Travels up North

Continuing our adventures in Melbourne for the rest of the week I caught up with my friends for playdates with the kids and of course. In St Kilda we had lunch at Dr Jekyll – my friend and I had the perfectly poached eggs with sumac and other delicacies. The kids scoffed down a lamb sausage roll. I caught up with other friends for fish and chips on Sunday and a dinner at their place on Thursday evening.

We enjoyed a TacoTuesday celebration with our good friends after a lovely chilly winter stroll to the beach to view the amazing sunset. Our dinner was enhanced with the New Zealand speciality pavlova with lemon curd and blueberries.

Later in the week, we met another friend for lunch at Supernormal – an upscale Asian restaurant in Flinders Lane. The boys enjoyed ramen and I enjoyed a super tasty lobster roll and raw kingfish and citrus sashimi and I drank the Fake Bews which was almond, pineapple and bitters which was very refreshing, I actually do miss having bitters as a drink option so I grab the opportunity when I am back home in Oz.

Oh and here is the Totoro crochet I made for my nephew! This guy took longer than I planned and was made in Adelaide, Melbourne and completed in Brisbane!! I do love the way it turned out in the end as I was a bit concerned as I ran out of grey yarn so he has black gloves on plus the grey tones change with the tail and the ears as the acrylic I was using throughout only made it to the bottom of his body.

The trip to the sunshine coast to meet the many animals Millie, the dogs Sailor and Leo and the koala. The kids had a blast together playing hide and seek in my sister’s house.

Our beach time at the Sunshine Coast is super special as the day we planned to go to Noosa – which I do not recommend even though it is so beautiful, it is packed with people and parking is hard to find. After the plan, I read that you can park at Sunrise beach and then walk to Noosa through the National Park and catch the bus back, such a cool idea for a day trip. The kids love the water so they were in for a swim, it was too cold for me!! I love the many vistas of just being at the beach and it makes me so happy to be there.

After the rain the day was spectacular and we went for lunch at the Chenrezig Institute in Eudlo, which is the hinterland up in the mountainous region of the Sunshine Coast. The energy there was just mellow after wrangling the children the time we had up there was chilled out and the lunch of a vegan shepherds pie, steamed seasonal vegetables and salad was so warming. Their temple for meditation space would have been perfect if the kids would have joined in though it looked like there was a workshop happening for the day. I would happily go back again and volunteer in the future.

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My sister and I have had such a special time together and it was wonderful to be hanging out at her pad in Buderim with a super cold pool which would be amazing in the summertime. I know the time we spend together I have to cherish but as I will be coming home next year, I can make it up over the winter to escape the Melbourne chill and enjoy the time together with my nephew.

Thursday was a big day out to Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World – these pictures captured the fun we had with our aviary tour and the parrots hanging out with us. The gardens were fun to wander around and provided many picture opportunities of the three cousins! The views of the Glasshouse mountains from the gardens was just the best. Oh, the female red-tail black cockatoo was a highlight for me and she just enjoyed her perch way up high observing everyone!

In the evening we went to Mooloolaba to Elixiba a plant-based restaurant and dining experience for a friends birthday. I was so excited to see a sparkler on her raw cheesecake with berries that we all tried. I had this cool colour changing cocktail called the using house-made chameleon lemonade. The food was fresh and tasty and the coco-mari a rif on calimari using coconut shreds was so moreish.

Our last day up the coast was to visit the farmers market and to enjoy a potato rosti I had only heard about and was hanging out to try. This was the spanner crab omelette with the crab caught off Fraser Island served with Asian herbs and chilli, absolutely divine and disappeared in seconds! And then it was time to say goodbye to Aunty where we took the train back to our place in Redcliffe to be with my family and enjoy some chilled out time at an Air Bnb with a highlight of Christmas in July coming up on Sunday.

 

 

 

 

Surprise food encounters

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We did a side trip to Adelaide and the pics were on my phone and I downloaded all the action today, now I can document the eating adventure we had with our family. We hit the airport nice and early for our flight to Adelaide from Melbourne and it was cancelled so we had a nice long 4-hour wait at the airport, it sucks when we could have been sleeping or watching Teen Titans at our other Air Bnb.

Anyway after exhausting all the fun stuff at Tullamarine airport including a Metalicus 90% off sale – a sad sale as they will no longer exist! I also found Pressed Juices who had the most delicious selection of juice plus many vegan and vegetarian options so I was happy. We were flying Jetstar only to change to a Qantas flight so we scored some extra food on the plane which was great. In Adelaide, we stayed at an old fire station which could sleep 8 people but it worked out as we were close to our relatives. There are my new favourite boots by the “fire hose place”. We enjoyed meeting our relatives at a cafe by the beach but it was ice cold to be anywhere on the beach so we stayed inside and enjoyed a macchiato and hot chocolate.

Oh and the cold does make me super hungry so I found this wonderful vegetarian option of beet hummus with halloumi and rocket topped with balsamic, yummo at the Grange Jetty Cafe.

We only had a couple of fun days with Grandma Jane and Grandpa Lloyd and Callie so we enjoyed as many eating opportunities as we could by visiting Sarah’s Sisters, a sustainable cafe way before its time with many vegetarian options on the menu and wine in a sunlit space by the nursery with an alpaca and chickens. I was hanging out for a salad due to the amount of junk food I have been eating whilst travelling. Missy is wearing the beginnings of a Totoro amigurumi I made for my nephew.

On our final day in Adelaide, we went out to Marion to check out the gallery and enjoy some more food with a latte and cappuccino with some yummy food before we hit the airport again. Australians really know how to make a good coffee!

Oh and our day out to the Botanical Gardens and Sugar Republic where our lunch was captured at a 24 hour ramen place called Shujinko where I enjoyed a cold ramen on a cold Melbourne day. The rest of the family had the ramen and really enjoyed it, though they always compare it to Sha La La in Mountian View where they have been spoilt. I wanted to document the many food dates we had in Adelaide and Melbourne that I had not covered as yet, ta da done!!

 

From Melbourne to the Sunshine Coast

At the end of the week, we moved into the second leg of our Australia trip 2018! After a week of enjoying the chilly winter weather in Melbourne and catching up with friends, it was time to go our separate ways. We said our farewells as a family at Tullamarine airport my hubby flew back to the Bay and I headed up to Brisbane to spend a week with my sister and nephew at the Sunshine Coast.

For one of our first outings at the coast, the children enjoyed Wildlife HQ interacting with Australian native animals, they especially loved the free range kangas, emus and wallabies. My new point and shoot came in handy and I managed to get some beautiful pics and I found this super cool pic of a mama and baby koala – sweet!

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Wildlife HQ was the perfect size to take little kids with each area marked out neatly to allow an easy trek through the animals. The South-American area was super cool with the tamarin monkeys going nutzo in their enclosures – these cotton top tamarins were chilling in the afternoon sun.

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Like a bunch of old gentlemen, these emperor tamarins were sitting in their enclosure chatting away.

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There were two friendly mini horses and we all loved this guys hairdo!

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The rooster was hilarious with his constant crowing all day and indeed he was certainly a very handsome guy!

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Other friends we were allowed to pet were the Wallabies and pademelons, super soft and cute.

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Ash really enjoyed patting the emus, I had no idea how huge they were and at least these guys were very friendly.

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At Wildlife HQ there are animal encounters and for the kids, we decided to do a group koala pic as our sitter just loved koalas. Missy was the holder of the koala and she said it was the weight of a baby.

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Ash’s fave animal the meerkat in action.

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An animal I had never seen before from South East Asia reminded me of a cat lazing out there in the sunshine.

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Koalas were definitely our highlight even though they only stay awake 2 hours of the day and the rest of the time they are sleeping after they enjoy their feast of eucalyptus leaves.

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On entry you have the option to feed the animals and buy a bag of feed for around $1, the animals know and they know the sound of the bag and will happily come to you for a small fest of hay.

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For our first day in Queensland, we enjoyed a beautiful sunny day with the kids at the ocean and where the kids loved wave jumping between the flags.

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We travelled to Chambers island for lunch and enjoyed low tide on the Maroochydore river, catching a glimpse of some wildlife – the amazing pelican.

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We were sad to say our farewell to Melbourne on Saturday after all the fun we had with friends and food. This beauty was the on the ceiling of our Air BnB.

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Our wanderings around Albert Park in the chilly weather I took my camera out to capture the wildlife around the place and found this rainbow lorikeet with its buddy in a tree hole nest.

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I love the magpies but I think it was a bit of a close call to be near them as they can attack if they are nesting, whew lucky for me check out that pointy beak!

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These lovelies are corellas and were digging about in the grass looking for their lunch.

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I always love to find the Moreton Bay fig trees as they are perfect photography specimens and the best trees to climb.

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On our walk we spied a flock of cockatoos and ended up finding them enjoying a feast by the golf course – this was shot across the road from where these birds were feasting.

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The wind was relentless the day we went for a walk around the lake the swan was battling the waves.

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The kids were all rugged up and thank goodness for my pussy hat to save the day.

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On taco Tuesday my friends came over so we went for a walk down to the beach and stayed until sunset and it was brilliant. Melbourne beaches in winter are stunning and completely empty except for the dog walkers.

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The girls enjoyed their time in the cold making a sandcastle on the deserted beach. All in all our time in Melbourne was so much fun and we now have a projected timeline for our house plan with the next stage of advertising to the neighbours and then the design finishes of the interiors and then to tender out to a builder! Proposed start of the project will be February 2019 with an estimated 8-month build. So I am feeling good and will be getting ready to leave to the USA mid-year 2019 and I am so happy to be getting out of there. Being home in Australia I am so grounded really feel it is time to come back home!

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Sweet as, alright!

 

Chilling out with the family in Melbourne over the winter we wanted to enjoy the sunshine when we had the opportunity so we headed on over to a fave place I used to frequent often years ago the Royal Botanical Gardens AKA The Tan.

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The kids were complaining about all the walking we were doing so we checked out Fern Gully, once a home to the flying foxes (they have been relocated to another park outside of the city) and the Guilfoyle’s volcano, which my daughter thought was a real volcano but she was a bit annoyed to find a volcano-shaped pool. I loved the design especially the water saving plants surrounding the pool. My son enjoyed touching the sharp cactus in his Pikachu hat.

While we were at the gardens we saw a cockatoo flying around – who knows what they are doing in the city these days? The botanical garden is a picturesque place to wander around and practice taking pics with my new camera.

After the gardens, we enjoyed ramen in the city and enjoyed our anniversary gift of a trip to Sugar Republic in Fitzroy. It was the Aussie version of the Museum of Ice Cream in SF, which I have never been to it is hard to get tickets – many of my friends have been and their pics are super cool.

This was so fun with spinning the wheel of treats to score some goodies, then we wandered into sugar heaven with a bag of wizz fizz – whew way too much sugar for me. After that hit, we enjoyed a charcoal cone of soft serve ice cream with sprinkles, mmmm! I have recently quit sugar so I was a bit high after all this and then I scored an iced vovo, yummo I have not had one in ages! The massive ice cream sculptures have one of my fave ice blocks a Golden Gaytime.

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We jumped out of a giant birthday cake in a room of confetti and each room was created by a different artist which made the flow of the space really fun.

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We really enjoyed the lolly shop with all the lollies that we used to score for $1 at the milk bar. The wall of neon was super cool with many treats including fairy bread, I must say this was the prettiest neon I have ever seen and I live in the land of neon in the US of A.

 

On our exit, we enjoyed some time in the ball pit of bubblegum bubbles, where it was important to take off all your accessories otherwise they would disappear to the bottom of the pool! The kids were very excited and really enjoyed the ball pit where they told us to swim under the balls, scary stuff!!

It will be our 12th anniversary on July 23rd and we will be on either side of the world so our celebration was to enjoy our time together with the family at Sugar Republic.

The kids were swinging in the fairy floss room, it would have been so good to get some fairy floss too as part of the sugar high.

 

We had such a fun time eating sugar and getting the sugar high with the sweet of the day musk sticks! The cool thing about Sugar Republic was that it was at a warehouse where the Macrobertson factory once stood back in the day and there was a wonderful story about “white city” that once stood in the streets of Melbourne – the home of Freddo Frog and Cherry Ripe. In the story, I liked how the owner of the factory wore a white suit and hat and rode around in a carriage pulled by two white ponies.

 

Summer to winter in one day

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The summer annual sandpit fun was happening at the park on a very hot 32-degree day for the summer holidays. We have finally arrived in Melbourne after a very long flight across the ocean to winter in Australia.

We landed in Sydney nice and early and transferred to a flight to Melbourne early morning. We arrived in Melbourne and kept awake for the day by going for a 30-minute walk to the shops to get our food for dinner and on the way, the kids found this Moreton Bay Fig and it even had a ladder.

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Today we wandered around our new neighbourhood for the next couple of weeks and went to Albert Park lake to check out the views of the city, and it did not disappoint. The birds were in action on the lake, and the kids loved the black swans. My fave the Magpies were in action as well as the rainbow lorikeets. This green guy way up in the tree is a Musk Lorikeet, still loud as ever enjoying a breakfast feast. The kids always enjoy Melbourne with parks to wander through and always an interesting playground to play in. This is the beginning of a very relaxing and fun break.

Going wild in nature

Well, my first week of the summer holidays was just a dream with catching up on so much stuff – namely sewing! It was so good to feel so free and not have any responsibilities of going to work or even study! I still need the calendar to get the kids to their chicken duties and the like but nothing dramatic. In exchange for credit card points, I got my hands on the Nikon Coolpix P900, this is a recommendation from a friend of mine in Queensland when we visited and I was blown away with the pictures of the kangaroos with their joeys.  This camera has the convenience of a point and shoot camera with a 24mm to 2000mm lens that is lightweight and perfect for travel. The pictures above are a few of the earlier shots in the day of a favourite subject of mine, birds – who knew!!

Here are my little monkeys in a paperbark tree striking their Anime poses – I love this camera to capture these shots when the kids are high up in a tree.

From afar I was checking out the Canada Geese taking their bath on the shore of the lake, the zoom in on the detail of the water over the feathers is spectacular. The best part of this is that we went out for a picnic by the lake for Fathers Day and I had the camera sitting in the basket of my bike as we were on the trail and whenever we found something to photograph we hopped off the trail to check it out – like these ducklings and a mama duck. The butterfly was a random find and I had no idea this little guy had broken wings until I looked at the image later.

The highlight for me for the day was going to see the baby egrets on Shorebird Way where Google has closed off the street for a few months so they can nest in peace high in the trees. I have always wanted to see these birds close up and now I can, it was so exciting! Again we just parked our bikes and hung out with the wildlife show, it felt like a David Attenborough episode in real life.

Afterwards, my son and I enjoyed time out in the big chair at the Google employee park next door with a couple of crocodiles and the bikes of many colours.

Today I was on a mission to take pictures of the ladies at McClellan Ranch as the kids cleaned out the chicken coop. I took a wander around the farm and found baby goats doing yoga on mama. The market pigs are getting ready for their time at the show, I asked Missy what she sees when she looks at the pigs and she said bacon! It is hard for me as a vegetarian but one day they can decide on their own whether they would like to keep on eating animals. Plus I had no idea how beautiful pidgeons could be until I was photographing them today. The quails in the coop are Flash and Steve, they just need a lady friend.

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It has been quite an eventful week after all with the new camera and getting out an about checking out what Mountain View and the surrounds has to offer. The best thing is getting on my bike and photographing whatever I find on the trail, I had been meaning to take my camera down the trail but my Canon camera has such a heavy lens but now I have no excuse for taking a crap picture with my phone camera of a rabbit on the trail. Next stop Australia and I will be taking some pictures of some flying foxes for my friend in O-town.

Journey to a new destination

Last week it was time to say farewell to my life as a teacher assistant and get back to my life as mama and student. I made little gifts for the 14 1st graders I worked with by getting them a ball of yarn each to do finger knitting over the summer. And for the kinder kids I made them a kumihimo loom with some extra thread to practice counting and to get crafty.

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The staff at Ventana sent me off with this lovely book as a farewell gift, it was sad to say goodbye to all the lovely people who work there. This dinner is a beyond meat sausage with porcini mushrooms and fennel over a bed of brown rice noodles.

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This amigurumi koala was made for our sitter and friend L who looked after the kids while I was working. I was so lucky to find her to take the kids to their after-school classes and the like and take care of my kids as if they were her own, they will really miss her too!

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Saturday I was ready for some me time so I got on my bike and rode the trail on a cloudy morning. I found this little guy moving fast as ever on the trail.

Saturday we headed on over to Spring Lake Regional Park in Santa Rosa for a group camping with our school. It was a great weekend away and perfect timing to get away. We stopped off at Petaluma for some delicious pie for lunch both savory and sweet. For dinner it was a potluck and I made a mexican inspired black bean salad which disappeared quickly.

As the group site was booked up when we decided to go we stayed at this beautiful cabin for $98 a night (including reservation fees) – in the pics you can see the interior with a bunk bed and a double bed so it fit the 4 or us perfectly. Friends of ours joined in the fun and camped next door, so a total of 8 people can stay at this spot. There were super cool details, with solar lights on the balcony, a little broom cupboard, a table for your goods plus a seat for your bags so it was super spacious inside. We sat out on the balcony in the morning and enjoyed a mug of oatmeal with mixed nuts and maple syrup watching the hawk hanging out in the tree.

Before we left we went on down to the lake for a swim as it was a hot day and met an evil swan guarding the canoes, kayaks and SUP boards. The kids enjoyed the cool water and if you were there all day you can hang out at the water park for $10.

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We are now back in our regular routine of feeding the chickens and doing the chores each week, it was so good to see the little ladies out and about dust bathing in the sunshine.

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Back to mama time and time in the kitchen I made this delicious crumble with coconut whipped cream and nuts. It feels so good to be free with my time and I am thankful for the time I had with my work but I really appreciated to be a master of my own time now.

 

School is almost over…

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I am counting down the days of my work as my kids are already on summer holidays as they finished for the next 11 weeks – yep 11 weeks holiday! And in just 19 days we will be spending over 4 of those weeks in Australia, I am getting excited!!! I will be finishing my work gig as it was a substitute position for the school year and next year I will be spending more time at my daughter’s school as it is her last year there and we will be moving back home to Australia, so it is going to be BIG!!

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Last week was the culmination of our Bee Play for the Kinder class where the kids made their wings out of a coat hanger, tulle and sewed the lines/veins with black yarn. We attached them to their body like a backpack with a crossover back with elastic and put felt around the elastic and the joined coathanger to make it smooth. It was quite a fun little project to work with the kids – they all enjoyed the sewing part! I would have to say the tricky part was stapling the tulle onto the wire coathangers which took up a fair amount of time after school! The kids dyed their white t-shirts with our art teacher and later painted black stripes on them.

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Here is the play on the chapel stage complete with a backdrop the kids painted – I was switching out the backdrop from the meadow to the hive and the sun was stuck on there when it stopped raining. It was a super fun production! There is a farmer in the hat and the beekeeper is somewhere on stage too.

 

I am enjoying the last few times I will be visiting the church at Ventana – it is just beautiful inside, the stained glass is spectacular.

The 1st-grade kids I work with were weaving with sticks to make these really cool art pieces with our super art teacher Jess. She has these really long yarn needles and the kids made a warp tension across the sticks and then weaved in some coloured yarn, I will have to try some of these over the summer holidays as I have yarn and we can go in search for some interesting sticks when we go for bike rides.

There was a lot of fun with yarn too with the Kinders and the kids played this game of throwing a yarn ball across the closing circle to make a star. Afterwards, they had to roll the yarn back up remembering who they had sent it too, tricky but it was super cool fun.

 

Thursday I went out with my friends for an early summer birthday to Amber India which was so good to catch up. We had some delicious cocktails and the dinner was tasty with okra and roti and many curries. We will catch up again after summer to share our summer adventure stories.

 

Summer is here on an off and I did an early Saturday ride and it was so beautiful and still, I captured Hangar 1 in reflection and saw some beautiful bunnies on the trail and here is my amazing dinner from Friday of okonomiyaki with fresh basil, tomatoes and salad – yummy!

I was so happy to see Saturday as it was time to get into my final draft of my last paper for University on Contemporary Perspectives of Learning and Development for Early Childhood. It was a reflection, an education philosophy with the idea of writing this for a potential employer about what educational approaches I am interested in. Of course, it is Reggio, PBL and Waldorf-Steiner – all hands on with a focus on community.

 

Finally, Saturday afternoon came, after a day of editing my paper I got out to the park to the ice cream social with the neighbourhood. The fire truck sprayed water on the crowd on a 33-degree day which was super cooling. While I was enjoying a nice vodka cocktail with my friends. The kids were getting painted by my friend Susan (who was also my ceramics teacher), she was kept super busy for her time there and Missy wanted a bobcat and it looks amazing.

Some good times are ahead this summer!!

 

Little bit of this and that!

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There has been some good food around of late and the day I really love during the week is Taco Tuesday with the easy meal of opening a box of frozen fish putting it in the oven, getting some tortillas on the grill and making a quick slaw with the food processor grating attachment. They really save me on a Tuesday when I have come home from work and have exercised and I am starving. So my diet is now officially over after 90 days to tone my body and I feel fit and healthy, my recovery after exercise is way better plus I know how to eat to feel full and that is to eat every 3 hours. For a healthy snack, I eat whole foods such as Greek yoghurt and fruit and for lunch a protein, grain and salad – I discovered that whole grains are not the enemy they keep me sustained for a period of time. My pants are looser and I am sleeping very well, especially with the addition of golden milk (which I found in Australia a couple of years ago!) to help with sleep. It has been great to get into a routine each day of work, exercise, cook dinner and study/catch up on chores and bed. Sometimes exercise can be so hard, but it is so worth it as it makes me feel so much better and able to handle whatever weirdness is going on around me.

 

At work, the kids in the Kindergarten class have been studying bees and they had a visit from the legendary beekeeper Deb from Girlzwurk it was wonderful to meet her and give her a hug for all the amazing work she is doing with rescuing bees! She said she has around 3 million bees at her property up in the Saratoga hills – amazing! It has been an incredible experience for the kids to learn about bees and this week they will be presenting their information in a play for the school to enjoy!

 

This is artwork from the 1st-grade class that was created with our art teacher Jess – the children were inspired by what they made for the village project. Each piece has turned out beautifully!

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Finally, over the weekend we got to enjoy some summer heat and be out in the garden and I found some of these flowers growing on the fence with a huge stash of little passionfruits growing on the vine and it looks like a bumper crop this year! They are such amazing flowers, it is the perfect attractant for bees.

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While I have been writing my reflection for my 3rd and final assignment for this teaching period, my daughter and my hubby were making Pusheen doughnuts in the kitchen and this is how they turned out! They had a fun time making them but I somehow feel that you need that thin synthetic chocolate to coat these things, the melted chocolate became weird as my hubby learnt a lesson about putting water into melted chocolate as it thickens it up! Still, I think this is a good effort for the first time of making fancy doughnuts 😀