Happy Holidays

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I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year break. We certainly did, after what seemed like an extraordinarily manic end to last year. So the prospect of escaping north to the relatives was a little light at the end of an excruciatingly long tunnel. Fun, busy Christmas fun, but still fun. Being Queensland defectors we do have a sweet pay off, visiting the tropics for holidays and the kids were really looking forward to loads of pool time, as were we. So here's a little of what we got up to in Townsville, Queensland...

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Christmas in the Burdekin how could I not snap the cane fields, especially with that whole 'first full moon on Christmas day since 1977' thing. The pressure!

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The Water Park, you won't need to search it out. On any hot day (everyday), half the population under 15yrs will be here on the Strand. We had to circle the round-a-bout multiple times just to see the bucket empty...again and again!

The main component of every meal, what's not to love? Mango for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner!..Ooh and Dessert, mango ice-cream!!!

Why do I hear the Beach Boys 'Surfin' USA' every time I see this photo. So funny, it was like a gunfight at the O.K Corral everyday trying to get these through the pool gate.

This is my youngest's new photo pose called 'Ice-cream Head', apparently it's the new Blue Steel. I'm sure it'll be huge in Norway...

The Strand! My favourite place to stroll, be, breath, anything! Or running if you're really keen, especially if it's 32degrees and 90% humidity. Crazy fit people I take my hat off to you, then totally talk behind your back after you pass about your amazing guns and show-offy pace!

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Magnetic Island was a great day trip, I think the kids enjoyed the boat over as much as the beach time, fish&chips, ice-cream. Yes we ate a lot of ice-cream, did I tell you there was a Gelatissimo opposite the hotel? 

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The Rockpool on the Strand, filled with sea water without the jellyfish and waves, what's not to love. Plus there's more fish&chips and ice-cream. I'm seeing a pattern...and the reason my jeans don't fit!

Then it was time for Champagne and Glowsticks! And maybe a little kiss! Two crashed and burned after the 9pm fireworks but one little monkey made it to midnight with two very tired parents. Happy New Year!

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So then it was time to come home, boo! That said, it was a wonderful break from the school routine, which we all enjoyed. Now it's time to start making new plans for a new year, hope you're feeling ready for a fresh start too. See you soon.

Jess x

Adrenalin Jam

WHEN our family upped-stumps from the city and dragged our bat and ball (and trailer loads of crap) to a small country town in Central Victoria, we knew the move would have its perks. We were looking forward to fresh air, dark night skies, living closer to the earth and a non-existant rush hour. And all those things have been delivered in spades. Thank you Universe... (the mere thought of moving above-mentioned-crap back to the city again makes me involuntarily twitch.)

One perk we weren't expecting is the bounty of free food that grows, well EVERYWHERE! Most notably, blackberries. Yes the blackberry bush is a freakin' nightmare noxious weed, but damn it delivers the deliciousness.

Blackberries are currently fruiting in our neck of the woods. The local berries are plump and sweet and already taste like jam. In fact, our family is sort-of permanently stained purple this time of year. Currently, blackberries are selling for around $50 a kilo at the supermarkets... (Yeeouch!) - OR THEY ARE FREE if you take a bucket and pick your own.

 Look at all that noxious deliciousness.

Look at all that noxious deliciousness.

Today I had a small window of time (sans kids and deadlines) so off I went picking.

Blackberry picking is not without its dangers... The berries I raid are beyond knee-deep grass, bracken and other tangled undergrowth, no doubt home to a few slithery friends. Aside from a potentially lethal snake bite, today the region was in the path of significant thunderstorms throwing bolts, large hail and drenching, party-pooping rain.

 Party pooping rain.

Party pooping rain.

I looked on the BoM app (Australian Bureau of Meteorology to those less weather-nerdy than myself) - to see how much time I had before the fury was unleashed - and I found myself somewhat surrounded by storms.

 Yikes!!

Yikes!!

An adrenalin-fueled pick ensued.

Distant thunder rolled louder, great swathes of grey linked sky to earth and I could smell the wet ground 15 minutes before the rain reached me. I thought it best to abandon my pick when lightning began illuminating the berries.

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I hightailed it out of there... with hopefully enough berries in my bucket to make enough jam for some home baked scones. (I swear I used to be so rock n' roll.)

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Are you a blackberry picker? What do you make with them? (or do you just stuff them in your face like us?) Take care out there in this crazy weather... down here in Central Victoria I really feel like Summer is saying goodbye.
Damn... I'll miss Summer and her wild roadside gifts. Luckily I'll have enough summer berry jam to take us through 'til next year.

Hope the sun is shining on you today.

- Kathy x

 


 

 

An Open Letter to Jimmy Giggle

Dear Jimmy,

I feel a little bad writing this, and I'm not sure there's any easy way to convey these words, so I'll just come out and say it.

I think it's time we, um...  separated.
(...sniff sniff.)

Today, my youngest daughter started school, and this means that, in a way, (oh how do I say it?) I feel the need to say goodbye to you too.
It's not you Jimmy, it's me.
I feel like I have matured in our relationship, and yet, you haven't moved on. Your relationship with your small-football-shaped-hypercolour owl-pal is driving a primary-coloured wedge between us. In fact, I feel like I've never been able to compete with Hoot. He really has you wrapped around his little finger, umm... claw.

Jimmy, I need space, I need time. I need to look ahead to ABC3 now. I think it's best if we just have a clean break. Nice and quick, like ripping off a band-aid... or falling off the Gigglemobile at high speed.

I will miss our twice daily strolls through the Giggle Gallery. Remember the time you showed our picture? Sure you do... it was one of 74,963 rainbows you have shown in the past five years. It was special.

 Remember this one? Rainbow with an orchard on top. So many sweet memories Jimmy.

Remember this one? Rainbow with an orchard on top.
So many sweet memories Jimmy.

I will miss our forays into the Giggle Galaxy (yeah yeah)... I'll think of your authentic astronaut uniform every time I get out the aluminium foil.

And I will miss your prowess on the ukelele and various jumbo novelty instruments.

No longer will your dulcet tones be heard throughout my house. My heart will sigh when I recall the good times we shared, the high notes we'd hit as we harmonised loudly, (as my four year old blocked her ears,) our mutual love for the colour orange, (or was that purple?) the spotty gumboots you wore as Super Giggle (I too have spotted gumboots... same-same Jimmy, we had so much in common) and our intense irrational fear of b-b-b-b-BATS.  But I know this separation is good for both of us. I know by making a clean break now I will be OK. My heart (and gumboots) will go on.

Tonight, before I do the five steps to bed, I'll think of you when I look up into the nighty night sky.

Thank you for the past five years Jimmy Giggle. It has been hootastic.

- Kathy. x x

Getting My Christmas Crazy On! Yeah!

 It's the One!

It's the One!

I don't know what it is about the beginning of the Christmas Season that brings on a manic level of excitement in our house. It's like a scene out of a Dr Suess story where our family turns into a bunch of 'Who's' and our home becomes 'Whoville'. The Christmas CDs find their way into the car. The decoration box is dragged out of the cupboard with multiple expletives being expressed. Mr Goldust makes a run to the shed to check on the condition of the last years Christmas lights while perusing the latest Christmas light catalogue. And the Christmas tins miraculously find themselves full of sweets! (Well there's the first reason for the weight gain) It's definitely a 'Krank' family Christmas at our place and I say BRING IT ON!!!

 Well what do we have here?

Well what do we have here?

For most of us the answer is clear , are you Team Xmas or Team Grinch? Even for those of you who waver, it just takes the sound of that first Christmas tune and you know instantly which side of the Christmas tree you sit. For us it's like showing your team colours, we also support Liverpool Football Club and the fervour is no less intense! Wear your Green and Red with Pride!

 An oldie but a goodie, so many memories.

An oldie but a goodie, so many memories.

 Oh Christmas tree....

Oh Christmas tree....

Now I cannot begin to describe the level of 'Crazy' that was reached last weekend when it was announced we would be picking up the tree early! Let's just say One Direction ain't got nothing on Santa, sorry Harry you know I love you. It also heralds the arrival of the Advent calendar, because nothing says 'Christmas' more than a bomb-like detonator countdown to the Big day! BOOM!

 Holy Hat!

Holy Hat!

Tonight is the first of the Carols by Candlelight, and the selection of festive headwear arrived in our house this week. I don't know about you but I almost choked on my candy cane when I saw this Christmas tree hat! And when I say the first of the Carol nights, I mean we always plan to visit multiple carol nights but thankfully we run out of 'White Christmas' steam by December 14. I really do need to rest my vocal chords for Christmas Eve's Carols by Candlelight, that's the big kahuna. There's no better background music for the gift wrapping panic that descends at 9pm, eggnog in hand! You know what I'm talking about.

 They're best buds and I love it!

They're best buds and I love it!

Now my Mr.GoldDust was born a Christmas lover, and I secretly think he's one of Santa's Elves, but I love him for it. The kids revel in his Christmas devotion and I have to admit I even have to smile when they gang up on mummy's shameful miss-singing of carols. They're like a pack of sugared up Christmas thugs on their annual rampage, destroying grinchiness in there wake. The stories get read, the lists get written, Santa's letters get sent, the glass decorations are accidentally smashed, but all in good intention. But it's all about the kids...isn't it?

 Why are my teeth aching?

Why are my teeth aching?

Last but not least, there's the bit I get really excited about because it's my turn to get my crazy on and indulge in my Christmas Knaff Knit obsession and look what arrived!!!! A 'little' box of Christmas arrived last week and I could not be happier (I say that while twitching and laughing at the same time!). ASOS do the best knaff knits for Christmas, as do Urban Outfitters, and this year they didn't disappoint. I'm saving the Christmas pudding earrings for the 'Big Day', but one of these babies will be debuting tonight! Wish them luck! 

 Oh My Tinsel!

Oh My Tinsel!

So while you might be drowning in Christmas shopping lists and Christmas lunch planning, crack on the carols and crack open some cheer. It's hard not to smile at Christmas when the kids are getting excited about Santa's visit. And what's not to enjoy about the threat of him not visiting in exchange for good behaviour, because in the end you've only got four weeks to hold that over them people!!! So have another fruit mince pie and pop on Fred Claus, that'll make any Grinch or Who smile! Merry Christmas!

Jesse x

Ginger-thorough-bread

There was a time in my life when Melbourne’s Spring Racing Carnival was all about champagne breakfasts and millinery and magic and marquees and fabulous frocks and emergency ballet flats. When I worked in radio the Spring Racing Carnival meant long lunches with clients, long breakfasts with clients, and long parties with clients… and then there were the staff after-parties… Even when I worked in Sydney, 900+ kilometres from the racetrack this was the case… (well, it was radio… any excuse for a frock-up and a booze-up really…)
Apparently all this has something to do with horses??


A lifetime away from the marquees and fascinators (they live in the dress up basket these days) (my daughters’ not mine) I find myself at odds trying to explain to my kids in this country town 100+ kilometres north west of Flemington Racecourse why they don’t have to go to school and kinder because some horsies are running around in a circle.

 The lucky white horse is today's favourite.

The lucky white horse is today's favourite.

And so, we talk about jockeys and colours, we build the Lego Friends stables and we bake.

We bake gingerbread GeeGees because we have the day off and we have time for baking… and Lego, and galloping around the loungeroom, in our emergency ballet flats.

 Is it a horse? Is it a dog? Is it a llama?

Is it a horse? Is it a dog? Is it a llama?

I have a few go-to recipes for gingerbread bikkies. This one I found on taste.com.au is by far the quickest and easiest.

 Today's starters ready to line up at the gates...

Today's starters ready to line up at the gates...

 Oh dear... there are a few poor horsies that will be scratched today.

Oh dear... there are a few poor horsies that will be scratched today.

My horse cookie cutter is more Nag than Thoroughbred. Some of the biscuits look a little more like goats, some more like camels, some like dingoes and some like 3 legged aliens, but the overall effect is all about that first Tuesday in November.

 Flemington Race 7, $2 on #3 for a win. (...but don't worry, they're all winners with a coffee - or glass of milk.)

Flemington Race 7, $2 on #3 for a win. (...but don't worry, they're all winners with a coffee - or glass of milk.)

When the race-that-stops-the-nation stops you at 3pm today I hope you're having fun, whether you're up to your neck in Champagne at The Birdcage or inside someone's Esky in the Flemington Carpark... or even up to your elbows in Lego and ginger-thorough-breads at our place.
Happy Cup Day
punters! Hope it's a great one.

- Kathy. x