Sunday, 14 December 2014

Things Are A-Happening...

This is a short and sweet post as it is almost 10pm; and we just can't seem to get a good night sleep yet (our day started at 5:30am this morning, and that was a GOOD night!), so we'll be heading off to bed soon!

But before we do, I just wanted to pop in and give you our latest news... it's ALL good, although not quite as good as I would like JUST yet, but it's coming together!

We have a house,
We have a house,
We have a house,
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!

So hopefully we will get in before Christmas - but the current tenant is only moving out next weekend, so it depends on a few different things going to plan, and it all coming together nicely for this to happen! But we are praying for, and hanging out for, Tuesday 23rd being MOVING DAY; as are Mum and Dad I might add!

Once we're in, I will share some photos!


I have TWO job interviews this week!

Yes, TWO interviews, and I am waiting to hear back about a third job this week (and hoping I can get, at least, an interview for this one also)!

So I am hoping by Christmas we will be in our new house, and I will have a job ready and waiting for the New Year; what a Christmas it will be!

On top of that we have chosen a church to attend, and today was our first 'official' morning in attendance! We had been twice before, along with attending a couple of other churches before making the decision! The children went happily off to Sunday School, and we got to sit together during the service for the first time in months - it was lovely! Then tonight they put on a 'Community Dinner', which we chose to pop along too; such a good meal, so yummy! Hubby has already clicked with one of the guys there his age, and I got to spend the evening with his wife; suffice to say we are invited over this week for an afternoon.

Right now I am starting to relax, and I can seriously see God's hand in the timing of things... it has been a long couple of months, but a good couple of months. Once we are in our new home, and I have been working for 2-3 months - I can so totally see us putting roots down and finally breathing, and 'just being' for a while; it's a good feeling seeing the light at the end of this tunnel!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

The Unrealness Of Our Reality...

I am on a roll, now that the words have started - they are spilling out all over the place!

It has been the oddest four to five weeks ever - it feels like we are living in a third dimension, another world! 

We have come 'home', for me quite literally, as we're still currently living with my parents! So, I don't feel like I have moved per say... a BIG move like this takes time to settle, yet it feels like we have been here forever.

Driving around streets we are familiar with, and catching up with friends we have stayed in touch with over the years; just adds a touch of surrealness (is that actually a word) to this!

I don't feel either here or there - I am not missing Auckland at all (other than our church *sob*), but I don't feel connected or rooted here either; with no home of our own, nor a job and stability, it feels like we are on a LONG vacation.

A long challenging vacation, that is taking it's toll on everyone.

Lets be honest - living in someone else's home is not ideal, for us or them. We will be forever grateful to Mum and Dad for their hospitality, but it is time to find a home of our own. So the frustration at how long this process is taking is doing my head in; there is still no word from either of the agencies, and no contact made with the Referees we have supplied (except maybe our previous landlord, I have not asked him if he has heard from anyone yet). I want to be in our own place by Christmas... I NEED a home to call my own; I want our own space and the chance to start putting our own routines in place, our own roots down, and living our own life again.

My brother and his wife never had this problem, they were picked up and taken through six houses after just a phone call; no paperwork required until they were prepared to sign up for a house.

The difference is work v benefit...

I understand (I don't agree with it, don't get me wrong), but oh how I hate that we have been tarred with that brush. Maybe, this will come back to 'haunt' me in the future - a reminder to show compassion, and be a little less judgemental when we meet others in the same situation. Everyone has a story, a reason they need help - sometimes we need to show a little more respect, and take a little more time to 'hear' their story, rather than jumping to conclusions. 

But this being said - I don't want to live 'this' life any more, I want a home and a job; stability and routine, a budget and a knowing! Having us both home all the time is not a 'normal' reality for most families, and it's not something the kids were used to either - they are lapping it up, and loving aspects of it; but the longer it goes on for, the harder it will be to adjust.

If you are praying people, please pray for a job and a place to call our own by Christmas (oh - and grace, patience, compassion etc etc etc).

Thank you!

Monday, 1 December 2014

Nobody Ever Promised It Would Be Easy...

Everything about this move has been a struggle... at least it feels like it! I know, in reality, it hasn't been - but right now, it is!

There is still no job BUT, there is an interview on the horizon... so Tuesday week I'll be donning the good clothes and the make up, turning the charm on and oozing confidence! Probably everything I won't be feeling inside; but sometimes you just got to 'fake it until you make it'! This job has been tailor-made for me, using all the skills I currently have; it would be the perfect 'get me back into the workforce' job, challenging but not too stressful (I think)!

Then there is the house... what house? The house that does not yet exist house; oh yeah, THAT house!

That sign should read 'Property, Not People'!

The Silver Lining:

I had an appointment with WINZ the other day; 7 weeks with no income was becoming a little too stressful for me! What a blessing - my Case Manager ended up being a guy I went to school with! He is awesome, and I am SO super grateful for his willingness to listen and encourage! We have got some temporary help now, and can start down the track of setting up our own life here.

Silver Lining OVER!

Over the weekend we did our homework - we collected the list of rentals from the TWO Real Estate Agents within the town, and set about culling houses... going for a drive by those we were interested in, checking them out by night and by day (well, not so much checking out the houses by night, rather checking out the neighbourhoods)! By Saturday night I was in tears of frustration, the general standard of rentals in this town is hideous - run-down, dirty and quite often somewhere I wouldn't even leave my cat, let alone my children! Anyway, somewhere along the way we did find two that we both agreed on as possibilities - however, we have had to up the amount of rent we are willing to pay (there is always a catch, huh)!

So this morning we trundled down to the Agents - both houses are still available, we have got an amazing reference from our previous landlord and we have now got a regular income (but oh my gosh - it was HARD admitting to anyone that it was a benefit only; my pride has taken a bit of a battering today)! BUT the rigmarole we had to go through before we can even view these freaken houses...

THREE to FOUR pages of information, police checks, ID checks... and we HAVEN'T EVEN VIEWED THE HOUSES YET! Now I totally understand going through this process, ONCE you have viewed the house and have made a decision to rent it - but we don't even know if we actually want either of these places yet, AS WE HAVEN'T EVEN SEEN THEM! Seriously, by the time they have made an effort to go through our applications and followed up on all the referees they asked for (one Agency asked for FIVE character references for each of us - not that they got five, we offered two each; and the other one asked for your Facebook Profile, again I did not disclose this information), the houses will have most likely have gone to someone else, and we'll have to start again *sigh*! I know they haven't bothered to follow up yet, because our local 'landlord' (my parents) have not been contacted! I have never had to deal with so much c*** just to LOOK at a house. 

I had thought this would be the easy, and maybe even 'fun' bit - looking through houses and making a decision where we should live! We are the type of tenants you want; we always pay our rent, we're not party-people, our children are well behaved (most of the time) and we're tidy! We have never had a problem getting rentals before... but I guess, in a small town like this, as soon as you see the word 'benefit' the alarm bells start ringing. Neither of the agencies were especially friendly, so I didn't feel like I could explain our situation to them; I am guessing assumptions and judgements abounded as they read through the information we provided. 

I guess I have been living in 'La-La Land' a bit, expecting everything to just fall into place - we know this is the right thing to do, at the right time. We're sure of it. But being sure doesn't mean there aren't going to be obstacles or roadblocks in the way... as hubby reminded me today 'Nobody Promised Us It Was Going To Be Easy'! 

Ain't that the truth!

Sorry for the CAPS; it is just a very frustrating time right now, and they're the easiest way to express it to you!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

I WAS Going to Blog Tonight...

But I have rejoined Facebook *sigh*, and it is already sucking the life out of me! I wish I didn't have such an addictive personality ;-)!

Anyway, on that note - please come to my facebook page for my blog and 'like' it; to be kept more up-to-date with what I am doing, and how everything is going! I am hoping to novelty will wear off soon, and I will be able to use it just as the tool it is meant to be (hahaha)!

Hubby has been downloading all my photos onto a private google+ account, in order to keep them safe! And we have just discovered how to download them and then upload them onto here - a bit of a long-winded way around, but I can start finally including more photos in my posts again!

Here is a current one of me:

New hair and clothes... celebrating the move south!
Oh, and getting a job - eventually!

There is so much to say, but I have wasted my time on facebook; arghhh! Suffice to say, I have big plans - the first thing will hopefully be a whole new look!

But until I have more time, and more energy (it is after 9:30pm after all, and we've had very few decent sleeps yet), it will all just have to wait...

This really was just a 'pop in and say hello' post anyway!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

SOOOOO - we are here...

So - we are here, we made it safe and sound; and almost all of our gear arrived safe and sound! There were a couple of little bits of damage, but nothing worth recording!

Eeeek - that reminds me, insurance! I need to sort out insurance...

Things are slowly, after only 5 days, slotting into a quiet and workable routine. It has been hard on my parents, as much as they LOVE having us here; but they have been incredible, and we are feeling very blessed. I think coming here first has been our saving grace - it has allowed the children breathing space, and a chance to gain their footing! And I think it has made it a little bit easier for me as well, it felt like a holiday initially; but reality is slowly slipping in between the cracks, and I am starting to relax and breathe again!

We are now slowly starting to try and fit back into small town living - looking into Kindergartens for the older child, trying to decide what is best for the younger one, making decisions about whether we rent, or stay and a bit longer at Mum and Dad's and go straight into our own home, and with that in mind - looking around at possibilities! Catching up with old friends, setting ourselves up at the library and the local Doctor, making decisions about churches... and the list goes on! 

I missed out on all the previous jobs I applied for - very disappointing and frustrating, however just in the last 24 hours I have heard or read of 5 more possible job opportunities! FIVE! One was an instant no, as it is only 15 hours per week (but boy, it would have been an interesting job had it been longer hours); and the others are all about applying and then waiting and seeing. But if all else fails - I am just waiting on my provisional registration, and will then put my name down for relief work at the local Childcare Centres and Kindergartens!

Anyway - it is hideous out there tonight, bangs and crashes all over the place; our poor kids have never had to deal with this noise before, as we lived so far out! Thankfully they have slept throughout most of it, but we're in need of an early night. 

So signing off, and will hopefully update you all later on with good news and photos! Not quite sure what is happening with my photos at the moment...

Monday, 20 October 2014

Keeping It Real...

Eeeek - I really thought I would have a bit more time for blogging and other such fun pursuits over the next two weeks; what with hubby home and all!

A BIG FAT NO accompanies the above sentence, I don't know what I was thinking really... 

We have a four bedroom house with two bathrooms, and loads of storage - and we FILL it up, to the brim! 

We are packing, cleaning, decluttering, Trade-Me-Ing, storing, giving away and generally keeping ourselves VERY busy! I haven't even managed an e-mail to tell friends yet - there are so many people who have yet to hear of these big life changes. 

And due to the fact we are not moving into our own home after all, like we'd planned, rather we're sharing with my parents... we now have to pack under four catagories!
1) The things that HAVE to go with us to Mum and Dad's.
2) The things that have to be stored at Mum and Dad's.
3) The things that can be stored off-site at my brothers house!
4) Long term storage (e.g. boxes not to be opened until we manage to buy our own place).

Yep, it's a BIG job, made bigger by having to do it around two small children this time... and trying to meet their needs at the same time, and fitting in the normal day-to-day running of a house that can't be altogether avoided.

So in tune with the title, and 'Keeping it Real', I will be taking a bloggy break, and quite possibly, an IG break (or at least not on there as much) for the next 3-4 weeks as we pack, move and settle in down south.

However - stay tuned, as I will be posting updates in time, and keeping you up with all the changes and news as I can!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

16 Sleeps and Counting...

In the past 48 hours our life has taken a dramatic turn... lets repeat that; D.R.A.M.A.T.I.C turn, yep - it's that big! At least to me it feels THAT big!

Late last week hubby verbally gave his notice in for December as we agreed to; although we were aware that if one of the jobs came through, it could be a week or two sooner than the December date we gave.

On Monday his boss called him into his office, and told him that they were prepared to pay him out until December, and Tuesday would be his last day. Just like that. So he got a lovely send-off with a morning tea and gift, and all those little speeches people feel obligated to give - and as of 4:30pm yesterday he became unemployed; and much to the children's delight, is now home full-time with us!

So this means we are currently living in Auckland on no income - eeeek! So on Monday night I got on the phone to my parents (good old Mum and Dad), and arranged with them that we can stay with them when we move down south. I then contacted the Landlord (who is currently away overseas), and explained the situation to him, and gave him our notice for the weekend of November 1st... rather than December like we'd told him.

Truck is sorted, packers are sorted, cleaners are sorted (me, hubby and Mum *grin*), dates are sorted, storage is sorted at the other end... now it's just tying up the loose ends, saying goodbye (sniff, sniff) and packing the house up.

Ohhhh - did I mention that we have no job to go down to yet? Yep, this is a HUGE leap of faith, for us and my parents! I have two job applications in that I am waiting on, a third one came back with a no yesterday; and I have heard through the grapevine that there could be another couple of suitable jobs coming up.

It is scary and exciting all at the same time - we have been planning this since May, we have a house available to us once we get a steady income; but until then we will just have to enjoy each day, and pray that the right job comes along at the right time. Once we are down there, I can pop in face to face and introduce myself to people and hand them my CV... and as long as my provisional Teachers Registration comes through soon, I can also relief teach until something comes up, which does pay well.

We'll be okay, I know that - and sometimes you have to take a risk to make the future worth living for. But between now and when the risk pays off, I need to learn to breathe in deeply, enjoy the moment and not worry about tomorrow!

So join me as we transition our family from city life to small town life, and move from a stay-at-home Mum to a working Mum! I know there will be bumps along the way, which I am bound to share with you; but in five years time it will all be a distant memory!

Thursday, 9 October 2014

5 @ 5 - Favourite LOCAL Foodie Blogs

So this time I thought I would share with you my favourite  NEW ZEALAND foodie blogs - I gain a lot of inspiration from these blogs, and check in regularly. I have been lucky enough to have met two of these lovely ladies in real life as well; and have been to a course run by one! I have a whole lot of other food blogs I follow as well, but these are the ones I recommend to local friends & family - there is nothing worse than being sent to a whole heap of blogs that have nothing in common with us! I will be sharing others that I follow as well in time, both from Australia and America... but sit back, relax and soak in the food-loveliness from these ladies; yum!

1) You must have been living with your head under a rock if you haven't heard of Eleanor from Petite kitchen fame, not only have I referred to her often; but she has columns in Viva, Little Treasures, Taste Magazine, Nature Baby and probably many other places by now! She has a cookbook out (of which I have a copy of course), that has remained in the Top Ten Non-Fiction Books around New Zealand for more than five months now, and she is sought after for catering! As well as all the above, she has had many articles written about her, and been interviewed many times, amoung many other things as well I am sure. She is only in her mid-twenties, has no formal training, and started this journey through her blog only 2-3 years ago! She is an inspiration for those who have a passion to make a difference. Her and a friend, who is just as passionate about clean eating, have started their own cafe in Kingsland, Auckland called Mondays Wholefoods, and I will be going there with my sister-in-law before we leave Auckland!

2) My next most favourite foodie blog would have to be Nicola Galloway from Homegrown Kitchen

I find most of her recipes really easy to follow, quick and tasty, and family friendly (always a good thing); I have favourites, which we go back to again and again! She has just put out limited edition calendar for next year, full of more recipes -  I have preordered my copy! She is down to earth, makes an effort to respond to any questions and comments, does really good cooking workshops around the country, and has kids almost exactly the same age as my two! She also has a book out called Feeding Little Tummies, which I have a copy of as well! I love her passion for feeding her family good, wholesome and clean food; and for sharing it with others as well!

3) 4) 5) ooops, and  just remembered a number 6) worth sharing!

I can't decide which of these blogs I like the most - and I don't know a lot about these lovely ladies, however their blogs always leave me drooling and inspired! All their cooking is clean, and wholefood, a lot of it is allergy-friendly (one of the things that drew me to all of these blogs) and all of them are worth checking out!

So without further ado:

Kelly (and me) of Bonnie Delicious

Hannah at Country Kitchen

Beth at Hungry Cub

And last, but not least

Hannah at Health Yeah
This Hannah is Eleanor's business partner at the Monday Wholefoods Cafe

Hopefully these blogs leave you feeling as hungry and as inspired as they leave me, each time I visit! If I am having a 'bad food day', I only need to pop into some of these blogs, and all the reasons why I am spending so many hours in our kitchen come flooding back to me! They may not know it personally, but all of them in some way or another, have inspired me to continue on this road of clean eating, and feeding my family good food! It is a constant journey, always with more to learn; more recipes to try, more cooking to do, more ingredients to buy and try out, more food to eliminate from our pantry / fridge... feels never-ending some days; but it's all worth it in the end!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

5 @ 5 - In The Kitchen From Scratch

I promise I have not forgotten Menu Planning Monday; nor the 'Gratefulness Project' I have been talking about, or even the whole 'Confidence Series' I was going to do! I have had a friend here for a couple of days, hence why Monday went astray this week... but onwards and upwards!

I have got a few ideas up my sleeve, and decided I would start another whole lot of posts until I manage to get all these ideas down! It is a way of working through all my lists running through my head; but in a short, sharp sequence - so I feel like I have given you something, but I don't look at my screen 20 lines down, and go blank and never hit publish!

So I am going to try randomly, to get some 5@5 Posts up again; you may remember I did a few of them a LONG time ago (probably a good two years ago now)... you can find them hereherehere, and here. There were probably others, but these are the ones I could find quickly for you!

So without further ado - here is my current 5@5:

Top 5 Things I Make From Scratch in the Kitchen that I wouldn't go back on!

1) I make my own stock; I regularly make chicken stock, but I have also made vegetable stock and am going to give beef a go very soon! I also want to try fish stock at some stage! If you're interested in how I do this, I am happy to share with you - I did a lot of research, but as time goes on you get a feel for it, and come up with your own way of doing it; and that is where I am at!

2) I make all our tomato sauce now as well - I promise a recipe soon, and I have just found a recipe for making 'ketchup' from scratch with fresh tomatoes! Currently I still use tinned, as that is the cheapest way for us, with tomato season not yet in full swing! But over summer I would love to make it from scratch with fresh tomatoes, and freeze a whole lot for use over next winter. But we will see... time will be at a premium then, with (hopefully) going back into full-time work.

3) We roast our own coffee beans - this is still a work in progress really, we have not yet found the perfect temperature or time; and while it is a mission on mornings you wake up and realise the coffee jar is empty, and it is going to be a while before you can have your first coffee. I wouldn't change it now, as the coffee is a much richer, and deeper flavour than you can get anywhere else... I LOVE our coffee!

4) I bake our own bread - this can be a nuisance, as I have to be home for a minimum of 2-3 hours in one stretch, and I can't do it at night (our mixer is SO loud, it would wake both the kids up)! The novelty wore off a LONG time ago; however the health benefits it gives our family see's me doing it again and again! We started this due to my husband becoming gluten-intolerant, the cost of gluten-free bread at the Supermarkets is astronomical ($6-8 p/loaf), but we discovered  The Gluten Free Store through a couple of other friends who are either celiac, or have family who are; and we haven't looked back (we can bake a loaf of gluten-free bread through their premixes for as low as $3.30 p/loaf). Then when we thought our daughter may also be intolerant to gluten, we decided the whole family can eat this bread - it is as cheap as buying a good quality loaf of 'normal' bread at the supermarkets; and is much better for all of us (I add linseed to the bread, to add even more nutritional value)!

5) I make our own jam - I have tried about 3 different recipes, and made our jam four times now. I have enjoyed all of them personally, but the rest of the family have been a bit slower on the uptake! However, I think we are finally onto a winner now - I use a recipe from Homegrown-Kitchen, however the link I have included is not the link to the jam I have been making! But it is a recipe for making your own jam however (I use prunes, not dates and I don't think there was any lemon juice in it). There are plenty of other recipes out there for this - so if your family doesn't like your first / second or even third attempt, then just google and try, try and try again!

One of the reasons we have chosen to make our own jam and tomato sauce is because of the sugar content in the processed stuff you buy at the supermarket! We were doing this even before the Nigel Latta Doco on sugar (which I have yet to watch I might add); and is one of the reasons we wouldn't go back to our old ways. A lot of the reasons we have made the changes we have is actually down to health - my husband and daughter have allergies and intolerances, and this has been the catalyst for us looking at our over-all eating and health as a family... we still have a LONG way to go, and there are still loads of things I want to try; but for now these 5 things will have to suffice, with a few other random things thrown in when and as time allows!

Monday, 29 September 2014

So... Some Things Have Got To Change!

I have finally read Melissa's post 100 Days Until 2015, and it pretty much sums up my entire mediocre life at the moment (except maybe the chocolate and wine - I am doing okay on the eating front)

I have also been the Accountability Partner for a friend of mine, and she has blown my socks off! Just checked up on her again tonight, and she is seriously following through on the stuff we talked about - I am so proud of her (you know who you are), so between her and Melissa, I have decided I just need to get off my butt and DO SOMETHING!

I have no idea what yet - hahaha, I just know that mediocre is no longer acceptable; and something has to change! I read this quote tonight as well:

The Three essential steps to success are 1) Do Something, 2) Do Something TODAY, and 3) Do Something EVERY DAY!

If you want to know your future, look to your daily routine. You don't determine your future, you determine your habits and your habits determine your future. The secret to success lies in doing the right things day after day. If you do that, you will eventually succeed.

Runner, author and cardiologist George Sheehan puts it this way; 'There are those of us who are always about to live. We are waiting until things change, until there is more time, until we are less tired, until we get a promotion, until we settle down - until, until, until. It always seems as if there is some major event that must occur in our lives before we begin living.' If you want to achieve your dreams, you can't be one of those people...

The Word For Today -  excerpts from September 15th and 16th.

That tired one pretty much sums up my excuse about everything; we have had so much trouble getting 'lil M to sleep through the night, that I am perpetually tired; so really I should learn how to just move through it and get on with my day anyway! We have just had 5 nights in a row of blissful sleep from him (of course, I didn't sleep well myself for various other reasons half of this time *sigh*); but he and his sister have both got colds again, so we are gearing ourselves up for a couple of LONG nights ahead!

I have been thinking about the whole self-confidence thing that I wrote about all the way back here, and wondering where to even start. But it kind of came a little clearer the other day - I am a 'glass half empty' kinda girl, and maybe that is not actually helping! I focus on the negative and let my mind wonder... so I think I need a 'Gratitude Journal'! Two journals in fact, or at least the ability to write up two lists anyway. The first list - 5 Things I am Grateful for Today; and the second list - 2 Things I liked About Me Today! Of course, these two things will increase to five as time goes on, but I decided to start a little smaller, and work my way up!

So - I have a very neglected journal sitting up beside my bed, and I thought I will pop in there and start making those lists no matter how tired I am  EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT!  Then once a week, I will pop in here and post my lists...  between that and Menu Planning Monday (ooops - is it Monday again already?!?), I will be writing up two posts a week; which is a good start at reigniting my blog!

I also have a ton more decluttering, and a whole lot of stuff to list on Trade Me... that doesn't even begin to go into the packing for our move, exercise, going even harder on job hunting, reading up on the latest theories and practise in the ECCE field, looking into nutrition - courses and papers, getting organised for Christmas early this year, buying little baby gifts for at least 3 babies born this year, catching up with some friends before we move, getting a haircut and some new clothes for interviews (I seriously hate clothes shopping, so have been putting this off forever), getting the menu planning going properly again, sorting my favourite recipes out, getting a master shopping list sorted for hubby for next year, finishing my GF Snack Recipe Book for people I have promised it to.

Urghh - these are just off the top of my head, this is not even thinking hard! I think I am just going to crawl back under my rock, and pretend I never saw or wrote this.

And this is why mediocre must go.

Who is with me?

Anyone want to join me for the Gratitude Lists?