Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tuesday In Our Home


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Can you believe it? More clothes-washing watching went on today. :)

Thank you for your kind comments; it's so nice to hear something from the other side of the screen in the world of blogging! Especially when we're literally on the other side of the world... I always get surprised when I see a globe or a picture of the world and see where New Zealand actually is in relation to home. I almost always gasp in disbelief.

P.S. If anyone has questions, I try to answer in the comment section. I don't know if that's hard to find later or not. Maybe I should enable the "respond in e-mail form" or something? Is that possible? I'm off to find out.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Homemaking in the Southern Hemisphere

A few months ago I tried to make it my custom to clean house on Saturdays. Mostly because I love having a tidy and picked up house for Sunday. It doesn't always happen, and sometimes I clean on other days too, but anyway, I have resumed my cleaning "schedule" here in New Zealand.

I am overjoyed that this house has my very favorite type of vacuum cleaner: A little bug that follows me. Truly, I have never liked the upright bagged kind, and love it that I don't have to use a broom for all the non-carpeted floors.

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The outlets are different, and they have a little switch above each one to turn the power on or off. I haven't learned exactly why yet...

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The heaters we have are electric wall mounts that simply heat up, and stay hot.

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This is pretty amazing. It heats water to boiling in about 4 seconds. Not quite, but pretty much. Ha!

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Here is Daniel's first cup of coffee in the plunger. Apparently it's not called a french press here, and I'm still trying to figure out what a toilet plunger is called, if a french press is a plunger. :)

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Ah, we have a washing machine. If there's one appliance that I *so* easily take for granted at home, it's a washing machine. In Panama, I did a fair amount by hand, and learned that it's not something I want to do for the long term. I even did some by hand in Germany. Again. Not something I want to repeat.
But I won't have to here! Our front loading washing machine works wonderfully, not only for cleaning clothes, but amusing the 4 year old who has never been able to see clothes flop around inside a washing machine.

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I must say though, front loading washing machines are not speedy. The regular wash cycle takes an hour and a half till completion. Is this normal, or is it just a Kiwi thing? I decided to time the "quick wash" and it's a whole 10 minutes faster. I just have to laugh. :)

We don't have a dryer, but that's perfectly fine with me. I don't think anyone in the neighborhood does either. I've never seen so many men hanging up laundry in my life! These clotheslines are everywhere, as well as laundry racks that you unfold and set up on your deck or something. Here's our clothesline, right outside Natasha's bedroom window.

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Storytime in New Zealand

Turns out it doesn't take an hour and a half to walk downtown to the library, rather only 45 minutes and we arrived early. It was a nice little program for wee ones that included some songs and "dancing" at the beginning, a story, some pictures of one librarian's recent trip to Kenya, and a craft to finish up. I think you'll know where we'll be on Thursdays at 2 p.m. from here on out!
Here's a video of the opening song:


8-14-2014 Storytime in New Zealand from Janel Haley on Vimeo.

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We stuck around a little longer than most mums and children, so we could catch up on our reading. Basically, I sat on this cushion and Natasha brought me a book and I read it. Then we repeated it. Many time. :) I'm keeping track of the books we read and the authors, to copy into Natasha's reading booklet back home. We're aiming for 1000 books, but certainly taking our time about it!
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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Transitioning to New Zealand, Preschooler Edition

Natasha has had a lot of adjusting with this move. The traveling went fairly well till the end, when she was losing it, and Daniel and I were so ready for her to sleep for a good 12 hours or more. Ha!

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I hoped she would sleep for the entirety of this particular flight. She didn't.

We bought a tablet before we came for us all to use, but specifically, to reduce our amount of coloring pages and activities needed on the plane(s). That also meant we didn't bring many toys or books or anything to fill the hours once we got to our new home. Upon touring our new house though, we were pleasantly surprised to discover our landlady had prepared the spare bedroom for a little girl by adding some children's books and stuffed animals.

So while Natasha told her Grandma the other morning that "I don't have very many toys..." she has plenty for this point in life and she is surviving. ;) Daniel bought her a new Doc McStuffins coloring pack this afternoon, so we are set to go with lots of new pages to color, and our next purchase will probably be some plain paper for all her doodling. The tablet has been very handy for all of that while journeying 30 some hours across the globe, but now I'm trying not to let a technical gadget entertain her all day.

However one app that we have really liked is Librivox. Back home, Natasha would sit for hours and listen to books on CD from the library. Librivox is a collection of audiobooks read by volunteers and they are free! So far she has been listening to "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Five Children and It".

As seen here, in her new room:
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Today was Natasha's first "official" preschooler's gymnastics class at Gymnastics Nelson. We had talked of enrolling her in a class back in the States before we left, but it seemed silly since we'd be leaving for 3 months. However, how handy that they just recently started the new term for a 10 week class here in Nelson! So today she learned how to jump from a large block to a bar all by herself. I was so proud of her. :)

Tomorrow, we're going to storytime at the library. One nice perk about being in a country that speaks our language is that we can read the books at the library. (Kind of obvious, but I'm grateful for all the little things.) Not sure yet if we'll be able to get a library card; you need your name and address on a somewhat legal piece of paper. Like a bill or something. I might have our landlady write up something for us, as it would be ever so nice to bring some books home to read. Otherwise, we'll try to enjoy them at the library as much as we can.

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Walking has become a huge part of her life. Since we don't all have bicycles (only Daniel so far, and his new *required* helmet hasn't arrived yet), we do a lot of walking. Compared to our trip to Europe last year, she has come a long way. Daniel basically carried her all over Paris and Germany, whereas, this time we aren't offering her that option very often. The other day we all walked about 4 1/2 miles, and she didn't complain too much. I must say, it makes her eat more and fall asleep quicker!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Cooking in a New Country

Not sure if any of you have been following our "adventuring" blog, or not, but if you pop over there you'll find that we have now safely arrived in New Zealand, where we will be living for the next 3 months:
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Usually the biggest thing to get accustomed to in a new house is the kitchen. It's where Daniel and I spend a lot of our time and the stove is the center of it all. So I'm adjusting to cooking on an electric stove, and have already tried a new recipe. Not sure why I always tend to try completely new recipes in new places. I think it's part of my own little way of embracing who I am, in a new country. Being in a new house without all your familiar surroundings and hobbies that fill your time, cooking is the one thing that always needs done. Still, adjusting to living on a completely new side of the globe can be hard. I love this article that Anna linked to on her blog, The Sweet Nest. It has some simple, but really good ideas on how to feel at home when you're not at home. (By the way, Anna and her family just moved to France!)
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So, the first new recipe I tried was a Sweet-Potato Crust Quiche. Of course, I altered it to fit our cupboard supplies, and added sausage to make it a more manly quiche.
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It turned out really well, and I'll probably be making it again at some point since it's always nice when new things become familiar. Which is how I hope New Zealand will feel very soon.

Chocolate always helps that transition. ;)


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Chalk Crowns

With an idea from Pinterest, and a girly who is totally obsessed with princesses, this was an easy and fun summer activity. It may look like my Princess didn't enjoy it, but it was only the opening of the eyes that was a problem. I must admit, it was probably rather bright to look straight up outside. Even on a slightly overcast day. So, she really isn't in distress or crying here.
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Monday, June 30, 2014

Hot Dog!

I love a good hot dog cooked over an open fire, a little blackish and crispy on the outside with the smell of wood smoke. Happily, we've enjoyed some this summer.
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I even made hot dog buns, and they turned out just right for traditional hot dog eating without the grains.
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Excuse the weird face...it's hard to get decent pictures of someone holding a hot dog bun without them having just taken a bite or too anxious to take a bite to wait for decent posing.