School Holidays Again

The term never went this fast we were we kids.  As an Auntie, there’s only one day each week of the school holidays to conjure up something new to discover or to reinvent an old favourite. But to avoid disappointment given the unpredictable spring weather, sometimes it’s best to wait until morning to decide what to do.

The Past Twenty Four Hours

Last night we walked to Mission Bay to see the Pixels Movie. Very entertaining, and if you can remember back to the eighties and video arcade games, there are plenty of déjà-vu moments for the adults too.  Tickets are only $9.90 for adults and children, Sunday to Wednesday at BERKELEY Mission Bay | HOYTS so a great price for families.

Today woke to heavy rain so our plans for a trip into the city were squashed.  But by the time the girls had eaten their pancakes, finished watching another movie on DVD and finally got out of their PJs – mind you it was now mid-morning, the sun was shining.  Scooters out, shorts, t-shirts and sunhats (yes really) and we were off down to the beach for an hour or so.  Grabbed a coffee (for me) along the way – it was definitely a two coffee day.

Gymnastics on the beach

Gymnastics on the beach

Sushi for lunch then bundled the kids into the car.  Off to JUMP – indoor trampolining, and arrived with seconds to spare. After an hour of non-stop bouncing you would think the girls would be tired. How can two 11 year old girls have so much energy and make so much racket!

No hands walkover at JUMP

No hands walkover at JUMP

Other kid-friendly things to do in Auckland’s unpredictable weather:

Grab a picnic and take a road trip – you’ll get wet anyway:

For other school holidays ideas, take a look at two earlier posts from July 2015:

If you’re lucky enough to have an extra week these school holidays, check out what’s happening during Artweek Auckland 10-18 October.

Feel free to share your favourite tip for school holiday fun in the comments.

Michelle

Winter School Holiday Ideas

Winter school holiday weather can be unpredictable. Overlooking the glistening sea towards Waiheke Island – a change in workspace today as my computer is on the blink – today’s weather forecast could not have been more wrong.  Keeping the kids entertained and not breaking the bank is the real challenge so here are a few ideas.

Cooking

Kids love cooking, much more than the cleaning up. My 11 year old niece has been baking with me since she was two so I’ve gone from kitchen assistant to simply watching with coffee in hand. Pick recipes that the kids will enjoy eating, with many ingredients so lots of measuring, and a few different processes eg beating, cutting shapes, rolling balls etc. Be prepared for a mess, that’s all part of the fun.

Using an "old-fashioned" egg beater

Using an "old-fashioned" egg beater

Last Sunday my niece and her friend made their own dinner – spaghetti and meatballs, a dish they had learned to cook at school camp. Next time I might make them clean the stove top!

Girls looking pretty pleased with their dinner

Girls looking pretty pleased with their dinner

Art and Craft

One of the best finds at the local $2 Shop was plain white masks, complete with mini pots of paint.  Grab some sparkly pipe-cleaners, glitter, stickers and you have a whole afternoon’s entertainment.  Don’t forget to cover the table, newspaper does the trick.

Lots of concentration for painting the mask

Lots of concentration for painting the mask

Fabulous painted masks

Fabulous painted masks

Another idea was to create crayon art on canvases – the kids found this on YouTube.

Lots of concentrating, melting the crayons with hairdryer

Lots of concentrating, melting the crayons with hairdryer

Get Outside – utilise the local park. Take the dog for a walk on the beach. Blow out the cobwebs on scooters and bikes.

Movies Marathon – rent six movies for $10 and you get them for the entire week. Make your own popcorn. Grab your sleeping bags and squash up together on the couch.

Check out your local museum, art gallery or community centre – there are often school holiday activity programmes.

Now to decide what to do with the kids next Monday – thankfully I only need to come up with an idea for one day each week!

Happy Holidays

Michelle

 

 

 

 

 

 

Long Weekend at The Mount

For many, Mt Maunganui, affectionately know as 'The Mount' is synonymous with the kiwi summer, surfing the waves and rowdy New Years parties.  Long after the summer holidays, with little planning other than booking accommodation, we headed off with two 10 year olds in tow.  Our last holiday(s) at The Mount was a very distant memory for both my sister and I so we were open-minded about what to see and do.

Spectacular view from the summit of The Mount (photo by Sarah aged 10 years)

Spectacular view from the summit of The Mount (photo by Sarah aged 10 years)

Steps, surf and sunset

The vista from the summit of The Mount after the strenuous 347 steps climb, at times teetering close to the edge, is simply breathtaking – it’s worth the exertion. And while watching the paragliders float effortlessly down from the summit at sunset was quite spectacular, I’m sure they hung around for a little longer simply to enjoy the glorious view before landing on the sandy beach.

First of many paragliders landing on Mt Maunganui beach

First of many paragliders landing on Mt Maunganui beach

From the white sand beaches of Mount Maunganui and Papamoa to the Hot Salt Water Pools and the Bay Wave Aquatic Centre, water will always be a huge attraction. The kids were excited to have a pool and spa at the apartment too.

The Foodie Inc’s top picks for eating out

Quirky bar area at Mount Social Club

Quirky bar area at Mount Social Club

Shopping and Markets

The main strip is lined with fashion retailers, specialist homewares and gift shops and an amazing assortment of eating places to suit everyone’s tastes.  Take time to meander down one side of Maunganui Street and back up the other, stopping for a coffee or cold drink along the way.

Sundays would not be complete without a visit to the farmers market; held rain or shine 9am - 1pm in the main street car park. Stalls crammed with locally grown fruit and vegetables, artisan breads, chutneys, relishes and honey, cheese, fish and meat; and not forgetting the freshly made to order pancakes, hot Cornish pasties and great coffee too.

Sunday morning at Mt Maunganui farmers market

Sunday morning at Mt Maunganui farmers market

And if you time it right (and we didn’t) the first Saturday of every month is The Little Big Markets. Look out for Food Truck Friday, a new winter event happening fortnightly from Friday 8 May. For more information on Bay of Plenty events click here Little Big Events

Mount Manganui Beach

Mount Manganui Beach

Go on, you know you want a long weekend away, especially now winter has appeared with vengeance! The Mount caters for everyone, any time of the year.  We won’t be leaving it so long to visit Mount Maunganui again.

Michelle

Looking for a Casual Affair?

It’s 5:15pm Wednesday. Typical peak hour in Auckland, the traffic’s starting to build.  Noisy kids clamour out of cars.  Mums looking a little relieved; squeals of delight escape from small faces as Dads arrive. It’s the second Wednesday of food trucks at La Cigale French Market in Parnell.

The crowd thickens, some meandering down the road from local businesses. Everyone’s looking very relaxed or maybe its relief after the Blackcaps' semi-final win last night.

La Cigale French Market truck stop

People wander checking what’s on tonight’s menu, others join a queue. Grabbing what they fancy: pulled pork and spare ribs, vegetarian burgers, chilli dogs, various sliders, prawns and much more.

Jerk chicken.jpg

Try craft beers from Hallertau Brewery, a Zeffer Cider or even a glass of French wine. For those still hungry; a fruity dessert pot, a gelato cone or a cheese plate.  Take your time, sit at communal tables and talk to fellow diners. Enjoy the entertainment - sing-a-long like me if you forget where you are. 

La Cigale French Market communal tables

Don’t take my word for it. The Food Trucks at La Cigale French Market, fortnightly on Wednesdays from 5pm - 9pm.  Mark Wednesday 8 April in your calendar now - the perfect school holiday treat for everyone.

Michelle