Monday, February 27, 2012

Kim and Mark's Wedding and Manly Dam

We had a lovely weekend spent at our friends' (Mark and Kim's) wedding, which was held at the splendid Killara Golf Course on Saturday, and then a relaxing Sunday with Tim and Hayley at Manly Dam.

The wedding went without a hitch and the setting, food and (of course) the bride were all beautiful. Good speeches gave way to nice conversation with people on our table as well as a bit of a dance.

Audrey and Eli love spending time with Alex and Teddy (Tim and Hayley's kids) and the prospect of a sleep-over for them (they didn't come to the wedding) had filled their conversation for the week leading up to our trip. We had worried that it would be difficult for Tim and Hayley to get them to bed, but we returned home to two sleeping children.

I didn't even know about Manly Dam, where Tim and Hayley took us on Sunday, but it was an excellent place and we enjoyed bacon and egg (and egg) sandwiches as well as a spot of fishing and swimming (for the kids) before heading home.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Worm Farm

Audrey and Eli enjoy a TV show called Dirtgirl. It's an Australian animated children's programme with an eco-twist. I haven't seen it myself (and I think the kids have only seen it a handful of times) but they always full of rave reviews whenever it's on.

This week Dirtgirl made a worm farm and both Audrey and Eli were desperate to tell me about the episode. We downloaded a factsheet and sought advice from existing worm farmers (at Amy's work). The recommendation was to visit Bunnings (the DIY shed) and purchase said farm from there rather than attempt to cobble together something of your own.

Dutifully two parents and two (very excited) kids set off on Saturday to embark on our worm farm venture. What none of us could believe was the array of worm farm products available. Dirtgirl had clearly hit upon something - worm farming, much to our surprise is very de rigueur. Forget your compost, get worms.

First you had to chose from (at least 6) farms - basically large plastic boxes, and then buy a box of worms - worms worked out at roughly 5c per worm! After that there was worm bedding, worm conditioner, booster packs etc etc. It's a big business.

On the long supplier list we picked up there are at least 50 suppliers of worms Australia wide, all with some humorously titled business name. Businesses included (and I'm not making these up) "Worms on Wheels", "We've got Worms", "Earthly Delights", "Early Bird Worm Marketing" and "Worm Affair". Some of the businesses remarkably are open 7 days a week and offer a 24 hour service. Note to self to ring one of them on Christmas day just to check out their claims.

We chose a pretty cool round worm farm (the company humourously titled "Can-of-Worms") and then purchased 1,000 worms which we were told was the minimum required to get us started. On the previous day I'd dug 20 or 30 earthworms out of the garden, but of course worm farm worms are completely different and much better at eating our scraps. I'd wasted my time trying to do it on the cheap.

The kids loved unpacking and setting up the farm. How long the fascination will last is anyone's guess (probably 2-3 days) and our (currently 4) guinea pigs now have competition over vegetable and food scraps (albeit, as we've found out, a competition who doesn't really devour large quantities of scraps with the voracity we'd hoped for).

Apparently though the compost they'll produce is second to none. Watch this space! We also incidentally noticed that there was no worm dealer in Canberra (other than Bunnings) so if this venture proves successful we'll have to wrack our brains for a "funny" business name.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Separated at Birth?

We went to Audrey's new school Barbecue last Friday evening. Unfortunately it bucketed down with rain just as we arrived meaning that a lot of the outside areas were flooded. The rain seemed to have an instant transformative effect on the children there who ran around madly jumping into the many puddles that had formed.

I lost sight of Eli for a while and so I walked down to the adjoining playing field and saw a melee of big boys stomping in a huge puddle. They scattered as I approached leaving a small boy in the middle - Eli - who continued to show me how he could splash the water with his feet.

Both him and Audrey were very wet (but happy) on our short drive home.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Black Mountain

Here's a few pics of the kids taken at Black Mountain peninsula (Abbey's birthday) last weekend;

Audrey and her friend Will

spare Tomato sauce on mouth

Sunday, February 12, 2012

National Multicultural Festival

After swimming, the four of us headed to the National Multicultural Festival in Canberra town centre.

This year's festival was the biggest yet, with organisers estimating that 260,000 people attended over the 3 days. The weather was great for the event (not too cold, not too hot) and we wandered around some of the 350 stalls from all parts of the globe while music and dance kept people entertained from 4 stages. Both the kids were excellent given that they'd had a grueling swimming lesson before the festival.

Main attraction for most visitors is the wide array of food and drink available from around the world. We chose to eat Thai food washed down with Polish beer and a (much sought after) pączek for dessert.

It was interesting to see that the Greek stall was full of give-aways and we wondered that, given the current state of their economy, perhaps it would have been better if they'd had a money collection tin.

We rounded our trip off with a ride on the carousel which sits in the centre of Petrie Plaza.

Wearing Polish caps

Amy has a refreshing drink!aboard the Merry-go-round

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Audrey's first day at Holy Trinity

Audrey started pre-school this morning. It was a big event, preceded by lots of tears from her brother who cried, "I don't want Diddi to go...".

In the end Elijah was cheered up with a chocolate frog and we headed off to school. It looks a nice place and she's got a friend (Tommy) in her class. She settled down blissfully unaware that she's got another 25,000 hours of school education ahead of her!

Julia Gillard's Right Shoe

A shoe-drama has been playing out in Australia over the last few weeks, which may not have been picked up by the World's press!

Following the Australia Day celebrations we attended, there was a bit of a fracas which led to Prime Minister Julia Gillard losing her right shoe as she was dragged into her car by a bodyguard.

The relinquished shoe was then 'captured' by the Aboriginal tent embassy. Who (somewhat amusingly I thought) cried "Gingerella come get your shoe" (yes we have a ginger-haired Prime Minister). Unfortunately she didn't take up the option of collecting it personally.

The shoe was held to ransom for a while, before briefly (and somewhat dubiously) appearing on Ebay (bids reached $2,500 for the single shoe!). Spoil-sports Ebay withdrew the listing as they said because the shoe belonged to Julia Gillard, she was the only one legally able to sell it.

A rather more dignified Julia Gillard appeared the following day and when quizzed about the missing shoe, carefully chose her words by saying that she was in the privileged position to own several pairs of shoes.

During the exile of the shoe fashion editors gleefully took the opportunity to say what the shoe said about the Prime Minister's style, cartoonists took delight in the Cinderella/Gingerella references, as well as the fact that it was a 'blue-suede shoe' (ala Elvis), while headline editors dined out on "Putting the Boot in", "Well Heeled" etc headline-puns.

Two days later the shoe was returned to a security guard at Parliament House.
Winners of the whole affair were a small (Australian) shoe maker called Midas who were the proud makers of the original shoe. Their stores sold out of the shoe and they ran a very smart competition to design an alternative 'Gillard mk2' shoe.

Here it is, complete with 'Mary-Jane' strap - to prevent it falling off in future conflicts! (production due to start shortly!)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Amy's Birthday

Amy celebrated her birthday yesterday.

On Audrey's insistence Amy had both a butterfly card and cake. Here's a video of her/Eli blowing out the candles...

Angelina Ballerina

On Saturday the four of us went along to watch the stage production of Angelina Ballerina at Canberra Theatre.

For the uninitiated Angelina Ballerina is a playful mouse who (unsurprisingly perhaps?) is a ballerina. In moments of reflection I sometimes wish I had come up with the word play of combining 'ballerina' with 'Angelina', it's certainly been a nice money spinner for someone, so here's some of my own;

... 'Lance who likes to Dance'....Clive who likes to Jive'....any takers anyone?....clearly I'll have to work on it.

Angelina started life as a fairly simple book and has mushroomed into an empire of videos, toys, clothes, clip on ears and of course stage plays. The merchandising is wide (but also much coveted) - our show was the last performance of 8 and so a lot of the stuff had fortuitously sold out. Both Audrey and Eli love Angelina and there would no doubt have been a bit of pester power to buy a pair of pink clip on ears for $30.

The show was great fun and I'm sure a really good introduction to ballet. There was no dialogue to get in the way and the dancers (wearing mouse masks) danced for about an hour. In the interval tens of tutu wearing little girls and Eli went to dance in front of the stage. We knew another couple of dads there (also with tutu wearing little girls).

Audrey and Eli sat agog throughout the really nice show. Eli cried when it finished as he didn't want the mice to go.

Angelina and Miss Mimi

another satisfied customer

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Fun in the Sun

We've had a bit of an odd summer. Some days nice and warm, others chilly and rainy. The grass that has in previous years been scorched dry by mid summer survived due to the rain we've been getting and has needed regular cutting throughout to keep it in check.

It was lovely and warm the other day and so Audrey and Eli got to have a run out under the sprinkler. It's always a big hit with the kids and saves on bath-water as well!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Story Time at the War Memorial

wearing 'airforce' hats
learning about nurses (our two are in the right hand corner)

Audrey starts 'big school' next week and so had a week between daycare and school. I (Trevor) took the chance to book a days leave and take the kids to story time at the Australian War Memorial. The story time focused on animals (two dogs and a cat) and their involvement with soldiers and sailors during wartime. There was then a talk on nurses through the last 100 years again aimed at pre-schoolers-to-8 year olds.

We topped off our day with a lovely lunch at the cafe.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Muppets

I (Amy) took Audrey and Eli to see their first feature-length movie, The Muppets, on Monday. What a trip down memory lane (for me!) - Kermit singing "The Rainbow Connection" even made me a little teary. We had a great time - the kids sat glued to the screen for the duration and Audrey only got a little scared a couple of times. They keep talking about Kermit, Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear. Hopefully, I've helped to create another generation of Muppet lovers!

Weekend in Adelaide

On Friday night, I (Amy) flew solo to Adelaide. I must admit, it was rather strange not having two little hangers-on but also quite relaxing! I flew over for my friend Paula's wedding and also to catch up with some of my other lovely friends. Paula and Darryl's wedding on Saturday was beautiful - brought a tear to my eye.

Here are some pics of my beautiful friends - I miss you all! (But it was still nice to come home and see 3 smiling faces waiting for me at the airport)

Jo and I ready for lunch!
Cheers! Denise and I about to tuck in
Paula and DarrylCatching up with Andrea, Julie, Louisa and Emma