Friday, November 16, 2007

Castle Hill Walk

Today was a bright clear sunny day so as it has been a long weekend we figured we would take Katie (and baby sister) out to Castle Hill for walk. It is very suited for little kids really - and even has toilets! It was great to be able to take them into the mountains as it is something we don't do enough of! The walk up to the rocks was pleasant and quite busy with tourists and locals alike as well as climbers hauling their matresses around, practising.

The snow on the tops was beautiful and there was plenty of scrambling in and around the huge boulders. Very exciting for a three year old. And Springfield made a great stop (with toilets and a couple of great cafes) for the kids. Well worth the effort to drive to!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Specialist organic shops

I like food. I like tasty food. I love additive free food. So you would think that me going into a specialist organic shops would be heaven. Well it's not! The one I used to like closed down. And I keep trying new ones but I have yet to find anyone that I trust!

For a start, most places are tiny and carry a very limited stock. They all seem to have the usual cereals and tinned beans, identical to the ones which can be found at a fraction of the cost at the major supermarket down the road. They also sell small weighed bags of organic raisins and small foods - with a 'use by' date penned in. Obviously taken from a large container of the same. But how long has that been opened for? No way of telling.

The fruit produce is always Expensive. I buy local apples at around 99c a kg currently. Usually I can get them from the local orchard - I even drive past the trees. They aren't organic - but they are very local. The latest organic apples I saw were $3.99 a kg. And they were shipped from north island. Wow.

I would love to buy organic - but it is so incredibly expensive. Everyone I talk to tells me it isn't - but whenever I venture into one of these places I walk out amazed at the prices.

I particularly love seeing 'flavours' listed in ingredients of organic food. Personally I like real vanilla - with lots of those black seeds floating around the mixture - not a 'flavour'.

I am actually pro organic. It's just that I like to think I am sensible too. I would rather we ate the quantity of fruit and veg that we eat, than have to buy only a third of organic. As it is I spend about $90 a week on fruit and veges. That has really gone up since changing our diets. $250 a week??? I don't think so!

As for the staff at most of the organic places I have so far visited. I thought they would be passionate people. Ready to tell the customer the benefits of organic, the 'history' of the produce on their shelves. The name of the chicken that laid the eggs even. Nah. Not interested. The new butcher where I tried this week - not bothered about explaining the ingredients to me (in my quest to find safe additive free sausages). I thought these people would talk my ear off. I know I would if I could source decent quality produce!

And it leaves me wondering - what sort of rich people use these places? My guess? Ones who like to tell everyone about how they only eat organic. Even if it costs the earth.

Friday, November 2, 2007

More walks in and around Christchurch

A few weekends ago we drove over to Glentui falls. I'd looked at lots of walks to try to find something that would appeal to the kids. It is a lovely spot. Katie is 3 1/2 and enjoyed the walk - although I was holding her hand really tightly at the drop off parts! We didn't manage to do the complete loop - a combination of factors - not enough food, Katie only having shoes on, underestimating the time it took to drive there...

We got as far as the little bridge that crosses the Glentui river - almost half-way. But as we are trying to build up her little legs we decided it would be prudent to return the way we came.

The waterfall was stunning. The kids didn't get bitten - but we did - so now insect repellent is part of the kit.

And today? We did the Barnett Park loop. Katie loved the cave at the top - we didn't manage to get to Paradise cave. It's a long walk for little legs and by then she was starting to flag. We set off quite early and had the track to ourselves initially. After our picnic it got pretty busy with locals walking dogs. And about 5 minutes before the end, Katie sat on the path - shattered. She didn't say anything! So we carried her for a few minutes - more food needed I think! And maybe emergency chocolate!

I just wish there was a website where you could see what walks were suitable for kids. You know, something interesting and about the right length. I would also suggest doing the loop anti clockwise (as the regulars do) as there is more loose stuff on the path on the descent if you do it as the books suggest.

Most 'family' walks are rather boring I find - too short and too flat. We like hills, not too many drop offs - and if there's a toilet at the start all the better!!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The latest on the supermarket thing...

Well my idea of going to the supermarket less often is working however - I managed three weeks. I am going to carry on doing this as there are some valuable lessons I have already learnt:

We don't use as much toilet paper as I thought (maybe Katie has stopped unravelling it all off the roll and ripping it up like confetti at long last).

We eat heaps of easiyo yoghurt. At least twice as much as I thought we did. We don't like greek and honey. That's the only flavour I had left...

Never underestimate the amount of toothpaste a preschooler can go through if they are in a tooth brushing mood.

Jam and fruit spread is important. You will always want the type you don't have in. No matter how many varieties you have in.