Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Back to School

Today was the day that the kids start their new school year after their long school holidays. They got up bright and early and got dressed into clean uniforms and looked a million dollars. By 8 O'clock their breakfasts were eaten, school bags were packed and new shiny shoes were on feet that haven't worn socks for 6 long weeks. We drove to school in plenty of time to run around catching up with friends before assembly.

The kids were nervous about which classes they would be in.
Every year the school re jumbles the groups of 50 kids in each year and splits them into two classes.

Each year we hold our breath to find out who their teachers will be and if they will be with their best friends.

Luckily we have such a great big group of families that are all friends that we know that our kids will find themselves in class with many familiar faces but we still hold our breath and have butterflies in our tummy's.....

This year the kids all got great teachers that are really well suited to their personalities and they also had the comfort blanket of being with some great friends so happy faces all round. I left the school knowing that they were happy and excited. I couldn't have asked for more than that.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Australia Day 2009

Today is Australia day.

A day of holidays, citizenship ceremonies, green and gold, a cold beer in your hand and burnt sausages on the barbie.

We started the day at Speers point park where we went on the Ferris wheel, rode the ghost train and ate hot chips out of paper cups.

At home we fired up the barbie and cooked lamb cutlets and "Oz" shaped burgers!

The kids had green and gold jelly afterwards and finished the day with a swim in the pool under the watchful eye of Mr B while I reluctantly dragged myself off to work for the evening (Boo hoo) at double and a half pay (Hooray!)

Food fight! Part 2...

Not to be outdone by an expert Japanese chef (see Food fight! below), I apparently promised the kids that I could prepare and throw food far better than anyone else.

This promise was almost certainly fuelled by the fact that I had imbued too much Saki and Japanese beer Asahi.

Much too much...

When I was reminded of this promise the first thing the next morning I had several options:

  1. Deny all knowledge of my promise and bow to the superior skills of the Japanese chef.
  2. Ignore the kids as my muggy head belonged to a worse place. Their little mouths were moving but no sense was coming out.
  3. Smile, climb down in to the kitchen and act the clown for the next 30 minutes.
With Gina's Delia Smith cookbook as my only friend, and with my now coffee-fuelled instincts I managed to rustle up a large batch of impressive pancakes.

However, it was clearly lacking something as my diners weren't that impressed. You would think that to create some delicious pancakes for breakfast would satisfy their demands. But no, apparently the night before I had promised them flair, skill and acrobatics....

Let the food fight begin...

Even Gina got involved:

With honour restored, a quick snooze was definitely in order. Japanese chef indeed!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Food fight!

Tonight we decided to celebrate the end of a great school holidays by going out to a Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant. I had been there once before with friends and had got the kids very excited at the idea of watching the chef cook their food and then knowing that some of the food would be thrown at them to eat!

We got there by driving around the edge of a spectacular storm with dark clouds and lightning bolts left and right.

It was a very hot humid evening and we were glad to get inside the air conditioned restaurant.

We were joined up with another group of adults to form a group of 9 that sat in a horseshoe around the hot plate.

Our chef was straight out of the comedy channel or else had escaped from the local asylum! He spoke very quickly with a strong Japanese accent and had a wild laugh that ended most sentences. The kids were completely lost for words as he threw utensils and food through the air and prepared our meal in front of us. The other people at our table were very friendly and kept pouring glasses of Saki for Byron each time they refilled their own. They gave the chef a couple of glasses too which he really didn't need as he was crazy enough as he was!

The food was amazing and the kids tried everything that was put in front of them. Beef, chicken, king prawns, squid, hake. The chef asked them if they liked the fish. When they said "yes" and asked what fish it was he shouted "Finding Nemo" before breaking into laughter again. Gareth's jaw dropped and Rhiannon and Sian had to persuade him that it was a joke!

The end of the meal was the big finale where the chef made a fried rice using eggs that he had thrown through the air at us to catch in little bowls. When the egg was cooked he flung mouthfuls of it at our open mouths and Byron nearly had an asthma attack laughing at everyone with egg on their face. Eventually it was his turn and we had the chance to laugh back! The final food throwing involved bowls of rice spinning from the chef to us and we all did really well only spilling small amounts.

We had a wonderful time and before we had laid our chopsticks down on the table for the last time the kids were asking us when we could come back. It was great to see them have so much fun and to see them try new foods.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Going grocery shopping with three kids can be hard work. Fights over who gets to sit in the trolley, wandering off in different directions, nagging me to buy things not on the list. The appeal of doing an on-line shop has been growing over the 6 week school holiday.

Today I went into the local super-market for a few groceries and found more than I had bargained for in my trolley...

Look closer...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What is this.....?

This has been sitting on our kitchen windowsill since we found it last month....

Any ideas what it is?

It might make you think twice about going for a swim. It's a shark egg. We found it on a local beach, there were quite a lot of them. Shark attacks have been in the news a lot here recently with three major attacks over three days last week.

It sure makes the swimming pool seem an attractive option!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Gourmet Guinea Pigs

I called Sian into the kitchen today to tell her that I had some fruit for her guinea pigs.

Imagine her excitement when she saw a beautiful fruit platter piled high with perfect fruit.
Now imagine her disappointment when I gave her the cut offs for the guinea pigs!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Felix

It was a friends birthday today so we joined him at Lambton swimming pool for a combination of sugar rush and adrenaline highs!

What more could any kid want!


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Adventures with Jane

A day out with Jane is normally fun. You see I don't think Jane ever quite grew up. She can be responsible, sensible, a pillar of strength when needed but she can also be the most funny, wacky person who knows how to have fun and makes everyone around her laugh too. She told us she was bringing us on an adventure.

We were to meet her at a local car park at 9.30am with backpacks, water, sunscreen, swimmers, walking shoes and hats. It was a scorcher of a day. We arrived at the car park to find another two families all waiting for Jane. We drove in convoy behind Jane's car and arrived at a reserve called Glenrock Lagoon.

The kids searched for big branches to use as walking sticks and off we went.

We walked for 2.5 Km through a forest, climbing over tree roots, across bridges, down steep steps.

At the end of the walk we walked out of the forest onto an amazing beach.

White sand, HUGE waves crashing onto the shore. We sat and ate our picnics and stood with the kids in the breaking waves until we were all drenched from the waves.

Eventually it was time to start the walk back to the car. The kids were great.

By the end they were falling on their feet with tiredness and every water bottle was dry.

They did so well to go on such a huge walk on such a hot day. It really was great fun. But then with Jane it always was going to be an adventure!

Work V's Play

It is that long School holiday time again where the kids are off on their summer holidays and don't return to school until the end of January.

I can't work in the day time like I do when they are at school but I am lucky to have the chance to work short shifts in the evening. Byron gets in from work about 5 and by 5.15 I have to be driving to the hospital. It doesn't leave much time for chatting and catching up or for relaxed family meals but at least I can squeeze in about 20 hours work a week and the kids are never in paid childcare. I waver between thinking this is a great shift and hating it depending on how busy a day we have had and how hot it is outside.

It has been SO HOT recently that I cannot bear to put my uniform on as I am cooking tea and Mr B walks in the door to find me wandering around the kitchen in a state of half dress. He has a twinkle in his eye until I give him the evil one and tell him if he comes within arms reach of me I will hit him with the frying pan!

I usually finish up about 9pm but on three nights over the last week I have been asked to work late with last night being the worst, at 11pm I finally got to leave. It is pretty eary walking through the hospital and car park so late.

I won't be complaining tomorrow hopefully as it will be my first pay check on the new Registered Nurse rate. Just $5 an hour more than being a porter but hopefully it will add up!

I better go, I am still only half dressed, the dinner is only half ready and I need to find the frying pan...!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Welcome to Jaffa

As you may have read Sian was very upset when her guinea pig died.

We brought her to the pet shop that the original guinea pigs were from and the lady was very sympathetic. She explained that sometimes these things just happen and as a good will gesture she offered Sian another guinea pig at no charge.

And so we are now the proud owners of Jaffa! She is a lovely little thing and seems to get on very well with Bubbles. Here are a couple of photos...

Monday, January 05, 2009

Bye Bye Porter!

I'm going to be pretty proud wearing my new ID badge tonight!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Sad day.

It was a sad morning today in our house.

Rhiannon went outside in her pyjamas first thing this morning to check on the guinea pigs. She ran back in in tears crying out that Bambi was dead. She was inconsolable. We had to wake Sian to tell her the sad news. There were lots of tears. We spent time digging a hole in the flower garden and buried her. The kids picked flowers and lay them in with Bambi then Sian rang her friend Gemma.

When Gemma came over she brought a posy of lavender from her garden that she had picked and wrapped a ribbon around. They laid the flowers on Bambi's grave.

I guess it is a lesson learned that having a pet brings good times and sad ones too. We just didn't expect to have to deal with this so soon after getting them.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Meet you in Avoca?

Avoca is a beautiful place in Ireland. It has gorgeous coffee shops and is my families favourite place to go for an afternoon of indulgance. Mum and Dad have asked us to stop buying them "things" at birthdays and Christmas and instead to treat them to vouchers to the cinema, a local theatre or Avoca!

Today we went and had coffee at Avoca.

Oh how I wish it was with Mum, Dad and Carrie in Ireland! But no, it was the Australian namesake on the central coast between Newcastle and Sydney.

It was a pretty stunning location. We had a lovely lunch from a deli by the beach.
We decided (in our infinite wisdom) that when our friends Gar and Lesley emigrate here later this year they should base themselves here for their first couple of weeks while they decide between starting their new life in Sydney or Newcastle.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Cheeky boy!

Mr B had the job of getting the kids dressed up smart to collect me from my nursing shift on New Years Eve. I saw our car pull in to the car park from the upstairs ward window and having run around answering a few last minute bells I was finally free to wash my hands, fill in my time sheet and run down and out the door to the car.

Three very smart and tidy kids were grinning in the back seats as I got in. the biggest grin was on Gareths face.

Byron had gelled his hair into a mohican! He looked very cheeky! Here is a photo he posed for before leaving the house...

Happy New Year!