Monday, December 30, 2013

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world

We farewelled James on Friday and David and family on Saturday.

Our family reunion in this part of the world has come to an end and everyone has now made it safely home.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Ricky has been spending time with brother Aaron and family and getting better acquainted with his niece, Anna-Clara.

The clarity of the image is not good - sent by smart phone, but the happiness of both is worth sharing.

Our little Anna-Clara continues to grow and be as cute as ever.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Time for a cruise

Today there was time to take in Lake Taupo aboard a yacht.

In the morning we said goodbye to James and Courtney as they headed for Auckland and then home to Sydney.

Later in the day we had an enjoyable lunch at a local restaurant, Piccolo's, a favourite location of ours for coffee, breakfast or lunch.  We were just finishing there and about to head for our cruise when the heavens opened and it rained and rained.

We began to wonder if the cruise would happen but by the time we found our yacht the rain had stopped.  The clouds overhead still looked threatening but amazingly we managed to cruise for 2.5 hours and not get wet.

It is a warm summery day here and we were amazed at how the temperature dropped once we got out on the lake.  Fortunately fleecy lined ponchos were supplied and gratefully worn - hence our 'grey uniform' look.

Our time on the water was very, very pleasant.  Nothing quite like the gentle rocking motion of a boat on the water.

Lots to see, the coastline of Taupo and beyond, sheer cliff faces, maori carvings in the rock face, parasailing, sky divers, jet skiers, would be fisherman showing off their catches of the day.  It was all there.

We were very appreciative that David and Lisa made this opportunity available for us.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

I hope you have had a lovely Christmas whatever your circumstance.  A lot of what Christmas is all about centred around my young grandson, Jackson.  He was very patient while he waited for us grown ups to get our act together so that presents could be opened.

The next event of the day was inevitably the main meal of the day.

We had a half leg of ham prepared for us and it was delicious.  New potatoes from our garden seemed to be extra delicious along with the roast vegetables and fresh green beans.

Another Christmas well spent and well fed too.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Jackson, Alpacas and Kunekune Pigs

One of our Sweet Pea friends, Rochelle, lives on a lifestyle block and she thought it might be nice for Jackson to visit to help feed the alpacas and kunekune pigs on their property.

Her two chickens could not resist getting in on the act as well.  When the pigs stopped eating they were happy to take their turn with the remainder of the scraps.

A lovely 'real life' experience for Jackson.  Thank you, Rochelle.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Jackson, Masterchef?

Jackson's Great Aunty Linda thought it would be a great activity for them to make pizza together during his stay.

They had such a great result it was decided that when Uncle James arrived they would go through the process again.

Second time around it was just as good and disappeared in a flash.

Maybe we have a budding masterchef in the making?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Dance time

After dinner tonight, Jackson and his Great Aunty Linda treated us to a demo of a kindergarten dance routine they had been practicing together.

It was a lot of fun.  Jackson has certainly had a great variety of activities to fill his life since coming here.

Tomorrow the family is off to Hobbiton Village in Matamata, New Zealand.  Jackson's father, David, has been interested in Lord of the Rings since his teen years and the family have followed the movies so to go 'on location' should be a great experience for them all.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Uncle James has arrived

Jackson knew when he arrived at our place that Uncle James would be visiting as well.

Every now and then the question was asked, 'When is Uncle James arriving?'

Finally, last night, James arrived.  Because he arrived late he had to have a sleep in but finally he put in an appearance and Jackson has been happy to capture his attention whenever he can.

Jackson's father, David has three brothers, Aaron, James and Ricky.  Jackson has met them on different occasions but not altogether.

Today he kept on calling James, Uncle Ricky.  I reminded him that this was Uncle James, not Uncle Ricky and he said, 'I know, but it is hard because I have so many uncles.'

Life has stepped up a notch for Jackson with the arrival of Uncle James.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Cricket and all that

Jackson's Daddy grew up in Australia in the golden days of cricket with such players as the Waugh brothers, Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Ian Healy, Mark Taylor and many more.

Many a happy hour as a family was spent watching the many games that came our way through visiting teams from other countries all too keen to defeat the Aussies but often going away disappointed.

Jackson is growing up in the United States and although he plays soccer and likes basketball he really does not know anything about cricket.

Jackson's Daddy, David, decided that on this holiday with us it would be a good opportunity to share the finer points of this sport with him.

Our front lawn has proved an ideal location and already they have spent considerable time honing their skills.  I understand they are going to continue when they return home.  Maybe our American cousins may get to appreciate this game as well.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

New potatoes

Jackson really enjoyed the planting experience in the garden with Aunty Linda the other day.

While they were busy planting Aunty Linda was telling him about 'bandicooting' for potatoes.

We have potato plants in our garden and so a little bandicooting was required.  

Together we showed Jackson how you dig with your hands around the base of the potato plant to see if any potatoes have developed.  By the time we finished we had enough to include new potatoes on the menu for lunch that day.

Although the taste of new potatoes did not appeal to Jackson he did like the digging experience.

He is keeping a journal of his holiday adventure and that evening he wrote, 'bandicooting is like digging for treasure without a shovel.'

Nuggety new potatoes from our own garden are a real treasure to us!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The innocence of childhood

One of the things that Jackson has learned to enjoy since coming to stay is letting the hens out each afternoon for a bit of freedom.

He likes to have the honour of opening the door to the coop himself and enjoys the antics that follow.

Yesterday I found him sitting on the bank quietly watching them digging and scratching and doing what hens do.

He likes to do that but he also enjoys being able to coax the hens back into the coop after they have had their fun.  Throwing them some wheat as part of the whole process is an activity he likes to participate in as well.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Time for the garden

Seven year old Jackson hasn't had any experience of gardening and so today he was in for a bit of 'real life' experience with Aunty Linda in the garden.

Children size gloves were bought for the occasion.

The hose needed to be extended and Jackson also needed to carry the plants to the spot high on our block of land.

His Great Aunty Linda showed him how to take the plants out of the pots to put them in the soil.

Linda had dug holes for each plant and filled them with water.  This she called mud pies and Jackson was greatly taken with the concept.

He has a daily journal to write for school even though on holidays and writing about his gardening experience is top of the agenda for today.  He even wants to know if Great Aunty Linda is going to be planting out again tomorrow.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The simple things in life

Jackson is here on vacation with Mom and Dad but it is still school time back in Seattle and so his teacher prepared an 'adventure' book for him with activities that need to be completed before he returns to school.

When he gets home his school will be on Christmas vacation and so he gets to have an extended vacation.

Mom and Dad are happy to be in New Zealand at this time of year because back home it is dark by 5pm.  They are enjoying the warm, sunny days and the extended sunlight in the evenings.

One of Jackson's activities for his 'adventure' book required a ruler so we went looking for one.  The one I found for him was a metal one and it just happened to have two very strong magnets attached.  After homework was done he had extensive fun, and continues to do so, with the magnets.

Amazing how appealing the simple things of life can be.  I well remember how fascinating I found magnets to be when I was young.  Ah, for the simple things of life.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Family arrivals

Much excitement at our place at the arrival of family members from Seattle.  David, Lisa and Jackson came to us via a few days of rest and recuperation in Hawaii.  Hugs all round and a special hug from Jackson for Aunty Linda.

Our son, James, is talking of coming too from Sydney, so it could be quite a family gathering here for this Christmas.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Where the wind doth blow

We used to have several of these poppy plants growing in parts of the garden where we could easily see them from our house.

This year they seemed to have disappeared altogether.  A bit sad we thought.

We had saved seeds from previous years and sprinkled them in the garden to no avail.

Then a lovely surprise.

At the back of our property we have an area we call the 'secret gully' and Linda spotted a magnificent specimen of this lovely poppy plant.

Definitely self seeded, the poppy must have wanted to claim this secluded landscape all to itself.

Mount Tauhara in the distance and the Waikato River in the middle what better place for the poppy plant to grow.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Pikelets or pancakes?

We grew up with these yummy treats called pikelets.

Americans make their own version, much larger of course, and known as pancakes.

When my grandson, Jackson visited when he was three years of age I introduced him to pikelets. They soon became a firm favourite and it is a given that when Nana visits there will be pancakes.

This year Jackson, now seven, is coming to visit with us (Mom and Dad are coming too).  'Pancakes' have already been requested and much anticipated so I made a batch today for the freezer so we can be sure not to disappoint when family arrive this week.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Last of the year

 This week our Sweet Pea ladies met for morning tea in a local cafe.

Our last meeting for the year, it was nice to do something a little different.

As always, our common sewing interests were part of the mornings proceedings and Debbie brought along this quilt top she has nearly finished.

Stunning, to say the least.
Created by the Gourmet Quilter this pattern is available on her website.

You may like to take up the challenge.  Debbie has enjoyed the process and is looking for another project that equals this.

We will take a break now over the Christmas holiday period and start meeting again towards the end of January next year.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Magic binding lives on

Linda wrote about this quilt after she had finished machine quilting it.

That was earlier this year.

Last week the owner, Jo, came to visit and brought the quilt with her for a little more show and tell.

Jo had read about magic binding on my blog and decided to give it a go herself.

It looks so good.  Nice to know that by sharing on my blog others can pick up ideas and run with them.

Magic binding lives on.

Thanks for sharing your show and tell, Jo.