Thursday, 24 January 2013

Long time no blog

Yes, we've been slack at posting things recently.  If you've been following us on flickr or facebook, you might have caught some of what we've been doing.  A summary:

  1. We went tramping to Waitawheta Hut just before Christmas.  We had a lovely walk and a refreshing swim in the river near the hut.
  2. We went tramping to Mangetepopo Hut just after Christmas.  It rained quite a lot overnight and our tents leaked.  So we didn't stay for the second night as planned (we had planned to try and get up to Red Crater - that got cut back to just a walk up past Soda Springs).
  3. We had just over a week camping at Waikawau Bay in the northern Coromandel Peninsula.  It's a beautiful beach with a lovely campground.  (even if it is really really large - it's the biggest DOC campground in the country... apparently 1400 people were in there sometime between Christmas and New Year).

That's a very quick summary of some of the things we've been up to - those are the ones we have photos posted for anyway!

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Latest culinary discovery

For a little over 2 years now we've been making most of our own daily bread in a breadmaker.  But I was still buying what Peter calls 'fancy bread' from the markets (sourdough loaves) to go with our soups and other situations where a nice crusty loaf would be best.  A bit over a month ago I saw a book on the shelves at the library called 'Artisan bread in five minutes a day', so I decided to borrow it and see what it was like.  And since then I've been baking this bread reasonably frequently, making bread rolls, small loaves, brioche and foccacia style breads.

It works on the principle of having a bulk batch of dough that you mix up and then store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks in which time you can pull out a lump of any size to bake, and leave the remainder in the fridge.  This means making last minute loaves and being able to bake a batch of rolls when I have time is easier than the breadmaker which takes over 2.5hrs as you have to start the whole process from the beginning.  With this 'fridge dough' method there is only a 40min prove and then bake!  You do need to have the space in the fridge for a 5L container to live (which we do, just), so it might not suit you if you have a small fridge and don't already have spare space.

(here's their website if you want to have a look)

Monday, 17 December 2012

Tent Number X-1

We have also managed to finally get rid of one of our older tents!  The Invert 6 mentioned just before was intended to replace our old Coleman tent that we'd bought in Australia about 5 years ago (for $99) and only ended up using a handful of times.  We sold it on TradeMe over the weekend for.... NZ$242!  Prices for tents appear to have gone up a bit, but still, that's a LOT more than we thought it would go for.
Now, where's that other tent that we need to sell...

Tent Number X+1

We have yet another tent... well, not quite.  On our South Island trip earlier this year, our tent had leaked a couple of times when the rain had been really heavy - through the floor.  We'd been meaning to get around to doing something about it, but hadn't.  Until last week.  I checked with the store what we should do, and they said to just bring it in and they'd have a look and work out whether to repair it or replace the floor or whatever needed doing.  When Mel went and dropped it off, they couldn't find a record of when we'd bought it (which was supposed to be on their computer system), and for some reason that we can't quite understand (but don't mind), gave us a brand new tent instead.  Same make and model, just the slightly newer version.  Here it is:
There are slight differences from the previous model (pictured here)... the ones we've noticed:
  1. Biggest difference is the extra pole at the back (left-hand side of the picture above).  Previously the back room was quite slopey (imagine the roof going from the edge of the blue part straight towards the ground), which was fine for us - that was where the kids slept and it was perfectly big enough.  The extra pole makes that room substantially roomier.
  2. Because of the extra pole, the windows on that room are a lot bigger - square rather than triangular.  Good thing for ventilation.
  3. The poles are different - they're now slightly skinnier in the middle apparently, which makes the walls slightly steeper.
  4. The main room is slightly taller.  We think.
  5. Two poles for propping up the front door are now included.
None of the changes are a bad thing, none are really big changes.  We liked the original design (hence why we bought it!), and the new one still looks like it's good!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Angry Fruit!

For our advent calendar, the kids are getting bits and pieces from the Angry Birds game over the month... and so far, all they've got is blocks.  So, in the absence of birds and pigs, we decided to try out a game of Angry Fruit instead - with a piglet instead of pigs.
The setup:
Shot #1: Angry apple
Shot #2: Angry pear
Shot #3: Angry strawberry

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Christmas advent is just around the corner

I got the calendar prepared and hung for another year. A couple of changes this year...
- for the Bible readings we are using the 'Christmas unpacked' issue of Table talk/XTB
- for the gift/treat they r getting a combined gift consisting of individual parts of the Angry Birds boardgame so they have to wait the whole 25 days to have all the pieces to be able to play. (along with the usual days of special activities eg. Ice creams, movie afternoons)

Monday, 12 November 2012

Roast toast

Occasionally when I go to the Asian supermarket I indulge in buying some of the Asian bakery items (we developed a taste for them during our time in China and Singapore). Today I tried a new one 'roast toast' it's basically a slice of Chinese style bread that has been buttered and sugared and then baked until totally dry (like a rusk).

Monday, 5 November 2012

Kiwi kids

Here is Ben and Joanna walking home without shoes...a common scene with kiwi kids.
(it its not unusual for kids to go to school with no shoes at all - and it's nothing to do with economics)

Monday, 22 October 2012

Big girl Naomi

It was Naomi's 3rd birthday today... and just so happens to be Labour Day here in NZ as well, so she got a public holiday for her birthday!

After breakfast we opened her presents and then started cooking up a feast - she wanted curry, so I cooked an Indian lunch (curry, naan and onion bhajis).  And that was followed by a very large frozen cheesecake (seen as Naomi loves cheese and chocolate!).

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Brisbane festival laser light show

This is the 2nd year we've gone. I thought they'd improved on last year as far as quality, but Ben thought it was too short. There was also lots more people this year which made it harder for the kids to see, but that might have been because we didn't go during school holidays last year.