29 July 2011
26 July 2011
Once of the things I fondly remember from my childhood was visiting Lilliput, a miniature railway in Napier. And now, somehow, Lucy and I got to decorating this play board. The roads have just been sealed (real gravel!), and the little houses were recently acquired from a model shop.
We were told an old man handmade them some time ago (they came with the odd spiderweb and a light coating of dust), and that they were part of his miniature railway which has since been dismantled on his passing. He must of been a patient man with a delicate hand, not to mention having a very patient wife. I hope he knows, somehow, that they are starting a new life here with us.
Lucy's favourite is the blue two-storey house. I decided to reside in a smaller, quaint house and informed Lucy of my choice. She turned to me and shot me the saddest look, telling me she'd like us to live together. And so I packed my bags and moved down the lane...
25 July 2011
We scoot all over the place. To the cafes, to the corner dairy, sometimes Lucy and I to the library with laden messenger bags.
But it's not the parents who speed but the tiniest of our lot. We get horrified stares from other parents, oldies too, when they see Audrey breaknecking it down the road on her trike. We just can't stop her (well, a little bit of rope does the trick now). She's fearless as I'm sure many kids are. But you still wouldn't believe the looks.
Brendan and I share a Zoom 288, and it's such a good ride because of the larger foot platform and wheels. I didn't think much about scooting before I test-rode this but one quick round-the-shop jaunt and I was won over.
23 July 2011
I got Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day from the library recently and I know I have to get my own copy now. Sometimes I get excited about a cookbook, buy it, and then shelve it barely cooking a thing from it. They're my 'trophy' cookbooks, I guess. But since getting this one I've cooking countless recipes.
And one of the things I'm really trying lately, is to cut down on my drinking. I do love a brandy in the evening (oh ok, maybe two, occasionally three). I do worry about my health now in that respect, and add up the units per week thinking 'this can't be good?'. Most of the time it's two drinks, and it's always when I'm preparing dinner, so after 7ish, my 'party' is over. Nevertheless having now had alcohol-free nights I wake up much more chipper and more tolerant to early-morning demands from small people. I find it uncanny how they can muster up an emergency situation and the clock hasn't even turned 7am.
Anyway, one of the recipes in Heidi Swanson's book is her own version of the Indian drink Panakam. Sparkling water, lime, ginger and cardamom (which gives it its distinct ginger-beer taste), and plenty of ice. It's so good, and putting it in a decadent drinking glass makes it feel a treat too. I used San Pellegrino but any sparkling water will do. If you don't have her book, you can find the recipe here. I do hope I don't fall back into old ways, and keep more evenings than not to alcohol-free drinks. It's a habit really (though I do believe brandy and Winter just go together so well).
à votre santé!
19 July 2011
13 July 2011
Edit: On the topic of childhood story books, does anyone have a copy of Hazel Krantz's '100 Pounds of Popcorn' they would be willing to sell me? I have been looking out for a copy forever.
Becoming a parent means occasionally having to endure a movie with your small people. I can appreciate the appeal of Maisy, but I just don't understand how a mumbling incoherent mouse could garner such a following. And Barbie's mass appeal is quite disturbing too, though surprisingly her stories are adventure-based and not entirely narcissistic like I thought they'd be.
One of my favourite stories growing up was The Magic Faraway Tree. In fact I'll admit to still occasionally daydreaming about it now! I like magical worlds, and fantasy creatures, essentially liberal doses of escapism.
I've never really gotten into animated movies (different from cartoons), but when I watched Spirited Away recently I was smitten. Director Miyazaki is a genius. We've also just watched My Neighbour Totoro, and though I didn't find it as captivating as Spirited Away, I thought the catbus was the best thing ever (watch it and you'll see).
I'm kind of hooked on IMdB, and this is where I found out about Miyazaki's movie, searching by genre in the hope of a worthy movie. The funny thing is I totally wouldn't have rented it going purely by the cover, so I'm glad it found its way to me somehow.
Does anyone have any favourite/noteworthy kid/family movies?
8 July 2011
I know the last thing some of you will be thinking of is woollens, but it is Winter here and in Australia, and you know it never stops coming round so y'all in the northern hemisphere will have it back again real soon.
7 July 2011
Lucy standing next to the Aqua well, drawn by herself
I took Lucy to see this yesterday. We arrived early in the morning and as we entered the doors I witnessed something truly horrific - school visit day at the museum! The lady at the ticket counter told me even she wouldn't go to a show with school kids, which acted as an effective deterrent. She was kind enough to give us comp tickets for early afternoon at which time she assured us the school kids would have vacated. So, in true groundhog fashion, we took our second trip of the day there around 1pm and diligently got in the queue with a thousand seniors on a day- trip (more likely to behave over school kids though).
Aqua is a show of 360° projections (we are clearly in a round room), and for parts of it you can push at the screen and the water swills and sways about. I thought there were parts that were a bit heavy for young children - at one point the music got darkly dramatic, and Lucy kept asking why children were fading into the water, to which I replied 'magic'. I decided she didn't need to know about cholera at the age of four.
At the end of the 15 minute show we were invited to look at water trivia and facts in an adjoining hall, and via an online form commit to either reusing your water bottle, picking up litter at the beach or telling people about saving water. So I am telling you, and Lucy is taking her news and drawings to kindy today (I already reuse my water bottle, and we have a tsunami warning so I don't think I'll be visiting a beach anytime soon, plus the fact it's midwinter).
Completed online entries were projected onto a huge wall, so it was interesting to see what others had chosen. I did notice, being winter here, that picking up litter at the beach didn't rate very highly. I also noticed someone named 'butt pirate' decided to reuse his (or her) waterbottle, and 'dickhead' decided to tell more people about water conservation. I quietly mentioned to the show guide that there were some interesting names on the board to which she emitted a heavy sigh, and told me their filters unfortunately couldn't pick up everything.
It was a very clever show, Lucy enjoyed it, and we had a good chat about saving water on the car ride home (and she is now telling me everytime I run the tap to 'save water Mummy!' in an urgent, shrill voice). For communities surrounded by water, it's easy to forget how precious, and finite, it is. There are some short, interesting videos here. Did you know agriculture uses 70% of the world's water? 70%, wow. Just another reason to go vegetarian, right?