Pocketful of Sunshine

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The time finally came to say goodbye to a favourite place of mine – the Sunshine Coast! It’s name just says it all – Sunshine, which is one of the reasons why we are still in California enjoying all its sunshine.

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We couldn’t leave the Coast without a party and my uncles band playing their own range of ‘swamp music’ as they call it – a mix of old classics to sing along to! We also had a couple of their friends bring their djembe drums for some drumming action. The highlight of the evening was a surprise CD my uncle found of one of his friends Herb playing the Cherokee flute – here he is playing it while we enjoy the amazing flute sounds. The funny thing was that my uncle thought I found the CD and sent it to him from California and as it turned out I had never heard it before! Still it was a great way to end the evening with a bit fun for Herb hearing his CD and playing some live tunes for the gang.

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It was a night of enjoying glasses of wine from the Waeco camping fridge that also comes in handy for a party! It keeps your wine nice and cool but be careful that it does not get too cool and turn into a slushy wine, which is what happened to mine – yikes!

AS it was a big night out – I stayed up till 2am drinking and chatting about the classical music and arts scene in Australia, it was very insightful?!? Then comes Sunday after sleeping in a bed full of 3 children I was pretty knackered – the day was way too beautiful to sleep away so we went to Alexandra Headland for a bit of a relax by the sea and it was the perfect tonic but just remember if you swim in the surf to be between the red and yellow flags.

The day before we left a friend of my Uncle’s took us out for the afternoon to Point Cartwright for some incredible photo opportunities. We felt so alive with an energy when we were rock hopping right by the crashing waves that it could have been the adrenalin from an unseen danger! The super spry kids found many shells in between the massive flat rock islands and enjoyed the rock hopping the most, moving along the rocks very gracefully.

The rocks themselves were pieces of art in themselves – the colours, textures and shapes creating this amazing space to walk and rock hop through.

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Point Cartwright has a huge lighthouse sitting atop the coast and right next to it is a massive water tower holding 6 mega litres of water which recently scored a facelift with beautiful mural and we enjoyed finding the different animals like the square tailed kite.

Then finally the time came to say goodbye to my sister and the kids favourite Aunty. It was a sad farewell as who knows when we will be back home to Australia to see my sister and my nephew who is already 5 years old!

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We’re going to the Zoo zoo zoo…

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Onto the tourist destinations of the Sunshine coast and to step back in time with a visit to the Big Pineapple! In it’s heyday when this highway was the only one to travel we would stop and visit the Big Pineapple take a walk to the top and see the displays, take some classic pics and then enjoy a pineapple sundae – yummo! Now the Big Pineapple is Heritage listed and needs a little bit of work and love. A lot of the us who enjoyed it as a tourist destination when we were kiddos still appreciate it for it’s nostalgia and it’s grandeur.

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On this rainy Monday we also took a wander through the Maroochy Bushland Botanic Garden and was an excellent place to take the kids for a wander through the sculpture garden. For a change they all enjoyed posing with the sculptures especially the sculptures of the animals – the bottom pic is a wombat that they all loved by an artist from South Australia.

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A couple of my favourite sculptures in the garden – Snake made from Black Chillagoe Marble and Man of Nature carved from Sandstone.

Definitely on the tour itinerary this year was a trip to the legendary Australia Zoo! The kids really enjoyed their time at the zoo especially seeing the show of the crocodiles at the Crocoseum. We had lunch at the food court and managed to see a spectacular display of birds flying around the stadium and landing right in the audience as a warm up for the big crocs!

Finally the kids got to touch a kangaroo – the kangas were in their rest area, some were quite confident and hopped right up to the visitors for a pat and the hope of some food. Koalas are always cute and generally always asleep! The croc in the pic above was with the Australia Zoo stars Terri, Bindi and Bob showing us how these crocs in action. Steve Irwin was an Aussie legend and Australia Zoo is a testament to his dedication and care for the conservation of animals especially the crocodile.

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Yikes someone is getting eaten by a dinosaur!

Australia Zoo is huge and requires a bit of planning to navigate to the animals you would like to see. We choose to see the African animals instead of Bindi’s Island with animals inspired by the tropics. The Giraffes are always cool to see and we saw them having their afternoon snack and saw a baby giraffe close by just looking on as he couldn’t reach the food! On our way to Africa we wandered through the Asian animal display and saw the ever popular tigers – you can see what the crowd was like when we went, it was busy with school holiday traffic.

We enjoyed spending the day at the zoo with our friends from Portland walking many trails that day and seeing quite a few animals! Good times at the zoo, how about you?

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Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows

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The next stop in our journey was an hour or so up North to the beautiful Sunshine Coast to hang with my sister and my 5 year old nephew. The day when we arrived the weather was warm and sunny – a perfect Queensland winters day. As it was the perfect day for a drive we headed on up to the lovely town of Maleny in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.

Wandering through to the local town centre we found these lovely blooms on the way to a hot chocolate. The local town had a co-op and a fabric store that I love, called Sapling Textiles with fabrics from India – I was sad that it was closed! Also we found a cool local non-profit with beautifully designed clothes from India called The Industree where I found a lovely hummingbird jumper AKA sweater that matches my tattoo!

On our way to The Shak for a Sunday brunch to meet up with family we found this secret sacred garden called Wunya Park in honour of the Indigenous people of the area. A lady places random crocheted items around the garden for wanderers to find and follow.

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Finally we made our way to The Shak a legendary local, organic cafe for brunch and excellent coffee. The menu was just amazing and I enjoyed the Avo’ Smash, just delish!  Check out the iced chai with their coconut mylk made in house, just perfect!

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These amazing Moreton Bay fig trees are just a walk down from The Shak on King Street in Buderim and are perfect photo subjects.

Some more of these beautiful trees in colour. They are the best trees for climbing.

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We enjoyed some winter beach time and hanging out with my friend from Portland while we serendipitously met at the Sunshine Coast for our Stateside summer vacations!

The weekend starts here…

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Off to a chilly winter’s weekend with some fish and chips with friends by the beach for a sunny Saturday lunch by the water. The pier has been recently refurbished into this incredibly long structure with super strong pillars with plenty of space for fishing. We walked through to the end of the pier and we sent the kids racing back to land. The lunch was delicious with the $15 worth of chips to share with some very fresh crumbed coral trout but the one thing I wanted to try which knocked me for six was the potato scallop – it sure brought back some greasy hangover memories. I think this is the last one I will ever have in my lifetime. My body was later saying OK that is enough fried food for today, quick find the kombucha and get digesting!

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A part of our weekend mission to Shorncliff (named Shorn cliff describing the headland when viewed from Moreton Bay) we visited a fisherman and his boat the Sapphire who had caught some fresh tiger prawns out of the bay for $28 a kilogram. While we were there I wanted to see if he had any fish and from one of his many esky’s he pulled out chunks of Barramundi that were from his cousin in Far North Queensland. Our plan was to have a Christmas in June BBQ in Winter for the family. Certainly different cooking outside when the air is a bit cooler but hey it worked and we had an amazing feast of prawns on the BBQ and Barramundi called Baz cooked in a lemongrass, chilli marinade (recipe compliments of my sisters man, Rupert).

We enjoyed taking pictures of the family by the tree with it’s many LED lights – all 300 hundred of them strung from the tree and along the wall.

The Barramundi was paired with the very fresh prawns on the Barbie in a soy, lemongrass, ginger marinade (thanks to my sister!) – they were so tasty. To go with the fish and grilled prawns were a potato salad, fried rice and a green salad – what a feast! And a very special time with the family for Christmas in the middle of the year.

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Cheers to everyone with our feast of Queensland specialities with Christmas in the winter time down under.

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Our star of the show was Millie (Millicent) the cat, she is loved by everyone and is such a love bug. She purrs when you pick her up and is very tolerant of the kiddos – amazing! Apparently she is part rag doll cat so is super affectionate and very friendly. Oh how I miss my fur babies Mack and Bella back in California.

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We wanted to take a picture of the family together for ‘Christmas day’ though we are missing my husband and my sisters man (who took this pic) in the shot. Still I love this very creative shot on the back stairs as it was my last weekend in this lovely Air BnB and a perfect time to celebrate. Traveling back to Oz for Christmas is too expensive and way too hot!!

Santa even had a treat of banana bread left out for him with a big glass of milk a gift from the oldest kid of our bunch. And how can I forget the dessert we enjoyed with a cup of tea after lunch – the good ol’ lamington. The lamington is a sponge cake covered in chocolate and dipped in coconut. I did try to make them once a upon a time and they were quite tricky – actually I really should have checked out this video for the how to make lamingtons complete with an Australian bush sing-a-long.

 

Dream on at Dreamworld

Friday was a day out to Dreamworld on the Gold Coast! We have not been to Dreamworld since we were little kiddos! Back then we used to go on all the rides but these days there is a very low tolerance for the rollercoasters. We all had a blast with the kids and their favorite ride was the log ride even though you get drenched riding a log downhill. Afterwards we had the best time drying off in the drying machine – we have this great video as we paid $5 to stand under ultra violet light and be blown by a blow dryer for 5 mins!

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Yay we made it!

The fun never stops at Dreamworld and we went on lots of rides mostly with the kiddos. The rollercoasters were out and I would say the log ride was the scariest ride we went on – the other exciting ride were the dragon dodgems! The kids did enjoy the day and say they had an awesome time, without the need for huge thrills. I do think that my days of crazy rides are long gone.

The photo opportunities are endless with so much fun and colour so I had a blast being the tourist and taking pics with all sorts of characters. The Dreamworks ride area was super cool and set up beautifully focussing on their range of characters from their films – Madagascar, Puss In Boots and Kung Fu Panda. My uncle who gave us the day out wondered where the Chinese restaurant was, maybe Dreamworld should add a dumpling place to compete with the crazy priced food that was on offer. We shared a pizza between the 7 of us and it cost us with drinks $4.80 for a water so the grand total for lunch was over $70, that was insane!

Another favourite spot of ours was Tiger Cub Kindy where you could get very close to tiger cubs. These pics were taken by the trainers who took your camera into the enclosure to take shots for a donation to the DWF (Dreamworld Wildlife Foundation). They are such incredible creatures with their numbers dwindling in the wild we as humans need to do whatever it takes to save these majestic creatures. Most of the cubs were born at Dreamworld which is a success for the tigers as their habitats decrease dramatically. Any cat fan will be so excited to experience these animals up, close and personal!

And indeed we found a happy place at Dreamworld for the day – next time we will bring a picnic lunch or some sangers.

 

 

Going home… back to Reddo!

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Our temporary home – the Air BnB house with a big back yard

Strange how when you grow up somewhere and then you revisit everything seems so different and familiar at the same time. I finally went back to the house I grew up in after about 8 years and the feeling of coming back home with memories from way back when come fleeting into your mind. I spent so much of my time outside enjoying the back yard with my sister and just like my son (in the pic below) riding my bike around the house for hours on end with the cat in my bike basket. Another favorite memory was rollerskating underneath the house on the newly poured concrete listening to my little tape player – in my own mind creating a rollerdrome at home. I love remembering super cute things like that rather then the time when I set the back yard aluminum shed on fire! What a way to learn about experimenting with fire, lucky for me the hose was close by. Afterwards I think we lost out privileges to the space as somewhere to hang out – I was OK about it, as it was full of spiders anyway!

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Riding around the back yard – what I used to do as kid

Visiting my parents cat was interesting too as he has no idea who we are as we have only met him a couple of times in his lifetime. The kids enjoyed patting him as he is super furry and very soft. I used to love when he gets shaved in the summer time to keep cool. He has only his tail, face and boots left and the rest of his body is furless, it is a very funny sight!

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Yeti the Himalayan Persian being friendly?!?

The excitement that has hit this little seaside town of Redcliffe was the opening of the Bee Gees memorial by the beach. It looked very cool with this great history of the Bee Gees and their connection to Redcliffe where they hung out before becoming famous. I love the Saturday Night Fever era on the dance floor!

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Checking out the Bee Gees in action

Super fun pics and fashions from my fave time with the Bee Gees!

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I love the captions for these pics and the golden suits!

We all took a wander down to the beach front shopping center as we used to call it and checked out the many cafes that have sprung up since the last time I checked it out. Everything is looking new and improved with lots of interesting shops to check out including a pop up shop where some department store used to be. There are always lots of $2 shops everywhere you go here with so much stuff that you wonder where does it all go in the end?!? I found a great little juice bar with my sister with a great looking food called the Kashmir Cafe that I will be checking out again.

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I found my chicks name ‘Ruby’

We also went to a place where we hung out & fed the ducks crusts of bread, when we were kids – not good at all & we did not know any better at the time!? Still we know better now… I took the kids and they really enjoyed seeing some new wildlife & I impressed the kids with my bird knowledge 🙂 I loved seeing the refurbished pond, the bridges & the lotus leaves and taking a good walk around to see the changes.

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A cormorant hanging out its wings

The trees were just beautiful I am used to seeing the giant redwoods and a great sign of being home is the flora and fauna. So when I saw these ghost gums, the kids enjoyed checking them out too.

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The kiddos and a ghost gum or two

The highlight was the new, fancy jetty with the whale watching boat ready to go out for the season. Check it out below – back in the day the railings were few and far between on a wooden jetty where you could see the water beneath your feet, now this great set up for fishermen and tourists, go Reddo!

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Taking a walk down the jetty – no jetty jumping today!

Australia is a long way from the USA…

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Finally after traveling for over 20 hours we made it to the Southern Hemisphere a bit blurry and tired but very happy to see the family. It has been 10 years since our move to California and we finally came home after 5 years!

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Flying from Sydney airport to Brisbane for a 1 hour flight I was finally greeted by some very decent airline food with some amazing treats by Rowie’s Cakes made locally in Sydney. After over 13 hours of eating and sitting watching films that did not require too much concentration this was a breakfast that spoke to me with the combination of passionfruit yoghurt and wholegrain sprinkles – now you are talking Australia! And the Super Bites snack with superfoods – that is my language.

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See this little magpie sitting on the cable –  I heard his call and I know I am back in Australia, being up from 5:30am was fine with me watching the beautiful sky and sunrise. The sounds of the familiar bird sounds like the rainbow lorikeet speeding through the sky was a special thing to wake up to!

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As we went to the ‘mall’ as my son calls it to do some errands we found some kids photographers who asked us for a photography shoot which was a lot of fun – the kids seemed to have a great time posing for the camera with little outfits they provided with a quick presto-change-o being a shower curtain hooked up to a hula hoop!

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More talk about food – – I saw the name of this and thought of my cats Mack and Bella, this is the best name for a chocolate macadamia spread made right here in Queensland. So instead of the usual Nutella we are going to give this a go! It is Belgian chocolate and macadamia nuts, I seriously could eat the whole jar!!

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As one of our errands today was to go to the local library and get some new books to read! The fun thing about visiting libraries on the other side of the world is finding new books that are not available in the USA we found books published in either the UK or Australia. We found some cute little character books like this new favorite series Best Dog Bonnie as animal books are always a fave with Missy.

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We are staying at a beautiful Air BnB on the Peninsula and loving it with its space and open back yard – here is Mr Ash done for the day and happy to curl up in his bed and read Garfield comic books.

A piece a Week – An orange top highlighted with yellow

I am posting later in the week as the weekend was a busy one with dinner parties over friends places and the Mountain View Spring Parade and to end it all a little friends birthday party! Whew no wonder I did not get any time to sit and write! This week I made a lovely summer top from a favorite pattern of mine that is a dress and I altered it to make a casual top. The fabric my sister gave me for Christmas and it is from this Sapling Textiles in Maleny, Queensland, Australia – yay!! The weather is getting warmer now so it is just perfect to wear with a skirt of pants.

The Spring Parade was a lot of fun and we got to dress up as pirates as it as a Sail into Summer theme and our school were the Pirates – what fun! My friend got this great shot of a pirate in action!!

Flying the flag for Stevenson!

At the moment I have work to do for a friend and I need to make pillows so that is taking up the time I have in my sewing room for now. I will have to find a super easy project next week to post 🙂 Here are some pictures of the top.

The orange part of the top

A close up of the fabric

The top with the highlights of yellow

Temporary local tv stars

On our last adventure out in Vancouver we were at Bloedel Conservatory enjoying the warmth and on the way back to the car we found some huge maple leaves to play with. A couple of guys came by and asked if they could take some pics of the kiddos so we said sure, next thing we are being interviewed – here is what was screened after the news.