Summer Time Bucket Lists – What we ticked off in 2013/14

.
Summer Time Bucket Lists“Summer Time Bucket Lists” are such a fabulous way to make your Holiday plans.

.
They give you tonnes of activities, events, and rainy day ideas both big and small to look forward to and plenty of ideas for when you can’t quite think what you should do that day.

We are putting together out Summer Time Bucket List for these holidays coming up 2014/15, that’s when I remembered I didn’t actually hit publish on my post about last years one (it sat 95% done) “Summer Time Bucket Lists – What we ticked off in 2013/14″!

So here it is:


 

For the first time last year 2012/13 I suggested to Miss 12 (at the time) that she make a “Summer Time Bucket List”…

.
Things for her and I to tackle on our holiday that would be loads of fun, a mixture of both big and small ideas as well as things we $Pay for and free idea’s too.

We really enjoyed thinking of things to put on it totaling about 15 things on it all up.  Then we had the fun of her ticking off items like “Bungy Jumping” and mastering Water Skiing outside the wake etc…

So this Summer we made a new Summer Time Bucket List 2013/14 and a slightly more ‘ambitious’ one.

Below you will see how we got on, we still have loads of summer left and hope to get through many more before the sun disappears for Winter again.


1. √ Early Swim out to the Lake Wanaka Raft + treats

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … It’s in our nature to sleeeeeep in, but somehow my daughter (Miss 14) & I dragged our butts out of the Campground & down to the lake to swim out to the raft!

@ 5.55am – yup!!

Our arctic dash was helped along by our stash of Chocolate tucked inside my wetsuit to eat once we got out on to the raft!  (Freddo & Crunchie)

It wasn’t so cold coming back in and Miss 14 even stayed in the water for a bit :-) We were even back in before Challenge Wanaka people ‘uber athletes’ started their practice swim!!

Even though I put this on our Bucket List, it took us til 3/4 of the way through our holiday to finally achieve it (& our last day in Wanaka!).

45 mins later we walked back down to the Foreshore to Kai Whakapai Cafe to defrost some more and get Hot Chocolate!  The early morning swim was a great way to farewell 3 fantastic weeks in Wanaka.

Early Morning swim out to the Raft Lake Wanaka

chocolate treats for the raft

2. √ Foosball – Have a family Foosball tournament

FREE – If you already have it.  It may $Cost you bragging rights though.
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … The competition was hot on the Foosball table and many an hour was spent flipping away on it.  I didn’t win overall, but had a blast trying to.

If I had the space for game type things at my house, it would be a Foosball* table a Pool Table and Air Hockey!

Foosball

3. Single Ski/Slalom Ski

FREE if you already have access to the Boat, Gear & Petrol.
(Miss 14)

Yes … Miss 14 has been skiing now since she was about 7 years old and has progressed through the different stages over the years.
This year, her aim was to be able to ‘drop one ski’ and ‘Slalom or Single Ski’.

Well … SHE DID and it was hugely hugely exciting.

The day she did it we had head out to an amazing spot way-way up the top of the breathtaking area of Lake Benmore.  We launched off from Sailor’s Cutting and pretty much nearly had the entire Lake area to ourselves.
There was only 5 of us there that day and we had an amazing day on the Lake.

Not only did Miss 14 master the Single Ski much to her delight (and the rest of us), but we also got my wee niece up on the Ski’s for the first time too which was doubly exciting.  You should have seen the smiles on both their faces that day = Priceless.

As all great lakes days, by the time we had all skied our little hearts out, the Southerly was starting to come over and it was a quick dash pack up back into the boat for a very eventful bumpy ride back to Sailor’s Cutting to which we all got nicely wet again from the waves.

To top it off, hilarity continued when the car tried to drive off leaving me 1/2 un-wetsuited/togged hoping on one foot as I was doing a quick change beside the car!  They were as surprised as I was to hear me let out a yelp as I discovered my ‘cover’ was about to be blown with me hopping alongside the car trying as best as I could to cover up.

Followed by me 3 minutes later coming out of the bathroom and attempt to get into the completely wrong car, step in and get 1/2 into the seat before laughed my head off realising my mistake (they had moved further up) and amusing these unsuspecting fellow boaties wondering who their new bedraggled passenger was.
I’ll give myself some credit that the car was very-very similar and also had a boat attached on the back.  I got back to my car to all 4 other occupants giggling their little heads off ;-)

If you’re not sure what Single Ski / Slalom Skiing is, have a lookie here at Thomas Degasperi (2 x World Slalom Champion) doing his thing, pause it at 52 seconds…yeah that’s pretty much where Miss 14 wants to be (& the rest of us) :-)

4. Χ Walk up Mt Iron, Wanaka…

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

No … Was disappointed we didn’t get to tick this one off.  Going to transfer our future jaunt up Mt Iron to our 2014/15 list as I know that the views from there are spectacular and it’s only meant to take about 1 1/2 hours.

5.  Water – Drink out of the natural spring in Wanaka

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … I knew about the Natural Spring and knew vaguely where it was, but oddly had never been there.  The spring comes out just down on Lakeside Drive between the Playground and the Boat Ramp, on the downhill lakeside.
We tracked it down and they have now made it into a Wanaka feature with beautiful slate stone and paving and easy to get to.  When it’s hot, the kids (& you) can have a wee splash around in the bottom pool.
Not only did the water taste great it was SOOO cold!  So after our long bike ride and nearly empty drink bottles, it was perfect timing.

Tip from Sept 2014 visit:
Cross the road opposite and have a look at where it naturally comes out of the bank and if you venture up through the wee gate and you will find fishes swimming in a wee pond (some really huge ones too).

Wanaka Natural Spring Water

6. √ Late night swim in the lake

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Kinda … It has been a stinking hot day and it was still a really warm evening.  The sun had gone down and it was getting dark…but maybe it wasn’t exactly ‘late night’.

7. Χ Water Ski Jump Start / Beach Start

FREE if you already have access to the Boat, Gear & Petrol
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Wellington Chic:
Tried … I was fortunate to have grown up with Water skiing almost in our blood.  Our family holidays revolved almost solely around Water skiing and finding the ‘best water’ which all of us kids were more than happy with as we loved it!

Jump Starting was the ‘cool’ thing in the 80’s & what my parents, siblings, cousins, friends and I always did.  What everyone always strived for to have a spectacular jump start and epic ski and master the art of coming in without even getting your hair wet! ;-)

I ski as much as I can, but haven’t bothered to Jump Start for over 15 years…You get a little rusty and as you might only get to ski a couple of times a year, I would take the lazy route and just deep water start and drop one.

So this Summer it was my aim to get back into Jump Starting!

I tried & tried & tried to Re-Master the art of the Jump Start again…but alas no!

I think I get at least a point for trying so hard, as one day I had about 23 goes, but sadly this item is not ticked off this year and will be added to the 2014 STBL (but I did get some epic Skiing done, so I’m still super happy and I’m stoked I gave it a good go :-))

Miss 14:
No … progressed hugely this year, see No. 3 & No. 10 but not yet to the Jump Start.  That’s also on her 2014 STBL.

NB: I listed this one as Free, but may cost you Doctors and Physio bills after you wrench your arms out ;-)

Here is a picture of me Face Planting it yet again and is probably about try number 21 in the stunning aqua waters of Twizel.

Water Ski Jump Start

Face Planting the Water Ski Jump Start

Here a link to a video of how a Jump Start it is ‘meant’ to look kinda, although this one is off a Jetty, we stand in the water up to our calf/knee.

8. Χ Play Tennis

FREE – If you already have the gear and use a free court
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

No … not this year.
We really like Tennis, we are not very good at it (even though I did 2 years of tennis lessons from age 14), but we have loads of fun.
My only suggestion for Tennis playing harmony, choose a court that doesn’t have tonnes along side it.  You know, just one court, with 1 really-really high fence all the way round it, so that you not having to run the length of 4 other courts to retrieve way-ward balls every 2 minutes.
You can find Tennis Courts to use at local Schools or you can pop up to the likes of Wanaka Tennis Inc. who have fantastic courts up there on Upton Street.  Court hire $20.00 per hour or $6.00 per person for non-members.

9. √ Go Stand Up Paddleboarding again..

$20 per person, per 1 hour
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … Loved it as much as we did last year.  You can read about it here when I wrote about it last, as we loved it alot!
This year we managed to get out x2 times while we were there.  Miss 14 managed to get to go Sup’ing a 3rd time too.
It’s so fun as it can be as relaxing as you want, as energetic as you want or as fun as you want if you want to have races and play around.  It’s also so very easy to learn.

You can find Wanaka Kayaks where we hire the SUP’s from on the Lakeside all Summer long.

 

10. √ Try Wakeboarding for the 1st time

FREE if you already have access to the Boat, Gear & Petrol
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … Whoop whoop, this was so exiting a new water sport to conquer.

Miss 14 did amazingly, getting up her VERY first time and staying on for a full loop.  Much cheering, clapping and hooting and hollering!  She as stoked!

I on the other hand face planted dozens of times and my record was all of about 8 seconds.  But I am still super happy with that as I stood up – I’ll take it.

Has now been added to 2014 Summer Time Bucket List “Stay up on the Wakeboard for longer than 8 seconds”.

Wakeboarding FacePlant

This is me swimming with the fish’s after yet another Wake Board Faceplant!

11. √ Bike the track round Lake Wanaka

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … We bike many times over the Summer, but did one big epic ride as far as our legs and lungs would take us from the Beacon Pt side to as far round as we could muster on the Glendu Bay side and then sat and ate Belgium biscuits as you do of course!

If you don’t have a bike already you can hire them from many places around Wanaka. We have used many times in the past Lakeland Adventures which is in the Log Cabin on the Foreshore.  Priced from $15 per hour.

IMG_4428

IMG_4429

12. Χ Sleep under the stars…

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

No … Just didn’t happen this year.

On one hand a little gutted, as it’s always such a thing to look forward to.

But on the other hand…Early morning dew…Hedgehogs…Possums…Rain…Thunder Storms…

Maybe we just need to stay somewhere with a retractable roof that has a rain sensor and we would have the best of both worlds!

Added again to 2014 STBL.

13. Χ Roast Marshmallows & make Smores

FREE – Except Marshmallows and Biscuit supplies
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

No … Somehow that just didn’t happen either.

We weren’t camping in places that accept open fires which is one of the limiting factors.  But we still missed out on all of this deliciousness.  If we can’t find a suitable place to have an open fire, then we need to find a place we can safely have a brazier or something.

Added to 2014 STBL.

Toasting Marshmallows - School Camp

14. √ Make Shadow puppets on the roof of the Awning

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … even if it was just by myself one night.

The Bunny, the Dove, the Dinosaur…the peace sign…the OK sign and finally the thumbs up.  I should probably enter a competition or something ;-)

15. Χ Introduce Miss 14 to ‘Damper’

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Ahhhhh…..damper an unleavened bread made of flour and water baked in an open fire and smothered with melted Butter and Raspberry jam. Nom Nom.

Kinda for the same reasons as the Smores, not so easy to do it.  But this has also been added to 2014 STBL.

KidSpot have got Recipe for Damper over here that we will use when we make it.

16. √ Play Spotlight…

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … We were super fortunate to run into in the same camping ground “Old Family Friends grown up daughter who now has a family of her own” that we didn’t know was going to be there.

They have a daughter the same age as Miss 14 and they quickly became great Summer Holiday friends.  So Miss 14 played Spotlight many times with their little gang of siblings.

17. Χ Tyre tube down River

FREE – If you already have the tubes, Lifejackets
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

No … We did this many many years ago in Glenrock Station, way up in the South Island High Country on the Rakaia river sort of near Lake Coleridge.  It was so so so much fun and definitely got the adrenalin pumping.

But didn’t happen this year.  Added to 2014 STBL.

NB: Tyre tube on the River at own risk.  Plan very carefully.  Don’t tube on a swollen river.  Have a good walk up and down the river first and check it all out. Watch for fallen trees, submerged logs and currents.  Have multiple spotters and pick up people on the shore for you.  Know where you are going to get out.  Get your spotters to put something big and colourful on the river side so you can see it in advance, as the river looks different once your in it.  Ensure you are not going to end up in the sea!

Wear Wetsuit, Lifejacket and Water Shoes as they are a must for helping you get grip to get out and not knock those toes on the rocks.  Have a plan C for if you still over shoot your pick up points.  Lots to plan, but it is fun.

18. Χ Teach my nephew to say my name ;-)

FREE
(Wellington Chic)

Tried … But nope he wasn’t quite there yet.  But I did teach him to stack his Stacker toy from bottom to top perfectly everytime (even when everyone else thought he was too young to get that yet).

That’s my nephew, super intelligent :-)

Jump to Sept 2014, he can say my name now, whoop-whoop.

19. √ Don’t get sunburnt

FREE – except for the cost of good Sunscreen
(Wellington Chic)

Yes … I try hard to be really careful in the sun, but usually at least once a year I get caught out somewhere (bad) – but this year success.  I slathered on loads of sunscreen, covered my shoulders alot and found plenty of shade.  Tanned but not burnt.

I got to try out the Oasis Beauty Oasis Sun SPF30 sunscreen this year and it’s kinda fabulous! It has 94% natural ingredients, so great for all sorts of sensitive skins and little ones :-)

I just read on their Facebook page this week that Hardy’s Health Stores are offering “Bring in your old sunscreen and get $10 off an Oasis Sun 250ml”, now that’s pretty cool.

Suset

20. √ Rodeo – Go to our first Rodeo

$20 Adult, $5 under 16, Family Concession $40.  
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … Can’t believe I’m 30 something and had never been to a Rodeo!

This year the timing (& weather) worked and it saw us head off to the Wanaka Rodeo and it was actually really cool.

The 2015 Wanaka Rodeo is set for the 2nd January 2015.  Hope to get there again this year if we are in town.

Tip: Take Blanket to sit on and if you need chairs, take LOW ones.  Take extra money for the fab food they have there and the Carni games :-)

Wanaka Rodeo

 

21. √ Raft – Swim out to raft on Lake Wanaka foreshore

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … Many many many times.  It never gets old.  See No. 1.

My Tips are: Take a Boogie Board or something to float on.  Even if you don’t have to use it.  It’s always amazing how far out it is.  The one we swam out to in Kaiterteri a few years ago was miles out and way longer than even I anticipated.
In my mind Kids have to wear a Lifejacket & Teenagers have to either be proven strong swimmers or have a Boogie Board attached to their ankle each.  Kids & Teenagers always think it’s going to be a piece of cake and are annoyed that I’m taking a flotation device with us.
But many-many-many of these kids and one teen once have been very thankful to hold on to this Boogie Board part way out there.

22. √ Eat Gelato at least 3 times a week

$$$$Can’t recall the prices, but best food money we spent
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … Wanaka has the BEST Gelato shop in the land.

Mr Black Peak Gelato man in Wanaka changes the flavors up everyday so it’s always exciting to see what is on offer. They have super friendly staff, beautifully clean premises, are right opposite the lake and are open until LATE most nights in Summer.

Always leave room for Gelato!

My favourite Gelato combination is Pavlova and Peanut Butter!  Yeah I know, crazy aye!

Black Peak Gelato work out of their Ardmore Street store (just look out for the pink bike) and also sometimes out of their ‘Icecream’ van.

Black Peak Gelato

23. √ Pot – Look for the ‘pot’ every night in the stars

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … When your camping this is one of my simplest, but favourite things to do late at night.

On our last wander to the bathroom before sleep, I would always always look up at the stars and seek out the Pot…and the Southern Cross…and the…actually they are the only ones I know!

I really must learn some more about our Night Sky*.  Maybe we need to add to our 2014 STBL a trip to the Earth & Sky Planetarium in the stunning location of Lake Tekapo.

I’ve just been reading that Aoraki Mackenzie is not only the World’s biggest, but the Southern Hemisphere’s first ever Dark Sky Reserve because of it’s very nearly light-pollution free skies.
Translation: It’s real dark there and you see LOADS and loads more stars than anywhere else – wooohooo!

Yip, it’s sorted, we need to go.  Added to 2014 STBL :-).

24. √ Skim stones

FREE
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … Any chance we got.
Such a simple pass time, but so fun.  We found the best skimming stones on our Bike Ride on the Glendhu bay side.

As kids, my Mom would be worried that we would knock someone out when we skimmed stones, so she would ensure we all lined up in line with each other first before we started.

It annoyed us greatly when we were kids, as we just wanted to get on with the skimming already, but she saved us all getting concussion from a reckless throw from one of the cousins from left field.

Skimming Stones

25. √ Movie – Discover the wonder of Cinema Paradiso

Adults $15.00, Youth $9.50
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … We had heard about Cinema Paradiso for soooo many years from many people, but had never been.
Wow, I’m so glad I finally did as I seriously love it there.

A very friendly comforting place where the walls are lined with both old and new movie posters that we spent nearly an hour perusing.  I just got lost in the memory of all those movies, where I had seen it and who with ;-).

Comfy old Seats make up the rows within the theatre and a Morris Minor Car sits pride of place in the theatre (that you can sit in) and it’s bumper pokes out through the wall to the other side.

We watched the film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty* starring Ben Stiller, which we didn’t really know much about going into it, but we both really quite liked it’s quirkyness.  So pretty cool that both a 30 something and a 13 y/o both liked it.

Cinema Paradiso still offer an ‘Interval’ part way through the film where you can stretch your legs, stock up on more food / drink as you have usually eaten it all by then or you are pleased to use the toilet as you have drunk all your drink.  This place is great for a rainy day, when you have had enough sun and want to get out of it for a while or just unwind.

Know for next time:
What I didn’t know about Cinema Paradiso was that they make and sell famous / delectable Hot Fresh Cookies.  I was in-sainly jealous of the aroma that was wafting through the cinema after the interval and will not miss out next time!

Cinema Paradiso

26. √ Puzzle World – Get lost in the maze

Adult $17.50, Child $12, Family Pass $59
Prices are a combo, for both The Great Maze and The Illusion Room
Puzzles on table FREE if you are eating at the Cafe.
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … We try to get to Puzzling World every year as we are always finding things we didn’t see last time.

No matter how many years we go, it doesn’t help us to complete the maze any faster though.  This year we attempted to do the Maze the ‘correct’ way finding all the towers in the correct order, this made it even harder for us.

We were in scorching heat this year but were delighted to find the little dead end corner that has a tiny spray system built into it to mist you with cold water to cool you off.

After coming out of the Illusion Rooms which always are a delight, we can spend hours upon hours playing with the 100’s of puzzles on the Cafe tables afterwards.  A great  activity for the young, old and in between and all season round.

Puzzling World

27. Soak in the Hot Pools at Tekapo Springs

$22 Adult, $13 Child
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … It was a seriously impromptu trip as I didn’t think it was going to happen this holiday.  We were staying in Twizel and it was already late-ish.  We floated the idea, looked at the clock and figured it was worth it even for a quick dip.  It’s about 58km away and about 40min drive.  By the time we got there, changed and in, we would still have an hour to soak.

We head off for Tekapo Springs stopping for a Pie from the Service Station for dinner on the way (yup, all class, but needs must).
As soon as we eased our way into the first pool, we knew the quick dash was 150% worth it.

If you haven’t seen Tekapo at Sunset either you are in for treat. Sitting in the Hot Pools looking out over the Basin, the sun has dipped down behind the hills, but is still hitting the hills on the other side of the basin and has bathed it in this unique warm golden, brown hue that is like something out of a photo.  But here you are in this reality in this magical place.

Soak, wallow, turn over, push yourself along to another section, soak, wallow, lift your feet up, sit in front of this jet, soak, wallow, now try this one…yup, that’s the Hot Springs shuffle!

After a while, we get a little distracted and end up trying to dunk each other and then I need to get out and Pee!  What is it with Pools and making me need to Pee even if I’ve just been!  Anyone else?

But then a cold dash back into the Pool to soak some more.  They are open right up until 9pm, so a great after dinner treat.

This was a brilliant idea.

Tekapo Springs Hot Pools

28. Χ Race down the Queenstown Luge 

$53 Adult, $44 Child includes ride up Gondola or you can buy other combo’s
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

No … Last year we excitedly ticked this of our 2012/13 STBL and had such a blast with a large group of cousins to race down the Skyline Luge Queenstown track with.  Even in the misty rain all you could hear were laughing and squeels of delight as we shot out of the gate and into the first turns.

But alas, we did not get back there this year.  The pricing may seem steep, but it also includes your ride up the Gondola which is normally $30A, $19C on it’s own. You can spend as much time as you like up at the Gondola, perusing the view and watching all the goings on up there.

We would love to go back again this coming 2014/15 Summer.

29. Have a beer at the Cadrona Hotel, Wanaka

$Just the cost of your Beer or Cider or hot chocolate or Spider + you will probably be tempted by watching other people’s food come out
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Yes … If someone asked me ‘Why do we like the Cadrona Hotel so much, as it’s old, little and way out of town’…I don’t quite know how to answer…except “We just do”.

It makes me smile everytime we drive past it, maybe it’s just the familiarity of that. When you walk in side you are enveloped with a great sense of warmth and acceptance.  It almost wouldn’t matter if you were in your beach gear, your Snow Skiing gear, your Swanni off the Farm or a Space Suit, come on in, take a load off and have a beer.  So we do.

On a beautiful day, there is nothing better than heading out the back to the massive beer garden scattered with wooden benches, fire pits and unique old paraphernalia.  We just sit, spin yarns and chill.

I have been fortunate to have visited many times in Winter too including just recently in September and it’s completely different experience, but the same all enveloping feeling when you walk in to warm your hands and toes by the fire.

It will be on our Summer Time Bucket List every year that we venture to Wanaka :-)

Cardona Hotel Wanaka

30. Χ Paddleboard in Wellington harbour

$25 per person, per 1 hour
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

No … fully intended to and we planned to many times, but it just didn’t work out this year.

Fergs Kayaks on the Wellington waterfront offers not just SUP hire, but also a wide range of other water sports to be able to enjoy our harbour from.

Been thinking this would be a great way to celebrate the last day of term/school year that’s coming up!

31. √ Go Fishing in Wellington harbour

FREE – if you have the gear
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

Kinda … We didn’t actually tick this off in Summer, but we did just a few weeks ago tick it off.

We head down to the area where the new and completely fabulous Apartments are at Clyde Wharf Quay.  I have loved this area ever since I first moved to Wellington some 17 ish years ago!

They have a great new Fishing platform right out the end of the wharf that’s tucked down off the top, so not quite as windy and has tapped water, lights and even a bait cutting chopping platform.  Great location.

When it comes to Fishing, we really know nothing and keep it really simple.  We own just 2x Hand Reels that we bought from The Warehouse a good 10 years ago and they are still going strong.  This time we had borrowed a rod also, but I kinda still liked chopping a changing back to the Hand Reels.

We had tonnes and tonnes of bites, but in the end only caught one tiny-tiny we fishy, like about 15cm long, so back in he went.

But what we did see more excitingly was about 8 Penguins swim, frolic and taunt us in the water.  They were seriously cute and such a delight to see.  I never knew they would be in such a populated area, so it was awesome to see them.

Fishing in Wellington Harbour

32. Χ Go Camping in Wellington

$$$ See below
(Wellington Chic & Miss 14)

No … Didn’t quite happen this year.  Nearly all of our camping gets done in the South Island, bar School Camps and Church Camps up here.

So we fully intended to at least have a night/weekend of camping somewhere in Wellington.  These were some of the places we were looking at heading.  We have been to all of them before at some point and all have their unique features.

Kaitoke Regional Park – Upper Hutt
$6 Adult, $3 Child Camp Site

We have been out here for Swimming in the River, Day trips and also for me to be in Wedding Photo’s once as a Bridesmaid for an amazing old friend of mine.  It’s gorgeous out there, and has some basic facilities making it any easy weekend getaway and is incredibly low priced also.

El Rancho – Waikane
$28-$34 Camp Site

Ahhh, El Rancho you are a unique gem.  With extra things for the kids to do, a Pool and the beach nearby.  We had our Church Camp here a few years back and really loved our time there.  You must check out the Water Slide!

Otaki Forks – Schoolhouse Flat – Otaki
$6 Adult, $3 Child Camp Site

I always thought Forks was such a weird name growing up!  We ventured here for a short one night Leadership camp for School in Year 8 and I was asked to be Parent help on.  Even though it was only short and sweet it was a great place for a short camp.  Lots of space to spread out and do activities, the river just nearby for swimming and a fabulous crop of wild Boysenberries to pick from.

I wouldn’t camp here by ourselves as its too quiet, but in a group of others it would be awesome.

Castlepoint – Wairarapa
$36 for 2x Adults Camp Site

Each time I have been to Castlepoint I have discovered something new.  I have great memories from here being a School Camp Parent multiple times here in the past.

It’s also where I got to learn how to surf for the first time (well to balance for 5 seconds).  Each time we have been we have stayed at camps further away from here, but I’m looking forward to one day be able to camp in this one by the beach and in it’s centre.

Learning to Surf - School Camp

 

Add all of the above added to Sleeping in lots, hanging out with our Family & friends, Playing with the nieces and nephews and cousins, lots of Eating (all the time), playing Cards (Speed) Bananagram and Heads Up, doing Dishes (all the time), Walking all over the place, going to the Supermarket (all the time – we spend tonnes of time in that supermarket and in Summertime Queues, but they have got clever and now offer Free Wifi, so I can check the news, download emails if I reallllllly want to while leaning on my trolley making new ‘line friends’), spend lots of time People watching, Making new friends, finding new Markets and Fairs, oogling at both new houses and the gorgeous older ones House, Caravan moving, Storm repairing and Flood cleanup’ing led to an absolutely amazing Summer.

So we did pretty good 21/32 things ticked off!

So-so many amazing experiences in that and awesome Summer Memories as well as Mother – Daughter memories.

Can’t wait for Summer 2014/15 and we have been slowing putting things on our Summer Time Bucket List for these Holidays.

Do you have a Summer Time Bucket List?

Even if your staying at home in your own city, you can still make one and fill it with things big and small and there are loads of things to put on it even in your own backyard.

Would love to see yours if you have one, so please post your link in the comments.

Have we inspired your to add any of the above to your list this year?

Any suggestions of what we should add to this years list?


 

NB:
*Affiliate Link – If you see an *Asterisks, that means there is an affiliate link to Mighty Ape, these are marked with an *.

The rest of the links to places, events and sites are just because I love these things and want to share the love in this post:-)

 

Today this is Single Parenting

.
Today this is ParentingI stood in the shower staring up at the ceiling letting the water wash over me until it ran cold.

Averting my eyes from the floor as I knew the stainless steel needed a good scrub and pretending it wasn’t there.

Today this is Single Parenting.

Reaching out to turn the faucet off many times, but hesitating as I didn’t want to leave this comfort, this cocoon of warmth, this moment of respite.

In the mornings in our house, our Showers need to be quick as our Apartment Hot Water tank isn’t the biggest.
So come the weekends (when we are not rushing out to early morning sport, friends or events) I love having long leisurely showers when it isn’t about getting up and ready for the day, it’s just about enjoying the shower.  Today’s shower featured really-really late in my day.

A shower always makes me feel better, even if only a tiny bit, it’s a refresh, a washing away, a re-gathering of thoughts and a small respite from what ever is happening in your life.

I always get a tonne of thinking, planning, decision-making and day dreaming done in my shower.

Today’s shower though…saw me second guessing all the decisions I make for my daughter and I and trying to figure out if I’m just royally messing it all totally up.

You see, my daughter hasn’t spoken to me for most of the day…and I’ve kept my distance purposely to give her some space.

I had made the decision to say no to something she wanted to do and had to tell her that earlier.  I’m more than comfortable with my decision and know this one is right, but it doesn’t make being on the other end of the silent treatment any easier and having my daughter not talk to me still does hurt nonetheless.

But hey, if I was her, I probably would have done the same thing to my Mother, thinking that by me not talking to her that this was going to send her a clear message that she was wrong and that she would change her mind.  Or that this will just show you how much I really don’t like her at the moment.
I’m sure I did this many-many times throughout my teenage years – sorry Mom!

In my shower today I wasn’t second guessing my decision to say no to her request, as I was still confident about that.

I was second guessing if I was “Doing it right”, this “Parenting thing”, this “Single Parenting” thing.

 

Love

 

Things Like:

I’m confident that setting boundaries and having consequences for actions is the right thing.
…But second guess the level at which I set those things and if they are ‘right’.

I’m confident that I love my daughter whole heartedly and try to find ways to show her this daily so that she knows she can always rely on that.
…But I second guess if she will pull on this when she needs it most in the future.

I’m confident that spending the quality time with her, alongside her, being an involved parent, cheering her on throughout her up bringing has been such a huge part in building strong foundations in who she is, how loved she is, how important she is, that she matters.
…But I second guess if it is ever – enough.

 

I’ve been Single Parenting for a really long time, first becoming a Single Parent some 13 years ago now.

For 6+ years of this time I was in a Relationship/we then Married – Single Parent, but then for the last 7+ years it’s been just me completely on my own.

Doing this without backup, without that sounding board, without that support, without that encouragement, without that load share-er and without that ‘hey you are doing ok’ and without that ‘I’ve got your back’.  Let alone the Love part and sharing your life with someone (that’s another post).

Today though, my Shower was my Sounding Board, my Supporter, my Encourager, my Load Share-er and my Back stop.

Sounds cheesy I know, but it was.

It didn’t talk back to me, except to say “awwwwhhhh, here you go, have some more nice warm caccoooney water”.

 

Evening

 

Staying in there for 20 mins right until the water ran out was the best thing for me today.

After getting dressed and ready, my Shower let me go down stairs and curl up behind my daughter and give her a hug.

To which she snuggled into me and said, I’m sorry Mom.

…..scratch that…reality is…..no she didn’t, she shrugged me off, pushed my hand off and grumped something at me!

But, it didn’t matter, I hugged her for a brief moment anyway, let it be and was able to pick up and carry on knowing that as much as I was second guessing myself earlier:

* This to shall pass

* It will be OK

* Tomorrow is yet another day

Today this is Single Parenting :-)

 

Morning chaos makes way for moments of still

.
You know how you read about ‘those’ people who Love mornings and get up ‘on purpose’ at like 5am (or before) to seize the day!

 

Sun flare - Christchurch

 

Yeah, well…that’s not me, I LOVE my bed…love love love it and I LOVE sleep!

My bed is so comfortable, so cozy, each day it is incredibly hard to get up out of it as it’s just so damn good and sleeping is so much more awesome in the mornings – am I right?

I sleep in whenever I get the chance!

That coupled with the fact that I am a serial ‘Snoozer’ doesn’t make for easy mornings and I still struggle daily with the opening of my eyes, sitting up and swinging my legs out of bed.

But, once I’m up, fortunately from then on it’s all ok, I’m off and going.  I’m then wide awake and it’s all on from there.

I also am quite happy to be up and out early…once I’m actually up and out.  But its the getting there that’s tough.  (#FirstWorldProblem I know)

Because we leave for School and Work fairly early, each weekday see’s Miss 14 and I begrudgingly up at what I call ‘Ridiculous O’Clock’ (or seize the day time in other people’s world).

This is so her and I can cycle through showers and still have plenty of time (for her) to get ready.

Because I like to use the bathroom before Miss 14 gets in there, it means then I am 100% ready at least 30 mins to 1 hour before she is.

Parenting for 14 years has taught me, that in our house, our mornings run 98% smoother and easier if I ensure to allow her plenty-plenty-plenty of time to get ready.
If I don’t have to ‘say’ anything to keep her moving and she can get done all of the things she wants to do, it makes such a difference to the ‘feel’ of the day.
(It’s a whole other thing on early morning Winter Sports training days though when it feels like we are leaving the house in the middle of the night!).

So I have learnt, give her plenty of time, even though it means getting up at ridiculous o’clock, but its a compromise I’m ‘usually’ willing to take.

The plus is, I’ve come to really enjoy that extra time I then get in the morning once I’m all ready.

I have found in amongst the Morning chaos, moments of still.

Time to just sit for a bit.

Have some quiet time with God and read my ‘The Word for Today’ and my bible.

Then I aim to work on some writing for a little while.

Have a little calm before the storm of the day.

Last term I found myself leaving more and more chores to “Oh, I’ll just do that in the morning” and when I got to the morning being really annoyed with myself, that I had left those jobs til the morning, as it was eating up all my ‘morning’ time.

It does mean we always need to be completely organised the night before.  Lunch is packed (minus fridge items), bags are packed and by the door, sports bags, extra bags and rubbish is ready to pick up and go.

But today is a new day, the first day back of the School Term and I sit here early once again to do some writing with 45 mins up my sleeve.

I like it :-)

I really hope I can be disciplined again throughout this term to keep ensuring I have this ‘still’ time in the mornings.

Have you found some little pockets of time throughout your day, that give you time to just take some breaths, some moments of still?
How do you make it work?

Update: It’s tomorrow now as I publish this, I didn’t give us quite as much time this morning as I should have, but it wasn’t too bad :-)

Lux – An epic night out in Wellington

.
We left it til the very-very last night, but it was totally worth it. We have just come home from Lux – an epic night out in Wellington.

Miss14 and I wandered down from home along with seventy billion other people, as it was such a calm mild night perfect for wandering along the waterfront and around the city.

image

I had seen a few photo’s floating around on Instagram and Twitter, but didn’t quite know what to really expect until we got there.

Miss14 thought I was taking her to see the crane by Helipro with lights on it, she wasn’t that excited to begin with and thought it was going to be a bit lame….until we got there that is and she totally changed her mind :-)

Lux was awesome!

So many awesome ones, from the:

Monster’s Inc type Screamometer light flappy things ~ Screaming Rapture

• to glow in the dark lights ~ Potion Forest

• to Squid Bacteria that glows when irritated to ~ Vibrio Nimbus

• to Light reflected through water mist to music ~ X

• to Diamondy lights you can yell at to light brighter ~ Square things

 

I also really loved just wandering through the city casually and cruisey with Miss14.

We had lots of time to just chat and Joke around, Laugh, Dance, Sing and take silly photo’s.

We had a really early dinner so we could just take our time and not feel pressured to ‘get home’ because it was getting late or anything.

So we spent hours and hours down there and it was awesome. My photo’s don’t do it justice at all, but check out some of the fab picture galleries online, like on Twitter or Instagram, just search for the hashtag #WgtnLux or on the official pages @WgtnLux

We wandered into the Wellington Chocolate Factory which was open late.

They make organic, ethically traded chocolate on site and we had rich Hot Chocolates to take along with us.  Yummo :-)

 

image
Somehow we also had room for Gelato from Gelissimo Gelateria on our way back home too ;-) trying new flavours…if you can imagine what “Ambrosia” tastes like…yup, it was GOOOOD!

It was so great to see so many Wellingtonians out on a Sunday night with their family and friends, in the middle of Winter/Spring might I add.

So, thanks Lux for putting on an amazing installation and great entertainment for our city. I was highly impressed and we loved it.

Looking forward to it next year.

Did you get down to Lux?
What did you think, did you have a favourite installation?

 

luxlogo

Source: Lux

 

 

 

 

My ‘NFP’ Date

.
In last Monday’s post my over-energetic-smile gets a friendly smile in return and the raised eye brow lift of acknowledgment ;-)

 

Was this some hot new guy I was waiting on, for a date? ….

 

Well they were really lovely … but no … it wasn’t a guy … and it wasn’t a date … well not in the traditional sense of the word .

This part of Parenting ‘wasn’t in the manual‘!

mynfpdate

 

How did I get there…
…what was I doing there…
…just WHO was I meeting?

 

Well it starts with … Last year Miss 14 started High School at a School were none of her friends were going.

So both her and I were starting the year from scratch.

Miss 14 was making new friends left right and centre in the classroom.  Which meant I also needed to meet all her new friends Parents, Teachers and Coaches some how, some other way.

You see, at her previous School she had been there for 7 years, so we knew pretty much EVERYONE (at least by association) and everyone eventually knew us too.
Yes it took time to get to know everyone in the beginning there, but when the kids are only 5+ years old even as a working Mom, I was still up at School alot and made an effort to get to know the other kids parents, not just her friends.

So when it came to inviting them to our house or Miss 14 getting invited to theirs, I already knew them and knew if I was happy for her to go, or because they were only little you were ‘dropping them off’ so would be invited in for Coffee etc…

Yes, new kids arrived at the School, but in no time at all you ran into them at School, or when you were picking up or dropping off at another friends house or at Sports Practice.  In no time you knew them too.

 

Cut to starting High School, you hardly go INTO the School for anything anymore.

 

You don’t stand outside the classroom waiting for them to come out at the end of the day (they would love that wouldn’t they!!!).  So you miss all those normal opportunities to meet parents.

There is so much more simply ‘dropping off and picking up’ that happens and the kids are even more independent getting themselves around more places.
If Sport is played during the week after School, not many parents are able to get there to watch.  So you don’t meet them there either.

Did you notice a huge shift in Parent involvement once your kid went to High School?  I would love to hear about it in the comments below what changed for you.

Even weekend sport, I have found less parents on the sidelines watching.  With High School being bigger, there was also less of a chance Miss 14 was in a team with any of her close friends anyway.

 

 

But she was busy making so many NEW friends (which is nice) with Teenagers I didn’t know and where I didn’t even know what their Parents looked like, let alone had had a conversation with them.

Then the invites started to roll in and especially the Sleepover invites.

Miss 14 would ask, “Can I go to Regina’s house for her Party and Sleepover”. 

I would like to be able to say Yes, but the Trouble is, I haven’t met Regina yet and have no idea where she lives or who her parents are.

I want Miss 14 to have great friends, have lots of fun and to get chances to relax and let her hair down with her friends, so of course I WANT to let her go.

BUT, how can I agree to letting her go when I’m completely blind.

In true Teenager fashion she assures me “They are not Axe murderers or anything and their Grandmother lives with them, so they must be ‘fine”! 

Yes, you could take a chance and meet the Teenager and the Parents ‘when you drop them off’…but if something doesn’t sit right, it’s a bit late then to have ‘reasons’ to turn around and leave again.
Also with many of the girls living quite a distance from School they mostly are all together catching Buses/Trains home anyway, so your not taking them there.

 

So, what’s a Mom to do…..?

 

Cue … “Man Up” (or Mom up in this case) and make a phone call to say Hi and arrange to meet them, the parent, first.

(NB: I’m writing a post on roughly what I might say when making a Cold call/Phone call to a New Friends Parent – eeekk!! and will post that when it’s ready.)

Even though I have worked in industries for years dealing with new people all the time and worked in the new Guests area of church making conversation with complete strangers…actively making it happen to meet these new friends parents is still a huge step out of my comfort zone.

I can be such a scardy cat about stuff like that!

Can you relate?

But, whats my other options?:

• Say no you just cant go – that’s not fun!

• Wait for the new parent to come to me, not so likely.  (and that’s also just a cop-out)

• Say yes to a huge unknown and feel really uneasy about it, potentially putting Miss 14 into a situation that may not be good and that I wouldn’t be happy with.

So, I may be wrong, but arranging to meet with the Parent first is the only way I could see forward.

What do you think?  Was this the right idea?

I make a point to introduce myself to Teachers, Coaches, Tutors and parents whenever reasonably possible.  So that those people know that I am involved in Miss 14’s life and that I give a damn and that opens up those avenues for if they ever need to talk to me about anything that there is one less barrier of not knowing me.

 

 

I have now had NFP ‘New Friends Parent’ dates with many Moms now (and often met the Dad’s, siblings through them latter).
They have all gone really-really well and I have really enjoyed getting to know them. They have also been mostly really appreciative that I had made this happen as it put them at ease too.

I also mention to all the Mum’s that I meet, that they are welcome to call/text to check the plans/details the girls make with me anytime, I don’t mind at all.
One, because organising Teenage Girls is incredibly difficult to lock down (like herding cats) and two, because again that further helps to open those avenues of communication.

 

So, how did THIS particular NFP date go? …

 

With my over-energetic-smiling and my eye brow lift of acknowledgment?

Awesome.

Even though I was strangely really nervous and picking imaginary fluff off my dress, fidgeting around and over-energetically-smiling every single person that rocked in that door.

We had a great chat, got on really well, worked out we had an unbelievable amount of stuff in common and both her and I left comfortable that we now knew each other and were happy for the girls to keep spending more time together.

It also gives me 1 more person, who now isn’t any longer an un-familiar face, to chat with when we go to School events when I feel like a Fish out of Water  !

 

Do you allow your Child/Teen to go to Parties or Sleepovers when you haven’t met the Teen or the Parent/family yet?

What have you done to work around this in your family?

Did I do the right thing?


 

 Regina, fictional friend name based on Mean Girls ;-)
Our real *Regina was actually really nice, I like her alot and she is nothing like Mean Girls Regina!

That’s another Post – How to handle School Events as a Single Parent…for those of you who have been there, it’s not easy.

Sorry to disappoint those of you that really thought it might have been a date with some hot new guy…even though I wrote it like that, on purpose, to make it sound really unambiguous…but it was fun writing it like that…

It is weird though as the nerves were of a similar vein that I remember from the last time I had a first Date…some 13+ years ago…OK, that’s just a little shocking adding that up just how long it’s been since I have been on an actual date!!!!