Wednesday, 14 December 2016

So I suck at this whole blogging thing...

The title says it all. I probably won't be posting any more this year - if I do then awesome and lucky you guys. And I'm not going to promise anything in regards to how often I post next year. It'll be a wait and see thing.

In the meantime I hope you all have an amazing Christmas and New Year :)

Thursday, 1 December 2016

December on the Blog

So I decided that this month I would post about everything Christmas in my life in addition to finishing up a few series that I've started and keep running out of time to finish. I've decided to postpone the rest of my craft collection series until next year. I will complete the rest of my travel posts from Ireland and do my best to take pictures to complete the photo challenge.
We're staying at home this Christmas to see what it's like with just the two of us. So I'll post about things that I do to prepare and I'll post recipes. I'll also post our decorations and any decorations I see when I'm out and about.
Basically - welcome to a month of Christmas in my life!

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

I Can't Wait to Explore....

I can't wait to explore the following places:

  • South-West USA - For me this includes Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and California. This is AJ's number one trip that he wants to go on. He loves the desert. I've been to most of these places once before as a child but I'd love to see them as an adult. 

  • Scandinavia - Including Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland. We've been dreaming of this trip for quite a while now. The landscapes look amazing and all Scandinavians that we've met have been the most lovely people. Also, they're really into metal music there so chances are we'd be able to listen to the radio station and actually enjoy the music :)

  • The Mediterranean - Mainly the European side of the Med. Places like Italy, South of France, Spain, Croatia, Greece, and Cyprus. The history in these places looks amazing and the climate seems to be quite pleasant. Maybe a cruise around these places (just not using the brand that sunk a few years back).

  • Japan - This place fascinates me. It has the most amazing landscapes, a fascinating culture and really modern infrastructure next to really old places. Apparently it also has the oldest Inn in the world. I'd like to stay there if I can. 

  • East Coast of the USA - I've been to a lot of the East Coast already - again as a child (I used to live in Upstate New York). I'd love to visit again as an adult. Everywhere from Washington DC north. I'd especially like to go in Autumn when the leaves are changing colour. I'd love to go back to Geneva and see it through an adults eyes. And hopefully see a few of the people that I knew when I lived there back in the day.

  • Canada - I know, it's huge. But I can't narrow down specific places. Everywhere seems to have something that interests me. And AJ. We've found ourselves on Google Maps multiple times just going on imaginary road trips (does anyone else do this?). 

  • Pacific North-West USA - Washington and Oregon. These places look similar to New Zealand in terms of landscape and climate. Seattle looks like a very interesting city too. There's also volcanoes, and volcanoes fascinate me (I do live in Auckland after all...a city built on volcanoes).

  • Queensland - I'd love to go here when we have kids so we can take them to the amusement parks. I also have some good friends who live in the area who I'd love to visit. 

  • Western Australia - AJ has some memories of going there when he was a kid and it just sounds like a nice place to visit. I've also seen pictures from various people who've visited and posted their pictures on Facebook and it really looks amazing.

  • Vietnam - When we watched the Top Gear special a few years a ago that was set in Vietnam we decided that this was a place that we wanted to go. It looks spectacular and completely different culture wise to NZ. There's also direct flights there now from Auckland so easier and cheaper to get to than it used to be. 

  • Dominican Republic - Might seem a bit random compared to other places but one of my oldest friends is from here. From about the age of 12 onwards I would hear her stories of her childhood and all the things that she got up to. It just sounds amazing and I'd love to go explore it for myself. Preferably with her too :)

So there you go. A list of places that I want to explore. I expect the list will grow over time. This is a large world after all. Full of amazing places. 

What places would you like to visit?

Monday, 21 November 2016

My Craft Collection - Washi Tape

So I've developed a bit of an obsession recently with washi tape. It works so well in my card making and since I've started making some Christmas cards it's been making them so much easier than gluing ribbon.
Basically this post is dedicated to all decorative tapes that I have. The first picture is where I keep them (old biscuit tin).
Please ignore the dirty carpet and any hair you see - we moult a lot in this house.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

52 Weeks of Memories - Weeks 31-35

Week 31 - Sign
Some street art from Christchurch - I think it's pretty much a sign.

Week 32 - Family
A little cat family

Week 33 - Black and White
Old framed newspaper at Skippers.

Week 34 - Animal
A spider that had taken up residence outside our house - until we kept destroying its web.

Week 35 - Inside
Taken from inside the blossoms of a cherry tree.

Monday, 7 November 2016

My Craft Collection - Knitting Supplies

So I'm not a very good knitter. In fact, I've never finished knitting anything and I'm still on my first scarf which I started at least 5 years ago. And yet I still have a HEAP of yarn and knitting supplies (majority of it was gifted).
One day I will finish something. I have no idea when and if I will ever use up all of this yarn but you never know...

So this post is dedicated to all of my yarn, wool, knitting needles and other random knitting supplies.

 This is how I store all of my yarn:

All of my yarn. A lot of it is polyester but I have a lot of actual wool and cotton yarn as well as a bit of alpaca in amongst it.

Knitting and crochet needles. Also have some tapestry needles and counters that I haven't opened...

These are the books that hold any patterns that I end up making:

My 5 year scarf that isn't finished next too the bag that my Nana made for me:

Thursday, 3 November 2016

52 Weeks of Memories - Weeks 24-30

So it's been ages since I've taken pictures for this challenge. So I'm going to do my best to do 5 weeks worth each week. Everything will be photos that I have taken. Though until I'm caught up it could be from previous years etc.

Week 24 - Favourite
My favourite person in one of my favourite places - Hobbiton

Week 25 - Up
View from up in an airplane

Weeks 26&27 - Eyes & Soft
The eye of my oldest friend - Ginger (well loved stuffed cat)

Week 28 - Smile
Not only did this make me smile but I can see smiles in the rocks :)

Week 29 - Bright
Bright door in Hobbiton

Week 30 - Nature
Sometimes I love my country so much

Monday, 24 October 2016

My Craft Collection - Introduction

So I've decided it's about time that I share my craft collection with you guys.
I have way too much stuff for the amount of things that I do.
My favourite craft to do is making cards. This year I hope to make lots for Christmas.
I also have knitting, sewing and lots of random bits and bobs.

As of today, I plan on having posts dedicated to the following:

Knitting Supplies
Washi Tape
Bits and Bobs
Paper and Card
Art Supplies
Sewing Stuff

As I go through my stuff I may well add a section. Also, I'll link the posts when I post them so you can always find them from this page.
Hope you enjoy my Craft Supplies series.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

After 21 Years I Can Still Recite It...

When I was four years old - my family moved to the USA so that my Dad could do his PhD at Cornell University. I started school at North Street Elementary School in Geneva, NY and every day from Kindergarten on we would recite the 'Pledge of Allegiance' with our hands over our hearts and facing the American flag. At the time, I didn't understand what it meant and just wanted to be like everyone else so did it. But now, looking back, I'm not sure it was appropriate for me to do it as a New Zealander.

As a reward for good behaviour you got to wear a badge that said 'Citizen of the Day' which was amusing since I was not an American citizen (I was a reasonably good child - so got the award more than once - there's picture proof at Mum and Dad's).

We came back to New Zealand at the end of 1995 and I have done the rest of my schooling in New Zealand. In fact, I'm now a Primary School teacher. I am proud to be a New Zealander but I don't understand the intense Patriotic nature that many Americans seem to have. Fair enough being proud of where you come from - but some nations take it to extremes. I remember the sheer number of houses that had American flags out front. You just don't see that here (except when the All Blacks are playing - and then it's just a silver fern). We only sing the National Anthem once a week at school assemblies or if there's an international sporting match (there may well be other occasions but that's all I can think of).

I've started thinking of this again after reading this article by Anne Wheaton. In it, she talks about how her son sat down when the Pledge of Allegiance was recited in class for a few weeks as a form of protest as he didn't agree with parts of it. His teacher had a bit of a hissy fit about it by the sounds of things.

Anyways, that's my little rant about...patriotism? And pointing out differences. It is by no means meant to be an insult to any country. It is just one girl's interpretation on things. And it's a bit rambly :P

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

'White Flight' and why it upsets me so much

I am a Pakeha (white) relief Primary School teacher. I travel around to a variety of South Auckland schools that are predominantly Maori and Pasifika. I love teaching Maori and Pasifika children. They are some of the kindest, beautiful kids I've taught. Imyself live in Papakura - a diverse but low socio-economic area. We chose to live here over other areas in Auckland and love it here. Many other Pakeha families looking to get on the property ladder have also moved here in recent times due to it being more affordable. But does it show in the local schools? No. And it saddens me.

On my way to one school in the mornings I drive past a group of Pakeha primary aged kids all gathered at a bus stop - dressed in the uniform of a rural school. The local school is a good school and has had fantastic ERO reports. In fact - most primary schools in Papakura have. Again, why are there so many Pakeha families sending their kids elsewhere for school? According to some articles that I've read - it's because they don't want their kids to feel like a minority. Completely ignoring the fact that Maori and Pasifika people are the minority in everyday life. Surely it would be a good thing to feel that way? Therefore they would have more empathy towards other ethnic groups later in life (or so my theory goes). Being at a diverse school means that children are able to be exposed to other cultures and learn about them. I see that as a fantastic thing.

When I relieve, I quite regularly get asked what my culture is. I answer Irish (that's the one I identify with most). I'm proud of my heritage (there's some very interesting stories in my family history - but that's a story for another time). The kids get really excited when I tell them my culture and then proceed to tell me about theirs. I have learnt so much from these children about different cultures and I love that I have.

Another problem with 'white flight' is the decile rating system (as of writing this is still in place - the government is proposing change). This is where students are funded based on the socio-economic status of their school catchment area. The lower the number, the more funding they get per student. The theory is that in higher socio-economic areas families can fund-raise more money for the local school. Many people misinterpret this as a rating on how good the school is. When I worked at Farmers I remember overhearing a conversation between a few of the ladies there about how they wouldn't send their kids to a low decile school because it was worse. Needless to say - I enlightened them to how it really works and urged them to check out the school's ERO report. Not surprisingly (for me at least), the school that they were talking about had a very good ERO report. This stigma needs to stop.

What I would love, is for people to send their kids to local schools - regardless of the ethnicity of the other children who attend ( the only exception to this I have is if the school has a bad recent ERO report or if they don't cater to your child's special needs). Chances are - your child will come out of there a more open-minded human being than they would otherwise. I know that few years of teaching in South Auckland has changed me and I embrace the fact that it has. Enough with this 'white flight'. You are part of the community. You chose to live here. That means that you should enrol your kids in the local schools so that they can get to know their local community too. You as a parent will too. Deal with it.

Disclaimer - this is my opinion. If you disagree you are free to do so in the comments - but do it in a nice way. 

Saturday, 20 August 2016

What a busy few weeks...

I've been so busy with relieving the past couple of weeks. There's a few bugs going around which means more work for me :) Which is just as well as we're trying to save as much money as possible.
I've also joined an agency which means more work in new schools which is nice.
It also means that I haven't been able to do as much around the house as I normally do so I'm playing catch up on housework too.
So the blog has been lower on my list of priorities right now. I seem to have excuse after excuse for not posting but ah well. I'll post when I can.
I might take one day off a week if I get too tired. If nothing else to catch up on things. We'll see how I go.

Hopefully next time I post it'll be a bit more of an exciting post :)

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

How to Survive the Boredom of Unemployment

So I haven't had a full time job for a while now. I gave up my full time retail job to try teaching again but that hasn't gone the way I had hoped. I occasionally get called in to relief teach at local schools, but it's not as often as I'd like.
Being at home all day has its perks - but it also has its downsides. I'm going to give some tips to keep yourself entertained while at home by yourself and you need a break from applying for jobs.

NB - I have a husband with a full time job which pays well - so through him I can afford to do these things. Some of these things may involve money.

  • Watch Youtube videos. I probably watch way too many of these. But I find it nice to have a bit of noise in the house when I'm here all day by myself. They can be quite educational as well.

  • Read blogs. Again, I read way too many of these. But I really enjoy reading about other people's lives. Nosey, I know... There are also plenty of blogs out there that are educational. So it's another chance to learn new things.

  • Read a book. I love to read. And between AJ and myself we have a lot of books in this house. It's nice to be able to read without having a time limit.

  • Watch a movie or TV show. It's awesome to have the flexibility to watch a movie or a TV show whenever you like. I binge watched Roswell again recently and loved it. We have a big collection of DVDs and Blurays so I'm lucky that I have so much to choose from.

  • Listen to Music. I love music. I love all types of music. We also have a massive collection of CDs as well as music on our computers. So whatever type of music I feel like listening too, I'll be able to quite easily. Dancing around the room to music without anyone else around is quite liberating as well :D

  • Do Housework. When you don't have to work, what a chance to get your house clean and tidy! I'm guilty of not doing this one as often as I should. But turn your music up loud, and get cleaning!

  • Gardening. This is a great one to do when it's a nice day outside and you want to just get outside. Listening to the birds chirping while pulling weeds can be very therapeutic. Especially if you've just received yet another rejection letter!

  • Crafting. I've been getting into crafting a bit recently. I'm making all of the cards I send for birthdays etc. And I hope to make most of my Christmas cards this year. I use a lot of recycled materials (things cut out of magazines etc). It's so nice to be able to send homemade things and actually have the time to make them. I also plan on making some gifts this year for family and friends. 

  • Go for a Drive. I know, petrol costs money. But sometimes you just have to get out of your house and go somewhere else for a while. I find driving quite calming - especially in the countryside. Drive to your favourite beach or nature reserve.

  • Go for a Walk. If you can't drive somewhere - why not take a walk? Getting some fresh air while also getting a bit of exercise can do wonders for you.

So those were the things that I do to survive the boredom of being at home all day and not having a full time job. It's just too much for me to keep applying for job after job to not even get an interview. So I need to have something else to do so that I don't get too down in the dumps when I get rejection letters (if I even get that). 
I hope this helps you in some way

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Ireland - Rock of Cashel

If I was to recommend one thing from our trip to Ireland - it would be the Rock of Cashel. We went out of our way to see it and it was well worth it. If nothing else, the drive there was lovely.

We initially got lost trying to find the entrance, but it turned out well as we managed to get a view looking at the structure without much scaffolding.

The Rock of Cashel was the traditional seat of the Kings of Munster. It has an old cathedral and a lot of history to go with it. There is a lot of restoration work going on and in one area they were removing whitewash to reveal beautiful paintings underneath. I'd love to go back and visit once they're finished with the revealing of the paintings.

The (remains of) buildings were amazing, and the views of the surrounding areas were fantastic. You could see the ruins of a nearby Monastery and probably at least half of Munster from The Rock.

Here are some pictures we took at the Rock of Cashel:

The view from when we were lost.

The front view - scaffolding is to help restore the building so it's safe.

Looking through the wall to a nearby Monastery. 

View from outside.

Some restoration work, you can see what they think the painting underneath looks like.