Monthly Archives: March 2013

Triathalon time


Ollie has just competed in a big triathalon.  He did it last year, so this year was a lot easier as he knew the ropes.


The morning was quite surreal with thick fog everywhere!




By the time the racing started the sun had burnt through and it was a boiling day!
Ollie about to get into the pool  on the left, standing.



The only photo I managed to get of the cycle leg – an 8km ride.


The run was short (1.5 km) and relatively easy as Ollie had been training so much.


Ollie just loved it all so much!  He was as proud of himself as we were of him!



metalworking and kayaking


We went to a wonderful place last week   A huge secluded lake where Warren runs all sorts of activites for groups.
Our group had booked in to to use his forge  to make toasting forks.  It was very cool to see an old-time skill still being used and the kids given the chance to use tools to create something useful.  (Yes we toasted marshmellows afterwards to check they worked!)


Ollie working in the forge




The toasting forks were lovely, they coated them in a wax afterwards to seal them.



Because of a total fire ban the kids toasted marshmellows over the forge!


But wait there’s more.
Warren had Canadian Kayaks we could use and while the forge was being used (one at a time)the rest of us went out on the lake.  It was a stunning day.


Flynn, a young homeschool friend, wanted to tie his canoe  to mine and Charlies’s and travel like that.  So we did manage quite a big trip tied up together, Ollie took a canoe out alone and joined us for some of it.




As the kids finished making their forks they came and had a go out paddling.




Ollie and Tom powering into shore….



Warren also has barrels, crates, ropes and all sorts of things around to play with.   The kids stacked up crates and launched themselves off a tower of crates with a rope swing.

Next time we are making three legged stools with willow….





We go mad at WOMAD


World of Music and Dance, musicians from around the globe, a stunning natural setting,with amazing flags and food to boot, what’s not to like??


I have gone for 3 years now and just soaked up everything about it.  If music festivals are my spritual home (they are) then WOMAD is pure nirvana…

So this year, with two other families (great friends), we decided to take all the kids too.


One of my favourite things about having children is seeing them express their own individuality.  They have always showed a real zest for life and embracing new experiences.  I hope that my encouragment and role modeling has shown them to try new things, take up every opportunity and to live fearlessly.

I loved what they did at WOMAD….

Hannah got straight down to business with the programme as soon as her tent was up and  set herself a busy schedule of seeing as much as possible!


Hannah’s friend Ina was there too and what a great couple of young women they are.  As a parent I totally love their independence. They were so happy to do their own thing  including coming “home” to the tents at midnight when the music finished.
Needless to say they both had a ball!! Whenever I saw them they were buzzing with what they had seen/eaten/bought!
There was a very safe, trusting and loving feeling among festival goers, Ollie too felt safe staying alone and making his own way back each night.


I love seeing what Ollie does in a new situation!  Not a big muso, I wasn’t sure what he would “do”….However he discovered the cooking shows and went to every one!!  So much so that the celebrity presenter greeted him like an old friend when I went to one on the last day with him!!

He also did the classic Ollie thing which is to go deeply into one thing in this case a group called The Aleav Family from Israel.  A family of men- brothers & cousins headed by the patriarch – Grandad.  Their concert was fantastic, Ollie loved it too.  He also loved their cooking show, their workshop, and their spontaneous jam in the CD signing tent!  He went up and talked to them, asking them about martial arts (he loves Krav Maga which is an Israeli one), and he got a photo with them. Since being home he has joined their facebook!


With some of The Aleav Family

Ollie loved all the food stalls and spent hours just wandering around checking everything out.  He loved the buzz, the crowds, the whole feel of the festival and yes, he even loved much of the music!  After his number one choice, (above) he really enjoyed some late night DJ  music and  among others The Correspondents. Check them out below.  Their stage show was wild!  The guy with the Harry Potter glasses danced up a wacky, manic storm like nothing you have ever seen!

I bumped into Ollie now and then but we were rarely altogether back at our  “base camp”.


Here is a rare moment altogether…..

And what did Charlie do?  Well, within 5 minutes he had the lay of the land sorted out.  He loves maps, so he took off with the map of the site, marked things on it, whizzed around and was set!

Being small he was very zippy.  There was a bunch of kids that made a dust slide on the hill  next to where we were based…


Charlie loved buzzing around too, off to buy an ice cream, off to the kids area to make a drum or watch a show.  His favourite thing was the inside the beautiful hexagonal tent of the Tibetian Monks.  Here, over the three days, they slowly constructed a coloured sand mandala.


Here is Charlie in his prime sand watching spot.  He was captivated and it was hard not to be.

Here is the nearly finished Mandala. ….



Charlie and Henry marching in the parade on the last night,with the instruments they had made.


The parade was huge and gave the participants a good long march around to much brass and percussion.

The whole festival was as amazing as ever, helped a lot by the incredible venue, in  a gorgeous park surrounded by bush, a natural sloping hill down to the main stage (there were 5) which is situated in a lake. And of course a huge variety of awe inspiring music from all around the globe.

On the last night the Tibetian Monks performed a mandala dissolution ceremony to close WOMAD.  They carefully transported the Mandala down to the main stage on a buggy, then played some beautiful music on traditional instruments while two of the monks carefully swept the mandala sand into the centre using their hands.

Then some of the sand was tipped into the lake.   The Mandala is symbolic of  the non permanance of life and a chance to  practise non attachment.

Charlie and I had come right down to the waters edge for this, the last act.  We sat and watched the monks set up on the stage just across the water. It was  still and warm with a low misty cloud, but no rain.  As the last notes of their music died away after the ceremony and a Karakia (prayer ) was given by a local Kaumatua, the Monks got up and waved goodbye.  A woman behind me started to sing the well known waiata (song) Te Aroha, we joined in and sang our thanks to the monks,  to the organisers, to everyone around us, to all the performers. It was like a big blessing on the beauty of the place, the sentiments and sharing that had gone on at WOMAD .

Te Aroha                            Love
Te whakapono                  Hope/faith
Te Rangimarie                  Peace
Tatou, tatou e                   Be amongst us all

It was the perfect way to sum up our weekend and the way so much great music had touched us all.


Ollie and Charlie at dusk – we did get a bit of rain on the last day,but not too bad – greatly welcomed here as we have been in drought conditions!


The main stage just as the light begins to fade.


The boys and I, needed a flash really, but hard to resist posing on those giant letters!

That dog gone day


Charlie really wants a dog.

He is a real animal lover and is very attracted to animals. Because his mother is a bit of a gypsy and likes to take off for adventures this has been put off.

Last week Charlie had the opportunity to dog sit for a  day.   We looked after a friends 4 yr old Fox Terrier and decided she was the perfect pet for Charlie….


Abbi got a lot of exercise that day…in fact so did Charlie until he realised that he didn’t have to go at her pace, a full sprint, all the time.

Abbi was so obedient and so loving!




One of them is faking sleep… although they were both knackered after a full day of playing.

It was a joy to see Charlie with an animal his size and I have no doubt that he will be a wonderful dog owner.
I have every intention of making this happen for him later in the year.  Looking at the rewards it will bring, not at the obstacles.




Fighting energy


I am sure I have often mentioned how great Tae Kwon Do has been in our family….

Wayne and Ollie have been training madly, and I mean madly, for the North Island championships.  they both love the sparring – that is what you see at the Olympics. It is legitimite fighting,  fantastic!

Last weekend they went off and competed – they totally loved it and came home with a gold medal each!



Both green belts, both gold medalists….




Very cool.Ollie is so passionate about it, which is just such a joy to see.

What else could parent wish for a child than to hear them say they love doing something and then help them to do it?

To be happy…..what else is there?

What the Science Roadshow taught me


We went to a great Science Roadshow today….
(Didn’t take my camera sorry.)

It was set up for school classes to come through getting one and a half hours each.

You got a 20 minute “show” from two of the staff, then a look around and a go on the exhibits and then a different show to finish.
It was very fun, very easy to understand, completely hands on….the boys and I could have stayed there for hours.

After Charlie and I were about a third of the way around the activities they called a stop and that was it!
We were gutted!

It made me realise how great our lifestyle is.  One of the many  advantages of unschooling is having the time to do things until you/the kids are ready to finish. (Or you get chucked out!)

I am so grateful for this as over the years we have spent hours and hours dawdling in museum exhibits, parks, pools…..We seem to be the very last people to ever leave anywhere.

This is based on an underlying desire to let the children finish what they are doing, play until they are finished.  Try not to interrupt their play.

The roadshow today was set up for schools and certainly manages to give many kids a great taste of hands on science.
But phew, what a rush!
My unschooling friend I was with organised to catch up with them next week at the next school they are at and finish looking, quick thinking of her part.

Also our children were lucky as they had parents there with them reading out the full instructions and explaining what was happening etc.
Another bonus of a small adult to child ratio….

In terms of content I felt totally reassured about how much science gets done in a childs play.  I have to say in our family the boys have been total scientists in the way they have played and talked about what they were doing.  I have no concerns about their science knowledge.

I heard something about play and science years ago that has stayed with me and really rings true.  It is this – that children need to play – do all the hoses in sandpit, trajectory, gravity, speed, things with rope, paperclips, ice, food….
In this way they are activity doing science, but they just do not know it. If they get to work out the scientific practice themselves in a practical way as children, then later on if they study the theories behind the “play” they did, it is much easier for them to just slot the theory into the practice, on top of the knowledge they already have.
It is as if through play they are laying the foundations for any future learning – which of course is true for any subject & any play!

Seeing our kids grow and change and their interests grow with them I can see how perfectly their games and passions lead them exactly where they want to go in life.
They are the  true masters of their own education, knowing what it is they need to learn and when.

Early morning gratitude


We are blessed to live in a special place where two mountain ranges meet, a narrow gorge dividing them.  There is a great energy here and for  me I feel very connected to the natural world when I am lucky enough  to look upon them.

I try to walk each morning and in less that 2 minutes I can be down at an amazing place…IMG_4550

Our Domain has many special things about it, not the least being the views of the ranges and up the valley.


This gives me such a feeling of perspective and space, which I know is vital for me to feel happy. Here the foothills of  the Ruahine range are behind the wetlands, which create a haven for birdlife and bullrushes!

(Great tinder for fire starting kits….)


Last week I walked so early the sun had not yet risen, a very special time of day – the windmills always look  amazing, but especially at sunrise….


This row of huge gum trees is like a great welcome  as I arrive and feel special walking down such a grand avenue.


Here you can see where the Tararua and Ruahine ranges meet and the Manawatu Gorge divides them.  There are only 5 places in the world where a river starts on one side of a major mountain range ,but ends on the other.  This is one of those places!  Amazing!


The sun just peeps over the hill where the gorge water joins the Pohangina River to form the Manawatu River.


The first rays of light touch a tree by the rapidly retreating river.


Apart from playing fields, play ground, river,camping area and a cemmetry  there are also bush walks where you can enjoy the cool stillness of the bush.


There are many special trees, like these two grown together. Signs give information to walkers.


And this gorgeously quirky one, grown into a large “U” shape!


I love the feeling that large old trees lend to the play area and surrounds.

As I am filling my life with more and more gratitude I find that having so much awe-inspiring nature on my doorstep makes it an easy task!   Feeling grateful is a sure way to bring more goodness into your life and I am truly blessed to live in such a beautiful place, in such a beautiful country.

Thank you,
Thank you,
thank you!