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Guess who’s moved!

November 9, 2010

Moments of Whimsy has moved to a new home!


Please add this new address to your bookmarks:

I hope that you’ll be over to visit soon.

The new site is a still a work in progress, but I’m getting there :-)




Aunty Cate responds wk 45/4

November 8, 2010

Today’s Happy Homemaker Tip with Aunty Cate

Hello dear ones. I’ve popped back in tonight to respond to a truly heart-wrenching comment that was left on my last post about how to deal with holes in the wall. This poor, poor girl seems so distraught and I could not let her dilemma go unaddressed.

Rachel writes:

Dear Aunty Cate,
What do you do if you want to hang pictures, but you have a new home, and your husband doesn’t want you to put any holes in the walls?
From a desperate and pictureless housewife.


Oh my dear, dear, dear Rachel. The solution to your problem is quite an easy one. Let me introduce you to Commando picture hangers.


These handy dandy little fellers will help you spruce up any blank wall, by enabling you to hang whatever you wish without damaging your paint. As the television says (and we all know that those lovely folk on the television ALWAYS tell the truth) – you can pull the plastic strips off anytime you want, leaving the paint intact. Go to town dear!

On the other hand, I’ve always aspired to that naughty little philosophy that in some little things in life, what hubby doesn’t know won’t hurt him. With this in mind, I present to you an even more cost effective remedy to your devastating dilemma: Gorilla Glue.

A little dab of this here and there and your pictures will never move again. Quite the perfect solution to your shaky house syndrome seeing as you reside in the rumbly zone of Canterbury. Hubby will assume that you have used the removable strips, and will marvel from his hiding spot under the dining table during a 5.5 aftershock at how your pictures never move an inch.

Happiness guaranteed for the entire family, as those lovely dovely pictures that you have been hiding are once more on show. And before you ask, (as I know you were about to) I’ll even pop a recent photo of me in the mail for you. I just happen to have a few dozen framed and signed portraits ready for stocking stuffers.

No need to thank me dear. Just slap that Gorilla glue around and never be pictureless again.

With love from

Aunty Cate

Real men make pasta wk 45/3

November 7, 2010

The hubby and I spent Saturday morning attending a pasta making workshop in a cooking classroom at a local highschool, and oh the flashbacks!

I was assaulted with memories of myself at age 12 – gawky, frizzy haired and sooo self conscious –  in my first year of highschool and struggling to differentiate between a spatula and a can opener when forced to endure a year of home economics. How I hated that subject, due mainly to the teacher with the prune-like countenance who killed any desire to learn. And to be honest, I wish I had stuck with the subject beyond that first year – at least that way I’d not have struggled so much trying to open cans over the years.

Once I had re-connected with the present, a quick glance around the class confirmed my worst fears. Other than two others, I was probably the youngest in the room. I had officially entered the twilight zone – the land of baby boomer activity groups, and no had warned me. At least that way I might have been more mentally and emotionally prepared for the shock to the system.

I mean – is this what empty nesters do on Saturday mornings when they no longer need to ferry their little Harrys and Emilys to soccer / ballet / karate / drama classes et al? Is this world of cooking / orchid growing / worm farming / basket weaving workshops sans little people the reward one can look forward after surviving the teenage taxi-driving years?

Shoot me now.

For hubby, it was also a shock on a whole different level. You see, real Italian men don’t cook. They sit at the table while the women-folk bustle around preparing, serving, then cleaning. Trust me, I’ve been married to the mob for nearly 22 years now, and I speak from experience. Even the Italian teacher confirmed this when one of the ladies suggested that all Italian men must cook pasta.

Not on your nelly sweet heart.

Needless to say, witnessing the hubby figuratively roll up his sleeves and dig into the flour was enough to send me scurrying for the iphone. This event was going to be documented, and will definitely be shown to his mother – although I may have to time it for when his father is out of the room. No need to risk the inheritance.

So for your viewing pleasure, here are some snaps from our morning in the middle-aged twilight zone of a community college pasta making class (say that 3 times really quickly after a stiff drink).

Here is the hubby with his mate C, (C and his wife were the ones who roped us into this adventure). A whispered conversation could just be heard from the pair of them while they were rolling the dough at the back of the class. Something along the lines of my sausage is longer than your sausage…..

Our not-at-all competitive table took pride in producing the best shaped ravioli, gnocchi and fettucine – and the boys were most upset when they all ended up being cooked in a communal pot along with everyone else’s. Having two project managers on the job, we women basically sat back and left them to it.

I felt that this last image needed a few additions. Can I present to you, New Zealand’s new masterchef……Luigi

We are thinking of taking up line-dancing next week. Anyone else up for it?

Guy Fawkes fun wk 45/2

November 6, 2010

Here in the furtherest colonies of the British Empire, we still celebrate Guy Fawkes day.

Why, you might ask?

Good question.

Obviously a man trying to blow up the British parliament back in 1605 is of profound significance to today’s modern New Zealander or Australian, requiring thousands of dollars to literally go up in flames along with his effigy. But then, being one to enjoy watching things get blown up – albeit from a safe distance – who am I to argue?

Now back in the good ol’ homeland of Oz, I only ever experienced one real backyard Guy Fawkes night, having grown up in Western Australia where almost year-round fire-bans due to dry conditions made such madness too big a risk. Once I moved to NSW, I managed to have one year of running around giggling with a sparkler before the fun-police shut that side of the country down too.

So moving to New Zealand brought with it the unexpected treat of discovering fireworks on sale in shops for a limited time every November. Now the urge to detonate could be fulfilled – an urge that verged on nervousness once the son deemed himself old enough to participate in the lighting of said explosives.

Since moving out here to the semi-rural ‘burbs of Auckland though, I felt that it might not go down well with the neighbours if we blew up a heap of stuff in our back yard which adjoins their paddocks full of horses, lambs, cows and calves and a donkey. City slickers stuffing up country life – not a tag we need. Hence the hubby and I dutifully bundled the daughter and her buddy (the son having other plans) into the car and headed down the road to a nearby small town for their community fireworks display. There we found that the rest of Auckland had decided that they also wanted to enjoy some small town ambience, and we had to fight the thousands for a car park and a spot to put our rug.

(all pics snapped with my i-phone)

Note the daughter’s hood pulled up. Yep, it is November  which on paper means it is virtually summer downunder. In New Zealand terms though, this equates to needing thermal jackets with hoods and scarves if one is to sit outside for any length of time. Let’s just say that most of the evening was spent in such gear, before we all ended up huddling under a blanket and drinking overly expensive, disgusting hot chocolates to stave off the hypothermia.

That was before the rain started. And being the prepared country folk we are, the umbrella was left in the car parked two kilometres away. We did have a plastic sack though – well utilised by the girls who had straightened their hair prior to coming out for the night. Crisis stuff.


Once the fireworks started though, it all felt worth it. We were sitting with new friends that we had met through our local, and oohing and aahing with the thousands around us as the huge bonfire sporting 3 Guy Fawkes effigies was lit by the Rural Fire Brigade, before the fabulous fireworks show got going. The sense of community was great, as we all laughed together at the appalling jokes of the commentator as we waited to count down to the first rocket.

So here’s to remaining a colony of Great Britain for a few more years at least, and getting to enjoy watching people blow things up (safely) :-)


Encouragement for the Journey part 5 wk 45/1

November 5, 2010


Hi there, and welcome to part five of my Friday series Encouragement for the Journey, featuring guest midlife writers whose words are so inspiring to not only other midlifers, but to those young gals coming behind. I have been so thrilled with the response that I have been receiving to this series, and as I’ve made mention before, would love to see it develop more next year.

If you’ve missed them thus far, do make sure that you catch up with the first four posts in the series by Nan, Michele, Vix and Patty – you’ll be glad that you did.

I think what I have really loved about this series is that although my guests have three things in common being women, over 40 and bloggers –  they are all totally different individuals from all over the globe, living unique lives with unique stories . I’m sure that at least one of them thus far has resonated with you. Personally, I’ve been challenged and inspired by each and every one of them, and today’s guest is no exception.

As I mentioned yesterday, my online friendship with Kate is one of the lengthiest that I have had, having first met her through Homeschool Blogger years ago when I was looking to find kindred spirit in this new world of homeschooling. She has been a faithful friend and I have  enjoyed reading about her journey through the years.

Here’s a bit about this lovely lady….

I’ve been married for 22 years to a cabinet builder-turned-Registered Nurse.  I am a homeschooling Mom of three kids, 2 boys and a girl, and have lived in Oregon for nearly 20 years.  I enjoy writing, reading, primarily nonfiction and history, love most things Italian and French and I‘m a budding, though enthusiastic, bird watcher.  I grew up in California, always considered myself a California girl until I realized that there was far more to life.  Todd and I felt a move to the Oregon Coast would be a better way of life, certainly a nicer place to raise kids.  And it is.  I have to admit though, I do miss the sun.  I have been a word processor, a typesetter (running my own business for 2-½ years prior to our move North), learned medical transcribing on-the-job, worked for a real estate appraiser and assisted my husband with his cabinet business – until having babies became my full-time career.

Righto, drumroll time…..please sit back and be inspired this week by Kate……


What my 47 years have taught me


For me, turning 30 was the tough one.  My 30’s were all about giving birth, nursing babies, sleep deprivation, no time for my husband, and worrying about keeping my kids healthy and loved.

Turning 40?… well, it was a whole lot easier.  I guess I’ve learned a few things along the way.

Now at 47 years, I’ve found I’m a whole lot more comfortable being me.  I now care much less about what others think, and care much more about what is best  for me / our family / the situation at the time.  I used to be more jealous; I have found that emotion no longer necessary.  If something is meant for me, then it is…  if not, then it isn’t.  If it’s meant for someone else, then good for them.  I find it much easier to be happy for others now.  This lesson was actually first learned when I was in 6th grade and the award for the “Best 6th Grader” or something like that, was going to be given.  Since I had always been one of the best students, everyone thought I naturally would be the winner.  Inside, I was more certain it WOULDN’T be me.  So when, in front of the entire school, they announced the winner, all eyes were on me as they announced another girl.  I somehow found the grace to smile and hold my head up.  We all applauded.  On the way home in my Mom’s car, I told her who won and how I didn’t think she should have won.  My wonderful Mom said, “Honey, why don’t you just be happy for her?”  I thought about it and, you know, it felt much better to be happy for her than to be jealous.  Later, she and I became best friends and I found out just how important that prize was to her.  I never forgot that lesson but it took until my 40’s to really put it into practice on a regular basis.  Come to think of it, my Mom was about the age I am now when she gave this advice to me.

My Mom was also fond of saying,  “In 30 years, this won’t matter.”  She was right.  I was a preteen when she was saying this.  30 year latter, I can’t remember what I was always fussing about.  My own daughter is just as emotional as I was then, and this saying has come in handy.  Thanks, Mom!  Hopefully my daughter will also learn this lesson (sooner than I did!)

Clarity has become my friend.  Even when I’m fretting about something stupid.  I am better able to see it for what it is… something stupid!  However, I must say that even if I know that I’m fretting needlessly, I can’t always shake it off as easily as I would like.  Age certainly is no cure for anxiety but at least I can now spot it.  It’s much easier to laugh at myself now.

With age, of course, has come some life changes.. My husband switched careers a few years ago, becoming a Registered Nurse in his early 40’s.  I homeschool my kids and as they grow, teaching them has gotten easier, with me growing and learning along side them.  All this adds up to more time now with my husband (when he’s not working his 3-12hour night shifts per week, that is).  I marvel at all I was able to keep up with 20 years ago but I wouldn’t willingly go back for one second.  I like who I’ve become, who my kids are now as I watch them mature and enjoy a better, closer relationship with my husband.  My Mom warned me long ago that I needed to make time for my husband, first and foremost.  When your relationship with your spouse suffers, it trickles down into every aspect of your life, including (obviously) your children.

Which reminds me… if you haven’t already done so – learn to fight fair.  A most-important skill!  It doesn’t matter if you win the fight… really! On most issues anyway.  What matters is the healing, remembering why you married this person in the first place.  Appreciate anything he does with the kids, any time he helps you in the house, you get the idea.  Saying thank you was ingrained in me as a child… a wonderful habit that makes others feel appreciated, especially your family.

Have you noticed a theme here?  The older women teach the younger.  I don’t think this happens nearly enough any more.  We older women really have so much to teach the younger women.  Look for opportunities.  When we first moved to Oregon, away from my Mom and three older sisters, I was in my late 20’s and found the older women in our church to be wonderful teachers.  I don’t have that support right now and I miss it.  But I do have opportunity to teach women younger than me.  So join me… share the hard learned knowledge and experiences you’ve lived through with the upcoming generation.

To read more of Kate’s wonderful writing, do make sure that you visit her over at Three’s a Crowd


Linking up with


Summer sunsets and Christmas wk 44/7

November 4, 2010

They are back! Those summer sunsets that I was raving about last year are occurring again, which means that the sun has swung around from behind the trees that blocked it during winter, and is now fading my couches of an afternoon with a radioactive glare.

Seriously though, I was driving down the driveway last night after taking some photos of some local men embarking on Movember (a fundraiser for Prostrate Cancer where men grow their mustaches during the month of November) – when I was blinded by this sunset and simply HAD to stop and snap…


Nice hey? And the niceness just keeps on coming, as today I finally cleared our letter box which no one in this lazy family could be naffed doing for the past three days, due to the 2 minute hike up the driveway (2 minute hikes are lethal to teenagers you know). Anyhow, amongst the 62 million shop catalogues and bills that filled the box, was a birthday card that had travelled all the way from Canada.  Thank you sooo much Sheri! I have been so blessed this birthday with three overseas cards, Kellee, Sheri and Janet (my lovely “Elf” at the wonderful Christmas to the Max yahoo group that I have belonged to for years). You gals are so sweet, and it makes friendships across the miles seem that bit more real when you see someone’s handwriting!

Anyhow, Sheri, please take note of where your card has been placed….


Yes, this sad, sad mother of cynical teenagers is still a Christmas junkie. Well in reality, the teens aren’t that cynical – my nearly 18 year old daughter did inform me just last month that she still expects an Easter egg hunt next Easter…..(okay, so she’s a stunted homeschooler – deal with it. She has ;-) )  HOWEVER, as everyone in this house will attest, I do indeed LOVE Christmas, and get pretty frustrated at the lack of Christmas spirit that I see here in NZ which seems to revel slightly in a “bah humbug” attitude compared to other countries I’ve witnessed. Okay, so we don’t have snow (*sigh*) and our twinkle lights aren’t that obvious when it is daylight savings and bright daylight at 9pm at night… but hey, at least give it a go.

Good will to all men – is that such a bad thing to practise??

For me, bring on the corny Christmas music in the shops, break out the tinsel and let’s really enjoy the season……. and to humbly show you what a pathetic Christmas junkie I really am, here’s the DVD that I was playing in the background this afternoon once the electricians stopped fiddling around and let me have some power once more…….

(And no, I can’t even claim to be watching this because there were kids here *blush* )


It is amazing how when you start blogging it can take on a life of its own, as when I sat down to write this afternoon, all I was going to do was brag about my next Encouragement for the Journey guest poster, Kate.


Now don’t let the fact that I have been raving about sunsets and Christmas detract from my letting you know about this amazing lady. Kate is an incredible writer, vulnerable and honest in her journey and I KNOW that she will truly inspire you with what she posts tomorrow. Please make sure that you come over and have a read of what she has to share – she will be a blessing and an encouragement, as she has been for me for many years. In fact, Kate is one of the very first blogging friends I ever made when I first started out at Homeschool Blogger years ago, and she has stayed my friend through my transitions through Blogger and WordPress. Whenever I’ve been through tough times in life – particularly illness related – Kate was always the first to say that she would be praying for my family – and I know that she meant that seriously.

Click on the pic if you want to have a sneak peek at one of her sites, then please put the word out and lets support her tomorrow.



PS: Aunty Cate is intending making a guest appearance over the weekend. Any other pressing homemaking dilemmas to be addressed?

Making a house a home wk 44/6

November 3, 2010

Yesterday’s post on being content where I shared how even a few sentimental pieces placed in the most unlovely of kitchens can make a difference – got me thinking.

What are some other little tips that I have picked up over the years in regards to homemaking? (And doesn’t that word make me sound like I’m from the ’50s or thereabouts?)

Seriously though, I’ve learned so much through reading other blogger’s ideas over the years, that maybe some of what I consider to be common sense may in fact spark someone else’s imagination.

Or maybe not.

But I shall push on undeterred and present to you ….

Today’s Happy Homemaker Tip with Aunty Cate

Today’s tip for making even the most unloved home feel that little better is….if there is a hole in the wall – hang a picture over it.

Seriously dahlinks, home is where the art is, and if you are living in a well ventilated home like moi, and the dear hubby has informed you that you need to “make do” for the time being until it is time to plug said holes – don’t get upset. Go grab that hammer and bang another hole above the one you want to cover. And if you stuff it up – why bang another! (I speak from personal experience here). Heck, the entire thing is going to be fixed one day, so go to town.

For instance, in my lounge are these two pictures, one a framed piece of parchment I bought in Paris years ago (another of my favourite things), the other a watercolour which I did a few years ago and which I will spare you from seeing up close. They sort of look a little awkward being so far apart, and I have been meaning to add some more stuff to fill the gap, BUT they are in these spots for a reason. Originally there were two enormous, butt-ugly lights sticking out at these points which were ripped off pretty quickly – due in part to the fact that the taller members of the family had walked into them a dozen times within the first week of living here. Left in their places were huge chunks taken out of the plaster, which are not going to be fixed until the entire room is tackled.

So the solution to disguising that ugliness so that we don’t have to feel like we are sitting in a building site whenever we sit down in the lounge? Why hang a picture over it!

I’ve applied this handy little tip to holes in the walls all throughout the house, and it really makes a difference. It would be far easier to keep “impractical” things like art work and knick-knacks packed away until walls are perfect or renovations complete HOWEVER, by taking the time to hang pictures, plates and photos up, you can turn your battered, ugly, work-in-progress – whatever –  into a home.


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