Wednesday, August 29, 2007


The little girls were fascinated watching the snail, though Cara looks a bit wary here. She is not actually about to bash it with the spade, but perhaps she felt she needed a weapon to hand just it case!

It has been a lovely day today - fine and warm. We found a snail in the bucket in the sandpit, so I brought it out to watch for a while. I was lying down on the grass to get the photos, and I'm really pleased with how my camera has performed.

Eva's Birthday

Today is Eva's birthday. As she doen't come on a Wednesday, yesterday we made cake, and sang Happy Birthday for her. She blew out one candle, and Isla helped with the other.

Now all the little kids are two, and we don't have any more birthdays until November.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sophie's birthday

The other big event today was Sophie's birthday of course. We woke up early (7am) to do presents before we had to get ready for church (and we had to be earlier than usual).

Here is Soph with her cake. Chocolate with (rather runny!) dark chocolate ganache, and the candles we could find in the drawer! (Must get more before the party next week.)

Soph and I went to Strawberry Fare this evening as well. I have to admit, I'm "all caked out"!

Elanor's First Communion

Elanor's first communion was this morning, and was lovely. Here she is at the morning tea afterward, and it also gives an idea of the crowd. Church was packed, but not too surprising as three parishes came together for a joint celebration. There were 26 first communicants in all.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

First Communion dress

I have just finished Elanor's First Communion outfit. The dress was finished yesterday, and I have just made the head-dress. She looks lovely (you will agree), and is very pleased. So am I.

The first communion is tomorrow morning.

(ps, I got a better photo, so replaced the dark one.)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Birthday parties - without pressure

I have just listened to a nine-to-noon segment on kids birthday parties, the ridiculous lengths some parents go to with them, and ways to avoid this. (Podcast here, but it expires after a week.) They talked about an American website Birthdays Without Pressure, which also talks about similar things. But I think (as in everything!) the American experience seems to go to extremes. (Probably comes of having a much larger population, and the extremes getting the news...)

They suggest planning a party for what the kid wants (this probably needs to be within reason) NOT what the parent want just to keep up with the Jones'. A common-sense approach - a feature which some people lack, of course. Here's an excerpt:

Sometimes as parents we plan the party we want, or the party we think the community expects, but not necessarily the party that our children really want. Here are some questions you might ask your child before you start planning this year’s party.

  1. What was your favorite birthday party?
  2. What was fun about it?
  3. What was not fun?
  4. What do you remember most about it?
  5. How many kids do you think you should have at a party?
  6. What was fun about a friend’s party?
  7. What are your favorite games to play at a party?
  8. How many presents would be enough?
  9. How many kids would be enough?
We have Sophie's birthday coming up. In our house you get the sort of birthday celebration that your sisters had at that age (Kate is the trend setter). For a #12 you get: A) to go to Strawberry Fare with Mum, and B) an 'afternoon tea' party for some friends. Sophie will get A on Sunday, but B will be next weekend, as we are busy with Elanor's first communion this weekend.

As for expense, I used to do a birthday party on a very tight budget indeed. This time it's 7 kids to the pool, then home for pizza and cake, and possibly games if enough time. A treasure hunt (with mini chocolates at the end) is almost compulsory around here. Bern is our expert at treasure hunts. (Actually, we always did it that I did the food and he did the games.) Treasure hunts get more complicated as you get older, and are usually of a co-operative nature.

Hopefully there'll be pics after the event.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Happy Birthday Great-Grandma

Yesterday was my grandma's birthday. She is now 96. Happy Birthday Grandma!

I thought I should mention this as it's quite an achievement (though grandma is, apparently, underwhelmed). Not everyone has a grandma at my age, and certainly not of her age!

Mum and Dad (along with Rae and Rosie??) went down there for the day, and took her out for a drive. She has just gone into a home in the last few weeks. Sounds like she is doing well, and is up walking with a walker again (after having been very shaky on her pins recently).

I've got a hard-copy photo somewhere, so I'll have to hunt that out and scan it.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Speaking of exercise (the last post on the dance...), I have started jogging again.

I only ever jogged at the beginning of this year to prepare for the Round the Bays (see relevant posts). However, I did get fitter than I have been, and I quite enjoyed it. I also like the feeling of being a bit fit, rather than a bit blobby. Since the days have started getting lighter I though I'd fit in a few jogs (or brisk walks at least!!).

Now, motivation...
This is always a good question: what's going to motivate me to keep this (good habit, whatever it is) up?

I have bought a sheet of holographic smiley stickers - and when I do some exercise (like a run, or a longish walk, or DANCING!), I get to put a sticker in my diary!! Good one eh?

We'll see how this idea goes....

Family Dance at Church

Our church held a family dance last night, which we went to. They had sections of Scottish, Irish and Assyrian dancing during the evening, demonstrated then all joined in. Good fun, and quite energetic!

I had been at a playcentre meeting all day (for the federation Promotions Team, which I am Media Officer for), so I arrived late, and in street clothes and shoes. I would really have done better in a skirt and dance shoes. It was on carpet too, which isn't the best for dancing. Still, all good fun, and a fundraiser supper for the community youth group at the flats across the road too.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

'This is the way the lady rides'

One of the delights of family childcare is the relationships which develop between the little kids and the rest of the family. It can be quite hard organising the school kids out the door in the mornings because they want to play with the little guys when they arrive. But, a paticularly special time is when the school kids arrive home again after 3pm. The little kids will often run down the hall, callling their names.

On the days that Grace comes, she has nearly an hour here after the other little kids have gone home. That means that she gets undivided attention, often from Sophie. A game they have been playing recently is 'this is the way the lady rides'. I couldn't resist posting this photo - it just captures the fun that they are having together.

You will also notice Grace's 'dolly' - an inseparable companion at the moment.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Katie made a birthday cake for Isla as it was her birthday yesterday. We sang "happy birthday" and then she blew out the candles - like a pro!
Isla kept singing "happy birthday" for the rest of the day.

Isla's birthday cake

And here are the children eating their cake.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

cafe review

I visited St Paul's cafe today with the special interest group from my education policy paper. There are three of us in the group, plus the lecturer, and we've met at that cafe before. It's centrally located for the two group members who work in town, being downstairs from the MoE in Thorndon.

And it turns out they make great coffee! The latte is strong and comes in a mug. (No wiffily little glasses here - public servants must need a serious caffeine fix!) The long black looked good too. I haven't had any food there so can't comment.