yup…I’m ‘that’ type of grandmother

I’m the type of grandmother that lets her stay up late to watch the sunset. Just because it’s so beautiful.

sunset in christchurch

I took one of those online quiz thingies where it asks you a bunch of questions and then tells you the perfect grandmother name for you.

“You’re a bit of a hippie, interested in preserving the earth and living naturally. Your taste tends toward the arty and bohemian, and no one, not even your grandchildren, knows exactly what you will decide to do next. Because you have such a global perspective, you may want to choose a grandmother name from another culture, such as the German Oma, Italian Nonna, the Hawaiian Tutu or the French Grandmere. Alternatively you may want to create your own grandmother name from whole cloth. Whatever name you end up with, it will be individualistic, and it will suit you.”

They call me “GranGran”

It’s Halloween, and all is quiet.

New Zealand doesn’t ‘do’ Halloween like the US does Halloween, (perhaps that can be said for every other country in the world) …and I for one am grateful for the quiet neighbourhood. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved taking my boy trick or treating around our private circle in San Jose in years past, but I found it hard to reconcile the pillowcases full of candy some kids ended up with. Who needs a PILLOWCASE full of candy? NO ONE. that’s who. Mac was perfectly happy with his small bucket that yielded about 20 pieces of crammed pack sugar snacks.

Today we aren’t out trick or treating, but instead the kids in Mac’s class organized themselves a little Halloween lunch time  party.  They decorated, organized games, brought plates of  yummy food and fun costumes. They had a small lolly scramble, ate, played Harry Potter on the PS3, painted faces and all was well. They did it all themselves and did SO well. The kid was happy.

Our contribution to the food table was Hotdog Mummies, they didn’t turn out quite as planned but they were gobbled up all the same. How do pinterest parents get them so perfect?






Mac made his own costume this year, he was Amoonguss, a pokemon character. One thing I LOVE about his school is the children are encouraged expected to do things themselves, this fully matches my desire to be a hands-off parent  and sit on my bum all day at the beach doing NOTHING. Ahhhhh… peace and quiet! (But the truth is… actually…yes the kids are responsible for their own learning but the parents are fully engaged and involved)


There is a strict policy of not posting recognizable photos of other children from school online, so therefore only Mac features on the blog today even though I took some awesome shots of some of the other kids.





Journal | Road Trip – day 2 – Murchison to home

I awoke early in the morning, as usual. Ready to start the day at 6. My menfolk slept on and by about 9am I was getting antsy and dragged the biggest lazy bum from under his covers. COME ON PEOPLE, time to get on the road!!


We grabbed some food from the 4 Square (a small supermarket chain) down the road and started off on our journey to Hokitika. We had planned to drive to Hokitika to do the treetop walk before heading back to Christchurch. I was expecting to be home at our place around late afternoon. But best laid plans of mice and men etc..etc… we did an impromptu stop in at a swing bridge place not far from Murchison. I suspected my hubby might not of crossed over a river on a swing bridge before and thought it would be a good kiwi thing to do. We ate our delicious supermarket breakfast in the parking lot first before paying the $5 for adults, $2 for children entry fee at the Buller Gorge Swing Bridge and Adventure place. It also had some thrill seeker options of crossing the Buller River on the way back if you wanted a little more adventure than the swing bridge. Mac was keen to try out the comet line, a zipline from one side to the other.

We walked across the bridge, slowly. Mike went first but then came back to get his camera, so Mac started walking across. He did well (I thought)…I followed taking pictures and just nervously enjoying the view. When I got to the other side I saw Mac was crying. He had been so scared crossing the bridge that emotion had overtaken him once he got to the end and he had a small meltdown. He was still keen to take the comet line back though.

First we did a little 15 minute loop around the area to see the results of land displacement by the Murchison earthquake and the line the flood waters rise to. It was really interesting.



Then to get back over the river Mac took the Comet Line a ticket is $15 for a kid. I almost talked myself into going on it too but I was apprehensive to spend the $30 for adults. Mike wanted to go but he was too heavy.


end of cometline


This is a video of him coming down the comet line taken by the people of the Park.

It was the highlight of his trip. (and perhaps mine too!)

We loaded up again and headed south to Hokitika. We saw some wild pigs on the roadside, just trying to get back into the bush. It was the first time I had ever seen a wild pig. I didn’t know they were black. HA! I did all the driving on this trip so that Mike could take photos and enjoy the scenery, therefore I don’t have any photos of the drive, just of the places we stopped.

After stopping for 5 minutes in Greymouth for Mike to buy another memory card for his go-pro camera and fill up with gas we were zooming our way off to Hokitika and the TreeTop Walk. Mike put the go-pro on Mac’s head to walk the tree top walk. It was pretty funny when we watched the video of it, seeing all that Mac saw…like our butts for much of the walk!


We enjoyed ourselves on this walk. We were grateful that we got a 2-for-1 special on the price though because I think the entry fee is a little steep otherwise. $38 per adult. I enjoyed going up the birds nest which is the tall tower but I DID NOT enjoy the cantilever section of the walk, it made me feel a little sea sick! Overall I loved our walk, perhaps that had a lot to do with the gorgeous sunshine…it’s a good ‘something different’ thing to do.

I even managed to get a couple of shots of Mac that I like, he is going through this goofy face stage that rather annoying. I feel like it’s been forever since I last took a decent photo of him. But I liked these 2. MacTreeTop2GAP_2162blog

Last stop Hokitika township and then home. Mike now wants to move to Hokitika… a beach town on a sunny day can do that to you!


Journal | Road Trip – day 1- Chch to Murchison

I love me a good road trip, don’t you?

We’ve just returned from our 12th annual road trip as a family. This trip was not as long as some of the others we have done in the past but we still did over 900kms in only 2 days, probably closer to 1000kms actually if we took into consideration all our random tiki tours along the way. It was just such a beautiful trip and probably what we all needed, to get out of the city and reconnect with nature and one another.

Our first stop was Kaikoura, it’s a small coastal town about 2 1/2 hours north of Christchurch and is best known as one of the few places in the world  to see whales all year round. It also boasts many other forms of sea life including fur seals, hectors dolphins and crayfish. Mmmmmmm Crayfish! YUM!

We sat on the beach for a while just enjoying the fresh sea breeze and watching Mac go a little loopy with throwing stones, leaping around and collecting ‘treasures’, one of his very favourite things in the world to do. Watching him run free is one of my favourite things in the world to do.

I’ve always loved the colours of the Kaikoura coast. I am glad my husband also appreciated the beauty of the area.



We ate a delicious lunch (chicken souvlaki for me) at the Mac’s Brewery Cafe overlooking the ocean then carried on our way to Blenheim. Back in March this year Mac and I drove down from Picton to Blenheim, stayed the night and then took highway 63 through to the Nelson Lakes National Park, Lake Rotoiti and St Arnaud. I had been there as a teenager and I recall being memorized by the beauty. I felt the same way in March as we spent time sitting on the wharf of the lake. I was so keen to show it to Mike hopeful that he might relax and start to enjoy New Zealand a little more. He loved it as much as we did. This time though, we had some (unwelcome) visitors that added to the attraction.


Eels - Lake Rotoiti

I HATE eels

and why? you may ask…well when I was a kid we were forced to go eeling with our Aunt. Now that I have typed the word FORCED, I am not so sure,…maybe we agreed to go willing, maybe we didn’t, I really don’t remember but I do remember is being stuck in the back with the bag of eels writhing around wanting to get out, while I cramped myself up against the side of the cab as far as I could get. I was petrified. I was paralyzed with fear…and still to this day, I can’t look at them and not think of the devil.

Along with the eel visitors were these little cuties. Super adorable and fluffy and cute and NOT ugly hideous eels. We watched them paddle in and out begging for food for quite some time.

ducklings Lake Rotoiti

Beautiful BEAUTIFUL Lake Rotoiti, St Arnaud, Tasman, New Zealand. I could live here.


Sometimes I just take silly photos for silly reasons, like this one. When I go through old photos at my mothers house I laugh at the images of our childhood. My mother took us on road trips after my father died and there are many photos of my sister, brothers and I standing near or leaning against something touristy. They are fun to look back on and help me to remember some good times. SO sometimes I just take a photo so in 40 years time Mac can look back on it and smile.


and other times I just grab a few on my phone because I can’t do selfies with my big camera. I love having the option of a snapshot with the phone, until I see the quality of the snapshots from the phone. Oh Well…it’s more about the moment!

Lake Rotoiti selfiesblog

We drove another 40 minutes to a cute little hotel in Murchinson. We stayed at the Mataki Motels in a lovely room for $125 a night. It had a comfy queen bed in one room and a single bed in the living room for Mac. Lovely big bathroom and I almost wished we were staying longer to take advantage of the cooking facilities and swimming pool. We are very glad we stayed here. We had a totally hideous meal at the Hampton Hotel before watching some TV. It’s been 6 months since we last watched TV, it was so weird to see commercials. When did NZ start advertising medications on TV? You’ve let me down again NZ. You were once a haven from that kind of propaganda, not any more I guess.

oils | stinking feet blend

I am getting my soon-to-be-summer on. WOOT WOOT.

Did you see this homemade deodrant stick on the doterrablog? Might be trying this sometime soon but the stinky feet blend will be hitting a certain 8 year olds feet ASAP
in a 4 OZ BOTTLE
6 drops Cilantro essential oil
8 drops PURIFY essential oil
20 drops Lemon essential oil
31 drops White Fir essential oil
13 drops Lime essential oil
7 drops Melaleuca essential oil
TOP OFF WITH WITCH HAZEL and spray feet when needed. (not as chemically loaded as gran’s remedy and just as effective)Check out this BLOG post for a great recipe and solution to dry cracked, summer heels. The salve she talks about is THIS ONE . I’ve made it before and it’s super good.