Day 151 31 May – chimney sweep

My first experience with a chimney sweep. Apparently our flute is healthy with very little debris or rust. Who knew?!

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While the chimney sweep was doing what he does best, I couldn’t help but think that he will break out into song any minute now.

Chim chiminey
Chim chiminey
Chim chim cher-ee!
A sweep is as lucky
As lucky can be.

Chim chiminey
Chim chiminey
Chim chim cher-oo!
Good luck will rub off when
I shakes ‘ands with you
Or blow me a kiss
And that’s lucky too.

 

 

Day 150 30 May – open day

 

And so the search for a High School begins. As a parent you know the day is looming especially once they enter intermediate schooling, but I don’t think anything can prepare you for the ultimate decision making.

In New Zealand most schools are zoned. Now usually you will fall within a schools’ zoning, but it just so happens that we do not fall within ANY zone! All the nearest High Schools literally by-pass us with less than 1 km and the only other public High School which does not have a zone unfortunately has a bad reputation and is not a school we would want her to attend.

We are in the midst of filling out application upon application for an out of zone student. Once all the in zone students have applied, the school then looks at if they can accommodate more students. If they can then they open the out of zone applications but this occurs within a ballot, which basically means they randomly pick a name. Some schools might have less than 20 places available from approximately 100 applicants.

Open Day visits are on the agenda for the next 2 months.

 

Day 149 29 May – camping

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Gosh, it is that time of the year again when the kids head off to school camp. Both their classes attend the camp but my son’s class stays for 2 nights and my daughter’s class for 3 nights. The packing usually comes at a whirlwind speed as we are never prepared! Sorting clothes the night before, ticking off the last of the list the morning of. And once finished and loaded into the car it seems like they are off for a month with all the gear.

I remember my school camping days. I went on several as I was involved with an outdoor program developing leadership skills. I don’t think we were really ever prepared either for these camping trips as we were ill-equipped with camping gear, but I thoroughly loved the experience. Meeting and making new friends, challenging myself with activities I would never have dreamed of doing, and receiving recognition by peers and teachers. I was a bit of an odd ball but was very sociable and thrived on doing things differently. I was always surrounded by a large group of friends and together we made memories.

 

 

Day 148 28 May – dessert date

Tonight we had a girls night out with my daughter’s best friend and her mother. The girls had been very excited to go into the city and visit Milse dessert bar. We took the train into Britomart (I know, again) and took about 15 minutes to find the dessert which was less than a 5 minute walk away. I blame Google maps!

Milse is a very small and quint contemporary eatery, with less than 4 tables indoors yet they have an incredible selection of desserts. We gawked at the display cases with the colorful array of what I can only call pretty, elegant, sophisticated. Each dessert is hand crafted, with unique flavors. From assembled chocolates, gateaux, verrines, tarts and macaroons to their world famous gelato sticks.

Obviously we wanted to sample everything, so we cleverly decided to each get at least 1 dessert, place it in the middle of the table then we can all have a taste. My daughter and I took 2 dessert each (honestly, you have no idea the sweet tooth we have!) which means we had 6 plates to share.

I might have given a soft squeal when the desserts arrived. Each armed with a spoon, we ate to our hearts content. The portions are big enough to comfortably finish a small plate and by the end of my second helping I can say I certainly had enough sweetness for the day.

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We left the dessert bar not hungry but in need of food, but more in particular, burgers. Around the corner from Milse is yet another small eatery called Better Burger. Their menu is limited, but this does not take away from the quality of food you receive. All the produce is fresh, and the burgers are juice and tasty. Myself and my friend had the vegetarian burger, which is a giant Portobello mushroom lightly coated in a crumb, fried and served on lettuce, tomato and sauce. The girls each had a beef burger and as to my daughter’s reputation, included a meal (served with chips and a drink). she not only finished her meal, but was offered the last few bites of her friend’s, which she finished too.

Literally rolling out of the eatery, we took a leisurely stroll around Britomart. The city with its lights is by far one of my favorite places to be at. The lanes are all adored with fairy lights which made for great photo opportunities. It was relaxed night out, one we desperately in need of.

T.L.C

Day 147 27 May – gone fishing

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My family discovered a new bonding activity…fishing. Although it is not the best time of year to sit outside for hours on end by the waters, they decided to give it a go.

My son received a fishing reel for free. He was SO excited as he had always wanted to try fishing. Today was the first time they went fishing and all three of them used the one reel, taking turns.  There is a lovely spot out at Kawakawa Bay. They were on the pier for several hours and I was certainly impressed that my son was interested enough to not start complaining  or wanting to go home. They only arrived early evening, with new memories and stories to tell.

I do not share their excitement for this activity but am grateful for the time they get to spend, away from technology and indoors cave living/.

Day 145 25 May – autumn palette

As the sun start to set earlier, we have some of the most breathtakingly beautiful sunsets late afternoon. Today was no different.

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We have a long driveway and a row of large trees that soldier beside it. All these trees loose their leaves during autumn so the array of colors that radiant from each individual leave when the sunrays touches them is mesmerizing. Each leave is a different shade of orange, red, auburn, copper, yellow. I stood underneath one of the trees and at every angle a different part of the tree lit up.

An artists dream.

Day 144 24 May – cave man food

When you yearn for ribs and cider!

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Our family loves ribs, especially long ribs; you know the sort which when you plate up it looks like a carcass has been placed on your plate, when you have a sticky, smiley grin on your face from nibbling the last bit of meat stuck to the bone, when you have to use your lips, tongue, mouth to lick off all the juicy bits from your fingers.

Me want meat.

Day 142 22 May – life lessons

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My daughter competed in her first competition as a Junior International athlete. I can’t even begin to explain how nerve wrecking the preparations has been for her. She is surrounded by an immensely talented group of girls this year. They are all determined, focused, flexible and ruthless on the rhythmic floor. She usually gets very flustered and nervous during warm-up but once her first apparatus is done, she manages to calm herself. Now, I need to emphasise that the last time she competed was at Nationals last year and she ended with a disastrous ball routine. I can only imagine the mental battle she had to go through to walk out and perform this weekend. But unfortunately her ball routine was a bit of a train wreck as she lost her ball off the floor, twice. Her score came down to a high 5 and is her lowest score yet while in the pre/international stream. Obviously she was disappointed and very upset with herself. But what made the situation worse was that her coach, the person she relies on in motivating her, ignored her when she walked off the floor. She didn’t give any feedback and told her to get changed for the next routine. My daughter was certainly not the only one who made mistakes during the competition but she was left feeling like a huge failure. When my daughter returned from the change rooms, she joined her team mate and started practicing her next routine. It was here when her coach looked at her and told her that she most likely holds the record for the lowest ever score by a gymnast from their club. This is what broke my daughter’s spirit.

Today’s photo is a quote suited best for the scenario my daughter found herself in. This is relevant to all people in leadership and facilitating positions. Be aware of the ears listening when you speak.

Day 141 21 May – pound cake

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Our local supermarket Countdown had mangoes on special this weekend, so naturally I bought a bagful. Apart from making a mango salad for the kids’ lunchboxes, I made a Mango Coconut Pound Cake. The original recipe can be found here.

I have a soft spot for a traditional pound cake. It is a versatile cake and really easy to put together. Traditionally a pound cake is made by using a pound of each of the 4 ingredients: flour, butter, eggs and sugar. Today however, a pound cake has been adapted to often include flavouring agents, dried /fresh fruits and raising agents and most have changed the amount of ingredients needed to make the lighter and more moist. I prefer the traditional pound cake which is sliced like a loaf of bread, but there is a sense of freedom knowing you can experiment with tradition without loosing the heart of the recipe.

Happiness is finding comfort in mangoes and cake.