Friday, December 19, 2014

40 Before 40 - Introduction

I've noticed this year that my life list has been basically untouched. Oops. Not ideal.

And I've struggled with inspiration to go out and get things done that challenge me.

So, since I have just under 8 years till I turn 40, I've decided to set myself a challenge of 40 things to do before I turn 40. Its time to start living again, because who knows where life will take me? I need to thank Raymond at Bone Marrow For Life, and the ever-awesome Angela, who left us this video, for kicking me in the bum and making me get writing...

I dont have 12 months to live - I hope. I hope to have many more than that. But its time to really start living, stop putting things off, start doing.

When I went to a group of ladies I know online for suggestions, it was incredible how many of their ideas I've already undertaken in my life. Things I've done that didn't make it on to my "done" life list - because I did them well before my blog was started.I'm planning to remedy that in 2015, when I tidy up both my done and to-do life lists.

Getting a balance has been a challenge too - Finding a combination of items that wouldn't break the bank, not doing too many very similar things, making sure I'm willing to do (and talk about having done) all of them. Being inspired at times was hard, but wouldn't you know, as soon as I got to #40, I had half a dozen new ideas!
You would have thought that having a substantial life list (over 200 items I want to do in my life), it would have been easy, but financially, I couldn't just do that. My life list also includes many things that aren't just a one-off. With 8 years to complete 40 challenges, in which time I need to finish uni and get a job as well, and a currently-toddler at home, time constraints will be sunstantial!

So, the rules I applied to writing the list:
* Must be a balanced split of next-to-no cost vs more expensive items, with the target being very few big expensive items
* While others can come along (and in some cases I'll need them to), by and large, they had to be things I didn't rely on others for
*One-offs took precedence. Sure, some will require a substantial lead-in time for fitness / planning, but most of the the items will be do once and over. The ones that wont will require a couple of hours once a week for 8-10 weeks at most.

So, whats on the list?

Watch this space!

Saturday, December 06, 2014


I found this recipe on a Facebook page, and rather than doing the suggested "Share to save" to my wall - where I would never find it again, since there isn't a search / folders option there, I wrote it in my diary.
Its so good I've cooked it twice and they've all been eaten before I got a chance to take a photo. Might have to go make them again just to get a photo :)

Simple, tasty, cheap, should have all the ingredients in your pantry already.

DUFFINS (Donut Flavoured Muffins)

1 3/4C Standard Flour
1 1/2t Baking Powder
1/2t Salt
1/2t Nutmeg
1/2t Cinnamon
1/3C Vegetable Oil
3/4C White Sugar
3/4C Milk
1 Egg

In a small bowl, combine the egg and the milk.

In a larger bowl, combine the other ingredients.

Mix the egg and milk into the other ingredients.

Bake at 180C for 20-25.

Brush with melted butter and then dip in cinnamon sugar (1/4C sugar + 1/4t cinnamon).

Eat warm.

Makes 12.

If you dont have nutmeg or cinnamon, you can use 1t mixed spice to replace both, or 1/2t mixed spice to replace one, and it has no negative impact on the taste of the muffin.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Fun 15: November 2014

1. Congratulations / Thanks / Good Luck: Best of luck to Tim & Kate, who are due to have their first baby early this month. And congratulations to Stacey & Mike on making it through their first year as parents.

2. Annual Goals, Checking in:
Exercise: Was going SO well at the start of the month, and then I got a chest infection.
Job / Course: Uni grades came out late in the month. A B+ and two A-. Not a bad result.
Clothes: Have cleared half the box of things I had stored from pregnancy. Its mainly dresses that I'm still to big in the bust for left
Weight: Hovering. Fluctuating. Not shifting. Driving me mad.
Creative: Cleared in July.
I have been actively choosing to read etc instead of being online lately, but am still spending far too much time on the computer.

3. This months goals, summary:
*Spend max 1 hour online a day. In total - facebook, blogging, flickr, news, reading other blogs: Fail, again.
*Have my daily steps average over 10,000 for the month: The closest I got was an average of 9,700. And then at the end of the month I got sick with a chest infection. So I wound up at just on 9,200 average daily steps - 24,000 steps short over the 30-day month.
*Walk up Mt Kaukau: For the whole month, when the weather was good, LJ was home (and I'm not doing that climb with 14kg of toddler on my back!), and when he wasn't, the weather was rubbish (and its very exposed). Then I got a chest infection. We made an attempt on the 30th, but had to turn back because LJ was freaked out by the wind.
*Cook 4 new recipes. Done! Chelsea Winters Sticky Pork Ribs, Lemon Honey from the edmonds, Marmalade from the edmonds and 13-spice chicken from The Food Truck Cookbook. The two mains will definitely be added to our list of ongoing recipes, the two edmonds recipes were to use up the lemons we got from Nans garden.

4. Next months goals to aim for:
* Daily steps average over 10,000 for the month
*Walk up Mt Kaukau
*Walk part of the Southern Walkway
*Cook 2 new recipes

5. Recipe Review: Two this month. Chelseas Sticky Pork Ribs were divine. Time consuming, but not difficult. The most annoying part was having to make a special trip into the city to visit Moore Wilsons, since the local supermarket only stocked pre-marinated (and huge) ribs for on the BBQ. Not what we wanted.
I also tried Martin van de Elzen's 13-spice chicken. Its meant to be done on bone-in peices and cooked in the oven (its his take on KFC), but I did it as a rub over chicken breast cut into tenderloin sized pieces.
Both were fantastic, and will definitely be making it on to our regular meal rotation.

6. Motherhood Moment: LJ is a real talker all of a sudden. And a brilliant parrot sometimes. Gems he has come out with this month include "Happy Birthday" to Grandma and Grandad, "Bye Ladies" to Granmas workmates and "Dont be silly Mummy". My heart melted just a little when I got "Hello Mummy" on the phone when he was out for the morning with Granma and Pop and we were sorting out picking him up.

7. Been there, Done that: A quiet, local month. We started off with a visit to the open day at the new bridge in Johnsonville to watch the crane working, had fireworks in our backyard one night (left LJ to sleep). Mark and I went up to Queen Elizabeth Park at Mackays Crossing for a walk on our anniversary. A random long Saturday that started with a walk at Zealandia at 8am in the cold, included nudie-bum time outside in the sunshine for LJ mid-afternoon, and ended wrapped in blankets watching the fireworks in town. A ride partway up the Rimutaka Incline.
A couple of trips to the zoo were thrown in for good measure, and Mark took LJ on the train to Johnsonville one morning when we were off to visit Granma and Pop. We had a parcel stolen out of our mailbox. And we rounded out the month with LJ spending a night at Granma and Pops place. Mark and I only managed to sleep in till about 8am.
As an added bonus, we also moved our mortgage, so got a bonus payment, which I bullied Mark into spending on finally buying a new dishwasher. Yay for no more leaking all over the kitchen floor!

8. Coming Events: Christmas. Summer holidays. Cant wait.

9. Links Round-up: Mostly recipes this month.

10. Life list update: Its not been a month of working on anything sadly.

11. Wish Lists: It took Mark and I (mostly me) nearly 3 weeks to put together Christmas present ideas lists, and then he still hadn't thought of anything for him, and my list only had 2 or 3 items on it (we're pushing for joint presents instead, things for the house that will be useful).

12. Life Lesson this month: You cant get out of Murphys law. LJ normally goes to sleep pretty well in his buggy, so we decided to give it a go on Guy Fawkes night, staying in town all evening for the display and walking him to sleep. No joy. Instead he was climbing up and down stairs and grizzling all evening through to the 9pm display, and didn't get to sleep till he was at home just after 10pm.

13. Days gone by: November is Wedding anniversary month. so big events in the past includ Honeymoon. House buying. Holidays. Tramping while pregnant.

14. Fave memory from the month: Sitting at the Malthouse, having a beer with Mark.

15. Photo of the month:
From our evening waiting for the Guy Fawkes fireworks display on the harbour.
Fireworks Night

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


There is a peace to be found, sometimes.
In the curtain-darkened room.
Sitting on the floor, playing a card game on my phone, waiting for my toddler to fall asleep for his nap.

Sometimes I hate sitting there.
I would rather be almost anywhere else.
Its an imposition. A frustration.

But when he's not demanding I be there?
When he's just decided to take a long time to fall asleep for his nap, and I've decided to stay and keep him company for a bit?
It is peace.

Listening to him wriggle to get a little more comfortable.
Listening to his breathing settle in to its rhythm.
Stealing a glance at his ever-more sleep-glazed face.

Thinking back to the days - a year ago - when I was desperate for every nap.
When the depression had a hold of me and I hated almost every minute of being a parent.
And now, when he cries because he is freaked out at bedtime, we sit.
And we wait.
With him.

Because crying beyond a grizzle brings up immense anxiety for me if we ignore it.
It reminds me too much of those days.
Days when I had to call Mark home from work before I did something I regretted.
Days when I could see no way out. No way through.

But now there are hard days and good days. And really excellent parts of days.
No day is perfect.
But its so much of an improvement on hard days, bad days and ok parts of days.

Yes, my PND has shaped my parenting. Absolutely.
How could it not?
I have so much grief and guilt over those lost times.

I will forever tell him I love him.
Because for the longest time I couldn't tell him.
I love him so much I cant give him a sibling.
I cant take the risk of it happening again, and him suffering through that at an older age.

So, I sit.
And wait for him to fall asleep.
Learning to treasure these moments.
Because, one day, he wont want me to sit with him while he falls asleep.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Fun 15: October 2014

1. Congratulations / Thanks / Good Luck: Thanks to the awesome teachers in the Tui room, LJ had such a wonderful time in there for the last 8 months and we are sad to be moving on, even though it is well and truly time.

2. Annual Goals, Checking in:
Exercise: Getting back into it. Some days better than others. I have a fitbit now, so can actually keep track of how much walking I am (not) doing.
Job / Course: All assignments in, most results back - two left to get - and I am sitting pretty for at least B's. Which is actually somewhat disappointing, that last assignment for one paper dragged me down from an A-.
Clothes: Yeah, I have a box of "might fit come summer" stuff still.
Weight: Hovering. Fluctuating. Not shifting. Driving me mad.
Creative: Cleared in July.
Spent 2 weeks barely online for assignment chaos, and that went well. Hoping to do the same for summer.

3. This months goals, summary:
*Drink 2L of water every day - Again, not every day, but more days than not now.
*Do 45 minutes exercise twice a week - starting up again. According to myFitnessPal, I did 45+ minutes of exercise 10 days in the last 30 - and that doesn't always include just walking.
*Edit 5 days of Europe photos - I'm down to 8 days to go. I might get there before Christmas.
*Eat at least one piece of fruit a day - Poor effort this month. Even with strawberries coming in to season.

4. Next months goals to aim for:
*Spend max 1 hour online a day. In total - facebook, blogging, flickr, news, reading other blogs
*Have my daily steps average over 10,000 for the month
*Walk up Mt Kaukau
*Cook 4 new recipes

5. Book Review: The Search for Anne Perry. Not bad. A bit fragmented - I somewhat wish that the story was told chronologically rather than in chunks. And my biggest peeve was the way that the book used peoples modern names in the modern sections, and their previous names in the historic sections, without any introduction as to who was who.  But all in all, a different take on a historical crime in NZ. Wish there was a similar book about Pauline Parker and who she became.

6. Motherhood Moment: I'm just so proud of my wee man and how well he talks. All that reading to him must have helped. All his teachers comment on it. We have upwards of 100 words now, including some incredibly random ones like Hyena, Crocodile, Dino and Helicopter (not all the syllables are there for the longer ones!)

7. Been there, Done that: We started our month out with new carpet (thanks insurance!), have had a couple of visits to the zoo, a new season of swimming lessons and a 3rd Birthday party. We've also been to a couple of BBQs (roll on real summer), I got to go to an exhibition opening (shame we had too much cloud to see the lunar eclipse the same night), LJ went to the beach house without us for a weekend. We saw the dinosaur exhibition at Te Papa (awesome) with Ange, and went to the beach house ourselves for Labour Weekend. 

8. Coming Events: I guess we can start talking about Christmas! Yikes! And of course, guy fawkes.

9. Links Round-up: A neat science experiment I couldn't pin for some reason, a wonderful video full of memories of a wonderful woman who lost her battle with cancer on Labour Day, and OMG these potatoes were divine - I could have just kept eating. And so simple!

10. Life list update: No action. No love.

11. Wish Lists: I really want the new Tramping in NZ book- apparently OUTC contemporaries are in it.

12. Life Lesson this month: People are busy. I did an experiment this month. I stopped inviting people to do things with me. Mostly it was because every rejection was like a paper cut. I know people have honest reasons (and I hope its not just that no-one likes me), and they are busy. Turns out they are so busy that no-one noticed. I recieved only 3 social invitations in 6 weeks - one as a family to a birthday party and the other two to catch-ups with the antenatal group. And not one single "I haven't heard from you in a while, how are you doing?". I've definitely found it easier emotionally to assume that the answer will be no, and not bother asking.

13. Days gone by: 4 years ago, I cut my finger open just on a week out from the wedding. Damn that was painful. I still have a scar. Apparently, 6 years ago I went to New Plymouth (was meant to be Holly Hut, but we got blown off the Razorback), and met "sue" the t-rex, we were up to rugby world cup stages 3 years ago.

14. Fave memory from the month: Drinking beer and eating chips and dip in the sunshine on the deck of the beach house while LJ ran around nudie, playing with mutiple bowls of water.

15. Photo of the month:
I haven't actually uploaded ANY photos from this month to flickr yet, so here's one awesome shot I got last year at the night market in Cathedral Square, Christchurch. We went down for Labour Weekend, and it was (I recall) the first time many people had been in the Square at night in 2.5 years since the earthquake.
Night Market

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Fun 15: September 2014

1. Congratulations / Thanks / Good Luck: Thanks to the lovely ladies who came along with me on my first tramp in over 2 years mid September, and the awesome team from the Rangitikei Tramping Club who we shared the hut with, and walked out with. Awesome.

2. Annual Goals, Checking in:
Exercise: Was going ok, till I sprained my knee while tramping! Still agree with last month, I need to get a PT asap.
Job / Course: Studying hard and actually doing quite well. October will be hectic, I have a huge workload the next couple of weeks.
Clothes: Yeah, I have a box of "might fit come summer" stuff still.
Weight: Steady again this month. Would love to drop that last 3kg though.
Creative: Cleared in July.
As always, far too much time spent online. But have decided not to go on Facebook for the next at least 2 weeks while I get all these big assignments out of the way.

3. This months goals, summary:
*Drink 2L of water every day - Darn. Again a fail. Same issue as last month with the water fountains at uni. On the plus side, I am drinking less fizz.
*Do 45 minutes exercise twice a week
- was well on track till I went tramping.
*Edit 5 days of Europe photos - I dont think I did any. Too busy with travel and uni.
*Eat at least one piece of fruit a day - Probably about half the days. Better than last month.

4. Next months goals to aim for:
*Drink 2L of water every day
*Do 45 minutes exercise twice a week
*Eat at least one piece of fruit a day
*Edit 5 days of Europe photos
(I give up setting new goals at the moment. I'm just not achieving well enough to try!)

5. Product Review: We purchased a garlic press from Countdown the other week and it is USELESS. Two large cloves of garlic got me a tiny little splurt of garlic. Waste of $12.

6. Motherhood Moment: Being told that my "little" is being moved up from the babies room at daycare. Sob. I know he is far and away the biggest child in the room physically, but really? He cant be that old already??

7. Been there, Done that: Hectic in September! We started with a week in Queenstown, which included a daytrip to Arrowtown and Wanaka, a day skiing for Mark, and a trip up the gondola. Then it was back in to uni with assignments and assessments galore, a careers talk and a scholarship application to complete. I went out for tea and scones with friends one sunny Saturday afternoon. For my birthday, LJ spiked a 39.6 fever at daycare. But Mark and I still managed to go out for dinner, even though we were then home by 7:30. The weekend after my birthday, I went tramping for the first time since August 2012.

8. Coming Events: hmmm. October is promising to be reasonably quiet, since I'm bogged down with uni for the first half of the month! Perhaps a weekend at the beach house.

9. Links Round-up: DoC have released a multi-layer map online. It has options for tracks, huts, topo and all sorts. Awesomely usable, love it. A recipe I really want to try at some stage soon. A different way of getting news, and another couple of recipe sites.

10. Life list update: No action. No love.

11. Wish Lists: More books, although I've actually purchased a couple this month, as well as some music off itunes. A macro lens for my camera. A fitbit.

12. Life Lesson this month: There are never enough hours in a day. Honestly, I sometimes feel like I just haven't stopped all month, and like I'm still falling behind, on everything - study, housework, sleep, everything. 

13. Days gone by: September two years ago we were telling people we were having a baby. Of course, there are all the birthdays to remember - like high tea at Hippo last year, or dinner at the KTC the year before. 7 years ago I went on a daywalk to Cone Saddle, over the new Waiohine Bridge. We had Nicola and Toms wedding 4 years ago (and Mark and I took a night at Hanmer over the weekend after), the preparations for the Rugby World Cup in 2011. In 2007, I went on a steam engine trip on the Overland, which was awesome.

14. Fave memory from the month: Jetboating in Queenstown. An hour long ride, and I dont think I stopped smiling the whole time. Fantastic.

15. Photo of the month:
We went up to Glenorchy from Queenstown for the morning while we were on holiday. I love that this looks almost like its fisheye, but its not.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Fun 15: August

Apologies for the delay, we were away on holiday in Queenstown for the first week of this month :) It was awesome - more on that to follow soon!

1. Congratulations / Thanks / Good Luck: To the ever-increasing number of ladies from the Due March 2013 group I joined who are expecting another baby, I wish you much luck!

2. Annual Goals, Checking in:
I'm exercising, honest! I do need to get sorted with a PT again though.
Job / Course: Studying hard. Fingers crossed something comes up for summer work for me too.
Clothes: Yeah, I have a box of "might fit come summer" stuff still.
Weight: Steady again this month. Would love to drop that last 3kg though.
Creative: Cleared in July.
Online: As always, far too much time spent online.

3. This months goals, summary:
*Drink 2L of water every day - Sigh, this is getting depressing. Probably only 1/3 of the days? I'm finding it especially hard on uni days, when the water fountains are all out of my way, so I have to decide whether I want to sit down and eat something, go to the toilet, or fill my water bottle in my 10 minutes between lectures that are 7 minutes walk apart (by the time you take packing up and finding a new seat into consideration).
*Do 45 minutes exercise twice a week - I reckon I've made it this month. Only because of uni though. And I did take a few days off to wind down at the end of trimester.
*Edit 5 days of Europe photos - I think I got through two this month. This is rediculous. We've been home over two years now!
*Eat at least one piece of fruit a day - Nope, again. Have been eating far too much chocolate this month too. But I need to get back on to the FODMAPs diet bandwagon again, as I've been having a few issues, so no more chocolate for me!

4. Next months goals to aim for:
*Drink 2L of water every day
*Do 45 minutes exercise twice a week
*Eat at least one piece of fruit a day
*Edit 5 days of Europe photos
(I give up setting new goals at the moment. I'm just not achieving well enough to try!)

5. Movie Review: We recorded Field Punishment No 1 a few weeks ago, and I finally got around to watching it on a day "off" where I wasn't feeling well. Holy hell. People DID that to each other? People who were on their own side? Between that, War News, and my history paper at uni, I'm starting to find myself struggling with the reverence that people give to WW1. It was horrific, nasty and brutal (like every war I guess).

6. Motherhood Moment: Taking LJ out for dinner with the grandparents. Apart from when he threw a tantrum and banged his head on the floor, he was actually quite well behaved, which was a relief.

7. Been there, Done that: August was a bit of a rough month. Mark was away a lot, and I was really busy with uni assignments. Lucas and I didn't get up to much! Mark did one Wednesdays swimming lesson, I won chocolate biscuits (OMG, Red Velvet Tim Tams? Divine). We went for a walk around the waterfront a few times, and LJ had a short ride on Pops motorbike. One Thursday afternoon, we had the most impressive hail storm I have seen in a LONG time (I was out and about when it hit), and then Grandma J & Grandad came up from Christchurch to visit for a weekend. We discovered Gym Jam at the local recreation centre, which I think will be popular ongoing, and rounded the month out with a couple of evenings out without LJ.

8. Coming Events: Technically, at the end of August, coming up was our trip to Queenstown, but thats been and gone already! My birthday this month, and the countdown is on to Christmas.

9. Links Round-up: A very cool site my friend Jim found, which indicates sunrise and sunset times anywhere in the world. Sadly, it doesn't seem to take local topography into account - given it suggests yesterdays sunrise at our Queenstown hotel should have been 7:06, and I gave up waiting at 7:20. Ahh, the randomness that is a young baby. Our friend Angela is desperately trying to raise funds to go to America for an attempt at life-saving treatment not available here.
Then there was the suckiness of a local dairy being held up by a stupid pre-teen, and the excitement of realising that the next Commonwealth Games are happening Just.Over.There in the Gold Coast, the week of LJs 5th Birthday.

10. Life list update: No action. No love.

11. Wish Lists: More books, although I've actually purchased a couple this month, as well as some music off itunes. A macro lens for my camera.

12. Life Lesson this month: I either studied entirely the wrong thing my first time around at uni, or courses are substantially easier. At least, thats what I want to think, and am trying really hard not to, when I rounded out my half-semester with my lowest grade being a B+, and an average across all my assignments of an A (almost an A+), including multiple 100% results.

13. Days gone by: August a few years ago I did snow craft. Must have been 2007, since I hadn't met Mark yet. Then there was all the fun of reflux last year, with a bonus trip to after hours with a sick baby after a weekend at the skifield. In fact, August seems to have historically been a weekend that involves snow. I think the CUTC snowcraft trip I did where I almost broke my leg was August too.

14. Fave memory from the month: High Tea at Marthas Pantry for Wellington on a Plate. The food was scrummy, the tea cocktails were divine and the company was hilarious.

15. Photo of the month:
Looking back up to the uni as the thunderstorm advanced towards me. I was going to try and outrun it down to town, but decided to go for the cable car instead when it had already started spitting at this point. About a minute after I got to the top of the cable car there was a massive lightning strike and then the hail arrived.