4/28/2010

Things I had never done...part deux

When I was looking at the first list of things I had never done and thinking about things I never thought I would ever do in my life, I realized that the list has updated a bit since that post. Welcome to my world.
  • get excited to see Pepsi on the grocery store shelf
  • take my phone everywhere
  • bake fun treats
  • play Skip-Bo on a regular basis
  • consider (and actually get) our version of TiVo
  • search for brand names that I recognize from the US
  • never shop at Wally World
  • search unsuccessfully for popcorn to pop on the stovetop
  • see deer, alpaca and llama farms along the main roads
  • pay $100 to fill up the gas tank
  • see sea anemones
  • ponder insulation
  • cheer out loud when I heard Doritos are coming to NZ
  • enter local photo contests
  • wonder how old the tv shows are and smile to find out when one is less than two years old
  • drive a big station wagon
  • see lighthouses
  • have a bridge built for me
  • get excited to find something that tastes like hot dogs (frankfurters) and polish sausage (kranskies)
  • ride a gondola up a mountain
  • take an interest in the Maori language to see what town names mean
  • rarely leave the house without my camera
  • see ads on tv that I think are tacky and tasteless
  • buy fresh veggies every payday
  • make bottle rockets with vinegar and baking soda
  • experiment with 'exotic' cheeses while looking for a substitute for Meunster
  • have a clothes dryer hung upside down over the washer
  • call orange road cones 'rabbits'
  • see geysers and boiling mud up close and personal
  • eat Vegemite
  • see black swans, wild pukekos, waxeyes, kiwis, wild goats, fantails, tuis
  • be aware when American tv shows are on--as opposed to BBC or cable stations that are mostly through Australia

I'm sure there are more, but they are a part of who I am now and the line between 'then' and 'now' is quickly blurring.

4/20/2010

Waimangu Volcanic Valley

I am a very literal person. If you can't show me proof, then don't expect me to accept your theory of time as fact. I don't care who you are. You weren't there. You don't know for certain.

It really, really, really bugs me that a scientist will make his best guess and then hook his thumbs under his lapel, lean back on his heels and pompously
tell me '3 million years ago....'  and think I will take it on faith that he's correct. I will be more inclined to believe a statement of 'We think that 3 million years ago...'

(And don't get on the 'carbon (or whatever the newest type is called) dating' bandwagon either, because an archeological student showed me facts that their first dating were completely wrong. So, if they weren't sure about the first 'sure' dating, how can they be sure they got it right? Or wrong, for that matter. I hope you can see my anal-retentive dilemma.)

At our house, when we see a pompous one on tv spouting 'facts' that happened before recorded history, we all roll our eyes and say 'So they say....' in unison.

That's why I am so glad Hubby took us to Waimangu.  It's my kind of history--recorded with a definite date for all to see. A volcano exploded over the area and all the growth is since 1886. Sadly, the lava and ash covered what was considered 'the 8th wonder of the world'..the pink and white terraces. You can read about it here, it's a kid's version, so it's not bogged down with information.




We took a bus down to lake Rotomahana (Black Lake) where the bus driver got out and went with us to the boat dock. He then proceeded to captain the boat and narrate the tour! (As we were leaving, I heard another tourist mention '...a three hour tour...')


The yellow color is not from sulfur, as most people think. We were told that it is an algae that grows on and around the steaming geyser holes that pop up here and there.

The white is silica.

Our holiday was in the Rotorua area and there is a lot of geo-thermal activity there. Of course, I took lots of photos, so there will be more in later posts.

4/17/2010

May I have the envelope, please....

Thanks so much for all the lovely comments for my giveaway! I really have enjoyed it and I think I will be doing more Kiwiana giveaways in the future.

The winner of my first giveaway is....*drumroll, please*....


Connie of Whale Ears and other Wonderings

Connie, please contact me at tenfootheart at gmail dot com with your address and I will get your gift on its way!


A big 'thanks' to all who commented on my blog!


4/16/2010

Blogtrotting



Welcome to Aotearoa--the land of the long white cloud-- New Zealand. I am excited and very honored to be featured on Blogtrotting this week!

New Zealand is a volcanic land with lots of natural beauty. It has only been occupied by Europeans for about 200 years, so there are not a lot of historical buildings, like there are in Europe. The native people--who came from Hawaiiki--established the Maori culture. There are two main islands that make up most of New Zealand--colorfully named the North Island and the South Island--plus, a few smaller islands. 

Being from the middle of the US, I am very taken with the coastal views and I have lots of ocean photos!



This is 'Three Sisters' which is really only 2-and-a-bit now due to water erosion.


The native wildlife is quite amazing.

This stump carving of a fantail (native bird) was part of a limited-time commission in the Wanganui business district. 


I love to see the harrier hawk, a native to NZ.


Wild pukekos turn up in unexpected places.




There are only a handful of large cities here. The rest of the country is covered with sheep or cows, since their products are the country's biggest exports.


These are typical baches (pronounced 'batches' - from the word 'bachelor') in the Wellington area. They are holiday 'homes' on the beach.  Very 'kiwi'.
  
All of the highways here are only two lanes with an occasional passing lane. Occasionally, the two lanes become one, like this:




I love my new homeland and have taken several thousand pictures since arriving here almost 4 years ago. So, you can understand how it was difficult to decide which ones to share. If you would like to see a few more photos, you can visit my photoblog, My World through my Camera Lens.

Your virtual tour would not be complete without a lighthouse or two, so here ya go!


Thanks for visiting. Please feel free to ask any questions you might have. I will do my best to answer them.

4/11/2010

Happy Birthday to meeeeee

It's interesting how birthdays have changed for me over the years. With each passing milestone, the date of my birth is more of a reminder of how long I've been on this earth than a day of celebration. When I acquired children, birthdays became more about them than the actual birthday person. And that's ok with me.

Missy and Otterboy are learning to budget money and, apparently, they had each planned with much early vigor for my birthday, being that it's the first on the calendar of our little brood. And,  being kids, they couldn't wait until the actual day (Sunday) before giving me their gifts. Of course, to do this, they had to clear it with Hubby to bestow upon me an early birthday, even though his gift hadn't arrived yet, and he kindly obliged.

So, they scurried off to make the chocolate cake with cream-cheese chocolate icing that I ordered (which one baked and one iced to perfection). And they were off to retrieve 'the gifts'. They were so proud of themselves, and we were, too.

The actual anniversary day of my birth hasn't even arrived yet, but I already had the best birthday ever!

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And, with this being my 200th post, it's just that much more exciting to be able to give away the necklace I promised. Click here if you missed that post. For ever comment from that announcement until this post, you have a chance to win.  Since we will be out of town most of next week, I will wait until then to announce the winner. Good luck. And, happy birthday to meeee!!

4/04/2010

Apricot Bites

This recipe makes apricot flavored almost-macaroons and my brood loves them. I haven't tested any other combinations yet, but I'm sure you can used other flavors instead of apricot.

Apricot Bites

2 cups shredded coconut
1/2 c chopped, dried apricots
1/2 c chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons custard powder
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Combine all ingredients except milk. Mix well. Stir in  milk until combined.

Roll level teaspoons of mixture into balls. (I just press the spoonful against the side of the bowl). 

Place on baking (waxed)-paper lined tray, 2 cm (about 3/4 inch) apart.

Bake at 180C degrees (350F) for about 15 minutes. Transfer paper to counter for 5 minutes then transfer cookies to platter.



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REMINDER: Comment on my post for a chance to win my very first giveaway! Click here to see what you can win!