kate5kiwis: March 2008


“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

Monday, March 31, 2008

making waves

my friend Sarah lives in Canada of the melting snows.
i first met her a year ago and we did a Global Swap: i made her a kiwi surf necklace and she made me a gorgeous little bag and they waved at each other as they flew through the air.

since then, Sarah has been ever so busy setting up shop and expanding her range of haute couture and recently she has even been making waves in the dancing scene.
when we came home from camping there was another wee *wave* from Sarah waiting for me:
and then a wee note:
Oh, I'm so glad it arrived! Surprise!!!
I'm glad you like it, too! :) Genuine Swarovski crystals inspired by your pics and writings of the Sunny Bay - one of a kind just for you. A special Mummy gift.

it's gorgy Sarah, and it's nearly tshirt weather here too so it'll be luffly to still be wearing *surfy summer* during the w*nt*r (can't say that word, might jinx the Sunny Bay weather lol)

and while i'm on the topic of this whole waves thang, watch this clip of some Kiwi Lads making waves in Europe, D18's uni mates have nicknamed him *Jemaine* (cos he looks rather like the guy on the left - whose name is Jemaine lol. uh, hopefully D18's too busy studying to be doin' much Business. hope i haven't jinxed that either)

These Kiwi Lads call themselves Flight of the Conchords (click that link if ya feel like a giggle) and they are h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s, yep: buckle your seatbelts Dorothy (guess the movie line) and get yerself ready for some good ole "kiwi bloke" humour:

Friday, March 28, 2008

happy campers

three daze days of The Great Outdoors,
dining on Watties Big Eat out of a can,
staying up late around the outdoor fire
with dark chocolate, a bottle of red
and Deb's hilarious stories,
cuddling lots of babies,
swimming, swinging,
sleeping rough on crinkly mattresses,
dodging raindrops (with not a bikini in sight)

the mommies running breathlessly
up and down treacherous clay banks
trying to keep up with the kiddos
Rob doing his cool encouraging thing with M6
going up and down the hill slide
J12, kayaker extraordinaire
S10 rescuing a rather freaked out M6
my personal fave: rifle range.
S10 aims at the targets, on that wall,
eleventy billion miles away
down the end of that field
J12 aims and fires his ten shots too.
no photo of moi, but here's my target.
see all those BULLSEYES?
i kid you not, i *am* Jane Smith.

M6 *loved* swinging over
The Crocodile Pit

S10 and buddies,
with their bivouac in foreground,
or background, i can't really tell lol.
let's hope that if they get lost in the bush
there's a friendly architect nearby!

M6 blew us away with his sure-footedness
on the Burma Bridge:
a three-wire-rig up to the Flying Fox
J12 managed to grab a third ride on said Fox,
bouncing and waving all the way down:
Look Mum, no hands...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

sweet sixteen

life is ever-so-sparkly around here.
truth be known, i'm having a crisis.
make that a series of crises.
emotional, spiritual, mental: the list goes on and on.
my first kiddo has just left home. when he was born, a breathless protectiveness encircled his heart with mine. it hasn't gone away. he needs to individuate, to become entirely independant. everything all those older mommies said to me is true: and i am still struggling with the unmothering process.
i have one, maybe three more years before all my kiddos will be at school.
i'll have to change careers.
i *like* the career i've had for the last sixteen years. i don't want to say adios to
unschooling/beach schooling home education. i believe in it. i also believe in high school, with its wonderful opportunities and experiences.
and i feel like i am in spiritual detox: everything i've believed up 'til now is currently up for grabs.
maybe i'm just reaching mid-life?

when i was sixteen i bought a Real Swimsuit from A Real Surf Shop. it was a brilliant turquoise and it cost me seventy bucks and i felt like Rachel Hunter whenever i wore it. come to think of it, i've been asked two or three times in my life whether i *am* Rachel Hunter lol.
that gorgeous swimsuit lasted really well: i even wore it when i was eight months pregnant with D18 at an *aqua aerobics class*. take note: it's impossible to do water-situps with your legs clutching the side of the pool when you're eight months pregnant. don't try it, unless you have a lovely friend close at hand to resuscitate you when you nearly drown in fits of giggles.

i have promised myself ever since that i'll get a Real Bikini from A Real Surf Shop. so for twenty two years (yep, add it up. i'm *that old*) i've been waiting for the perfect time, my perfect teenage figure to return. but every time i regained the figure, i got pregnant. yep.
five kiwi kids and a whole lot of grunt later, i've done it again.
er, not got the perfect figure, got the perfect bikini.

well, it's not that bad cos i found it for half price.
and who cares if we have to eat lentils and lawn clippings for the next month?
at least i'll get a whole lotta wear outta it this week.
'cos we're going camping with the locals.
yeah, for three sunshiney days i'm gonna sweep all the mid-life crises back under the carpet and get on with being sixteen again.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Did you just pitch up from Mars?

Since Bulldog introduced us all to the hilarious Catherine Tate (one of my childhood nicknames was "Tate" lol) a week ago, we have numerous new catchphrases ("Catch, Phrase!" rofl. uh, that's a bit of a random one, but I think it's really funny. guess ya had to be there?) in the family lingo:

"Forsooth, my liege. Look-eth at my faaace: am-est I bother-ed?"
"Can I just arks you a quest-ion?"
"I fink you're a nine 'undred and for'y five year old time lord!"
"Do you fancy Billie Piper, Sir?"
"Bite me, alien boy!"

You're not giggling?
Watch this then, alien girl...
(for the uninitiated, the school teacher in the skit is the multi-talented David Tennant, aka Doctor Who)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

café-style pancakes

(or how-to-make-a-sexy-café-style-brekkie-

usually i throw in a cup of porridge oats (fills up the natives) and omit the melted butter, but today i threw caution to the wind and actually followed (well i *tripled*)
this recipe (thanks again, sophie)

1 1/4 c plain flour
1/4 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
whisk in with electric beater:
1 egg
3/4 c milk, soured with a squeeze of lemon juice
30 g butter, melted
melt knob of butter on hot flat griddle that i salvaged from mum's kitchen, cook four at a time, hurrying, because these little pancakes are gobbled as soon as they come out of the pan... oh, and remember to save *one* for self.

serve with lashings of natural yoghurt, heap with blueberries and drizzle with maple syrup. think of the recently-reappeared waistline and resist going back for seconds, lol.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

"Why is this night different to all other nights?"

well, it's different because we only do it once a year.
family traditions are important to me and us: they're part of what give our family its distinctive flavour, they're what memories are made of. family traditions help to bind us together and make life special. for the last twelve years or so, we've celebrated the wonderful tradition of a Passover meal at Easter time. this year GD and Granny joined us, partaking in one of the traditions of our jewish ancestors.

this night is also different because D18 is here for the weekend; he's popped home after spending his first three wonderful weeks in The Big Smoke. he and i caught up for a few words during a chuckly break from last night's study moment (while the other kiddos were toasting marshmallows on the brazier, in the dark)...
D18: *twinkle in his eye* i love coming here.
moi: why is that?
D18: because people always laugh at my jokes!

M6 drops ten drops of grape juice on his plate, to signify the ten plagues that afflicted the Egyptians, before Moses led his people through the Red Sea.

note to self: ah, yes, my thoughts are all jumbly and half-baked again. that's ok, just need to jot some of them here for remembrance. might re-write later...

Friday, March 21, 2008

Elven Bracelet

A few weeks ago, Laura asked me to make a bracelet for her daughter Meredith, who is turning twenty one next month. Meredith is an artist, like her mother.

So while Bulldog and the kiddos snuggled up in front of Lord of the Rings last night, I lit a candle and gathered a bunch of freshwater pearls and crystal faceted beads and pearly seed beads and started arranging and threading, and it occured to me that I think Meredith looks very like the kind and graceful Arwen Evenstar.

Then I heard Galadriel say:
It began with the forging of the Great Rings. Three were given to the Elves, immortal, wisest and fairest of all beings...
Meredith and her brothers.
Pearls, for beauty and purity.
Twenty-one crystals, one for each year of your life.
Happy Birthday, Meredith, with love and sparkles all the way from Middle Earth X

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The athletic athlete performs athletics.

we joined up with some of the locals this arvo
to run and jump and throw stuff...
after i had spent a few minutes explaining
the noun: athlete
the adjective: athletic
the noun: athletics
ah, the confusing english language.
ah, the exhilaration of being an athletic athlete!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Saving The World, One River At A Time

Fleur is my childhood friend. I first met her when we were both twelve, and we've been bosom buddies ever since, despite the fact that she went to the school ball with Bulldog when we were sixteen and whom she knew I was hopelessly in love with (let it go, Katie lol). Even though she has lived in Cambodia for the past eight years and we're So Far Away in NZ, our friendship is still alive and kicking. I've always admired Fleur's energy and compassion for others. Fleur doesn't just trawl cafés in search of the perfect coffee: she inspires people and gets involved in their lives (whilst trawling cafés in search of the perfect coffee).

Over the last two years, Fleur and a leading Khmer artist,
Leang Seckon, have been realising their hearts' desires to creatively raise awareness of local environmental issues.
They've called it The Rubbish Project and the last month has seen them gathering local talent and 150 kilograms of plastic and lengths of rattan and nylon and finding their muse...
which is culminating in the appearance of a 200 metre long recycled plastic NAGA on the Siem Reap River and a Trash to Fashion Show (clothes made from recycled materials) and Performance on 22 March if you're passing through FCC Angkor.
Which I wish I was.

Fleur, I'm so excited to vicariously live the life you're living, so amazed at your accomplishments, so inspired by your passion.
Love your beautiful life X

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

ear ear

the lads've been wanting to do this for absolutely a-g-e-s.
after loads of chats and listing of pros and cons, and general agreement that *ten* is the magic age around here, today was the adventurous day.
i think you look absolutely fabulous!!!
the inside scoop is here.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Bay City Robbers

Bulldog and his mate nabbed some burglars last night, no jokes.
He got a phone call just as we were leaving the gym at a quarter past ten. I got the girl gun. Actually I was told to stay put while Bulldog grabbed a large bar and sprinted outside. Eight tense minutes and a loud and scary confontation later, the police arrived to find said burglars on the ground, under Starsky and Hutch's watchful eyes.

Q: What do ya call a man lying on the back lawn with a rabbit up his bottom?
A: Hutch.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

How To Have Your Cake And Eat It Too

(or, Katie's Tips on Successfully Cramming Two Weekends Into One)
On The Sunny Friday Afternoon: fill The Tardis to the brim with every conceivable wardrobe option (just in case ya wanna wear something that has unfortunately been left at home). Drop lads at Bulldog's Work at 3pm, kiss all the family (twice) and hightail it down a side street where ya pluck eyebrows and smooth moisturising lotion on previously-shaved legs. Turn up the music, very loudly. Travel NORTH an hour and a quarter while simultaneously texting D18 to debrief him on his Raucous Night Before chiding self NOT to Text And Drive . Buzz into the Supermarché and recruit extra champagne glasses. Negotiate eleventy billion winding roads without running self or anybody else off them. Successfully locate wild sandy beach and nine other chicks at the annual GWoF. Uncork bubbly and proceed to make eight new friends. Walk on sandy beach. Dip toes in surf. Watch chick flicks. Talk and giggle until wee small hours. Sleep.

On The Sunny Saturday Morning: Get up at crack of dawn and stroll on beach with the gorgy Leighsie. Walk five hundred miles (guess the partial song lyric) into town. Order a divine Ristretto (forget the short black: the ristretto is the new short black) and feijoa juice and Eggs Benny. Eat. Laugh. Walk. Shop. All get measured by the Lingerie Lady. Laugh. Walk. Shop. Try on bikinis. Eat. Laugh. Shop. Read Mags. Have a nana nap. Go Out For Dinner. Avoid carbs. Clean up someone else's fush'n'chups off their plate. Delight the other restaurateurs by doing some more measuring. Savour a whole Crème Brûlée by self. Talk Talk Talk into the wee small hours again.

On The Sunny Sunday Morning: Wake up at six o'blimmin'clock with the *brainwave* that Self Can Whizz Home Right Now and still connect with Bulldog and the kiddos. That is, have two weekends instead of just one.
Cram everything back into The Tardis, fly home and do exactly that...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

If you were waiting for the opportune moment, that was it.

i finally dug up
the last of the poh-tay-toes
this morning:

the boots

the gloves

the spade

the buried treasure

the poirate
the quiz
Which one of Captain Jack Sparrow's
bizarre sayings from
Pirates of the Caribbean are you?

You are "Welcome to the Caribbean, love."
You're more than a little world-weary, but also intelligent
and you keep your head
when things get dodgy.
You're everybody's
favourite buddy,
but your stubbornness
does get in the way sometimes.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

risotto (can't think of a better title, i used all my creativity up on the cooking lol)

there's a trick to cooking the perfect risotto. and (don't start a sentence with a conjunction. and always use a capital letter.) i think i've finally found the eleventh recipe to add to my current repertoire. it started out as another The Cupboard is Bare Moment (like most of our yummy ones do) and the kiwi kids all loved it.

historically, Bulldog has turned his nose up at my risottos. i'm not surprised. being the personality type that i am, i am a Busy Whizzy Whang It All Together kinda cook. i don't follow recipes very well. i only measure ingredients when baking (and even then i forgot to put baking powder and vanilla essence in yesterday's brownie, that i have made eleventy billion times and usually make with my eyes closed... maybe i should open them?)
so then, The Perfect Risotto:
in one pan: gently simmer 2 litres of chicken/veggie stock
in other pan: 2 onions, sliced thinly, swoosh olive oil, gently fry 'til onion changes colour.
add whatever ya fancy: chopped celery, carrot, mushrooms, bacon, pumpkin cubes, shredded cooked chicken.
add 2 cups (arborio) rice (i used basmati with equal success) and mix well until rice is coated in the oils and the pan is drying out.

now for the tricksy part...
add a couple of ladles full of hot stock and stir occasionally until stock is absorbed.
*Big Note To Self*: READ THE RECIPE. RESIST SLOSHING ALL THE STOCK IN AT ONE GO. the rice needs the heat and agitation of the stirring to release the starch that gives risotto its distinctive creamy texture. you will not need to stir constantly, just regularly. when risotto is soft and creamy (in about ten to fifteen minutes of adding stock and stirring. *Another Big Note To Self*: RESIST WALKING AWAY FROM THE STOVE) check the seasoning, adding salt and pepper if ya like.
a cup of grated gold cheese/parmesan or pine nuts is very good at this stage (oops, no gold cheese or pinenuts in The Bare Cupboard. no bone either.)
serve in bowls with chopped herbs and crusty bread.
we liked/like/will like.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

a listening ear

a few times over the last few days, i've noticed M6 dashing by with the lid of his green fluorescent bendy pen jammed firmly into his lug hole.
upon my incredulous-but-trying-to-sound-oh-so-casual inquiry, it transpires that it's his telephone, "...it's only pretend mum, but i can talk to people just like on a normal phone."

of course.
the ear-stashing must be a family trait which skipped a generation:

as i remember it, the tale of my uncle lew goes that, as a kid, he used to roll up bits of paper and pop them in his ear.
many. years. passed.
during his late forties he awoke one morning with a bit of hearing trouble...

(you know where this story's going, dontcha?)
yep, he went to the doctor and a scroll of ancient paper was tweezed out of his ear...

*kate goes off singing very loudly*
cos ya can't hear the teacher with *beans* in your ears, *BEANS* in your ears.

Monday, March 10, 2008

mystery monday

oh yes, they're back!!
well, sort of.
today's *mystery monday* started when M6's swimming lesson was cancelled and we had to get creative to combat the sobs: so we scrounged around for a few gold coins, which M6 had fun *diving* for...
then we popped out and grabbed some hubba bubba (brush your teeth) and posted a couple to D18 (along with a long letter and other paraphernalia)... and S10 had a guitar lesson with the most awesome guitarist in The Sunny Bay: "Mum, my favourite thing in the WORLD is playing guitar with Aaron!" it turns out that Aaron gave S10 his first ever guitar solo practice while he accompanied him on Hotel California. S10 had a blast!
on the way home, the lads'n'i dipped our toes in the ocean, surfside.

all in all, another perfect Monday.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

love story

He arrives home, his brain full from an unexpected Sunday at the office. He finds me, fatigued from five hours of tidying, cleaning, trying to keep four other kiwis happy and helping. He sends me to a quiet place, he couriers me a medicinal glass. He wafts through the kitchen, creating comfort for the hungry, the thirsty, the weary. He bathes us in words of peace, of love, of treasure hunting later in the afternoon. I read my book. I find a lovely poem and muse upon it whilst sipping and savouring. He feeds us his signature Dog's Breakfast, a wonderfully comforting steaming mash of two-minute noodles and bacon, onions, grated carrots, corn; followed by Perfect French Toast made with yesterday's baguettes and drizzled with maple syrup. We all collapse in a heap in the lounge, surrounded by a happy ever after movie. He cleans up the kitchen. He takes gleeful kids on the afore-promised treasure hunt, leaving me again with uncluttered quietness, a sunny breeze caressing yesterday's sun-kissed skin. He returns home after hunting and gathering hot chippies with the children, curls into a comfortable heap on the floor and promptly falls asleep.
This, then, is love. My true love.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

the sweetest thing

i talk all the time about
The Love Going Around The Universe.
it still does.
sarah bean loves me.
sarah bean loves me so much
that she sent me a book about LOVE,
with no carbs attached
cos i am such a ninja speller,
and i was asking her about a quote for moi for 2008.
so this is it: complete with my very own *pink* bookmark.
love the quote, sarah bean.
it's *perfick* for me.
ain't love the sweetest thing.
you are the sweetest thing.
(ok, i'm taking me'n'my hyperlink-hysteria
off to the gym with Bulldog now)
mwah X

Friday, March 07, 2008

*party* girl

Yippee zippee, it's PARTY TIME again!!!

Ultimate Blog Party 2008
(click on the party-link above if ya like to boogie and wanna join the Ultimate Blog Party too!!)

Hi, I'm Kate and I live in beautiful New Zealand with hubby aka Bulldog, and *five* cool kids, the eldest of whom has just left home to go to university (college). I have a gorgeous, smart, talented daughter and three fabulous lads who teach me at home.

I have a love affair with all things french and when I'm not drinking little espressos with lush friends or going to the beach, or chilling with da family, I make sparkly jewellery. Oh, my latest obsession is Pilates, but who knows how long that'll last?? lol

Of course, *pressies* make a party oh! so speshal, so here's a gorgy giveaway from me:

at the end of this year's Ultimate Blog Party, I'll randomly pick a winner from the comments on this *party* post and that luffly person will receive a pair of *french provincial* earrings: a luscious little handful of blue pearls/glass beads hanging from sterling silver ear wires, handmade by me, Katie.
oui, très français...
happy days,
mwah X

Thursday, March 06, 2008

the price of fish

i don't buy fish often, we used to get it ourselves for *free* as a kid, and so i object to spending money on it, except for a pack of *smoked salmon* to partner the avocado every so often when we make sushi.

but have you other Kiwi Chicks noticed a massive hike in *food prices* of late here in NZ?? especially fruit??? oh, and dairy... and petrol.
or maybe it's happening All Around The Globe???

in my head we spend about $NZ 300 a week on food, give or take... and we don't eat much fillet steak either. 'twill be interesting to see what the food bill pans out to be now that D18 is eating elsewhere. except that i have already started posting up the "care parcels" lol.

so i am most ecstatic to see this view all over our back fence: *free fruit*
delish, honey-smelling sunshiney grapes.
prescribed dosage: *one* bunch a day, or the consequences could be rather dramatic.

which reminds me of one of my fave jokes:
Q: what's brown and sticky?

(scroll down)

A: a stick!!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

lost in translation

j'ai perdu mes clefs. i have lost my keys.
je cherche mes clefs. i am looking for my keys.
avez-vous a vu mes clefs? have you guys seen my keys?
quelqu'un a trouvé mes clefs? has anyone found my keys?

even though we have a little place on the kitchen bench to pop our keys, phones, wallets, these questions pop up with rather high frequency during the week.
they popped up again this morning:

moi: j'ai perdu mes clefs. avez-vous a vu mes clefs?
*no one moves a muscle*
i'm offering a *prize* for whoever finds my keys.
(nope, not eduKATEd enough to say that one en français)
*lads leap up from wherever situated and start pulling the house apart*
quelqu'un a trouvé mes clefs? has anyone found my keys?
and while i'm asking, has anyone found my marbles?

M6: Mum, why do you need your keys?
moi: *frantically looking under a few piles* just in case we need to go somewhere in an emergency, i would like to know where they are.
M6: oh don't worry Mum, you can always go on your roller blades...
moi: ummm, great idea, thanks kiddo.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


J12 has sorted his new room out already:
he has his star quilt and piano in there, and the wonderful freedom to say:
"Get out of my bedroom, and stay out..." polite variations on "Please Vacate My Space" lol.
M6 is sleeping "up with the stars", which means that he is a big boy now and doesn't need a human presence to sit with him while he falls asleep: i have been a Very Patient Mummy for six years and i am (very quietly) ecstatic.
R14 has made her bed all in blue, and has commandeered her Big Brother's Blanket so that he's still with her, even though he's not (the Anti Paparazzi Brigade won't let me take a photo of her room just yet, it's still knee-deep in stuff).

and i am looking forward to seeing the carpet again... maybe tomorrow... maybe next week... sucking a million little piles up the vacuum cleaner, which needs a Big Fix (probably cos i suck too much stuff up it), so that we don't have to re-live this or this or this again.

Monday, March 03, 2008

jeans jest fits best

on saturday i found myself in a mall with R14, my fave bargain hunter. she always finds the fifteen dollar jeans.

so i found some $NZ 100 jeans. gorgeous $NZ 100 jeans. divine $NZ 100 jeans. which fit me *perfickly*. they are even a size smaller than the last jeans i bought. and the tag says:
very persuasive.
but the real deciding factor is that they only cost $NZ 15.
fifteen bucks!!! i'm the cheapest supermodel in The Sunny Bay.

and while we're on the topic of jeans,
lookit what Miss TURN-YOUR-JEANS-INTO-A-COUTURE-BAG (aka R14) has spent three days hand-sewing:
an exquisite SUPERMODEL bag!!!
this baby is lined with pink sateen (*book* line, woah, how eduKATEd is that??) and is worn diagonally over R14's shoulder and accompanies her to school, the beach, anywhere... and is *not* available in our Etsy store!
(actually nothing is, i'm so over it. but of course i'm still making speshal pieces for speshal peeps.)
and Woozie is out getting her hands on any old clothes to refashion in to Fabulous Stuff... cos she's definitely got the Miss Couture jeans genes X