Saturday, 6 May 2017

Because Of You: A Letter to my Midwife

The other day was Midwife Day and I know I'm late with this post but I felt like I wanted to write it anyway!

To My Midwife.

You were the first person to hug me after my miscarriage, you just held me like a mum would and I can't tell you what that meant to me. You told me that it wasn't my fault and there is nothing I could have done. You sent me flowers and called to check on me, I felt the genuine care that you felt for me and for that I will be eternally thankful.

Over a year later when I was pregnant again you once again treated me with care and respect. You told me to relax and let things play out. You set up ultrasounds to reassure me that things were as they should be. When I was 41 weeks pregnant you scheduled my induction, when my labor was getting tough to handle to told me that this was something I could do, that I was already doing it. You convinced me that I was already doing something I thought I was not capable of. When Abby was born you were so fast to push that red button and get those doctors and nurses in there. You took my baby and with the rest of those amazing people you put air into my babies lungs and saved her life. You took her down to NICU and the amazing student midwife that you were mentoring showered me, dressed me and wheel chaired me down to see my baby.

Because of you, my daughter is alive.

There is so much more to this story but to be honest there is a lot that I can't/don't want to remember. Reliving my pregnancy and birth of my daughter is something I find incredibly difficult even 6 years later. There is one thing I am certain of and that is without you as my midwife I really don't want to know how things could have been. You were there, you were on your game and ready for any situation.

Thank you.
Robin xx

Thursday, 4 May 2017

40 Star Wars Books For Boys And Girls!

May the 4th Be With You!

I have collected together a huge list of Star Wars books for this very occasion! All links are for the website Book Depository because that's where I buy most of my books! There is free shipping and I have had many good experiences ordering from there.

Early Readers

Level 1

Level 2
Level 3
Level 4

Activity and Craft Books

Early Chapter Books
Do you like these kinds of lists? Do your kids like Star Wars? I have always thought that if a child finds something they like reading they will fall in love with books and develop a lifelong love of reading.

Robin xx

Sunday, 30 April 2017

A HUGE Change In Our Homeschool

We have just completed our very first term as Official Homeschoolers! I have learnt a lot this term and even though we have been homeschooling 'officially' since Abby was 5 this year with the our Exemption approved it felt more real and more serious!

One of the things I learnt this term was about the importance of planning. Last year we were very casual and took each day as it came. Finding learning experiences in daily life and doing book work when Abby asked for it (which was pretty much every day). This year I am finding that Abby wants more structure and she wants me to tell her what the plans are for the day/week. I was really open to the Unschooling philosophy but I just don't think that is going to work for our daughter. Instead we are opting more for a Child Led Learning approach were we use Abby's interests to lead her study and how that learning happens.

The other thing I learnt this term is that 10 weeks is a really long time!! We found the last 2-3 weeks of the term to be really tough, on both of us. Not because we didn't want to do school but because we had just run out of juice! We were both tired, I was running out of ideas and other aspects of our life were getting busy.

So here is the HUGE change!

We are gong to do 5 week terms! A regular school does 10 weeks of school time then 2 weeks of holiday. What we are going to do is 5 weeks of school time and 1 week of holiday! 5 on and 1 off instead of 10 on and 2 off. So we will still be getting in the same amount of school days throughout the year but we will take a shorter break between them.

The idea behind this is we will be able to plan 5 week long unit studies, which will give us enough time to explore a subject but not too much time that we get sick of it. 5 weeks is also enough time for us to get through one of our chapter books that we read together.

The plan is that 5 weeks gives us flexibility in our planning, and a chance to regroup and check our progress more frequently. Planning for 5 weeks is also a lot easier than planning for 10 for me and it's easier to see what we have coming up in the way of activities and trips. Lesson planning and schedules are all new to me, I'm not a teacher. I didn't go to teacher's collage but I'm very lucky to have a Mum who is a teacher and who has worked in ECE (Early Childhood Education) since I was at Playcentre. So I have been able to bounce ideas off her, she was also a great help with my exemption, not so much in writing it but just to give me feedback and someone to tell me I was on the right track.

What do you think about our shorter terms? This is purely a trial for us so we can re-evaluate in the next 5-10 weeks and see how things are going.

Robin xx

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Chocolate Caramel Snack Balls

I have wanted to make some of these snack balls for the longest time. So I did!

print recipe

Chocolate Caramel Snack Balls
Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free, 100% Yum!
  • 1C Cashews (unsalted)
  • 1 1/2C Dates
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
  • 1-2 Tablespoon Cacao Nibs
  • 1/4C Seeds (I used a mixture of sunflower and pumpkin)
  • 1/4C Water
  • 1C Coconut for rolling
In a food processor, pulse the cashews for a few seconds. Add dates, water and vanilla and turn food processor on high until combined. Add cacao nibs, seeds, cinnamon and combine again using the pulse function. Roll into balls, wet your hands first to avoid sticking. Roll into coconut.Leave to set in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight. Store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to a week, if they last that long!
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 20 Balls

This Post was dedicated to Aunty Jan, We love you.

Robin xx

Monday, 24 April 2017

4 New Zealand Books We Love Right Now

In our home we love books! Our whole family loves to read and reading is a huge part of our homeschooling. Fostering a love of reading, storytelling and imagination for our daughter have always been far more important than making sure she could read perfectly by age 5. If a child loves books they will learn to read.

I thought I would share with you some our favourite New Zealand stories and books that we enjoy as a family.

In The Beginning- Peter Gossage  

This is the beginning of the world story according to Maori legend. We have explained before that we are a Secular Homeschooling Family so we do not teach this to our child as fact, nor do we believe it is factual. But the story carries with it vital parts of my family's history and culture. We also believe in respecting the world around us and this book does help to illustrate that. The book goes through all the different Maori 'Gods' and how the Earth as we know it came to be. This will be the start of our Te Reo Maori studies this year. I plan on doing some art projects with this book and use it to help my daughter improve on her Maori vocabulary. I thought where better to start than at the beginning! Peter Gossage was a fantastic author and illustrator I'm sure most Kiwis remember reading his books at school. I could have featured any number of his books in this list but you can check out more of them here Books By Peter Gossage

Elwyn's Dream: Saving the Takahe- Ali Foster and Illustrated by Viv Walker.

This book is brand new to us, our family love native birds so without knowing too much about it I picked it up. This is a true story about how Elwyn Welch used some kiwi ingenuity at his farm to save and successfully bread the Takahe in the 1950's. His farm later became Pukaha Mount Bruce the National Wildlife Center that's not far from our home. I plan on setting up a day trip to Mount Bruce after we have read this book together. This is a very important New Zealand story about our people and our wildlife, it contains so many topics you could pull from to create unit studies, geography, history, science, natural world etc.

The Great White Man-Eating Shark (Early Reader)- Margaret Mahy and Illustrated by Jonathan Allen.

A fantastic twist on a boy who cried wolf tale, I remember reading it at school and found it just as hilarious re-reading it with my daughter 20 years later! I did a full review of this book here. So check that out if you're not familiar with it or need to refresh your memory on how great this story is!
Buy it here on Mighty Ape
Buy it here on Book Depository with Free Shipping

Tangaroa's Gift- Mere Whaanga

I have always loved origin stories and this one is about the Paua, it is the story of how the Paua got it's beautiful shell and why you can only see it's colours on the inside. This one like the first is a Maori legend so it talks about Tangaroa- The spirit or God of the sea. As a family we spend a lot of time at the beach and my daughter is always fascinated by the beautiful Paua shells we find on the beach. You could also create a great art project from this book because it talks a lot about colour. We also really enjoy that the book is in English and Te Reo so we can work on our Te Reo reading skills!
Buy it here from Mighty Ape

So there are 4 New Zealand stories we are loving right now! What are you reading with your kids right now?

See more posts from our book shelf here  or check out some of these other posts about books!

Wolf By Wolf By Ryan Graudin
The Other Side Of The World By Stephanie Bishop
Presence By Amy Cuddy

Friday, 21 April 2017

3 Ways With Bagels

We love bagels at our place! Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch or a lazy dinner we can find a use for bagels! We always make sure we have a pack in the freezer for any occasion! I thought I would share with you a few ways we like to enjoy them!

Cream Cheese, Avocado and Capers! Always toast your bagel, it's just better that way!

Avocado, Tomato and Sriracha. I love hot sauce especially Sriracha! 

Cream Cheese and Blueberry. We went blueberry picking this summer and the blueberries were the sweetest I've ever had! You could also use strawberries or any other berries you have at home. In the winter use warmed frozen berries! 

Check out some of these other quick easy recipes too! 

Chocolate Chunk Cookies With Left Over Easter Eggs!!

I think it was the Tuesday after Easter Monday and I was already sick of the sight of Easter Eggs. So I decided we would get rid of them, in the best way possible! Baking!!

So here is the recipe....

This made approx 65 cookies for us, You can make a smaller batch of 20 by cutting the mixture to 1/3

1 can of Condensed Milk
325g Softened Butter
1 teaspoon of Vanilla Essence
1/2C Brown Sugar
4 1/2C Flour
3 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 C Milk
Left over Easter eggs (I used about 3 cups of roughly chopped Easter Eggs, Including mini eggs, marshmallow eggs, hollow eggs and whatever else was left) You can use as little or as much as you want depending on how many chocolaty chunks you want in your cookies.

First Cream Butter, Sugar, Condensed Milk, and Essence until thick and creamy. Gently fold in the flour and baking powder. Turn out on a floured surface and combine by lightly kneading the mixture. Flatten and add 3/4 of the chocolate, kneed some more then flatten again and add the remaining chocolate. Kneed until the chocolate is evenly distributed throughout the dough.

Once the dough is combined, roll into a log shape and cut into 3rds. Take one of the thirds and roll out into a thinner log, the thinner the log the smaller the cookies. Cut into 3cm pieces and roll those pieces into balls. Place the cookie balls onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and press down with a floured fork.

Put into a preheated 180*C oven for 12 minutes until cookies are lightly browned. Allow to cool on a cooling rack. Sore in an air tight container for up to 10 days (if they last that long!) or freeze in a snap-lock bag for up to 2 months.

To see some other awesome recipes click on one of these!
Vegetable Curry Puffs
Tim Tam Brownies
Sugar Free Cocktails
Super Easy Waffles
3 ways with bagels

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