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Archive for January, 2009

We had a lovely time yesterday at the beach, poddling round the rockpools, finding shells and sea-weed, peeking under rocks for crabs, and admiring the “beautiful patterns” left by the boat-towing cars on the sand.

A crab a crab!

Beautiful tree seaweed

Bravely touching the seaweed

Washing a shell

Tyre tracks in the sand

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Beetle and I were trying to make paper snowflakes the other day. She is just getting the hang of using scissors now, and she has been doing a lot of practice at snipping little bits out of paper.

But we found that once a regular bit of paper was folded the four or more times required to make a decent snowflake, it was far too thick and difficult for her to cut with little safe scissors and little hands.

Beetle worked on paper folded once, but then she found some single-ply paper serviettes and started cutting those. They were super easy and soft to cut and they make a lovely square snow-flake. Not to mention being pre-folded neatly into quarters! She soon discovered that she could fold them once more, diagonally, and they were still really easy to cut. So we were very pleased.
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Next I realised we could make a paper chain of dolls using the napkins. I’d demonstrated them with some junkmail, but realised they, too,  were too tricky for Beetle to cut.

I unfolded the napkin and cut it in half:
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Then I zig-zag folded it into quarters, and drew the shape of the paper doll… making sure it touched the folded edges. To make it easier for her, I coloured the bits that she needed to cut out, and trimmed off the top, so only some simple cutting was required.
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It worked really well and made simple paper crafts much easier for a child who is just starting with the scissors.

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And it is also why I now have a very very beautiful window indeed.
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We went on a car trip to the Waikato today to my Aunty Em’s farm.  She has the best place; every window, every wall, and most of the ceiling are covered in marvellous, glittery decorations. Oh, and the garden, too.
Glorious window

I imagine that a first-time visitor might be taken aback at first but you know,  it is very beautiful.

The girls mouths open wide as they walk in, looking at all the glorious things. It’s like walking into an Eye Spy book.

We stopped on the way at Candyland, a big warehouse of lollies in Taupiri, the name of which makes me hum the song from Charlie the Unicorn. The girls were more interested in sitting on a tiny, coin0-operated, ride-on plane, but were persuaded to come and look around. I let them choose a big lolliop each because I know how they work when it comes to lollipops.
Lollipop
They beg and beg till the lollipop is opened. Then they will have a go eating it for a few minutes, and chuck the remainder in the bin. Like, an entire lollipop minus 8 licks. Which still doesn’t take away from the BAD MUM look of a tiny toddler with an enormous lollipop. Like they’re gonna eat the whole thing.

So, after they licked the three-atom-thick layer off their lollies and discarded them, we had a lovely lunch. Billie helped herself repeatedly to a bowl of grated cheese. We helped shoo the rooster back out-of-doors when he came in to eat the dog’s food. Beetle helped Uncle Henry adjust the fountain outdoors, drenching them both in the process, and then went ‘sploring in the rain in her new dry dress to find some eggs in the henhouse. Then she skipped back into the house with those three eggs in a plastic supermarket bag, and immediately pressed the button on the wall-mounted singing fish. The music roused her in her a dramatic corridor-dance that involved a great swirling of bags and cracking of eggs on the door-frame.

We left the eggs.

Chooks at the back door

It was long past Billie’s nap time, so we reluctantly left, farewelled in a sudden rainstorm, rushing through the garden to the car, Uncle Henry grabbing an umbrella to shelter us while Aunty Em sheltered under a boogie board.

We waved goodbye as we backed the car through the gate, draped in bunting and gaily wrapped in rain-dripping tinsel.

It’s a wonderful place to visit.

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Happy New Year, everybody!

I sent out text messages last night; got one back this morning with a grizzle about being woken up at midnight. Whoops. I put mine on mute before I went to bed.

We finished 2008 with a second round of Christmas dinner.  We had a big family gathering at my parents on Christmas day; afterwards Mum and I decided we could cope with just a little more potato salad and another round of trifle. So, greedily, we arranged to have another crack at it for New Years Eve.  I even made my Very First sponge cake for the trifle, flinging together a 3-minute-sponge from the Edmonds Cook Book.  Good one, Rosie. Gold star.

And we started 2009 with a trip to the Auckland Museum. The girls had a ball, especially opening and closing the drawers-o’-critters in the Stevenson Discovery centre.
Butterflies in a drawer
Me… I was fine with the drawers (moth, moth, beetle, moth, scoria, moth, algae, butterflies, giant cicada) then HOLY CRAP THERE’S A WHOLE PARROT IN HERE.

*mutters* stoopid pinned insects were meant to desensitise me to the dead stuff in drawers when they turn up actual MAMMALS.

Yeah I know, parrots aren’t mammals… the bottom drawer had a helpful comparative display of stoats, weasels and ferrets.

We moved along from the small dead stuff to the really big stuff and visited Sue the T-Rex, where I learned my mental image of a Tyrannosaurus’ posture was stuck in the 1970s.

Sue the T-Rex

After a stroll down Centennial Street and back through the Origins Gallery, the girls were getting tired, so we headed out and under a tree for a picnic lunch, and a bit of a climb.
Climbing the Pohutukawa

A good start to the year.

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