Monday, 30 January 2012

Baking bread and Best Start.

Happy days!
Jonas had his Best Start appointment at 12.15pm today so we made the most of the morning after dropping Andrew off at school. We searched for and found a Taronga Zoo app because Joe decided that with a whole week to ourselves before school starts we could fit in a visit to the Zoo. What a fab idea! It is a great app with maps and a photo challenge. We can't wait- he has been to the Perth Zoo, the Adelaide Zoo but not Taronga!!
I got stuck into the kitchen cupboards and drawers this morning and created another rubbish pile, and lovely neat cupboards. I found it so frustrating to go from a tidy and orderly house with 2 kids and part- time work, to 3 little boys and full-time work and chaos! It is so hard to get it all done and I hate mess, but more often than not have to turn a blind eye to the unmade beds and the piles of washing in the study. It will all have to go back to our 'normal' chaos once I go back to work but at least we will have neat cupboards :)
We decided to have a go at some homemade bread rolls to have with our chicken burgers tonight. After running out of flour and substituting with oat bran I was worried we would have to settle for chicken and salad. They were yummy!!! We also had enough to make lunches for everyone for tomorrow.

Jonas did a great job of his Best Start and although he was very nervous to start with, he was relaxed and happy by the end. The magic touch a wonderful teacher can have on a child is a very special thing.

Making the most of every day :)

It is a lovely thing to wake up in the morning knowing that the day ahead is precious and all mine. Despite my very late night of tossing and turning, and too much thinking until some time after 3am, I was happy to face the day ahead.
I got to give Campbell a proper farewell with photos and hugs as he started his first day of High school. Even though he hates posing for photos he tolerated it for my sake. I got to take Drew to school on his first day of term! Joe and I got to do whatever we wanted for the rest of the day!! 
How to pack as much as possible into each and every day- day 1:
1. Came home from school drop off to do the necessary chores- washing, tidy up etc. With the company of my favourite 5 year old the time passes so much faster.
2. Off to the shops to pick out new school shoes and school supplies. This also included lunch, a ride on the Rouse Hill shopping centre train, a visit to the fruit market, buying some lovely fresh seafood for dinner and looking at all our favourite shops (Joe- toyshop, me- Kikki K and typo). 
3. Back to school to get Andrew and chat to the teachers. It was lovely how many people stopped to ask after Campbell and to tell us how much he will be missed. Drew was very excited about seeing his mates and spoke too fast for me to absorb every detail of the latest in minecraft!
4. Afternoon Tea- ALL of us, together!! Watermelon, bread sticks and cheese.
5. A swim in the pool- FINALLY. The hottest day in Sydney this Summer and it had to be the first day back at school.
6. A feast of crab, whole fish baked in the BBQ, squid and salad.
7. A family walk with Charlie to the creek and back.
8. Another swim.
9. Baths and bedtime stories.
10. Lots of phone messages and chats tonight to check in on first day excitement!


A fabulous day of being a Mum. Happy me! I wonder how much more I could fit in to a day once I get into the swing of  it.



Saturday, 28 January 2012

Beautification!

The beautification plan is starting to come together. Today, late in the afternoon, we thought "let's do it". So that meant that the ugly lattice came down then and there. Our BBQ area was something we knew had to change but didn't know what to do. So we just ripped it out! While Eric pulled down the big wall of lattice to reveal the lovely garden hidden behind, I started on the pantry. A spill of tomato sauce lead to one thing and then the next, and before I knew it the pantry was sorted. That meant 3 garbage bags of stuff I decided we could live without. Ahhhh it is a good feeling to clear out junk.
We have to research and plan for the next step for the BBQ area- Eric has grand plans for a built in kitchen area (our Perth visit has left us inspired again). That would be lovely! We have lots of gorgeous and well established plants to move first. I am so excited that we are on our way to making our house the home we love.
 I also, finally, had time to pull the Christmas Tree down today. We left Boxing Day for our trek and we have been frantic since we got home. Finally packed away, and the hand me down tree from Mum is going in the bin!!! I am sick of the dust and itch every year, so next year we will start fresh.
Now I will have to see what is next on my long list.....
Half way there.

My hero!!
The reward- Margaret River Chocolate cocktail :) We deserve it!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Planning...

I spent lots of our time on the road pondering how I can make the most of my long service leave. Of course the most important thing is being there for the boys and spending time in their classrooms while I can. I can't do that all day though. I have decided that I can use my few hours everyday to start a house beautification project! I started some "research" on the iPad in the car and started making plans. Painting the lounge room is high on the list- the size 4 fingerprints all over the walls are getting me down.
The first night we were home I used an idea from a blog (Christmas Wedding)  to put my heirlooms to use. The glasses were badly chipped but I couldn't part with them because they were a special family gift. I love this!!! I can picture a lovely long table with these running down the middle, or a cluster in the middle of my big square table.
Inside the glasses are some lovely paper flowers I got at the Vintage Fair.

Books of 2012

January
Just as amusing as the front cover promises it will be, but also very touching and honest. I loved it and will read it again at some stage.
Better than I expected. The movie didn't seem to get very good reviews but it was a good read. I will look forward to seeing the movie.
Started well but got pretty miserable- as to be expected since it is about the death of her mother. The second half was hard to endure- lots of detail about the depressing aftermath and nearly gave up on it.

Kindle books-

'The Wedding Gift'

'The Real'

February

The Harp in the South Trilogy.


This time I read it starting with 'Harp in the South', followed by 'Poor Man's Orange' and then 'Missus'. This is the order in which they were published and it was the best way to read them. I read 'Poor Man's Orange' first when I was about 11 years old and it is a book that often comes back to me and reminds me not only of the characters but of that time in my life and where I read it. This is the 3rd time I have read the entire series and I never tire of it. As I get older I understand things differently and appreciate things from a different perspective.


'The Collectibles' - Kindle Book

'Megan's Way'- Kindle Book

Monday, 23 January 2012

Mildura, Wagga Wagga, home!

My neck was giving me too much grief for the last 2 days to think about blogging- we are home!!
We ended up staying in apartments in Mildura and Wagga which was a nice way to wind down before home- I was also pretty useless in helping set up the tent.
The boys did enjoy the TV both nights and were excited to catch up after 4 weeks of no ABC3. On the way home from Wagga we had McDonald's for the first time in 4 weeks!! Can't say we missed junk food at all. The best lunch on the run that Eric and I could remember was somewhere on red dirt with nothing but a picnic table and a baguette, some smoked salmon, cream cheese and rocket leaves. Pretty flash and so, so good! Heaps better than Maccas too. We got pretty good at throwing together a meal with the bits and pieces we had in the esky and camp kitchen. The boys voted for their "hobo dinner" as their favourite meal- that was their name for a mini tin of baked beans with a spoon. Goodness me!
It is lovely to be home and very, very good to see our Charlie. We all missed our crazy pup.
Mum and Chris had a lovely dinner ready for us once we had unpacked the car and trailer. They had also stocked the fridge with some essentials to see us through until we could shop. We are still working our way through the mess of washing and packing away though.
I will sit everyone down at the dinner table so they can all share their holiday highlights.
I spent the day at work today for the Kindergarten picnic and then trying to get some planning and organisation done back at school. It was lovely to meet all our excited newbies and their Mums and Dads. I will have to go in again tomorrow to finish off all that needs to be done before my 4 precious weeks of long service leave- I have big plans for those weeks of being "just a Mum" and hope to make the absolute most of every day.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Nearing the end :(

Damn! Woke up this morning with a frozen neck and in so much pain Eric had to help me up. My body must be trying to warn me that holidays are almost over. Thank goodness for a divine lunch at Maggie Beer's, because without that today would have been a terrible disappointment. There is a pretty big cycling event in Adelaide at the moment and it seems every time we want to go exploring we get in the way of bikes. They were everywhere in the Hills the day we went and the day we decide to do the Barossa- there they are again! There were road closures all around the Barossa and it took us 2 hours to get 1 hour out of Adelaide. Every bump in the road and I was in agony. Found some anti- inflammatory medication somewhere in the Barossa and we finally found Maggie. Our intended tour through the Barossa was ditched! We didn't even get to the 'Ross' winery to get Ross a bottle with his name on it for his Birthday. We will just have to enjoy the Barossa another holiday.
Struggled on to Mildura for the night, but still in a lot of pain. I need my chiropractor!!! Only two more days of driving and we are home. Campbell is trying to negotiate an extension of holidays...wish it was possible.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Jonas' Incredible Mystery Tour.

Joe went to great efforts to recreate the Zoo experience for those of us who missed out! The tent become the tour of all tours- the Owl enclosure (our upstairs bed) was a wonderful opportunity to view and photograph the amazing Hedwig!!! Eric was even permitted a pat in his tour. The monkeys were swinging from the tent poles and also available for purchase for a reasonable 1c. I did not need persuasion. The snake pit/ dirty laundry basket contained several deadly snakes. The sword snake was very scary as it had a very sharp end, according to my expert tour guide. The yellow bendy snake was also very dangerous and had to be handled with care. It was an amazing tour!!


Welcome to the tour!
The scary snake pit!!

Adelaide revisited.

So much we needed to fit into one day! After discovering the Adelaide markets I realise we need an entire month in Adelaide alone. We planned out our wish list before we left the tent this morning: Jonas- zoo, Campbell- just take a random stab...yep a bookshop, Andrew- the comic shop. Joe and Drew were also keen to go back to the museum and try as I might, I could not convince anyone to join me at the Art Gallery :(
This itinerary required a divide and conquer approach. Eric and Joe- the Zoo. Campbell, Andrew and I- the markets, bookshop and comics (AND the Art Gallery!) The plan was to meet up at the Botanic Gardens for lunch. We will have to wait for the Zoo update but we can say that the markets were awesome- food glorious food! I had an entire dinner party planned and catered for within the first aisle. A bit frustrating to know that we still had a whole day in the hot city before dinner- no purchases but lots of drooling. We found a pretty cool second hand bookshop where Campbell had the shop assistant as his beck and call. They had a bounty of BBC offerings and Cam happily settled on a 'Two Ronnies Sketch Book'. We decided that it would be fun to catch a free tram back down to Rundle Mall- excellent wheelchair access too. We enjoyed all there was to see in Rundle Mall and then wandered up to the Botanic Gardens for lunch. Jonas couldn't wait to tell us about the pandas, the lion, the birds in the toilets.....checked with Eric and it is true!!! An aviary in the toilets- a fantastic time all round. Lovely lunch in the shade of the trees and time to split up again. This time Eric and Campbell set off in one direction while the rest of us went to the Museum (ohhhhh look there is the Art Gallery on the way) Luckily we decided to do a quick run through of the Art Gallery, as it was on the way anyway, because the lovely lady there told us to check out level 3 of the museum to see the ice wall- that WAS lucky ;) The Art Gallery was so beautiful and the boys did agree to a quick look until they got bored- glory, glory. I got my quick view so we went next door to the Mawson exhibition and the ice wall. Outside the museum the water sculpture, which was the pigeon pools last visit, was now set up as a water play area with buckets and boats....the smell of chlorine was now also present. A nice idea but the boys opted to eat their ice blocks a safe distance from the bucket throwing locals who obviously knew the routine.
We found Eric and Campbell again and enjoyed a cup of tea in the Adelaide Mall. It was late afternoon so we thought it would be fun to head home via Glenelg and Port Adelaide for an easy dinner before getting back to the over- crowded (and kind of uncomfortable caravan park).
Good plan- everyone got back to the tent tired and ready for a good rest.
We start our trip home home tomorrow via the Barossa and then the Murray River. We miss our Charlie boy and look forward to a big wriggly, sloppy welcome home!
The ice wall.
The water play outside the Museum.
Port Adelaide

Billions of jelly fish!

Head for the hills.

We allocated one of our days in Adelaide (precious as they are) for a trip into the Adelaide Hills. We were looking forward to Hahndorf, the Chocolate Factory (another one) and the toy factory. Before we headed up hill we had a look around Semaphore and Drew and Joe both got much needed haircuts. Campbell found an op shop with books- happy days :)onwards and upwards we went from there.
We thought that Hahndorf would be a brief stop along our way to others, but there was too much to do! We stayed all morning exploring the many shops. Campbell found the bookshop he had been so determined to find...thank goodness. The puppet shop was a top stop for Andrew and Jonas- they each got a puppet and an extra for Lillian. Joe picked out a make it yourself marionette puppet and was just busting to pull it all out and start painting. We had a fabulously German lunch with meat galore for my little carnivores. Check out the photo of Joe's plate- the biggest sausage we've ever seen!!
Campbell wasn't keen to see the Melba's Chocolate Factory- there were no books there! We found something we knew he would like while he waited in the car with Eric. After stopping at the Toy Factory we started our descent back to Semaphore. We had a great day and enjoyed the risotto we bought in the Providores at Hahndorf for dinner.
We are all tired tonight and starting to think about home for the first time- probably because it is so close now. We have try to get the most out of our last day in Adelaide tomorrow.
None of us were brave enough to try the 'Bum Burner!'

More chocolate.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Farewell Whyalla.

Early morning in Whyalla reminds me of my idyllic childhood summers with my Nanna and Poppy at their house on St Hubert's Island. Scoffing down a quick breakfast in order to make the most of the king tides. The stillness of the water and the glare of the morning sun takes me right back. Just like our time in Whyalla, we only ever crossed the lawn to the house to be fed and for a new application of zinc. Our first night was so windy that it quite literally blew the salad right off our plates- although the boys did seem to lose quite a lot of salad ;) last night was so mild and balmy without even a hint of a breeze. This morning as we packed up the wind was working its way into a pretty decent gust and the temperature was already 35 degrees at 8:30am. However, it was time to move on.
Adelaide is our next stop and we are all looking forward to getting back. This visit we want to visit the Hills (perhaps a bit different to the Baulkham variety) and to see a few things we missed in the city. The Barossa will be on route back to Mildura- Campbell and I are especially excited about going to Maggie Beer's Farm Shop.
We arrived in Semaphore in Port Adelaide this afternoon and enjoyed the beach but not coming back to the over-crowded caravan park. Even Campbell asked if we could stay on holidays a bit longer. He is usually our homebody who can't wait to get back to his room, books and TV. This really has been a fabulous time and we will all be sad when it is over.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Bliss!

Today we are just on holidays. We are not traveling, on a journey or exploring. Today is our day to just be still, breathe in the salty air and feel happy. How I love Whyalla. A little town that looks just the same as all the other South Australian outback towns until you stumble across the coastline. Even other South Australians have raised an eyebrow when we told them how much we love Whyalla- I am so glad we didn't drive through looking for something better. This morning Campbell and I parked our camp chairs in the water while Eric and the boys went crabbing (again). It was here that we sat and chatted about what high school will be like, here I had my morning cup of earl grey and even my muesli. I couldn't imagine a lovelier way to start my day.
The remainder of the day passed in much the same way. We were in and out of the water all day, between reading, eating and chatting. After lunch as the tide started making its way back out we set out to find some more crabs and the reach the edges of the sand flat. We found several crabs, which Joe expertly caught with the crab rake, but had to let go because they had eggs or were too small. Campbell had a tow in the blow up boat as we marched out the find the edge. It is like a shelf at the end of the sand bank, one step off the side and into the inky depths. It is eerie to see the deep ocean appear so suddenly. The horizon curved the whole way around us. Andrew said he felt like he was at the edge of the world. It was spectacular.
We had dumped the crab rake to enjoy a swim when we found a perfect, fat clawed crab just sitting at our feet. All we had was the bucket (which was luckily still tied to the boat)and a rope. Cowboy Eric fashioned a lasso and after many attempts he got it! How cool and clever is my husband? We are becoming very accustomed to crab dinners. On our long walk back though the warm shallows Cams curled up in the boat for a snooze. Lucky duck :)
Today is perfect.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Our Wedding Anniversary <3

We can now say that we conquered the Nullabor! Woohoo what an adventure. We have made it to the other side and back again. We were determined that we would not have to celebrate our 17th anniversary in Mouse Town! We are in lovely Ceduna tonight, with a very pretty detour to Fowlers Bay for lunch. We had our hopes pinned on oysters tonight but arrived too late in the day to get some. We also had our hopes pinned on some fancy digs for the night...hmmm I guess we came to the wrong place for that. A cabin in the caravan park is as flash as we could manage! It does have water frontage and we could do fresh crab and champagne. I am more than happy to settle for that. We have accidentally set an anniversary challenge- every year we have been on holidays in a different part of Australia. We have done North Coast NSW, South Coast NSW, Margaret River WA and Ceduna SA. Andrew has voted for Tassie next Summer and I think that sounds perfect!
There has been lots of time to reflect this holiday- hours and hours of it!! One thing that often comes into my thoughts is how very, very lucky I am. I have a husband I adore and three perfectly gorgeous boys. We have sent many hours laughing together, telling stories and just talking. I know I am blessed- it is nice to be reminded of it too. We are all excited about making the absolute most of what we have left of our adventure. We can't wait to get back to Whyalla and Adelaide- we also have a very long list with very little time. It looks like we have lots of other adventures to plan for.
 
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