I were having fun horsing around a bit!