Thursday, 30 April 2009

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Andrew's Birthday

Andrew had an excellent birthday and even took the day off work to enjoy it and do a little work on the pizza oven. We started with a (buckwheat) pancake breakfast and ended with a lamb roast.

"Lucy do you like the roast beets?"
"No I like the meat"
"Lucy do you like the pumpkin?"
"No I like the meat"

Yes she likes her lamb as much as her Daddy. Although our dinner was slightly different to accommodate diabetes requirements (sweet potato & beets instead of potatoes and pumpkin) we still had a great time together even had small pieces of chocolate cake with cream and berries.

Andrew got a few additional presents including a t-shirt quilt, some board games and some money from the Lamberton's for a helicopter engine he wants to buy.

I made the t-shirt quilt from 16 t-shirts we purchased from places around the world. When I first looked in the cupboard to check if there were enough t-shirts I found 36 shirts (not including polo shirts or concreting shirts!) Since then he has collected a few more but I was able to put a chunk of them to good use in this new quilt! It's not perfectly sewn but it's not going to fall apart either. There were many hours of unpicking involved!

Happy birthday Andrew! Now onto preparing for Lucy's 3rd birthday extravaganza week!

Monday, 27 April 2009

Indoor Skydiving in action!

Fayetteville, NC

The mystery location for our weekend away was... Fayetteville. Those of you who know Fayetteville will be scratching your head right now thinking what is so great about Fayetteville? (Or Fayette-nam as my doctor so eloquently put it - it's a military town) Well not much actually. But we did go with a specific purpose in mind - indoor skydiving!

Just outside Fayetteville in a little town called Raeford there is a purpose built skydiving building. It's three stories high, with the first storey taken up by some ginormous fans which create the wind velocity for the upper levels. Andrew got suited up (after Lucy had tried on his helmet and googles) and then got to experience the feeling of sky diving whilst only a metre off the ground. He wasn't quite doing the spins and headstands that the professionals were doing but he had a great time and wants to go back and do it again. Lucy was keen to do it until she was told that the instructor would have to hold her and she backed out.
It was great fun and we have a DVD to watch of the whole adventure.

But let me start at the beginning. Our first point of call in Fayetteville was the wonderful Airborne and Special Operations Museum. This is a fantastic museum that is well set up to tell the stories of Fort Bragg military involvement in various wars starting from WWII through to current engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq. Lucy was fascinated with the parachutes (in full display hanging from the roof), the canon fire and the flight simulator. She even conned her Dad into buying her some planes stickers "so that I can remember coming to the museum Daddy!" It would have been great to read a lot of the history plaques but a certain 2 year old only had so much patience in waiting. It was fitting for ANZAC Day that we remembered those who served in WWII.

It turned out that Saturday was the annual Dogwood Festival in Fayetteville! So the whole town turned out for a fair right next to the museum. We wandered over to check out the stalls. Lucy got a purple blow-up monkey and a sticky-tongued frog for filling in a survey and then we headed into Hay St for calzones at Pieros. Andrew tried to win Lucy a giant Hello Kitty toy but alas failed to hit the targets. There was also a petting zoo/animal viewing area and surprisingly we were able to see two red kangaroos, though Lucy was more facinated by the lemurs. For dinner we headed over to Morgan's Chophouse which was followed by a swim in the hotel pool (a highlight for Lucy!)

On Sunday we took a short walk along the Cape Fear River Trail from Clark Park. We started at the covered bridge and took the Bear Trail around the grounds. There wasn't much to see but we did see the Cape Fear river, hear lots of frogs croaking and got bitten by mosquitos (despite spraying ourselves beforehand). We ate morning tea in the amphitheatre where Lucy put on a performance on the stage (I'll post this video another day).

We then headed to Lumberton for lunch at Fullers Traditional Bar-B-Q. Where else but the South do you get a buffet comprising of biscuits (scones), butter beans, pulled pork, fried chicken, fried fish, fried mystery meat, fried shrimp, mac and cheese, fatback (crackling), hush puppies and red velvet cake? It was a sight to behold! On the table the condiments included Texas Pete's Hot sauce, lemon juice and molasses (?!?). There was an excellent salad bar and the dessert bar was cool whip heaven with an ice cream machine on the side. We are enjoying these unique eating opportunites when they arise but it's not somewhere that you should eat at every Sunday after church as most people were.

We couldn't find the Farmers Market in Lumberton so we continued to head home via Lake Waccamaw. Lucy was asleep in the car but Andrew took a walk down to the water to check out the view of the lake seen left. 40 minutes later and we were at home unpacking.

Friday, 24 April 2009

And we're off...

We haven't had a vacation for a while and we miss travelling. So we are off for a short weekend away to a mystery location for Andrew's birthday. Suffice to say you'll have to wait until Monday for more information!

So today we are packing. But we're also going to the park to meet Jane, a fellow Aussie. And I'm going to the movies tonight for a charity fundraiser with Alexis (followed by chocolate fondue).

Yes, we're busy! See you Monday for Andrew's birthday!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Earth Day

Yesterday we celebrated Earth Day with the moms group by going to the park. It was SOOOO windy but the kids enjoyed playing on the equipment and in Lucy's case, swinging. They had 'dirt' and 'worms' as a snack - chocolate mousse covered in crushed oreos with a gummy worm poking out the top. Then we made (re-usable) backpacks and decorated them with stickers. It was lots of fun but it was a shame about the wind!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Diabetes update

Andrew is doing well in maintaining his no-sugar, low-carbs diet. We have discovered his new favourite product - truvia. It is a natural sugar substitute that doesn't affect his blood sugar. Although there are still various tests and doctors to visit, the good news is that so far there is no bad news. His liver is fine, he doesn't have any tumours and he is feeling well. And the insurance company has finally paid us back the $5,000 in diabetes related medical bills that we have incurred over the past 8 weeks. End of update.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Product of the week hiatus

You may have noticed that I haven't posted a lot of product of the week entries lately. Surely I can't have run out of items to blog about? Well I confess that I have. Sure there are things I haven't blogged about including collard greens and the like but I just don't have the inspiration to do so after 2 years. Maybe I am becoming immune to weird American things? I'll just leave product of the week on ice until I get further inspired or I come across something really crazy.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Weekend cleanup

Last week after parking the car in the garage Lucy and I, as is customary, got out of the car and tried to walk into the house. The problem? The mountain of cardboard boxes saved for pizza oven fire lighting had grown so large and unwieldly that we could hardly get past. Plus there was lots of other junk lying around. So on Saturday I spent a few hours attacking the cardboard mountain and finally got it into a neat pile. I also swept the garage and cleaned up (see picture left, I wish I had taken a before picture!). Andrew was then inspired to clean his workshop corner a little as well. Then he got back to tiling the pizza oven table.

Saturday night saw us at Nigel & Kellie's for a bonfire. Steve played the guitar and we roasted marshmallows until Lucy had a meltdown (due to no afternoon nap! she spent 1.5 hours in bed reading but didn't sleep) We enjoyed hotdogs, potato salad and a diabetic friendly green salad.

Sunday saw us at church followed by a working lunch at our place. All the guys came over to make cables whilst Andrew got the pizza oven fired up. The oven got to 440 degrees celsius! I gave strict instructions that no copper wire offcuts were to be thrown on the ground and Andrew assures me that clean up was thorough. For those following the pizza thread he reported an interesting pizza combination from Forrest worth keeping: sausage, artichokes, basil, spinach, and tomatoes.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Snakes alive!

We went to the Serpentarium downtown yesterday with the mum's group. It was great fun for the kids to see lots of different snakes and reptiles and they were surprisingly active (the snakes, not the kids, it's no surprise for the kids to be active) There were some very scary gaboon vipers and bushmasters all safely behind glass. The pythons were the most interesting, so huge and so long, yet so flexible. I have a very cute photo of the kids at the coffee shop beforehand but my computer isn't working properly so you'll have to wait for that one.

PS Enter your favourite pizza now!!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009


Lucy has learnt the words to the song 'Walzing Matilda'. The following conversation was had recently:

Lucy, singing: And his ghost may be heard as you pass by that...

Andrew suggests: billabong

Lucy, indignantly: No Dad! I don't say that Australian thing

On a related note, Lucy has started saying "cant" for the word "can't" (instead of "carnt"). When she does so I correct her which leads to an interesting parenting dilemma. When other parents encourage their children that yes they can do something, I am reinforcing that she can't do something by correcting her pronounciation. So is it more important to change the negative behaviour or the negative pronounciation?

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

What is your favourite pizza?

We are putting together a list for Andrew's Pizza Wilmington. Leave a comment with your favourite pizza and see if it makes it to our upcoming menu! Even if you haven't commented before give it a go and see what interesting combinations we can come up with. Here are our favourites to start you off:

Fiona's favourite: tomatoes, artichokes, olives and garlic

Andrew's favourite: lamb, feta, mint sauce

Lucy's favourite: nutella, banana, honey

Monday, 13 April 2009

Easter celebrations

1. Lamb cake for Easter Sunday. Made with wholewheat flour and stevia, covered in whipped cream to make it diabetic friendly. It was yuk!

2. Easter basket full of lamb goodies. The highlight for Lucy was a Hello Kitty handbag.

3. Pizza oven progress!!

4. Daddy and Lucy enjoying dinner outside (lamb roast of course)

5. Mummy and Lucy

6. Our memory verse John 3:16

We attended our church's sunrise service at Wrightsville beach which was really fun. Lucy got dressed for the service in 1 minute at 5:30am! The incentive? A chocolate. We saw the huge orange ball rise up at 5:45am just after we had finished a communion service. Lucy was adamant that she wanted to go swimming, that is until she dipped her finger in the water!

Alexis, Tim and Lilia came over for brunch. Apart from the burnt bacon, we had an awesome time. We dined outside with eggs, toast, muesli, muffins and fruit.

Andrew made huge progress on the pizza oven and Lucy got to spend a couple of hours playing in the backyard with her dad (of course there were minor injuries!)

Once again like last year we didn't make hot cross buns and we didn't go to church on Good Friday - no churches hold services and for most people it is not a holiday.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Two year anniversary

It has been 2 years since we left Sydney on 11 April 2007 and a lot has happened since then. We are enjoying life here in Wilmington NC and look forward to some more time here. The photo to the left was taken at the departure gate at Sydney airport with a small Lucy!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Board Games 7: Pandemic

One thing I dislike about board games is the winning and losing. Well actually just the losing part. When it's just Andrew and I against each other there can be some marital tension if one person has a winning streak. So the second game I got for my birthday is perfect as it is not about winning and losing but about all teams co-operating together to get a successful outcome. Players even show each other the cards in their hand (this is not considered cheating!) The aim of the game is to cure four fatal diseases and rid the world of these diseases. The disease cards are actually stacked against the team as there are frequent outbreaks of disease leading to pandemic. There are several different roles that players can take on with different special skills that can be used to advantage throughout the game. It is a very interesting game but one that often doesn't have a good outcome. Maybe when we've played it some more we'll be better at saving the world!

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Board Games 6: Tikal

For my birthday I received two board games! Tikal is the first one we opened and played. It is based around an archaeological dig and requires players to excavate temples as well as find gold. Each player has an expedition party, a team leader and 2 base camps. Games are fairly lengthy (1-1.5 hours) and winning is based around a point system. It is not usually clear who is going to win as the point system is complicated (although the score is easy enough to work out at each of the scoring rounds, it is not self evident from glancing at the board). Although Tikal is getting into 'gaming' territory it is very interesting and fun to play. So far Andrew has won once, I've won once and surprisingly we had a draw at 245 points each! The one has taken a little longer to learn than the other games we have but it is worth it and we have enjoyed this game alot.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Pizza oven construction continues...

Work on the pizza oven started again (mainly due to my nagging) Andrew got lots of stone cornerwork done and then we spent Saturday afternoon tiling the top of the bench. It was so lovely outside we had lunch alfresco.

On Sunday afternoon we headed off to Julian's 3rd birthday party at a play centre.

On the garden front, all of the pine needles have been raked up! Our flowering pear trees have bloomed with pretty white flowers but after a week the petals have been blown off. We await the green leaves to come in.

Some more garden photos:
1. The veggie patch is growing well though is a frost expected tomorrow night so we'll see what survives.
2. The pizza garden has been planted with holly, blue fescue, liriopes, lavender and lillies (not much to see yet!)
3. The herb garden has come back to life
4. Lucy's play area/garden is ready for the summer as we planted 50 flower bulbs. She even has a pink flamingo called Diego.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

High fructose corn sugar

Everything you wanted to know about high fructose corn syrup, only censored. Only good stuff here people! Visit for the industry's take on the subject.