Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Final Day of the Kid's Survival Experiment

The final day started off well. The kids got up leisurely and Lucy. still in pyjamas, made pancakes for breakfast.

Lucy put the washing on but without some of Tristan's things so he added them later - I am not sure when.
They made themselves instant noodles for lunch.
But after lunch it descended into chaos. They were tidying the kitchen after the mess from lunch and breakfast when Tristan used too much cleaning spray, Lucy got cross and the yelling began. Tristan walked out. Lucy followed in tears, "You have no idea how tired I am. All the cooking I have done for you!" She also declared her dislike of little brothers and he wasn't very complementary back. Every time they looked at me to sort it out, I told them it was up to them.
After sitting around ignoring each other before cajoling each other, rather forceful hugging, apologising and more tears they actually finished cleaning the kitchen, putting the dishes away and hanging out their washing. All that, with the arguing, took them nearly two hours. Lucy still kept reminding Tristan of his shortcomings. I asked if she thought this approach was helping the situation. "Yes," she says, "It is very revenging."
Tristan was on dinner, it was an easy one fish and chips - ie. fish fingers and a bag of supermarket chips. He even offered to make it for us too. His own touch was spearing the fish fingers on kebab skewers to make 'hot dogs'.
He read the instructions on the packets, heated the oven, put it all in and waited the eight minutes the packets said. He got it out after exactly eight minutes and declared it ready - this was at 4:45pm.
The ill-fated first bite.
But after one bite, Lucy deemed it wasn't cooked enough and the plates were emptied back onto the trays and back into the oven. Lucy suggested desserts were more his strength but another fifteen or so minutes and he was serving up with more golden coloured fish fingers and chips.
Tristan hung the washing on the rack to finish drying - it seems suspiciously wet. He hung it on the rack, not for maximum drying but to make a hut.
Lucy had planned self-saucing chocolate pudding for dessert but her previous recipes had used up all the eggs. I said I wasn't going to buy more and sometimes you just had to change your plans to suit what was in the pantry. Lucy instead went next door and asked Grandma if she could borrow an egg.
Enjoying Lucy's pudding, the extra 
was taken over to Grandma.
There is one kitchen tidy up and putting sorting the dishes to go before what Tristan has termed 'the last supper'.
Tristan said he has enjoyed the experiment. He said, "Being an adult is actually quite hard. You can't just stay on the computer all day because you have jobs to do."
He said he learnt a lot and this included, cooking for just two of them was quite easy but doing all the dishes was harder than it looked. He also found hanging the washing out difficult because of the height of the washing line.
Lucy found the experiment tiring and awesome. She says, "Don't take parents for granted they do a lot of work." She found doing the washing and not just leaving it for us, quite hard. She also found she couldn't just do her own thing as her day kept being interrupted all the time for having to do jobs, like make lunch and do the dishes.
Overall the amount of dishes created has been vast compared to normal while the clothes deemed needing to be washed has been tiny.

Late Update: The kids were a little too excited while finishing cleaning the kitchen and engaged in a spot of dancing ( rock'n'roll or beyblade style, depending on your era) which led to Tristan falling against the bookcase. A trip to the after hours was needed and a little glue to the head. So if you try this experiment ban dancing. From the start to think I was most nervous about knife use and the hot oven!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Day Two of the Three Day Survival Experiment

The kids are not up so early today. Tristan emerges at 8 and Lucy not until 8:30.
Tristan explains why he wore his clothes to bed - less washing to be done today! He also eats his left over pudding for breakfast.
They do get their washing done again and hung out earlier. I am amazed at the small amount of washing that is appearing when they are doing the washing, compared to what is put out when I am doing it.
Lucy also proudly shows me the bacon she has gotten out early for dinner so it will be defrosted for her bacon and egg pie tonight.
Yesterday's washing is still over the rack in the lounge. We remind them of the rules that clothes have to be put away, not just left in the lounge. The kids say they are scheduling it for later in the day.
So far Lucy is doing really well and taking charge, making sure everything is done. Tristan left completely to his own devices without her help, would do the absolute minimum to survive.
At lunch time we point out the lack of fruit and vegetables in their diet so far. Lucy is suddenly concerned they might get scurvy (she's learnt about it on a documentary).  We do reassure her that it is unlikely to happen in three days. But they both decide to have an orange each. Tristan made himself butter sandwiches for lunch and more cake, while Lucy stuck with her menu plan and made herself an omelette.
When they were sorting the dishes, Karl asked them, "Being an adult is not as much fun as you think is it?"
They both yelled, "No."
Lucy says, "It is horrible." But she was still looking forward to day three tomorrow. "I have lots of good things planned," she says.

Folding the washing turns out
to be not so bad.
Tea was made early and the kitchen was much tidier. I am surprised at their attention to detail during this experiment. Tonight Lucy had greased her pan well so the pie came out easily. When I asked her why she did it, she said her recipe said to grease the pan so she did.
Lucy cuts up her bacon & egg pie 
The washing is taken in early and hung on the rack straight away. Lucy decided to make a starter for dinner of chopped up pieces of bread with some olive oil in a little dipping dish. She also made chamomile tea to have with their main course, "because we are going to be flash".
Tonight a vegetable appears! 
Raw carrot sticks
Still plenty of DVD watching and computer games has gone on today but Tristan also kicked his football around outside too.
One more day - I think the kitchen is going to be very pleased, it will need a good clean. They spent a while in there after dinner sorting out the dishes and giggling hysterically.
They have learnt from their experience on Tuesday and not made the same mistakes. I hope they decide an earlier bedtime is a good idea. Lucy is already in her pyjamas at 7:30pm and has offered to read Tristan a chapter of Harry Potter. Around 7:45pm she says she is going to bed!
Tristan is still up having supper - one of Lucy's shortbread biscuits and more chamomile tea he made for himself. (I didn't know they were so keen on chamomile tea.)

The Survival Experiment - Day 1, Part Two.

Tristan is on dessert tonight so Lucy tells him to make his chocolate cake in the afternoon before she starts her meatballs.
He calls out to me to come and melt the butter for him. I remind him, he has to do it. He does drop the box of eggs while trying to put it away, which results in three broken eggs, now in a glass.
Those are Lucy's shortbread
in the background
When Lucy finds out, she says it is fine she will use them in her bacon and egg pie tomorrow night. As cake smells fill the kitchen Lucy wants to get the cake out and test it for doneness. But Tristan says, "I know what it looks like when it is cooked!" He gets it out when he thinks it looks done.
Once Tristan is finished, Lucy starts cooking meatballs from a recipe she found in one of our recipe books.
Everything is happening in the kitchen,
while the washing sits on the line as the sun goes down.
Once the meatballs are in the oven. The kids decide to go and get their washing, now sitting in the dark. Tristan brings it in and dumps it in the basket under the heat pump. "It's not dry. I am going to leave it here all night to finishing drying." Time for the observers to suggest perhaps hanging it on the rack.
Lucy serves her meatballs with spaghetti, following the instructions on the packet, though they also eat the spaghetti raw while they wait for the water to boil. She serves it quite al dente.

"Two hours!" She says. "I am not cooking meatballs again!" We have a wee taste of her meatballs and they have great flavour - lots of herbs.

Tristan's cake is superb. It is very soft and moist. He even lined the tin. It is not as chocolately as usual so I think he confused teaspoons and tablespoons. The icing ends up very runny so he serves it as a sauce on top of his cake for pudding. He added almond essence to the icing/sauce.
While Tristan is unable to finish his slice of cake for pudding, Lucy hangs up the washing on the rack.
All the while she says, "I am not staying up tonight. I have been working so hard. How do you guys do it all the time and working too?"
The kitchen is suffering, the floor has bits of herbs on it and the fridge door is sticky. 
At 8:45 they are laughing and loading the dishwasher. Lucy is moaning about being very tired. But she wants to make camomile tea for supper. She says she now understands why we don't go to bed when she does as there is still work to be done.
Finally 9:30pm they decide to go to bed but Tristan is going to bed in his clothes. How will this lack of sleep affect their efforts tomorrow will be interesting to see.
There is one thing we have helped them with - the childsafe lid of the dishwasher powder. This wasn't their fault and I am sure with their powers of destruction they could have got into it - but I would rather the container still be in one piece at the end of three days.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Three Day Survival Experiment - Day 1, Part One

The kids are up at 7 am, quite excited about looking after themselves.
First up is breakfast - not just toast and cereal, but bacon and eggs is planned. First problem - the bacon is frozen in the freezer.
But nothing stops them, they defrost it in a sink of cold water and peel off some pieces for Tristan to cook in the frypan.
Lucy cooks the eggs and even manages the yolks to be just as she likes them.

They are very proud of themselves and offer to make us bacon and eggs for breakfast too.
Lucy also wants to label their bacon in the fridge in case we eat it.
There are a few arguments but they sort them out between themselves.
We are here like UN Observers at an election. We do offer the odd piece of advice that they could either take or choose to ignore. The first one is to make sure they cooked their food properly - we aren't keen on adding food poisoning to the three day experiment.
The washing is done and while a few hours go by, it is eventually hung out on the line.

A big argument arises over the hanging of the washing. Tristan comes to see us, to win us to his side but we tell him they have to sort it out. After some full volume yelling they work out their differences and the job is done. Enterprising Tristan, tries to get some biscuits from Grandma but she just laughs.

Lunch is a Tristan special - spaghetti from the tin.

Quite a bit of DVD watching is going on and many games are being played on the computer.
Lucy is spending the afternoon making shortbread for their supper. She decides to make half a batch. They are balls of shortbread because that is how she decided to cook it. She also decides to mix some butter and sugar - because "it is so yummy." I think that is afternoon tea.

This afternoon Lucy is contemplating whether to get the washing in or start the dinner but her mince is still frozen from getting it out of the freezer late in the day. She leaves the washing. When I ask her later, how she defrosted the mince - she says she used the microwave.
She comments, "Parents are very busy."
I have enjoyed the extra free time this afternoon to finish other jobs.

The Three Day Survival Experiment

Karl heard about a psychologist who believed a seven year old should know enough to be able to look after themselves for a week.
Now Tristan is seven, our kids were up for the challenge but we thought three days would be long enough for all of us.
While we will of course be here to make sure they are doing okay, they will be doing it all for themselves. They have a had a good meal tonight to see them on their way for the next three days.

Today the rules were set (above their usual tasks of making their beds, having showers etc). 
What you are in charge of:

  • Feeding Yourselves.
  • Doing dishes from cooking.
  • Cleaning, Drying, & Putting clothes, worn over the 3 days, away.
  • Keep Communal areas tidy.
  • Putting yourselves to bed.
  • Entertaining yourselves.
  • You still need to ask to borrow Mummy and Daddy's things.

The kids, well Lucy (aged 9) really with Tristan agreeing she should, decided to plan a menu.

They have decided that working together is going to be the best plan so they've put their initial next to the meals for which they are in charge. It also looks like from the menu they are aiming to do more than just survive, with puddings and a supper planned for each day. Vegetables don't seem to be having much of a chance to be eaten in the next three days!

Tonight they are very confident of their cooking ability and filled with the joy of the idea of setting their own bedtime and having supper. Their clothes are all clean and packed away in their drawers ready for the next three days.
Let's see how the next three days pans out.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Nelson - The City with the Oldest, Largest and Only

South Street
Oldest fully restored street in NZ
Since shifting to the Nelson region 18 months ago, I've noticed Nelson is a place that likes its claims more than any other city in New Zealand.
Everyone here seems to be able quote these claims - and frequently do.
When I have found a new one that I think is fairly obscure and unlikely to be widely known, I tell it to a local. "Oh yes," they say. "That's right."

So here is my current list of Nelson claims:
  • World's Largest, Natural, Boulder Bank
  • The Oldest, Wooden Theatre in Use in the Southern Hemisphere - the Theatre Royal
  • Largest Fishing Port in the Southern Hemisphere
  • Largest Camping Ground in the Southern Hemisphere - Tahunanui Motor Camp
  • The Longest, Urban Beach in New Zealand - Tahunanui Beach
  • The Largest, Purpose Built Modellers Pond in New Zealand
  • The Oldest, Fully Restored Street in New Zealand - South Street
  • The Oldest Secondary School in New Zealand - Nelson College
  • Oldest Pub still Operating out of its Original Building in New Zealand - The Moutere Inn
  • Home to the First Rugby Game in New Zealand
  • Only Place in the World you can pay to control a Stunt Plane
Tahunanui Beach
Longest Urban Beach in NZ
Theatre Royal
Oldest Wooden Theatre in use in NZ
Further additions  - Thanks Spanky 

  • Largest MDF Plant in the Southern Hemisphere
  • Oldest Church in the South Island - St. John's Wakefield

And my personal favourite:

  •  The Oldest Public Letterbox still in Daily Use in New Zealand

Any others just let me know.

5 Favourite Sights Seen

  • 1996 Watching tropical lightning turn night to day, outside a little wooden church in a small village in Sabah.
  • 2004 Flying down the Rainbow Valley at 8000ft in a cessna on a clear blue day.
  • 2003 Seeing and hearing Michael Schmacher rolling out of the pit garage in his Ferrari in Hungary.
  • 2009 Chancing upon 100 or more dolphins just off the Kaikoura Coast swimming around, jumping out of the water, doing somersaults and generally having fun.
  • 2006 Finding a pool at the bottom of a waterfall in the bush at Kaikoura that was full of playing baby seals.