Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Brisbane Kite Festival.
The festival was held last weekend, at a large park, just a few minutes walk from our home. We couldn't resist the temptation to walk down and have a look, even though the wind seemed a bit gentle for kite flying. The park is designed as a large common, with a cycling track and trees around the outside rim. The common is a huge raised flat area, and just perfect for kite flying.

Most of the kites being flown were most definitely grown up toys, though there were a lot of families who'd brought along their dinky little kites too.

The sky was full of kites. The larger ones, once launched, were anchored to sandbags, and, in a couple of cases, parked cars. The size of some of the kites was incredible.

We were also impressed with the aerobatic performances of some of the kites. They darted, swooped and spiralled through the sky.

It was very hot, and we couldn't stay long, but it really was the high point of a very busy Sunday.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Sushi and Jacaranda Blossoms
It has been a relaxing day today. A sunny morning, a flash thunderstorm in the early afternoon and then lovely fresh sunshine again. Everything is washed clean and smelling sweet.
I have made (and taken some very dodgy photos of) sushi for dinner. Sushi?? Yup, it's my latest craving. Of course, in a house populated with picky eaters, making sushi can be a very fiddly task. I have made some with everything for My Darling and Myself, some with almost everything for the non picky Samara (who share my sushi love), some almost everything except the seaweed (ewww) for Christopher, and some with next to nothing but definitely not seaweed and chicken for hyper finicky Joshua. The non seaweed sushi is made with rice paper wrap instead. Yeah, I know it's barely sushi when you take away the nori, but that's what you get in a houseful of kids!

Meggie, from Life's Free Treats, was bemoaning the failure of her jacaranda tree to bloom this year. I simply had to flaunt my next door neighbour's tree. My very favourite thing about October is the way that Brisbane goes purple. As you can see, Meggie, I too have very ugly power lines, and let's not even mention the very ugly street. The jacaranda makes it all worthwhile.

When I was little I would imagine that the flowers were used as fabulous ball gowns by very tiny fairies. The long tubes, with delicate frills around the bottoms seemed perfectly suited to evening gowns.

My earliest memory of my Dad also includes jacarandas, and holding his hand as we walked down a spectacular purple carpeted avenue of trees. It seemed like the whole world was purple. I think Mum has a photo of that day, an old black and white shot of my Dad and two little bonneted girls. Even though the picture is not coloured, I see purple.

And now for something completely different; orange. Here are some of the lillies in my friend's garden. She and I are a bit sentimental about the lilles, because when Joshua was born she brought me a huge bunch of these flowers. When her twins were born her husband and older children brought her the same gift. When the lillies flower it's time to remember how cherished our littlest children are.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Double Trouble.

My favourite identical twins in the world turned 1 yesterday. Here they are with their Mum and Dad, who probably deserve the cake even more than they do. I think they were pretty relieved to have survived that first year. The older boy pictured is their cousin.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

loltiger - sry I skare u. I not rly goan eet u.

We have discovered the hilarity that is I can has cheezeburger in our house. I can't pick a favourite, though this repentant tiger ranks pretty high up there!

Friday, October 12, 2007

10 Ways to be Green at Home

Everyone knows that we should recycle. But there are many other ways that we can help preserve both our local environment and make our own small difference globally. Here are 10 of my favourite ideas for greening up our homes.

1. Use environmentally friendly cleaning products to reduce the chemicals finding their way into our water ways. Baking soda and vinegar are excellent cleaners. Vinegar not only works well as a glass cleaner, but makes a very good fabric softener, making towels lovely and fluffy as well as neutralising odours. Baking soda provides a gentle scouring action, and is great for taking hardened food debris off baking pans and even for cleaning your oven.

2. Plant a vegie garden. It's common knowledge that freshly picked home grown vegies taste better than the store bought options. Fewer people realise that by growing their own vegies organically they are reducing pollution by eliminating the transportation of food (sometimes hundred of kilometres) to the stores. You are also able to ensure that your vegies are truly organically grown.

3. Plant trees. I am a rabid tree planter, and have added trees to the gardens of every house I have lived in. Every tree makes a difference.

4. Plant species native to your area in order to encourage native wildlife.

5. Reduce your rubbish output by purchasing bulk products with less packaging. For example, buy the big bag of rice and store it in a container, or buy the big yoghurt tub and give children smaller serves in reusable containers. Home baked treats don't come with individual packaging.

6. Say no to plastic bags. Everyone has heard of this one. I keep my cloth shopping bags in the car, so that they are always available for groceries.

7. Only run the dishwasher or washing machine when it is full. I used to worry about having a dishwasher, and its impact on the environment. I have discovered, however, that the dishwasher actually uses less water than handwashing dishes. Water conservation is a hot topic in our drought stricken region, so I only scrape plates, rather than rinsing them before washing, and I never run half a load. I line dry clothing almost all the time, only using the dryer when there are multiple days of rain.

8. Share the wealth. Donations of clothing to charities, passing furniture and clothing along to other families all reduce the need for everyone to buy new, and is a great way of recycling. Freecycle is a fabulous way of passing unwanted stuff to those who can use it.

9. Don't leave TVs in standby mode. They are still using power while in standby mode, so by turning the TV off properly you are saving electricity, thus reducing both pollution and your power bill.

10. Use a tea pot. It all comes back to the individual packaging thing. Leaf teas are less processed, and frequently taste better. And the used leaves make excellent compost. Pot plants like the last of the tea in the pot too.

There are so many easy ways to make our lives a little bit more environmentally friendly. Not only do they help the world, but they are good for our personal health too. Reducing exposure to chemicals and additives is good for our children and ourselves.

For an amazing list of ways to green your life, take a look at Treehugger.com

Everyone can make a difference right now!

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day
Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

Environmentalism has always been an issue close to my heart, and as the world changes for the worse daily it is growing more imperative that we take action. It seems like a huge problem, and while our governments are not facing the magnitude of the issue it is so easy for the individual to question their ability to make a difference.

The Blog Action Day is a great way for all of us to help make a difference. Blog Action Day is the 15th of August, so watch out for my post on saving the world from home then!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

This week it was time to bite the bullet and fulfill a promise ...

After Samara's birthday excursion to Dreamworld, Christopher decided that only Movieworld could assuage his pain at not having a party this year. Hmmm, a houseful of nine year old boys, or Movieworld, tough choice.

Shoulda went with the party.

First we cured Christopher of his roller coaster obsession. But somehow fed Samara's passion for same. Road Runner has a lot to answer for.

Daddy took the kids on the carousel, so that I could take some dodgy photos of that ride. As you can see, he had soooo much fun!

There were some very entertaining things to see. The Police Academy Stunt Show had two of our kids on the edge of their seats, and one under his seat. The explosions were too much for Joshua (who had somewhat of a traumatic day, actually), but fulfilled every boyhood fantasy for Christopher.

But the real drawcard was the grand parade, and in particular, our family favourite, Scooby Dooby Doooooo! After the parade we went and saw the Shrek 4D movie (which has 3D glasses and adds feeling, in vigorously bouncing seats, sprays of water and air puffs on the back of your legs which sent poor Josh, already frightened by the 3d effects, shooting into the air. I had to take his glasses off and cuddle him tight, and he trembled through the whole show. I felt terrible that there was no way to take him out of the theatre. Thanks Heavens it was short.

The kids had a firm budget of $20 each, with whatever other money they brought with them. Samara had saved 5 dollars, and Christopher had $10 birthday money, so they felt quite flush! Christopher loved the Harry Potter shop, as did Samara, and Josh spent his entire budget on a stuffed Scooby Doo. All were happy with their loot.

We only lost one child, but found her again after a brief panic. We were in a particularly crowded area, and were only separated moments when I noticed, but it took about 20 minutes to find her. My kids have only given me a handful of heart stopping moments (so far) and this was one of them. She's learnt a valuable lesson about hand holding and paying attention to her parents.

The kids enjoyed Movie World very much, but we found that the rides were more suited to older children (and bigger children) than ours. It was also a hot day, 32C, and there was not a lot of shade. Super cautious me brought copious quantities of water and juice and we managed to avoid any sunburn, but heat does not agree with me. Ridiculous considering the places I have lived all my life.

Next we hit up Seaworld in November for Josh's birthday celebration, and we know that that will be very suited to a small boy who loves animals and getting wet.