Sunday, March 26, 2017

I love, you love, watermelon!

We picked our first ever watermelon from our garden the other day. I've tried growing them in the past without much luck, but incredibly this one grew and we feasted on it. Nothing like as big as the shop bought ones, but ever so sweet.

displayed on a small plate to make it look bigger!


On Sunday night we went along to a (free apart from a contribution in the tea box) concert at the foot of Canberra's Carillon. It was a casual affair and seemed to have been organised entirely on social media. The local band (Hashemoto) were supported by a great soloist called Tate Sheridan who played an assortment of cover versions and original tracks on piano. 

I've seen Hashemoto a few times before - most recently a couple of years ago at Reconciliation Place by the lake (which is another unusual place to play). They are excellent musicians and the fact that they count a piano and double bass in their trio of instruments makes their choice of unexpected locations all the more remarkable.

It was lovely listening to them as the sun went down behind Aspen island. The space at the bottom of the Carillon actually made for a great venue as the acoustics were terrific. Afterwards the kids scooted/ skateboarded back along the bridge to the car and I was reminded why Canberra is such a lovely place to live.

Skateboarding home

Spirit Karate Kata Tournament

The kids really love their karate - I signed them up initially as an alternative to after school care (they get picked up from school and taken to karate) but as time has gone on they've really developed a love for it. Saturday was their first Kata tournament. We travelled to the 'sister' dojo (karate place) in Ainslie.

No, I didn't know what Kata meant either.

Essentially Kata is a series of moves which goes into showing your overall technique - some of the moves are actually quite complex, but in junior grades it can be as simple as repeating steps and punches in a certain way. Two competitors 'fight' off against each other by repeating their moves while watched by a judge.

It would be easy to dismiss it as 'dancing' in a way, but the sensei (the martial arts teacher) assesses which competitor carries out their Kata with the greatest accuracy. I learnt during the day that it wasn't only repetition, but also how effective the punch is or the steps made, judging was even based on how you held your thumbs!

Both the kids did really well. They were so nervous beforehand as we've never really done anything like this before, but they were so happy at the end. There's a big bout at the end during which the category/age winners all 'fight' off. The winner (which the kids both look up to in awe) was an older teenage girl (who is brown belt senior) which the kids told me in hushed tones is only one step away from black belt.

The kids with their Kata faces on!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Ex Govies in Canberra

I entered a question as part of ABC's series of 'Curious Canberra' and the thing kind of ran out of control. We live in a small ex-govie house and I asked about the origins of the design. The journalist, Sonya Gee who worked on it was fabulous and so so thorough in her investigations. If you want to know more about the subject you'll have to listen to the link below or read the attached website!

See also this link which gives you loads more info and pictures....

Sk8er Grl

There's a couple of alley-ways near our house which the kids have taken to skating down. Eli prefers his scooter, but Audrey is definitely much keener on her (leopard print) skateboard. She completed this run first go a night or two ago and then asked me to film it. Second turn she again completed the whole alley-way but unfortunately I'd taken a still photo rather than the video (arrghh).

Cue much disgruntlement from Audrey. I think she must have tried another 20 times to no avail (getting more annoyed at me with each attempt).

We left it and came back the next night - I think this run was her third.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Birthday Booroomba

I really like Booroomba Rocks. I think I've been up there three times now and I'm always blown away by the view back over Canberra and out to the Brindabella Mountains. I climbed up there on my birthday together with a friend, Andy who is staying with us at the moment. It maintained my philosophy of never working on my birthday.

Booroomba is only 30 minutes out of Canberra, but not many people venture there. It's a steep climb from the car park which probably takes about 30 minutes but the view at the top is spectacular.

We ran into a group of walkers at the top and they kindly sang me happy birthday and gave me a piece of carrot cake. I also had a cup of tea and some biscuits in my bag which made for a well earned rest at the pinacle of the rocks.

The rain caught up with us as we were descending, but it was only a shower and we reached the car without getting too wet.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Audrey Jam

A lovely lady called Kathy who used to work with Amy used to regularly drop us off jars of (beautiful) home made jam. The kids used to call it 'Kathy Jam'. Sadly (for us) Kathy is about to move to pastures new, but before she goes she gave Audrey a lesson in jam making (along with a great recipe).
It's so nice to have people around who are still so caring and interested in the kids.
Strawberries are cheap at the moment so we made a decent batch. Audrey loved making the jam and carefully chopped measured and boiled things. I helped her put the jam in jars. The kids eat it at a rate of knots, but we should now be ok for a month at least I figure!

Audrey shows off her Audrey Jam!


Canberra's Enlighten festival grows bigger by the year - I think the plan is to make it bigger than our other big festival Floriade which this year was a pale shadow of what it's been in previous years.

Enlighten is all about lighting up Canberra's national buildings - everything from Old Parliament House to Questacon is bedecked in light displays and every year they seem to be just that extra little bit better than the year before.

Combined with the festival are a number of shows and music events, but these mostly run at the weekend. Recently they've tagged on a night noodle market which attracts a fairly hipster crowd and offers a range of Asian influenced foods. It occupies a slightly odd elevated position by reconciliation place.  Again the noodle markets have grown year on year but they've been fairly savvy at reducing queue sizes which have been a problem in previous years.

We popped in after school/work to have food from the noodle markets and then wandered round some of the fabulous lights. It was a warm and balmy evening and made you realise why Canberra is such a great place to live when free festivals like this happen on your doorstep.

Here's some pictures;

The National Portrait Gallery had a photo booth which took your picture and projected it on the side of the building (very clever!)

 I'm bottom left (with the cap), Eli is top right (dabbing)

Audrey has a phone smile!

An amazing cloud made out of lightbulbs - the rain was light pulls which you could turn the lights on and off with!

Purple and white soft serve was a hit!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Canberra Show 2017

We took our annual sojourn to Canberra show last weekend. It was possibly the first time I'd actually paid for entry as for a couple of years we've won tickets. It's fairly pricey for families, but actually once you get in it's pretty good value and we spent almost the whole day there.

It's on a large site in Canberra and we were grateful to the little train that ran you around if you waited at the stations and squeezed on. There's a lot to see from art and craft to rides and of course a whole menagerie of different animals.

We rode in cars, watched a lumberjack show and assorted cat and dog displays and also spent a long time making lego. A really fun and busy day out.

Eli fist pumping with the lumberjacks

A dog show in progress

Audrey having made a lego hand and bracelet.

Bubble Soccer

At Eli's rugby training this evening the kids were allowed to play 'Bubble Soccer' basically football where you were encased in a gigantic inflatable bubble. The kids had loads of fun (Audrey enjoyed bashing rather than being bashed). It was really funny to watch them as the football was soon abandoned and it essentially just became a bash-em exercise.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

School Swimming Carnival

The school swimming carnival is kind of a big deal in the school calendar. I had a meeting at work that ran right through the event (annoyingly!) but luckily got away to catch the last 40 minutes.
This was the first time that Eli got to compete (races are only from year two onwards) and he placed first in all of his races (50metres breaststroke, freestyle and butterfly). What's more remarkable was that he didn't bother entering the backstroke as it's 'too easy'.
Anyway enough of my brags (Audrey got an excellent third place in the breaststroke, but was a little bit annoyed about her brother bringing home the glory)
It was lovely to see them do so well. It's a great environment too with loads of grandparents and parents cheering their kids on. I got a bit teary driving home that his Mum hadn't been there to see him. She'd have been so proud. Well done little man.