Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Spiderman's apprentices

The boys are demonstrating one of the many uses of their new BMX gloves...

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Julian Beever - chalk artist

Julian Beever is an English pavement artist who does the most amazing chalk drawings. His pictures take on a 3D effect, and the ones I have posted here are just a selection.
Batman and Robin to the rescue!
Hole in the ground - people are actually walking around it to avoid stepping in the hole....

My next project?

This quilt is called Annie's Garden and the pattern is made by Material Obsession. I think it would be a perfect bedspread for Lucie's room. So, now all I have to do to justify starting it is to finish all my UFO's....

Monday, 27 August 2007

quilting humour

Yep.... this just about sums it up :)

Friday, 24 August 2007

The Travelogue is ready!!!

We arrived home late Wed evening and Thursday disappeared in a bit of a blur of emptying suitcases and wandering around in a post-travel haze. The flight home was looooooong, but the children were amazing again. We went from a jam-packed flight Helsinki-Hong Kong to a very roomy Cathay Pacific flight HK-Sydney. We had 2 middle rows to ourselves and so the children were able to spread out and sleep. Thomas slept for a full 6 hours, while Jake whole-heartedly embraced the on flight personal entertainment system and watched movies, played games, listened to music etc. Lucie played happily with her new Polly Pocket toys. These are her latest favourite and a very handy size for travelling as the name might indicate. Although...... it was a bit of a stinker to crawl around the floor between the seats hunting for the pieces that fell down.

I have given our travelling experience some thought and decided that travelling around the world with my children can be made easier by - a good supply of biscuits, snacks, toys, friendly cabin-crew and favourite cuddly toys. Note to self - next time wear tomato pasta sauce coloured top since this will better hide the splodges of airplane food...

Anyway - I found myself sleepless on the 2nd night home, and since the boys both woke up at 3am to keep me company, I decided to make good use of the time. First I tucked the boys up in the sofa in front of the TV for a bit of DVD watching. Then I made a call to Serena in London (lovely to talk to you!!!!) before finally settling down with a mug of hot chocolate (failed to make me sleepy) and a bit of blogging. I decided to present most of our holiday in a travelogue. Because I could only post 4 photos at a time due to the size (should probably downsize next time), the travelogue is spread over multiple posts - but easily identifiable by their titles. Hope you enjoy living our experience vicariously!

Norway experience - our house....

This house was built by my great-grandfather in the late 1800's and it was modernised somewhat after WWII. My great uncle lived here and when widowed his sister moved here. She was a keen gardener and the house was famous for having the most spectacular garden in the area. It was full of flowers from spring until late autumn. There was also an abundance of fruits, berries and vegetables.
My great-uncle used to fish in the fjord, and provided them and visitors with a seemingly endless supply of fresh salmon which was enjoyed in the traditional Norwegian way..... poached and served with potatoes and vegetables.

This photo and the next one were taken at 9.30pm... so as you can see, a month after midsummer it is already starting to get dark early..............

The boatshed/woodshed with our little vegepatch in front. It was great to pull out fresh potatoes out of the ground for dinner.

Here is the bigger view with the barn on the left. It is complete with a 3-seater outhouse. This amused the children no end.
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Norway experience - conquering the mountain

The children desperately wanted to go up one of the mountains surrounding us. We thought we had better pick a small one for starters. But I needn't have worried. The boys raced up the hillside like little mountain goats (must be the Norwegian genes) and Lucie followed at a slightly slower pace due to shorter legs and frequent stops to pick and eat blueberries - Lucie's new favourite berry.

On the way up we found the dam for the little hydroelectricity plant that serves the local area.

Here are the children at the top enjoying a well-earned snack of the best chocolate on earth. (No, not Lindt or Valrhona but FREIA!)
Our house is down by the sea, a little to the right of where Jake is sitting.

On the way back to the house we came across the biggest sandpile ever. It just had to be scaled, of course!
Here is Jake making his way down (note the hand sticking up at the top of the pile - this is Thomas making his way up...)

And here is Thomas..... This method of descent was purely accidental and his face was a picture! He had to shake a bit of sand out of his daks afterwards and was lucky not to have lost his shorts on the way down. That would probably have been uncomfortable.....
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Norway experience - waterfall

This lovely little spot was 30 min drive and then another 30 min walk from us.
The water is fairly icy in temperature as it runs off the mountain. It proved a little too cold and deep for us to get behind the waterfall, but next time I might brave it....

The kids had to go in the water, of course. Morfar now knows why I always bring spare clothes whenever we go on an outing...

Another shot from the river - the boys were determined to walk the length of the river.

The waterfall in its full length.
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Norway experience - Hunderfossen Family park

Panning for gold like Jake's namesake ancestor Jacob Moule.

Meanwhile Thomas had fun learning how to manouvre a fork-lift....

Then a digger.......

And finally a Mercedes SL500.....
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Norway experience - Hunderfossen family park

Lucie enjoyed her time at the Shell driving school. The area had traffic lights, a petrol station, pedestrian crossings etc. Lucie ran red lights, drove the wrong way around the roundabout and generally had a wonderful time!
The pools and waterslides had water heated to 26 degrees, so the children had a great time while morfar and I were a little chillier in the 16 degree air.

Lucie ventured out into the big pool and worried the lifeguards somewhat. I don't think they are used to 4 year olds being able to swim...

And....... here comes Jake......


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Norway experience - Little Possum....

The stream that runs by the house provided hours of entertainment. It was lovely that the children had the opportunity for play and games that didn't involve electronics.
After a busy morning playing around in the stream or in the sea, there was nothing like a little rest in the sun.
This particular rock was a favourite hang-out. I think it's official name was PHQ5 (Pokemon HQ no 5 - there were another 5 PHQ's around the property.... mostly along the stream or the seafront)

LP climbing what used to be the foundations of a summer barn in the mountains.
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Norway experience - Turtle....

There is nothing quite like a stream and a drain for hours of fun..... water levels went up dramatically after a few days of heavy rain, and Little Possum played "Pooh-sticks" (Serena, you will know what this is! :)

Turtle was by far the most devoted to the stream - practically an inhabitant of the drain.
Turtle is very strong and was able to put his muscles to good use when helping Morfar mow the lawn. ("Lawning", as LP calls it)
Turtle the adventurer is surveying the area on a little outing to the Atlantic Road area
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Norway experience - Doodlebug....

The children now know where Santa's reindeer camp out when it's not Christmas.......

In the absence of suitable trees, one can always find alternatives...... like climbing up the roof on top of the shed.......

A bit of drift wood shaped like a 'J' was a special find.... "sadly" it could not come home to Sydney with us
The place has an abundance of berry bushes - raspberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants and strawberry plants. This bush here was the favourite though as Doodlebug developed a liking for gooseberries. (Joke: what's small and hairy and goes up and down? A gooseberry in a lift..........)
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Norway experience - water......

The children braved the fjord which was a little chillier than earlier in the summer. Turtle was a little nervous about the possibilities of a shark having followed us from Sydney, but we all agreed that the water in Norway was too cold and that a shark wouldn't like it. We did have a school (?) of porpoises one morning, though!
My little vikings conquering the fjord and the seaweed.
Morfar's boat was popular and we had several trips out on the fjord. The children all had a go at helping to steer which was a lot of fun.
"I feel the need - the need for speed!!!" LP has shown herself to be another little adrenaline junkie and morfar had to keep a moderating hand on the rudder and the accelerator.....
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