Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Laidley sunrise

In the holidays we spent a couple of nights out at Laidley again, just the 5 of us this time and we even got to sleep in the "shed".  It is so peaceful and refreshing out there and the shed is the size of a house with lots of open spaces.

I woke up one morning before the sun rose and went outside with the camera in hand to capture the days first rays.  I think some of these photos take up about a quarter of the 504 photos.  It is just magical for me to be outside when the sun rises.  The full moon was still up and the mist was rolling in from the hills I desire, oh Mull of Kintyre.....that's what came to mind as the shutter started clicking.  These are just a few of my favourites.

The room we slept in was at peace, Ethan & Sam were reading and Toby was playing quietly with his cars.  Toby came out with me a bit later and followed me around while I took photos, he is one of my favourite subjects.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Ethan's Birthday

We celebrated Ethan's birthday at Ormiston with the rellies.  He was so excited to be turning six at last.  The boys spent the morning playing with the new toys and blowing up balloons, more to the truth attacking each other with the balloons and the balloons popping. Then when Uncle Alister came there was more balloon attacks and poppings.

It took us a little while to decide on a birthday cake for Ethan.  He first had in mind the Basilisk from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, as that is what he is reading at the moment.  I tried to sway him away from an evil, fanged snake with a sword sticking out of it's head birthday cake and Donald came up with a Clone Trooper from Star Wars.  We had some cake left over, so Donald also did Yoda.  They looked fantastic especially the expression on Yoda's face.

Donald the cake decorator.

Ethan had a little trouble blowing out the candles on the cake, there seemed to be wind coming from every direction.  Donald soon solved the problem.

We had some fun family photos too.

Cousins: Toby, Ava, Riley, Ethan & Sam

Back: My Uncle Mel, Donald, Lisha, Alister, Toby & Ethan
Front: My Aunt Lynne, Jan (my mum), Fiona, Riley, Ava & Sam

Monday, 28 April 2008

Wellington Point revisited

We often visit here every holiday with Grandma and have a picnic or fish and chips, and the best time to visit is at low tide. 

There is an island/sand bar with mangroves that you can walk out to, we never seem to get that far as the boys spend alot of time playing on the mud flats with the hermit crabs and the low tide pools.  

It is also a lovely spot at hight tide for a knee deep swim, it's warm and shallow, it does get a little deeper but you just don't know what's lurking in the muddy depths.  The view below is the little mangrove island and in the distance is looking over to the mouth of the Brisbane River.  Those giant giraffe looking things (that's what my mum calls them) are the cranes at the shipping ports.

The other attractions at Wellington Point are the wonderful Moreton Bay Figs. 

Ever since I was little my sister and I have been tree climbers. We used to scooch along the boughs to see how far we could go, or how high we could climb.  The trees here are just magnificent for climbing.  The boys had a go at climbing but weren't too sure about it. 

Grandma's floor

Grandma's floor was great for playing with our lego Ice Hockey guys.  We've had this collection for a long time and since the boys are into Ice Hockey now, Sam and Ethan dug them out of the cupboard and have been playing with them in the holidays.

Saturday, 26 April 2008


We had a few firsts in the holidays.

First ice hockey game watched by the boys in Australia,

First time driving up to Brisbane and the boys were really good.... the whole way up........with just me driving, Donald flew up later.

First photo of lightning and I don't mean Lightning McQueen!  This was taken at about 7pm at Laidley.  The sky was very dark and I just opened up the shutter and hoped for the best in between lightning strikes.  I was very excited to capture lightning, it's just amazing how far it reaches.  Even though it was dark the fork of the lightning is very much in focus.

First time Toby put on his own undies & shorts.....not bad for a two and a half year old.  Yep Toby is toilet training, I thought it was better to start in the holidays in warm Qld, so he could wear his boardies that are easily washed & dried.

First 6th Birthday at Ormiston.  Ethan celebrated the day with cousins, aunts, uncles and grandma.

Friday, 25 April 2008


We've been to Queensland and back and I have taken 504 photos................... where do I start?  

The road trip up to Ormiston was very colourful with the Autumn leaves changing as you pass through the towns.  The most beautiful town in daylight was Uralla with their spectacular shades of reds, oranges and yellows.  I was so excited I just started snapping photos as I was driving through the town, I did stop to take some as well.  The red and orange colours were just brilliant.

We had a few pit stops along the way and more photo opportunities.  I find that my holiday adventure only begins when I get on to the New England Highway.  Not much traffic, fantastic scenery and fresh air, unless of course you're behind a stinky truck, diesal ute.....etc, etc.

We usually stop at Scone at a park for the boys to run around and play.  This time we only needed a quick pit stop as Toby was asleep.  So I asked the boys to go for a run to use up their energy and Sam began to run circles around all of the trees, it was kind of fun to watch and then Ethan joined in.

Another beautiful stop was at Wallabadah along the creek.  As Sam and Ethan explored the creek, yep one of them got pushed in, only ankle deep though.

The photo below was taken about 5 minutes from Uralla, a stark contrast to the wonderful colours of the trees around the town.  It still has it's magnificent sun bleached colours that I love to see in my travels.  At Christmas time these fields were full of grass and wild flowers.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Ice Hockey

Somebody asked me a few weeks ago if Donald followed rugby league or aussie rules football. Donald use to play but doesn't follow them now, not much time in the day or night to watch the games.  However while Donald works he listens to podcasts of the NHL Ice Hockey. Last week he had the opportunity to go and watch some hockey games in Newcastle.  It was the Ice Hockey Australia World Championships for Division II group B.  Not that this means anything to me other than Canada & the USA weren't playing, they're kind of in a higher division. He saw Iceland vs Spain and Australia vs New Zealand. Donald was so excited and thrilled to actually see a game.  It's the Canadian blood in him.

Australia vs New Zealand before the game, NZ doing the Haka.

Anyway so Donald stayed for the two games last Thursday and when the boys came home from school and asked where Donald was they were a tad jealous.  So Saturday afternoon after soccer had finished Donald took Sam & Ethan up to Newcastle to watch China verse New Zealand.  They were very excited.

This is New Zealand doing the Haka again before their game with China.



Saturday, 12 April 2008


Saturday soccer

It was Sam's turn at last to start his soccer season.  He started out as goal keeper quite by surprise this morning.  Our team is a little disorganised and unsure of what position they're supposed to play. The original goal keeper is away and the replacement got cold feet at the last minute, so I nominated Sam.  Now it wasn't a nice thing to do I know but I knew that Sam would come through for us and do his best and not be too traumatised at the end of the first half.  He hasn't had much practice as a goal keeper but he was brave and determined.  He certainly stopped a few goals and tried his best, what more could you ask when you put your son in the deep end first?

He couldn't wait until half time when he could get onto the field for some "real playing".  He was playing on the right midfield and had quite alot of running to do and did some fantastic tackling too.  I'm very proud of Sam and how he will confront a game and just play.  Even though he gets very crazy and excited at home before the game, when he's on the field he's very serious and just gets on with it.  I really like the determination on his face in the picture below as he runs, he's second from the left in the yellow shirt.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Pumpkin Gnocchi

I have had a pumpkin sitting on my bench for weeks now and I have been dreaming of making Pumpkin Gnocchi.  Yesterday I finally had a little time and prepared it while Toby slept.  I didn't hold any expectations that the boys would like it...seeing as it had pumpkin in it.  So I tried to tell them it was just Gnocchi, an Italian pasta.  Before I could even try to cover up any notion that there was pumpkin in it Sam & Ethan were in raptures and wanted second helpings. Suprise, suprise....I had a winner. Toby kept on trying it but wasn't so sure.  It has some yummy subtle tastes and I really loved the sage butter, so here is my recipe:

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Sage Butter

500g pumpkin
3 cloves garlic
pinch salt
olive oil
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper

Sage Butter:
100g butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, extra

Preheat oven, 180 degrees C.

Cut pumpkin into large pieces and place on prepared tray lined with baking paper or oil.  Put pumpkin in a bowl sprinkle with olive oil, salt and crushed garlic, mix until well coated then bake in oven 1 1/2 hours or until pumpkin is tender.  Cool slightly.  Scrape flesh from skin, avoiding any tough or crispy parts.  Place into a large mixing bowl and mash up.  Sift flour into bowl, mixing all of the time, then add parmesan and pepper.  Mix until combined.  Turn onto lightly floured surface, knead until smooth.  If it's very sticky just add more flour until it's smooth.

Divide dough in half.  Using floured hands, roll each half into a sausage about 40cm long.  Cut into equal pieces, not too big about half the size of your thumb.  If it's too big it's extra chewy to eat. Form each piece into an oval shape, indent with floured fork prongs.  If you want to prepare a few hours ahead of time, make sure you don't put all of the gnocchi in a big bowl, lay them out on a flat tray or surface to prevent them from sticking together, and sprinkle with flour.

Heat a large pan or two of water until boiling.  Gently lower batches of gnocchi into water. Cook until gnocchi rise to the surface and then 3 mins more.  Drain & keep warm.

Sage butter: melt butter in small pan, remove from heat and stir in chopped sage. Set aside for 5 mins, keep warm.

Serve gnocchi onto plates, drizzle with sage butter and sprinkle with extra parmesan.  It's delicious on it's own or with a light salad.  

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Slowly, slowly

ever so slowly...

....the spiders are dissappearing from our garden.

The leaves are changing.........

and falling........

and so is the rain.  I love Autumn.