Sunday, 31 August 2008

No, honestly, it IS a Tui in the tree ...

Tui are definitely one of my favourite birds, but for me, trying to photograph them is extremely difficult. I wasn't sure if this photo would look even remotely like a Tui, but if you double click to enlarge the image I'm hoping you'll see him more clearly. [There were actually three in the tree at the time, but considering the distance from which I tried to capture the birds, I'm surprised I even managed to photograph one!]

Follow this link to see better photos and/or follow this link to hear its beautiful song. The Tui is also known as Parson bird, poe bee-eater, New Zealand creeper, koko and mocking bird.

Whilst waiting for whaiāipo to return from Hamurana the children and I took a little stroll. We sat down the back by the crabapple tree and patiently waited and watched. The reserve was plentiful with sights and sounds and we all enjoyed playing 'name that bird'.

So, I just had to pop this albeit brief post on the blog because I was thrilled to finally capture a Tui on camera, lol.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Saturday, 30 August 2008

On a peaceful Saturday morning I decided to read some blogs

It's a quiet Saturday morning (well, with the exception of the children playing happily with their toys) so I thought I'd take a little time out to find myself some blogs to read. Within minutes, I couldn't resist linking two that I've found of interest so far. Firstly is Swimming-Duck: Dr. Seuss for Nursing Mommies. Pretty self-explanatory (the post). There are a number of thoughts Crystal shares on her blog, eg vaccination for one, breastfeeding for another, which I could hear myself saying 'snap' to!!! Head over and see what you think.

I actually discovered the next link on Thursday but as I've had to get in line to use the computer (ha ha), I forgot to add it to my post that day. YOU DID WHAT?: Into the West Country has some fantastic photos, especially of Stonehenge which I would love to see one day. Then I got the surprise of my life because Dorothy included photos of the Zorb. A Kiwi invention - in fact it's located less than 20 kms from us here in Rotorua. I had no idea it had made its way over to England, let alone any other country for that matter, lol. If you don't know what a Zorb is then take the link to Dorothy's blog to see. Let's just say, you've heard the expression ROFL? (Rolling on the Floor Laughing)? Well, the Zorb (in my opinion) takes it to another level ... RDHL ... rolling down the hill laughing ... literally!!!!! A crazy non-sensicle invention which we Kiwis seem to be very good at coming up with. ... I wonder why that is, then? Kiwis love adventure. Bungy Jumping and the Luge are two more Kiwi icons I can think of to throw into the conversation.

So, that's just two interesting blogs I've found this morning. It's been ages since I've had the time to sit down and try to read anyone's blog, and depending how the rest of the day pans out, I may take some more down time to try reading more blogs.

Oh, just before I go. One little plug. I've been a member of the Rotorua Freecycle yahoo group for quite a while now. In fact it was my friend who shifted to Australia who pointed me to the worldwide organisation. At that time the Rotorua branch had not long been underway, but I see this morning that there's been an influx of members (13 new members in fact ... hey, that's big in New Zealand terms! lol. Actually that's huge in Rotorua terms!!!) I think it helped that Lynda, the instigator of the Rotorua branch, was interviewed by our local newspaper in recent weeks. By virtue of the word Freecycle you would be right to assume it means just that. Anything unwanted is given away for free!!! Microwaves, fridges ... you name it.

That brings me to the end of today's post pretty much. The plan for the rest of the day is to clear out the spare room entirely. Then (grumble, groan!!) it's over to the shed to sort through whaiaipo's 'stuff'. Whatever I can recycle will be given away -> I'm sure there'll be something over in the shed that someone could use. As much as I love and adore whaiaipo, he really knows how to collect 'stuff'. [But just between you and me, I have a very different word to describe his 'stuff', lol.]

Enjoy your weekend!

Thanks for dropping
ka kite ano

Friday, 29 August 2008

Enjoying the warm sunshine on our faces

Signs that Spring is just around the corner

This week you may have gathered we centred the bulk of our schooling around nature ... learning the names of the birds frequenting our surroundings in particular. I have two more to add before completing the week's learning.

Hopefully I'm right in assuming from the description on What Bird that this next photo is a Yellowhammer.

Scientific Name: Emberiza citrinella - 16 cm, 27 g. Sparrow-sized mainly yellow bird of open country with reddish-brown upperparts, streaked darker; rufous rump and white outer tail feathers. Adult male has bright yellow head and underparts, head lightly marked brown on crown and on sides of face; cinnamon wash across breast, and pale yellow flanks. Adult female duller and paler yellow, more heavily marked brown on head, and breast band greyish green. Juvenile and immature even paler yellow or pale buff, heavily streaked, but still with rufous rump. Hops on ground when feeding, often with crouched posture. Outside breeding season, often form flocks on weed-infested crops and where hay has been scattered. Male song is rendered 'little bit of bread and no cheese'. Call a ringing metallic 'tink', or 'twick'. Habitat: Open country from sea level to subalpine, especially arable farmland or rough pasture with scattered scrub. Breeding: Oct-Mar.

Piwakawaka (Fantail)

Fantails are completely insectivorous and many insects are caught by hawking on the wing. (‘Hawking’ means to catch insects in flight.) The various Maori names mostly relate to the way they flit about while doing this. They follow people in order to feed on the insects we disturb as we pass by.

I was brought up (and believe very strongly) understanding that because piwakawaka laughed and woke up the goddess of death when Maui was trying to defeat her, some people feel that if a fantail comes inside the house it brings bad luck or even foretells a death! It may sound far-fetched to many, but I will attest to the misfortune brought about by this little bird. I delight in the mischievous flitting about of this little bird, but am always cautious when our doors are open!

Why this photo? Because tamaahine 2 looks up at me with all the curiosity and questioning of anyone seeking answers in their day. It struck me as such a powerful reminder that the children look to me for that guidance.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Need to make a booking for computer time around here

Tamaahine 1 and Tama 2 are making maximum use of Reading Eggs which is absolutely fantastic so I have no complaints that I couldn't jump the queue to compose a post yesterday! In all honesty I'll miss having this fantastic resource once the trial period ends.

I can certainly vouch that we would keep using the Reading Eggs free trial even if we had dial-up still because the learning benefits definitely outweigh the lengthy waiting. Having said that, I'm really pleased we've got broadband now. The speed with which we are moving through each segment just makes my day. More importantly, you don't feel like you've allowed the children to be on the computer ALL day - which is how it felt with dial-up.

The weather today was too glorious to be stuck indoors for too long. As a result there was of a lot of outdoor play/activity once schoolwork was complete. So, I guess it's as good a time as any to do the next ....

10 Reasons to be Happy Thursday
  1. We said goodbye to dial-up and welcomed the speed of TelstraClear PDQ broadband.
  2. The days are getting longer AND warmer. (As I get ready to publish today's post, it's coming up 5.30pm and it's still light outside.)
  3. I've completed another week of riding my exercycle and lost a few pounds.
  4. We learned the names of at least two birds! Let's see, what are they again? Welcome Swallow and Chaffinch.
  5. Coronation Street is back on following the completion of the Olympics.
  6. I caught up with a friend I haven't seen in months (spoken to on the phone, but haven't actually physically seen each other).
  7. I've started to spring clean ... first on the agenda - get rid of unnecessary books!!!
  8. We get to watch a free movie on Sky Box Office. It's our 'Anniversary' gift from them ... no not that kind of anniversary, the kind where you've been a valued customer since X-Y-Z. I'm definitely looking forward to watching a movie!!! ... hmm, what shall we watch?
  9. My dear old coffee machine has managed to make it through another week (thank goodness!!! Freshly brewed coffee is just unbeatable in my books - especially first thing in the morning.)
  10. Whaiaaipo scored a fantastic oilskin sleeveless-jacket that fits me! I feel really spoiled. This is the first decent piece of clothing I've had in years!!
Because the days are getting longer and the skies are becoming a more brilliant colour of blue, I thought the following little poem from The Harp & Laurel Wreath would be appropriate for the children's poetry today. So, to close off today's post I thought I'd pop it in as it sums up the 10 Reasons to be Happy to me ...

I'm Glad
I'm glad the sky is painted blue,
And the earth is painted green,
With such a lot of nice fresh air
All sandwiched in between.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Speaking of nature

There's something about this Crabapple Tree, but I can't seem to put my finger on it. Maybe it's because it marks the entrance to our "hidden" track to Lake Rotorua, or maybe it's knowing that soon it will bear fruit, or maybe it's a tree that looks like it's begging to have a hut built for the kids?

Well, whatever the reason, I decided I just had to get a photo of the Crabapple Tree while we took our walk around nature today.

Our day started off with a feel of Spring in the air - beautiful blue skies and a temperature so warm, you couldn't help but feel excited knowing Winter is most definitely on the way out.

Today, while walking around 'the track' as we like to call it, I realised why I seem to be noticing more birds these days. We have always had plenty of manu (birds) to admire, but (and this may sound silly), the reason I'm taking note of them more is because it's only in recent months that we actually have fences for the birds to perch on!!!! Again, it's not that I haven't noticed the birds in the past - and believe me, I wish I could record the beautiful sounds we are blessed with every day - however, now that they are at eye level, I am actually 'experiencing' the birds more.

Because I am home-based now, I can afford the luxury of sitting patiently for whatever length of time it takes to get the best photo I possibly can of our surroundings. So, this morning as we sat down having a break, I grabbed the camera and finally got a photo of what I now know is called a Chaffinch.

He (and yes, I learned it's a he) is a particularly shy bird. A very difficult bird to get to sit still, let alone have him come close enough to the window to be photographed!

The inspiration to chat about nature today? Tama 1 and Tamaahine 1. I sent them off yesterday with the camera to use as part of their Bird Watchers Club. When they finally returned, Tama 1 was disappointed that he wasn't able to get any of the birds quickly enough. So, having given up on their quest to photograph birds, they decided to take photos of themselves:

This particular tree is where the beautiful Tui usually sits ... speaking of which we had one fly directly overhead us this morning but I couldn't have photographed it if I tried ... too fast!!

I love their poses, don't you?

Tama 1 with Sika

Oh, and just before I go, I have to pay credit to the Kiwi Conservation Club's June 2008 issue for knowing the name of the Chaffinch. In issue #94, there is a survey which I either didn't see, or forgot all about. But luckily I browsed upon it today because it lists New Zealand Garden Birds together with links to a few relevant websites. Fantastic! Had I realised it at the time I'd have used this resource when trying to discover the name of what I now know is (the supposedly common) bird - the Welcome Swallow. Oh well, at least I have the list to assist our future learning from now on, lol.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Monday, 25 August 2008

Easy Come Easy Go

(I hope it's okay to put this on here!?)
(Oh well, to play it safe I won't show the reverse)

It is very rare indeed to hold a $100 note in our hands. Usually it's out of sheer necessity that we have sold something for cash and it's like the old saying goes "easy come, easy go." More's the pity, lol. On the weekend we managed to make a little extra income which was handy to buy a few of the bits and bobs required for the FVMF (Family Vehicle Maintenance Fund -> of course, I just made that up to add a little pizazz.)

When we 'score' big change like this, I will normally scan, print then laminate the two sides together so that the children can use it for play money. (And no, there's never been the accidental usage at the store with it!)

In actual fact, it is very rare indeed to have any form of coin or paper currency in our house. We tend to EFTPOS everything. I can't recall the last time I would have entered a bank to make any transaction. If it's not via EFTPOS then the hole-in-the-wall (ATM's) produce the 'quick cash' that comes in handy when you're about to hit the checkout line in the supermarket and realise you've overspent the budget and know full well you don't have the available funds to EFTPOS .... sound familiar anyone? ... anyone?

But my #1 method of transaction? Online ... all from the comfort of my lounge, lol.

Yes indeed, gone are the days I used to write out cheque after cheque and post my payments away, sometimes knowing I could buy myself a few days before the cheque would clear to their account (ie post it the day before pay day!!!)

Gosh, I don't know what prompted that walk down memory lane?!? Maybe to serve as a reminder that the world is constantly changing.

I wonder what the children will be using when they're my age? Hmm ... Perhaps it will revert to the bartering system? I quite like that system. Come to think of it, that was also a bonus a few weeks ago. A neighbour asked for whaiāipo's help. In exchange he gave us two meat packs.

The simple fact is, our little family is utilising all sorts of methods to raise funds nowadays, and who knows, maybe one day soon I'll manage to hold on to a $100 note longer than a matter of hours?! That will be nice, very nice indeed.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Introducing Māori terms of endearment

I've decided I've had enough of using the abbreviations DS, DD and d-a-d. That's not to say I will use Christian names (other than my own of course), but rather, I have decided it's time to introduce you to a few Māori words that sit better with me than abbreviations. In other words: I need to come across as myself.

To mark the change I thought I'd make a special post to introduce the words. I've added them in the right-hand margin in the layout as well, but thought by writing a special post you will be drawn to look at the margin to remind yourself in future (till you pick up the terms with practice, lol).

whaiāipo = sweetheart (for the dear man I am honoured to have as my partner in life)
tama 1,2&3 = son 1,2&3
tamāhine 1&2 = daughter 1&2

I've tried to add how to pronounce them in the layout and I hope I've sounded them out for you correctly. It's actually rather hard to know how to say the correct accent in writing, lol.

(You may be interested to note that Tama is a common boy's name also.)

I could be more specific to use terms meaning oldest and youngest but these terms will suffice. If you ever see me write whaiaaipo or tamaahine they are the same as using the dipthong over the vowel in question. I was actually brought up to use the double vowel, but it really depends what part of the country you come from. Overall, it's really not an issue unlike certain tikanga (traditions) such as women speaking on the pae (orator's bench) at marae - but we can explore such things another day.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Celebrate good times, c'mon

Remember Kool 'n' and the Gang? "Celebrate Good Times, C'mon"

About a month ago, we watched workmen installing some lines in the ground along from our home. We were convinced it was fibre optic cabling and now that they seem to have left our area I decided to find out.

Poor old TelstraClear, they must have my name recorded to know that I'll be asking every six months about the availability of broadband in our area. In fact I could probably describe the changes they've made in their online forms over the years!!!

I didn't bother phoning, I just decided to fill in the form in the hopes that it would be "all go". Sure enough I received the first confirmation but that wasn't too much of a whoo-hoo moment because they've said that in the past, only to follow up days later with a "sorry, but you are too far away from the exchange".

But imagine my excitement when I received an email on Wednesday or Thursday to say it was "activated". YAHOO!!!! So, I spoke to Maylene, our postie to let her know the modem should be coming any day. [She likes it when we advise her that we are expecting something because she can let the other drivers know to keep an eye out for our packages. Less chance of the couriers losing it in transit before handing it over to the rural delivery contractors I think.]

On Friday the modem arrived and honestly it took me 30 minutes all up: from opening the box to loading the CD and connecting all the wiring. It just seems so insignificant that 30 minutes was all there was between saying goodbye to an agonising dial-up situation to the full throttle pace of broadband. I half expected bells and whistles or fireworks to mark the occasion because it was truly a major event.

The very first thing we tried? Reading Eggs of course! And let me tell you, it was like I'd won Lotto or something. No longer are we sitting here waiting half an hour to get the programme "started" let alone the 15 minutes to churn over to the next lesson. Tama 1, very much like his mother, can be heard saying "wow, doesn't broadband work quickly."

Like TelstraClear advertise their broadband service ...

PDQ - Pretty Darn Quick!!!

Ain't that the truth!!!!

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Friday, 22 August 2008

Pepeha and Whakapapa

In New Zealand this week we celebrate the 2nd anniversary of our Maori King's koroneihana (coronation) at Ngaruawahia and I'm especially proud that my mother is invited as part of the Te Arawa entourage to perform for King Tuheitia this Sunday. Unfortunately she's not feeling too great as she really pushed herself at practices and hui (gatherings) to perform with many of our kuia to tautoko the Kapa Haka competitions over the past few weeks. Mum is over 70 and I always get worried about her well-being, but admire her for the role she plays in our iwi. What an honour the King asked for them, especially.

There's some good information on Te Karere with great pictures and video clips so I think I'll leave it to your discretion to use the link and learn from the wonderful resources already established. Why embellish on others hard work - unless when writing essays and exams, lol.

I thought instead I would share how Maori find a connection to each other no matter how far from home we may be and have only met for a minute or two. We will generally start with an introduction like this:


Tena koe,
(or Tena korua)
or (Tena koutou katoa) Hello (to one person), (two people), (more than two people)

Ko Maree (surname) taku ingoa - My name is Maree (surname)
No Rotorua ahau - I am from Rotorua
Ko Utuhina taku awa - Utuhina is my river
Ko Ngongotaha taku maunga - Ngongotaha is my mountain
Ko Tunohopu taku tupuna - Tunohopu my tupuna
Ko Te Arawa taku iwi -Te Arawa my tribe
Ko Ngati Whakaue taku hapu - Ngati Whakaue my sub-tribe
Ko Te Arawa taku waka - Te Arawa my canoe

No reira tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.

Depending which side of my Maori whanau I am speaking of there would be slight variances, but overall this is a standard version. They can be a lot more elaborate; especially when one is fluent, but they would be saved for specific occasions.

Whakapapa (family tree, lineage, ancestery) is carried with you wherever you may be and if there's one thing Maori enjoy, it's to find a connection in our whakapapa with someone else and within five minutes we are laughing a distinctive laugh and calling each other cuz.

The bulk of the following links aren't really set up to give massive amounts of information but they are the tribes to which I whakapapa/affiliate and have added the links anyway.

Te Arawa
Ngati Whakaue
Ngati Manawa
Ngati Whare (Te Whaiti)
Ngati Pikiao
Ngati Rangiwewehi
Tuhourangi & Ngati Wahiao (both Whakarewarewa)

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Thursday, 21 August 2008

10 Reasons to be Happy Thursday

Over the past two days we have experienced the slowest internet connection speed - 14.4Kbps yesterday and a whopping 19.2Kbps today! That has meant no Reading Eggs for DD1 and DS2. As I sat here thinking about how we were losing precious "free" trial days I decided it was best to look on the bright side and from that I remembered reading something along the lines of "10 Reasons to be Happy" in our local rag (newspaper). With a bit of luck I will start to do this on a weekly basis. Most likely this is also inspired by Wordless Wednesdays which many folk do, but it's to remind myself that there's more important things to life than worrying about a slow connection speed.

Please Note: Some reasons may be deep and meaningful while others may be funny little quirky random thoughts. No rules... so here we go:

10 Reasons to be Happy Thursday
  1. Winter is nearly over.
  2. The Olympics are on, so there's something decent to watch at 3 in the morning.
  3. We have firewood.
  4. The children are healthy and happy.
  5. D-a-d isn't self-employed anymore.
  6. NZ has 9 medals at the Olympics at the time of this post.
  7. I'm back to riding 10kms in 30 minutes at least 5 days a week on my exercycle - tension 5 (out of 8 ... whatever that means!!! lol)
  8. We have Cadbury Flakes chocolate bars courtesy of d-a-d's work.
  9. We have money in the bank to the bills on time (phew! I love saving that discount with TrustPower!! lol)
  10. It's nearly the end of the week and d-a-d will be home for the weekend.
This list also had me reflect on ONE question which many people ask me "how did you cope with the financial stress?" My reply was always quite simple: I always keep life in perspective because I knew it would only be a short chapter in our life plus I always focus on being grateful for the simplest things in life.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

PS: Just to let you know, as I'm about to press "Publish Post" the kids are demolishing the last of the Flakes !!!!! Oh well, it is chocolate after all, lol.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Although the kids don't get on the computer all the time ...

As a general rule, the children don't actually sit at the computer (unlike their mother ... oops!) but I will admit that I have allowed DS2 more time than I ever expected with Reading Eggs. When we started, I had imagined DD1 would be the one to utilise it, however, once DS2 understood what was happening, it became evident it was actually he who benefits from the programme. That's not to say DD1 can read every word so it's of no use to her. Far from it, but I can help her with the old-fashioned method of reading from a book rather than off the screen. She will do a lesson and she's away off doing something else. DS2 on the other hand really engrosses himself and when I hear him sounding things out I feel happy that he is using it as a tool as opposed to a game.

With the assistance of Reading Eggs, DS2 has started to make more progress in his language. Over the past few months he has come out with more words, but they are few and far between. He prefers to use his own little sign language still. I think he deserves a feather in his cap/hat (which is it again?!) because he's been recognising many letters of the alphabet for some time, so when I noticed last week that he enjoyed Reading Eggs, I made the (uncertain) decision to allow him to try it. It didn't take too long to realise that yes, in fact, he is making even more progress with his language through the use of this resource. So, we will keep trying Reading Eggs for the duration of its free trial. It will be an interesting exercise to gauge his progress if nothing else. Perseverance in our daily routine is more important than a computer programme, but for DS2 it's definitely a help for me. That's not to imply I leave him on here for hours to have him out of the way, but rather we're able to project it to his general learning once he's finished a lesson.

I don't really know if I'm just prattling on trying to justify the usage to myself and I can't expect anyone reading this post will truly interpret what I mean because they're not at home with a boy who simply chooses not to speak. I'm not an expert in child psychology, development or speech. I satisfied some people's curiosities as to his hearing - he passed that with flying colours. So from the hearing test he was recommended to go to speech therapy - if we want - we chose not to at this point in time. I've mentioned it here before (I think) that koro (my dad) didn't speak till he was four years old, so I see no reason to panic. He has loads of support and as indicated above, he is making daily progress. His comprehension is far more than most people would think. I accept he will be an individual of few words. So long as we awhi (support) him, and utilise resources such as Reading Eggs, then everything will all turn out well.

I chose to record my thoughts today because I think it will be beneficial in the future. Like most things in life, it's just another chapter. One day we will have forgotten DS2 went through this, so I look forward to that day when I decide to browse back at my posts and re-discover today's conversation, laugh to myself and say "oh yeah (chuckle chuckle), remember when ...."

But today we are still in the chapter where DS2 is establishing his own learning method.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Wax Eye and ... drum roll, please ... I know the other bird now

Here's another wee bird which seems to have taken up residence at our home. The Wax Eye or Tauhou (meaning "stranger" in Māori) or what seems to be more commonly called Silver Eye.

Until I read some of the information about the bird, I didn't realise they are territorial which now makes sense to me. You may notice in the photo there is more than one Tauhou. It occurred to me on the day (Friday just gone) that I hadn't seen quite so many of this particular bird before. [Golly, I hope that doesn't mean they will dominate all the other birds?!]

But, interestingly enough, when koro came to visit today I asked him if he knew the Māori name for it. Shock, horror!! my dad didn't know!!!! So, I jumped on the internet (as you do) and we discovered it was in fact Tauhou. While reading I thought I'd try to find the bird I had on a previous posting so I took a wild guess while at the Tiritiri Matangi Island website and I came across the name of the bird. It is none other than the Welcome Swallow. I'm delighted I now know the name of my little friend who sits on my Sky satellite as I ride my exercycle!!!!

I'm definitely adding to my Wishlist none other than a book on New Zealand birds!!!!

Oh, and just in case: to make life easier for those who are wondering which post I was talking about then click this link!!!! (Hopefully this takes you to it? I'm not entirely confident, but I've tried to be helpful for you. It worked on my computer, so maybe my computer savvy isn't too bad, lol.)

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Monday, 18 August 2008

Our boy may not speak clearly yet but he loves to "give it a go"

What have we been up to? Well, DS2 loves riding the PW50 and although he and his older siblings have all experienced the most minor of "falls", I'm pleased they've not had anything serious happen ... touch wood.

The photo is from Friday when d-a-d stayed home for his (gulp!) 44th birthday. The sheer excitement on Thursday was very contagious. We have never experienced d-a-d taking a day off like this and I will honestly tell you, I was probably just as ecstatic as the children on Thursday afternoon when d-a-d got home because we ALL knew we had a long weekend ahead of us.

You'd imagine on Thursday I'd have had the children working on handwriting, reading, mathematics etc ... but alas, I did not, hee hee. They were allowed to spend the entire day making cards and banners etc to decorate for the following day's "festivities".

Typically, because d-a-d was home it didn't take much encouragement for him to get the motorbike out on Friday. So, we basically had our weekend on Thursday and Friday. No formal school work was undertaken over either days but isn't that one of the beauties of homeschooling?

But yes, we have done some school work and I've decided I'd present a few examples of DD1's efforts.

While I was riding my exercycle the other day, the kids were assigned writing and reading practice in my absence. [Does that sound teacher-like? Ha ha, it sounds more instructional than what I'm really like, but I enjoyed making it look like I was the teacher.] DD1 decided that because she had finished her work, she'd do a little art. I like the following simply because it's made by her - as well as the fact that she's even added the words under each shape!

So let's take a glance at her writing. I'm really pleased with her continued improvement and the devoted ambition she has to getting it right. [Sounds like I'm writing a school report for her! Boy I've got a weak sense of humour aye?!]

Oh, and I just remembered I wanted to make a little comment about reading.

Because the children and I are financially-forced to remain home-based, it wasn't until we threw caution to the wind while d-a-d was home that I recalled the extra reading practice DS1 had last year when he started his learning-to-read journey. It is with joyful pride as a parent when you hear a little voice in the back seat not only start spelling out but also sounding out shop signs, road signs and the like.

Note to self: get the jolly car sorted !!!

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Thursday, 14 August 2008

O/T: Magic and Witchcraft finding interest around the country

There seems to have been some interest in the paper I'm taking at University for whatever reason. The interview on Campbell Live was a far better representation, but if you want to look at the CloseUp interview as well, then go right ahead but as expected the CloseUp team glazed over it with emphasis of Harry Potter more than anything else. I think interest for TV was sparked from an article in the New Zealand Herald but to be perfectly honest I'm not going to involve myself in it with any degree of depth. The discussions on our Massey webct has generated enough involvement for me so although I'm saying 'hey, have a look' it really is tunnel-vision, so it's up to one's self to decide how one feels on the matter.

Oddly enough, I've not been working on my paper at all. I'm struggling with it big time. I took the paper purely out of interest, but goodness me, the bulk of the other students who are taking it have had quite an interest sparked from one thing or another and are involving themselves without a problem. I'm struggling to understand what the terms mean; but, as I'm not one to give up, I must get myself re-motivated. The TV items obviously had an impact as I sat up till 2 o'clock this morning reading. I'm determined to catch up to the rest of them, but I will finish the classical period before getting up to speed with the medieval era.

Yes, Magic and Witchcraft can be a highly controversial topic and in fact, why is it a paper at university at all? Well, I can't answer that one ... yet! Hopefully by the end of the course I'll have a deep enough understanding that I could give a clear definition as to the relevance in today's world - not to justify the paper being studied, but how it has impacted in many societies throughout the world. From a Maori perspective, makutu is something I believe in and am grounded in my opinion that it played a major role in d-a-d's unfortunate experience ... once we sold that particular part of our property things changed for the better, so I want to study that area in particular to satisfy myself that my thoughts aren't so way-out-there. (But then, you'd have to know our circumstances to know what my rambling is all about, hee hee.) From a Catholic perspective, yes it will challenge my beliefs in many areas, but that's all good as far as I can see. Questioning all aspects of one's life is why I think I enjoy the idea of (eventually) doing some Philosophy papers. At the moment I want to do as many Religion and Classical papers to lay the foundations.

Sure hope that makes sense.

Well, it wasn't on the topic of homeschooling today, but education is a lifelong journey and I'm still well in the throes of my own learning curve!

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Please Help: What's the Name of this Bird?

I do not pretend to know the name of many manu (birds) and here is one that I have noticed very recently. They are a pair and were difficult to photograph. These photos I took while on my exercycle in the master bedroom would you believe? I couldn't open the window without fear they'd dart off.
They have taken to perching themselves on the Sky satellite dish of all places (which, BTW, is outside the bedroom windows. Because we have mesh on the bottom windows the photo is less clear than I'd like for posting to the blog, so apologies if they aren't professional-looking photos, lol !!!!)

So, this will be interesting ... will I receive any feedback? What a blow to my ego (haa haa) if no one replies. I only know of three people who look at the blog regularly, lol.

But, no, look, in all seriousness - do you know what this bird is? I'd love to find out.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

A Touch of Home

No need to mention that at 8pm on the 8th of August 2008 (well, in Beijing ... it was after midnight in New Zealand!!!) around the world we all enjoyed the opening of the Olympics.

Our New Zealand flag bearer is Mahe Drysdale

Like many homeschooling families we are working on unit studies in relation to the Games and although there are a gazillion websites one can access good lesson plans from, I'll throw a few down on the blog here in case they can be of help to anyone else: - homeschooling

EL Civics for ESL Students

Enchanted Learning

There are many, many helpful resources out there and I know how hard a lot of homeschooling bloggers work researching and providing fantastic links for everyone so do be sure to read your group links, websites and blogs.

At this point in time New Zealand has no medals .... yet !!!!! However, I'm hopeful we will have someone standing on the podium soon enough. So sad for our equestrian riders yesterday, especially poor old Andrew Nicholson, but that's the way things go sometimes. He was soooooo close to finishing wasn't he? And hasn't it been terrific to see Mark Todd return. What a legend.

Still, there are plenty of sports events to go and it's fun to have the children at an age to start appreciating and being involved with things like this, so I'm off again to get my daily intake of the Games!

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Monday, 11 August 2008

Yes, another You Tube clip

Yes, Prime Minister really was a funny programme so I enjoyed having a giggle watching (or at least in my case 'listening with dial up', lol) a clip called The National Education.

There are plenty of comments made underneath the clip so I won't say much more than I agree with the bulk of them.


Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Friday, 8 August 2008

DS2 letter writing

DS2 has begun his letter-learning adventure and here are two pictures of his efforts this week

(5 August 2008)

(7 August 2008)

Mummy has had to be quick to nab his pictures to download to the computer because he seems to have a bit of an inkling for cutting his work up!! I guess he's still enjoying the scissor practice huh? The other thing he likes to do (which he's done on the "A" picture) is cut out sticky tape and place it over every letter! ... Interesting.

He's almost 3 years 9 months so I'm excited with his efforts and obvious enjoyment to learn with his older siblings.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Pass it on ...

Reading Eggs is a fun wee website which, until 7 September, is providing a free trial for parents with children in the 3-6 age group and for each new unique user who registers on the site by the 31st of August, using the code below, they will donate $1 to the Children's Cancer Institute Australia.

The Institute has a fantastic record in doing research that is focussed on improving the chances of children surviving their fight with cancer. The vision of the Institute is to cure 100% of children with cancer through world-class research.

Use the code DRF35XL to get their free access.

For those with dial up (like moi), it's agonisingly slow, however, the kids don't have the same impatience as their mother, lol.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

NZ in Recession

What wonderful news to wake up to! New Zealand's economy is in recession! Considering we Kiwis have been feeling the strain for some months now, it's kind of weird we have to wait two quarters to be told what we already know. Whether we're talking oil, food, housing ... you name it, it's on the increase. Costs are so much out of control that wages cannot cover - let alone meet, the high expenses so it's a major struggle. Our family can testify to that let me tell you! For example, I haven't tried "filling" the petrol tank for months for fear of seeing what it would cost. That's pretty much why we don't leave home these days, lol. Well, that and the fact we need to spend money on it because it failed its warrant of fitness!!! You've gotta laugh it off though otherwise you could really make yourself ill and feel sorry for yourself.

On another note: We're counting down to the Olympics and I hope Team New Zealand gives it their all. I enjoy turning into a couch potato during events like this. It will be fun to experience it with the children; especially DS1 and DD1. They will be old enough to remember these games which is exciting on the one hand and a bit of a fright on the other. Suddenly you look at the children and think "he's six years old ... where has the time gone?" My first born is now old enough to recall history in his lifetime. Eek!!!

My heart goes out to those folk who got caught in the internet scam for tickets to the opening and different sports events. It acts as a reminder that we should be careful what we use the internet for. I quite happily pop my details online to purchase things and although they are small in comparison, I would dread to think I lost my money due to somebody's cunning computer-savvy. I was watching the telly last night and a young Kiwi girl highlighted that our emails can be hacked into. Yowza! Here I am merely saying lots of things over the air waves and I will admit to you that I have had some strong opinions being sent to family and friends when d-a-d and I went through the "curve ball" life threw at us. It would frighten me to think someone might have tapped into that. For all the benefits the internet holds, it is a mechanism which is truly vulnerable and through which one's privacy can be exploited.

Oops, I better get off my soap box!!!! Sorry about that, for some reason my mind took over my hands and really wanted to discuss the importance of privacy. With the events d-a-d and I experienced, I truly value my privacy a heck of a lot more now than I ever did in the past. Perhaps that's because I'm getting older and wiser? Yes, perhaps, but it also came from personal experience that it doesn't take much for Big Brother to be watching you!

But hey, let's finish on a really exciting note. The All Blacks won against the Aussies on the weekend, so that must be giving our Kiwi Olympians the added boost to do our country proud at the Olympics. Whether we get 1 gold or more, I encourage our team to give it their all and enjoy the opportunity they have created for themselves.

Go Kiwis!!

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Thank you friend

I just had to put a very quick post to say a huge thank you to my friend and her three kiddies who came round for a visit this afternoon.

Our children are relatively the same in age and luckily for us, they get along with each other just as much as we mothers do.

It's been a little while since we've seen each other so we had a lot to catch up on and I was really touched when she gave me this book:

A book may be 'just' a book, but as all of us in the homeschooling sphere would agree, we all have one thing in common. We LOVE books!!!!!

This particular friend was there throughout the entire difficult period d-a-d and I went through and now shares in our joys being on the other side of it all. Whether she just listened when I spoke or came for a visit whenever her and the kids were in town, I am eternally grateful for all the generosity she has bestowed on me. So thank you, my friend, thank you!!

Post script: We had such a fantastic time catching up with each other that I forgot to take any photos, but hopefully they will be back to visit in the next week or two so I'll be sure to share a photo then, lol.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Greek Alphabet

I enjoyed Learn the Greek Alphabet on YouTube. Certainly well worth the wait on dial-up. I've had fun watching it today. The timing couldn't have been better as I was teaching myself the Greek Alphabet last week. Okay, so the pronunciation isn't 100% and I know some people take offence to "oh my-corn" but I look at it as a clever method to learn by. Basically, take the idea of making a story and alter it to suit.

The clip certainly reiterated my feeling that I want the children to learn Greek and Latin. Yes, yes, perhaps it won't pan out as I've envisioned, however, this is how I consider learning at this point in time. Even if the basics is all we achieve, they will be the foundations from which we can build on.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano