30 March 2014

Road Trip to Kerikeri

Last week the family took a road trip up North to Kerikeri.  While the main reason was for a special appointment for one of our kids, we made sure we made the most of the location with a picnic by the riverside and a quick trip to check out the Stone Store, New Zealand's oldest stone building! 

So much awesome history up in this part of New Zealand - and I must say, the Stone Store had a pretty awesome selection of Kiwiana goodies for sale.

I made sure the family were forced to have a few photos together - I honestly can't believe how quickly they are all growing up!

My proof: Here's a pic of Symon and the 3 eldest when we visited Kerikeri 9 years ago (in 2005) - it just feels like this trip was just the other day!  (p.s. we have visited there since by the way).

And look at them all now - along with the addition of number 4!!

Anyway, love my homeland, and loving my family (even if there were a few grizzles, fighting in the car on the way home and tears shed over minor issues like "he's looking at me").

*Due to my laziness, I didn't bother to take my proper camera on this road trip, so photos are courtesy of my mobile phone

26 March 2014


There's been a bit of making going on around here in between the flurry of everyday life.  It's amazing how relaxing I find making/creating - but only when I've been inspired, not when on demand (any other people out there like that??).

There's been a few bunny's getting whipped up lately, along with a bit of progress made with the Cross Granny Square blanket.  Sooooo disappointed to find that the yarn I was using has been discontinued!  Boooooo!  Now I have to make my blanket heaps smaller than I was hoping.

What do you do to relax? 

For more crafty makings, go here

24 March 2014

Arcade Machine!!

I just had to share my awesome husbands latest creation with you all.  He's recently finished building his very own retro arcade machine from scratch and it's a total hit, especially for those of us who grew up in the 70's and 80's hanging over them in fish and chip shops in New Zealand, while our mates tried to get the top scores on classics like Galaga and Space Invaders!

He built the cabinet from scratch, importing some of the stickers from overseas, getting parts printed locally and getting buttons, the coin mech and other bits and bobs online to install himself.  Legally to play the games on the machine you must own a copy of the roms yourself, so Symon has had fun hunting down actual copies of all the games.  He also built the computer himself, installing different programmes and other complicated stuff that totally goes over my head. It's been great seeing him working on it together with his boys as well!

You can buy these machines for mega bucks, so it's awesome having one made from scratch that cost quite a bit less.

I'm sure he will do a blog about it sometime with all the technical jargon for other like minded geeks out there.

Don't mind it in my lounge too much at the moment...

To see instagram pics of the process, go here.

18 March 2014

Keeping It Real: On Being the Best You

One thing I can often struggle with is how much other people's false expectations can influence my life. You know, that little voice inside your head that tricks you into thinking it's your own conscience or good ideas, when in actual fact it's not.  It's so easy to be living life and realise you are only living it to please others rather than living it to please the only One that really matters - God.

It is very easy to live your life trying to live up to other's false expectations, carrying around a heavy sack of "should's", and never actually getting around to being the "You" that you were created to be or doing the things you just know you are meant to be doing.

I'm blessed to have some really wise people in my life, and often it's been an honest and clear voice of theirs that has snapped me out of the trap of other people's expectations - whether it's doing a whole lot of 'things' that I think I really should do, or acting a certain way that I think I should act. Sometimes all I need to hear is, "who said that you 'should' do that?".  Usually, I realise that it isn't something I feel I need to do, or even something I feel God wants me to do, it's that I'm carrying around a whole lot of "should's" that I perceive I'm meant to do from other people.

I've come to realise that there is only one me on this earth (everyone else is obviously taken), and I need to get myself organised and be the best me I was made by God to be. 

When it comes to being me, I'm made a certain way.  I have a distinct personality and I need to embrace the way God made me, and ask Him to help me become the best me there is.  When I think about my friends, they are all completely different - and I'm so glad they are that way!  I have my fun friends, my straight talking friends, my kind and caring friends, and each of them is valuable and so so precious in their uniqueness!  You weren't created to be anyone else - so stop trying to be.

There are certain things I know I need to do with my life - I have family commitments, church commitments, community commitments and times when I just know God is asking me to do something specific.  I need to make sure that I'm not letting those commitments slip because of the false expectations that others put on me - whether they are real or just perceived.  I find I just have to make the decision to focus on the things I know I need to do or were called to do, and shake of the 'should's' that are dragging me away from doing what I know I need to do.

If you live your life through the lens of everyone else's expectations and should's, you won't actually be living life the way God intended it to be lived at all.

So, if I can encourage you in one thing at all, it would be to be the best you.  Comparison is the thief of joy - stop comparing and copying and being weighed down with burdens that you weren't meant to carry, and start to discover who God made you to be, and make a determined effort to be the best you ever.

I'm not there yet - as I said before, this is something that I often struggle with.  Here's to keeping it real, and making changes in our lives for the better.

As the saying goes, "be yourself, because an original is worth more than a copy".

Other similar posts...
You don't have to live this way...

15 March 2014


Hi!  Just popping in to say a super quick hi and post a few pics from this last week.

We are currently bunkering down while Cyclone Luci hits New Zealand.  Thankfully there hasn't been too much damage.

Last week we celebrated my Dad turning 65 years old with cake and family...

Family are super precious!

We also attended the Fish Fry surfboard display out at Waipu Cove.  Heaps of amazing boards, along with Waipu's awesome historical toilet art...

Looking forward to the sun shining again soon.

09 March 2014

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

To this Kiwi girl, pumpkin is a vegetable and usually roasted, boiled or made into soup!  I've often looked at pictures of Pumpkin Pie and wondered what on earth pumpkin tastes like as a sweet dish!

Recently I stumbled across this recipe, and decided to give these muffins a try.  The result?  They are delicious!  I sent my son off to camp with a container full and he came back with good reports.

So nice - definitely keen to make them again sometime soon!

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 can or 16 ounces of pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1¼ cups vegetable oil
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl beat eggs, sugar, pumpkin, vanilla and oil until smooth.
Mix dry ingredients together and mix into pumpkin mixture.  Fold in chocolate chips.
Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups ¾ full.
Bake at 200°C (400 °F) for 16-20 minutes.

For more delicious recipes visit here.
Original recipe from here.

04 March 2014



There has been a lot happening around here lately - time for a quick update me thinks!

Last weekend, Symon and I went to our niece Aimee's wedding (remember her bridal shower here). It was a stunning day and beautiful location up at Carrington Resort on the Karikari Peninsula.  I'm unable to show you any photos of the bridal party at the moment (at the request of the bride and groom), so will entertain you instead with photos of Symon and I in our wedding gears and the beautiful spot where the wedding took place...

Check out this beautiful location!

Hopefully I'll be able to post some photos of the bridal party in the next couple of weeks!

It was so good to catch up with the family on Symon's side while they were here for the wedding, especially my nephew who flew over from Brisbane and spent a bit of time with us.

This guy is super clever when it comes to twisty puzzles and card tricks - his 3x3 cube record is 19 seconds (here's a clip of him showing us how he does it) and we now have 4 children totally inspired to learn how to master this puzzle... the puzzle that I as a child used to peel the stickers off to solve! 

*shame on me 

Apart from all that, we've been doing other normal stuff like more house painting...

*that flyspray was for the wasps that I disturbed while painting.  Symon has a rather large issue with wasps after being chased by a swarm as a kid then getting one stuck in his wetsuit when older.  Yes, ouch.

Getting inspired by God's creation (still can't believe the pollen all over this little guys head AND the fact that these macro shots were taken with my phone!)...

Chilling with precious family - snakes and ladders with her Great Nana...

Making more softies...

And making sure we carve out "us" time in our busy week, even if it's reading free magazines at our local library and using a 2 for the price of 1 coffee voucher!

I've been inspired by these two videos this week: Draw my Life by Strawburry17 and Lupita Nyongo's speech.

There's always good stuff to celebrate.

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