Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Planning Our Move To New Zealand - Us And the Dog

For the past month we have been making some big decisions about our move to NZ.  While January seems a long way away it really isn't especially with a baby on the way as well.

One of the biggest things we have had to sort out is the actual moving of us, our belongings, car and dog.
We knew it would not be cheap to move so we have been careful to downsize over the past 12 months and to do our research with different moving companies.

Today's post is all about moving us, Peanut (our yet to be born baby) and Jessie aka Number One Helper.

Moving us is the simplest part.  We booked our tickets when they were on special and when peanut is born we call and add him to the ticket as no seat is required.  We have also booked and paid for 2 additional bags as we will be living out of suitcases for 3 months before we move (more about that in another post) and for a month after we arrive so we need a few more bits and pieces and one of the extra bags will have all out baby things and cloth nappies.  The nappy bag and stroller are free and it is cheaper to buy additional bags before you leave than pay for excess baggage because you have gone over your allowance.  

Moving Jessie is not cheap and after 4 quotes prices ranged from $2000 - $5000 plus vet fees and pest treatments (which we normally do at that time of the year anyway).  This is a lot of money for a pet but she is part of the family and at 6 years old has plenty of years left we hope, so we are prepared to spend the money.  

We are flying from Brisbane to Wellington but for Jessie some of the options included her flying from Brisbane to Sydney to Auckland to Wellington, and one of the options even had her doing a stop over in Sydney.  Then there was an option where we had to pay an agent to handle her in Auckland (at a cost).  We wanted her to have a little stress as possible which meant not transferring to many times and spending as little time in a travel crate as possible.

In the end we have gone with the option that has us dropping her off the day before at the the pet transport companies preferred vet in Brisbane for her final inspection, the pet company pick her up there in the afternoon and she spends the night with them before they take her to the airport in the morning in her travel crate.  Although we are flying out the same day we are not on the same flight. We fly direct to Wellington while she goes via Auckland where she clears NZ quarantine then she transits to Wellington where we will collect her.  It ended up being one of the cheapest prices and the service so far has been brilliant.  It is quite early to be booking Jessie in and the airline will not confirm it all until about a month before we fly.  But all pets go on a waiting list and only a couple of pets can go on each flight so we have been told that by booking this early we can almost guarantee getting the date we want.

We arrive at 3.30 pm (without delays) and by the time we clear customs and collect our luggage it will be at least 4.15 pm.  Jessie is due to arrive at 6.00 pm so we will have a few hours to kill but this will give us time to attend to Peanut (Baby) duty and have something to eat.  My dad is picking us up as he has a twin cab ute with a canopy and this will allow us to get 2 adults (plus Dad) a baby in a baby seat, a dog in a dog crate, a pram, 4 suitcases, 2 hand luggage bags, a laptop and a nappy bag all to mum and dads 3 hours north of Wellington in one go.

It will be a long day starting at 5.00am AUS time and finishing at 6.30 pm AUS time but the flight is one we have done a lot so we know where we are going, the layout of the airports and the flight is not that long at only 3 hours.  We are also not having to do the driving on arrival so hopefully between the flight and the drive I will find some time to have a sleep as well.

Overall that is the grand plan for that day and we are hoping all goes to plan.  

Do you have any tips for moving with pets?

Monday, 27 June 2016

From The Web This Week

Things are getting busy round here so to ease into the week here are some interesting things I came across in the past week.

Check out these clever little foxes growing a garden

Some great uses for mint

I use lots of epsom salt but I have did not know about some of these uses

Some great hand made projects

I really like these tips from Morag Gamble a local permaculture teacher for staying calm when things get busy

I am looking forward to trying this recipe for calendula salve when we get to NZ, I have used calendula salve in the past and found it to be good for everything

Monday, 20 June 2016

Easy Chicken, Ginger and Lemongrass Soup

With the cooler weather upon us we have been looking for warming and nourishing foods that are quick and easy to make and leave you with that warmed through feeling.
This is a recipe I have adapted as the original was heavy on the chicken and light on spice and the filling factor.  This version makes one chicken breast feed 4 people which makes it much more frugal and we never feel like we are missing out as I cut the chicken into thin strips then into sections so they fit on a spoon.

I always have home made chicken stock frozen in 500ml lots in the freezer and this is a great way to use some of them up as I tend to make about 8 litres of stock at a time.

Easy Chicken, Ginger and Lemongrass Soup

2.5 L Chicken Stock
10 cm Thumb of Ginger
3 Lemon Grass Stalks
5 Coriander Roots (See Note)
6 Cloves of Garlic
6 Kaffir Lime Leaves
1/2 Long Red Chilli (optional)
2 Tsp Fish Sauce
1 Lg Chicken breast
2 or 3 bunches of Bok Choy
Dried Egg Noodles of your choice for 4 serves
Coriander leaves, extra chilli and bean sprouts to serve

Place the stock in a large pot and add the peeled and sliced ginger, the lemon grass stalks that have been bruised and cut length ways, the coriander roots, crushed garlic, the kaffir lime leaves, and the half red chilli thinly sliced.  Simmer for 30 minutes then add the fish sauce and chicken that has been thinly sliced into bite sized pieces.  Simmer for a further 10 minutes then pick out the lemon grass stalks, coriander roots and kaffir lime leaves (we leave the ginger in but you could remove this too if you do not like eating it).  Add the dried noodles (I have not specified a specific type as I tend to change it up every time I make it) and cook as directed on the packet adding the bok choy for the last 2 mins of the cooking time.
Serve into bowls and garnish with fresh coriander leaves, more chilli if you like or bean sprouts.

Note:  Using Coriander root.  If you have never used coriander root here is a basic guide on line.  My method was learnt in a Thai cooking class and differs lightly.  I leave about 5 cm of stalk  attached to the root and when I say root I mean the whole big long hairy white bit so you need to look for the clean rooted bunches.  Basically you want to lightly scrape away the outer skin and remove any gritty bits.  If you can't get it just use the thick stalks from the bottom of the bunch as they will still give you lots of flavour.

Friday, 17 June 2016

University Semester Over

I had my final exam for the semester yesterday and now I look forward to all the extra time I have on my hands so I can get back to some blogging.

In the mean time here are a few things I enjoyed on the web this week.

Peter Cundalls Veggie Planting Guide

Organic Weed Control

10 Things No One Tells You About Goats

Hope you are all well and I look forward to spending some time reading your blogs over the weekend.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

The End Is In Sight - The Timeline For The Next 12 Months

The end is in sight for some many things we have been working towards for the last few years and there are some big changes on the horizon for us over the next 12 months.  Lots of our plans are coming to fruition and are no longer just things that we talk about doing in the future.  In so many ways I am an over achiever and I normally have a lot of stuff going on at one time.  I often have people make comments about all the things I take on and wonder how I manage to get  it all done. The short answer is organisation, forward planning and good time management.  There are times when it all gets to much but I am not that good at admitting it but thankfully I have a wonderful Hubby who can read me and knows when this is happening.  He is always there to remind me of what I can leave till later and to help out where he can to take the pressure off me.

So far this year we have been through our second round of IVF which was successful and I am now 23 weeks pregnant with a baby boy who we are referring to as Peanut (putting off thinking of names for as long as possible). After 6 years of trying this is something we had almost given up on.
I have been studying at university for the last 12 months and semester 1 (the first half of this year) I took on 3 subjects (4 is a full time student) on top of working 30 hours a week and being pregnant.  In hindsight 2 might have been better but here we are and I managed.  We have also been planning our move to NZ, finalising plans for our house in NZ and starting a bit of baby preparation.  
To give you an idea of where we are going and what we hope to achieve over the next 12 months I have put together a bit of a timeline.

A photo pf Jessie just because.

June - It is time for the final countdown for my university semester.  I have completed 2 of my 3 subjects and just have one exam to go Thursday next week.  This is also my last full month at work and every weekend except this one coming which I have set aside for study, we have events planned with family and friends.
July - Both Hubby and I have birthdays this month so we will be celebrating with family and friends. I will be finishing up at work as I am taking some much needed long service leave up until when my maternity leave starts in October.  We will be heading off on a 4 week road trip camping (yes in winter) but more about that in another post.
August - We will be heading home on our road trip and Hubby will be heading back to work.  I will be working with our builders and planning for our new house.  There will be a few Peanut related related baby appointments to catch up on and I have plans to do a further cull of excess belongings that will not go to NZ with us.  I also plan to do some craft, catch up with friends we don't see very often and have a rest before the Peanut arrives.
September - Much like last month but I am guessing I will be slowing down a bit more and finalising baby prep.  We will also have a baby shower of sorts that will include all friends and family both male and female.  And of course there is a chance the little guy could turn up early.
October - Peanut is due on the 5th so nothing big planned this month.  Mum is coming over from NZ for a week from the 9th for a week and it will be great to have her here in the early days (or for the birth if he is late).
November - Will be the beginning of the end as we introduce Peanut to friends and family here in Australia and start to say our goodbyes.  It will take time to make sure we see everyone and we will try and have a farewell party at some stage during the month.  At the end of the month the international removalists will come and pack all our stuff and store it for a few weeks before it gets shipped to NZ.  We will move out of our rental and stay with family over the Christmas period.
December - We will hand over our 4wd to the removalists and sell my car.  More of the same from November but we will be living out of suitcases and making the most of time with family.
January - Jessie will be having all of her final vet visits before the move and will be dropped off with the pet movers the day before we fly.  Jan 12 is Moving Day.  We will say good buy to Australia and set off to start a new life in NZ.  I am sure this will be a busy month as we start off staying with my parents, find a house to rent, get building underway on our new house and show off Peanut to our NZ friends and family.
February - Sees my youngest brother get married and our furniture and car from Australia should have arrived.  Hubby will be starting a new job (not sure what yet). Building should be underway and I will be looking at going back to university all going well.
March - June - Hopefully I will be studying and the house will be finished before winter arrives. More than that we can't really say at this stage.

NZ here we come

Sorry for the long wordy post.  I am sure this will all shift and change a bit over time but this is the big picture plan.