A Village Life

Friday, December 13, 2013

Ta Da!!!!

Ok, so I haven't staged anything and it doesn't look exactly perfect.  Some furniture is out of place where we need to paint behind it and there are groceries and laundry sitting in the corners of the room but for the most part our house is finally finished (almost).  Does any home project ever get completely finished?  Our last bits are to put the window surrounds (or whatever they are properly called) back up and then paint the skirting boards.  To me, finally getting the stainless benchtop installed today, the project is complete.  And with only moments to spare (ok, 3 days) until my best friend and her family arrive to spend Christmas with us, we have done it in a 'hitting a home run and sliding into home plate' style. I'm over the moon with the results and can't wait to enjoy the space with lots of friends, heaps of chilled wine and plenty of yummy food in leisurely fashion over the next few weeks. 
handmade knife magnet courtesy of Peter

love my open shelving

we can open up the windows all the way and practically feel like we are on the deck

space, at last

awesome view to the bush out back

lots of space for everyone to lounge on the deck

or chill on the sofa and check out the ocean

it might be too spacious!!!

dream kitchen, well for me it is anyway

and can you believe this is what it used to look like?!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Crazy weird healthy food stuff

Yesterday I got it in my head that I had to make some mochi with sweet bean paste.  I love buying it from Asian shops in Auckland and there's something about the chalky texture of the glutinous rice outer layer that I am obsessed with.  I checked out a few websites and read through some recipes then decided to have a go at it.  Most recipes called for cooking the "dough" in the microwave but since I don't have one I opted for using the rice cooker.  That was the beginning of the recipe failure.  I soaked some adzuki beans overnight and started simmering them in the morning.  I vaguely remember testing the beans before we left for the beach but they weren't cooked so I kept them simmering.  In the rush to get 3 kids out the door with all of our beach gear, water, snacks, etc and pick up our friends in time to get to the beach for surf life saving, I completely blanked on the beans.  Two and a half hours later as we were finally driving away from the beach I remembered about the beans.  In a panic I telephoned whoever I could think of that might be able to rescue my house from the roaring flames I had pictured in my mind, only to be confronted with answer phone messages.  Oh dear lord.  I rushed back as quickly as I possibly could despite the car in front of me driving 60km the whole way to Leigh.  Open the gate, unlock the front door, run upstairs and.......the beans had completely soaked up the water and were only just beginning to slightly burn on the bottom.  Saved!  And just in the nick of time.  In my mind, the new kitchen was a smoldering mess and we would have to rebuild.  Luck was seriously on my side yesterday....or guardian angles...or something.  Anyway, on with the recipe.  The sweet bean paste turned out a bit too sloppy.  The dough was a bit tough (maybe a rice cooker is not similar to a microwave) and my sweet little mochi puffs were nowhere near as delicious as the ones I usually buy in the Asian shops.  I had even added some matcha to the dough so it would be the green tea version.  Perhaps mochi are best purchased  and not made at home.  On the way back from the beach as my house was almost catching on fire, we stopped at a courgette farm and picked up a carload of free "stock feed" courgettes.  They were a bit too large to sell but the hadn't yet turned into marrow.  With the leftover sweet bean filling I continued on my path of making weird healthy shit.  This time I went for adzuki bean courgette brownies.  Sounds disgusting right?  I mixed the bean paste with some maple syrup, blackstrap molasses, almond milk and grated courgette.  To this I added sieved cocoa, baking powder and a pinch of salt.  Mix it all up and chuck it in the oven and voila, super healthy brownies.  You won't believe that they actually taste amazing.  Seriously.  Tui had 2 for morning tea and I wasn't even worried about giving her too much "treat".  Fill up with courgette and beans as much as you want kiddo!  The mochi won't go to waste either; Gigi, the kid who hates everything actually loves them.  Sweet as!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

First Party

It's been a while since I've posted any of the action here at home.  There simply hasn't been much action and it's still not quite finished so I can't really do the "tada" post yet.  Things seem to be moving at snails pace now as we near the finish line.  We are waiting on our stainless steel bench to be manufactured and there is lots of little painting jobs to work on.  In the meantime we have had our first party followed by lots of little evenings of entertaining friends.  Here's a look at the first big night.  Note how the photos get increasingly blurry and unfocused.  But man, what a blast the night was!  We rocked it until 2 am ending in multiple plays of "Jolene" by Dolly Parton. 
Enjoying the sunny deck

A bit of rose and some nice cheese

Tui is already getting rowdy with Rex and the sun hasn't even gone down!

Very civilized, testing out the island dynamics.

Enough room for all the kids to wrestle Dan to the floor.

Starting to get a bit shady here.

Too many empty bottles already.

And this is when the dance party started.

Dj's congregating to decide the next dance tune.

Friday, November 8, 2013


We are so nearly there but man, I am so exhausted all of a sudden.  It has finally caught up with me.  I've spent 2 days unpacking boxes and putting stuff away.  I've re-sorted the downstairs rumpus/guest room and it is very nearly ready for the Broggi family visit.  Pete plumbed in the kitchen tap and dishwasher last night and the electrician rigged up power to the dishwasher today.  I've finally got a working kitchen!  I may just be too tired to actually cook in it now.  There seem to be a million little things that need to be finished now.  We are waiting on one more major thing; the stainless kitchen bench for which the guy who was supposed to come measure up yesterday still hasn't arrived today and the clock is ticking towards the weekend.  Half the paintings/pictures/posters are hung but some are still sitting on the floor.  Blinds need to go back up.  Painting needs to be finished once the bench arrives, the outdoor water gutter system needs to be hooked up so we can start catching rainwater again and I've yet to find an outdoor patio light that has any sort of decorative style.  It's just good ole kiwi practicality in that department.  I can't order the one I want from the States because it's the wrong voltage!  We will just have to bbq with our headlamps on I suppose.  So here's a look at where we stand now:

prints to be hung
blinds to go back up

electrician left for lunch with the lights half hung

chairs to be repaired

more prints to hang

my favorite corner!!

no stainless bench, no working plug

massive double sink with dirty dishes in it...yuck!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Here she is...

I'm pretty sure you are not supposed to leave residual glue on your hands while you push the flooring boards in place.  I've spent all day spraying and wiping a very large bamboo floor trying to get the glue fingerprints off the boards.  It seemed to be going well until I stood back and looked at an angle to notice that actually it looked just as dirty as when I started a few hours ago.  I give up on this one.  I've got a lifetime to try to get the marks off now.
On a more positive note, the kitchen arrived yesterday in all her glory.  It took all day but she is finally in, minus the bench tops, and I am chuffed to bits.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Progress Report

Walls and ceiling painted after a few days of continuous solo painting.

Bright and white.

The flooring is 'in da house'.

my colorful new acapulco set

the last hanging pod chair in all of NZ...and it's all ours!

Pete is making quick work of the floor laying.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Living in a dust bowl

Well the builders have left the building and we are left with enormous amounts of dust.  Dust everywhere!  Dust inside, dust outside, dust on my skin, dust in our beds, on our food......you get the picture.  No matter how many times we sweep and vacuum, the dust just reappears.  I am on a countdown to the end.  10 days and we should be moving our stuff into our kitchen, dining and living room once and for all.  Yesterday I moved all of our stuff, one more time, from the downstairs up to the deck where we are now "living" or shall I say camping for the next 10 days.  Thank god we decided to cover most of the deck.  So this is where we stand 7 days away from the flooring finally arriving and 10 days away from the install of the kitchen. 
our new living space

ghetto makeshift kitchen

floors prepped and ready for the flooring to be laid

walls are plastered and sealed, awaiting a final sand and paint!

color samples

big white empty room!