Wardrobe Wednesday | Dressing the Bump

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Things are starting to get a bit tricky in the wardrobe department!  I’m still managing with my regular clothes {or my Mum’s in this case!} but I’m running out of options.  Of course complicating everything is the heat; my expanding waistline {and ass} have just about filled in my go-to work shorts so I think I have about one more week in those.  I still haven’t made the jump and purchased any maternity wear.  I have some great pieces gifted to me by a lovely friend but I’m trying to save those for when I absolutely am out of other options!

Cardy: Country Road

Dress: OBI

Shoes: Cheapies from the states

Wardrobe Wednesday

I knew I was right about this | NZ’s Failing Maths Curriculum

Let me preface this by saying that I have a smart kid. A really smart kid.

Last year at the end of term 3, E was discussing his maths group, after some questions I established three things;

  1. He had been sliding down through the maths groups the entire year
  2. He had landed with an inconspicuous SILENT thud in the lowest maths groups with the duds. That may sound harsh, but when your kid is in the same small school year after year with the same kids you very quickly get a grasp of where the intellectual dice have fallen – or not been thrown at all as the case me be.
  3. I had no indication from either E’s teacher or his report that there was a problem.

I took quick remedial action, had a meeting with the teacher (who asked for two weeks to get him up to speed, I figured she’d had 3 terms and hadn’t really accomplished much), I then enrolled him at Number Works ‘n Words. This was the most expensive best decision we have made to date in regards to Ethan’s education. The change was almost instant. Ethan had become so demoralised at his lack of progression in maths that he had zero confidence in his maths ability – both at home and in the classroom. The tutors quickly identified his weaknesses (he had missed comprehension of a couple of key strategies – I hate that word – and simply couldn’t progress because the dots weren’t there to join so-to-speak. With rapid success at Number Works, his confidence and progress quickly returned to acceptable levels and by the end of the fourth term he was performing where he should have been all along if not higher.

Fast forward to Saturday morning when the first story on the NZ Herald app read: Govt Eyes Back to Basics in Maths. Really? Please take the time to read this article if you have school age children, particularly primary aged. When E was struggling and it was identified that he wasn’t grasping the all important strategies I was perplexed; since when did you need a strategy for learning basic multiplication? I didn’t understand the way he was being taught basic maths skills so what hope does a seven year old have?

I know how my son learns best and at this age it’s NOT by approaching relatively simple sums and complicating them with formula based learning. Hand that boy an old school times table square and introduce The Family of Facts and the problems experienced last year would not have occurred at all. It appears other people are beginning to notice.

New Zealand 9-year-olds finished last-equal in maths among peers in developed countries, in a survey published in December.

That’s ridiculous, scary and downright embarrassing for New Zealand as a nation. I think it’s time to take note parents, in our situation where attending a good high school is going to require out-of-zone enrolment, there is no time to sit on the fence and hope that it all comes out in the wash, that somehow this strategy based learning will work for every child because clearly it doesn’t and it’s now apparent on the world stage.

 

 

Chinese New Year | How to enjoy the Auckland Lantern Festival

You haven’t missed out the festival ends Sunday the 24th February!  For more info visit the organisers website http://www.aucklandnz.com/lantern/programme/sunday

Attending this event has been on my to-do list for years and yesterday, late afternoon we headed over to town and got amongst the wonderful crowd.  We were blown away by the HUGE masses of people.  It was mind boggling.  Princes St was home to most of the vendors and the food stalls, and the foot-traffic gridlock.  Once you moved past being overwhelmed at the throng, it was definitely doable, with short fast-moving queues for food.

The food was amaze.  SO cheap!  I could have eaten my weight in dumplings, noodles, rice, pork buns……….and then there were the specialty foods, bbq squid seemed to be hugely popular as people everywhere had cups and kebab sticks brimming with whole squid dripping bbq sauce – we should have but didn’t.

It was the most pleasant festival I have ever been to, definitely a reflection of the quiet, respectful culture that was being celebrated.  I haven’t even touched on the lanterns because they were so amazing and pretty that only really the photos can attempt to do them justice.

Tips for surviving the Auckland Lantern Festival

  • Plan your parking well.  Don’t even attempt to cross Queen St to park.  It appeared that 90% of attendees thought trying to get in to the Victoria St carpark was a good idea.  Don’t bother.  The only agro bad-behaviour we witnessed were drivers honking and yelling because they had been stuck in bumper-to-bumper gridlock for ever trying to get into this carpark.  Park further away and walk or hop on a link bus to get you to the festival.  Sky City parking would be my pick, luckily we were able to park at Dave’s work just past Sky City and that area was congestion free.
  • Don’t take you dog.  really, there were dogs being dragged through insane crowds it was horrible
  • If you can possibly avoid it don’t take your stroller.  Access to Albert Park from the Queen St side is by narrow stairs and steep paths, people were finding it hard to negotiate with their strollers.  If you do have to take your stroller it may be best to split up and leave the buggy/child combo in the park with an adult while someone else gets dinner from the vendors.  The park is manageable, Princes St is chaos!
  • Come hungry, food is super cheap i.e. 10 dumplings for $5, 10 med pork buns $5, the lines move quickly and everything is delish.
  • Take cash, everything is quicker with the dollars.
  • Take water, it’s freaking hot.
  • Don’t try and get on the southern, north western motorways via Hobson St after the event – more gridlock.  Use alternative routes through the city, they are there!
  • Enjoy, come with patience and soak up the atmosphere!

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Around the Table | Bloggers Connecting Conference April 12-14th ’13

I have been following this project with much anticipation since late last year when the Christchurch bloggers hinted that something was in the works.  And it’s happening.   This April.  A gaggle of Kiwi Mummy Bloggers are descending upon Christchurch, and I’m one of them!

There will be panel discussions, Q&A, workshops, crafting, a banquet dinner to attend and time to shop!

I have only visited Christchurch as a child and spent most of my time in a gymnasium so I am so excited to visit our southern city, especially as we have just remembered the second anniversary of the hideous February quake that continues to affect day to day life in the region.

If you are interested in joining the fun visit the website http://www.bloggersconnecting.com but be quick, there are less than five places left!

Can’t wait to meet you all soon!

Bloggers Connecting

 

Things I’m loving

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Loving little boys doing just what little boys should do:  playing in the grass with el cheapo snakes and being 100% contented by it.

ciabatta

Loving Matakana Market fresh ciabatta with my homemade Tomato Chutney and big wedges  of cheese.  Pregnancy carb eating rules!

Auckland_beaches

Oh long, hot, DRY summer.  My bank account and our water tank despises you but you are awfully pretty.

summer_swimming

Loving splashing out on a key for the school pool this summer  << see what I did there?

Vans_bowlarama

So much loving that Dave had a blast in Wellington last weekend at the Van’s Bowlarama event, 48 hrs of skateboarding and guy time does a man some good I say!

Baby_shower

Lazy Sunday baby showers with friends from w a y back are perfection.  Eeek, I’ll be having one of those in a couple of months!

Pregnant_pedicure

Finally, loving that as of last weekend I was still able to paint my toes, not my best work but they’re not nakey.  Will have to train Dave or Ethan in the art of nails as there is definitely no room in the budget for salon visits at the moment.  February, you have sucked the $$$ right out of us.

Cook Eat | Tomato Chutney Recipe

I have grown us a bounty of tomatoes this season, and despite our best efforts we are accumulating a bit of a back-log. Time for chutney.

Ingredients

1.25kg green or firm tomatoes chopped (I used some red ones also)
3 chopped onions
2 chopped apples
1/3 to 1/2 head of cauliflower florets broken into small pieces
2 cups of brown sugar
2 cups malt vinegar
1.5 tblsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
A good squirt of hot sauce eg Tabasco or a hot chilli chopped
2 tsp mustard powder

I took some liberties with the traditional Edmonds Tomato Chutney recipe as I love both Piccalilli and chutney, so I did what any off the cuff chef does and picked the bits I liked out of each recipe and combined the two!
Amaze.
This is one recipe I’m quite proud of and love seeing my family enjoy. It’s damn good and easy.

Method

Combine all ingredients into a preserving pan and bring to the boil stirring. Boil steadily, stirring frequently for maybe 1.5hrs until mixture is thick and jammy – until it doesn’t fall off a spoon, or a cracker!

 

The Difference Between Little Girls & Little Boys

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As I was putting away the remnants of last years pencil case {the contents of which came home sans pencil case} I came across these 2.5″  survivors of the four school terms.  It looks like it was a hard year for pencils, stories had to be written by both ends, nibs were flattened, they look like shell-shocked victims of a historic event, just looking for a quiet place to lay down after a cup of tea.

These are .35c pencils but I do admire that Ethan managed to keep HIS pencils for an entire year, his name barely legible at the end.  My boy is good at not losing stuff and I really appreciate that.

The point of this photo of pencils, is this;

Those little stubs made me shudder.  They made my mother (a teacher) shudder.  I could not believe E was penning his Literacy Award winning stories and spelling tests with mangy stubs barely long enough to grip.  A girl would not do that.  His economy and thriftiness is commendable considering he pretty much has the whole Smiggle back catalogue sitting on his desk at home.

No need for a new pencil though, my boy had not one but TWO perfectly good stubs.  That is the difference between boys and girls.  Now you know.

Around Here | Our House

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Our house has been a massive work in progress since we bought it in May of last year.  We have done so much {and thankfully stuck to budget} and are now up to the final phase of finishing touches and tidying things up.  Little projects that are not in themselves huge expenditures, however the list of little projects is quite long!

This weekend we purchased new tiles for outside the front door, barked another of the backyard gardens (only one more to go!) and tidied up the long strip up the side of our driveway.  When we removed our septic tank and connected to town storm water in December, this area was completely uprooted as it houses the pipe carrying all of our wastewater to the street.  What was left was a strip of clay, now turned to dust by our fierce summer.  Mum and Dave were the rock shoppers and after one trailer load of inexpensive grey rock followed by a second trailer of river rock the front of our house is looking fab.

To finish the driveway we will plant three half wine barrels with miniature orange trees and then we will rest.  Until the next ‘little project’.

 

My husband is a Skateboarder

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He was a skateboarder when I met him (I skated too actually, fairly well) and he will be a skateboarder long after the wheels have stopped spinning I’m sure.  As is always the way when all of a sudden you can’t do something, I secretly have major skate envy at the moment as the influx of beautiful concrete bowls in and around Auckland has amped up all skate related activity in our house.

Dave and E are heading out whenever they get a chance, spending hours finding lines in the bowls at Botany and Victoria Park, meeting new friends and learning new tricks; relishing in this very special father and son hobby that couldn’t have peaked at a more opportune time.

So, I lose them for most of a Saturday or Sunday, they come home happy, scraped, bruised and exhausted.  Ethan’s legs ache when wakes but he always asks if they can do it all over again.  Did I mention the NOFX?  Ethan is slowly being converted to American punk.  Sigh.

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