Friday, December 30, 2011

It's not easy being Green...

Overheard conversation between The Fashionista and Agent Smelly whilst they were eating something called "slimey limey" (a green jelly like substance) over their ice-cream.

TF: "Ohh yuk, it looks like boogers".

AS: "Hana, I have eaten boogers and let me tell you this does NOT taste like boogers!"

Charmer isn't she?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thank You Notes

I think it is important for the girls to write thank you notes to the people who have so kindly given them gifts.

I don't push them to make them for the people who they thank personally at the time but, I do make them write them for the people they don't see at the time. I think if someone doesn't get to see them open a gift they especially should receive a note or card thanking them, and letting them know what they thought of the gift.

They are pretty easy to write, we keep them simple but, as they get older they will be expected to write a little more.

We usually make cards as they like to decorate them. We write first, then decorate ... sometimes, painting, pasting paper, or drawing, etc. They can let their imagination run wild and decorate them however they wish to. They do like to fit the card to the person they are thanking.

Here's Agent Smelly with a card she made for her Aunty S with a picture of said Aunty's "Mad Dog Meg" on it.

They only need to work on one card or letter each day and they are finished them in no time. They don't complain, in fact quite enjoy the decorating process, and I know the recipients really appreciate them.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Earlier this year I gifted the girls each a journal. It's simply a simple ring bound book with thick plain unlined pages.

As they accumulate items I have them stick them into their journal, ie ticket stubs, guide outing memoriabilia, photo's etc 

At their age they do don't bother with a lot of writing but I am hoping as the years go by that they will start adding narratives and sketches and doodles and so on to their pages.

I am hoping that one day they will enjoy looking through them and remembering their journey through life.

Today I printed the girls some photo's of their new club house so they could pop them into their journals. I gave them some scrapbooking supplies and let them decorate their pages as they wished to. The only suggestions I make are sometimes for them to record a date, or a person's name, etc

Hard at work.

Agent Smelly proudly displaying her finished pages.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Boxing Day 2011

Another beautiful day here in Te Kauwhata for Boxing Day.

The Pig had to go off to work early so the girls and I started our day outside with a game of volleyball and badminton. Santa really did well with that last minute gift!

Playing volleyball ... they have at least started getting it over the net!


They could not even hit the shuttlecock to begin with but now The Fashionista can serve and Agent Smelly can sometimes return the shuttlecock with the occasional blinder of a shot. To watch AS serve is hilarious, she just misses, and misses and misses, and on a couple of occasion simply threw it over the net to me!

They then popped out to their new club house for a bit of "housekeeping" so I surprised them with a morning tea fit for a princess.

The rag doll in thge picture was mine and considering they have a million dolls I am always surprised when they pull her to out play with instead of one of their modern ones.

Later in the day, I offered the girls a face mask. AS was not keen but TF was up for it.

Then we painted fingernails and toenails.  I even did some flowers and holly on their big nails.

Agent Smelly has gold toenails with holly on her big toe.

We had a lovely day and finished up with a chick flick and some chocolate. Does life get any better!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Day 2011

What a beautiful day we had. I was first up at 6.30am as I had to put the ham on for breakfast.

The girls came down to the lounge a bit later. As they are a bit older now there wasn't the same rush as there used to be and I was able to get them into the shower whilst I took one. It also meant The Pig got an extra hour in bed as he had worked late the night before.

We then exchanged gifts with each other, but mostly the girls emptied their Santa sacks.  The girls really seemed to like all their gifts this year which was nice as Santa was a little more restrained than normal and it seemed to pay off.

Once all the gifts were opened (except for those that we were sent from overseas that we like to open when the person is on the phone or PC), we all went outside and set up the badminton/volleyball net that they had received. The Pig and I proceeded to try and teach the girls how to play both games. It was a lot of fun as the morning was beautiful, still and sunny and everyone was in a relaxed and happy mood.

As The Pig had to leave home for work at midday, we had decided on having a huge Christmas breakfast instead of lunch, which he wouldn't be here for. His mum, and Aunty came up around 9am and then we all went inside to start and have breakfast.

The menu consisted of mini bagels with cream cheese and salmon, freshly laid scrambled eggs, bacon and avocado bruschetta (to die for!), mini pikelets with cream and strawberries and of course a ham glazed in my homemade apricot jam. We ate til we were unreasonably full and then had a cuppa.

After exchanging gifts with Grandma and Aunty H, we headed back outside to watch the girls play badminton and volleyball again. The Pig went off to get ready for work and then once he was in uniform he came back out to play again. I made sure I made him a Xmas lunch to take to work with him and off he went at midday.

The other four stayed outside playing badminton, even the girls 83 year old Grannie gave it a whirl, whilst I leisurely tidied up all the wrapping paper and leftovers.

The girls then caught up with their Grandma and Gramps in Aussie on the phone and had a load more gifts! 

We had a late lunch of salad, ham and rolls and it was light and just right. We also had some of Grandma's famous slice and Aunty H's macaroons.  I suggested the girls go and play with some of their new things and let us three ladies have a wee Nana nap. The girls received quite a few Zhu Zhu pets (hamster toys) which they love and collect and were quite happy to turn their bathroom into "Hampston Downs". We live near a place called Hampton Downs, so they have been quite clever really. Grandma and Aunty H were able to have their naps and left us around five.

We spoke to Aunty MM on the PC, who was also having a quiet time in Melbourne due to the horrendous storms that were hitting them and then sat down to a very UNchristmas dinner of ravioli with my new homemade pasta sauce.

Later that night, after getting ready for bed The Fashionista came out and gave me these vouchers that she had made and forgotten to give me. Isn't she sweet.

Despite The Pig having had to work, we had a lovely relaxing day in the beautiful sunshine. We hope your Christmas was as chilled out and enjoyable as ours was.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Inside the Play House

Nearly two years ago we were kindly offered a play house by a friend of The Pigs if we would remove it from his yard. The Pig spent a few days dismantling it, as it is quite large and very, very heavy and loaded it on the trailer and brought it home. The floor was totally rotten and therefore unusable, as were a few other parts of the house so in order to put it back together he has had to find a deck for the base and replace some pieces of wood. He was able to put most of it together with our help holding up the sides, etc. but, the roof was simply too, too heavy for us to drag, let alone lift onto the house.

Well a couple of weeks ago when we held the family Christmas party, The Pig has the lads earn their dinner by helping him lift the roof into place. Needless to say the little madams were stoked!  Since then he has nailed and screwed it all together and replaced some pieces. There are still some external things that need doing (ie the balcony deck) but internally it was pretty much done. Just needed some sprucing up ... my area of expertise.

As you can see it was pretty mucky

The Fashionista helping The Mama spray inside the house.

We painted 3 of the walls in a mint green colour and a feature wall in lavender that was specially made for us. I then laid some vinyl self-adhesive tiles that the girls chose. Unfortunately I miscalculated so wasn't able to finish the floor but because it's Christmas and the girls were so excited we decided to move their play furniture in. We spent about an hour moving furniture around to try and get it to fit comfortably ... The Fashionista was quite fussy about where everything would go; Agent Smelly doesn't really care about that side of things.

Here's a picture taken from  the doorway. I have even put some hooks up for them.

Just inside the door on the left.

The table is just on the right of the doorway.
Note Mummy has already put a picture of the owners up on their wall.

I still have to make some curtains, finish the tiling and then paint the outside (I talked them out of pink!) and I am sure the home owners will have some more chores for me. 

By the way I was told to take my shoes off by them this afternoon as they didn't want their floor getting dirty. The cheek of them!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Entertaining with some BFF's

Today the girls had some dear friends over for a play date. They came for lunch so on whilst I was making lunch on the spur of the moment I decided to decorate another table for them to use.

Not bad for 5 minutes work ... very festive.

Here are the four little princesses dining.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Scarves made with love

Aussie Grandma knitted all the grand"girls" a scarf each.

Here are my girls displaying their very long, but very cute scarves. They look like boa's.

Here's a close up of one of them - can you believe she actually knit these ... amazing!

I want one in blue ... hint, hint, hint ...

Friday, December 16, 2011

Keeping out of mischief with T-Shirt painting

It has only been a few days into school holidays (yes some of us homeschoolers do let the kids have a break) and the girls are starting to bicker and argue. So in order to save her own sanity the mama gave them some fabric paints that you simply let dry for 72 hours and they are set and a couple of cheap white t-shirts that I picked up from Countdown for $4 each and let them at it.

Agent Smelly is still obsessed with mermaids so no guessing what she painted.

And The Fashionista adores Matryoshka dolls so adorned hers with those.

Here they are wearing their works of art.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Vanilla Slice

This Vanilla Slices recipe is from the 4 Ingredients cookbook and are simply so simple and easy to make.

In this recipe you will actually only need 3 INGREDIENTS!• 1 pkt Lattice crackers
• 600ml double cream
• 50g pkt vanilla pudding mix


Place a layer of biscuits on the bottom of a paper-lined rectangular baking dish, flat side up. Mix cream and pudding together until thick, pour onto biscuit base and top with another layer of biscuits, flat side down. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving.INGREDIENTS
· 1 Packet Lattice crackers (or cream crackers as hard to find lattice ones in NZ)
· 600 mls cream
· 50 gm packet Vanilla Pudding Mix (I also use a 70gm pudding mix as that's all I can find)

Place a layer of biscuits on the bottom of a paper-lined rectangular baking dish, flat side up. I use one of those rubbery baking trays which works great.

Mix cream and pudding mix together until thickened and pour onto cracker base.

Place another layer of crackers on top of mix, flat side down.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
These are really nice iced with passionfruit or plain icing.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The ART of Christmas wrapping ...

The gift for our gorgeous great-nephews (doesn't that make me feel old!) was far too big for any christmas wrapping that I had purchased, so I decided to wrap it in plain brown postage paper and decorate it with a few ribbons. After we had wrapped the brown paper around it, The Fashionista pleaded with me to let her decorate the paper instead. Apprehensively I agreed to it.

She had the box leaning agaist the back of the couch so The Pig and I really had no idea what she was doing until I walked past to the kitchen. I was so impressed with her start that I had to grab a picture.

She was actually copying an old picture that my Dad gave me as a wee girl ... see below

She started late in the evening and as soon as she got up the next morning she finished it (hence she's in her tie dye nightie in these pics).

At one stage she was having some troubles with an arm and asked me for some help. I automatically picked up a pencil to help re-sketch it and was yelled at kindly informed to keep my hands to myself as she was doing it! She was simply asking for advice ... oops.

Here's the finished product. I simply love his face, don't you?

Here's the artist with her work; I simply love her face even more!

I kept reminding her that her little second cousins would probably rip it to bits to get to the present, who wouldn't at that age, but their mother kindly removed the work to keep. Big kisses to her!

And the funny thing is that their mum just happened to give The Fashionista a lava lamp for her Christmas gift. She unknowingly gave her something which Fashionista has been hounding me about for ages. It is her most very favourite gift and for the past couple of days she has been disappearing into her room to check it throughout the day.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Mowing the lawn

The Pig's mower broke down the hill by the orchard / chooks area (the red building on the left is their house). He had to tow it back up the hill as it was too heavy to push.

The girls stepped in to help.

How much fun were they having!

Woohoo ... keep on trucking!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Happy Days

Aren't kids magic. I just heard my girls walk past the kitchen window saying to each other "Today is our happy day. What shall we do next to have a happy day?"

Now they are laying on the lounge floor playing The Amazing Mammoth Hunt (a geography board game).

Maybe we adults should schedule "a happy day"!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Trimming the Tree 2011

Deck the halls with boughs of holly ... OK we have no halls to deck with holly but I do so love Christmas decorations. Doesn't the look of a decorated room make you feel all warm and gooey inside.

Although both girls were very enthusiastic at the start of trimming the tree, with there being so many decorations they started to moan towards the end. I made them see it through though.

And the finished result is simply lovely. Thanks you girls.

The angel atop of the tree is quite old. Apparently when I was a littlie I saw this lovely angel on top of my Nana B's tree and made gestures that I wanted it. Of course as the first and only grandchild I was indulged and thus the angel sat atop my mum's tree for many, many years until I got my very own tree. One of her wings is falling apart and held together with sellotape but she is still so very special.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Carnival Recital 2011

Today the girls performed in their recital. This years theme was "Carnival".  It was held at the Pukekohe Town Hall, which has both upstairs stalls and downstairs ones and both shows seemed to be very full. There was a show at 11am and another at 4pm which each went for nearly two hours, so it was a very, very long day!

Agent Smelly is in the junior ballet section and The Fashionista, the intermediate ballet section but because they are very small groups they combined their dance. They performed to The Circle of Life from the Lion King.

Agent Smelly was obviously a lion along with 6 other little girls.

The Fashionista and her 3 fellow ballerinas were all different coloured birds.

These pics were taken whilst waiting backstage

We had to attend a rehearsal and group photos on the Thursday evening and then again last night for a full dress rehearsal. As their dance academy is 30 minutes away (via the motorway!) it has been a very tiring (and costly) few days for the driver! Grandma P gave the girls a box of chocolates each after their performance ... frankly I think the Mama earnt a few of those chockies!

This picture was taken during Thursdays first rehearsal. Agent Smelly is the middle lion and The Fashionista on the far right.  The white sheet was just up so the photos could be taken.

At the actual recital it's all dark with fancy lighting and stage decorated properly. Impossible to get photos during the recital as they come out black with a few lights ... lol

After the last recital The Pig took us all out (including Grannie P and Auntie H) for a lovely dinner.

Then I brought two very tired wee girls home to bed ...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Woohooooooo Happy 40th Baby Bro's ...

Happy 40th birthday to two of the most important males in my life ...

Mark James and Paul Terence Forde.

I love you both with all my heart and am thankful that you were chosen to be my brothers,
despite you being right royal little pains when we growing up ... lol

Through the good times and the bad ... always with fond memories and love,
Sissy xxxx

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Viva Italia

Today the girls finally finished their lapbooks on Italy ... and about time. It seemed to be taking us forever. Ok we only work on geography on a Monday but still ... we were all a little happy to have it completed.

Agent Smelly's (left) and The Fashionista's (right) front covers.
One chose to tape their 3 A4 pages into a book in a portrait style and the other landscape.

These are the inside. I have pulled some of Agent Smelly's little inserts out so you can see all the little do-dads that go into them. Some lift up, some open from the middle, some open out like a letter, some are in pockets ... they are a lot of fun.

They have to colour, write, work out time differences, graph the population in comparison to NZ, do map work, learn some of the language, the capital city, famous people and sport and so on. It's not an in depth look at the country but enough to simply whet their interest.

We were a little dull with our cooking this time around, we kept it simple and made pasta and pizza.

I get most of my printables for the lapbook inserts off

Monday, November 28, 2011

Handwriting; a lost art?

I read recently where someone said that teaching handwriting was a waste of time as most people will only use technology to communicate in the future. I found that really sad. Nothing beats a handwritten letter or card.

We do handwriting at least once a week. We used to do it more often but I think both girls are pretty neat writers and they tend to write more in other areas so there's not the same need as there was earlier on.  The girls also have pen-pals so spend time writing to them.

We use Targeting Handwriting books, which is from NSW (Australia). The writing in that seems to be the one that is most like ours in N.Z.  It is very good and has little activities for them to do every so often.  Agent Smelly (7) has recently started level 3 (she actually skipped 2 and it hasn't seemed to have made a difference) and The Fashionista (9) is on level 4.

A sample from The Fashionista's book.

A sample from Agent Smellys' book.

Further to the above comment about technology replacing the need for handwriting. With this in mind the girls also do typing practice on the lap top once or twice a week. They use Mavis Beacon typing tutor which they really enjoy. It teaches them the correct way to type and keeps a record of their progress as they go along.  

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What a load of Pollocks ...

The third artist we have worked on is Jackson Pollock. A little different to the other two artists, as Jackson was so much later than the others and probably a little less known outside of the U.S. Also his style and especially his technique was very different (and appealing to the children).

The Fashionista's completed page. They enjoyed "making a mess" so much that rather than paste a wee picture of his on their page they did another one of their own.

Agent Smelly's page. It is interesting to see the colours they chose; they reflected their personalities.

The Fashionista's copy of  "Number 13A: Arabesque". Whilst impossible to copy a "splat" they did well to get the colours very close to the ones in Mike Venezia's book.

Agent Smelly copied Autumn Rhythm. She got some lovely big blobs on the canvas by squirting paint directly from the tubes.

The girls really enjoyed "action painting" just like Jackson. They ended up with paint all over them (definitely an outside class people!) and kept coming into my kitchen and taking whisks, etc to try and fling paint with. In all, a thoroughly entertaining style of painting.

It was also interesting that they did not enjoy Jackson's earlier style of painting which was when he was influenced by other artists that he admired and trying to imitate their styles. It was the perfect opportunity to explain to them that you can truly be at your best when you are true to yourself!

Please visit for the curriculum we are using for the above artists study. Erica kindly has a free program that she made and shares with people.
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