Archive for Parenting

Homegrown Mom Review – This Mom’s off to give an honest review of Under 18’s

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homegrown mom reviewHomegrown Mom Review

This Mom’s off to Jim Beam Homegrown to give an honest review of what it’s like for our Teenagers in the Under 18’s crowd (15-18 years)!

48 Bands & Artists, 6 stages, spread across 1.2 kms of Wellington’s Waterfront this Saturday.  New Zealand’s hottest, and best kept secrets of the NZ homegrown music industry.

I’m going to be rocking it with 17,000 people…1700 Under 18’s and my 15-year-old will be for the first time somewhere amongst it all.

The Jim Beam Homegrown event has been circled wildly on my Teens Calendar forever and she tells me “it will be the absolute highlight of her year”. She has a list as long as her arm of artists that she is “so excited about that she can hardly breathe” (her words).

Are you going?
Do you have young Teens going to Homegrown?

From everything I had read on the Homegrown website, the team has built over the years a truly epic Music Festival unlike any other. The lineup of artists they host is mammoth, the way they reportedly run the event seems well-respected, and the buzz they create is tangibly in the air in the lead up.

My 15-year-old teen was eagerly ‘hoping’ to watch as many of the artists in your line up as possible this year, as she is finally old enough to attend as an ‘under 18’.

BUT…

homegrown mom review

As a Mom, before I can say yes (or no) to an event or something of this mammoth dimension I need to really understand it myself and thoroughly do my research. I try really hard to keep an open mind and a balanced view, but do a tonne of research, ask other parents, check out the credentials, look at last year’s photos and reviews of the events etc… to try and make a fair decision of if I think it’s suitable for her to go (or not).

But as a parent, what I really-really want and am looking for is to hear another Mom’s opinion of ‘what the event is really like’ from their own experience and how their teen really found it, to read a Homegrown Mom Review. On talking with other parents they are also all looking for that real validation of “yeah the organisers say all the right things, but what’s it really like in the mosh-pit, and do they really truly follow through on their drugs and alcohol policies?’’.

The only way I felt comfortable this year with Miss15 attending, is if I attended Homegrown at the same time this year to really check it out myself and be able to visually and verbally check in with her frequently throughout the event. Yeah, I know, I’m ‘that’ Mom.

So this year, I have partnered with Jim Beam Homegrown 2016 to be their Mom Blogger and provide a “Mom’s review of what Homegrown is really like for your under-age teen”.

Are you a Mom or Dad going along too?
Are you taking younger kids or Teens with you?

My review will be more of the angle of ‘What Homegrown was really like from a Mom’s perspective for your under-age teen’ (& hopefully just how fun it was!). Also getting Miss15’s perspective after the event as to how she found it, safety, tone, appropriateness, tips she would give for other under 18’s etc…or honest information to give their parents.

I’m not there to embarrass my Teen, I hope she has the most amazing long anticipated time and Dances and Sings her little heart out.  She will need to check in and respond whenever I call or ask her to meet.  But other than that I plan to keep a pretty low profile, thoroughly enjoy my day, check out as many bands as possible and Dance and Sing my own little heart out while scoping out what it’s really like from a “Mom” view.

My reviews are always completely honest, un-biased and as I see it and experience it. But I’m leading with high-hopes that Homegrown is a really well run, well-rehearsed event, whom have covered many eventualities and follow through and do what they have said they will :-) … but we will see.

Homegrown have done a great job so far in provided lots of starter info on their Homegrown Under 18’s info page on their website.

…”All people under 18 who buy a ticket to Homegrown will need to pre-register on a special ‘Under 18 database’. If you don’t register and we don’t have your details you won’t be allowed into the festival. Read more here about Homegrown for Under 18’s here.”…

As it’s an event that serves alcohol, everyone who enters the gates will be checked for ID and given a wrist band of Over 18 or Under 18.  As above all Under 18’s are also entered on a Database.

I’m hopeful everything goes well, but I am also realistic as to what lengths Teens will go to gain Alcohol, Pre-Load beforehand, get access to Drugs and Stimulants.  There is the own choices your Teen makes, as well as those friends around them and the ones of those they ‘run into’ or didn’t plan to meet.  I remember my own Teen years well!

So yeah, um…it you are going to Homegrown…let me know you are coming or that you are there.  Connect with me via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

#HomegrownMomReview #hg16

I also think I’m going play around a bit and have my first foray into the world of !!! Snapchat !!!

…I don’t know what I’m doing…but we will see if I can make it go.

Who should I follow?

What shouldn’t I post?  I’ll avoid snapping my #MomShoes to help my feet last the day.

There is loads of great info by the minute info on their Homegrown Official Facebook page also that you can keep up to date with there.

Tickets are $119 (+$5.99 booking fee) through here at Homegrown Dash Tickets or through the link on their website Homegrown Tickets.

Here’s the lineup:

Who do you want to see?

DUB & ROOTS STAGE
* Shapeshifter  * Kora  * David Dallas  * The Black Seeds  * Katchafire  * Sons of Zion  * AHoriBuzz  * Sunshine Soundsystem  * DJ Sir-Vere

ROCK STAGE
* Devilskin  * Blacklistt  * I Am Giant  * Villainy  * The Feelers  * The Datsuns
* Beastwars  * City of Souls

URBAN STAGE
* Stan Walker  * Savage  * Avalanche City  * Ladi6  * Homebrew
* P Money  * Jamie McDell  * Maala  * Emergency DJ Clint  * Marek

THE LAB STAGE
* Jason Kerrison  * Anika Moa ft. Tiki  * Sola Rosa Sound System  * Beau Monga  * Team Dynamite  * Donell Lewis ft. Wrd Up  * Average Rap Band

ELECTRONIC STAGE
* State of Mind  * Trei ft. Tali, Tiki & Thomas Oliver  * The Peacekeepers vs K+Lab  * The Beat Mafia  * Dick Johnson  * Dan Aux  * Cymbol 303 & This Pale Fire

LOCALLY SOURCED STAGE
* BT & The Vibes  * Troy Kingi  * Lord Echo  * The Toblerone Sessions  * Dug Trio  * Tyson Smith  * Lady Fruit

 

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Learn about Blogging while Multi Tasking

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I really wanted to listen in the NZ Bloggers Network’s Blogging learning sessions on the Livestream hookup on Video Blogging tonight…but life was getting in the way!

They had You Tuber ‘Aly Ford’ from Psycho Traveller presenting, sharing her insight, tips, tricks and practical advice from her success thus far on You Tube.

Also a member presentation by Callum, Ignatius Manaloto and Steve Milleron on improving blog engagement, simple design and content tips.

But I had to be in 4 places at once and couldn’t do it all.

I was just finishing up at work, I was meaning to be home hours earlier when it was starting.

Multi tasking Single Parenting mode switched on, so made a new plan, I:

• Downloaded the Livestream App onto my iphone

• Logged in

• Hit the link to ‘Basics of Video Blogging – with You Tuber Aly Ford from Physco Traveller‘ by NZ Bloggers Network

• Popped in my Bluetooth earpiece

• Hit Play!

• Quickly finished up essentials at work while I listened to the opening announcements and packed upYay, I was able to listen (& watch out the corner of my eye) in to the Video Blogging event while the following happened over the next hour or so…

• Fired off a few quick comments to engage and shared the link via Twitter and Facebook while listening in• Quickly finished up essentials at work while I listened to the opening announcements and packed upYay, I was able to listen (& watch out the corner of my eye) in to the Video Blogging event while the following happened over the next hour or so…

• Then with my earpiece in and my iphone in my pocket, I closed up my building while still listening in

• Jumped in t
he car and started driving while listening in

• Hopped out at the Urgent Pharmacy (I was too late for a ‘normal’ pharmacy) – walked through the carpark – hit pause – bought what I needed – short convo with the lovely lady there – hit play and kept listening further

• Jumped back in the car and continued driving while listening in

• Hopped out at the supermarket and crossed the carpark while listening in (checking triple for traffic!)

blogging learning sessions      Blogging learning sessions

• Hit pause – while I rang in our takeaway order (yup, no home cooking tonight!) – hit play again while I entered the supermarket and grabbed the few essentials I needed while listening in

• Through the self checkout with my items so could keep listening in

• Jumped back in the car and round the corner to the pick up food – jumped out – hit pause while I picked up – they weren’t in a talkative mood, so I was out of there in 30 seconds – hit play again and back in the car while listening in

• Drove home – into carpark and reversed into my ridiculously tricky angled carpark while listening in

• Gathered all the bags from the car – raced up the stairs and into our Apartment while listening in

• Hit pause to chat with Miss 15 about her day – she was knee deep into her Homework so she didn’t chat for long til she refocused again as she is keen to get in lots of study for her upcoming exams

• Hit play again while I unpacked groceries and my bags from the day while listening in

• Grabbed the Trophy off our Bookshelf that Miss 15 has to return tomorrow and dug in the cupboard seeking out the Silvo while listening in

• Got changed, sorted washing and closed blinds while listening in

• Dealt with dishes and trundled up and down the stairs 6 times doing Parenting/Home/Mom type stuff while listening in

• Hit pause – Sat down with Miss 15 to work on something with her for a bit

• She then focused on her own thing again so I hit play again

• Watched through to the end – wooohoo!

It would have been great to be at the Video Blogging event in person in Auckland, but hooking in via Livestream and listening in (and glancing at the screen sometimes) worked incredibly well.

Sure, I missed a bit, but there was SO much great info loaded into these two presentations that I will happily watch/listen to them again latter.

They had a really great Q&A session at the end too with bloggers asking many things I’m sure we all have wanted to know.

Blogging learning sessions

Don’t have time to sit for 1 & 1/2 hours to watch a Livestream?

Then I encourage you to try what I did next time and listen in while you do other things.

All you need is:

• Livestream website – Desktop, tablet, ipad, iphone or Smartphone
  or
• Download Livestream App (more streamlined on a device) Apple/Android for your tablet, ipad, iphone or Smartphone

• Earphones or Bluetooth Headset
• Sign up to the Livestream site and Login
• Follow NZ Bloggers Network
• Now you are ready to listen/watch/multi task  :-)

If you miss the Livestream totally, you can watch it again latter by playing it whenever you want to.

How cool is it to continue learning about Blogging while doing everyday tasks!

I have been working away tonight and feeling slightly pleased with myself, that even though my day was crazy that I had kicked this multi tasking single parenting lark in the ass tonight…

Then I wondered, why I was so damn hungry?

Crap…in all of my brilliant multi tasking I forgot to eat at all tonight and now it was 11.35pm and I wasn’t going to last til morning.

Finishing this post off now while I eat a Apricot Jam toasted Bagel…so maybe I’m not kicking ass in everything…but it still tastes pretty good  😉

Have you used Livestream before to watch an event?
Did you watch the Video Blogging learning session?

#kiwibloggers

 

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#NZBloggers – Sage – Am I the only one that feels like this?

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Am I the only one that feels like this?

I have virtually no natural desire or urge to COOK!

None, nadda, niltch, zip.

Occasionally the urge takes over and by choice I rock into the kitchen and whip something fantastic up…but that’s few and far between.

Am I the only person in the world that feels like this?

#NZBloggers Sage No Desire to Cook
I LOVE to eat delicious Food.

I love the act of sitting down together with family, friends and people you love to eat, catch up and while away the hours together.

I like buying yummy Food.

I enjoy reading Food Blogs like this one and this one and this one annnnd this one.

I enjoy flicking through the odd Cook book.  I even own quite a few.

BUT

If I didn’t haaaaave to cook, I probably wouldn’t.

Of course I DO cook…you know

…would starve if not

…you know kid needs feeding – like everyday!

…you know vegetables need to be eaten…blahdy blahdy blah

But its very nearly always reluctantly.

Is it just me out here in the internets on my own confessing my dislike of cooking…or are you one of these Mom’s too?

In years past, sometimes I would feel guilty that I wasn’t ‘THAT Mother’ that was a whizz in the kitchen that just LOVED feeding her family with delicious home cooked meals…

But nope, no more, no time for guilt.

I have about a dozen or so dishes that I can cook really well that taste delicious, so that gets us by.

What’s that got to do with the #NZBloggers topic – SAGE (that I’m a month late on)?

NZ Bloggers Blog Greatness ChallengeSource – #NZBloggers

I’m late to the party with the Blog Greatness Challenge…but I was reading through the list and the very first one (from MAY!!!) was SAGE…

I giggled thinking…goodness me what would I write about Sage?

I don’t even quite know exactly what it is?

Or how I would use it?

But thinking about Sage further, I worked out that, I would rather:

…Pay a Cook…than a Housecleaner

…Pay a Cook…than a Gardener (and I also don’t love gardening)

…Pay a Cook…and work an extra hour at work everyday

…Pay a Cook…than even having my dishwasher!

I can’t afford to pay a cook…but maybe one day!  😉

toast
I love the My Food Bag concept, and think it’s a great idea for families (if in budget).  The food looks DELICIOUS!

…but I kinda wish that Nadia would turn up everynight and cook it also for me…

…hey I would even be happy to have the very 1st person voted off MKR cook it for me…

…hey I would actually even be happy with anyone that can wield a pot and whip some yummy food up at my disposal.

Being a Single Parent its just about always ME on cooking.

Yes Miss 15 cooks and cooks quite well.  But reality is, she has a very full schedule not just during the week but weekends too where Homework, Multiple Trainings, Study, NCEA and commitments take priority.
There’s not alot of downtime, so the last thing I want to do is pull her away from finishing assignments to cook…so it’s still me.

Note to future husband out there…start cooking…

They often say “The way to a Man’s heart is through his stomach”…but maybe in my case “The way to my heart is through my stomach”!

Did you always love cooking…or something that came latter?

Sometimes I wonder if in 5 years time, it will hit me and I’ll be like “Ohhhhhh, that’s what everyone is talking about!

Maybe I’ll even learn what to do with Sage 😉

 

#NZBloggers
#BlogGreatness

 

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Welcoming Teenagers into your home – Kiwi Families

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Welcoming teenagers into your home – with Kiwi Families.

My Mother’s Day started with 9 Teenagers scattered all around the lounge fast asleep after a late night of events, movies, music, singing, dancing and talking into the wee-wee small hours of the morning.

8 of which were not mine!  :-)

I don’t mind at all though, as they are all great kids (teens) and are lots of fun.

Do you host Sleepovers at your house?

What have you learnt that works well?

Here’s a link to an article I wrote recently about ‘Welcoming Teenagers into your Home‘ (Sleepovers) for the fab website that I write a little bit for kiwifamilies.co.nz

Pop over and have a read and let me know what your thoughts are?

http://www.kiwifamilies.co.nz/2015/04/welcoming-teenagers-into-your-home/

welcoming-teenagers-into-your-home-kiwi-familiesscreenshot image via kiwifamilies.co.nz

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

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

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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”…

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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. √ Puzzling 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:-)

 

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