This week our columnist Lydia Harvey talks about surviving the school holidays even when life throws you a few curve balls.
We knew it was going to be hard. Two weeks with a house full of bottomless pits to feed and miserable weather keeping the kids in a confined space. Since I was hospitalised with seizures a little while back - which means I have no driver's license - I knew this was going to be a hard couple of weeks.
Everybody has their own ways to get through the school holidays, but with recent health issues I needed to go in to these holidays fully prepared.
So how do you go through school holidays with a health issue?
Well, for a start I wrote a list.
For the first week of the holidays I noted everything available to us in our region that was accessible by bike, foot or scooter that was free.
Skate parks, parks, libraries and museums were just a few of the places we went.
We also had the odd day in at home and the kids played board games.
We're lucky to have family living in places like the Hawke's Bay so we grabbed the family and road-tripped up to the Hawke's Bay to spend some time on the farm.
Then we still had a whole week to go and with the coming and going, not to mention the extra kids, the extensive feeding can be overwhelming.
In week two of the school holidays I opted out of the kitchen and let the kids take over.
Armed with cookbooks, out came the scrambled eggs, cupcakes, muffins, biscuits and breads.
The fruit trees are covered in citrus and guava and the kids have become pros at making all kinds of delicious eats with what they had available.
So, is a week of kids in the kitchen worth the 10 weeks it will take to clean up after them? Absolutely, because now I know they can cook!
From Lydia's Garden – Almond Chocolate Chunk Brownie
1/4 of a cup of oil
1 cup of white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 roughly chopped lines of Whittaker's dark almond chocolate
1/4 cup of cocoa
1 cup of self-raising GF flour (or standard)
Mix oil, sugar and vanilla extract on low in the blender.
Then add the dark almond chocolate, cocoa and flour.
Mix again on low before lining a cake tray with baking paper and spreading evenly into the tray.
Pop into a pre-heated oven at 180 for approximately 15 minutes.
Remove from oven then drop the tin carefully on the bench to flatten it a little before returning to the oven and leaving until it cools.
Once cold, remove from baking tray dust over with icing sugar and top with grated dark chocolate.
*You can switch berries for dark chocolate or a mix of both