Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Russell, Northland

These Spring holidays have been dreamy!  So much for that grim weather forecast, it's all blue skies y'all.  Today definitely feels like the kind of day that we should fill with an adventure, but in reality I will be cleaning out my car (overdue) and sorting through the kiddo clothing.  Is it normal that I'm looking forward to both of these tasks?!  

If we were on an adventure mission, I might be tempted to head back to Russell.  We spent an afternoon there during the term time and it was super duper pretty.  I hadn't visited since I was a kid, was a little surprised to find nothing how I remembered it (that might be a good thing considering my strongest memories are of vomiting up chocolate ice cream, and watching my brothers being broken out of a public toilet).  

I still haven't quite worked that out in my head, but it may have something to do with arriving via car ferry this visit which makes for a far less grand entrance.  The back roads were cool though.  It meant we were able to stop in at Matauwhi Bay, a very sweet little beach lined with cute dinghys.

For a short visit it might be nicer to arrive in Russell via passenger ferry.  You'd be more limited in your explorations, but the town is so nice I don't think you'd mind.  We visited a few stores, including the local op shop and an ice cream store.  Both #worthit.  Afterwards we collected all the prettiest shells from the beach before heading home.  Romantic an afternoon as it had been, the car trip home was not.  Garland had been quietly developing an ear infection, and we had a good two hour drive to learn all about that...

Car screaming aside, I look forward to visiting again.  I'm pretty sure we only scratched the surface of what Russell has on offer.  I did bring home a roadside geranium cutting though, #souvenir.  

Cost: The car ferry was $12.50 each way, and the passenger ferry is $12 adult return and $6 child return.
Highlights: We loved Matauwhi Bay, if you're traveling by car. 
Lowlights: I had an unpleasant customer service experience at the local bakery, fyi.
Expectation vs. Reality:  As pretty and idyllic as we'd hoped.
Worth repeating: Definitely.  It would be a pretty place to book a bach and stay a few nights, too.
What we'd do differently:  I'd be tempted to travel via passenger ferry next visit, and definitely visit Russell's historic sites.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Doll Ergobaby

I've been thinking about making a couple of doll-sized ergobaby carriers forever.  It felt so good finally to whip this one up!  I'm sure there are a bunch of online tutorials available, but that's not really my style.  Instead I gathered supplies, did a bit of guessing and pinning and cutting, and came up with this one.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Adventures in Spring

I'm gonna admit it right now, homeschooling is the best decision we ever made. Which is not to say that we will never reassess, particularly if we find ourselves in the right schooling situation, but this year has been (mostly) SO much fun for all of us.

Book Review :: A Child of Books - Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston

"An inspiring and lyrical picture book about a little girl who sails her raft 'across a sea of words' to arrive at the house of a small boy. There she invites him to come away with her on an adventure where they can journey through 'forests of fairy tales', 'across mountains of make-believe' and 'sleep in clouds of song'. Guided by his new friend, the boy unlocks his imagination and a lifetime of magic lies ahead of him... But who will be next?"

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Beeswax Candles Two Ways

Ung.  I love the smell of beeswax.  Is there anyone in the world who doesn't?  Melting beeswax is even super yummier.  It really is such a versatile product for making handmade gifts.  I have a huge block set aside, and a bunch of different plans for it.

I made these candles a couple of days ago and they were ridiculously easy.  The dipped candles take a little more time and patience but they were still far easier to make than I'd anticipated. They'll make sweet little Christmas gifts for friends who don't mind imperfect looking candles. I might actually assist Eleanor in making the next batch, and who wouldn't want a lumpy candle that was handmade by a kiddo?!  No one, that's who.

Friday, September 16, 2016

WIN :: Hi-5 Auckland Show Family Pass - CLOSED

Winner announced via instagram.

Calling all Hi-5 fans! Who wants to win a family pass (4 tickets, 2 adults, 2 children, or 1 adult, 3 children) giveaway to the Auckland Saturday 1st October 1.30pm show?! Holla at me!
Hi-5 House Hits, bringing all of your favourite Hi-5 songs this October school holidays. And due to popular demand Hi-5 have announced more dates and new venues on their tour of New Zealand!

Hi-5 House Hits tour will be the biggest Hi-5 concerts yet and not only that, they will feature all of Hi-5's best loved songs for you to sing and dance to.

You will learn how to do the coolest Hi-5 dance moves making you feel like a Hi-5 star! From big classic hits like L.O.V.E and Making Music with the whole Hi-5 gang, to sweet solos, duets and trios from your favourite Hi-5 friends.
Of course Chats and Jup Jup will be joining in on the fun and plenty of other surprises!

Just leave a comment to enter, easy peasy!  Entries will close a week from now, go go GO!

Book Review :: Neffy and the Feathered Dinosaurs - Joe Lillington

"It was a very special day for Neffy the Microraptor - she would be taking her first flight.

But when Neffy spread her wings she didn't know what she was supposed to do! Will she learn in time to join her sisters and escape the predators on the ground?"

This is the ideal book for fact-collecting kiddos (age 4+), with a sweet little story that makes for perfect bedtime reading. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Sweet Mother's Kitchen - Wellington

Sweet Mother's Kitchen in Wellington has been on my to-visit list forever.  We really had to battle fatigue to get ourselves there, but I'm glad we did.  It was a nice, easy-going way to finish our little adventure.

Book Review :: Shield - Rachael Craw

Shield - by Rachael Craw

"Evie is out of options. She must comply with the Affinity Project - obey their rules, play their deadly games, give up Jamie. And her losses keep growing. When she decides to help a small group of Shields trying to affect change, Evie finds herself in the firing line. Counsellor Knox is intent on revealing her secrets and shackling her to the Affinity Project for life. To protect her family, Evie must betray those closest to her."

Friday, August 12, 2016

Maranui Cafe, Lyall Bay

As a finale for our midwinter roadie, we planned such a quick trip to the Wellington.  Time enough to visit some favourite spots and a few new ones.  We were fortunate enough to travel from Palmerston North with a friend, who was happy to tour the bays with us before she went home.  Such a pretty way to enter the city, bypassing all the city bits (for now) and heading straight to the water's edge.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

'Return' - Aaron Becker

'Return' - Aaron Becker

Stories without texts are automatic favourites in our house.  We love words, too, of course. In fact, we have to send Eleanor to bed with a notebook and pencil, so that she can save words to look up in the morning (parentals currently performing dictionary duty, but guess what she's getting for her birthday).

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Birdwoods, Havelock North

I tagged our midwinter holiday as a road trip, but it really wasn't.  We seriously cheated!  After a few hours in Auckland we caught a plane to Napier and spent half a week there, with my sister and her family.  Definitely a luxury, but so worth it.  

Friday, July 29, 2016

'Goodnight Everyone' - Chris Haughton

'Goodnight Everyone' - Chris Haughton

Big Bear and the other animals are sleepy and ready for bed, but Little Bear isn't tired yet.  Basically. A simple premise and a very cute little book.  The kind you would read in a really nice slow voice to make everyone feel suitably sleepy.

24 Hours in Auckland

Happy Saturday, y'all!  I'm SO happy to be here, that was one loooong week!  Getting back into the work routine is not easy, so I'm gonna take some time to reminisce about the adventure portion of our recent school break, starting with our speed-dating sesh with Auckland city...

Friday, July 22, 2016

Homeschool Field Trip: Farm Visit

A few weeks back we visited the lifestyle farm of a friend of ours.  The kids have been listening to Dick King-Smith's 'Sophie' stories, so farms, on any scale, held quite a bit of appeal.  Some of our homeschool group made the trip too, despite the gloomy weather.  Last term was pretty quiet when it came to homeschool outings (we made up for it in the holidays).  I think we'll have to up our game a little this term.