Saturday, July 31, 2010

The fingers of frost...........

This was our front lawn one day this week.

It was after 9am and the fingers of frost were still receding.

A bit nippy first thing, but what a lovely day that followed.

Home again, home again

Three plane flights and many hours later, I finally arrived back in Taupo from Dallas.

The skies over the North Island of New Zealand were clear when I flew in and there were magnificent views of the mountains.

In the morning I woke and this was the view from my bedroom window:-

It was frosty and misty, but it was home and it felt good.

The day did clear, revealing views of the river and mountains - I never get tired of this.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Flowers and such

On my previous visits I have tended to come later in the year when the blooms of summer were well past.

I don't recognise the plant but I have seen a lot of the following in the streets and front yards of properties, mostly in hot pink, but also in red, white and purple:-

The photo is a bit blurry but there is a rhododendrun growing just near the swimming pool:-

Making the most of those opportunities

Looking back on my blog entries since being in Dallas there has been a little lesson for me in making the most of photo opportunities.

The cat that came to visit one morning has never been seen again, no more frogs and only one more sighting of a squirrel.

The size of David and Lisa's backyard does not seem that large in comparison to the size of the house but there was still room for a planting of a grove of trees and today I counted 12 of them with another 6 alongside the pool:-

The trees provide a nice, natural barrier between the house and neighbours who are not too far away.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Could this be the beginning of bigger things to come?

Three years ago David began creating a computer game with a playful hero called Frogatto. Over the past twelve months he has given it more serious attention resulting today in the release of the game by Apple as an application for iPhones.

Just another benefit of having my iPad with me. We are able to see an early release image of the game in Australia.

Garage Sale results

After going to the quilting garage sale on the first week I was here I had a real urge to do a bit of stitching and so this:-

became this:-

I just need to put borders on as well as use the four left over blocks as corner stones and I will have a very nice lap quilt to remind me of my adventures in Dallas.

I would have liked to finish the top off properly while still here, but I have already sent the rest of the fabric on their way and it may just be that they arrive in New Zealand before I do - now that would be a nice surprise.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

and we have lots of pictures to share:-

David's birthday when friends came over on the Saturday to share the evening with us:-

You can find the images here.

One of the gifts that David received was a father/son project which meant that Jackson ended up painting some model cars.

You can find the images here.

Last night we went to The Magic Time Tunnel for dinner. A family entertainment style restaurant where the waiters dressed up as characters from well known movies/children stories. Our waiter was dressed up as Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean - other well known characters were Alice in Wonderland, Tinkerbell and Little Red Riding Hood.

Jackson ordered the children's drink in green but when it came he was not impressed. Kathy, however, thought the drink to be quite nice with lots of fruit juice.

David took my photo in the foyer looking at the would be bookcase. Each of the books were sawn off at about 3 inches depth but carefully place to look like the real thing. I wonder who had the job of deciding which books to wreck and fix in place.

There was an artist in the foyer doing caricatures for a fee of $5. Brennan thought it worth spending $5 of his allowance so that he could take home a momento of the evening.

You can find the images here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Birthday

Friday was David's birthday and we celebrated at home.

Lisa's friend, Amy, joined us for the evening. I cooked meat loaf, a favourite of David's and we enjoyed our time at home together.

The patio furniture was already a gift for David but there were other gifts to share on the night.

Jackson was only too happy to help David with his stash:-

and watched on carefully as the presents were opened:-

The Birthday 02

I had prepared a photo album for David with a combination of school records and family photos:-

Jackson showed a keen interest in every page of the album and was quite sure that all the photos were of Jackson on his own or with his brothers. I think he must see a family likeness between himself and his father.

The Birthday 03

Lisa had organised a lovely surprise amidst the presents.

A photo taken of David and Jackson when they were on holiday in New Zealand for Christmas 2008. David and Jackson are standing on the beach at Mt Maunganui and Lisa has captured the moment perfectly:-

The photo has been enlarged to a 16" x 24" image on canvas and is ready to be hung.

The Birthday Cake

No birthday would be complete without a birthday cake and this one was perfect for the occasion:-

David with Brennan and Jackson patiently waiting 'til we get to eat the cake.

The cake is called a bundt cake and had a hole in the centre. It came from a shop named

A light chocolate cake with chocolate chips very fresh and very nice.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Big 30

The main reason for coming to Dallas this time was to be here for David's 30th birthday on Friday.

One birthday present was delivered today in the form of the 3 piece patio setting with 2 small and 1 large coffee table.

The delivery alone was quite an event and Jackson took to the new furniture straight away:-

The furniture is very comfortable and I can see many a bbq meal will be fixed and eaten in the patio:-

This evening David, Lisa and I sat and chatted on the furniture while Brennan and Jackson played together in the swimming pool.

The temperature had been over 100 degrees again today and so it was still quite sultry outside during the evening time.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cooking Pancakes with Jackson

When Jackson stayed with me in New Zealand for Christmas 2008 we made pancakes together and it seems to be something he remembers because we have been making pancakes together in Dallas.

See all the photos of the event here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Man Kitchen

David and Lisa had been telling me about the 'man kitchen' before I got here and I have had the benefit of a number of grills that David has cooked since I have been here.

Us girls do the salad and David cooks the meat. Seems to work well.

In this case it was rib eye steak and it was delicious:-

Have to have a man fridge in the man kitchen so cool drinks can be at hand.

So you thought multi tasking was only for the girls

David is working from home today and had to take a conference call so here he is phone in hand and not one but two laptops in hand. How is that for multi tasking?:-

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The simple things in life.........

This morning we were at the dining table and I noticed a movement outside and when I looked, there was a small frog out on the patio:-

The photo is not clear but a frog nevertheless hoping to find a home under the outdoor fridge but I don't think there was enough of a space for that to happen.

After a little while Jackson and I went out on to the patio and he noticed a cat in the yard. I only had to offer a word of greeting and the cat was right there to have a chat with us:-

After a good while of purring and fussing the cat was on its way.

Next Jackson decided he would like to go for a swim. I offered to sit at the side of the pool and keep an eye on him. A pair of water wings and Jackson was away once more.

After a while the rest of the family arrived, suitably attired for swimming and joined Jackson for a lot of fun together:-

Ah, for the simple things in life - so much fun.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Another day in Dallas

Yesterday began with a visit to Farmers Market to buy some lovely fresh household supplies including yummy smoked chicken which we were later to have as part of our dinner.

Following on from that we went to Frisco where we met up with friends, Kathy and Kevin at David & Busters (D&B's) for lunch. The restaurant is set up with family entertainment in mind. Eat here, spend $10 on your meal and we will give you a $10 card entitling you to go to their arcade filled to the brim with games intend to entice and amuse.

Our meals were brought to us on this massive circular platter which was set on a portable table so that service could be provided to all participants at the same time.

Part of the decor of the restaurant was stained glass work and although the lighting is not too good for this image, it did have a nice effect.

So, once the meal was done it was time to be going to the arcade to do battle. David and Jackson are heading for the time of their lives in this motor bike game.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Home made pizza for the family

Yesterday I offered to make homemade pizza for the family, so after my quilt shop treat I embarked on the endeavor:-

It had been quite some time since I made pizza but it all seemed to work even if the family did have to patiently wait for the outcome - oops probably should have been another photo opportunity - but it all got eaten so I guess that means it was okay.

Notice the new hi-tech chef with the iPad at hand to follow the recipe on screen - who ever would have thought......................

Another happy day in Dallas

Yesterday I went with Lisa to a number of craft stores but I wanted to return to Quilt Country in Lewisville to follow up on buying a Go-Cutter, especially as they were being sold at a 40% discount.

The shop front for quilt country.

In the midst of my purchase I had a need to visit the bathroom and bathrooms in American quilting shops have to be seen to be believed. This one was decorated in a Statue of LIberty theme. The reason I am including this is because, on my return from the bathroom, I happened to spot these two rows of large tables being filled to overflowing with bargain quilting items.

When I enquired further, I was told that there was going to be a garage sale at the shop, starting Friday. The contents of the sale were from the stashes of the 20 employees of the shop and their employer was only too happy for her staff to be doing this once or twice a year.

I was able to purchase a couple of items on the spot but payments had to be in cash which I did not have much of at the time. Needs must be for me to return this morning so I returned with David and shopped until both of our arms were full then we had to join the queue which seemed to stretch someway back into the shop. After quite a long wait I emerged, very happy with my purchases, even though I had only skimmed the surface of what was available.

Lisa took a photo of me sorting through some of the stash:-

This little bundle was US$1.00:-

Haven't counted yet but there is probably 80 pieced squares in this bag alone.

Friday, July 09, 2010


When I arrived here I remember asking if squirrels were in this area and was told no, but Brennan and I were sitting at the dining room table this morning when he said he had seen a movement outside.

He seemed to think it might be a cat but when we investigated it was a pair of squirrels. Apparently they thought that the swimming pool doubled as a drinking hole. One of them appeared to be on guard as the other took a drink:-

Then the pool cleaner arrived and the moment was gone.

A Water Baby in the family

I have never been fond of being in the water but that is not to say others don't like it. David and Lisa have a lovely pool in their yard with a separate part that can be used as a spa pool if desired.

On one the particularly hot days recently, David, Jackson and Brennan spent a couple of hours in the pool:-

Jackson was ready for action well ahead of the others.

Once Brennan and David arrived it was all go. Jackson was at the side of the pool and jumped in quite fearlessly. Seconds late he came up for air and realized he had forgotten to put his water wings on. He scrambled out of the pool, sought my assistance to put them on and then he was away. Jumping in, playing for a while and then back to more jumping.

David had just bought a floating basketball hoop and so David, Jackson and Brennan had a great time trying the concept out.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Back in Dallas, again

My second morning back in Dallas and grandson, Jackson, walked me down their street so that I could take some photos of houses in the vicinity.

This is just one of a number of houses I was instructed to take photos of by Jackson.