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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. 




Monday, 18 July 2016

Home To-Do List

Last week I wrote down our to-do list for our garden which you can find here.

This week I am going to talk about the list of things we should do around the actual house. Also has quite a few expensive things on the list which will be done when we can afford them (maybe we should start buying lotto ticket...).

Home

  • Front door. Those people who have come to our house in the last few years have probably been baffled by the fact that we don't use our front door (salespeople have - and gotten quite annoyed - ah well :P ). Basically, a few years ago I was rushing out the door on my way to work (back when I worked at Farmers) and the door wouldn't shut. I tried multiple times and it wouldn't catch. Not until I put my full body weight behind it. It also opens outwards. So anyone on the front doorstep would then have to step back off it if we were to open it. So yeah, we need a new front door... 
  • Ceiling insulation. There is some there at the moment but it's not very good. And it blows around. AJ went up there yesterday to move it around as we were getting patches of mould on the bedroom ceiling. Sure enough, the places that had no insulation matched up with the mould patches on the ceiling.  We have no idea how old that insulation is so at some stage we'll just need to get it replaced. Ideally we'd like to get insulation in the walls too but this is unlikely.
  • New windows and windowsills. This is a big job. Whether or not we ever get around to it only time will tell. Basically, a lot of the windowsills are starting to rot. Mainly because the windows themselves have no drainage points at the bottom to let condensation out. So it just gathers on the windowsills. We wipe them down, but the damage has already been done from previous people who have lived here. Also the seals on most of the windows don't work. 
  • New ceiling in living area/kitchen. Originally we were wanting this done when we first moved in.We have the horrible popcorn ceiling that was popular back in like the 70s or something. We were able to get it taken off in the rest of the house, but in the living area it had been painted over so many times that it couldn't be taken off without damaging the ceiling. So need to have the whole ceiling replaced at some stage. 
  • New doorknobs. Some of these have been done already. But others still need to be done. Ideally we want them all to match. 
  • Clean outside of house. This will be done in the summertime. Probably when I can put on my togs (swimsuit) and go out there with the hose and a brush. It's way too cold to do that right now. 
  • Painting. The inside walls of our house are all beige. Anything is better than beige. So hopefully at some stage we'll be able to paint our walls some nicer colours. 
So there's the to-do list of various things we need to do around the house. Some very expensive things on the list. So whether or not we get them done before we sell (at some stage in the future), we'll just wait and see. 
Of course there's normal housework and stuff that I always have to do but that goes without saying. Speaking of which, it's kitchen day today so I need to go give the kitchen a good clean. 

Hope you enjoyed reading our massive to-do list :)

Thursday, 14 July 2016

52 Weeks of Memories - Weeks 22-23 - Name & Together

So I've been really slack with this theme lately. So I've decided to do two themes a week until I've caught up. So without further ado...

Name:

I went to Waikumete Cemetery recently to see my paternal grandparents grave. I don't remember my paternal Grandad but I knew my Nana. Even when we lived in the States as kids, we would talk to her regularly. She was a truly inspirational woman - I might actually write a post about her at some stage.




Together

I went to the bedroom yesterday and saw this scene. There's only one other person in this house who could have done this and that's Andrew. He's so cute and is going to be an amazing father one day.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Garden To-Do List

A few years ago we bought our little 3 bedroom house here in Papakura. It's on a section of about 500 square metres and was (and still is) overgrown. The house itself has a few things that need fixing too. While we're glad that we're able to own our own home - especially in a suburb of Auckland - I don't think we'd quite realised what comes with it. 
So here is a list of things that we need to do - when time and money allows (garden this week and house next week):

Garden
  • New fence on the back part of the section. Now, this might sound relatively simple, but there is a massive kiwifruit vine right there that has collapsed onto the old chain link fence that's there. There is also old tree stumps and all sorts of creepers growing around there. And a big tree about half a metre away from the boundary. This is getting higher on our list though as the dogs from the property on the other side are escape artists and keep coming into our yard. We've done a bit of a bodge job to try and keep them out for now, but it needs to be done properly at some stage. 
  • New gate. The entrance to our property has a massive gate. Which is all well and good except that it's made entirely of wood (that I suspect isn't treated, so it gets waterlogged) and is massive. It's another thing that we bodged a bit a few years ago so that it can actually be closed if need be. But it's getting on more and more of a lean now. And it's so heavy that I struggle to close it. So ideally the whole thing needs to be replaced. 
  • Re-do lawn. We don't like a super-short lawn like a lot of people. But we do prefer it to be grass. There are all sorts of weeds growing through it right now. So ideally we need to spray it out and put in new stuff. 
  • Paving. We have a few areas that we want to pave around the place. Basically we want places to sit outside in both winter and summer. Shady for summer and sunny for winter. Got a lot of stuff to clear first.
  • New shed. Our current shed can't actually be used as a shed. Unless you want a shed with holes in the roof. That and it's a crappy little corrugated iron one. AJ wants to build a bigger one and in a different place. He has a specific plan in his head though so when we can afford it I'll just leave him to it. 
  • Re-do cactus garden. AJ loves the desert and everything that goes with it. So we like to keep a little cactus garden. Our only problem is keeping it under control. It's so hard to weed through stones. So it's quite overgrown right now, and there's some frost-damaged plants that we'll need to tend to. 
  • Re-do vege garden. Right now, our vege boxes are empty (except for weeds). Need to clear them out and plant something. Not sure what to plant in the wintertime though. Through summer/autumn we have huge success with different capsicums and chillis. 
  • Weeding. Everything always needs weeding. So there's lots of it to do. Whenever it's a nice day this winter I'm heading out to do a bit more weeding. 

As we work on various things, I'll do my best to post before and after shots. 


So there you go. Our garden/outside to-do list. I think I mainly wrote this for me to refer back to but I hope you enjoyed it nonetheless :)

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Ireland - Dingle Peninsula

We stayed one night at a Bed and Breakfast in Ventry which is on the South Coast of the Dingle Peninsula. It was a lovely old farmhouse with fantastic views over to the Ring of Kerry.

We started the day by heading along the road in search of the beehive huts that we'd heard to much about.


View from inside looking at the roof. I suspect they used mud to seal the gaps


After we'd found and looked around some of the huts, we then drove on and enjoyed the views over the sea. In one picture you can even see the Skelligs :)












Then we found the site of the oldest church in Ireland.


Me loitering in front. My clothes are horrible but we were running out of clean ones by then.



 A really old grave marker.




From there we went back to Dingle town so we could drive over the Connor Pass to the other side of the peninsula. Along with every other tourist in the area it seemed. The views were spectacular though. The road was quite narrow and there were people driving the other way who didn't seem to understand the concept of 'keep left'. Worth it though. Only if you're a confident driver - preferably with a passenger who can tell you how close you are to the edge :P (thank you AJ).