Monday, September 20, 2010

Little by Little

My diet has been pretty shot since Munchkin was born. I really do need to be eating better, but doing so is tough. Time is at a premium. Between looking after Munchkin, keeping up with study (just) and keeping the house clean and tidy (not really), there's not much time left for eating. I usually try not to eat while doing other things...just a good hint I picked up a few years ago. It is much better for us to be concious of eating, that way we enjoy what we eat, and realise when we are full, rather than just eating because it is in front of us (like when you have chips and a movie together, somehow the bag ends up empty even though you weren't really hungry!). But my 'eating purposefully' has gone out the window. There's just not enough time. I invariably end up scoffing in the 5mins before feeding Munchkin, or eating while studying, or grabbing a mouthful while checking the washing machine, etc, etc, etc. So you can imagine how much time is allocated to actually preparing food. I actually enjoy preparing food, especially when it involves freshly collected food from the garden. But I digress. So I'm trying to improve my diet. I've been eating hardly any fruit. This for someone who usually eats at least 2 pieces of fresh fruit each day...lately it just hasn't been happening. I think this is because when I'm hungry I am going for more 'sustaining' food to get me through the next feed, next study period, etc. And I've not been having enough greens. That's due to time in preparation mostly.

So, I realised recently that instead of trying to overhaul my entire diet, I could start little by little. I will have a little greens with this meal. I will have a little more with that. And so on. At least this way I am getting a better diet than I was, and without it taking much more time than before. Here are two of my standard meals at present...eggs on toast and baked beans. To improve their nutritional input, I've started adding a chopped fresh silverbeet leaf (chard) and some parsley and chives. Very, very quick.

I wonder how many things in our lives would be better if we simply committed to changing a 'little' bit of them? Amy

Monday, 20 September, 2010


Monday, 20 September, 2010

I love the sounds of spring in our area. The tuis come in down from the hills or wherever it is that they overwinter, to feast on the spring flowers. First, there's this pink flowered tree. Then, they move onto the kowhai. My parents have a kowhai, and the air is filled with the song and flit-flit-flit of tuis flying back and forth for several weeks. One particular male tries to keep the tree as his personal domain, chasing off any intruders (including sparrows - he doesn't seem to understand that they are seriously not interested in nectar, however delicious it might be!). I watched, amused, a few weeks back as two males did a little song and dance for a quiet wee girl. They puffed themselves up, and chortled away for her, before one did a little flying dance with her.

Here they are - two puffed up male can just see the tail of the female hidding behind the tree trunk on the left.

Tuis are so hard to take photos of though! They flit and dart, and are constantly on the move. You think you've just lined up for a good one, only to find you've taken a photo of a blurry half-wing - the tui has already moved onto the next juicy flower! So I'm glad to have finally got something that actually proves we have tuis around...

A Visitor

Boyo is not allowed to have a cat. This he finds quite hard, as he just loves cats!

I am not as hardhearted as that may seem. It is not because I don't like them. I think they are fine. The issue is that I am allergic to them! So we have an agreement that Boyo will have a 'barn cat' if we ever live on enough land to have a barn. Grin. In the meantime, we often end up stopped on walks, while he rubs some contented moggy or other. His cat, who lives with his parents, is a great fluff ball of affection every time we go and visit, even lying in wait every time Boyo's in the bathroom or loo, and stalking him up the hallway in order to ensure he gets lots and lots of rubs. It is a win-win for them both, as Boyo sure doesn't mind rubbing his feline friend.

Recently though, Boyo's cat deprived existence has been alleviated somewhat. We seem to live in a neighbourhood of cats. There's a black cat (or 2), a white and black one, a fluffy something or other, and a grey kitten. Now, for the most part when we see a cat we hiss and wave our arms madly at them. Boyo has even been running out to chase them. Strange behaviour for a cat lover? Perhaps. But these cats keep doing their business in our garden and on our lawn. Garden, I can kind of 'get.' But LAWN?????? Please, folks. That's just gross. Hence the cat-chasing.

There's one cat that doesn't get chased away though. He (or she, we haven't checked!) first visited back in early April, coming for a rub while we were out sitting at the table outside the front door. He's a cute little grey kitten (although getting bigger by the week), who likes to climb and loves to be rubbed. Since April, he has been a frequent visitor to our front door step. He knows he is not allowed to come inside. Being hauled out by the collar a few times was enough. So now, whenever I see the grey kitten, I let Boyo know that he has a visitor! He heads on out for a few minutes of purry-furry bliss!
Monday, 20 September, 2010

Friday, September 3, 2010

Munchkin's Mandarin is Growing

Friday, 3 September, 2010

Outside our front door, a small miracle is taking place every day. The mandarin is budding. There are soft new, shiny green leaves unfolding, and small white flower buds forming.


Friday, 3 September, 2010

I'm usually up before sunrise these days, but don't often get to actually see it (Munchkin is often eating then, so we are somewhat preoccupied with that).

But this week I did manage to get out and enjoy the view for a few moments. It was gorgeous!

Bring on the tastes of summer!

Friday, 3 September, 2010

I am so looking forward to strawberries again this summer! Last year's crop was fabulous so I'm hoping for more of the same (a LOT more!).
Here's the newly transplanted strawbs...

And a few spare runners made it round to our unit garden (20 in fact - just have to work out how to cover them so we get to eat them before the birds do!)...

A few minutes gardening

Friday, 3 September, 2010

Munchkin and I did a bit of gardening recently - putting in some salad green seedlings and pruning a rose bush. He fell asleep. I enjoyed the morning.

Some carrots I pulled while I was out there.


Friday, 3 September, 2010

I am so enjoying the shift from winter into spring. The garden round our little unit is in need of some tlc, but still continues to provide some beautiful gems of late winter/early spring...


Thursday, September 2, 2010

One Hour, Two Soups

Thursday, 2 September, 2010
A few weeks back I made soup - it went to a friend who'd just had a baby, and another friend with a baby. I ate a bowl-ful of each too.

I discovered that I should do bulk soup more often. It took me an hour in the kitchen to create 2 fabulous soups...Irish Chicken Soup and Seafood Chowder (which is really just a soup as its not thick like a true chowder). These are 2 of my absolute favourite soups and they also happen to be quite easy to make.

Chop, chop, chop went the big knife. Into the pot went the veges. Steam rose as things simmered. The smells pervaded my home.

I came back later after they had cooled, to pull chicken off the carcas and add the yoghurt and egg yolk for the chicken soup, the milk for the seafood one, and put everything into containers and rinse out the pots.

All in all, a very satisfying hour's work. Now, if only there was more room in my freezer I could do another 'two soups, 1 hour' session...



Thursday, 2 September, 2010

We've been exploring children's art in my degree recently which has got me thinking about my personal artwork through the years.

I used to think I wasn't very 'artistic' as my paintings didn't come out how I wanted...I (very stupidly) compared myself to friends with great perspective and painting talents. I've now realised that 'art' takes a much broader view than what I had in mind. The collage I made as a teenager, of a birdsnest using real hay and egg shells was art. The photos I take, sometimes they are art. My cards are art. Now that I've worked out that creativity and artistic ability can take many forms, I enjoy doing collage-style artwork, and things that tie art in with other uses, such as card making or patterns in knitted blankets.

Here's one I did as a very young child. Such a cute tadpole, I was! The name writing is a work in progress...

We went through all the saved artwork with Mum recently, my brother and I. It was so interesting seeing the differences in artistic ability. My brother did the most amazing, detailed drawings from a very young age. Many of my saved artworks are things stuck to paper (i.e. sand, bottle caps, etc!) rather than drawings. Shows how we process things differently I think. My brother had really good fine motor skills and saw things in detail. I liked to collect tactile objects. So our artwork really reflected who we were. It is nice to look at it that way, rather than thinking one form is 'better' than the other. Neither of us would consider ourselves artists in the classic sense. He has gone on to write, perform and teach music. I do a lot of things with my hands. So I guess we are artists, after all.

Here's a more recent artwork that I did in Australia using some gorgeous local seeds and splotches of red and white paint. I had to leave it behind as I don't think NZ Customs would have appreciated it...I do miss it's bright colours, texture and semi-random patterns. I hope to do some more canvases, eventually. Maybe after finishing my degree??? This summer is already booked with a photo album for Munchkin, among other things. Amy