Monday, 24 October 2016

My Craft Collection - Introduction

So I've decided it's about time that I share my craft collection with you guys.
I have way too much stuff for the amount of things that I do.
My favourite craft to do is making cards. This year I hope to make lots for Christmas.
I also have knitting, sewing and lots of random bits and bobs.

As of today, I plan on having posts dedicated to the following:

Knitting Supplies
Sewing Stuff
Washi Tape
Bits and Bobs
Paper and Card
Art Supplies

As I go through my stuff I may well add a section. Also, I'll link the posts when I post them so you can always find them from this page.
Hope you enjoy my Craft Supplies series.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

After 21 Years I Can Still Recite It...

When I was four years old - my family moved to the USA so that my Dad could do his PhD at Cornell University. I started school at North Street Elementary School in Geneva, NY and every day from Kindergarten on we would recite the 'Pledge of Allegiance' with our hands over our hearts and facing the American flag. At the time, I didn't understand what it meant and just wanted to be like everyone else so did it. But now, looking back, I'm not sure it was appropriate for me to do it as a New Zealander.

As a reward for good behaviour you got to wear a badge that said 'Citizen of the Day' which was amusing since I was not an American citizen (I was a reasonably good child - so got the award more than once - there's picture proof at Mum and Dad's).

We came back to New Zealand at the end of 1995 and I have done the rest of my schooling in New Zealand. In fact, I'm now a Primary School teacher. I am proud to be a New Zealander but I don't understand the intense Patriotic nature that many Americans seem to have. Fair enough being proud of where you come from - but some nations take it to extremes. I remember the sheer number of houses that had American flags out front. You just don't see that here (except when the All Blacks are playing - and then it's just a silver fern). We only sing the National Anthem once a week at school assemblies or if there's an international sporting match (there may well be other occasions but that's all I can think of).

I've started thinking of this again after reading this article by Anne Wheaton. In it, she talks about how her son sat down when the Pledge of Allegiance was recited in class for a few weeks as a form of protest as he didn't agree with parts of it. His teacher had a bit of a hissy fit about it by the sounds of things.

Anyways, that's my little rant about...patriotism? And pointing out differences. It is by no means meant to be an insult to any country. It is just one girl's interpretation on things. And it's a bit rambly :P

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

'White Flight' and why it upsets me so much

I am a Pakeha (white) relief Primary School teacher. I travel around to a variety of South Auckland schools that are predominantly Maori and Pasifika. I love teaching Maori and Pasifika children. They are some of the kindest, beautiful kids I've taught. Imyself live in Papakura - a diverse but low socio-economic area. We chose to live here over other areas in Auckland and love it here. Many other Pakeha families looking to get on the property ladder have also moved here in recent times due to it being more affordable. But does it show in the local schools? No. And it saddens me.

On my way to one school in the mornings I drive past a group of Pakeha primary aged kids all gathered at a bus stop - dressed in the uniform of a rural school. The local school is a good school and has had fantastic ERO reports. In fact - most primary schools in Papakura have. Again, why are there so many Pakeha families sending their kids elsewhere for school? According to some articles that I've read - it's because they don't want their kids to feel like a minority. Completely ignoring the fact that Maori and Pasifika people are the minority in everyday life. Surely it would be a good thing to feel that way? Therefore they would have more empathy towards other ethnic groups later in life (or so my theory goes). Being at a diverse school means that children are able to be exposed to other cultures and learn about them. I see that as a fantastic thing.

When I relieve, I quite regularly get asked what my culture is. I answer Irish (that's the one I identify with most). I'm proud of my heritage (there's some very interesting stories in my family history - but that's a story for another time). The kids get really excited when I tell them my culture and then proceed to tell me about theirs. I have learnt so much from these children about different cultures and I love that I have.

Another problem with 'white flight' is the decile rating system (as of writing this is still in place - the government is proposing change). This is where students are funded based on the socio-economic status of their school catchment area. The lower the number, the more funding they get per student. The theory is that in higher socio-economic areas families can fund-raise more money for the local school. Many people misinterpret this as a rating on how good the school is. When I worked at Farmers I remember overhearing a conversation between a few of the ladies there about how they wouldn't send their kids to a low decile school because it was worse. Needless to say - I enlightened them to how it really works and urged them to check out the school's ERO report. Not surprisingly (for me at least), the school that they were talking about had a very good ERO report. This stigma needs to stop.

What I would love, is for people to send their kids to local schools - regardless of the ethnicity of the other children who attend ( the only exception to this I have is if the school has a bad recent ERO report or if they don't cater to your child's special needs). Chances are - your child will come out of there a more open-minded human being than they would otherwise. I know that few years of teaching in South Auckland has changed me and I embrace the fact that it has. Enough with this 'white flight'. You are part of the community. You chose to live here. That means that you should enrol your kids in the local schools so that they can get to know their local community too. You as a parent will too. Deal with it.

Disclaimer - this is my opinion. If you disagree you are free to do so in the comments - but do it in a nice way. 

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...).


  • 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 :)