Saturday, October 22, 2016

Book Review :: When We Go Camping by Sally Sutton and Cat Chapman

When We Go Camping - Written by Sally Sutton and illustrated by Cat Chapman

"From two of New Zealand's favourites - Sally Sutton and Cat Chapman - a rollicking romp through a day on a family camping trip!"

Of all the adorable books we've discovered this year, this one really struck a chord.  Summer may be a few months away, and we'll have an additional family member by then (eeeeeeee!), but we're already making some simple camping plans.  Just scrolling through these illustrations brings back all of the good feels from last summer...

Chapman's illustrations soooo capture the exact vibe of kiwi summer camping.  From tent mess to beach huts, with all the perfect little details that bring it all back.  Cuppa ingredients?  Take me to that campfire...  Those little pleasures are what makes camping so delicious; a mug of milo in the evening, dry clothes after a long swim, snuggling down into your sleeping bag as dawn breaks.  This book perfectly captures it all, and I'll admit left me pretty impatient for sunny weather, so that we can pitch our summer home.

This story is written in song verse, and has a nice easy rhythm that littlies will love.  Absolutely perfect for under fives, though I think the images will capture older readers too (if I'm anything to go by).  My New Entrant students would always pick out the story books that were written to tunes (yay me!), so this would make a pretty perfect addition to a classroom library too.

When We Go Camping is definitely worth checking out if you're near a library or bookstore.  I think it's a kiwi-kid-bookshelf-must-have and would make the perfect Christmas gift for little ones.. Available now online and in stores.

Review copy courtesy of Walker Books.

Homeschool Field Notes

We had another homeschool field trip a few weeks ago, while it was still cool enough to wear woolens.  We were supposed to be observing 'pond life', but all we came across was a spider.
Def no beavers or snakes #Americancurriculum.  Speaking of curriculum, we've been checking out next year's syllabus (2nd Grade) and it looks fun!  I've been looking at the Kindergarten one too which looks utterly adorable!  Super tempted...

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Book Review :: An Artist's Alphabet by Norman Messenger

"A surreal and gorgeous alphabet book from exceptional artist Norman Messenger."

If you're looking for a book that's a little out of the ordinary, I've totally found it for you.  An Artist's Alphabet is perrrrfect for fans of the surreal, and anyone looking for an un-cutesy alphabet book. The unconventional subject matter is refreshing, no 'B is for Ball' here, peeps!  This is definitely the type of book kids will sit and pore over in front of the fire, with so many exquisite details and unexpected letter pairings.  

Friday, September 30, 2016

Book Review :: My Dad Used to Be so Cool by Keith Negley

"Did your dad used to be cool? Wondering what happened to his rock band playing, skateboarding days?"

First and foremost, I LOVE the illustrations for this book!  I'd have any of them as wall prints in my house.  The repeat pattern guitars are 👌.  It's a beautiful book no doubt about it, with thick, matte pages boasting these bold, retro illustrations.   I'm a big fan of the muted primaries colour scheme, and intend to steal it for an upcoming kiddo birthday party, yuss!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Russell, Northland

These Spring holidays have been dreamy!  So much for that grim weather forecast, it's all blue skies y'all.  Today definitely feels like the kind of day that we should fill with an adventure, but in reality I will be cleaning out my car (overdue) and sorting through the kiddo clothing.  Is it normal that I'm looking forward to both of these tasks?!  

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Doll Ergobaby

I've been thinking about making a couple of doll-sized ergobaby carriers forever.  It felt so good finally to whip this one up!  I'm sure there are a bunch of online tutorials available, but that's not really my style.  Instead I gathered supplies, did a bit of guessing and pinning and cutting, and came up with this one.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Adventures in Spring

I'm gonna admit it right now, homeschooling is the best decision we ever made. Which is not to say that we will never reassess, particularly if we find ourselves in the right schooling situation, but this year has been (mostly) SO much fun for all of us.

Book Review :: A Child of Books - Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston

"An inspiring and lyrical picture book about a little girl who sails her raft 'across a sea of words' to arrive at the house of a small boy. There she invites him to come away with her on an adventure where they can journey through 'forests of fairy tales', 'across mountains of make-believe' and 'sleep in clouds of song'. Guided by his new friend, the boy unlocks his imagination and a lifetime of magic lies ahead of him... But who will be next?"

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Beeswax Candles Two Ways

Ung.  I love the smell of beeswax.  Is there anyone in the world who doesn't?  Melting beeswax is even super yummier.  It really is such a versatile product for making handmade gifts.  I have a huge block set aside, and a bunch of different plans for it.

I made these candles a couple of days ago and they were ridiculously easy.  The dipped candles take a little more time and patience but they were still far easier to make than I'd anticipated. They'll make sweet little Christmas gifts for friends who don't mind imperfect looking candles. I might actually assist Eleanor in making the next batch, and who wouldn't want a lumpy candle that was handmade by a kiddo?!  No one, that's who.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Book Review :: Neffy and the Feathered Dinosaurs - Joe Lillington

"It was a very special day for Neffy the Microraptor - she would be taking her first flight.

But when Neffy spread her wings she didn't know what she was supposed to do! Will she learn in time to join her sisters and escape the predators on the ground?"

This is the ideal book for fact-collecting kiddos (age 4+), with a sweet little story that makes for perfect bedtime reading. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Sweet Mother's Kitchen - Wellington

Sweet Mother's Kitchen in Wellington has been on my to-visit list forever.  We really had to battle fatigue to get ourselves there, but I'm glad we did.  It was a nice, easy-going way to finish our little adventure.

Book Review :: Shield - Rachael Craw

Shield - by Rachael Craw

"Evie is out of options. She must comply with the Affinity Project - obey their rules, play their deadly games, give up Jamie. And her losses keep growing. When she decides to help a small group of Shields trying to affect change, Evie finds herself in the firing line. Counsellor Knox is intent on revealing her secrets and shackling her to the Affinity Project for life. To protect her family, Evie must betray those closest to her."

Friday, August 12, 2016

Maranui Cafe, Lyall Bay

As a finale for our midwinter roadie, we planned such a quick trip to the Wellington.  Time enough to visit some favourite spots and a few new ones.  We were fortunate enough to travel from Palmerston North with a friend, who was happy to tour the bays with us before she went home.  Such a pretty way to enter the city, bypassing all the city bits (for now) and heading straight to the water's edge.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

'Return' - Aaron Becker

'Return' - Aaron Becker

Stories without texts are automatic favourites in our house.  We love words, too, of course. In fact, we have to send Eleanor to bed with a notebook and pencil, so that she can save words to look up in the morning (parentals currently performing dictionary duty, but guess what she's getting for her birthday).

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Birdwoods, Havelock North

I tagged our midwinter holiday as a road trip, but it really wasn't.  We seriously cheated!  After a few hours in Auckland we caught a plane to Napier and spent half a week there, with my sister and her family.  Definitely a luxury, but so worth it.  

Friday, July 29, 2016

'Goodnight Everyone' - Chris Haughton

'Goodnight Everyone' - Chris Haughton

Big Bear and the other animals are sleepy and ready for bed, but Little Bear isn't tired yet.  Basically. A simple premise and a very cute little book.  The kind you would read in a really nice slow voice to make everyone feel suitably sleepy.

24 Hours in Auckland

Happy Saturday, y'all!  I'm SO happy to be here, that was one loooong week!  Getting back into the work routine is not easy, so I'm gonna take some time to reminisce about the adventure portion of our recent school break, starting with our speed-dating sesh with Auckland city...