Holiday weekend…

It’s been a holiday weekend for us, and we’ve been making the most of having a few days off together.

1) On Saturday we went to one of our favourite swimming pool’s in Perth – it comes complete with flumes, rapids, outdoor pool, and whirlpool…  I was so impressed to see how M’s swimming is progressing, and how much her confidence has grown since the last time we were there.

2) On Sunday afternoon, we added another location to our 45 Minute Project.  M wanted to see some snowdrops, and we discovered that a Scottish Snowdrop Festival runs from the beginning of February until mid-March. So we ventured forth to Gargunnock House Gardens, and wow, were we in for a treat! A veritable carpet of snowdrops 🙂 .  K writes it up in detail (and with plenty of photos!) here, so do head on over for a peek!

3) Today was such a lovely sunny day that we did three things to make life better!

a) We bought (and fitted) new windscreen wipers for the car – what it is to have clean windows again!

b) Our replacement light for over the sink in the kitchen arrived. K fitted it this evening, and what a difference it makes 🙂 .

c) We discovered a new park, Almondell and Calderwood Country Park, (another of our 45 minute project locations), and had a picnic lunch before enjoying a lovely walk along the banks of the River Almond. This is definitely a place we will go back to 🙂 .

All in all, it’s been a pretty near perfect holiday-at-home weekend 🙂 .

Holiday at home: a trip to the water park!

From Thursday:

1) Our day started with “special breakfast”. In this case it was freshly-made mini-doughnuts, with a choice of caramel sauce, chocolate sauce or maple syrup for dipping. Yum!

2) We proceeded to burn off those calories by spending the afternoon at The Time Capsule – an indoor waterpark.  Heaps of fun: flumes, water rides, wave machines, currents, slides, and a hot pool.

3) Finally, we had chicken and veggies cooked tempura-style for dinner – this was the first introduction the kids have had to tempura, and they both loved it!

Depth Guage, swimming, and finished!

1) A spent this morning designing the depth guage he wants to make to measure the depth of the stream behind the house.  It included the early stages of his very own video camera (made out of a shoe box, a pringles tube, and a magnifying lens!). I feel out of my depth!!

2) M swam length after length with me at the swimming pool today – albeit with frequent momentarty stops at the side of the pool, but there was plenty of swimming in between times… I was very impressed!

3) I know I normally try not to talk knitting too much on here on non-Wednesdays and Fridays, but I’m so chuffed that I cast-off M’s Big Sister Dress today 🙂 , and I’m so pleased with the results 🙂 🙂 .


A weekend away with friends.

About our weekend away:

1) We’re all full of excitement as we journey north-west through the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park, then up past Crianlarich onto the remote Rannoch Moor, through the stark beauty of Glen Coe, and on towards Ballachulish on the shores of Loch Leven, before crossing Loch Linnhe on the Corran Ferry. A journey through a particular stunning part of Scotland.

2) We arrive, and the first thing the kids want to do is jump in the swimming pool. They swim twice a day for the remainder of our stay. We swim, and enjoy the sauna.

3) Saturday brings a challenging hill-walk to the summit of Garbh Bheinn. It’s a tough 885m walk, up steep mountain sides, with an equally steep descent down the other side. We’re so proud of Aidan and Megan – I wouldn’t have believed they could do it, and the views from the top – from the Isles of Mull, Rhum and Eigg, and on round to Skye, then the Highlands, and Fort William, and stunning views of Ben Nevis, Glen Coe, and Loch Leven. So beautiful.

4) Evenings filled with good food, good wine, good company and fun games.

5) The weather holds the entire time we are there.

6) On Sunday we explore a beach beside an Iron-Age fort on the shores of Loch Sunnart. We see flowers, and shells, and seaweed, and scramble up rocks, and skirt around fallen trees. We visit the Garbh Eilean wildlife hide and eat our lunch as we watch the seals playing on the rocks nearby.

7) The kids have a go at playing snooker, and Freda (a crazy game which involved much running around a snooker table), and have heaps of fun.

8) Monday brings a slightly busier day as we pack up, before heading to Loch Doilet north of Strontian, for a walk through the forest, a river crossing, and a wander back before the lovely drive back to join our friends in Strontian.

9) I glance out of my bedroom window, high under the eaves of the house, and spy a huge silver-pale moon hanging low in the sky, framed by the crags shadowing the shores of Loch Linnhe.

10) We catch the last ferry back, and then the roads are pretty clear as we drive home. A fantastic weekend.

Sunshine, jumping in, and rose

1) We woke this morning to blue skies and walked to school in the sunshine – I think we’ll all sleep a bit better tonight, thanks to a bit of sunshine on our retinas!

2) The kids ask me to make sure I come back early to pick them up from their swimming lessons, so that I can watch them practise jumping in!

3) A & M call me over in great excitement, to show me a single perfect yellow rose in full bloom – “this one is the prettiest one, Mummy!”, they say.

Skating, swimming and cheesecake!

Yet another weekend goes by and I don’t get near a computer… but here are three good things from the weekend:

1) We take the kids ice-skating for the first time – somewhat unexpectedly, A picks it up really well – he’s got a great sense of balance.

2) We meet some friends to go swimming at one of the local pools, which has a wave-machine. We haven’t been to that pool since we came back from NZ, and it was fantastic to see both kids playing and splashing around with their friends. And the best moment? Aidan joins in the jumping game with the other boys – woo hoo! To see his confidence… happy happy happy.

3) Home-made cheesecake – yum!

Beaches and waterfalls

Yesterday was a “teacher-only” day at A’s school, and K doesn’t work Fridays, so we feel like we’ve been on holiday this weekend.

Yesterday began with an early start as we all hopped out of bed and drove off on one of our madcap schemes – namely to go to the airport to meet Mum and Dad for breakfast! They were due to arrive at AKL at 0730 and their ongoing flight to the South Island was at 0900. So we met them at Arrivals, took them to the Domestic Transfers Desk to check their luggage in for their next flight, and then walked with them to the Domestic Terminal. We had an all-too-brief breakfast together, and then saw them to security to go to their next flight…

We came home for a couple of hours and almost got trapped in the house. They are relaying the pavement outside our house, and (yay!) relaying our driveway too – the ramp from the pavement to the road was at an interesting angle before. So yesterday, we got into the house just before they started pouring the concrete – it was really interesting to watch – and they’ve tried pretty hard to even out the dip caused by the angle of the house’s driveway and the pavement. It’s still drying now (36 hours later) though, so we haven’t yet been allowed to drive into our driveway – still it will be worth it in the end!

When we left the house to go to Long Bay later yesterday morning, we had to walk across a plank – and of course M left a foot print in the newly laid concrete! Ooops!

We spent most of the rest of the day at the beach – and I went swimming in the sea for the first time in many many years! I was thinking that the last time I swam in the sea was Christmas Day 1995 – we dived off the side of the boat somewhere between Changu Island and Zanzibar Town (me complete with recently-fractured collar bone, of course!). But then I realised that I actually went snorkelling off the coast of Mombasa in August 1996 aswell.

I always worry about sharks and jellyfish (thanks to watching too much of the Nat Geo channel!), but there aren’t too many of them around here I’m told. So in we went – and it was wonderful! Aidan in particular loved it! Great fun. We dried off, and the kids played in the playground for an hour or so, and then we headed to one of the other bays (Mairangi Bay I think) where we had burgers for dinner (Burger Wisconsin does wonderful burgers – a far cry from some of the other burgers I’ve had!).

So, I’ve told you about the beach, but not the waterfall. We had lunch today, sitting on rocks at a waterfall somewhere off the Karamatura Loop Walk in the Waitakeres (near Huia). The Loop Walk itself is just over an hour’s walk, and we were really impressed at how well the kids managed it – it has a fair bit of uphill to it, but the kids hardly whinged at all. Yay! Gorgeous day for a lovely walk through the bush!

All up, it’s been a pretty full-on couple of days, and we’re all pretty shattered. Kids are peacefully sleeping now though and Earth Hour is nearly at an end… Night night!


I took M to her first swimming lesson (in NZ) on Tuesday morning.

She was in a class of two(!) and seemed to be getting along okay, but was definitely less confident than I’ve seen her in the past. She was also getting used to wearing goggles for the first time – her instructor had told me that she would need goggles (she hadn’t back home), so I popped out to the front desk and bought some, and was then trying to tighten them when the instructor told me to give them to her. I assumed, incorrectly, that she would fit them on Megan. She didn’t – she just put them on her without adjusting them at all.

I was therefore, somewhat surprised when she called me over at the end of the lesson to say that Megan wasn’t very good at putting her head under water and would need to be put down a class.
Oh, and by the way her goggles might need tightening up a little.

Hmmm. Loose goggles equals water in eyes. Might not that have something to do with M not being so good at putting her head under water???

So, we now have to go to another class – different day, much more difficult time (i.e. M will need to eat her lunch in the car before going straight to kindy). Rather annoyed with the instructor, especially considering there were only two in the class, it was her first lesson, clearly problems with the goggles, and Megan wasn’t really that far behind the other little girl.

K took A to his first lesson later in the day, and A got on rather well, I’m relieved to say. This, combined with the fact he’ll be swimming every day for the next ten school days, hopefully means that he’ll start to improve a bit more quickly 🙂 .

Sorry about having a bit a rant this evening! I think I’m a bit tired, so heading to bed…

Aidan’s blog is now up and running, by the way… Enjoy!