Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 in Gratitude

It's good to look back on a year just as it is ending.

2013 was a fabulous year for me.
To sum it up:

  • We celebrated the New Year in Australia with family.
  • The Cowboy and his son moved into the castle with me and the Princess.
  • I finished my degree and graduated.
  • The Cowboy changed jobs.
  • The Princess turned 10.
  • I got my first teaching job and became financially independent.
  • We left the castle and moved to the new house (with insulation).
  • I no longer have to go back for checkups related to my accident.
  • The Cowboy and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary.
  • We celebrated Christmas with both our families at the new house.

I have so much to be grateful for.

Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Christmas 2013

Traditional cookies.  Princess's new decoration. Chalkboard.  Snow globe card (Andi). 
Has been and gone.

I have loved every moment of it. The shopping, baking, cleaning, wrapping, decorating, cooking and the sharing with family and friends.

The tree.  New spinning top decoration (Amah).  New handmade decoration (Princess's teacher).
Front door.  Cross-stitch verse (Mum).  Piano top.
We kept our old traditions and created some new ones.

We had some firsts as well.  For the first time on Christmas Eve the Princess was too excited to go to sleep, I think it was about 1.30am. This was the first Christmas morning she woke super early, 5.30am is when she opened her stocking.  This is the first Christmas she didn't 'believe'.  It made me a little sad that another part of her childhood has slipped away.  But in saying that, the magic of Christmas was still the same.

Inside garden ornament ;-)  Tree at night.
We had Christmas's before and after the actual day.  One at my Mums the week before with my gorgeous sister in law and nephews. One on Boxing Day with the Wasband's grandmother and Aunty who are very much family.

The Cowboy and I hosted Christmas Day for our families at the new house.  Both our parents stayed on Christmas Eve which was fun, the usual pre Christmas Day cooking prep, wrapping baking into gift baskets and boxes, last minute gift wrapping, finding a present I had stashed and lost!  And finally, putting all the parcels under the tree, all ready to be opened in the morning.  I love it!

Table decoration.  Gift wrapping theme this year.
I was a lucky girl, lots of gifts including cookbooks, sleepwear, napkin rings, the cutest little heart ornament made by the Princess, a shawl and necklace, vintage china, homemade gifts (will show in another post) and the most amazing chopping board handcrafted by the Cowboys son and much to beautiful to chop on.

Chopping board (Cowboy's son).
The Princess's gifts are too vast to list! She will be busy reading, crafting and playing for years to come!

Princess opening gifts (Leif).
We had a mid afternoon meal.  Everyone contributed.  We had our traditional roast turkey with  my granny's stuffing recipe, lamb cooked on the new barbecue, lots of salads and two pavlovas.  Delish.

Gingerbread house (Cowboy's neices).  Pavlova (me and Cowboy's sister).
The day was filled with love and laughter, families enjoying being together and new memories created.  All the reasons why I adore Christmas.

Thanks for visiting

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Christmas Crafting

It's been a few years since I have made one of these.  I had forgotten how much I enjoy making them.   This one was a Christmas gift for my sister in law.

Orders taken ;-)

Thanks for visiting

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Tuesday, 10 December 2013


My year six students graduated from Primary School school today.  The graduation ceremony was beautiful with heartfelt speeches from the senior school teachers (myself included) and the pure singing voices of our students was heart string pulling. 

Each student received a certificate and a gift bag.  Students who won special awards received certificates, cups and prizes. Many parents attended and as their child received their certificate or award they would come up and adorn their child with a Ula (lolly lei).  The child's teacher and our principal were also adorned with leis.

I am so honoured to have received leis from the parents of my students as it is a mark of appreciation among other things.

My leis will end up being long gone (eaten!) but the gesture will always remain as will the memories of my students.

Thanks for visiting.

Rachael xo

Tuesday, 3 December 2013


I love hydrangeas almost as much as I love roses.  Almost.  When we came to this new, insulated home the hydrangea bush was just a pile of sticks up against the house. Overnight it seems to have grown lush green leaves and big blouse-y flowers.  They remind me of vintage floral hats.

Seeing them motivated me to clear the school crap off the dining table.  The university crap has been replaced by school crap.  I polished the table and centered my freshly cut hydrangeas on it.

Domestic bliss - briefly :-)

Thanks for visiting.

Rachael xo

Sunday, 1 December 2013


The Princess sometimes comes to my school in the weekends or during school holidays to 'help'.  The last time she 'helped' involved making a large 'her' with my maths counting beans.

Followed by a message for me,

She's very good at maths!

Thanks for visiting.
Rachael xo

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Art in the Classroom

One of the things I absolutely love about being a teacher is doing cool art projects with the kids.

We have been working on some art based on our reptile topic.  I found camouflage art on Pinterest so we did it in class.  I love the results, you need to look really closely at some of them to see the reptile in the artwork.

I could teach art all day long!

Thanks for reading.

Rachael xo

Sunday, 17 November 2013

MIA - Part Two

Late rose from the castle, picked the week we left.
The Castle.

While missing in action we moved from the castle at the end of July.  Our family dynamics had changed with the Cowboy moving in and his son coming to live in weekends and holidays. We had the Cowboy's son living in the former sun-room/playroom which was lovely over summer until the rain came and it leaked. It leaked a lot and in a lot of places. Our landlord did a dodgy repair and it still leaked. We moved the Cowboy's son into the craft-room/sun-room, along came a big rain storm and that leaked too!

During all of this we moved into winter and the castle became unbearable.  Coming home from work/school to an inside temperature of 10 degrees Celsius became too much. The castle being the wonderful historic airy space that it was could not be heated much more than that. My poor old bones couldn't cope with it. We would take to our beds with bed-heaters on (electric blankets).

The final straw was a new landlord who had serious hoarding issues and used the castle grounds as storage for his many "I might need it one day" items. It was annoying to have to walk out to the road and up the hill and back through a gate that only partially opened (because of his stuff) to collect mail.  It was not nice when he moved into the basement below us and undertook renovation projects anytime of day or night. And, we won't go into his toilet ablutions or the fact he drew off our power without telling us.

So anyway, we went online and we found a place and took a weekend drive to view and we got it. It's the polar opposite of the castle, its 10 years old, not 110 years old.  It has this going for it:
Insulation - no thermals needed
Dishwasher - goes without saying
Fully fitted kitchen - bench room is surreal, when I DO cook I still tend to huddle in a tiny part of the bench, its what I have been used to.
Insulation - did I mention this?
Drive in garage - press a button, drive in, empty the car, walk into the house, press a button, shut the garage door. For a teacher with arm loads of books each night it is seriously cool.
Insulation - did I mention this?
Indoor outdoor flow- doors off dining and living room go to outdoor area.
Laundry - still a novelty, open the lid, pop the clothes in, press a button. No more spinning the machine around over the bath, hanging the outlet hose over the bath and connecting the intake hose to the toilet system to feed the washing machine ( I kid you not!).
En-suite - in my semi old age I sometimes need to get up in the night. NO more braving Antarctic like conditions, a short stumbling step and I am there.
Insulation - did I mention this.
Clothes Line- does not hang over the motorway therefore clean drying laundry not tainted with carbon dioxide. Our whites are white, I like!
Quiet - the constant roar of traffic on the busiest road in New Zealand passing your living room/bedroom  24/7 has been replaced by birds tweeting - imagine!
Insulation - did I mention that?

above the kitchen sink, cos that's how we roll!
So this new place is nice, pleasantly nice, soullessly nice. But it's home for me, the Cowboy, the Princess and the Cowboy' son and we like it.  We gel here as the funny little family we are evolving into.
My Granny's piano.  Belongs to my nephews but I look after it. Currently in the dining room.
It's easy, warm, sunny and comfortable. We have infused it with our 'stuff' and personalities. It suits where we are right now. Are you convinced? I am!

A corner of the living room. Collectibles  in the form of books, wooden dice, candles, Buddha, Russian doll, red theme.

Thanks for reading!
Rachael xo

Apologies for the quality of my photos, not the best in the word, but you can't post without visuals, can you?

Saturday, 16 November 2013

MIA - Part One (this one is for you Andi ;-)

This is my classroom before I 'Rachael-d' it. It's quite different now.
Missing in Action.
That's where I have been - Missing in Action.
Way back in May I secured my very first teaching position. Since then I have pretty much been in survival mode, treading water,.
I teach a year 5 and 6 class (9, 10 & 11 year olds).
It's pretty cool to have your own classroom to decorate, it's kind of like an extension of decorating a house if you are into that sort of thing, which I am.
However the reality is that as a new teacher once you are in the swing of a term of teaching all decorating goes out the window.
The mode of the day is survival...
Survival does not include decorating your classroom.
Survival does include planning weeks of teaching and learning that follows a curriculum and is geared towards your students achievement results at a level that is measured nationally.
Survival does include managing the behavior of your class so that they can work towards those national results.
Survival is not catching every bug that travels the universe and your classroom within a term.
Survival is trying to balance work and personal life and deciding to postpone that till another day.
Survival is resisting the temptation to have a glass of wine every night and 75% of the time (could be higher) failing dismally.
Survival is giving up on having a house where every room is clean - at the same time.
Survival is looking at the pictures in your recipe books and cooking poached eggs on toast - again.
Survival is removing the chipped polish off your toes, 3 months ago, and never getting around to repainting them.
Survival is spasmodic texts to family and friends and single sentence (sometimes a single word) emails.
Survival is saving your social life for the school holidays and still not having a social life because you are either comatose from exhaustion (not wine), sick from being run down, doing a make up of being a bad partner/mother for the last 9 weeks and trying to cram quality time into a two week period while still whipping into school to re-do wall displays, plan something, print something, find something and so it goes on.
Survival is forgetting all of the above because a student has moved forward to the next level in their learning.
Survival is knowing you chose the right profession because of the thrill you get when a student does move forward in their learning.

I do love being a teacher!

Thanks for visiting!
Rachael xo
p.s. thanks to my friend Andi who motivated me to blog again "Rachi, I do miss your blog!" xo

Monday, 20 May 2013

Life Changes

I absolutely adore the art the Princess created for me in celebration of my new job!

That's right I am lucky enough to secure my first full time teaching position, I start next week, can't tell you the huge range of thoughts and feelings I have towards it!

I'm on the look out for a few classroom essentials such as a bell to ring to get the attention of my students and an old chair I can funky up for my teacher chair - such fun ;-)

I'll show and tell when I get it all together!

Rachael xo

Sunday, 5 May 2013

After a long absence from blogging...

I'm back!

I can't believe it has been so long since I have posted, so much has happened since, which I guess is why I haven't posted, way too busy!

In late January the Cowboy moved in with us. This was very exciting and very exhausting as I had to make room to 'absorb' the Cowboy and his belongings and create a bedroom for his boy who stays with us over weekends.  This involved a major sort out, de-clutter and getting rid of stuff which was much needed and long overdue.

The Princess turned 10 in March, she is so close to being as tall (or small) as me  - haha. The Cowboy's boy turned 16 three days later and in April the Cowboy turned...something ;-).  Aside from birthday celebrations, since January we have had something on every weekend, apart from one!

I spent all of term one (10 weeks) on practical experience in a local Primary school with a Year Six class.  I absolutely loved my 10 weeks with the class and  learned so much .It was very sad at the end when I had to say goodbye, I was so spoiled with flowers, gifts and cards!

Gifts and cards from my Associate Teacher and students

My best friend Mary Thistle gave me a polished red apple  for completing my teaching degree!
The end of term one on the 19th of April was the completion of my teaching degree after 3 and a bit long and eventual years!  My Mum gave me this beautiful bracelet made by jewellery designer Colleen Toland.

I'm now applying for a full time teaching position but in the meantime I have part-time work in the school I was at last term.  It's so exciting to know tomorrow I am going to go to work and get paid for it, its been a long time!

I'll be back...this time much sooner than 4 months!

Rachael xo

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Christmas in our Family - Part Three

A lovely thing about Christmas is the new traditions that evolve over the years.

My Mum is incredibly talented at handwork, her creativity and stitching is enviable.  Two Christmas's ago she started a new tradition of hand stitching her grandchildren a Christmas decoration.

For Christmas 2011 she made the round tasseled ornament, each one had their individual photo on it.  This year she made the Gingerbread men which each child hung on a small wooden tree she took to Cairns.

When they are grown up and have their own trees they will have a collection of heirloom decorations that have been lovingly hand stitched for them by their Nana.


Rachael xo

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Christmas in our Family - Part Two

I know it's a little late to be posting about Christmas but I wanted to share our family Christmas this year.  We spent it in tropical Cairns, Northern Queensland, Australia and for the first time ever my Mum had her seven grandchildren with her on Christmas Day and for the first time in many years me and my two brothers.  

It was big because we all traveled to Cairns to spend Christmas together, my brother, his wife and three little children flew and drove down from Weipa.  My other brother, his partner and their three big boys, my Mum and her boyfriend and the Princess and I flew from Auckland which is a five hour flight. 

It doesn't matter where we celebrate Christmas or how hot it is, we always stick to some of our old traditions such as dealing with the cooked turkey on the ground, why this happens I don't know but if you click here you can see the same thing Christmas 2008! haha  

We always have a nicely set Christmas table, this one was done by Mum and suits the tropical weather.


We added new elements to our family Christmas such as this starter of prawns that my youngest brother cooked on the BBQ with sweet chili sauce and served on banana leaves.

Our main meal was a combination of traditional Christmas food, ham and turkey, gravy and cranberry jelly along with non traditional salads of hot roast vegetable salad, roast beetroot and feta salad, curried egg salad and new minted potatoes. Delicious!!!

And as per tradition there was plenty left over for Boxing Day food.

Christmas is my favorite time of the year and I love spending it with my family.  I am so blessed with my family as the Princess and I would not have been able to go if it had not been all of them contributing by paying for our flights and helping us with money while we were there.

Rachael xo

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Happy 2013

Trinity Beach, Cairns, Australia

Wishing you health, happiness and good fortune for 2013.

Rachael xo