Friday, 21 December 2012

Break ins

There have been a number of car break ins in our street this week! Fortunately the thieves are not actually breaking in but just getting into unlocked cars and stealing what they can find (including guns!)

My neighbour caught both thieves at 4am because he has a motion sensor that sets off a silent alarm.

Check out the news article here.

It's getting scary around here. Our house is even shown in the newsclip!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Hark! 2012

It's a mad creative wonderland around here at the moment in preparation for hosting our first ever Christmas party.  

We've called it Hark! 2012 because our lighting show is themed around the Christmas carol Hark the Herald Angels Sing. It's an outdoor party to view our musical & lights extravaganza and then enjoy some hot chocolate and treats in the backyard.

Andrew is still creating more light effects and new lighting shows.

I am creating signs, coffee cups and popcorn boxes as well as baking. (Thanks to Trader Joes opening (!?!!?!?) I have lots of other treats too)

As of today we have 78 people signed up to attend  and about half of these are kids! Check back later for more updates.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Christmas Tree 2012

We picked up our tree from Hugh McRae park again this year.  Felicity kept running around in the maze of trees and laughing when we couldn't find her. [Do you like the Christmas tree shirt i made her? Lucy wouldn't wear hers]

We had fun decorating the tree with Lucy taking charge of things and doing a good job! Both Felicity and Henry loved climbing the ladder even when Dad wasn't looking.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Bike riding

Over the summer we bought Lucy and Henry new bicycles because they had outgrown their old ones.  

Lucy, whilst she has a rather large bike, is still riding with training wheels and just doesn't have any balance.  

Henry has great balance and was not good at peddling.  So he has been sitting in the burley with Felicity instead of riding his super cool neon orange Tony Hawk bike.  But a week or two ago he gave it a go and went on a really long bike ride to Anchors Bend and back. 

Go Henry!

Friday, 30 November 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

This year we attended Thanksgiving at Nathan & Elisabetta's home.  We had the traditional turkey, sweet potato mash, and green bean casserole but the Italian twist came with the dessert - panna cotta. A couple of the little ones were crying for no real reason but once they had a panna cotta or two everyone was happy again!

Felicity had a thanksgiving play at preschool the day before where she dressed up as a grey squirrel but she didn't shake her bushy tail! Henry had fun visiting his old preschool.

And just for my records here is where we've enjoyed thanksgiving in years past.

Thanksgiving feasts:
2012 Cook family (Boiling Spring Lakes)
2011 Holmes family (Hampstead)
2010 Tilly family (Rocky Point)
2009 Marlene's (Carolina Beach)
2008 Martin family (next door neighbours)
2007 Westra family (Hampstead)
2006 Monetta family (Wilmington)

Thursday, 29 November 2012

County Fair

Every couple of years we think it would be good to go to the county fair at ILM airport.  Then we go and wonder why we bothered! However the kids did have a fun time on the rides.  

Henry loved the monster trucks, Lucy loved the jungle gym (she went on 6 continuous times) and Felicity loved the fun slide (she kept running from the end back to the entrance and screaming until she was let in again by the attendant!)

We visited the animal tent which was judged smelly by Lucy and then Henry declared he didn't like horses.  But he did like the mega sized tractors.

We ate some bad ice cream and then came home!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Lucy's half birthday

Lucy's cake was several days in the making.  She chose a White Gold Passion Genoise from Rose's Heavenly Cakes book.  It included the genoise cake, passionfruit syrup, passionfruit curd and deluxe white chocolate buttercream icing (which firstly required a custard to be made). 

It tasted as good as it sounds and that passionfruit curd was truly delightful.  [We cracked open one of the tins of passionfruit we bought in Australia as part of this celebration. Please Australian friends send more tins!]

Of course we decorated the house with pink and purple crepe paper streamers per Lucy's request.


Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Andrew's half birthday

Andrew enjoyed a veal schnitzel dinner for his half birthday followed by half a chocolate cake served with mint chocolate chip ice cream. Apart from the cake I hadn't planned anything but it all came together nicely at the last minute and included an autumn themed table setting.  Usually we don't do half birthdays for adults but Lucy insisted that we had to do something for her Daddy!

Monday, 26 November 2012

Felicity's half birthday (18 months old)

We've been busy getting ready for Christmas making lots of crafts, decorating and working on our light display.  But over the past month we have celebrated some half birthdays and other events.  Let's catch up on them!

First up is Flissy's half birthday.

We still had the sign from her Little Miss Sunshine party so we modified it to say 1/2 instead of 1st birthday.  Felicity was excited to eat pancakes with maple syrup but more particularly was ecstatic with the orange balloon tied to her high chair.

After dinner we enjoyed strawberry ice cream, her favourite dessert.

Isn't she the cutest, happiest baby!  Though she is determined not to be a baby at all and is now refusing the high chair (she must sit on a proper chair) and doesn't like sippy cups (she wants a cup just like the other kids). Oh Felicity please stay a little baby for a bit longer!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

18 months old

Felicity turned 18 months old on Friday.  So we celebrated with strawberry ice cream and pink crepe paper decorations. Here are some fun things about her.

  • Things she loves include: holding hands, cuddling with dad, ice cream, cuddles with mum, playing peekaboo, carrying her preschool bag, getting muddy and eating dirt, snakes, balloons, wearing hair bows, getting her hair brushed, and dancing
  • Can climb a rock wall, walk down stairs, can sign more, please and one God
  •  Loves Willa her bunny
  •  Is still very smiley, has very curly hair and very crooked teeth (expensive dental work ahead) 
  • She is very independent. If she can do something by herself she will and will not accept any help.
  • Loves to blow raspberries and give high fives via our secret family handshake
One thing is agreed - we all love our Flissy.

Friday, 5 October 2012


If we didn't have a house we could live in jail.... and eat snakes.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Other fun in Sydney

So this is the end of my blogging about Sydney, and indeed our trip in general.

Of course there was so much more that happened. We had dinner with old school friends, dinner with accounting friends (and now there are so many kids), sat around and drank tea, talked with family and friends, drank coffee from grind, packed, slept, washed clothes, drank more coffee from grind, visited our house and neighbours...

We had an amazing time.  But it was a gruelling journey and the jetlag was extremely bad.  The black circles under my eyes in many photos is evidence of this.  So I say all this to preface that we may not be back for a while.

Write some comments Sydney friends. We miss you. Come visit.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Gluten free dining in Sydney

We ate so much wonderful food whilst in Sydney (and Hawaii for that matter) Of course I did a lot of research to find awesome gluten free food.  And we were not disappointed.

High end restaurants:
  • DARE (The Rocks)
  • Mad Mex (Darling Harbour)
  • Iku (Martin Place)
  • The Hatters Cafe (Katoomba)
  • Brioche (Balmain)
  • Vanto (QVB)
  • Rowies Cakes (Marrickville)
  • QVB Tea Room 
Loved Rowies Cakes and bought her cookbook. So far I've cooked 5 things from it and no one has liked any of them! 

Friday, 28 September 2012

Grand Final Weekend

It's only 15 hours until the start of the AFL grand final for 2012.

And oh how I wish I was in Melbourne right now as my beloved team Hawthorn is playing in the grand final (the equivalent of the Super Bowl final!)

I have been thinking back to the 2008 grand final when I was in Boston. What a wonderful day it was watching the game on the big screen at Tommy Doyles Pub in Harvard. 

It was great to be with fellow Hawk and various AFL supporters.  And it was a great consolation to go to a home baseball game the next day and hear the roar of the crowd.

This year I am in Wilmington NC.  I will be on my lonesome in front of the computer watching the game.  Given it starts after midnight I may not watch it live but save it for early Saturday.

Thus my phone, facebook, twitter etc will be OFF.  Do not try to contact me to tell me the result!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Taronga Zoo

Another of the must do things in Sydney is to visit Taronga Zoo. Although it would have been easier to drive there, it is almost compulsory to catch the train and ferry.  The ferry is a beautiful ride across the harbour and once there you take the SkySafari cable car up to the entrance of the zoo. On a clear blue winter day, or in fact most days of the year, it is a wonderful boat ride.


We ate a picnic lunch at the zoo.  The highlight being a very aggressive kookaburra who swooped so close to my face I felt his feathers as he tried to steal my sandwich from my hand. He did steal a sandwich from a boy next to us and gave him a nip on his hand.

We saw lots of poisonous snakes (in cages!), patted a blue tongue lizard and visited the sleeping koalas. In the afternoon we watched the seal show, saw the fairy penguins and then headed home.


Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Grandparent fun

The kids LOVED hanging out with their grandparents in Sydney.  Given their usual shyness with new people I was a little worried about how long they would take to warm up to their grandparents.  The answer was no time at all. Love at first sight.

And they loved playing with the chickens and collecting eggs, painting and doing stickers. All the things they can't or don't do very often at home.

Here are some photos of the fun times:

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Parental Leave Pass

We love our parents being grandparents!  And that is certainly the thing we miss most about not living in Sydney (aside from passionfruit that is!)

Grandma & Grandad took the kids on their own for one night while Nanna & Grandpa braved it for two nights.

The first night we stayed at the Observatory Hotel.  We walked around the actual Observatory at dusk before heading in to Galileo for dinner.  It was a wonderful time! What an awesome hotel.  If you get a chance to try out their showers it is worth the $.

The other two nights we stayed at the Marriott Harbourside thanks to our Marriott points. Although we had a city view room the manager was happy to upgrade us to an Opera House view.  Pretty nice - see below!

We spent our days wandering around the city visiting old haunts.  We walked around to the Opera House, through the Botanic Gardens, into the Pitt St Mall and then down to the QVB.  We stopped along the way at the Lindt cafe and various shopping excursions.

However the highlights were the dining experiences.  You know we love to eat! And even though we are now gluten free it doesn't mean that we can't eat well.

I already mentioned Galileo's at the Observatory which was as always a fine dining experience.

We also visited Cafe Sydney.  Andrew hadn't been there before but I had and was extremely keen to go back.  We had a reservation but had to wait in the (unlit) bar area for 30 minutes.  Given there was no one throwing a tantrum, wiping their runny nose on my sleeve or jumping on the seats I really didn't mind that much as I enjoyed my bellini.  But the manager was upset so she asked if we would like a table on the balcony at the front (ie with the best view!) Well, yes we would.  I was a little worried it would be cold but they had outdoor heaters and wait for it, personal blankets on each seat.  The waiter was a celiac so he could easily tell us what was gluten free.  The food was superb! The view was sublime! And the company wasn't too bad either.

 On our last night in Sydney we met up with Dave & Kel in Woolloomooloo to dine at China Doll.  The food again was amazing. The waitress was a little forward (maybe she had a tic but I'm pretty sure she was winking at me suggestively) but the Asian food was just what we had been missing.  And here we are on the pier for my favourite photo of the time in Sydney. [Alexis your necklace is a world traveller!]

Monday, 24 September 2012

Lynda & Keegan's Wedding

Now the event blog you've all been waiting for - Lynda & Keegan's wedding.  You know that's why we went back to Australia for the first time in 5 years! 

Lucy was a flowergirl and Henry was a ring bearer.  Both did their jobs absolutely beautifully! 

The wedding was at Hurstville Presbyterian Church and the reception at the State Library. 

Of course, there are lots and lots of details in between but its not my story to tell.  We had a fabulous time and here are some of the photos.