Category Archives: Family

An Advent Plan

Over the years we’ve had all sorts of advent calendars and the ones I like best are the ones you can fill with your own surprises. Trouble is, since I’m always the one who is filling them with surprises, I never get any. Surprises. So this year I’ve come up with a cunning plan.

I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought it looked fun but I don’t have an artfully distressed ladder and I can’t justify 25 shiny metal buckets so meet Plan B.

20121121-225906.jpg There will be a good old garden variety ladder and I’ve been collecting baked bean and fruit salad tins. James has chosen the pastel tissue paper which will eventually be cunningly scrunched and found some teeny clips to match. Sophie printed the numbers onto recycled paper and cut them out. We’re almost ready to go.

Now for the cunning plan. Everyone gets 3 tins each to fill with little somethings. Nibbles, knick knacks, toys, trinkets, vouchers, coupons, jokes, poems, letters, photos, handmade, homemade, heartfelt, serious, silly – I don’t really mind so long as there is a surprise in there every morning for me. It used to be enough to see the joy on the kids’ faces as they opened up a new day but this year I really want to join in. And 6 kids times 24 days is a lot of somethings to provide if you’re doing all the surprising.

I’ll only know what’s in 3 tins. I’m excited!


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There is lots going on in the Garden City and, as usual, term 4 is shaping up to be crazy busy. I think I’m just going to post a photo every day to explain it all. There are lots of kids at our house… these are the 6 that live there.


On Saturday night there were a whole lot more as the twins turned 15. All the girls in Sophie’s class slept over. It was a very pleasant evening with build-your-own hamburgers, movies, giant banana splits, a night out in the big family tent and then muffins and hot chocolate for breakfast.

Our seniors finish school on Thursday as the build up to NCEA exams really swings into gear. Thursday and school is over. Gosh where did that year go?


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Well that weekend whizzed by. Didn’t bother checking out any op shops because Andrea got there first! But there was a birthday cake to be eaten:

And one of our girls now has a South Island rock climbing title to her name:

I’m going back to school tomorrow for a rest.


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One of my students brought me Daphne this morning. How did she know? It’s one of my favourite fragrances.


Wise old cushions. Entirely made with no help from me. Love those independent days.


The more I give away, the more comes flooding back. A huge bag of vintage patterns all in my size. Can’t wait for summer.


A small quilt from Sweet and Simple Patchwork Gifts. Not my colours at all but I’m inspired to make this, just as it is. I love the book so much I’m going to buy it.


It’s been a hectic four weeks of touristy traveling with one of our home stay students, cramming as much of the South Island as possible into the weekends. From the slopes of Mt Hutt. We needed all the artificial wings we could get!


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Bit of a perfect end to a fairly perfect Central Otago day.


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Another Rainy Day.

It’s been miserable this week, wet and gray. I’ve been doing a lot of schoolwork but today I gave in to the weather, put on an extra pair of woolly socks and chose something happy from the library pile.


Sophie made coffee, James made pinwheels and Henry chose a pretty plate. And I read for a while. There’s a beef stew simmering for dinner and the kids are playing Monopoly. The rain doesn’t matter so much.

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Dressing To The Conditions.

More icy weather is on the way and a few people are in need of reinforcements. This set was made from a thick fairisle jersey and lined with black fleece. The jersey had a nice deep rib around the bottom which made perfect long cuffs. I just traced around James’ hand to get the right kind of size and shape for the mittens. They’re in the required school colours of green and black. Sort of.


Henry’s set was made from a bottle green jersey and navy fleece. I sewed the mittens using this tutorial from Five Green Acres. Simple as long as you go slowly and use a walking foot. I added a cuff of navy fleece so the wind can’t whistle underneath.


They also make pretty good puppets. I found Henry in bed last night with his mittens on, right hand having a fairly animated conversation with his left.


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