Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Oh my Gourd!

We picked this gourd this morning from our vegetable patch. Not sure what it is - a squash of some sort? a pumpkin?...

The beauty of it is that I don't remember planting it, just hope it tastes as good as it looks.

Patriotic Crisps

So pleased when I saw these the other day. Not only are they 'True Blue' (in a blue packet) but they're also BBQ flavour AND are nachos shaped in the shape of Australia. Excellent on so many levels (they tasted good too).

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Markets and Playgrounds

We had a busy weekend which seemed to go by even faster than usual!

After swimming (and breakfast at the markets) Audrey went with her friend Amber to a local circus, I took Eli on a play-date with his friend Aayush and Amy went to a baby shower.

We reconvened later that day with Audrey full of stories of lions and clowns, Eli chuffed that he had won a game of snakes and ladders and Amy full of chocolate cake.

Sunday was quiet by comparison as we all recovered from our outings.

Here's some pictures from our weekend....
Audrey reinacting Snail and the Whale

Eli and his friend Pippa (at Belconnen markets)
and finally a bit more of Eli's tree climbing exploits (this time at the Southside farmer's market)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Eli up a tree

Audrey has moved on from her inital 'dance' lessons to ballet. The lessons go on behind closed doors so we've no idea whether she's likely to be a principle ballet dancer of the future or whether she's got two left feet - either way she seems to enjoy herself a lot there.

While she's in her class Eli plays with his friend Maddison in a park over the road. I took them along this week and Eli suddenly started climbing trees. They were only small trees, not fall-out-and-break-your-skull type trees, but he was pretty adept and will probably progress onto bigger things. On that day terra firma seemed to hold no interest.

Trees apparently, like to have kids climb them.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Audrey and Eli's first day at school and pre-school

We (very nervously) dropped Eli and Audrey off at their pre-school and school today.

It was a really big day for all of us, though in all honesty I think the kids took it much more in their stride than we did. Amy laid the breakfast table before we went to bed(!) and the all new (and ever so slightly too big...but they'll grow into them) school clothes were laid out ready.

There were no tears to speak of (well ok I fought back the tears myself at one point) and both of them were happy in their new surroundings. We stayed for 20 minutes with each of them before we said our farewells. No doubt tonight will be full of stories of new friends and experiences. Here's some pictures of the kids first day.

On our steps

Three wonderful people

Eli with his bag

hand in hand to the car

When Eli met Ricky

Well, not exactly, but he did see a statue of Ricky Ponting (in Cootamundra) recently when visiting Nanny and Poppy

Ricky,Eli, Poppy and Lottie

Lottie, Eli and Poppy

Saturday, February 2, 2013

National Arboretum Grand Opening

100 years of Canberra
Perched on a hill near where we live is the National Arboretum.

It's a fairly new initiative (plantings commenced in 2006) to grow a 100 forests overlooking Canberra. The land was previously covered in pine trees but was ravaged by the bush fires of 2004.

Over the last few years we've seen the site develop from afar. Small saplings appearing over the barren hills and then a huge spaceship-like visitor centre (the Village) grew out of the hillside as well.

We've been along a couple of times to visit (the Arboretum held monthly open sessions) but nothing really prepared us for today which was the Grand Opening, timed as part of Canberra's centenary.

The "Village Centre" was open - the huge visitor centre with information boards, cafe and of course the obligatory shop, and it's size and beauty was staggering. Huge wooden beams support the high ceilings and magnificent windows overlooking the vista of Canberra. Without trying to break into "Grand-Designs" type language it really is superb.

So many things were laid on for the public. Shuttle buses took people to the site from all around town and numerous tents offering face painting, kite making, plantings combined with entertainment and food. Our favourite Canberra band (the Cashews) did a turn on a small stage and the sun shone and the wind blew (perfectly for the kites).

There's still a bit of polishing to be done to a few bits and pieces - the Pavilion which offers spectacular views of Canberra and is a dead cert to be booked out for weddings for the next 5 years, still needs to be finished but the paths, the sculptures and of course the trees are all in place.

It's wonderful that something like this has been done in Canberra. In truth it's probably not for another 20 years that the true value of the place will be realised. The exhibitions and interactive screens will probably be a bit tarnished by then but the trees will be the real heroes of the place.

We only meant to go along for an hour or so and ended up staying most of the day. I'm sure we'll have many happy trips up there.

Outside of the 'Village'

Listening to 'the Stilettos' - Audrey loved them!
Flying an octopus kite

Face painting fun