Category Archives: New Zealand

Maori Finale

For the past few months, along with all of life’s other activities, some friends and I have been working on a fundraiser event for Amazima Ministries. Last night we were thrilled to host this event with Katie Davis sharing the stories of how God has led her to care for the “least of these” in Uganda. It was a powerful, amazing night and I can’t wait to share more about Katie and her ministry when we get to Uganda week in December.

In the meantime, with all the hullabaloo, we managed to celebrate New Zealand for our finale dinner.  We even had guests staying with us from Northern California and they joined in on the fun.  I had every intention of decorating our faces in Maori tattoos (temporary 🙂 ) for the event, but completely forgot until afterward, and it’s probably for the better as the people at the Amazima fundraiser might have been a bit frightened by my black-stained chin. (In Maori culture it is a sign of beauty for a woman to have a tattooed chin).

So, here goes……..

New Zealand Dinner Menu

Sweet Potato Mash

Brussel Sprouts with Shallots and Bacon

 We happen to be in the middle of brussel sprout season in our garden and I chose this recipe from for this reason.  Delicious with rave reviews from all!  I’m thinking this also has something to do with the fact that we harvested the sprouts that afternoon. Super fresh!

Yorkshire Puddings

I love making yorkshire puddings for dinner, especially when we are out of bread as they are quick and easy and I typically have all the required ingredients…flour, eggs, milk, butter/bacon grease, salt.  These were also a hit.

Lamb from New Zealand!  Perfect for our evening.

Lamb Steaks with Caramelized Lemon Jus

This recipe was adapted from and it really turned out well.  The Caramelized Lemon Jus poured over the lamb grilled with sage and garlic was a perfect compliment to the dish.  Since we have a bunch of the Jus left I’m trying to think of something else to serve it with.

A New Zealand Bottle

If you look really closely, you can see “New Zealand” on the bottom.

Leah, one of our fearless dinner guests!

A few more of our dinner guests!

Our Favorite, Pavlova

If you have been following our blog, we did this same pavlova for Australia week only using berries instead. It appears that New Zealand and Australia both claim Pavlova to be their national dessert but it really did originate in New Zealand. We even used New Zealand Kiwis in honor of our special night.

So there you have it, our New Zealand dinner, complete with our prayers for the land of the Kiwis and our saying “cheers” in place of thank you (something the kids really loved).  We even touched our noses together three times like the Maori people do upon greeting.
I guess there’s just one thing left to say New Zealand.

Kiwi Crafts

New Zealanders are also referred to as “Kiwis”.  Along with the delicious fruit, the Kiwi is also the country’s national bird.  The past few days we have been having lots of fun creating some unique Kiwi crafts.  Yesterday at the beach, we even collected a bottle of  sand to use for a craft today.  Since the Maori people were the original people of New Zealand and have some beautiful traditional crafts, we decided to focus on Maori-style crafts this week.  

Koru art is one such Maori design that we decided to do after discovering this art project on  Koru is the Maori word for a new fern frond and sympolizes new life, growth, strength and peace. (source:  

First, we looked at various pictures of ferns wrapped tightly together.  



Then, the kids practiced several times drawing the curving lines of the ferns and I demonstrated how to draw a few on our white board.  




Using chalk and crayons, we then drew the ferns onto our permanent paper and filled in the spaces with two shades of oil pastels.  


Tallinn's Koru Art



Addie's Koru Art


There is another step of washing the entire piece with black paint when finished, but I’m not sure we’ll do that step for mess purposes and just because I rather enjoy them as they are.  Whatever we decide, we will certainly mount these and put them in a special place as I really think they are quite beautiful. 

Our next Kiwi craft this week is a sand card we are making using the sand we collected yesterday during our “beach school”.  

This craft was taken from  Using a Maori design, we traced it onto card stock,  



 then cut out the design and mounted tracing paper to the back applying glue all over the design before dusting it with the sand.  



For Cardiff’s I actually followed the website’s instructions a bit better and just traced around the pre-cut Maori design with glue and filled in the space, then allowed him to sprinkle on sand.  



Both techniques worked well and when they are dry we will mount them on another piece of cardstock.  



Each day we are also reading our New Zealand library books and learning a bit more about the culture and people of this South Pacific nation. Today we learned a few New Zealand words.  

cheers = thank you  

well done = good on you  

guy = mate  

After the kids finished their crafts, I gave them an appropriate “good on you”.  







Addie’s Koru Art





Beach School


After a review on New Zealand’s location in the South Pacific and reminder that we share that same Pacific Ocean, we headed to the great Pacific for school today.  















More Science  




The sea is his for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Psalm 95:5

  And let’s not forget, recess!  




Oh the joys of homeschooling!  


Next stop…New Zealand

When I was thirteen years old, I had the most amazing opportunity to travel to New Zealand (and Australia) with my soccer team for about two weeks.  While in Christchurch, we stayed with host families for a few days and learned about how the people in New Zealand live.  I absolutely LOVED this experience, go figure, and even preferred NZ to Australia as we had really gotten to know the people there.  The Cottle family hosted me and their daughter Mahara and I remained penpals for years.  Sadly, we have lost touch, but I will always have such fond memories of my visit.  They truly welcomed me and made me feel so loved.

This morning we left our Moroccan tent and Berber gear and headed south again, back to winter, to the north and south islands that make up New Zealand.  We are now smack dab in the middle of extreme sports land but the kids won’t be bungee jumping quite yet (maybe in 15 years).  After traveling the globe and discussing what makes a land an “is-land” we place star stickers on Wellington, New Zealand’s capital, and Christchurch (for the Cottles). 

Next, we colored the flag and then made our own flags using sheets of foam.

Finished Foam Flag

This Week’s Verse

The sea is his

for he made it,

and his hands formed the dry land.

Psalm 95:5