Thursday, March 28, 2013

Tasmania- The Tree Walk

Wishing Tree
This is something that would usually be out of my element. If you know me, you know I'm not the largest fan of heights.  I mean, I don't mind flying, or being on the top floor of a building, but I am not a fan of roller coasters, or bridges that can swing going of little rivers.  Walking through the trees on little walkways isn't so bad. The bridges that could swing, and the people with you  tried to scare the pee out of me, not so much my cup of tee.  With that said, there isn't a whole lot to say about the tree walk, other than, you walk along the tops of these REALLY old trees, and look around at a perspective that you are not used to.  They had these massive flies that were really annoying, but other than that, it was a great time, and again, I'm so glad we had Laura as a travel guide because that isn't an activity I would have planned. 

After walking on  the trees, we decided we needed to go see the largest tree in Australia.  I mean, you would have too right?  Well, these pictures don't do this thing justice.  It was HUGE.  Now it wasn't the tallest, nor the oldest tree, but it was the biggest.  Sadly, the platform was closed for repairs, so we couldn't get that close to it, but we saw enough.   HUGE.
Andrew didn't care about a closed platform.  Crazy Aussies!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Hop Hop

The Easter Bunny had to prepare his visit a little earlier than usual.  He is going to be out of town until Saturday afternoon.  Needless to say, I'm very proud of myself this year for being done in advance.  Though like I said, it was a necessity. 

Doing the boys baskets was pretty fun this year.  I had a good time last year, but this year I got to get them each stuff that is for them.  Granted, some of the things I did are obviously for both of them.  I try to not be the kind of mom who buys two of everything, I don't want my kids being thirty and demanding they each get their own.  They need to learn to share and play together!  Of course, if I bought two of everything, I'd probably hear a lot less" Mama, bubba took my, _____" anyway.  Most of their stuff came out of the dollar bins, though I did "Spring" for some more fun stuff.

Let me preface by saying, a few weekends ago, Adam and I finally bought them a swing set that will be delivered and set up on Monday.  So I didn't want to go too overboard.  But I do remember getting baskets every year from my parents, so it's a tradition I would like to keep.  Now I just have to figure out a way to do an egg hunt at home between, them waking up late, and having to rush to church, then brunch, then naps.  Who knows. 

Dylan's Basket:
 Fox and the Hound 1 & 2 - (He is super into movies right now)
Dinosaur Dr. Seuss book
Mickey water color book
large chocolate dinosaur egg from Tasmania
little bottle of bubble bath
plastic rake
rubber ducky and some new bath squirters that were split between them
 new tooth brush
In the eggs are some socks
a magnifying glass
Not pictured ( Go Diego Go Wii game)

Graham's Basket
Where are Baby's Easter Eggs ( the flap books are his favorite)
Two other Easter Books ( Reading is this kids favorite past time
new tooth brush
plastic watering can
Rubber Ducky
Some bath fizz tablets
Inside the eggs, some socks, and a little bag of M&M's
Bath squirters
 I think they turned out pretty cute this year, and I know that Dylan will love looking through everything, and pulling it all out, I know for a fact Graham will, because he did when I was taking pictures of them!:)

I even did a basket for Adam this year.  I used to do one every year in high school and college, then I just stopped, but in the off chance he looks at this before Easter, I won't be posting it!:)
Do you have your baskets done this year?  Or need ideas?  Hop on over to The Good Life Blog's "Easter Basket Blog Hop"

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tasmania- The Museum

Our next destination was Tasmania.  Hobart to be precise.  This was probably my favorite place we went, lots of history, good food, and well it was just a perfect little place.  Laura did a great job of picking our hotel.  We were within a block of lots of great restaurants, and little shops, and the famous Saturday market.

The handicap parking at the museum
We obviously had to fly to get there, and what I loved so much was the lack of restrictions on Australian airlines.  You don't have to take your shoes off, you can carry liquid on, we carried a bottle of wine on board on the way back, you don't have to take coats or anything off.  It was so simple. Though they do random bomb screenings and Adam was lucky enough to get picked. 
Car made of fat
The first activity we did in Hobart was visit the MONA museum.  It is the Museum of Old and New Art.  It was cool.  It also had a winery ( Tasmania is known for their Pinot Noir) and a Brewery.  We were all a little worn out after walking the 3 story museum, and we were hungry so there wasn't a ton of drinking to be had. 

The museum had lots of great views, and well, most of the pictures from this outing were taken by Adam, so you can see things from his perspective!

One other thing we did while in Tasmania, which I have no pictures of, so I'll mention now is visit the Cadbury Factory.  I had no idea that Cadbury was based there, but it was cool.  We learned about how they make their candy, then visited the little on site store and bought some goodies for the boys, and well for us as well!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Mama Favorites

Another addition of my favorites.  Since Dylan was a baby, I've purchased fruit and veggie pouches.  You've seen these right?  They go for about $1.50 each, but they are always on sale, so I never pay that much for them.  They are a great way to get some great veggies into otherwise picky eaters.  I was not blessed with a child who wants to each spinach or salad.  Dylan will eat the basic veggies, corn, peas, green beans, and the occasional asparagus if he gets it from his grandparents. 

These pouches are great.  Quick, easy, I can throw them in my bag for a snack.  I love them.  But they get expensive.  Thanks to Pinterest, I realized someone was smart enough to come up with some reusable ones.  I wish it were me people!  I put some on my Christmas list!  I picked Squooshies. They are cute, come in a couple different sizes. 

I obviously have not made baby food purees to put in them or anything, but I do like that I can buy a HUGE tub of Greek yogurt and fill them up for a snack during the day.  No mess from the boys eating with spoons themselves, or I can fill them with applesauce to take in the car with us!  Overall I would recommend these because they make life a little less messy, and it helps get some good veggies in your kiddos' if they are still young enough eat purees you are making.

Please excuse the pictures, Graham was far more interested in eating than being photogenic!:)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Up to our ears

Right before we left for Australia, we got an itch to do some house projects.  Mostly things that would make some of our rooms more functional.  We have a formal living and dining room, which get used maybe twice a year.  The Christmas tree resides in the formal living room during the holidays, and other than that, it's not ever used.  The landing in the upstairs is also a no man's land.  It's toy overflow, even though the playroom is right off of it.  Eventually it will be where a pool table, or fuzeball table or something goes.  We don't need to put a TV, because the media room is also right off of it.  So we were trying to think of ways to make it more  functional, and look like it was a finished room.  In comes pinterest, and Ikea.  The weekend before we left for Australia, we made a trip to Ikea where we purchased several bookcases, with plans to make them look like built ins.  A month later, we have no only added to our list of projects, but we have yet to finish the ones we started:/  We have purchased a swing set/play set, that I was lucky enough to talk Adam out of putting together himself, I have ordered and started to update the boys picture wall(The last picture of Dylan was one when he turned one, and Graham was 3 months in his last one). We have also started picking out a wall color, which if you know us, is a LONG process.  Just like the picking out

of fabric for pillow's and bench seat on the landing.  We are hoping that we get a good amount done this weekend, with at least one of them.  The pillow's are being worked on by a friend now, so hopefully we will be able to get these crossed off the list.  I hate having Dylan and Adam's tools laying around the house all the time!:)

Needless to say, we are up to our ears in projects.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Hunter

View from our apartment window
Our next stop was a two hour drive from Sydney.  The Hunter Valley.  Wine Region.  Could it be bad?  We were there for four days, drank lots of wine, ate lots of good food, went to the spa, Adam played a round of golf, and we drank lots of wine.  That was the theme, obviously.

This was my first time doing a true wine tasting.  I've never been to Napa, though it is very high on our list of places to go.  It was interesting, and I quickly learned that I couldn't in fact drink all of every wine they gave me, even if it was pretty good.  The tricky part about going to winery's when you are our of the country is, that there is a limit to what you can bring back, without paying for them of course.  Going into Australia, you couldn't bring back more than 2.5 bottles, without paying taxes. So we assumed that it would be the same for going into the US.  Several years ago, after our European vacation, I remembered that each person could bring I think it was 3 bottles back.  So I assumed we were good.  After looking into it, apparently, you can only legally bring in 1 liter of alcohol into the US without being charged.  Any who, back to the story.

This was such a funny winery
The second winery we went to, we HAD to buy a bottle.  It was so good.  In fact, Laura and Andrew ended up going back the last day and buying a case of that particular one!  It was that good.  After that first bottle, things just got rolling.  We worried about how much to buy and where, knowing that there was also wine in Tasmania, which of course we could buy as well.  So we didn't want to go overboard in Hunter.  We visited several places, some good, some bad.  Some with bad salesman, which I don't buy from. But overall, I think we left the Hunter Valley with 5 or 6 bottles of wine.  Way more than they say you can bring back free of charge.  We were willing to take the risk.  We mostly bought wines that you can only get at Cellar Doors.  Meaning, they don't sell them to "bottle shops" as they call them there, and they certainly don't export them to the US.  We were very happy with our purchases, though I needed a few days of not drinking wine.:)

Stay Tuned for Tasmania.  We did cool things there guys!:)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Let's go fly a kite....

For a while now, Adam and I had been saying " We should get Dylan a kite, I bet he would love that!" So finally when I saw a stack of HUGE ones at Costco for like $12, I let him pick one out.  I think we lucked out that he didn't pick the princess one, since he loves princesses and all, but he picked a dragon doesn't get much more boy than that.  Sure enough, he was super excited to go fly it, but we had to wait until the weather was nice.  Lucky for him, that was only a few days.

The weekends, besides this last one, have been pretty nice since we got home.  So we loaded up and headed to the neighborhood park before my soccer game.  We were going to go to the "big park" but they have no trees and it would have been WAY to windy.  Our park was perfect.

He loved flying the kite by himself, though didn't understand that you couldn't fly it while swinging, so it was a struggle for him to decide.  He chose the swing, with the promise that we could fly the kite once more before heading home.

Overall, it was $12 well spent.  It's a nice and BIG kite, and it seems pretty durable.  So if you have a tiny tot, boy or girl, I recommend getting them a kite, though I'll be honest, it's pretty boring to fly a kite.  They don't do anything!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday Menu

Monday: Creamy Salisbury steak, mashed cauliflower, and roasted broccoli

Tuesday: Buffalo Chicken Quinoa, Salad

Wednesday: Light Shrimp scampi, Pasta, Salad

Thursday: Penne with Chicken Sausage and spinach, salad

Friday: Leftovers or take out

Saturday Breakfast: Ricotta pancakes with a berry compote

Saturday Dinner: Oven chicken fajitas, black beans, Mexican rice

Sunday Breakfast: Ham cups with Fruit

Sunday: Family dinner

Saturday, March 9, 2013


After a 19 hour flight, we finally made it to Australia.  We were spoiled and had amazing seats on the plane, so we were able to get some sleep so we were ready to hit the ground running when we met up with Laura and Andrew.  By hit the ground running I mean, I didn't need to pass out immediately.  There certainly were naps had for about the first week.  Sadly that's how long it took me to adjust to being on their time.

Acting manly on Manly beach!
The first four days of our visit were spent in Sydney, where Laura, Adam's sister lives.  Andrew her boyfriend had to work, so she was in charge of showing us the city.  We walked around, drove around, and ate at some yummy places. She of course took us to all the must sees.  The Bridge, and the opera house.  Side story, when she first moved to Australia, she worked for a catering company out of the Opera house.  Pretty cool huh?

Nothing but water, it's pretty amazing
We went to a few pretty popular beaches, one of which we needed to ride a ferry to.  That was pretty fun and relaxing.  Of course I don't get sea sick or anything, so it was nice to look out the windows, snap some pictures, and enjoy it. We went to Manly beach.  We did a walk around the water, ate and then sat and did some peope watching.  People watching is just as good, if not better in another country!

For Valentines day, her and Andrew treated us to an Aussie barbecue.  Which is just grilling.  It is summer there and they have an awesome porch, so we were able to eat grilled lamb and sausages on the porch and enjoy a great bottle of wine.

Birthday dinner cocktails
For my birthday, we had reservations at one of the top restaurants in the city.  Rock Pool.  The chef there is actually the chef who created the menu on the plane ride over.  We joked with Laura, that we weren't sure it could get better.  Oh but we were wrong.  Before heading to dinner though, we headed to a bar that was in the top of a hotel.  If it hadn't have been cloudy and rain in the distance, the views would have been better, but it was still nice.  It's a little strange doing things that people our age without kids do.  Like going to a bar for a few cocktails before heading to dinner.  Well at least on Tv they do that.

That sums up our day's in Sydney, we returned for a night after Hunter where Adam and I went to see a show in the Opera House.  It was La Soiree, really cute circus like show.  We had a great time! 
The day after my birthday, we packed up and headed to wine country in the Hunter Valley. Stay tuned for that!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Mama Favorites

I have a few mama favorites lined up, but this is one that I just thought about the other day.

I know "Mom jewelry" is quite a popular trend right now.  I've seen birthstone stacking rings, bracelets with initials, the pea pod necklaces, really people are coming up with lots of things.  For my first Mother's day Adam got me Blue topaz earrings and a matching necklace.  Obviously, it is Dylan's birthstone, now Graham's is opal.  Without even knowing that Graham's was opal, Adam wanted to get me something opal in Australia, it's their national gemstone, however, I'm not a big fan of opal and all of the ones that I liked were really pricey.:/ expensive taste I have.

 Either way, for Christmas I asked for a Tiffany Initial necklace, with both the boys initials.  They had a few different styles of letters so I let Adam pick.  He picked two of these round pendants.  I have gotten many compliments on it, and I wear it everyday.  So if you were looking for some mom jewelry, check out initial necklaces.  I can't tell you how much I  love mine.  They are simple and clean and even though I have two on one chain it doesn't look silly or anything.  Love them!

Friday, March 1, 2013


two weeks gone,
three cities visited,
five hotel rooms slept in,
five pounds gained, literally,
six bottles of wine brought home, countless consumed,
twelve up and downs on planes,
hundreds of pictures taken,
many miles walked,
Valentines day,
a 28th birthday celebrated.

We are so lucky to have been given this opportunity to get a break from the boys and an amazing Australian vacation that was everything and more we could have expected.  But alas, we are home and adjusting back to the real world. 
I hope to update y'all on our trip in a timely manner, but yeah, probably not going to happen!