Local Heart, Global Soul

March 9, 2013

Mama Mia! My My, Here We Go Again!…

Last Saturday Kiwi Daughter was trying to get five subjects worth of homework done so that she could go on a sleepover at a friend’s place.

For various reasons most sleep-over’s take place at our place so this was bit of a special occasion for Kiwi Daughter and she was motivated to actually try and work rather than spend the morning procrastinating.  Himself was juggling  taking Little Mr. to his sports game, then dropping him back home, leaving again to go grocery shopping, running errands and getting gear ready for the other activity Little Mr. attends on Saturdays.

I was helping Kiwi Daughter organise herself, make sense of homework instructions and giving her examples of the maths questions and explaining the method behind them, whilst avoiding her skilful traps set to try and get me to give her actual answers to the real questions she was supposed to complete. She knew that her presence at the sleep-over wasn’t guaranteed unless she completed the work so she was really trying her best.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Himself’s schedule was tight:  he was to deliver two kids to  two parts of the city at almost the same time as he also had an appointment to drop off urgent paperwork to a client that he’d gotten up early to complete earlier that morning.

All was well until 40 minutes before Kiwi Daughter was due to be whisked out the door… she had strict instructions from Himself  to be ready on time but was struggling with French.

This is how I ended up  busy packing  her overnight things for her whilst keeping up a running debate with said child who was forcefully telling me that the French word for “school”  is  “collage” and who was adamant that I was sooo wrong when I told her that perhaps ” l’ école” might be a more suitable word.

She reluctantly believed me when I shoved a French dictionary under her nose and jabbed a finger at the entry that showed her that maybe her Mama did possess a few working brain cells after all, and then probably as to avoid any possibility of admitting this fact, she changed the subject abruptly by telling me that today was also sleep-over-girl’s Birthday and what did we have that could be given as a Birthday gift?

The short answer was a stunned “um… nothing”,  we don’t just keep a supply of  random gifts laying around, we usually get something specific for the someone when we have an idea of what they might want. Time was ticking away and so I telephoned sleep-over-girl’s mother and asked advice, knowing that springing another errand into Himself’s tight schedule wasn’t going to be met with unbounded enthusiasm.

Luckily Himself avoided that extra stress when I was told that the Birthday Girl was saving for a week away in Italy in the Summer with her Mama and so a small amount of pocket money would be most welcome.

I had a brainwave…  Last year I’d bought a little die cutter that cut out shapes that folded into little boxes that looked like Pizza boxes… and I had just one of them already cut out, in a box of craft stuff stashed away.  Leaving Kiwi Daughter to wade through the French dictionary on her own, I rummaged around for the box and then grabbed some thin felt pens. Quickly the little box gained a sketch  of a slice of pizza that I filled out with the colours.

I added a flag and made up a banner pizza company name  and voila! my little piece of card was now a gift box.  I slapped it onto a dinner plate to take it’s photo and then cash inside, wrapped it in gift paper and was in time to shove it into Kiwi Daughter’s hand as she flew down the stairs to the waiting car. Phew… that’s the way I seem to get my most recent artwork done these days: power scribbling as the clock ticks…

January 7, 2013

The Icing On the Blogging Cake is Very Sweet Indeed…

Filed under: Blogging & Writing,Kids and Family,LIFE — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

One thing about blogging and following other blogs is that over time you learn about other people around the world, how they live, their interests,  travels both near and far and sometimes a little bit of magic happens along the way and you build up a relationship with the person behind the blog.

In my own experience this comes about because they take an active interest in your blog, they comment often and visit every time you post.

Generally we follow each other’s blogs because of shared interests like family life, cooking, travel or photography.

We all lead very different lives but there are threads woven into each of them that are shared connections and we can relate to these in each others blogs.

After getting to know these people better, sometimes we chose  few of these people to surprise with a few gifts that are local to us but definitely exotic to someone else on the other side of the globe.

I’ve just received not one but  two of these gifts this weekend and wanted to not just say a BIG  Thank You  to the senders but also tell you about the treats new to me (and possibly to you too!).

The first parcel (photo above) arrived from blogger GH from “Noodles with Butter”  http://www.noodleswithbutter.blogspot.nl/ and contained some beautiful postcards of the region she lives in, a Christmas card and newsletter (not pictured for privacy reasons due to photos of her daughter on the front), two key-rings, herbal tea, two packets of apple chips, some fruit bars,  some chocolate bars and a little plastic bag that contained some Washington Rain which made us giggle.

Last year we decided that when we travelled we would pick up a very little bag of sand or stones from beaches we have visited and I have an old printers type box that has lots of little compartments that we aim to slowly fill, this bag of rain is destined to join this collection.

Our kids love the dried fruit strips, which we call fruit “roll ups” after a favourite New Zealand brand of the same. (the USA version about three times the thickness of the New Zealand version but they are both delicious!)

My eighteen year old oven is currently dying a slow death and it’s temperature gauge is terminally ill so in recent months I’ve been looking for a new oven, one with a specific feature that’s proving hard to find: one that starts in temperature at 30 C instead of the usual 50 C, because then I could use my new oven as a dehydrator and make things like home-made fruit roll ups and beef jerky.

The second parcel (second photo) is from Tracy from MilkayPhoto http://milkayphoto.wordpress.com/  and the contents include Reeses peanut pieces and peanut butter cups, granola (a.k.a. museli where I come from) some marshmallow fluff, jif  peanut butter, some home-made rhubarb and strawberry jam, an amazing array of specialist salts.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Danish Viking Smoked Sea Salt and Vanilla Salt sound particularly  tasty and  whilst I can’t partake due to my mushroom allergy, Himself loves mushrooms and is very much looking forward to trying out the Porcini Salt. There  are candy covered coffee beans (Himself pricked his ears up and grinned a lot at that one), some Tomato Jam, parsnips (I’d mentioned that they used to be hard to get here, but they are more easily available especially in the last year), some Crisco, a sort of baking butter.

There’s bacon spread (we giggled about that one because it sounded rather a strange product  and will look at the website provided on the label for some interesting ideas to use it with) and a vanilla chocolate sweet called the Charleston Chew which it is recommended both by Tracy and on the packet to place in the freezer and then break the frozen pieces to eat.

Since I read that earlier I placed one packet in the freezer and we shared one of the two strips with the family last evening… a total hit! Had I left our children alone with the other two packets, even unfrozen I think they might not  have been there when I came back, such was the popularity of this one!

Being a prudent parent I omitted to tell them that there was a second strip in the freezer … I think that Himself and I can quietly enjoy that one by ourselves LOL. Naturally we haven’t tried everything in both the packages yet and will very much enjoy rationing out the treats, although I predict that the sweeter items will disappear very quickly. A huge Thank You and big thumbs-up to both GH and Tracy !

Both these blogging friends have excellent blogs which I can highly recommend visiting. Of course I blog because I love writing and taking photos and because it’s an on-line journal of all of our Life’s adventures, but the icing on the cake is that I also get to meet some brilliant people from all around the world. And the friendships I have made show just how sweet that icing is…

July 10, 2012

Drool and Dream of “Dreams”…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Now there’s a building that’s pretty hard to miss whilst passing through Maungaturoto…

…even when I first saw it out of the van passenger window and it was persisting down with rain, it was still a head turner.

Luckily we have the opportunity to come back on a sunnier day and Kiwi Daughter and I take a look inside.

Dreams is a gift shop and is like an emporium of amazing bits and pieces.

Kiwi Daughter’s two “bestest” friends would each celebrate their birthdays whilst she was away in New Zealand so she was shopping for something to post to them as a surprise.

I was shopping for some cute baby things for a good friend who’s baby was due pretty much the same time our plane was due to touch the tarmac as we headed back in The Netherlands and since babies have a habit of being unpredictable in their arrival schedules I thought it wise to already have something in my hand luggage in case he arrived in The Netherlands sooner than we did.

And yes, shopping for a new arrival is fun at any time, in any country so  hey what a brilliant excuse to go shopping here!  It’s a hot and humid day when we visit and stepping into the cavernous cool of this building is refreshing and relaxing.

Naturally I also saw a ton of stuff that I would have carted home if  “home”  had been closer than 16.000,– kms away, as I instantly fell in love with lots of  ironwork items, and beautiful things in glass, wood and stone.

Sadly I would need my own jumbo-jet to lug it all back to the Hague and oh,… the small technical detail of an abode that would need to be at least three times as big as our present apartment to fit it all into.

Oh well seems I’ll just have to drool from afar and dream of Dreams.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 9, 2012

The Whole is Made of Two Very Different Halves… A Very Holistic Approach.

Filed under: NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,Places and Sights,Reviews,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are still in the Cafinate Coffee and Tea House in Rotorua, New Zealand.  There’s a great idea in place here, because the premises is shared by two separate businesses so can obviously both benefit from this dual purpose arrangement in having reduced overhead costs.

When you walk in the door you are in the Café section, but immediately to your right is “Simply Holistic” , a holistic gift shop, so you can browse a little whilst you are waiting for your lunch to be served, or in our case waiting for the slow ones to finish their lunch and for the rain to abate just enough to make the walk to the car parked a little distance away just a little less hazardous.

I’ll be honest, I’m not really into rock crystals and the like,  so those bits were of less interest to me personally, but the handmade soaps and natural products did grab my attention and I knew that someone we would be seeing later in the trip would love these too so we picked up a few nice things as gifts.

I love it when two businesses join together to make a partnership, it was relaxing to  be able to look around quietly and had the added bonus  that we hadn’t had to go and find a large shopping centre to go find gifts in.

And… if  this place hadn’t been incorporated into our late lunch hunt, I never would have discovered the item in my next post…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 5, 2010

Now HERE’s an investment for the kids to celebrate…

Filed under: LIFE,The vaguarities of Parenting — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Now here’s an investment for the kids to celebrate…

We just bought 2 crates of port… one for each year of the children’s birth, 2001 and 2005.. Nature was kind and both ended up being more than decent vintages. OK, it wasn’t cheap but it only gets opened when the kids are 21 … so we should have recovered financially by then.

Our wine merchant is Dutch, his wife is Portuguese and they were going on a visit to Portugal. Before we invested in these Ports, Hubby recommended several varieties for our wine merchant to try whilst they were there  and I must admit that I blushed…  …because well, recommending Ports to a PORTUGUESE????(rolling my eyes) should surely be viewed a just plain rude, wouldn’t it ?…

But miracles happen and a) they weren’t offended and b) and they hadn’t actually tried these ones before… and they were so delighted with the taste of  their new discoveries that more bottles will be finding their way into their shop soonest.

That’s good news on the whole I think,… but bad when it comes to our grocery budget when the excellent-but-definitely-pricier stuff will be all to available just around the corner instead of in another country and in the ” special occasion, we are on holiday, so this is a treat” budget.

Our excellent downstairs neighbour has a wine cellar under the house, the  crates are stashed there, he scored a (bottled) something for the storage ” fee” and an invite to taste a bottle together of our stash once it’s matured.

Now THAT’s a great investment for the kids… because if they turn out to hate an excellent vintage of aged Port when they are 21, then well Heck, then your Father and I will just have to put the stuff out of it’s misery… by the way… that’s parental compensation for getting to eat the ” ugly food”, the experimental food… ( Yes children…, chocolate spread with chocolate sprinkles and doused in golden syrup did SEEM like a good idea at the time, but, it does indeed taste ghastly) and reheating  and eating your wrinkled cold leftovers etc for our lunch in our efforts to  save us throwing out yet more food that you  little fussy-breeches-food-philistines turned up their noses at.

For us therefore, these crates of Port are the  Perfect Gift…  if you turn 21 and find you love it then Good for You ! Proost ! If not,  Tough for you… we tried and will willingly give your not-at-all sour grapes the appreciation that they deserve.

..so if they DO end up being connoisseurs of fine Port, then we will have done a half decent job as parents. For once in a very very long time with kids, instead of gifts that are ridiculously noisy, irritating, too hard to assemble, have parts that get lost or which break on their first outing, or which is cheap rubbish marketed with an inflated price tag,  this gift might actually turn out to be the perfect  win-win situation.

Cheers to that!

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