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Archive for the 'Home Front' Category

Warning: An Unladylike Topic Ahead

Most days I go for a bike ride. It’s a great way to get out of the house and combat bottom spread–the writer’s curse. I think I suffer from a very mild form of hayfever or allergies because the minute I go outside my nose starts to run. It’s not enough to cause me distress, but when I’m exercising I tend to breathe through my mouth.

Picture this: Me calmly riding along on my bike with my mouth open and listening to my iPod.

Got the picture? Right. The minute I open my mouth it’s like an invitation to a Rave. The invitation spreads fast and far to every bug in the vicinity. They fly in like kamikaze pilots, diving bombing me to get to the party.

Now, we get to the unladylike topic of spitting.

Here’s what happens. A bug flies into my mouth. First I almost run my bike off the path. I’m choking and gasping and flapping my hands. Oh, good, I think. The bug didn’t get in. Then I feel it. The bug inside my mouth. I gag and splutter and attempt to spit it out. It’s still there. I gather up saliva, swish my mouth and do my very best spit. A great blob of saliva lands on my hand and I start laughing. Remember I’m still riding my bike? Right. I’m now chuckling like an idiot, wobbling down the path, and swiping my wet hand on my T-shirt. Oy!

When hubby reads this he’s gonna laugh. He’s always said I’m a girl when it comes to spitting. Personally I don’t think it’s a skill I need to learn, not unless I come back as a llama or a camel. Then I’ll be in real trouble.

BTW – today’s bike ride was a two-bug day.

How are your spitting skills?

The Latest Must-Have Fashion Accessory

We’ve had our puppy Bella for about two weeks now. She’s the cutest little thing, but she does tend to be a bit cheeky/naughty. When she gets excited she starts to bite. Since she still has her baby teeth, it feels like needles piercing the skin. We definitely want to dissuade her from this habit.

Author Kimberly Menozzi had an excellent hint in one of her recent Thursday Thirteen posts. She keeps a spray bottle filled with water to dissuade her kitten from biting and clawing. I was immediately taken by this idea, deciding it could work with a rambunctious puppy.

This morning Bella was really naughty during her walk. I was half a block from home and decided to return to get the spray bottle. I didn’t care if people laughed when they saw my giant blue spray bottle. All I wanted to do was get her to stop biting both me and the lead.

The spray bottle works a treat. All I have to do is show it to her now and she stops biting furniture or people.

Blue Spray Bottle

Really, a bright blue spray bottle is the very best of fashion accessories for the discerning puppy owner!

Do you have any puppy (or kitten) tips?

I’m visiting Rhonda Print’s blog today. Rhonda did an interview with me and I’m also giving away a download of A Discreet Affair to one commenter. Here’s the link to Rhonda’s blog

Make Your Own Hand & Foot Scrub

During our last holiday one of the special activities on board the cruise ship was making beauty products using items from the pantry.

Below is one of the recipes:

Sweet Brown Sugar Scrub

1 part milk
4 parts brown sugar

Mix the sugar and milk together.

Apply to hands, scrub and rinse. This scrub makes the skin soft yet avoids the use of artificial ingredients. You can also use on elbows, feet, knees and other rough skin. Replace the milk with cream to make an extra silky, rich scrub.

Lazy Weekend Fun….

We decided it’s never too early to start getting our new puppy used to traveling in the car and went for an outing to our local Botanical gardens. Bella had a ball exploring, despite the heat of our summer.

Botanic Gardens

This is Bella exploring one of the rose gardens.

Botanic Gardens

I really liked this lily. I thought it was very pretty and took a photo or two.

Botanic Gardens

A wedding party turned up as we arrived. It was a Samoan wedding with a huge number of attendants. There were six bridesmaids plus groomsmen along with flower girls and little boys dressed in suits. The groomsmen wore black trousers and had lavender vests to match the bridesmaids’ dresses.

What did you do during your weekend?

Puppy Power!

We picked up our new puppy from the Humane Society tonight. She’s a Jack Russell X and is fifteen weeks old.

puppy,dog

She only has one speed—fast!

puppy,dog

Her name is Bella and she’s very cute.

puppy,dog

Childhood Games

When we were kids at school we used to play marbles, hula hoop, do skipping (both ordinary and French skipping with elastic) and play knuckle bones. Those are the main games I remember playing during our breaks between classes.

The other day I suddenly decided I’d like a hula hoop. We always used to make our own hoops out of plastic piping. I figured I’d get my hubby to make me one. We stopped by the mall yesterday, and I made a quick stop at Rebel Sports where I found a hula hoop for $8.99. Bargain! It took me a little while to get into the swing of keeping the hoop going because it’s much harder than Wii Hula Hoop. I figured it’s a quick exercise to do after sitting down and writing. I jump up, grab my hoop and twirl away.

What games did you play at school? Can you hula hoop?

Melting Birthday Cake

Chocolate Cake

It’s hubby’s birthday tomorrow and I decided to make him a birthday cake. We had a really hot day today with temperatures reaching 28C and 100% humidity. This is extreme for Auckland so we’re all wilting. I iced my cake and it was so hot the icing and the chocolate buttons I used to decorate the side of the cake melted almost as soon as I put them on. I had to put my cake in the fridge. Luckily the end result tastes all right. I sure hope the promised rain arrives soon and cools everything down.

Happy New Year

Milford Sound, New Zealand

This photo shows Milford Sound, Fiordland, New Zealand. I’d never visited this part of New Zealand before. The area is known for its high rainfall, but we had fine weather and spectacular views of the pristine water, mountains and bush. The scenery was stunning.

I’d like to wish everyone a happy, safe and prosperous New Year. All the best for 2011!

NZ Christmas Tree: Pohutukawa

I mentioned pohutukawa trees over at Berengaria Brown’s blog the other day and promised I’d post a photo.

Pohutukawa trees are known as New Zealand’s native Christmas trees since they come into flower during late November/December. They have scarlet flowers and tend to like growing near the sea on clifftops. Our street sidewalk is lined with pohutukawa trees and it looks very pretty at this time of the year. This photo is the tree outside our house.

Pohutukawa Tree

A Birthday Surprise

My husband pulled off a wonderful surprise for my recent birthday. I knew we were going away but I thought hubby had organized a quick trip to the South Island of New Zealand. On the day we were meant to leave, he woke me up at a very early hour with a cup of tea. When I went to check my email there was a note attached to the computer along with a flashdrive.

The note said, “Good morning, Shelley. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to insert this flashdrive. It will not self destruct in five seconds, but you may!!”

Curious, I inserted the flashdrive and a movie started. Hubby had booked us a cruise on the Volendam and the movie showed all the ports of call. Honestly, I had no idea. He really pulled a swifty on me :grin:
Luckily I had a few hours to pack and organize/reschedule the few things I needed to sort out before we traveled up to Auckland to board the cruise ship.

Volendam

The cruise started in Auckland and stopped in Mt Maunganui, Napier, Wellington, Picton, Akaroa, Dunedin (Port Chalmers), cruised the Milford Sound before crossing the Tasman Sea to Hobart in Tasmainia, Eden on mainland Australia and ending in Sydney. The surprises kept coming with some fun tours booked and a new bracelet for my birthday. We went dolphin watching to see the rare Hector dolphins, wine tasting, hiking, swimming and sightseeing. We even visited the real Middlemarch where I took loads of photos. I half expected one of the Mitchells to round the corner and say hello. In fact, the Mitchells are so real to me, I was a bit disappointed when they didn’t!

We both had a fun time and arrived home rested and ready for Christmas. It was the best birthday ever.