Friday, July 13, 2018

Holidaying with the whanau

Hi friends, I hope you're enjoying relaxing school holidays and getting to spend time with the loved ones in your life.

We are holidaying at our family's bach this week.

Several years ago, my mother-in-law bought the bach from her own mother. It's the place my husband grew up holidaying at, and also the place he proposed to me at, so it has precious sentimental value for our family. Paul and his brothers and sister all pitched in some money to help secure the property, and had no regrets doing so, even though Paul and I hadn't even bought our own home to live in yet. 

We have enjoyed many, many beautiful holidays at the bach, and in between life in Hamilton, Wellington and Auckland, it has been a constant place of rest for us and our children.

This week we are holidaying with various members of Paul's family. Paul's brother is here for the holidays from China with his two daughters, and they are staying in their own bach, which is just behind our one. He and his wife bought it about three years ago and it has been a real blessing as it allows all the extended family to holiday together here. The kids have made the garage between the two baches their clubhouse, and spend hours playing in there together.

If you follow me on Instagram and have ever wondered about all the beach pics I post, now you'll know what they're about.

With lots of people sharing the same space this week, we've been cooking large family meals and eating them together.

I usually start the morning by making a large smoothie for all the kids. I make these quite thick and the kids eat them with a spoon. We call them FroYos, which makes them seem much more exciting, even though there isn't any yoghurt in them. The smoothies are actually just a mixture of frozen banana, frozen blueberries or strawberries, water and collagen powder. They taste delicious.

With the smoothies, I also often make scrambled eggs for the kids that want them. The rest help themselves to cereal.

Lunch is usually soup, because it goes a long way, tastes delicious, warms us up and ensures we all eat lots of vegetables. I brought pre-made pumpkin soup from home, so that made for an easy lunch on one of the days. I had cooked up a large batch using pumpkins and chokos my mother-in-law had given me, and I had enough soup left over after eating it for dinner that I was able to freeze two ice-cream containers worth as well. We've also eaten a vegetable soup that my mother-in-law made, and leek and potato soup that my sister-in-law made.

Dinners have been varied. My brother-in-law bought a whole lot of meat to share for dinner, as he misses good New Zealand meat when he's living in China. Thanks to him, we've had steak one night, lamb another, and we'll be having roast pork tonight. I had brought a whole frozen chicken from home, so we also ate that for dinner one night and I turned the leftovers into chicken stock which then became soup. Each night with the meat, we've cooked a tray of roast vegetables like potatoes, kumara, pumpkin and yams. We've also served salad, cole slaw, vegetable crudites, broccoli and peas. My mother-in-law and I cooked these meals together, and they were all very simple to prepare.

I cooked slightly more complex meals the past couple of nights, and enjoyed doing it because it gave me a sense of purpose in an otherwise very relaxing holiday. First I cooked lasagne, which I served with garlic bread, vegetable crudites, broccoli, peas and cole slaw. I made an apple crumble to have for dessert, as our apples were getting soft and needed using. Last night I made butter chicken, which I served with easy homemade Naan bread (just tortillas fried in a little butter on each side), broccoli, peas and cole slaw. There was apple crumble leftover from the night before, so we had that for dessert again.

Activities on our holiday have been fairly low key. I've read several books and gone for a few walks along the beach with my children. The kids have played with their cousins down at the beach, at the local playground and around the two properties.

They've also played several board games together, and especially enjoyed Pelican Cove, which is one Paul brought back from America last year.

My sister-in-law managed to borrow a water blaster from a local man, so she spent a day water-blasting the slippery steps that lead up to our brother-in-law's bach, and then I spent a morning water-blasting the steep driveway that we use as a path between our bach and his. My sister-in-law and I baked chocolate chip cookies to thank the man who'd lent us his water-blaster. He had also given us a bag of tangelos from his tree, so the kids have enjoyed turning those into juice, along with grapefruit from my mother-in-law's tree.

My son is begging me to walk down to the shop with him, so he can spend the $2 his Aunty paid him for running an errand. I'd better leave you here. Happy holidays my friends.

Emma xx

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