Friday, July 9, 2010

Docklands Fireworks

The kids and I caught the Friday night fireworks in July festivities at Harbourtown City at 7 pm tonight. There were great splashes of colourful designs against the black sky and reflecting off the harourfront buildings.

The kids did a brilliant job helping out at the office today. They worked hard to help out with things like a mailout. My son said it was more fun than playing electronic games!

Too bad the day was marred by my son having a hard fall on the cement, skinning his chin in the process. The brave little lad fought back tears to focus on heading to the train station in time to catch our transport home.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Super School Holidays

It was so wonderful to have Friday off at home -- even though I still did some office work. The kids are enjoying their school holidays, getting to stay up late tonight to watch Superman 2, cuddled up on the couches in front of the fireplace. My son's face is lit up with wonderment.

Today, the kids and I moved the rattan furniture from the porch into the family room for the winter. Looks good. The kids were so proud of their decorating handiwork. Then we moved the wicker bench from the back deck to the front porch.

On Thursday, my daughter got to see Circus Oz with her cousin, aunt and uncle. They treated her to yum cha for lunch and pizza for dinner, and stayed at a Melbourne hotel for the night, having a dip in its pool.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Whacky, Wonderful Whimsy

I was a guest at the Herald Sun's special viewing last night of the Tim Burton exhibition at Melbourne's Australian Centre for the Moving Image.

This exhibit was previously at the MoMA in New York and was the third most popular exhibit ever – after Matisse and Picasso.

It has over 700 drawings, paintings, storyboards, puppets and costumes.

The clever curator gave a fascinating insight into Burton's personal involvement in the exhibit, reporting that at the opening he marvelled: "It's dark down here. I like it."

My favourite drawings were:

  • persecution complex

  • full bottle in front of me or a frontal lobotamy

This is a must-see exhibit-- and don't miss the free Screen Worlds while at ACMI, which houses alot of interactive fun.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Wishes and Wants

1. Build a house on the farm: a homestead for our family and friends to enjoy, that will be used by our next generation, with a:
  • balcony on the second level to take in the views of the mountains, pastures and large dams
  • mud room to house boots and coats
  • screened-in porch with a double-side fireplace
  • walk-in butler's pantry (minus the butler, I guess)

2. Join the family get-together planned for the end of the year in Mexico. Last time we luxuriated at the Gran Bahia Principe Tulum/Akumal on the Mayan Riviera.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Soiree at Crown

I was lucky to be invited to witness the launch of I.D Events at Crown Palladium Ballroom last night.

With the support of Crown's fantastic catering staff, service and exquisite food, I.D Events (a new, theme production house) wowed its audience with their designs of a Thai-style pagoda, the Forbidden City, a sphinx from the Egyptian desert, Indian elephants.

Entertainment was a fab Lady Ga Ga imitator and her dancers.

Fun night.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Leadership Lurch

Phenomenal stuff. Australia's first-term Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was last year termed the most popular Australian PM ever. Today he faced a leadership battle from the Deputy PM Julia Gillard.

On my way to a meeting at Channel 7's Docklands studio this morning, I was told by someone with media links that Labor Party factional leaders were calling around to seek support for a leadership change to win the next election. Who would have thought things would progress so quickly tonight. The next couple of days will be fascinating to watch via the media.

The leadership vote will happen tomorrow morning, on the eve of the G20 Summit in Canada. Will Rudd be leading the Australian delegation Friday?

Gillard ambled past me Monday afternoon at Melbourne's Treasury precinct looking relaxed and elegantly stylised, as she was to be photographed outside. On tonight's news bulletins, she looked tired and drawn.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dance, Dance, Dance!

If my body did this, I would be seriously worried.

Bravo to the organisers, performers and winners of the 2010 Australian Dance Awards. M and I saw them with friends at Melbourne's Arts Centre Sunday night.

The girls breathlessly pointed out so and so from So You Think You Can Dance which meant, to their astonishment, absolutely nothing to me.

Some of the highlights:
  • the comical dance routine of Untrained was the girls' favourite
  • the confetti toss with participation of the whole audience and all the performers - fun!
  • the Australian Ballet
  • the powerful and emotive singing of Tripod in memory of those from the dance world who passed away over the previous year.
Dinner at La Camera with views over the twinkling lights of Melbourne mirrored in the Yarra River added to the magical night.

M looked great sporting her new leather jacket from Jay Jays and her cute, red patterned skirt. It was so lovely spending a night out with my girl.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Kids TV Shows

One of the sad things about my children growing up is that I don't get to watch early childhood TV programming anymore. I couldn't help but get totally engrossed in a few very special shows. And while my kids maintain they are past that stage of watching kiddie shows, I wanna watch them again.

I wanna be a part of Little Bill's family. Comforting voices that sound like they're talking with yummy toffees in their mouths, relaxing jazz music and happy solutions to simplistic problems. I blame Little Bill's gorgeous hamster Elephant for making me capitulate to my kids' pleas for guinea pigs.

I wanna marry Postman Pat. Yup. I have a thing for the postman. Maybe it was the enchanting song that pressed home: "Pat feels he's a really happy man!" He's just so lovely -- always helping people and coming to the rescue. Or maybe it's just that I secretly wanna live in a place like Pencaster or Glendale.
I wanna hang out with the cool, resourceful, adventurous Kipper. How adorable is Arnold? Who doesn't love Martin Clunes' voice?

I wanna live in Hanna Montana's house, right on the beach -- and who wouldn't love her closet? The kids still watch this, but it's been awhile since I've been home when it's been on. I have to say: this is a hilariously written show and the actor who plays Jackson is brilliant.

Maybe on a yucky, rainy Saturday morning one day soon I can relive my kids' early years by spending a few extra hours in my flannel pjs to watch some of these shows over a leisurely breakfast...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Daughterly Doings

At 12 years of age, she:
  • Voluntarily helps her younger brother to clean and organise his room! What?!
  • Is caring with healing hands.
  • Bakes bundt cake, cookies and brownies.
  • Prepares a leg of lamb.
  • Crafts her own Halloween decorations for a party.
  • Sings like an angel.
  • Makes a scrapbook for her friend.
  • Is not embarrassed by her Mom and jokes: That's MY mommy. That's my MOMMY.
That's MY girl. How blessed am I to have her in my life.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Titanic Exhibition

I was lucky to be a guest of the Herald Sun at its special event viewing of the Titanic exhibit last night, presented by promoter Michael Gudinski at the Melbourne Museum. It was interesting to hear Gudinski and the Herald & Weekly Times' Peter Blunden describe the huge success so far of this emotive exhibit.

The reconstruction of the ship's Grand Staircase, a two-tonne chunk of the hull and a glacial wall that you can touch are some of the fascinating elements to experience.

Spend a day at the marvellous, mesmerising Melbourne Museum with beaut dedicated volunteers and staff.

Especially if you are going with children, it's worth watching The Titanic movie and Night at the Museum and Night at the Museum 2 to set the scene before your visit.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Scrumptiousness, Shopping & Strolls

My folks are enroute to Toronto -- back home to the last of winter. They have been excessively generous, and a huge help at home and in the garden while visiting with us for a month.

Some of their favourite things and places have included:

  1. Yummy treats like Trampoline Gelato (two of my favourites are Banana and Hazelnut) and Devonshire tea (scones, jam, and cream with a lovely cuppa).
  2. Shopping is always a given when holidaying or visiting with Gran. My parents were impressed with the elegant, new Westfield Doncaster (pic above), and the quaint Maling Road, Canterbury (pic below) is an annual favourite haunt. There are more shopping areas they want to explore next year like Williamstown/Port Melbourne and Church Street, Richmond.
  3. Strolls along the walking paths on the Elwood and Brighton Beaches, their drool-worthy beachside residential streets, as well the tree-lined streets in Canterbury.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sea Shells, Stones & Stingers

We've spent our last day on the beach scavenging for interesting shells and stones.

The kids were fascinated by the poisonous blue bottle jellyfish washed up on the shore one day. Thank goodness they didn't come in contact with them while body surfing.

The kids were also keenly interested in the Surf Life Saving training that students were undertaking on the beach and in the water.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sand, Shopping & Smorgasbord

We are so happy at the Sands Mediterranean in Burleigh Heads, Queensland. It is well-maintained. Lovely landscaped gardens, an outdoor pool with some shade and waterfalls, lots of lounge chairs or tables and a couple of barbecue areas. The indoor pool, spa, sauna and gym are handy on rainy days. The rooftop also houses barbecues, dining tables and lounge areas, as well as amazing views.

The beach is perfect for walking: miles of pristine sand; no pebbles/rocks; firm sand when the waves recede; well patrolled. The beach front also has great walking/bicycle trails with exercise equipment and playgrounds.

For shopping excursions, we prefer Marina Mirage, beside the Palazzo Versace and opposite the Sheraton Mirage Resort & Spa.

It's become tradition for the Dads to kit themselves out at Gazman during February sale time. Store Manager Meg is a fantastic help.
Robina Shopping Centre is also a favourite of Mom and Dad. I like Southport for discounts.

Conrad Jupiter's Casino offers a popular buffet at Food Fantasy -- a family favourite. Prawns, lamb roast, stirfry, soups, salads, desserts, ice cream.... It's $39.95 for adults, while children are free.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Gold Coast

We've been camping out at the lovely Sands Mediterranean, Burleigh Heads. Pictured is the rooftop area.

Days have been filled with swimming, walks on the beach, good food, family togetherness.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Travellers Enroute

My parents are winging their way to Australia. Hooray! We can't wait to have their company after only seeing each other via wondrous Skype for the past year.

Some of our favourite places to take them in the past:

  • Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast
  • Ocean Grove
  • Sorrento
  • Rickett's Point
  • Southbank, Melbourne
  • St Kilda and Elwood
  • Maling Road, Canterbury
  • Goulburn River

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Starting High School

My daughter has soooo eagerly anticipated the start of Year 7 and her secondary school career. Weeks of organising books, writing utensils, school bags -- and modelling all her school uniform items. After years of watching high school hijinks on American shows like Lizzy Maquire, That's So Raven and Hanna Montana, it's now her turn to experience the real thing in Oz.

Given the school locker seems to symbolise this crucial period of a teen's life, she has cleverly crafted magnets out of bottle caps to decorate her first locker.

How lucky that her locker is right beside her new friend who lives three doors away from our home.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Coolest Place

What better place to survive 40+ degrees weather than in the pool.

Thank goodness for the cooler reprieve from the hot temperatures -- and that we've escaped potential bushfires.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Plum Heaven

PLUMS GALORE! Thanks to expensive netting, we have managed to save our plums from crafty birds that have, in the past, quickly devoured the sweetly sour treats.

Nona will be making some plum sauce and jam. I continue to try different plum cake recipes trying to find something similar to what Mom has bought for years at one bakery in the German-Polish area of Toronto. I've found some recipes online that might be spot on, with streusel on top of the plums and a yeast-based cake. Will try two and report back on the results. In the meantime, I made Nigel Slater's plum cake (that I gleaned from David Herbert's The Really Useful Cookbook) yesterday and it was a hit when we took it to a party yesterday. I used regular caster sugar, though, rather than the unrefined golden caster sugar that he calls for.

M requested that we make Chocolate Fudge Cookies from David Herbert's cookbook and they were gobbled up by all the kids at the party. We kept a few in an air-tight container at home to try out Herbert's assertion that after a day or two they soften slightly and become more chewy. Well, we couldn't wait more than a day to find out he is correct. Yum! You'll have to wait until tomorrow for me to upload the recipe.

Today I made banana cake but wasn't thrilled with the outcome. It's fine but not something I would make again.

In the next few days I'll be freezing plums -- cut them in half, de-seed, freeze on a cookie sheet then place into sealable freezer bags and into sealed containers in the freezer for up to 3 months. Then I can keep trying plum cake recipes for when Mom and Dad visit soon.

It's a sweet, juicy start to 2010!