Thursday, August 29, 2013

Eli's Father's Day Assembly

Eli had a Father's Day Assembly today and all his class read and sang songs. It was a lovely morning and all the kids and teachers had clearly worked so hard in preparation.

The day started with a family breakfast in the school courtyard (from 7.30am) and went on to the Assembly.

I got to take home a lovely bag of fudge (which stood for Fathers, Uncles, Dads, Grandpas and Everything in Between.

Eli gets ready to sing
Eli with some of his artwork (a picture of Dad - though I don't know why I look so grumpy!)

This one's for you Dad

I like to think you still read this blog Dad. I know you would have liked this.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Audrey's 6th Birthday

I read an article recently that the typical cost of a children's birthday party is now around $300. The same (UK) survey said that according to kids their perfect party would be held at a theme park, include 30 guests - and a guest appearance from David Beckham!

David wasn't available last weekend (and anyway I've never really understood the fuss about him myself) so in his absence Audrey celebrated her 6th birthday at a local pizza place together with her best mate Amber (and little sister) - rather than 30 others. There's a really good play area there and so the kids could go wild while parents could chat (in relative) peace.

Audrey had a Barbie cake which was well received and loved the presents she received, including a load of new Barbie clothes from Grandma, new lego, a sticker book and some excellent new pens/texters.
pressies for all!
new clothes for Barbie

Happy Birthday to You!
Barbie Cake

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Space the final frontier

space monster and star

Book week at school brought with it a fancy dress pageant with a 'space' theme.

Audrey went as a star and Eli as a space monster (with multiple sock/arms).

Here's a picture of them on the way to school.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Canberra All Stars v Newcastle Jets

I ventured out into the cold Canberra evening to watch Canberra All Stars v Newcastle Jets.

Newcastle Jets are an 'A League' team - Australia's professional football league which gains sparse attention in Australia.

Here the sporting landscape is dominated by Cricket, AFL (Aussie Rules), Super Rugby (Rugby Union) and NRL (Rugby League) whereas football gains little attention bar for the two weeks every four years during a World Cup campaign in which an ever-aging Harry Kewell tries to turn back time and finally deliver the promise his skills really should have.

What confuses matters even more is that football here is called 'soccer' (both in Australia and America) while almost every other sport is called "footy". I'm actually quite surprised that even hockey and basket ball aren't also called "footy" such is the over/mis use of the word.

The game was played at McKellar Park (previously the Belconnen Soccer Centre). The ground had a nice grandstand with tea/coffee bar and good seats, the pitch showed signs of Canberra's winter but was generally flat. Ages ago you would have said "the pitch isn't Wembley is it?" - but that was before the pitch in Wembley became rubbish itself  and rendered the phrase useless.

Years ago as a little boy while on holiday I was taken to watch Threave Rovers (who now play in the Lowland League of Scotland) and both the pitch, attendance and temperature brought back memories of that.

Back in Canberra 768 souls turned up and watched Newcastle Jets score an early 2nd minute goal. At that point it looked as if it was going to be a landslide but Canberra tightened up and created a couple of chances themselves. The match was 2-0 at half time and finished 3-0. Relatively respectable.

The Canberra team had obviously been warned off against injuring any of the Jets players and were noticeably stand-offish when tackling for the ball. Newcastle also failed to bring Emile Heskey with them - the old and now rather stout, former England player opting to avoid taking the chilly trip to the nations capital.

 It was a good night, but really only served to remind everyone that Canberra will never really be a football ('soccer') town. There's an undercurrent support but even if the town was awarded an A league side it would only draw 3-4k attendance and would struggle to compete with other sports going on here.

Never mind there's always the World Cup to look forward to - where Harry Kewell will again pull on the Socceroos shirt and the team will get knocked out following a disputed penalty.

The boys from the ACT

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Shredding Branches

We'd hacked a lot of branches off our old apple tree which have been piled up in the garden for the past couple of weeks until I spotted our neighbour had a 'Shredder' which he very kindly lent me.

It's good on long thin branches (of which we had plenty) and turns them into a (kind of) mulch. It basically smashes the wood and as the apple tree branches were pretty green makes a twiggy-greeny-mulch out of them which I've put on one of our borders where I want to keep the weeds at bay.

As twilight approached the kids got increasingly interested in what I was doing and so we all fed the machine with twigs while the kids chortled in a slightly disturbing Lord of the Flies kind of a way. I'm sure children aged 5 and 4 shouldn't be operating machinery like this, but no fingers were lost.

**If you're reading this blog from some Australian Health and Safety Commision and you're wondering about minors using dangerous garden equipment without proper supervision, barefoot and with no safety protection then don't worry about it as these photos are quite clearly photoshopped.

Face painting courtesy of Bunnings DIY store

Eli with his mate Leo (and his sister Ava)

...Smart move choosing a big boy as your good mate!

Canberra Brick Expo

Brick Expo was on in Canberra again. It's an exhibition of Lego constructions made by Australian enthusiasts and loosely endorsed by Lego themselves.

The event attracts huge interest and we'd fortunately booked our tickets a few weeks previously, learning from last year when we'd been 'locked out' (or perhaps 'blocked' out?) for assuming we'd be able to get access on the day itself.

This year though we arrived with our pre-booked tickets at our specific time and found the admission queue snaking across the car park. Fortunately it moved rapidly and we were soon in amongst the models.

Some of the stuff is a bit unspectacular - people displaying models that they'd made from bought kits (why?) but also plenty of original and (huge) stuff including a scale model of Sydney Harbour Bridge and a life size replica of the tardis.

Star Wars and Lego are now convenient bedfellows and there was plenty of Star Wars stuff to keep Eli occupied (he seems to know many of the space ships and characters without ever having seen the film!) and Audrey rejoiced in the "scary" room (luminescent lego lit up in a dark room) - which on her insistence we had to go through twice!

There was also the occasional 'geeky' designer including a chap who had built a huge table (cleverly) moving marbles round a 3D maze. Quite ingenious but he was just ever-so-slightly too enthusiastic for his own good!

Such is the demand for the exhibition we got a 15 minute announcement to leave (and finalise our purchases - as there are obviously plenty of retail opportunities as well!) and we left our Lego kingdom, passing a couple of guys dressed in Storm Trooper outfits along the way. Canberrans (especially those with an odd tilt towards Sci-Fi) love Lego!

one of the street scenes
A pirate scene
Lord of the Rings Chess set
Nice work!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tobogganing at Selwyn!

Audrey, Eli, Phil (our neighbour) and me headed to nearby Selwyn snowfields last Friday.

It's a beautiful drive to the snowfields - I really look forward to it. We stopped in Cooma on the way, buying Audrey a bright pink snowsuit(!) and arrived in Selwyn just before lunch.

Snowfall this year has been pretty sparse (although they did have a big 'dump' a few days after we came back!) but nevertheless there was enough for us to have fun on the toboggan..

We made a snowman (the kids christened him 'George') and headed home about 4pm stopping off for fish and chips along the way. Here's a short video of us all having fun!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Audey's 100 Day Party

Audrey has now been at school for 100 days. They had a party to celebrate - all the kids had to dress like the were 100 years old (some embracing it more than others!). Here's a picture of their day (Audrey is down the front).

Monday, August 5, 2013

Bum Hummers

I've always been a bit partial to pickled onions and I couldn't resist when I saw these on a shelf at the weekend - they're pickled onions flavoured with chilli and spice mix! - they're really tasty

The jar is labelled 'Bum Hummers' and said that there was 1,000 farts in every jar. I ate (too many) of them on Saturday lunch time (much to the amusement of Audrey and Eli) and later on that day washed them down with a few pints of '1842' - a good local Canberran beer. Unfortunately the combination of the beer and the excitement of watching the Super 16 Rugby Final on the tele at the pub with some friends, meant that I lost count of the exact number of farts, but safe to say the product does just as it says on the label!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Picnic at the Cotter

We had a nice picnic at the Cotter on Sunday with our friends Gill and Anthony and their kids.

Even though it's only a short drive from where we live there are still parts of the Cotter which we haven't been to and although we've driven past this particular spot a few times we hadn't stopped. There was a bit of a chilly wind but it didn't put us off our snags (sausages) cooked Ray Mears style on an open fire.

The kids all loved playing together as well as spending loads of time tobogganing down the grass slope, gathering firewood and throwing stones in the river. Here's some pics from a really enjoyable afternoon.
Sunday lunch Canberra style!
Sarah and Eli
Marshmallows on the fire
Marshmallow on a stick!
Chloe tucks in with her tenth marshmallow