Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Blog Break

It's half way through the year, the end of the financial year for some. I'm taking a blogging break - incidentally this is the 456th post for American Correspondent. Over the past few weeks I've been spending time catching up on scrapbooking, sneaking in a few novels and cooking up meals for the freezer.

I'll be back with some exciting news, hopefully very very soon!

Monday, 29 June 2009

Weekend commitments

We started avoiding commitments from last Thursday so we only tentatively said yes to two events this weekend.

Saturday night we went to a cookout at the Gutches. Lucy had fun swimming, eating mac and cheese and getting bitten by mozzies whilst we caught up with some old friends. Then there was a huge thunderstorm at 7pm to break up the party. [It feels weird to be saying 'old' friends but given how life has panned out it is an accurate statement]

Sunday morning at church was the conclusion of the week long adventure of Vacation Bible School. Due to shyness Lucy refused to participate in this closing event (the skits freaked her out) but she enjoyed her week so much that she wants VBS to happen every week.

Sunday afternoon we went to Seth's 3rd birthday party, themed around Spiderman. Lucy freaked out when Spiderman actually turned up but she enjoyed the spiderman cake and goodies. I nearly melted in the heat but have survived to write this post after much ice and fanning! Lucy was very much into the water pistols and Thomas the tank engine playset.

Andrew, with a little help from Lucy did a small amount of tiling on the pizza oven. Note the merchandising on them both!

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Vacation Bible School

Lucy has been at Vacation Bible School (VBS) every day this week at a program called 'Crocodile Dock'. She has been having the best time! She's there from 9am-12pm, singing songs (well she listens anyway), making a craft, hearing a bible story and playing games. Of course she still hates being dropped off! But when I told her today was the last day she was extremely disappointed and asked for more. She'll have to wait until next year!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Pizza Oven garden

A couple of months ago we had 4 cubic yards of topsoil dumped on our lawn near the pizza oven. Part of it was to even out the slope near the concrete floor and part was used to create a new garden bed now affectionately known as the 'pizza oven garden'. At the time I planted a whole lot of bulbs along the border but thaey didn't show much action for a while and a few were trodden on by visiting toddlers. But I'm happy to say that they are now bursting into flower and making a brilliant addition to our entertaining area. We are still yet to put down weed mat and mulch but that will come in time!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Blackberry picking

Andrew and Lucy went blackberry picking at Lewis Farms on Saturday. They had intended to primarily pick blueberries but the bushes were bare! In a few weeks the next crop will be ready but in the meantime we are enjoying the plump purple blackberries that they collected. I have never seen blackberries this round and juicy or tasted them this sweet. They are really awesome! After picking Lucy enjoyed some well-earned blueberry icecream. As you can see from the photos it was really hot (35 degrees celsius) and the poor girl was sweating!

Monday, 22 June 2009

Fathers Day weekend

Apart from the obvious (and I don't need to buy any presents for that!) Fathers Day is our last big celebration this year until December. Andrew enjoyed breakfast in bed (though not as much as Lucy did) and loved his new roasting pan and vegetable grilling pan. He has already put the roasting pan to good use by cooking a lamb roast for dinner. [We gave him the vegetable pan a week ago when we were having a bbq so that he could char-grill some capsicum and zucchini.] We also went out for lunch to Boca Bay to enjoy their Sunday buffet brunch. It was excellent but there was definitely a large bias towards the sweet end of the spectrum so Andrew converted to the Atkins diet of meat and eggs. We all came home and had a 2.5 hour nap!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Peter and the wolf

Lucy loves 'Peter and the wolf'. She also loves the new Hello Kitty CD player she got for her birthday from Auntie Kat. Now she can listen to her CDs whenever she likes. She is more than happy to sit at her desk listening and often asks to eat her lunch there so that she can be in a prime listening position. Any suggestions for other similar CD's?

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Board Games 10: Battle Line

This is the second game that Andrew got for his birthday and after the excitement of Carcassonne (and all the expansions he has now bought) we hadn't got around to playing this game until last week. It is our first card game and it is similar in concept to gin rummy. However there are a number of tactical cards that make life interesting. The great thing about this game is that is it made for only 2 people so unlike all the other games we have this game is totally complete with just the 2 of us playing. It is simple and fun (and I won the 2 games we played!) Apparently the German version of this game (the original) is slightly better but given that neither of us can read German we went with the English version!

Monday, 15 June 2009

Weekend fun

The weekend started off with a water slide party next door to celebrate the end of the school year. Lucy had a fantastic time sliding into the water with her Dad and then eating hot dogs and ice cream.

Saturday morning we were at the hospital for Kangaroo Kapers, a class for big sisters! Lucy was very excited all week to be attending but was so shy in the class she refused to even hold the dolls/babies. She had told me all week that she wanted to change the baby's 'stinky diapers' but when it came down to it there were too many people there for her to be comfortable. She did however learn the important rule of 'ask mum' before doing anything with the baby and we got to see a couple of real newborns including Jackson!

In between all the activities Andrew did some stonework on the the pizza oven chimney, I made a pavlova for a church dinner and Lucy got to play with Ava (after much pleading). The pizza oven is now famous at church after all the men went home and raved about their pizzas.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Science Project update

All five of our caterpillars spun cocoons and then emerged as butterflies. We kept them for a few days putting sugary water onto carnations in the bottom of the hatchery for them to feed on. Then we released them into the backyard to benefit the garden! The hatching process was quite fun to watch especially the wiggly cocoons.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

MNO in style

My mom's group is the coolest in the world! Last week Alexis organised for a salon to open late hours with special rates for all the mom's to check them out. I got a facial, pedicure and blowout (hair wash and style) for $45! Plus we had wine and desserts served to us. We had an awesome time talking and relaxing. I didn't get home until after 10:30pm and boy did I look good! It was so so fun and all the dads were at home getting the babes to bed!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Trader Joes

Alexis and I headed up to Raleigh yesterday to visit an awesome grocery store called Trader Joes. Andrew and I have visited this store in Boston and Washington DC so I was really looking forward to getting back there for supplies - and this time I had one massive esky (cooler) with me! We spent an hour in the store looking through the Trader Joe branded products and reading the labels (not many had corn syrup though some did so we needed to check). Trader Joes is famous for its pre-prepared foods so I got some of those too. Some of the more interesting things I purchased included stevia poweder, aloe vera in a can, snap pea crisps and mandarin orange chicken.

After grocery shopping it was over to The Cheesecake factory for lunch (chicken and cashew salad followed by a banana cream cheesecake slice) and then a wander around the mall. The main shop we spent time in was
Janie and Jack's and I got the most awesome Santorini shirt! Then we met Farmer Bob for our semi-annual purchase of organic lamb and we were back on the I40 west heading home.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Pizza Parties!!!

After our traditional Saturday pancake breakfast Andrew and Lucy headed to the hardware store for the monthly craft project and some shopping.

Saturday night we invited the Westras and the Mahlows over for a pizza dinner. Because it was a farewell dinner for the Westras it was a little sad but it was great to be able to have them over especially as Gary had helped to do a little building work on the pizza oven. Lucy had a ball playing with 'Miss Katy' and Grammy Lou and was very sad when it got dark. She made herself a cheese and olive pizza which she enjoyed very much and we all followed it up with a summer berry pie with whipped cream. I love summer!!! Gary & Mary were celebrating their 28th wedding anniversary so they got to share the last piece of pie!

On Sunday at the last minute we agreed to host another pizza party, this time for the men's ministry at church. Most of the men turned up without any toppings but somehow we managed to throw a whole lot of stuff together and they had a good time (I think! Lucy and I were inside of course!) And one gentleman even brought me some flowers and ice cream as a thank you for hosting! It is so nice to be able to be back having parties again. Having said that the pizza oven is still not quite finished cosmetically so even though we have another pizza party planned for next week I need to make sure the work gets finished! So much for having a big launch party! It seems Andrew has managed to get several parties planned by stealth.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Weird sighting...

...a council worker pulling a dead deer across the road to be taken away in a truck. Of course it was happening on Lucy's side of the car and she asked me "what is happening to the dog?" I told her I didn't know and surprisingly she didn't ask any further questions. At least I've seen proof that the deers do exist, just not the sight I wanted to see first thing in the morning.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Science Project

Lucy received a butterfly hatchery for her birthday from her friend Ava. A few days later we sent off for our caterpillars which arrived safely through the postal system. For a week or so they were in their own little container full of food and webs before they all climbed to the top and formed cocoons. On the weekend we transferred the cocoons to the hatchery and now we are awaiting our butterflies. Presently they are pretty ugly to look at but we are expecting some lovely 'painted ladies' to arrive soon. Lucy loves butterflies but I think her favourite insect is the ladybug (we found an orange one on our tomato plants on the weekend and she loved having it crawl up her arm before flying off) Stay tuned for more news.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Board Games 9: Carcassonne

I think this is Andrew's favourite game so far. It is a tile game with no board so the landscape is built however you like. Your team of characters can take on different roles (thief, monk, farmer and so on) and the object of the game is to get the highest score by building cities and roads, staking out farms and occupying monasteries. We already have two expansion packs (inns & cathedrals and rivers) and Andrew is keen to buy more. The game does involve some discussion on where to place the tiles but ultimately each player is working for themselves. Highly recommended! Check out the wikipedia entry on the game here.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Zucchini harvest

We picked our first zucchini on Sunday. It was warm from the summer sun and smelled just what you would imagine the colour green would smell like. We had some of it roasted on the bbq and the rest is going to be grated into our salmon pasta. There are 10 baby zucchini on the way (that is if the deer doesn't eat them first)

Monday, 1 June 2009

Baby Shower II

This was another jam packed weekend. We started Saturday with a 4 hour parenting seminar at church. Saturday afternoon we split up and I headed over to Erica's house for a baby shower with all the ladies from church. Andrew took Lucy home for a sleep which was so lengthy they missed the Westras baptism at the beach. However we all met up at the Whites for a bbq dinner afterwards.

The baby shower was lots of fun even if we did play the nappy sniffing game and it was fun to hang out with everyone and eat lots of food. The ladies put in money to get me a giftcard from Target and each person wrote me a letter of parenting advice and encouragement for my baby book.

Sunday saw us back at church and then we spent the afternoon in the backyard with Andrew inching forward on the pizza oven completion. Unfortunately it is now starting to get hot that after getting along so nicely so far, my ankles have swelled up due to the humidity. Oh well, I'll just have to put my feet up and watch some more tennis on the TV!