Monday, October 31, 2011

for the first time.

Well, it is official. Max has now successfully carved his first ever pumpkin!


The funny thing about pumpkin carving in a country that doesn’t really celebrate this holiday is the unavailability of whole, real pumpkins. You see, in Australia we have pumpkin in our stores all year but we actually roast and eat it for dinner instead of giving it a mouth and nose, putting a candle in it and setting it outside of our front doors to rot. I mean, when you put it in to those terms, the whole jack-o-lantern thing does sound a bit silly. Never the less- we were determined to find a pumpkin and start this weird tradition at our house this year.


Here in Brisbane there are no pumpkin patches with endless pumpkins of all shapes and sizes. There are no hay rides or family photo opportunities. We actually found this bad boy at our local grocery store. It was one of about ten that were for sale. When we got to the register to pay, it took about 10 minutes and three different employees to ring it up.


You know- that embarrassing thing that happens only when you have something you would rather just quickly pay for and bolt. The sales person yelling across the store, “Sally… SALLY… this item won’t ring up. Do you know how much XXX is??” “No Betty… let me get on the PA and announce it to the whole store that this lady is buying XXX and we don’t know the price.” Luckily it was just a pumpkin this time- but you know what I mean! I guess they didn’t think anyone would actually buy one? And then Max and I came along :)


Once we got home, the pumpkin carving process began. I showed Max how we line the table with newspaper and put all of the "pumpkin guts" in to a bowl.

I showed him how to cut the top open and use a spoon to scrape all of the gooey stuff off.




We drew a very simple face and he quickly learned that cutting shapes in to a pumpkin with our kitchen knives isn’t all that easy… or precise.




In the end, this is what we ended up with. It is no master piece, but I am pleased and proud.

And of course, no pumpkin carving activity is complete without roasting the seeds!






Wishing all a Happy Halloween, no matter where or how you might be celebrating!

Friday, October 28, 2011

translations- part II.

It seems like everyone really enjoyed the last lot (round) of Aussie/American translations, so I thought I would share a few more. Maybe make this a semi-regular thing?!

Phrase: rubbish bin
Translation: trash can
Example: “Don’t forget to empty the rubbish bin before we leave for the weekend.”
Rating: 4 stars. I think I like this one because it sounds very English to me. I don’t actually say it very often, but everyone else does and it sounds cool.

Phrase: nana nap
Translation: afternoon nap
Example: “My friend takes a nana nap every Sunday afternoon.”
Rating: 5 stars! I think this phrase is awesome and like to use it as often as possible. I think it is extra funny because the first time Max said it around my friend Carrie, she thought he was just stuttering… “nananana nap”. The conversation that followed was hilarious.

Phrase: trolley
Translation: shopping cart
Example: “I use a shopping trolley when I do my food shopping.”
Rating: 3 stars. I think this one good but I still call it a shopping cart…usually! I know some people say buggy, some people say trolley, some people say cart. You know, tomato- tAmAto!

Phrase: thongs
Translation: flip flops
Example: “I lost my tong at the beach.”
Rating: 1 star. A thong is underwear. End. Of. Story.

Phrase: blimey!
Translation: oh my goodness!
Example: “Blimey! That food is spicy!”
Rating: 5 stars. I think this word is great but I don’t actually hear it used that often. Maybe it is an old school Australian word?

Phrase: good value
Translation: a good overall person or asset
Example: “The new girl at work is really good value.”
Rating: 3.5 stars. I had a hard time understanding this one at first. To be honest, I didn’t really get it. How can a person be described as “good value”? But I guess maybe it comes from the phrase- good value for your money? Saying that someone is good to have around. A hard worker. Has a good sense of humour. Is a helpful person.

Phrase: stuffed
Translation: old, worn out, useless
Example: “These shoes are stuffed.”
Rating: 3.5 stars. I guess this could also be a substitute for other, naughtier words that we won’t mention here because this is a G rated blog :). Either way, this is a very common word used amongst all age groups.

Phrase: smart
Translation: professional
Example: “That new shirt is very smart.”
Rating: 2 stars. I still don’t really “get” this word but people use it to describe those who dress up or dress professionally. I remember the first time some told me my shirt was very smart. I am sure the look on my face very clearly read, “huh??”

Phrase: ambo
Translation: ambulance
Example: “There were three ambos at the car accident yesterday!”
Rating: 2.5 stars. Just one of the THOUSANDS of words that is shortened over here.

Phrase: chalk and cheese
Translation: opposites
Example: “She and her sister are like chalk and cheese.”
Rating: 5 stars. I LOVE this one and think it is a really good saying to compare people or things that are completely different. I mean, you can’t get any more opposite than CHALK and CHEESE!

Phrase: chook
Translation: chicken
Example: “My chooks lay 10 eggs a day."
Rating: 1 star. I personally prefer saying the full word “chicken”. The. End.

Phrase: fairy floss
Translation: cotton candy
Example: “It seems like all kids just love fairy floss.”
Rating: 5 stars. This word is wonderful and I think we should all start calling cotton candy, FAIRY FLOSS. It just makes this sugary treat that much more fun and special.

So there you are! Some new and exciting words for the non-Aussie readers to enjoy and use. Go to work and tell someone their outfit is “smart” or they are “good value”. It will make you sound cool… or stupid… but do it anyway :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011


It is official. Byron is now 15 and almost taller than his dad.  And what does a 15 year old boy want more than anything for his birthday?  A Huffy Slider.  Don't worry, I had no idea what that was either.  To put it in very easy to understand terms- it is a tricycle for "big kids".

After going out for lunch with the whole family, Byron, his mom, step dad, brother, sister, two grandmas and grandpa (whew!) headed down towards the Gold Coast where he got to go for a ride in a WRX (really fast off-road car on a dirt track).  He LOVED it!

Afterwards the whole family came over to our house to help build his Huffy Slider.  Watching the boys put this thing together was very entertaining.


I love this picture.  Brett with the instructions while Max, Christian and Byron go straight for the parts.  In about 2.3 seconds the box was ripped open and all of the parts strung across the lawn.


Keeping in mind that this is a KIDS TRICYCLE more or less, it was surprisingly difficult for the men to put it together.   


Maybe reading the instructions would have helped.  Or not.



Dad and stepdad working together on the trike.  What a lucky kid Byron is...


While the men worked on the trike, the kids played in the yard.  This is Byron's little sister, Charlotte.  She was showing me her scary Halloween poses.  This girl LOVES the camera.


Byron's little brother and sister (William and Charlotte) playing on Byron's friends already built Huffy Slider.


William loves tools and machines and working with the men.  He was right in there helping tighten bolts and giving his opinion on what might have gone wrong or what needed more tightening.  It was so cute.


Yes- they started this process when it was light and were still working on it after dark.  


Hours later (okay, maybe not hours) they finally finished the construction of the Huffy Slider and took it straight out to the street to... well... slide.




Like father like son.


I think Byron had a wonderful birthday full of family fun, fast cars and tricycles :)

With two moms, two dads, four sets of grandparents and endless aunts and uncles, holidays in Byron's world are far from empty and I think his fifteenth birthday did not disappoint.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

a message to your future.

I am not sure where I got the idea or what made me do it in the first place, but a long, long time ago (okay maybe not THAT long) I decided to write a letter to my future daughter. I was sixteen at the time and addressed it to my future daughter on her sixteenth birthday. I wrote about myself and my life- my interests, my friends, my thoughts. I can’t really remember what I said but I am sure I started out the letter with a very large- sixteen year old-ish HAPPY BIRTHDAY. I thought it would be cool to give my daughter a piece of me from when I was her exact same age. Sure, I can always tell her stories or show her pictures, but there is nothing like a handwritten letter from a mother to a daughter- ignoring all space and time- putting both of them on the exact same level. After writing the letter, I gave it to my mom for safe keeping and haven’t seen it since. I am counting on the fact that she kept it safe and tucked away in our safety deposit box like she promised (note to self: must ask mom about this…).

Looking back, I wish I could do it all over again but this time write one letter each year on my birthday. If I could do it all over again I would have also written to my future son, seeing as in one year we will have a sixteen year old and it would have been great to give him a letter too.

For better or worse, technology is taking over our world. The children we have and their children after that will know of no world without social media and email. While there are many sceptics and haters of the internet and technology, there are so many wonderful and amazing things that can come along with it too.

I saw this YouTube video today and found myself in tears. What a wonderful idea and extension to my sixteen year old letter to my future daughter. I hope whoever came up with this campaign was highly rewarded and given a big fat raise because it is truly a heartfelt message that will most likely make you want to do it too.


So go on... get out there and write a message to your future.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

we all scream for ice cream.

A few months ago I made an ice cream cake for Max's birthday.  Byron really liked it so I thought to myself- "self, maybe you should make one for Byron's birthday too!" And so that is what I did.  Made an ice cream cake.  

What's that? You want to make one too? Good news... it is so easy!


What do you need?
  • Two cake pans
  • Box of your favourite brownie mix
  • Vegetable oil
  • Two eggs
  • Water
  • Cling wrap
  • Your favourite ice cream
  • Cake decoration
  • Candles


Step 1: Mix and cook brownies according to the instructions on the box (so easy!)


Step 2: Line the inside of the second pan with cling wrap (so easy!)


Step 3: Scoop your favourite ice cream into pan (so easy!)


Step 4: Take cooked brownies out of the oven and let them cool (so easy!)


Step 5: Run a knife around the edge of the cooked brownies (so easy!)


Step 6: Cut brownies in the shape of the ice cream pan (so easy!) Side note: this step would be even easier if you had two pans that are the same size and shape.


Step 7: Remove the edges and set aside as a reward for your hard work (so easy!)



Step 8: Carefully remove the round brownie (pretty easy but I would recommend using two hands) and place it on the ice cream




Step 9: Wrap the extra cling wrap over the top of the cake and place in the freezer until ready to serve (so easy!)


Step 10: Once frozen, flip the cake out of the pan- brownie side down (so easy!) 


Step 11: Decorate the cake (so easy!)




I might recommend taking the cake out of the freezer about 10 minutes before you are ready to serve.  Our ice cream cake was a bit frozen which made it really hard to cut.


Step 12: Cut and Enjoy (the easiest step!)

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