Saturday, April 29, 2006

Canon Test Shots

I was testing some of the features of the camera we just bought. I like the fact that the camera has a setting for Kids, which means the camera automatically adjusts to taking fast pictures as kids don't really stand still for long as evidence by how they're jumping on the bed here.

Jump 1Jump 2Jump 3

Also tried the color accent feature that highlights a specific color in the shot and leave everything else black and white.

And another shot:

Canon IXUS 55 or How I Bought a Cheap Camera...

Our old Nikon 4300 gave up the ghost some months back and we decided to get a new camera. Actually, the sales decided it for us. My wife and I saw in the David Jones catalogue that the Canon Digital Ixus 55 on sale for about $120 off the retail price. Of course we couldn't pass up a bargain and when we found ourselves in the city last Sunday after church I thought I'd go and see if we could buy it.

Unfortunately, the store didn't have any in stock anymore and explained that because the model was to be superseded it was on sale and a very popular buy. Not to be deterred, I grabbed a copy of the catalogue and marched up to a few stores in the city. However, the other stores were still selling the Canon for the retail price and couldn't even match the price that David Jones was selling it for.

In the end, I was able to find one store who was able to sell the camera for the same price. They had to order it in though but today, they rang up and I brought home our latest toy. I'm still testing it out. It's got a lot of great features, it's small and sturdy but mainly I'm most happy that I got it for a great price.

A couple of test shots:

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Kid Funnies Part 11

When my wife and I talk in tagalog in front of the kids and we don't usually try to explain what we talked about because they seem to understand that it's grown up talk.

While in the car this afternoon, we talked about stuff regarding the birds and the bees and were kidding around.  My daughter then asked us what we were talking about.  I replied that it was grown up talk and she wouldn't find it interesting.

I said, "You find grown up talk boring, right?"  She replied, "But when you were lauging it sounded like it was something good!"  And we burst out laughing all over again.

IKEA Stuff

IKEA Stuff
Originally uploaded by chazzvid.
We bought a few items from the new IKEA and our long weekend was spent putting things together. The chairs and table was easy enough to assemble. The other stuff like the shoe racks/benches was simple too.

I had quite a time trying to get a floating shelf up correctly. I had to look for the right type of screws to attach the shelf to the wall as well as making sure everything was just level. In the end we got there and our house is now a little bit IKEA-fied.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

She Loves IKEA

I sat down with my daughter for some Q&A today.

Q: What did you like about IKEA.
A: I like the new texters. The playroom and the lunch! I also liked the little shopping trolleys!

Q: What did you buy in IKEA?
A: The dragon and the snake.

Q: What did you do?
A: I played in the play room, I played with Texters and I played in the ball room and putting balls in tubes. I drew and then I played in the farm and saw Finding Nemo in the playroom.

Q: Would you like to go back again?

And she made this drawing just to show her enthusiasm.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Ikea in Adelaide!

Finally, after months of waiting we finally have our very own IKEA here in Adelaide. The wife and I are big fans of IKEA so we trooped the kids down to the grand opening of the IKEA Adelaide. I took some time off that day so we were able to arrive bright and early for the opening. I figured that IKEA opening in Adelaide was a very big thing and we didn't want to miss out on the fun.

We were there almost an hour before the opening time but already the 900 space parking lot was filling up and a substantial crowd had already gathered outside the store. It was all very orderly as IKEA already anticipated the popularity of the store and they were well prepared with free juice, orderly lines, lots of parking attendants and even a live ABBA tribute band to keep the crowd entertained while waiting!

Finally the doors opened and the line we were on slowly moved it's way inside. The first thing we did was check out the kids playroom as we though we could leave the kids there while had some time to browse. Unfortunately, the boy was not allowed in because they had no nappy changing facilities. So we left the girl to have some fun while we attempted to browse around with the boy. But, it didn't work out that well because he didn't like being left out and he had a full blown tantrum.

It took a while to calm him down and we took our first walk around the store with him just constantly crying, not a good first experience it was. At any rate, he quieted down right away when my wife fetched our daughter from the kids play room. After a quick snack of the famous swedish meatballs at the IKEA café, we decided to go around the store again, this time with the calm and happy kids.

The store was laid out exactly like most IKEA stores with show rooms at the 1st level and the market space at the ground level where you can pick up brick a bracks, and the warehouse where one can go and pick out the furniture that was on display in the showrooms.

After waiting months for the store to open, the wife already had a list and a budget to spend so we ended up with quite a few items to bring home. We couldn't all get it to fit in the car but we were pleasantly suprised that the delivery fee wasn't too expensive. It was just one price for delivery to most of Adelaide, which was so different from the prices they had in Sydney.

We were about to go home when the little girl decided she wanted to buy some cheap pens she played with in the playroom. So instead of going out the exits, we headed back to the entrance again. An IKEA employee tried redirecting us to the exits but after telling her we were going back up, she said, "Oh great!, Buy some more!" Well, at least we still came on budget ( at least that's what the wife tells me... :) )

So we had a late lunch at the café again and after picking up our daughter's things we finally made our way home in the late afternoon. The wife and I laughed at the fact that we stayed the whole day at IKEA. Consumerism wins again!

I don't know what it is I like about IKEA. I guess it's partly how the products are good value plus the sense of accomplishment of putting the furniture together. But then again, it's probably just me indulging my suburban fantasies.

Monday, April 17, 2006

School Holidays

School breaks (also known as school holidays) in Oz are different from the school breaks in Manila. Here, there are 4 school breaks lasting between 2-6 weeks in a school year over here, whereas there's just one long summer vacation in Manila for about 2 months! During the preschool era for my kids, there was not so much drama during these breaks. After all, they were contented with just watching TV, videos, going to the park and playgroups. Keeping them happily occupied at home was not a problem.

But now that Bianca started going to school, she always poses this question to me on the ride from school to home: " What fun thing am I going to do when we get home?" On schooldays, I could always suggest a number of things like "have a snack, watch TV, do your homework, read a book, make a drawing, etc.". But now that she's officially on school holidays, she has more time on her hands at home that its not easy coming up with ideas. She asks this question at least 4 times a day!

Good thing we started with a long easter weekend that we managed to invite some friends over that that kept them happy for a while. Tomorrow, hubby goes back to work and its back to reaity for me as I am left alone to think of activities for them. I'd hate to go to the shopping malls as I know it will be crowded and its a costly way to pass the time. As I try to become an organized mom, I had thought of a few ideas to prepare for the coming days. However, I've already used up more than half of them at this point with still 2 weeks to go!

Oh well, so much for preparation. Maybe I can just take my cue from them, be a little more spontaneous. Who knows, they may not want to do as much, or they will have more ideas than I do ... I hope.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Holy Week and Easter 2006

It's Holy Week that reminds me so much of Dumaguete.  I can always remember the hot summer days that begin the same time as Lent.  The merciless sun bearing down on those lazy afternoons that find me and my siblings just sitting at home and watching religious movies on the TV.

I recall the countless times we'd be watching The Ten Commandments or Ben Hur on Good Friday.  I get the feeling that watching those movies made me feel a little "religious".  Then in the afternoon, we'd go out of the house and watch the Good Friday procession brought by the people in the neighborhood.   I was always fascinated by the way the people on our street re-enacted the Passion.  It's like they were atoning for a year's worth of sins.

Of course, there'd be no meat in the house at all.  It'd be fish and Takoy's adobong itlog.  I'd always get a hankering for adobong itlog around this time.

At any rate, Easter and Holy week down under is a different proposition.  To most Australians, it's the start of school holidays and a long weekend.  Australia is not exactly a religious country so Holy Week doesn't mean a standstill of the economy and life like in the Philippines.  Of course, Good Friday and Easter Sunday and Monday are still holidays but there's not the deserted empty streets or the via cruxis across the entire city.  Not too many Catholics around these here parts but there's still a lot to keep traditions alive.

Last night we went to the Easter vigil mass, something that my own family would do in Dumaguete as well.  The kids were mostly cooperative because we made sure they had their naps that afternoon.  What was encouraging to see were the many kids who attended the mass with their parents.  The church doesn't get filled up too often.  Mostly it's BCE.  Baptism, Christmas and Easter. :)

Anyway, it's Easter Sunday now.  Time to go out and look for those eggs!  

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Hmmm... donuts...

Krispy Kreme!
Originally uploaded by chazzvid.
These didn't last long...

Krispy Kreme

Originally uploaded by chazzvid.
Our friends are here from Sydney. Guess what they brought? ;)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Hot Water System

After our regular walk in the park last weekend, I thought I saw some water leaking out of our house's drain. I knew that we didn't have any water running when we left the house so I got curious and soon found out that our hot water system was leaking. It looked to me that it was a faulty pressure valve and when the plumber came by the next day, he confirmed that it was. He fixed it just yesterday with a new valve and that stopped the leaking but we might be in the market for a new hot water system because ours is more than 10 years old already.

I don't know how long that leak's been there and I can't begin to imagine how much water we've been wasting because of that small leak.

Anyway, I'm glad that's fixed for now but we might have to shell out some more money to get a new one. Ah, the trials and tribulations of a home owner, you have to be ready to spend on all the upkeep.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

TV Shows to DVD

These past few days I've been busy transferring and recording lot of taped TV shows to DVD. The TV has been, like it or not, an easy way to entertain our kids in this day and age. We're lucky though that kids shows are more educational than the shows my generation grow up with. I mean, what ever did I learn from watching Looney Tunes or Voltes V or Scooby Doo? ( well, I learned that coyotes never get to catch roadrunners but that's about it... )

These days, it's all edutainment with TV shows for kids showing stuff from values education to reading, from showing kids how to be active to cooking!

Here in Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Co. ( ABC ) have a wonderful collection of programs for kids. From shows I grew up with like Sesame Street to brand new stuff ( Pinky Dinky Doo, anyone? ). The ABC have kids programs every weekday morning and my children can't get enough of them. It's a great for busy parents looking for something to entertain the kids even for a little while.

What makes it even easier for me is that I can record the shows digitally straight to the Mac and burn it to DVD. So, I can record as many shows as my hard drive can allow, then just do a little exporting and editing, then just burn it to DVD. After some time, I have a DVD of my kids favourite shows ( like Hi-5, The Wiggles, Pinky Dinky Doo and Lunar Jim ) ready for them to watch to their hearts content.

But, does this stop my kids from clamoring for us to buy a Hi-5 or Wiggles DVD in the shops? Of course not! :(

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Kid Funnies Part 10

One of the things I do everyday is give my kids a bath. I've been giving them a choice lately on whether they take a shower or actually take a bath in the bathtub and always they've never agreed on anything. When one of them says "shower", the other always says "bath". I've become exasperated today when I asked them whether they wanted a bath or a shower.

Girl: "Shower!"
Boy: "Bath!"
Girl: "Shower, shower!"
Boy: "Bath! Bath!"

My wife stepped in and said she'd be making the decision. So she said, "Ok, everybody takes a bath!"

The boy enthusiastically then said, "SHOWER!!" We all burst out laughing.

So the boy has been taking the opposite side all this time just for the fun of it.