Saturday, October 25, 2014

nature mandalas

On our way back from tending the vegetable garden we meandered our way back to the house collecting leaves and flowers. We had watched a few YouTube clips of the Dalai Lama and other monks creating sand mandala's that morning and Jed was blown away. We came back and laid a piece of cardboard out on our deck. We laid out some mandala's I had designed years ago and some downloaded from the internet as inspiration. Mama made a cup of tea (Sessions often start with a cup of tea in my world!) and we set to work creating our mandalas. The coloured pencils came out. (We use Stockmar) More mandala's were born onto paper. Magic. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

coffee general

I am a bit of a paradox. I am a herbalist. I love coffee. Or should that read I LOVE coffee?
To me, it's forgivable. Coffee is a plant after all. And it eases a daily grind (forgive the pun). I am not a morning person. And my son most definitely is. That's been one of the most challenging parts of motherhood for me. I loved coffee before I became a mama. Sheesh, I even gave the stuff up for three whole years of pregnancy and breastfeeding. But I do love my coffee. Just one a day. But it's got to be a good one. The coffee machine is by far the largest, most frequently used appliance in our kitchen. And shall I tell you something funny? Jed grinds the beans and makes a stomper of a coffee and brings it to me in bed every weekday morning. After years of sleepless nights and starting the day at times beginning with 5, I think I have earned it.
Anyway, my point was, I love a good coffee. I rarely buy a coffee when I am out. I try and keep it to one a day but aside from that, it is so disappointing to get a stink one. 
Knowing all of the above, you can imagine my distress to wake one morning to find our old faithful (10 years of grinding love!) coffee grinder had died in the night. Argh!
Then imagine the joy, after spending two hours in crawling traffic to get Jed to his science day at the MindLab, at discovering they had a cafe in-house. Whoop! And not just any cafe. Coffee General. These folks know their coffee. Their food is superb and there is a lovely light filled seating area...all just across from the Auckland Domain. Leafyness...with caffeine. Yes! The day got a whole lot brighter from there. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

a robolego day

Awesome day at RoboLego today. I am not sure who enjoyed it more, me or Jed. I always knew I could be a geek given half a chance. And, robot battles?! I mean really, what's not to like?! My camera battery expired, but luckily my phone was up to the job of capturing a few moments. These guys took on the challenge of making a robot from scratch and it was so cool to see them at the other end of it. Very proud. 

In the morning we learnt how to programme the robots, and in the afternoon paired up to build robots from scratch and battled in the RoboArena. 
New friends, new skills and much fun. Just another day on the homeschooling frontlines! 

We had a great talk in the car on the way home about what we are grateful for, and being within a drive of days out like these were on the list. Thank you RoboClub and to the special mama's who work hard to make all this happen for our kids. xx

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

nzsale outfit post

You all know like to buy secondhand or make my own clothes, right? Well, sometimes, when I have been looking for a specific basic piece of clothing I might consider shopping new. Shocking I know. What was even more shocking was looking around in the shops for the first time in a long time...the prices out there! I saw a pair of jeans with holes in them for $200! Okay, I'll stop channeling my nana. 

Seriously...I don't like buying new in stores and had been looking around online when I got an email from Would I like to trial shopping with them? I had just opened their site open at the time that email flew into my inbox. Serendipity in action I thought. Er, yes please! They gave me $100 credit for the pleasure. Looking around their website, I saw that $100 could go a very long way. Nzsale is a time limited clearance sale website for a changing host of designers and labels. Everything from kids toys, clothing for the whole family, skincare, houseware, and more in between. It really is quite amazing. 

Where did my $100 go? There was so much to choose from. I found two classic black shirts from Zara, two pairs of boyshort underwear from Jockey woman, Bonds grey marle skinny leg sweat pants, and a stunner of a long sleeved dressy chiffon top from Esprit. 

The black shirt below is one of my favourites. It is a cotton/rayon blend at the front and a knit jersey with a zip on the back. Simple classic design and perfect for our NZ spring/summer season. 

My verdict? I'll be back to nzsale when I need something. For sure. 
My advice is to not get overexcited and ask yourself if you really love the item/s before you click buy. There is a high turnover rate on nzsale, if you are looking for something specific, monitor the site until it comes up. You can't try things on so check the sizing charts out and be aware that some items might not be exactly what you imagined them to be. Be open minded, this can be a good thing. The Zara shirt I love the most isn't at all what I would have ordered, but I love it the most. 

You can check out nzsale HERE. 
Have fun out there folks. x

The jeans (because I know some of you will email and ask!) are Top Shop Baxter skinny jeans, the boots are Funki clog boots from a few seasons ago, both get worn A LOT!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Mind Lab

One of our homeschooling groups had a day at Unitech's Mind Lab in Central Auckland last week. Wow. I have to admit, it takes a lot for me to be impressed with courses for kids these days...but both Jed and I were wow'ed out by Mind Lab. 
The kids divided up into two groups. One group did 3-D modelling and Jed's group did a day of science. He had a BLAST.

The days work focused on force and pressure. There was a lot of laughter, respectful fun banter with the kids, and a whole eon of learning with hands-on experiments. The mix of concepts, talk and letting the kids get on with it was perfect. Plus, there was the thrill of making rockets that exploded up and hit the ceiling...what's not to like?!

The whole feel of the place is one of space, light, and just general coolness. It's a great place to be. I must have taken 100 photos. 

It reminded me of the Small Poppy sessions Jed did for years with the GEC. I haven't seen him that excited and comfortable in a class situation since then. He's asked if he can go back every week and was very disappointed when I explained it was only a day programme. Perhaps there is a fortnightly class for homeschoolers we could organise. (The Mind Lab does run an after school programme, but it would leave us in town at peak hour traffic. As it was, it took us 2 hours to get there in peak morning traffic. Not something I want to repeat on a regular basis. One of the things I love about homeschooling is that we get to scoot around the horrendousness of our cities traffic situation by choosing to travel off peak.)

The Mind Lab crew has just won a prestigious Innovation award. I can see why. That's all over their facebook page HERE. You can get a sense of how much fun those folks are!

Apart from their courses and classes for kids, The Mind Lab is a specialist digital education lab for kids, grown ups and everyone in between. They are also doing a fabulous and much needed job in training teachers up to be digitally literate and might I say, creatively kick- ass. 

Not only is Mind Lab a great place to be, they have excellent coffee on the premises, in the form of Coffee General. You may not know this about me, but I love my coffee. More on them shortly. They deserve their own post. Those folks know what they are doing.

Thank you Mind Lab, and especially Chris, for putting so much fun into opening kids up to the wonders of the world of science and technology. Nice work Mind Lab!