Friday, 30 January 2015

And off we go........this week


Our Summer Holidays have come to an end this week, that blissful bubble has burst!  George has been at kindy for a couple of weeks now, but Bell and Tom started back at school during the week.  Both were excited to be heading back.  It has really been only me that has been dragging my feet.
My nieces stayed with us at the beginning of the week - we loved having them here.  There has been uniform buying for Bell (they grow so much over the summer break) and school stationery purchases - always a favourite back to school task. 
The rain has decided to come back by the bucket load.  It has been a really dry summer.  Our water tank and gardens are thankful as are the farmers and grape growers round here I'm sure.  It always amazes me how the rain times itself for the school run!
I've been baking for school lunches and roasted a chicken the night before school and stripped it down for wraps and sandwiches.  I will continue to do this as one chicken makes the kids and adult lunches over a couple of days, the carcass is put in the freezer for future stock making.
I had a meeting at my new job, yes a new job!  I applied and accepted the position in December.  My previous job just wasn't working out, the hours were all over the place.  They wanted to extend my hours/days and I was working school holidays which was not meant to happen.  My new role is in a school (Visual Resources) and it is Term Time Only - the holy grail in my opinion.  That is why I have had a seven week Summer Holiday.  To have a part time job that allows me to have the school holidays off to spend with the kids works so much better for us as a family.
After Tom's first day back at school he had a Birthday Party to go to - at the Pools - the weather held together but consequently he is so tired today.  As I type I can hear him snoring as George bounces around in bed...........some things never change.
Mr H and I managed a Date night this week too - woohoo.  Just a quiet dinner at a local restaurant.  Good food and wine - I want to go back with my camera as they have the most incredible kitchen garden on site.
I think our weekend will be a fairly quiet one.  Planning a girls morning in town with Bell tomorrow before she heads off for a sleepover.  I have vegetables in my garden that need harvesting.  And some more baking for the tins and school lunches will need to be done.
So that's been my week - Term 1 is all go.  I find the School Term routine always works well for the kids, although it was a shock to the system to be up, organised and out of the house in time.  I know I will be hanging out for the first round of school holidays.
Have a great weekend - what are you up too?
How has January treated you?
What do your children like in their school lunches?

Friday, 23 January 2015

30 goals for 2015

Fellow bloggers are sharing their 30 goals for the year, and I decided it would be a great idea for me to get motivated for the year.  I thought I was going to struggle writing down 30 goals for 2015, but this list came together kind of easily.  I added, changed and removed goals over the last week or so.  I happy with my list now and a few of the goals are things I think about often, so it's good to get it down in writing.

It's a goal list, a wish list, a to do list of sorts.  What ever you wish to call it, it's my list and something to look back on through out the year and hopefully cross off as I go.  If you wish to join in, choose the number which best works for you, it doesn't have to be 30.

  1. Make self-care a priority.... you know, colour hair more regularly, shave legs, wear make-up.
  2. More date nights with Mr H.  Once every whenever isn't good enough.
  3. Spend more one on one time with Bell.......before she stops wanting me.
  4. Keep giving our boys a simple, easy and carefree childhood.
  5. Learn to crochet.  Please crochet gods be kind, nothing fancy.  Just a simple square will do.
  6. Read, read, read books and more books.
  7. Early nights during the week, even night owls need to get to bed early sometimes.
  8. Exercise more often.....ahem.
  9. Use my diary and family calendar.  So I don't forget things.....ever.
  10. Complete my Handmade Adventure. Sew, sew, sew.
  11. Keeping growing and expanding our kitchen garden.
  12. Post off parcels for Birthdays and blog swaps well in advance (on time).
  13. Think more about op shop purchases.  Do I REALLY need it.
  14. Drink more water!
  15. Plan a family holiday.
  16. Watch and photograph a sunrise.
  17. Keep taking photos of the kids even though I'm not participating in this years 52 project.
  18. Write down grocery lists and meal plans.
  19. Spend less time online in the evenings - and limit online time while the kids are around.
  20. Be organised for Christmas.  I start out early, then stall.  No more Christmas Eve wrapping!
  21. THINK before I open my mouth.  I'm starting to sound like my mother.
  22. Let go of things I know I will never wear or use again.  Cull my wardrobe (baby clothes???)
  23. Save more. Spend less.
  24. Set things out and start school lunches the night before. Plan and be organised.
  25. Nurture friendships.
  26. Try a yoga class....I'm still not convinced.
  27. Learn Te Reo Maori.
  28. Update family photos around the house.
  29. Plan a wedding or at the very least look at setting a date.
  30. Keep blogging.  It is such a great creative outlet for me.

Have you made "a list" for the coming year?

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

The Travelling Linen Stash has returned!




Look what landed on my doorstep last week................The Travelling Linen Stash!
I sent the Travelling Linen Stash off on it's New Zealand Tour in October 2013.  1 year and 3 months later it has found it's way back.
Jam packed with all sorts of goodies - tea towels, table cloths, doilies, pillowcases, aprons, napkins tea cosies and even some pieces of retro and vintage fabrics.

The plan is to send it off to Australia next.  I will be in touch with those who signed up to make sure your addresses are still correct (a lot can happen in 1 year and 3 months) and make sure you still wish to participate.  To keep postage low I may look at sending off a couple of smaller packages - would be keen to know your thoughts on this or if you have an alternative idea.

I looking forward to having a good sort through.  Some of the stash will make it's way into my linen stash (I love the tea cosies) and the rest will be wash, pressed and sent on it's merry way.

If you are in Australia and wish to sign up, drop me an email with your address details to:
 alittlebitcountrynz (at) gmail (dot) com
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
*I will put my stash of linen that I am keen to swap into a travelling box and post it off to the first name on the list.
*For every item you remove from the box you will need to replace it with something.
*All items need to be clean.  And of course stain and hole free.  As with a lot of retro and vintage items there are sometimes age spots etc.  Some people don't mind this.  Just make sure you pin a note to your item so future swappers are aware.
*You need to be happy about paying the outgoing postage to the next person.  I will compile the recipient list so the next person to receive the Stash is as near to you as possible.
If everyone is still happy to go ahead - The Travelling Linen Stash will once again be on it's way!
Thank you to all the lovely ladies who participated in this swap - I hope you found some great vintage and retro linen to treasure.  xo

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Summer Sunday

A peek at our Sunday...........
Left overs for Sunday brunch - spaghetti Bolognese on day old ciabatta, smothered with cheese. 
Potato hash with roughly chopped bacon.  The eggs are from our chooks - look how yellow they are!
Vegetable garden weeded and tidied.  The unruly tomatoes have been tamed, pruned and staked up high. 
Lots of sweet tomatoes are now able to soak up the sun and my celery can now see the light of day after being completely covered in sprawling tomato vines.
Courgettes in the making.
Love the sight of wet towels hanging on the line.  It screams summer time.  We have been swimming every day to beat the summer heat.
Mr H has strung up an awing over the BBQ area, I've hung up lanterns and potted up plants.  We BBQ most nights at the moment for dinner.  Mr H cooks the meat and I throw together a salad.  Easy!
No need to buy a sun umbrella for the table when this beautiful tree provides our shade.  The perfect place to sit and eat ice blocks............lots and lots of ice blocks.
I had a girls night out Friday and a family BBQ late Saturday afternoon so a chilled out Sunday was delicious.  And yes the kids played up a bit, there was the odd push and plenty of shoving going on.  Just the usual shenanigans!  But it was a good day all the same (I find that the threat of no swimming works a treat!)
Hope your weekend has been a good one?
Hot or cold where you are?

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Pyrex, op shopping and meeting Kimberley



I found some Pyrex!  I love Pyrex but don't come across good pieces very often.  The pieces I do see are usually scratched and chipped, the really amazing Pyrex only seems to be online, but it is always so expensive.  I always hope that I will come across some pretty Turquoise pieces........I will keep dreaming.
Op shopped goodies found lately - wooden egg cups which made there way to the boys outside kitchen.  And an old (ish I think) tea tin with still vibrant colours.
And last week I had the pleasure of meeting up with fellow blogger Kimberley from Creative Chaos.  She was in town with her family for the holidays so we met up for some op shopping and lunch.  She was just as I thought she would be.  So lovely, funny, passionate about her job and boy can she shop.  She has some superior shopping skills!  She gave me a bag of "confetti" products to match up with what she sent me for the Christmas Cracker swap.  Thank you Kimberley!
It was so good to finally met her, after all the emails, blog comments and the many blog swaps we seem to always get paired up for.  I hope we get to meet up again soon one day.  And next time I won't be too chicken to pull my camera out and take some photos!
It is still the school holidays here in NZ.....I don't return to work for another couple of weeks (yay).
It has been so hot, not "Australia" hot but hot enough.  Stinking hot is what we Kiwis would call it.  Tom has been asking when Winter is coming........oh dear, it's a wee while away yet.
More swimming is on the agenda and catch ups with friends.  I hope these next few weeks take their sweet sweet time.
Found anything great while (op) shopping lately?
Have you ever met up with a fellow blogger?

Friday, 9 January 2015

My Handmade Adventure

Hello!  How is January treating you so far?  I love the start of a new year, full of plans and promise.

I'm not a New Years Resolution maker..........mainly because I can never keep them.  I do like the idea of "Goal Setting" though.  I've been making a list of things I want to achieve for the year - of which I will share soon, but the one that is at the very top of my list is to SEW.

I completed Sew School Online last year and also had sewing lessons locally and learnt to quilt.  But I didn't complete any sewing projects last year.  I baked, cooked and gardened my heart out, but no time was made for sitting at my machine.  That is why I find blog swaps great, especially if a handmade item needs to be included.  Sometimes a gal needs a deadline.

I have fat quarters and off cuts of retro sheets that I want to turn into my very first quilt.  There are a few online projects that I have bookmarked, and a Cath Kidston book full of sewing ideas to try.

So when Karen from My Handmade Adventure blogged about her Handmade Challenge I decided that this would be perfect for me.  I need a bit of motivation.  And it is not difficult - 12 items by the 31st of December 2015.  You can bake, knit, sew, photograph, draw or build - as long as it's handmade.  I have decided to make mine a Sewing Challenge and will share my progress with you as I go.  My main project will be my quilt with smaller sewing goals along the way.  It will be great to put my new found skills to the test.

So join in if you wish - and we can cheer each other along as we go.  I may even get the courage up to make an item of clothing!  Baby steps first I think?!  ( And I will NOT make one item in January and then rush to finish the final eleven in December...note to self).
Are you a resolution maker / goal setter?
Will you join in with the Handmade Challenge?

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

From Julie

This amazing retro tablecloth arrived in the post today along with a beautiful handmade card.  Sent to me by Julie from the blog JulieLou.
It feels like a heavy brushed cotton and the colours are still bright and vibrant.  Blue has always been my favourite colour - and I can never say no to a retro flower.
It is very me.  I love it and it fits perfectly over the round table in the (wine time) corner of our garden - perfect for an afternoon tea set up I think.
So thank you Julie for thinking of me when you found this and sending it my way.

Monday, 5 January 2015

The garden share collective....a Summer garden

There has been a huge amount of growth in the garden in the last few months - you can see the difference from my last Garden Share Collective post here.

I ended up moving all of my plantings from the raised garden bed under the Apricot tree to the one above.  The soil just wasn't holding the water and was just so dry.  Since moving them they have flourished here.  There is a bit of shade from the hedge and because the garden bed is low it holds water really well.  At the end of winter I also put down a lot of manure which I'm sure makes a huge difference too.

I now want to extend this garden - I have compost on the other side so the plan is to dig the compost, and lawn clippings up, turn the soil and put down more manure and get this planted up for winter.

My tomatoes have gone crazy and are taking over.  They are stretching themselves over my celery, zucchini and cucumbers - this seems ok at the moment as they provide good shading and protection from the birds and bugs.  Is it okay to trim the tomato plantings back???  Or should I let them go wild???

We have been eating spinach from the garden.  And as it's summer and BBQ season I have been using the lettuce that is growing for our salads.  The tomatoes are now ready to be added to our meals too.

Our fruit trees have been pants this year.  After two years of bumper plum and apricot crops, this season the trees are almost bare.  I was told that with apricot trees it's year on year off so I guess we are due for an "off" season.

With the raised garden bed under the apricot tree now bare I was thinking of putting in more strawberries.   Any other suggestions would be appreciated - it needs to be a crop that can tolerate dry conditions, and a lot of sun.  This spot isn't sheltered well from winds either.

In the last year I have really taken to gardening - vegetables and flowers.  I had no idea how rewarding and relaxing I would find it.

Growing in the garden I have:

Capsicum - red/orange/yellow
Spring onions

Jobs to do:

Weeding and soil turning
Netting over crops
Extend the vegetable garden (remove some of the compost and clippings, turn soil and lay down manure).

Happy gardening!


Joining in with Lizzie from Strayed from the table.

"The Garden Share Collective is a group of bloggers who share their vegetable patches, container gardens and the herbs they grow on their window sills. Creating a monthly community to navigate through any garden troubles and to rival in the success of a good harvest we will nurture any beginner gardener to flourish. Each month we set ourselves a few tasks to complete by the next month, this gives us a little push to getting closer to picking and harvesting. The long-term goal of the Garden Share Collective is to get more and more people gardening and growing clean food organically and sustainably."

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