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


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 127 7 May – shadows

My daughter organized a beach clean up for one of our local beaches as part of her action project for EMR (Experiencing Marine Reserves). The program educates school children on the importance of marine reserves and the reason why conservation is so valuable for the well-being and prosperity of marine life. They attend snorkeling sessions and then have a final day trip out to Goat Island.

Afterwards the children are encouraged to partake in an action project and my daughter decided to plan a beach clean up as she feels that is a good way to spread awareness throughout the community. She single handedly chose the date, the beach, contacted Keep New Zealand Beautiful and organized recycling bags, rubbish bags and gloves. She circulated flyers within the school and we placed an advertisement on a local community notice board via social media. Although the turn out was smaller than anticipated, they still managed to collect 3 bags of rubbish within the hour.

Late afternoon after all the volunteers had left, my daughter and I went walking along the beachfront placing flyers in mailboxes (again as part of brining awareness to what she wanted to achieve for the day). While walking I couldn’t help notice our shadows against the golden rays of the sun. The sunset highlighted the beautiful greens from the wild grass and I was overwhelmed with a sense of the now. Living in the moment. Loving life.



Turn your youthful face towards the sun, my dear

And all the fearful shadows will fall behind you.


Day 123 3 May – pass the parcel

“Pass the parcel” is a classic child birthday party game played here in New Zealand. We didn’t know about it until we arrived and my daughter was invited to her first birthday party. The concept puzzled me at first but when you give it some thought, it is actually a kind gesture that all the party goers gets a small gift with 1 big winner (usually the birthday boy or girls if sneakily tweaked).

How to play pass the parcel:

  1. Buy 1 larger gift (be it either a toy/book/lollies/chocolate) and several smaller gifts.
  2. Get your wrapping supplies out. You need enough wrapping paper for all the items you bought.
  3. First wrap the single large gift.
  4. Place one of the smaller gifts on top of the first wrapped gift and wrap it up.
  5. Repeat this process until all of your gifts are wrapped.
  6. When the party guests are ready to play, hand one of them the parcel and start playing music. An adult (or older child) should be in charge of the music to make sure everyone gets a chance to open a gift.
  7. When the music starts the parcel gets passed around the circle of friends. When the music stops, the person holding the parcel gets to open one of the layers and keeps the content.
  8. Repeat the game until everyone has at least received 1 gift.
  9. If you want to give the birthday boy or girl the last larger gift, make sure that they do not get a chance until right at the end to open the parcel 🙂



My post entry has nothing to do with pass the parcel though, but we did receive a HUGE parcel today. My excitement soon faded when I read it was addressed to my daughter and not me. It is all the sponsored gear from Keep New Zealand Beautiful for the beach clean-up she is arranging. I was happy for her though as she is single-handedly arranging this as part of her EMR action project. And every little contribution helps.

What birthday party games were your fav to play?



Day 115 25 April – sweet treats

We have SO many birthdays in April. Not only was it my dad’s birthday on the 19th, but a good friend of mine celebrated his birthday on the 21st, my mother-in-law on the 22nd and my brother-in-law today the 25th. I arranged for flowers to be delivered to my mother-in-law for her birthday as it is hopeless trying to send something through the post to South Africa. I have used NetFlorist several times this year to deliver beautiful flowers to friends and family and I highly recommend them! Their service is impeccable, their products fresh and they are very affordable having to pay in NZ$.

Today is Anzac Day. I spoke a little about what this day is all about in my post Poppies and I can’t help but get emotional on this day. In 2010 I attended my first dawn service to commemorate the returned soldiers and remember those who have lost their lives to bravely serve their country. These services stir your spirit and awaken a sense of gratitude.


In celebration of Anzac day I baked traditional Anzac biscuits. I have never baked these before and can’t believe how easy they are. The biscuits are believed to have been baked by the soldiers’ wives who would send them abroad. The biscuits are made from rolled oats, flour, sugar with butter and golden syrup as the binding agent. The more factual story is that they were baked and sold at public events to raise funds for the war effort. They received the name of ‘soldier biscuits’ and it was only after Gallipoli, and with the New Zealand and Australian troops known as ANZAC, that the biscuits were given the name Anzac biscuits.

My daughter also returned today from her 5 day visit in Tauranga and with her she brought a small jar of guavaberry jam which our friend made. I am in love! I served a small teaspoon with our coconut pikelets. It is tart yet sweet and goes well with the maple syrup and dark chocolate. We have a guavaberry bush and I will certainly be repeating this smooth, delicious jam recipe soon!



Day 112 22 April – poppies

Botany town centre has two small fields of poppies in remembrance of fallen New Zealand soldiers and those brave souls who had returned home.


The use of the red poppy – the Flanders’ Poppy – as a symbol of remembrance derives from the fact that the poppy was the first plant to re-emerge from the churned up soil of soldiers’ graves during the First World War.

Lest we forget.