kate5kiwis: December 2007


“If you were all alone in the universe with no one to talk to, no one with which to share the beauty of the stars, to laugh with, to touch, what would be your purpose in life? It is other life, it is love, which gives your life meaning. This is harmony. We must discover the joy of each other, the joy of challenge, the joy of growth.” — Mitsugi Saotome

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Verse

i didn't want to write a poem when i first read of it here and here.
i do want to write one now, remembrances from my childhood Christmases and summers, inextricably linked in my memories.

the original poem is here. there are a few suggested rules, most of which i didn't follow.
please join in if you'd like, i'd love to read where you're from.

Where I'm From
I am from Mum's homemade Christmas Mince Pies, from rich scents of cinnamon and sultanas wafting through the house on a midsummer's eve, from a silver tinsel tree propped in the lounge window, from the tiny wooden nativity scene in pride of place on the side table.

I am from running outside to hear trumpets and Christmas Carols blasting from the Salvation Army Truck, from annual church visits on Christmas morning, from opening my mouth so wide during the hallelujah chorus that I started to yawn.
I am from Joyeux Noël and don't peep in Mum's wardrobe or I might not be surprised.

I am from letters to Santa scribed hopefully on the blackboard, from beer and mince pies left out as swapsies, from sock-hunting in Dad's drawer and Away in a Manger, from waking in the middle of the night to reassure myself that Father Christmas indeed knew of a little girl named Katie, and had remembered her.

I am from gathering aunties and cousins and grandparents and breathlessly waiting to open presents at family Christmas parties, from roast lamb and ham and sausages on the barbie, from pavlovas and fruit salad, from playing backyard cricket in the park next door and swinging under the oak tree.

I am from craggy Pohutukawa trees clinging to cliffs which overlook golden beaches and children sifting through the sands for precious treasures, from endless summer barbecues and the waves coming in, drifting off to sleep after sun-drenched days, salt in my blonde-streaked tresses, pink pungent oil of ulan soothing sunburn, a head full of surf.

I am from three week holidays at Great Barrier Island, from sunbathing on the deck of Banyanda and long-sleeved muslin shirts and jandals, from learning to sail in the dinghy and trawling for kahawai, from seasick and D-sick, and swimming once around the boat before breakfast.

I am from Joy to the World, from Silent Night, Holy Night, from choruses and harmonies and three part rounds, from stingrays in nets and eating up the Christmas cake for a month, from sleep-ins while parents picked "rock mushrooms", from tenting ashore and growing up under the stars.

I am from the summers of childhood innocence: all is calm, all is bright.

Monday, December 24, 2007

silly season

Christmas Lights Trail
loving our instant connection,
as always
the kidz sharing
each others' iPod soundz

the adults laughing
at each others' vowels

*singing* tis the season to be silly... X

Saturday, December 22, 2007

We Wish You (Tube) A Merry Christmas

all day long i have been trying to get a turn on My Pooter, and every time i try, this is what i see. peeps laughing and giggling and doing a running commentary: look mum, this is *so* funny, he drops it... spins it... HAHAHA did you see that?? mum, *look*!! so i crane my neck over the tops of all the other heads... but for the life of me can't see what's so funny??
and apparently this is even funnier??
they did show me one that kinda tickles my funny bone
it's an oldie but a goodie...

although the chef looks more like one of The Goodies than Jamie. what is with that wig? i think he thinks he's moi.
this one is the kids' fave...

so instead of wasting (any more) hours and hours, off i went to wrap some speshal things up, cos we're off to The Big Smoke at the crack of dawn tomorrow:
there will be no peeking, cos ya can't unwrap your pressies before Christmas, but i am so happy with myself cos the serious ones are all handmade, with *love*, 'cos that's the true meaning of Christmas.
(guess the movie line)

we wish you and yours a very happy Christmas and *sparkly* 2008,
loads of love from Kate and The Gang XXXXXXX

Friday, December 21, 2007

*singing* 'tis the season to eat lollies

guess what>>> i finally got a GREAT CHRISTMAS PHOTO
ummm, i bribed the kiddos with fifty cents each to spend at the local.

who needs Merry Christmas when ya’ve got *DAIRY CHRISTMAS*
yeah, there’s gonna be a whole lotta Teeth Brushing tonight.

can't possibly reveal The Photo yet though, in case the rellies see (as well as know) what they're getting for Christmas!

i can safely say 'twill *not* be this one:

to borrow J11's aghast response, "HOLY CR*P!!"

Rubber Band Man

M6: (do ya think they'll recognise me
disguised as Edna Mode??)
i've got a rubber band here,
and i'm not afraid to use it...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Elusive Christmas Photo

everyone warns ya not to mix kids or Wild Things (interchangeable?) with photography. ya think crying babies and toddlers are stressful??
try getting five kidz to grin all at once. or even all look at the camera simultaneously. one gets the giggles and one gets the grumps and i'm trying to keep the atmosphere lite'n'Christmassy so that all the grandies get the good vibes on their walls forever...
and then we all give up and i think... let's have coffee and try again in a minute, and by then it's raining and well, everyone is sick'n'tired of posing for momma. so i try bribery with candy canes... but do ya think that'll work? it's hardly hard currency. i think i need to tame them with the magic trick of staring into all their yellow eyes without blinking once (book line for rach, see, i'm eduKATEd)

the Good News is, even though The Sardine Tin died last week, fab friends have lent us their car for Christmas Travellin', and Santa has pretty much done all his deeds, as soon as i get these photos sorted...
otherwise this year's Handmade Christmas is looking rather elusive X

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

jokes du jour

S10 has been telling us tons of these *doctor jokes* lately:

Doctor, Doctor, I have a pain in my eye every time I drink hot chocolate.
Try taking the spoon out first!

Doctor, Doctor, for the first thirty minutes I'm up every morning, I feel dizzy. What should I do?
Get up half an hour later!

Doctor, Doctor, I have a ringing in my ears.
Well answer it then!

Doctor, Doctor, I feel like a window.
Where's the pane?

Doctor, Doctor, I think I'm getting shorter.
You'll just have to be a little patient.

Doctor, Doctor, I only have 59 seconds to live!
Just a minute!

What do you call a surgeon with eight arms?
A doctor-pus

Doctor, Doctor, nobody ever listens to me.

(cue: you can laugh now)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Feeding The Five Thousand

Whenever people find out that I have *five* kiddos, I usually get a look of horror/disbelief and the statement, "But you don't look old enough to have FIVE KIDS!!!"

So I have great pleasure in teasing my friend Rach, cos she's got *eight*!!!

Over Hubby's BWoF, the whole fam-damily of Bears came to stay, and s-e-r-i-o-u-s-l-y, it didn't feel like there were seventeen peeps in the house.....
Except For At Dinner Time:

(Rach's bubba is missing... and the mommas and poppas are still inside, fighting over the scraps lol)
that's a scary image, but I am OH!!! so happy that Mister Bear is a Bona Fide Techno Geek, cos now WE HAVE BROADBAND!!!!!!!
I kid you not.
There will be no more "...just talk amongst yourselves while the page loads..." convos...
theTraditional Self Portrait:
me'n'Rach, with the twin-hair-cut lol
(better check your head girl: i've been scratching again today pfffffft)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Under The (guitar) Bridge

When Hubby was seventeen, he did a speech in front of his year group on "Heroes", which won him the position of Head Boy the following year.
One of S10's heroes is his first guitar teacher, Adam, who patiently jammed with S10 every week last year after school.
Four years ago when Adam started learning guitar, he was given a handmade electric guitar by an older friend who saw some potential and believed in him. Now Adam sings in a Rock Band and has saved enough money to buy his own electric guitar.
He made a surprise visit to our place yesterday to pass on the love: gifting the guitar and a few Rock Star tips to a gobsmacked S10. Adam, you're a hero. You blow us away with your generosity and muso-mentoring of our lad. You Rock The World, bro.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Birthday Q&A

what do *forty year olds* do on their Birthday???
bwahahaha, i think you partied too hard last night babe!!
it's great to see ya Andrew, glad yas made the Secret Road Trip to our place.
cousin Jon and the lads spent many happy hours playing *dodgeball* on the trampoline...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Secret Garden

nine months have passed since we started throwing ideas around about this little area aka Lucy's Poo Poos Pit. we've had all sorts of plans,

but finally decided on something different (well, you know it's a woman's prerogative to change her mind... often...)

for the last month there has been lots of plant-gathering and hiding, and organising pick-ups of various items and everyone trying not to breathe our secret to hubby before his birthday.

for two days we've been digging and raking and digging and planting and digging and arranging and digging and watering and planting and digging and watering and getting The Secret Garden ready.

all the plants have white flowers: we have *five* dietes grandiflora growing along the fence, and some ficus growing up it, four camellias in the corners, and a sweet-smelling gardenia between two of the three park benches and beautiful little curly grasses around our focal point: the pond, which has a *fountain*!!! and sprinkled amongst the river stones are delightful little creeping grasses which have tiny white flowers with *five* star-shaped petals.

this evening we all sat out in The Garden, listening to the tinkly sound of the water singing along to our chatter and norah and foo's virginia moon.

and even though there's no koru path like we originally planned,

R14 has kindly lent us the one she made recently for a school project.
i'm ok that The Secret Garden has taken us this long to finally finish, cos my best projects all took nine months to incubate before we got to meet them...

thanks so much to all the willing helpers: you know who you are.
this is the H'official H'invitation to come and drink a glass of bubbles and share some moments with us over the summer months X

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

chocolate body paint

it's not what you think.
actually it's all the *chocolate* stain that is going onto the deck that is being flicked everywhere. all over my face, hands, legs, arms, the cream coloured wall of the house...
DON'T P-A-N-I-C!!!!!
D18 managed to get most of it off the wall:

because YOU ARE A NINJA.
i'm told that *ninja* is the Ultimate Teen Compliment.
apparently being a ninja is even more cool than being a pirate.
warning: derrière shot:
and i have to skite add that those boardies are ones i got
about eight years ago, after another of my weight-loss-scams...
and i fit them, comfortably.
because I AM A NINJA.

wanna lick that deck, though...

Monday, December 10, 2007

*katie's sexy corn chowder recipe* by popular request pffft

see what happens when you go on hiatus, leighleigh???
peeps start asking *moi* ...the not-so-domestiKATEd-goddess... for RECIPES...

this one is originally clare's (she makes it vegetarian: so no bacon, hooray hay) and she got it from the playcentre cookbook. i can make it in half an hour from go to woah. so it's perfect for friday night, or sunday night, or any night lol
most importantly, it's true comfort food, cos it makes EVERYBODEE's tummies happy.

enough pre-amble, get that apron on!!!

CORN CHOWDER for seven peeps, plus a big bowl left over for hubby's lunch:
into pressure cooker fire a chopped onion and saut
é in a little olive oil/butter for a few mins, turn off the heat and add chopped celery, leeks, a couple of grated carrots, two tins (drained) plain corn kernels, half a bag of diced poh-tay-toes, some chopped bacon... and boiling water to the top of the veggies.
whang the lid on, and bring to the boil. when it squeals (let it go lol) turn down the heat and cook for ten to fifteen minutes (or if you are using a *normal* pot, cook until veggies are al dente.)

while the pressure cooker is doing its thang, make a cheese sauce from butter, flour, milk and grated cheese... you know the drill, make a roux first and whisk the heck out of it on a medium heat as you add the milk, until you get a velvety consistency.
add cheese sauce to soup, ladle into bowls and eat five bowl fulls by yourself. or if you have little voices in your head, just eat two bowl fulls, and then persuade hubby to jump in The Sardine Tin and take you and the kiddos on a Late Night Surprise Outing Through The Maccas Drive Thru where you get to scoff a caramel sundae too.
now practise spelling "wagon"
all the way home X

Sunday, December 09, 2007

and i'm F-R-E-E-E-E-E-E.... FREE FALLIN'....

falling off the wagon, that is.
but i now have a vision of Tom Cruise driving down the highway, belting out that song...
hands up who loves that movie??
hands up who obsessively flicks radio stations in the car just like Jerry???

yep, strange, this wagon thang.
especially after all the delish comments the other day.
but hey, i'm putting it down to hormones (those poor hormones are such a wonderful excuse), and getting straight back on that therrrre wagon.
in a minute.
straight after i scoff this bowl of *katie's divine CORN CHOWDER*

which is chock-full of poh-tay-toes and c-h-e-e-s-e and b-u-t-t-e-r...
oh, and i had eight pieces of salmon and avocado sushi for lunch too.
and i ate eight sushis (now i am thinking that "sushi" is the plural of sushi?) last night for dinner. *and* i sneaked six pieces of chocolate. *and* a candy cane off the tree, even when we had no visitors. i know. and i must've been in such a hurry that i managed to scoff some plastic wrapper too, and spent ten mins trying to extract said wrapper from my teeth.

"hi, i'm kate, and i'm addicted to carbs."
this is where we all stand up, place our hand over our mouth on our heart and chant *tomorrow is a brand new day*

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Pay It Forward

I have spotted this wonderful idea in a couple of speshal places in the blogosphere over the last month or two, and finally got in on the action over at Beachmama's this week.
I love it *so* much, it totally captures my philosophy.

Here is how it works: I will send handmade gifts to three people (chosen at random) who leave a comment over the next week (before the dawn of 15 December, NZ time: hubby's birthday!!) and tell me they are interested in playing. In order to play, you must have your own blog and you must continue to Pay It Forward by promising the same thing to your readers.

Now, as far as the handmade gifts from me go, it'll be *something sparkly*. You may not receive the gift before Christmas, but I do promise that it will get to you sometime over The Sunny Bay summer! Sound good? I think it sounds great!

Remember, I will be choosing three people who respond by leaving a comment on this blog post. The requirements are that you have your own blog and are willing to send out three of your own homemade gifts (whatever you want to make, no rules or limitations here).

So go ahead: leave a comment. Move this forward again. If you're a Virtual Friend, please leave your email address or some way to contact you.

Friday, December 07, 2007

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

It's a Friday, but all the 5kiwikids are at home today. D18 has finished his final school exams and is in bed recovering from having his four wisdom teeth out yesterday (good thing his wisdom wasn't removed *before* the exams lol) and R14 is home because we were all gonna go on a School Trip to the beach, but it's a grey day (I know, what's a grey day doing in The Sunny Bay???) and they ain't going.

So we thought we'd bring some
extra sparkle into our home:
hanging lights,
singing along with Frank Sinatra,
lighting candles,
arranging our homemade Christmas story
by the front door
and trimming the tree with
every. single. decoration. we. can. find.

and we've just realised that a little mouse or two has been into the huge bag of candy canes that I bought in Movember... so now we're off to grab some more. One of our Christmas traditions is that whenever visitors are leaving, we can all choose a candy cane off the tree (so come over!!!)...

but we are totally avoiding The Mall, cos I am having such a violent reaction to all the Christmas Commercialism that's being shoved down my throat. Actually I'm doing a lot of self-talk about how wonderful this time of year is, and dusting off our luffly traditions to keep the beauty of Christmas alive. Which is why I love having beautiful children all around, cos they are always so wowed out by the wonderfulness of Christmas X

Thursday, December 06, 2007


ooo, Unc G and Auntie Em...
S10 spotted the courier at the door yesterday and there was much egg-citement as the parcel was
discovered and TWO pressies unwrapped!!! yeah, Em, there's a something about that monkey on S10's card that looks a teensy bit like Greg lol...
J11 has been inseparable from The Jungle Book, and S10 is loving his 101 experiments book.
we had a bit of a dig around and found my hoarded glass *pint-sized* milk bottle ("ooh, it comes in pints? i'm getting one!" guess the movie line), and bribed Daddy to dig out his Biochemistry hat...
and tried the *egg and matches* one, 'twas egg-cellent.
the "balloon blowing up by itself" one works too!!!
now to locate BORAX to try out Slime Making, cos it's not at the local supermarket...
you guys are eggs-tra speshal, have a blast in Iceland, k? X

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

keight's weight updeight

no jokes, i am losing a kilogram a week on this thang.
it's the easiest *non starve yourself* eating plan i've ever done.
high protein, loads of fruit and vegetables, low fat, low carbohydrates.
i do need to put on my skates a little more, but at this rate i'll weigh my *pre-pregnancy weight* well before Christmas, maybe even before hubby's birthday!!
here's to being *nineteen* again...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


about four years ago, we came across the idea of "Birthday Speeches". the deal is that during the birthday dinner, everyone else makes a little speech to The Birthday Person, telling her the things that we love about her, or special memories we treasure from the past year, and we all listen and then there's hugs all around. i love this tradition because it's so affirming, and it causes the family (and any unsuspecting visitors) to enter into each other's world, saying things that might otherwise be left unsaid. it's a wonderful safe place to practise saying heartfelt things, and there's always a lot of laughter, and sometimes there's even tears; and with practice, it means that we can be brave to make speeches at other important events, and not freak out if we start to cry.
i took the three lads to The Big Smoke yesterday for my lovely Mum's retirement party. i made this speech to Mum, and by the end paragraph i was choking back tears.

but it didn't matter, it was important to say the words to you. thanks for listening, Mum, and for everything you are to us X

Mum, I love it how education is so important to you.

I didn't know you when you were a little girl, or studying at university, or the first few years of your married life when you and Dad built our family home, but I remember when I was a little girl, and you were teaching part time I think. One of my earliest memories is of you propping me and Greg at the breakfast bar with plates of toast while you quickly buzzed outside and hung up the washing before racing us off to school and kindergarten.

When I was about six, and Dad started his university degree, working full time and studying in the evenings, you were so supportive. You'd come home from a day at school and negotiate two dinners - one for Greg and me, and a very late dinner for Dad and you. There were no complaints, you just calmly juggled the lot, and years later we all celebrated when Dad walked across stage and received his Master’s degree.

You were always so dedicated. There were nights of marking and report writing, and weekends of making the School Magazine, and summers of arranging and rearranging the School Timetable. Yet you always made time for family dinner parties and boating holidays and skiing trips and tramping days together. You sewed, knitted, spun wool, cooked gourmet delights, did the cryptic crossword and drank cups of tea with Gran who lived downstairs. You went on to study Economics and Accounting, and a few years later gained your University Entrance in Maori, and now you're learning Spanish!

Mum, you are a lifelong learner. You are so accomplished. That's such an inspiration to me.

As my own children have come along, you have encouraged their education too, actively supporting our homeschooling journey, helping to instil a love of language, history, the arts. Dad has helped with maths and sciences. You and Dad are still our first port of call with the tricky questions!

When D18 was twelve, he used to stay the night at your place, and you patiently gave him tastes of four languages: Latin, French, German and Maori. He has just completed his final year at school, and has taken home the Senior School cup for French, and R14 has received an Excellence grade for French during her first year at Secondary School. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and even though we now live 200 kilometres down the road, you are still an invaluable part of our village.

You move so well with the changing seasons of your life, Mum. I know that you'll continue to make the most of every opportunity during your retirement. I'm so proud to be your daughter. We all love you.

Kate X

Monday, December 03, 2007

Christmas @ Carol's

after weeks of conjuring up delish ideas and gourmet food, we had our Gastronomy Club aka The Gourmet Foodies Christmas party which Carol and I hosted!! we invited the hubbies (they usually stay at home lol) and it was a blast!!
hubby's brazier action:
a chocolate heart with roasted almonds and dried apricots, a candy cane, and a wee sparkly with a star bead and a silver oval with the word *love* at the bottom, cos that's what Christmas is all about.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

christmas belles

Antipo, i covet your location. you're a kiwi girl *living in france*!!!!! when you emailed me a few months ago, saying that you and Pauline would like some sparkles from the antipodes, i flipped my lid. moi, sending something to my favourite place?!!!

quelle surprise, les belles sont finies!!!
behold two perfect concoctions:

Pauline's *paua pearl necklace*, with four (one for each of your family!) blue and green luminescent paua ovals, nestled amongst a huge handful of freshwater pearls, lead crystal faceted beads, and a wonderful mixture of blue and cream and turquoise seed beads all wired in surfy waves to remind you of the wild and beautiful seas of Aotearoa.

and a *christmas crème brulée necklace* pour vous: a délicieuse tarty creamy mouthful (it's ok, i didn't lick the beads) of candy pinks and clear berry reds and creams, freshwater pearls, crystals, teeny weeny pinky beads, all wired into a delectable strand to wear at a special occasion, or tous les jours as you walk around your village, stopping to sit at your favourite café to meet les amies and spend hours sipping lattes and nibbling croissants whilst chatting with the locals about the state of the vine-ripened tomatoes and grapes. cos that's what you do all day, oui?!!