Star Wars Party for G6

We have just had the best birthday party ever!

Grandson 6 turned one year old on the 18th, and because his Dad (my eldest son Matthew) is a Star Wars addict, the theme for G6’s birthday had to be Star Wars! You must know the conversation from the movie between father and son! This pillow is one of four Star Wars themed ones that are on Matthew and Rebecca’s sofa!

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Luckily C1 has a very accommodating wife who not only wanted to make G6’s birthday special, she also wanted it to be a celebration for C1 as well. After all, G6 is the treasured son after two beautiful daughters!

Here is the birthday invitation.

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So the party planning began!

With the help of ‘Pinterest’ Rebecca began creating. One of the first things was a converted flip lid rubbish bin!

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Isn’t it amazing! A perfect R2D2!

And who would have thought that swimming pool ‘noodles’ and a little tape would make great light sabers? Look at this container full just waiting for all the little Jedis to have a training session during the party.

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And when ‘Luke’ the children’s party entertainer arrived, they all had a great time learning to ‘use the force’.

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The best purchase I felt that D1 had made in planning for the party was a long roll of black plastic. Originally designed for cutting into lengths as table clothes, D1 also splattered white paint on lengths cut for the walls to create Galaxy scenes.

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The main lounge became the dessert and Cake table and also the children’s dining area.

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The dining room became ‘Hutt Dog Station’ where we had yummy Hutt Dogs, cute little Han Burgers and delicious Pizza the Hutts to eat!

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The outside deck area became ‘Fueling Station Ergo’

And D1 purchased Star Wars accessories and labels to compliment the rooms that were set up for the party. Just look at the amazing entrance and backdrop for the photo booth.  The Fabulous backdrop was created by ‘Little Dimple Designs’.

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In this photo party boy G6 is in his mums arms (Princess Leia), with G1 dressed as a storm trooper, and G3 dressed in style as well.

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And here is Dad, Darth Vader with his three children! (I told you it was the best Star Wars themed party ever!)

Now no party is complete without take home bags for the children. Just have a look at what these children got!

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And that wasn’t all…

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Very cute shaped cookies! Four different designs in each bag! And those cookies and even bigger ones were available for adults too, along with other theme based food 🙂

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These were all on the sweets table or dessert table 🙂

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There’s those cookies again and some with coloured fondant on top!

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Leia’s buns were yummy cinnamon buns. Isn’t it amazing what you can create with a bit of imagination!

And now the masterpiece…

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That is the most amazing cake! Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker on the top just make it! And it was the most yummy chocolate mud cake, rich and very moist! So delicious 🙂 Many thanks to ‘Cakes by Koo and Cupcakes too’

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The table setting for the cake was perfect! The labels were from a purchase D1 made from ‘Hello My Sweet’ via Etsy.

Singing Happy Birthday to G6. I am sure he knew the day was all about him 🙂

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The adults drinks were well catered for, but look at these very cute drinks for the children.

No kids party is complete nowadays without a Piñata. Rebecca made her own one to fit the Star Wars theme. Nothing better than a Death Star to destroy and free the goodies from inside!

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Friends and family were invited to G6’s first birthday and each family group made the effort to dress appropriately with the Star Wars theme. They all helped to make the party extra special 🙂

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How cute are these two little girls! And Mum and Dad look pretty great too 🙂

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We had a few Princess Leia’s at the party but all the outfits were slightly different. This little Chewbucca was fabulous at nine months old 🙂

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Yes, I think grown men like to dress up too 😉

We all had a fabulous time. And I am sure that G6 knew he was the main ‘little man’ of the day. He loved it! Not a tear all day but a very happy little boy who thrived on all the attention.

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Happy Star Wars first birthday to my very special grandson G6 xoxoxo

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Mummy D1 is a very clever lady and she can now have a well deserved time of rest and relaxation. Three children’s parties in two months are over and each one very successful!

Until next year D1!

May the Force be with you 🙂

New Plymouth – It’s a fabulous city!

I have been back home now for nearly a month, and I’m loving it!

It’s funny how you never really appreciate something until you have to do without it for awhile. The saying goes ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder’, and although this saying is describing relationships, I also believe it covers things like homes, or familiar places, or towns. If you have been reading my blog over the past six months, you will remember that I left New Zealand on the 15th of August last year and didn’t return again until the 12th of January this year. That is nearly five months away from my country and home town of New Plymouth. Actually we live just out of New Plymouth at a small town called Waitara, but New Plymouth is just a short 15-20 minute drive away and is our nearest city, and yes, I love it!

Walking back into my home, I fell in love with it all over again. Yes it is old, and still has a lot of work needing to be done on it, but it is very comfortable, welcoming, peaceful, and spacious. It is our 16 year old renovation project that will probably never get finished, but it has served us well! It has been a family home to 5 of our 6 children and all the extras that they have brought here over the years. We have had many friends and visitors pop in to see us and maybe stay a day or more and I trust that they have felt the welcome, not only from us, but by the atmosphere that this house helps to create.

Look at this amazing view! This is what I see from my dining room table when the Wisteria is in flower.
Look at this amazing view! This is what I see from my dining room table when the Wisteria is in flower.
Looking across our deck towards the lounge French doors. The Wisteria is beautiful but does take a bit to keep under control.
Looking across our deck towards the lounge French doors. The Wisteria is beautiful but does take a bit to keep under control.

I have been thinking about why I am so happy to be home. Yes I do love my house and it’s in a great location in the country and yet handy enough to get to town within 20 minutes, so that is part of the reason. But I think it’s the fact that New Plymouth is such a fabulous city. We have everything here from a Mountain to the sea, and plenty of parks inbetween, as well as the fact that it is a great shopping city.

Let’s start with the view I see from my own front yard!

This is the view from my front deck. If you look through the tree you can see our Mountain!
This is the view from my front deck. If you look through the tree you can see our Mountain!
And this is the view of the Mountain from just across the road from our house.
And this is the view of the Mountain from just across the road from our house.

If I drive south for 20 minutes I would come to the small town of Inglewood. About 15 minutes away from my house heading towards Inglewood, I get this amazing view!

Our wonderful Mount Taranaki. I never tire of this view.
Our wonderful Mount Taranaki. I never tire of this view.

And every winter I try to get up the mountain to the snow at least once. It’s such fun to have our Mountain so close and to have the ability to drive up right to the snow.

A photo from our trip up the mountain last winter (2014)
A photo from our trip up the mountain last winter (2014)

And after a play in the snow and you are feeling a little hungry, a stop at Volcano View Café is great for food and play. With flying foxes available for use, and BIG carts to ride. The kids (and big kids) love it 🙂

One of the two Flying Foxes at Volcano View
One of the two Flying Foxes at Volcano View
There's a selection of Carts to ride :-)
There’s a selection of Carts to ride 🙂

Leaving Volcano View and heading towards New Plymouth and the next place to stop would be at Lake Mangamahoe. This lake supplies New Plymouth with it’s water. It is very picturesque and also a great lake for hiking around. When you get there, you will find that you can get a great photo with the mountain in the background.

Lake Mangamahoe and Mount Taranaki
Lake Mangamahoe and Mount Taranaki
Another beautiful photo of Lake Mangamahoe with our amazing mountain in the background :-)
Another beautiful photo of Lake Mangamahoe with our amazing mountain in the background 🙂

Next place towards New Plymouth is the ‘Meeting of the waters’. Here you can go for a walk to the river, swim, or take some rafts and get out on the river. It’s also a great place for a picnic, a walk or just for relaxation.

Take the family, the rafts and have some fun together at the Meeting of the waters :-)
Take the family, the rafts and have some fun together at the ‘Meeting of the waters’ 🙂
There are plenty of places to have a picnic surrounded by lovely scenery
There are plenty of places to have a picnic surrounded by lovely scenery

We have the most amazing park right in the centre of New Plymouth that is very popular and well worth a visit. There are many magnificent trees and gardens all over the park, along with a Fernery house to wander through. There is also a playground for the children that has recently been updated with new playground equipment, and the children love it.

The flying fox at the Park playground
The flying fox at the Park playground

There are two big lakes. One with a fountain and the other you can hire row boats and take the family or friends for a row. If you would rather have coffee or lunch than get out on a boat, then you can go to the Tea Rooms. There you can sit and relax and also have a lovely view of the lake.

The main lake at Pukekura Park and looking at Poets Bridge. Just above the bridge you can see the Mountain. A very popular photograph to take :-)
The main lake at Pukekura Park and looking at Poets Bridge. Just above the bridge you can see the Mountain. A very popular photograph to take 🙂
And here's Robin taking us out for a row on the lake
And here’s Robin taking us out for a row on the lake

The waterfall at the park looks great during the ‘Festival of Lights’ Christmas Season. The whole park is lit up over that time and is known about New Zealand wide. It is spectacular! There are also stages set up over the season and for a super evening, you can take a blanket, invite friends along and spend the evening relaxing and listening to the various performers on stage.

The lights on the bottom lake
The lights on the bottom lake
The top lake and poets bridge.
The top lake and poets bridge.
Another photo of the lights at the top Lake in Pukekura Park.
Another photo of the lights at the top Lake in Pukekura Park.
This is the grand childrens favourite part of the Festival of Lights. The ultraviolet lights :-) We all try to wear something white!
This is the grand childrens favourite part of the Festival of Lights. The ultraviolet lights 🙂 We all try to wear something white!

Walking through the park, you will end up at the “Bowl of Brooklands’. It is an amazing outdoor sound shell where we often have performers to entertain. There is nothing more special to sit on the hills with wonderful company, and listen to a well known band or watch a production/show. The Christmas at the bowl held each year is very popular and finishes off with a huge fireworks show.

This is the view from the stage! Imagine performing on this stage with a crowd seated all around in the grassy hills. Now imagine it at night with everyone holding candles. It looks amazing and has a great atmosphere!
This is the view from the stage! Imagine performing on this stage with a crowd seated all around in the grassy hills. Now imagine it at night with everyone holding candles. It looks amazing and has a great atmosphere!

And just up the hill from the Bowl of Brooklands is our very own zoo. Sorry but the most exotic animal are the monkeys, but it’s still a great zoo. It has a fantastic playground and is very good for young children. With gates and both ends, young Mums can relax while the children have fun in a safe environment. There are some elephants there but only the type seen in the next photo 😉

The three grand children with the elephants at Brooklands Zoo.
The three grand children with the elephants at Brooklands Zoo.

We have a famous garden just west of New Plymouth in the mountain range called The Pukeiti Rhododendron Gardens. Every year we have the Rhododendron Festival and it happens during the flowering season of the trees. Hundreds of tourists come into New Plymouth to visit the gardens and Pukeiti is extremely popular.

On your way to Pukeiti, call in for a stop over at Puakai Animal Farm. The children love it, especially to see the white tiger. And look at that mountain view!
On your way to Pukeiti, call in for a stop over at Puakai Animal Farm. The children love it, especially seeing the white tiger. And look at that mountain view and the mountain ranges!
Wandering through the grounds at Pukeiti Gardens
Wandering through the grounds at Pukeiti Gardens – Not at flower time unfortunately

After visiting Pukeiti, it’s just a ‘short’ drive downhill towards the sea and you arrive at Oakura. The best place to go for the New Years day beach carnival. Nearby is the river that is a favourite for swimming, games and BBQ teas.

The grandsons are enjoying the river on a lovely summers day.
The grandsons are enjoying the river on a lovely summers day.

You can carry on driving towards New Plymouth and visit Back Beach. Its a bit of a climb down and more of a climb back up but the beach is great, and at low tide you can walk over to one of the sugar loaf islands. But make sure you get back to the mainland before the tide turns. You can get caught out very quickly and end up stuck on the island!

Right next to Back Beach is Paritutu Rock. And it’s a huge rock! I have climbed it about three times (I don’t like heights!). Robin was very game and took the grandsons to the top!

Yes, it's not a climb for the fainthearted! But well worth the effort :-)
Yes, it’s not a climb for the fainthearted! But well worth the effort 🙂
At the top with the view towards New Plymouth and the coast North.
At the top with the view towards New Plymouth and the coast North.
The wonderful view from the top of the coastline towards Oakura.
The wonderful view from the top of the coastline towards Oakura.

Once you get to Paritutu, you are nearly at Port Taranaki. It’s just down the road and good for a look, and then play on the black sand, or swim at Ngamotu Beach. Follow the coastal road and you come to three of our lovely well visited cafes! All with seaside views!

The boys love the breakwater. Plenty of rocks to climb and usually a fisherman or two to see the fish they catch :-)
The boys love the breakwater. Plenty of rocks to climb and usually a fisherman or two to see the fish they catch 🙂

After a lovely stroll along the breakwater, you can find the start of our fabulous New Plymouth walkway! It is 12.7 Kms long and every step is worth the walk. There are magnificent views along the whole pathway. For all the information on the walkway please copy and paste the NPDC link below.

http://www.newplymouthnz.com/OurDistrict/Attractions/CoastalWalkway.htm

Robin and I with our bikes at the breakwater ready to bike along the walkway/bikeway :-)
Robin and I with our bikes at the breakwater ready to bike along the walkway/bikeway 🙂
The start of the walkway from the breakwater end :-)
The start of the walkway from the breakwater end 🙂
One of the amazing views along the wak. This one is just before you get to Kawaroa Park
One of the amazing views along the way. This one is just before you get to Kawaroa Park
These are the rock pools at Kawaroa. The kids love to look to see if they can find crabs or starfish.
These are the rock pools at Kawaroa. The kids love to look to see if they can find crabs or starfish.
This photo is getting closer to the centre of town. You can see our windwand which has become a landmark icon in New Plymouth
This photo is getting closer to the centre of town. You can see our windwand which has become a landmark icon in New Plymouth
And looking back towards the Port, the Chimney, Paritutu Rock and the Sugar Loaf Islands
And looking back towards the Port, the Chimney, Paritutu Rock and the Sugar Loaf Islands
This is the best spot to stop and reflect on our beautiful city, the joy of the walkway and the wonderful view of the Pacific Ocean. Love New Zealand, Love New Plymouth and I love my daughter :-)
This is the best spot to stop and reflect on our beautiful city, the joy of the walkway and the wonderful view of the Pacific Ocean. Love New Zealand, Love New Plymouth and I love my daughter 🙂
Look at the view! The walkway changes from concrete to wood at various places!
Look at the view! The walkway changes from concrete to wood at various places!
You can take the path up to a car park and town or carry on towards East End Beach.
You can take the path up to a car park and town or carry on towards East End Beach.
This photo is taken between East End Beach and the Wind Wand walking the other direction
This photo is taken between East End Beach and the Wind Wand walking the other direction
Sitting and relaxing and enjoying the view! Just what you do when on the walkway!
Sitting and relaxing and enjoying the view! Just what you do when on the walkway!
Playing at East End Beach and the rock pools at low tide.
Playing at East End Beach and the rock pools at low tide.
At East End you can veer off on the Te Henui walkway. You cross over the river and walk under the main road and further along behind houses and through parks to a total of 5.9 Kms.
At East End you can veer off on the Te Henui walkway. You cross over the river and walk under the main road and further along behind houses and through parks to a total of 5.9 Kms.
More very picturesque moments on the Te Henui walkway :-)
More very picturesque moments on the Te Henui walkway 🙂
Back on the Coastal Walkway and moving along to Fitzroy Beach. A great spot for swimming and playing in the black iron sand :-)
Back on the Coastal Walkway and moving along to Fitzroy Beach. A great spot for swimming and playing in the black iron sand 🙂 See Paritutu, the Chimney and the Sugar Loaf Islands in the background!
Look at our great Iron Sand. But be aware it gets very hot when it is dry and in the sunshine
Look at our great Iron Sand. But be aware it gets very hot when it is dry and in the sunshine
Next best place is the Waiwakaiho River mouth. A great spot for fishing!
Next best place is the Waiwakaiho River mouth. A great spot for fishing!
The river doesn't mean the walkway must stop. New Plymouth has built the wonderful Te Rewa Rewa bridge. This bridge has been the object of many many photos, especially as it can be used to frame Mount Taranaki if you position your camera correctly, and the Mountain isn't hiding behind clouds!
The river doesn’t mean the walkway must stop. New Plymouth has built the wonderful Te Rewa Rewa bridge. This bridge has been the object of many many photos, especially as it can be used to frame Mount Taranaki if you position your camera correctly, and the Mountain isn’t hiding behind clouds!
We haven't framed the Mountain in this photo, but the bridge still looks magnificent!
We haven’t framed the Mountain in this photo, but the bridge still looks magnificent!
Keep riding or walking the walkway and look back and this is the view of the place we started, Port Taranaki, way in the distance. And, you can still keep walking right to Tiromoana Crescent at the end of Wills Road!
Keep riding or walking the walkway and look back and this is the view of the place we started, Port Taranaki, way in the distance. And, you can still keep walking right to Tiromoana Crescent at the end of Wills Road!

Now don’t you think that the next challenge you should give yourself is to either walk the length of the Coastal Walkway or ride your bike the distance. If you don’t have a bike you can always hire one from the people that hire them out near the café between East End and Fitzroy Beaches.

One day the Coastal Walkway will eventually reach to Waitara. From our place we can already ride our bikes along Brown Road and cross the walkway bridge at the Waiongana Stream, keep riding and end up at the back of the airport.

Wiongana Bridge
Waiongana Bridge
Grandsons throwing stones into the Waiongana Stream. It's actually more like a river!
Grandsons throwing stones into the Waiongana Stream. It’s actually more like a river!

I haven’t finished showing off about our wonderful Coastline and beaches and favourite places to go yet! If you keep travelling north and head off to Waitara, there is another river mouth with another great Beach. The Waitara one!

Grandson playing down at the Waitara Beach on a windy day. Look at all the driftwood!
Grandson playing down at the Waitara Beach on a windy day. Look at all the driftwood!
While in Waitara it's a great opportunity to go for a train trip to the Waitara Road Station and back with the Waitara Railway enthusiasts.
While in Waitara it’s a great opportunity to go for a train trip to the Waitara Road Station and back with the Waitara Railway enthusiasts.
The children love it and with the stop for refreshments, the adults do too :-)
The children love it and with the stop for refreshments, the adults do too 🙂

If you still want to see more beaches you can venture further North to Onaero River mouth and Beach, or even further and go to the Urenui River and Beach. We’ve had many a BBQ tea and swim in the Urenui River. The mud flats on the town side of the river are a great attraction for the children, not so much for the Mums trying to get the clothes/swimwear back to their normal colour, I’m afraid!

The Grandsons enjoying the Urenui river.
The Grandsons enjoying the Urenui river.

So there you are! There’s still heaps more to see in our wonderful city and actually the whole province of Taranaki. So next time you go on holiday, don’t forget about New Plymouth, and you can visit the places I have shown and also discover some more places for yourself.

Robin and I have just joined www.airbnb.com as a host family. We’ve already met some super people from other countries. We love being able to share our big home and have some company, but what we love the most is having the opportunity of sharing our wonderful city of New Plymouth with them.

Now can you see why I said I am really enjoying being back home 🙂

So Very Thankful!

I have had the most amazing year! It started with a trip to Palmerston North, New Zealand, for the birth of Robin’s and my fifth grand child G5 in February. Then in March came a trip to Sydney, Australia, for the birth of our sixth grand child G6. And following that in April our seventh grand child G7 was born in London. Yes that’s right! Three grand children in three months! How often does that happen?

In May I had another trip to Sydney to catch up with that lovely new grandson, as well as two sons, two daughter in laws and three grand children, including G6.

In August five of us left New Zealand for Poland. We had a wedding to go to! Second son  was getting married to D2 and nine family members were travelling over for the celebration. That meant I was meeting up with C1 and grand daughter G3, and C4 and D3 from Sydney, as well as travelling with Robin, Judy (my sister), Len and niece Teresa. And, we were meeting little G7 for the first time!

We stayed in Poland in a Palace! It was a fabulous place. Somewhere buried deep in my blog (around August 2014) is a picture of the palace. The wedding was amazing!

From Poland we went to Czech Republic, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Romania. This was all part of an ‘Insight Vacations’ tour called ‘The tour of the Balkans’. It was a marvelous experience and fully covered in previous blog posts as well!

After the tour I flew to London (alone) and arrived on the 15th of September. The rest of my family who did the tour flew back to New Zealand. I have had the most amazing three months here looking after my grand daughter G7 while her Mum and Dad went to work. And I have made the most of that time! I have connected with a local Church and the super friendly people there by attending some Sundays, but also by taking G7 to their playgroup most Friday mornings. It has been great! I also took G7 to the local library most Wednesdays for music and movement in French! I loved it, and so did Sophie. That child just rocks to every beat of music with a huge smile on her face!

At every opportunity I went into London to ‘Hillsong London’ church and I would spend the whole day wandering around the popular tourist spots in the city. I spent a couple of Saturdays in the city as well so I could see everything! I have thousands of photos! I also took G7 into London and met up with C2 and D2. After work we explored London by night. So completely different than during the day. The lights and sights are superb!

From the 4th of November until the 26th of November, my sister Judy came over from New Zealand to holiday with me. The second weekend she was here we flew to Switzerland for three days. We stayed in Zurich and discovered the city. We also did a tour of wonderful Lucerne and then went up Mount Pilatus by the cog railway. Oh my goodness those places are a must to visit! I have loaded heaps of photos here on my blog as well. Go have a look and be inspired to go there yourself! You won’t regret it!

Judy and I also went to two shows, ‘Les Miserables’ and ‘Billy Elliot’, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We wandered through museums, shops, the winter wonderland and went on the London eye together. So many fun and memorable moments!

C2 and D2 also took me to Oxford, and then Judy and I to Winchester to see the Christmas markets there! So many wonderful, amazing experiences! And it hasn’t ended yet! On the 19th, C2, D2, G7 and myself are flying to Sydney and meeting husband Robin, daughter C6 and her boyfriend, who are flying the same day from New Zealand. We will all be staying with eldest son C1, D1 and grandchildren G1, G3 and G6. And eldest daughter C5 who is in Sydney already, waiting for us to arrive! We will be meeting up with youngest son C4 and D3 before they fly to New Zealand to meet D3’s family for Christmas. We will be having a fabulous Christmas in Sydney together! It certainly will be a time of celebration.

When I think of all that I have experienced this year and of the wonderful provision from God to be able to do it all (and an understanding, loving husband), I feel amazingly blessed! I feel so full from all of the most wonderful experiences and relationships in my life, and feel so emotionally satisfied and happy. Sometimes I feel like my heart could burst with  joy from all these experiences 🙂

Now I am not sharing all this to show off, or to make you feel jealous of me, or to make you think that I am perfect, have an amazing personality, a great character, are better than others and somehow deserve this life. I am human, I make plenty of mistakes and I fail at times, my life hasn’t always been this wonderful in fact it has had many troubles. I am only in this place at this time because of my gracious and merciful God!

Here is the reality of my life, and a little of my past and the sadness I have experienced….

In 1989, when I was 33 years old, I was living in a half finished house and I was solely paying the weekly mortgage payments. I was a single mother of four young boys and I was supported by the New Zealand Domestic Purposes Benefit, which was barely enough to survive on. My ex-husband had left me and the boys and he wasn’t making life easy. I was continually under pressure to ‘hold it together’ for the sake of my children especially when their emotions were also in a mess. They couldn’t really understand the changes that had happened in their lives, and to be honest neither could I.

Emotionally I was a wreck! Not only was I suffering huge rejection from my ex-husband, but I also felt rejection from those who thought I was somehow not worthy of their friendship any longer as I was now a solo mother. I had lost the title of being a wife and had also lost status in society, as I was now officially on a benefit! Some women couldn’t associate with me any longer as somehow I became a threat to them. As a single lady, I was seen as available, I could maybe attract interest from their husbands (even though I had four children). From men, they felt it would ruin my reputation to be seen with me? Of course, having suffered the devastation of a broken marriage I wanted to go break another marriage and cause damage in their life as well! Really? And being a single women with four children, it actually hurt to be with couples and see their happy family, knowing our little family was broken and suffering.

My ex husband played the blame game often (of course it was all my fault), and I developed the habit of needing to defend myself both to him and to the many he had convinced of his innocence, and to our past friends. And I’m not saying that I was completely blameless, but I was completely faithful!

Divorce leaves behind broken lives! And it can take years for those lives to be restored. And even when you think you have it sorted, something happens and before you know it, you find yourself back in the middle of an emotional crisis again! And as a survivor, you do get yourself back on track eventually, but it is a process, believe me. And I have fallen many times over the years. I am a whole lot better than I was, but it is still very sad how deep rejection, or the feeling of being unappreciated, can wound the very soul of a person! It’s also very sad to suffer at the hands of those who have never experienced the hardships of divorce and all that goes with it, and they cast you aside when you show any degree of weakness in your emotional life. I take hurts very deep, and have reacted upon that hurt spirit, rather than see myself as God sees me… totally loved unconditionally, and totally understood. And, I have had prayer and ministry for the brokenness, and I believe that God has helped me incredibly. The upsets from the past come further and further apart now and are much less severe.

As you would know (if you have read ‘About me’ here on my blog) I am a Christian. I know the love, value, acceptance and belonging that comes from receiving Jesus as my Lord and Saviour.  I know peace and joy, and I live a very rich and fulfilled life. I’m not saying that if you become a christian, you will have problem free living. I haven’t had life easy as a Christian, but I have a God who says ‘Cast your cares on me for I care for you’. And He never fails to bring comfort and joy. Yes… it is well with my soul! That doesn’t mean that the echoes of the past don’t come back to haunt me, and that you forget the events of the past, but with God’s help you can forgive and the memories are much less painful.

Many years ago a lady came to me in church, and said that she felt she had a scripture for me. It was Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Well I think God has blessed me with the reality of that scripture for a few years now but even more so in this year. Yes I am so very thankful for the wonderful year I have just had and I thank God daily for it! And I am so thankful for my wonderful family who I get to share this life with. And, I am also so very thankful for the friends I have, who have stood by me and loved me no matter what, and still encourage me to be the best me that I possibly can 🙂

I love you all xoxoxo

I wonder what God has in His plans for us in 2015!

Isaiah 61:3 To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of dispair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.

Three Wonderful Weeks!

Last Wednesday I took my sister to Heathrow airport and said goodbye to her! It was a really sad time! And for a couple of days I missed her terribly. Having someone to share my everyday moments with had been so very special. Talking to a baby all day just isn’t quite the same. And because I am only here in London for three months, I haven’t the same friendship base that I have back home in New Zealand. I must drive Daniel and Marysia to despair when they get home from work. I chat about every little thing that Sophie and I got up to during the day, and believe me it’s not all that interesting. But still, I am loving my time here and I do try to make the most of every day. And, I am happy 🙂

Judy had flown over from New Zealand to London to keep me company for three weeks, and we certainly made the most of our time together. Not only did we see some amazing places, but being together did something in my soul. I felt such joy at being able to share my ‘life in London’ with her and also seeing new places with her by my side to chat over details and laugh! Boy did we have some good laughs! I am so spoilt to have a sister that I get on so well with and we enjoy each others company…. lots!

Judy arrived on her birthday, the 4th of November, and that is the day our fun together started. Sophie and I got up early to catch a bus to the train station, and then the Piccadilly underground to Heathrow airport, terminal two. The trip takes approximately an hour and a half on the tube, and ten minutes on the bus. It was a good trip and we stood at arrivals and waited excitedly to greet Judy as soon as we could see her. And then it was back on the tube with baby in pram, and my sister and suitcase in tow! Then dragging that suitcase on and off the train, up the escalator, on the bus, off the bus, and then down the road to home 🙂 All to be reversed the day Judy left hehe 🙂

The next day Marysia stayed home with Sophie, so Judy and I could spend the day in London together. Our first stop was Harrods!

Me with my cup of tea :-)
Me with my cup of tea 🙂
Judy with her scones and clotted cream
Judy with her scones and clotted cream

Our plan was to go and book in for the tour of Buckingham Palace. Both of us have been to London before and had the celebratory photo taken outside the palace gates, but we hadn’t been inside. We ventured off feeling very excited at the prospect only to be told once there that the palace was now closed to visitors until after Christmas!!! How disappointing! But we were told we could tour the Royal Mews instead. The stables with carriage houses? Why not? So off we went and if you have a look at the photos, you will see that we had plenty to look at. Actually it was really quite interesting.

Here I am with one of the first carriages we saw
Here I am with one of the first carriages we saw
And Judy with another
And Judy with another
The Gold carriage
The Gold carriage
The set up for the Gold Carriage
The set up for the Gold Carriage
One of the Royal cars
One of the Royal cars
And we did get another photo taken in front of Buckingham Palace :-)
And we did get another photo taken in front of Buckingham Palace 🙂
Judy outside Buckingham Palace
Judy outside Buckingham Palace
A lovely view on the walk from Buckingham Palace
A lovely view on the walk from Buckingham Palace
Walking towards Trafalgar Square
Walking towards Trafalgar Square

And as we were going to Piccadilly Circus for tea and a show so we just had to have a look at M&M world!

A very English Red M&M
A very English Red M&M
Judy with Yellow!
Judy with Yellow!
And now with Green!
And now with Green!
What colour is your favourite????
What colour is your favourite????
All together now!
All together now!
Three stories of M&M produce for sale!
Three stories of M&M produce for sale!

Our next venture into London was to meet up with my friend Bessie. We decided that Westminster Abbey would be a great place to start. Unfortunately we didn’t realise that there was a huge ceremony going on in town to remember the soldiers from world wars one and two. The town was crowded and the two places we wanted to see were just packed with people.

Westminster Abbey on a very busy day in November. Celebrating and remembering 11/11/1945
Westminster Abbey on a very busy day in November. Celebrating and remembering 11/11/1945
'Lest we forget'
‘Lest we forget’
Little crosses in place in rememberance of the lives lost
Little crosses in place in rememberance of the lives lost

And a little video of my visit to Wesminster Abbey in October…

Big Ben and the Parliament Buildings
Big Ben and the Parliament Buildings
The Parliament Buildings and the Clock Tower, Big Ben!
The Parliament Buildings and the Clock Tower, Big Ben! View from the Westminster Bridge.
The courtyard of Parliament Buildings.
The courtyard of Parliament Buildings.
At Westminster beside the Thames is this artwork!
At Westminster beside the Thames is this artwork!
A closer look! 3D art!
A closer look! 3D art!
More on another wall :-)
More on another wall 🙂
We walked to Covent Garden and saw the Christmas decorations there
We walked to Covent Garden and saw the Christmas decorations there
It was amazing at just how much effort had gone in to decorate the buildings
It was amazing at just how much effort had gone in to decorate the buildings
Walking through Covent Garden
Walking through Covent Garden

And then as it was getting late in the day we caught the bus to london Bridge and the Tower of London. the traffic was horrendous and the bus trip took way longer than it should have. We arrived as it was getting dark but we still managed to see all the wonderful ceramic poppies that were ‘planted’ in the Tower of London, also to help us to remember the lives lost in wars.

The Poppies explained.
The Poppies explained.
The poppies in the ground of the Tower of London with London Bridge in the distance
The poppies in the ground of the Tower of London with London Bridge in the distance
Thousands of ceramic poppies
Thousands of ceramic poppies
Another wall of the Tower with the poppies below
Another wall of the Tower with the poppies below
It was as if they were pouring from the wall!
It was as if they were pouring from the wall!
The poppies surrounded the whole Tower
The poppies surrounded the whole Tower

Now there is a train station by the Tower of London but it was packed with people. It also had steps and we had Sophie in the pram. So after a long walk Judy and I managed to get to another station that had a lift and us three very tired people managed to get home again. What fun!

On our next venture into London we visited the Sherlock Holmes Museum.

Waiting patiently outside for our turn to go into the house
Waiting patiently outside for our turn to go into the house
Judy  in Sherlocks Lounge :-)
Judy in Sherlocks Lounge 🙂
Judy with Sherlocks hat and pipe :-)
Judy with Sherlocks hat and pipe 🙂

We wandered down to Oxford Street and walked through Selfridges. Selfridges is voted the best department store in the world and has all the designer collections and must haves (toys and gifts) for the whole family.

This car was in a window display
This car was in a window display
Now who could buy me this for Christmas?
Now who could buy me this for Christmas?
Just a small portion of the Play-Doh display
Just a small portion of the Play-Doh display

 

Selfridges had the most amazing Christmas decorations!
Selfridges had the most amazing Christmas decorations!
I think I could make these amazing Christmas Stockings!
I think I could make these amazing Christmas Stockings!
A new bike seat maybe?
A new bike seat maybe?
Selfridges had a room that was just about Paddington Bear!
Selfridges had a room that was just about Paddington Bear!
Lots of them for sale!
Lots of them for sale!
And their window displays were a work of art inside and out! Fully decorated :-)
And their window displays were a work of art inside and out! Fully decorated 🙂
And then we move on to John West Department Store and their Christmas toy is the Penguin named Monty. These sell out every day!
And then we move on to John Lewis Department Store and their Christmas toy is the Penguin named Monty. These sell out every day!

Here is a link to their very cute Christmas advert…

We finished off the day with a meal at Bubba Gumps Restaurant... Yum!
We finished off the day with a meal at Bubba Gumps Restaurant… Yum!
Our next venture into London was to see the British Museum
Our next venture into London was to see the British Museum
The most fabulous ceiling!
The most fabulous ceiling!
And then on to the Victoria and Albert Museum
And then on to the Victoria and Albert Museum
Here's Judy on the steps. The place is huge!
Here’s Judy on the steps. The place is huge!
A photo inside this amazing building!
A photo inside this amazing building!
Still the museum but the other side of the inner courtyard
Still the museum but the other side of the inner courtyard
And this is the cafe!!!
And this is the cafe!!!
Our first view of the Prince Albert Hall
Our first view of the Prince Albert Hall
And here it is! The Prince Albert Hall
And here it is! The Prince Albert Hall
The Prince Albert Memorial Statue!
The Prince Albert Memorial Statue!
Walking through Hyde Park
Walking through Hyde Park
On our way to the Zoo we stopped at Camden Town. Well known for the shop fronts, Goth clothes for sale, the markets and the Camden Lock.
Next day! On our way to the Zoo we stopped at Camden Town. Well known for the shop fronts, Goth clothes for sale, the markets and the Camden Lock.
more shop fronts!
more shop fronts!
The Camden Lock.
The Camden Lock.
And evidence of our very short trip to the London Zoo. Sophie was having an off day and cried the whole time.... so we left!
And evidence of our very short trip to the London Zoo. Sophie was having an off day and cried the whole time…. so we left!
London by night.. along bankside :-)
London by night.. along bankside 🙂 The top of St Pauls in the middle!
Early on in our walk along the bank of the river Thames. Great views.
Early on in our walk along the bank of the river Thames. Great views.
A Carousel by night :-)
A Carousel by night 🙂
Lovely photo of the eye at night.
Lovely photo of the eye at night.
The Aquarium :-)
The Aquarium 🙂
The Parliament Buildings and Big Ben at night
The Parliament Buildings and Big Ben at night
Looking across the Thames at the London Eye :-)
Looking across the Thames at the London Eye 🙂

On the last Friday that Judy was in London, we caught the train into London again, but this time we were to meet up with Dan and Marysia after work.

We went to Borough Market for lunch with Marysia and afterwards went for a walk to St Pauls to meet up with Daniel after work.
We went to Borough Market for lunch with Marysia and afterwards went for a walk to St Pauls to meet up with Daniel after work.
Outside The Shakespeare Globe Theater
Outside The Shakespeare Globe Theater. The ‘YOU+’ Sign was for a friend 🙂
Crossing The Millenium Bridge with St Pauls Cathedral at the end.
Crossing The Millenium Bridge with St Pauls Cathedral at the end.

I crossed this bridge earlier in my time in London with Sophie after visiting the Tate Museum.

The wonderful view from the Tate Museum
The wonderful view from the Tate Museum
Pushing Sophie across the Millenium Bridge
Pushing Sophie across the Millenium Bridge
St Pauls Cathedral.
St Paul’s Cathedral.
We had time to spare so we went to the Museum Of London. And it was well worth the visit :-)
We had time to spare so we went to the Museum Of London. And it was well worth the visit 🙂
The night Sky at St James Square. Walking to Piccadilly Circus for tea.
The night Sky at St James Square. Walking to Piccadilly Circus for tea.
After Dan and Marysia finished work we all went to The Rainforest cafe for tea. A great experience and Sophie loved the animals.
After Dan and Marysia finished work we all went to The Rainforest cafe for tea. A great experience and Sophie loved the animals.

Here’s a short film of Sophie with the gorillas at The rainforest Cafe…

We visited Fortnum and Mason on our way to the Train Station. A very extravagant shop! Here is one of the displays.
We visited Fortnum and Mason on our way to the Train Station. A very extravagant shop! Here is one of the displays.
Another shop display. Just one of the very many I could have taken photos of. They were all very special.
Another shop display. Just one of the very many I could have taken photos of. They were all very special.
Here's another example of the fabulous displays in this shop.
Here’s another example of the fabulous displays in this shop.
The wonderful shop decorations.
The wonderful shop decorations.
The Fortnum and Mason Christmas Display
The Fortnum and Mason Christmas Display
Just great for Christmas Cards?
Just great for Christmas Cards?
No! This one is definitely better :-) Sorry Judy :-)
No! This one is definitely better 🙂 Sorry Judy 🙂
A mall with it's christmas decorations... but it was closed this night.
A mall with it’s christmas decorations… but it was closed this night.

On Judy’s last Saturday we all went to Winchester to have a look at their Christmas markets. It is a two hour drive south of Barnet where Dan and Marysia live, but it was definitely worth the trip.

The Winchester Cathedral
The Winchester Cathedral
One of the many stalls selling food and Mulled wine.
One of the many stalls selling food and Mulled wine.
The brave people trying out the ice skating rink... in the rain and cold!
The brave people trying out the ice skating rink… in the rain and cold!
The stalls were all around the Cathedral and on the main streets
The stalls were all around the Cathedral and on the main streets
Judy in amongst the crowd!
Judy in amongst the crowd!
The main street with the old buildings and crowds of people
The main street with the old buildings and crowds of people

So on the Sunday, the last day Judy and I could venture out without Sophie we decided to do all the other things we had planned to do, but just hadn’t had time. We left nice and early and caught the tube to Baker Street station. The first place to go was Madame Tussards Wax Museum. What a lot of fun!

Yes that's me and Johnny Depp!
Yes that’s me and Johnny Depp!
Looks like Judy is trying to push Marilyn off the stage hehe
Looks like Judy is trying to push Marilyn off the stage hehe
Me and Shrek!
Me and Shrek!
Judy and Jonah :-)
Judy and Jonah 🙂
Why oh why Robin??? You look so happy here, and were so successful and loved! Money and fame sure doesn't bring happiness!
Why oh why Robin??? You look so happy here, and were so successful and loved! Money and fame sure doesn’t bring happiness!

The wax museum was very interactive. You could pose with all the models and the 4D movie experience at the end was all laughs. Judy and I had so much fun and were so thrilled we went!

And from the wax museum it was onto the London Eye! What an amazing experience, even in the rain!
And from the wax museum it was onto the London Eye! What an amazing experience, even in the rain!
Here's Judy in the eye :-)
Here’s Judy in the eye 🙂
At the top!
At the top!

The fantastic view, even through wet windows!
The fantastic view, even through wet windows!
Looking down!
Looking down!

And after that fabulous experience we went on the London Dungeon Tour. I have seen this advertise the last twice I was in London but thought it would just be all touristy and not really worth going to, but it was well worth it. It lasted an hour and a half and was entertaining the whole way through. Great actors and also great scene sets!

Lastly for the day we wandered through Hyde Park and the Winter Wonderland. Luckily this was the first weekend it had opened. We were able to wander around and enjoy the place. I went again the following Saturday night with Marysia and Sophie in her pram and it was a nightmare. The people were squashed in like sardines! And we had to find Daniel. Consequently we didn’t stay long!

The Entrance to Winter Wonderland
The Entrance to Winter Wonderland
The ferris wheel!
The ferris wheel!
One of the theme park attractions
One of the theme park attractions
The Haunted house. The only ride Judy and I went on! It was great!
The Haunted house. The only ride Judy and I went on! It was great!
On our ride. Like kids again :-)
On our ride. Like kids again 🙂
Looking at the lights!
Looking at the lights!

Monday we relaxed, Tuesday we walked to Alexandra Palace and Wednesday was the trip to Heathrow Airport by the Piccadilly underground line!

It was uphill all the way to the Palace, but a great walk :-)
It was uphill all the way to the Palace, but a great walk 🙂
Alexandra Palace. This isn't far from Dan and Marysias place. Judy and I walked to the Palace, had a super lunch,  and then back home again in the dark.
Alexandra Palace. This isn’t far from Dan and Marysias place. Judy and I walked to the Palace, had a super lunch, and then back home again in the dark.
Another view of Ally Pally :-)
Another view of Ally Pally 🙂

Now in amongst all the above places and things we saw, Judy and I also went to two shows, both were wonderful! We went to Les Miserables after our first dinner at Rainforest Cafe. Both great experiences! And we also went to Billy Elliot. That was actually Judys Birthday present as she arrived in London on her birthday 🙂

We also had the three day weekend in Switzerland. So all in all we definitely had three amazing weeks together. And can you see why I missed her so much when she left?

I am in London!

Well….. I have arrived! And I am so happy to be here. G7 is gorgeous and she doesn’t seem to mind that this strange lady has taken over looking after her every day while Mummy and Daddy go to work 🙂 And I am so very thankful 🙂 Imagine if she was so shy and cried every time she looked at me. Instead, when she sees my face she smiles and talks to me in her baby talk…. I love it! I am such a super spoiled Nana 😉 and I love her dearly. We are going to have so much fun together for the next three months!

I arrived Monday afternoon and C2 and D2 showed me around the local area. Three parks within a half hour walk! I ventured out  for my own discovery walk Wednesday afternoon. I wanted to see what the local area had to offer a visitor from far off who was a little scared to take buses and trains yet! I found lots of little dairies, hairdressers, land agents, fruit and vegetable shops, off licenses and a mini supermarket. There is a school over our back fence, so joyful sounds of children playing are heard at play times, lunch time and after school. Within two blocks I found a very old church dated back to 1884. It was called ‘Christ Church’ and is a Baptist church by denomination. The notice board advertised bible study groups, friendship groups, the Sunday service times, and a mothers and toddlers playgroup held every Friday morning! Yay… I decided that this will be my weekly activity and also a great opportunity to meet other locals, also very good for G7 to be with other babies and help with her social development 🙂

So today is Friday! Playgroup day! Arghhhhh… And I am off!

I am feeling a little apprehensive! I don’t know anyone! New in town! A foreigner! And a little old to be a playgroup mummy! How will I fit in?

I loaded the nappy bag with everything I may need for G7. It was bulging!  I had forgotten just how much stuff babies may need on outings! And off I went!

I survived and I’m now back home again….

Yay! I had a great time 🙂 This playgroup is held at  ‘Christ Church’ on Bellevue Road corner. The ladies that run it are extremely friendly and caring. They made me feel very welcome 🙂 There were 12 caregivers/mummies that came along with what seemed like hundreds of kids! Man it was noisy! I’m not used to so many children’s play noises all at once anymore. G7 loved it! She happily lay on the floor kicking her feet and joined in making noises! The young mums were very friendly as well, but best of all, there were two other Nana/caregivers, who I approached as soon as I could, and then sat with for the rest of the morning. One was her first time as well, and the other her second. We happily chatted while watching and interacting with our grandchildren and other children as well. I got offered cups of tea with plastic plates and plastic biscuits, which I played along drinking up my ‘cup of tea’. It was fun!

Next week I am meeting up with Helen at the local coffee shop for coffee together before playgroup. Helen is looking after her grand daughter every Monday and Friday. She drives a little way to playgroup! Both her and grand daughter are lovely. I may have found a new friend within a week of being here. This is such a great start and I am feeling very happy and contented.

I came home with a very sleepy G7 who is now way out of routine. She didn’t want to drink her second bottle of the day with all the fun going on around her. I finally managed to get her to drink it when we got home, and she is still sound asleep. It’s now 1.15 and by now she is suppose to have had her lunch time solids and another bottle! Hopefully she will be a hungry little girl all afternoon or Mummy D2 may growl at me hehe!

I also had a lovely skype chat with my man at home in New Zealand while G7 is sleeping. This day has been so good and it is only early afternoon.

Okay G7…. enough sleep. Nana is ready for our next adventure together 🙂

Last day at home…

It’s 7:45 and I’m still in bed, but definitely not sleeping or relaxing. I’m thinking about the thousand things I still need to do today. I need to get up! But, I do have a list! I love being able to tick off jobs as they are completed and then knowing I am fully prepared for our holiday…. Hopefully!

Mostly I am excited! Eeeee! I have just finished checking Facebook and Snapchat, and have seen photos of my family and their travel shots as they make their way to Poland. C1, C2 and G3 are driving from London to Leszno and they crossed from the Uk to France via the Euro tunnel early this morning. And they are now in Germany!

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Looking very excited! G3 and her Dad C1 🙂

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Visiting ‘The Shard’ in London

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Waiting to board the train at the Euro tunnel.

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On the train!!!

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A stop for refreshments in Brussels 🙂

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And now they are in Cologne Germany!
Meanwhile C4 and D3 have arrived in London and are staying on for a few days while C4 has some work to do. They fly to Poland later in the week.

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Don’t they look very relaxed! Lovely 🙂

Now, I have to wash my sheets and remake the bed! Clean the whole house including the bathroom! Print out travel documents! Phone Visa! Fold heaps of washing! Pack my bag! Prepare a meal for us and my two Aunties for tonight! And… The list goes on!

I really wanted to finish my crochet blanket before I left but will have to leave it at this stage until I come back home in January!

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It can wait! But getting up can’t!

I leave New Zealand tomorrow!

Less than a month!

Here I am sitting at my laptop when I have so many other things I should be doing! Time is running out and I am beginning to feel the panic! But I wanted to share all the happenings with you…. my reader 🙂

On the 19th of August, Robin and I will be flying over to Wroclaw, Poland. My sister, her partner and her daughter are also coming with us. We are all going to my second son C2 and D2’s wedding! Now isn’t that something to get excited about! Checkout their wedding plans…

And even more exciting news…. Eldest son C1 and grand daughter G3 are coming to the wedding as well… from Sydney! G3 is going to be a little flower girl. And wait… there’s more… Youngest son C4 and daughter in law D3 are also coming from Sydney. Nearly a family reunion! I can’t wait!

After the wedding we will be travelling to Prague for three days and then onto Budapest. We are going on another ‘Insight Vacations’ tour! Yay! I am sooooo spoilt…..and don’t I know it! This time it is the tour called  ‘Treasures of the Balkans’. We travel from Budapest to Bucharest! I will be regularly putting posts on my blog and uploading photos when I can 🙂 Here is the tour…

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Treasures of the Balkans

and the details a little clearer…

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The Map!

And the day to day travel and sights to see…

Days 1 to 9
Days 1 to 9
Days 10 to 17
Days 10 to 17

Sorry the printing isn’t that easy to read 🙁 But do you think a wedding and a tour are enough to get excited about? Well there’s more!

At 10.52pm on the 21st of April little 3.3 kg G7 was born. Our third grand child to be born this year. G5 on the 4th of February, G6 on the 18th of March and then G7 on the 21st of April. Look at this gorgeous little girl…

Brand new Baby Sophie
Brand new Baby G7
A very alert little baby girl :-)
A very alert little baby girl 🙂
I love this photo of Sophie having a tub bath!
I love this photo of G7 having a tub bath!
One of my favourite photos. Sophie and her Daddy asleep together <3
One of my favourite photos. G7 and her Daddy asleep together <3

Now isn’t G7 a wonderful addition to our family! We now have seven grand children. Four girls and three boys! I have had quite a few cuddles with G5 and G6 but have yet to cuddle G7. Roll on August the 19th!

Now after the wedding and the tour, Robin, Judy, Len and Teresa are flying back to New Zealand via Hong Kong. I will be doing something very different. I will be flying to London. Yes London. I am going to be G7’s Nanny until Christmas time, when C2, D2, G7 and myself will be flying to Sydney to celebrate Christmas with family there. Robin and C6 will fly from New Zealand to join us (Joanna has to work).

So I am going to get plenty of G7 cuddles. Will be missing the other grand children cuddles and my other children/adults/husband/friends, but what an opportunity! I feel like I am the luckiest person alive…. and I am very thankful.

Watch out people… this blog is going to have so many updates over the next six months.

It’s a Pom Pom making day

Another wet day in the Naki! And another day to entertain the grandsons indoors. I taught grandaughter G3 how to make a Pom Pom the last time I was in Sydney, so thought that it was the perfect opportunity to teach the boys as well.

Pom Poms are really easy to make and are a great way of using up all your old balls of wool. Especially if you only have one ball left of a colour, or a batch, or there isn’t enough to make a whole garment.

If you’ve never made a Pom Pom before, here are the instructions…

Cut out two circles of cardboard with another circle cut out of the centre

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Put the two circles together and start winding the wool around and around.

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Keep adding more and more wool until the centre is full.

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Complete filling it up using a darning needle with a super large hole threated with the wool.

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Now the tricky part! You have to cut the Wool between the two circles just like the photo below

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Wind a piece of wool between the circles and tie it tight so it will hold all the cut wool together

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Rip off the cardboard circles and do a little trimming to neaten it up and voila! You now have a Pom Pom!

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Our Pom Pom was thrown around as a soft inside ball. Great entertainment for two active boys.

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And when the fun of a new Pom Pom had worn off Maisy the dog found it on the lounge floor. She was loving it! Tossing it around like it was made just for her! If I hadn’t rescued it I imagine it would have been destroyed in no time!

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All in all our Pom Pom making experience has been quite fun! G2 wanted to make another one straight away. He loved the idea of using a needle but I was happy with just one big Pom Pom for awhile. Perhaps we can make another the next wet day 🙂

Home Made Playdough

Well the school holidays are here again!

Yesterday I drove to Palmerston North to pick up our Grandsons G2 and G4. I love having these boys to stay! You only have to look through a few of my previous blog posts and you will see photos of previous holidays and details of our adventures. I have made a few plans for these holidays but today, their first day here, it is a cold, wet and windy day. So it’s inside entertainment! G2 also has a cough cold and is probably better off staying indoors and keeping warm. So first thing was a game of minecraft on the Play Station 3, and then it was break time. The boys know that Nana Pam doesn’t like them spending too long in front of the television or a computer screen! So, out came the saucepan and a batch of playdough was made for the next form of entertainment…..and they loved it 🙂 If you haven’t made playdough before I suggest you give it a try. It is so easy!

Here is the the recipe….

Stir all together

1 cup of flour

1/2 cup of salt

1 cup water

1 tablespoon of oil

2 teaspoons of cream of tartar

and food colouring (any colour)

Then cook on medium heat, stirring all the time until the dough leaves the side of the pan. Tip it out onto  tray and when it cools a little, knead it all together. And then the fun begins!

Here are some photos of the boys and their playdough creations…

Our lovely new, soft, green playdough
Our lovely new, soft, green playdough
Who would like a slice of pizza?
Who would like a slice of pizza?
Shhhhh it's a bird nest with a bird in it and her eggs
Shhhhh it’s a bird nest with a bird in it and her eggs
Christian cutting up his playdough sausage for Jaydens pizza
G4 cutting up his playdough sausage for G2’s pizza
I can see....a snail!
I can see….a snail!
Our Master Chef!
Our Master Chef!
Preparing and planning the pizza toppings
Preparing and planning the pizza toppings

Lots of fun to be had! Playdough play lasted for about an hour and I think that is a pretty good return for the time invested in making it. And, the best part of all is that if you store your Playdough in an airtight plastic bag or container, it will last for a month or even longer.

The sun has come out to shine this afternoon so maybe we can get out on the trampoline or the bikes! But if it’s wet again in the next few days, I am sure we will be able to get our green playdough out again….even if it’s only for another hour of play 🙂

More than expected!

I have just had a wonderful eleven day holiday in Sydney compliments of Son C1 and his wife D1. Talk about being spoilt! It has been one of the best Mother’s day and birthday presents EVER!

But the extra special thing about this trip has been the opportunity of taking my 85 year old Mother with me. Mum has been wanting to come to Sydney and see family for ages and this time everything just worked out nicely.

In the eleven days I had many moments that I will treasure in my heart forever. The cuddles with our two month old little grandson, visiting eight year old grand daughter G3 at school and being shown all her school work for the year on display and being extra spoilt with gifts from amazing seventeen year old G1 (our eldest grandchild). I also had very special times with D1, and then C1 when he got home from his work trip to Florida. And in this holiday, we also had two precious evenings with Ben and Chloe. My mother/grandmother soul has been satisfied ….ahhhhhh

Mum sitting at Matthew's work desk
Mum sitting at C1’s work desk
Casey showing me one of her creations
G3 showing me one of her creations
Casey showing her baby brother Luke to her School friends
G3 showing her baby brother G6 to her School friends
Casey and me
G3 and me
Sam, Leeara and Casey
Sam, G1 and C3
Rebecca and Matthew
D1 and C1
Matthew and his Nana
C1 and his Nana
Batbaby!
Batbaby!
All attention on the cutest baby boy :-)
All attention on the cutest baby boy 🙂
Luke at two months old with Great Nana on the chair behind him
G6 at two months old with Great Nana on the chair behind him
Casey, Chloe, Ben Mum and Me
G3, D3, C4 Mum and Me
Out for tea together. Rebecca, Leeara, Luke, Sam and Casey
Out for tea together. D1, G1, G6, Sam and G3
Casey making a Beeswax candle
G3 making a Beeswax candle

I wasn’t sure how Mum was going to cope with the travelling and then all the extra activities we would do while in Sydney, but I was amazed with her. I know she got very tired at times and probably had some pain in her body, but she pushed herself and kept up all the time, determined to not be a bother and to also do everything we were doing. There were a few times that I had to remind her to get her walking stick out for safety reasons. These became cheerful reminders as Mum would say she was waiting for me to ask her where her stick was. But the last thing I wanted was to see Mum hurt herself and one fall could have been very bad!

At the St Ives Showground
At the St Ives Showground
Four Generations
Four Generations
Mum with her 'STICK' walking stick
Mum with her ‘STICK’ walking stick

We did have an extra  special moment on our flight from Auckland to New Plymouth (home). I will never forget it! We were watching a movie on my galaxy, both sharing one set of earplugs to listen. So we had to sit pretty close and listen carefully with one ear. The movie was a real tear jerker, and when the saddest moment came in the film, here was Mum and I, both moping up our tears. Mum commented about how alike we are at being moved emotionally at movies. During the mop up time I looked very closely at Mums hands. I held her hands momenterily and looked at how crooked her little fingers had become. I felt so sad! My mother’s hands had suffered from the years of hard work. Her hands had wrapped around each of her children with love many many times. Oh what stories they could tell. But here they are now all bent and wrinkled. They have served her well but they have aged and they now cause her pain. I realise that this is definitely the winter season of Mum’s life, and also realise that I am now heading into the Autumn season. How quickly life flies by! Am I ready for what happens during this winter season? No I am not! I don’t think I will ever be ready. I love my Mum and Dad so much.

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My Hand wrapped together with Mum’s hand
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Mum’s left hand
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Mum’s right hand. Look at her bent fingers, especially her index finger!

The sweetest thing I ever saw was when we arrived back at New Plymouth. Walking  to the car to go home I turn around and there is my Mum and Dad walking along each holding a handle of Mum’s carrybag. It was only 2.5kgs (I know because I weighed it), but Dad was helping her carry it. I guess he knows Mum’s crooked little fingers, and how painful they can be, way better than I do, after all they have now been married for 66 years. They are amazing!

I will keep that image locked in my brain forever. It was so sweet! This cute little old couple still showing their love for each other, sharing the load and both having wonderful smiles on their faces at the joy of being together again.

Celebrating 66 Years
Celebrating 66 Years

Yes I got way more than I expected from these eleven days!