Sunday, March 30, 2008

Earth Hour 2008

Last night we participated in Earth Hour. It's a global event where cities throughout the world turn off their lights for an hour to help reduce the production of greenhouse gases. We turned off our own lights and lit a few candles. We then spent the time with the kids just talking and having the TV off for most of the hour. Of course, we couldn't really go all the way with it and we did turn on the TV eventually but still kept the lights off.

It was fun to just sit around the candles for a while and chat with the kids about school and other stuff. Reminds me of the times when brownouts would hit Dumaguete and the siblings and I would just do goofy stuff in the candlelight while waiting for the lights to come on.

Our own kids didn't seem to mind the candlelight either. Maybe we could even make this a regular thing...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Sports Day 2008

The kid's school had their annual sports day today. It was supposed to be a few weeks ago but because of the heat wave it had to be postponed. Good thing too as today turned out to be a perfect day for it. We've attended sports day before when it was just the girl's turn to participate but with both kids at school now we found it challenging to try and catch both their events.

It was nice to see the different teams in their colored t-shirts as they came down the oval. They sat themselves down in the middle of the park and waited patiently for the opening ceremonies. The competition started with their "war cries" or cheering. Our kids had been practicing their cheers all week so we could almost cheer along with them. After that, they split up into their different classes and participated in the many mini-events around the oval. There was some ball throwing, sprints and cricket batting. The wife and I even had a chance to volunteer as scorers for the events.

The kids enjoyed it immensely and after the events, had a good old snag sandwich and ice cream. Although their Blue team didn't win overall, I think what still matters is that they had fun. I was especially glad to see how they handled the fact they didn't win.

"There's always next year," they said.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Grilled Salmon with Chive Sauce

Grilled Salmon with Chive Sauce
Originally uploaded by chazzvid
I was out grocery shopping over the weekend and found fish on sale now that Holy Week is over. The salmon fillets were half off! I just seasoned the salmon lightly with salt and pepper and grilled them a pan with olive oil, prepared some instant chive sauce from IKEA and served with steamed vegetables and rice. It was an instant hit with us and the kids. The girl even wanted some more which doesn't happen very often.

Another addition to our easy cook menu.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Egg Hunt with a Twist

The Easter tradition of Easter egg hunts becomes a hunt for chocolate eggs here in Australia. Back in my day, we'd used to look for hard coloured hard boiled eggs. So much chocolate comes into our home at this time of the year, that sometimes it takes months before we can consume them all!

This year, we wanted Easter to have a little less chocolates. Normally, the kids would get a small toy with a chocolate egg from us. This year, we decided to be a bit more practical. Something that can last longer, something better for their teeth and our waistlines.... so we got them a video game - Lego Star Wars 2! I know, I know .... nothing Easter at all about Star Wars! It's something they've always wanted since they completed Lego Star Wars I a few months ago.

But at the same time, we did not want the kids to miss out on the fun of an Easter egg hunt. And then an idea came to my mind while I was hanging out the laundry yesterday... why not have an easter hunt around our very own backyard?! But instead of chocolate easter eggs, we asked the kids to look for the 30 blue and pink clothes pegs we hid around the side garden. And at the end of the hunt, they get their surprise reward. I tell you, it was so much fun the whole family! We even had a little picnic of sandwiches and lemonade in the garden in under our new portable gazebo. Maybe next year we have another of these Easter hunts in the backyard, with a lot more pegs and a time limit for a little more challenge, hehehe.

Happy Easter everyone!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Adobong Itlog ( Eggs in Adobo Sauce )

Adobong Itlog
Originally uploaded by chazzvid
As with most Catholics during Lent, we avoid eating meat during the Holy Week, which is the week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. When I was growing up, adobong itlog would invariably be one of the dishes to be served during our weekday meals by our good old cook. I miss this dish whenever Holy Week comes around.

It's basically eggs, first hard boiled and then peeled and cooked in a adobo sauce. I actually fried off some garlic, onions and tomatoes first then add the eggs and mix up the vinegar, soy and water. Nothing to it really, it's just how one likes their adobo and the ratio between vinegar and soy.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Holy Week Holiday Starts

Thank goodness the weather has cooled down considerably. We're looking at mid to high 20's throughout the Easter weekend which is good. The kids spent the whole day at home with me because they had a pupil free day from school.

We visited the Adelaide Central Markets this evening to do a little shopping. We've been to the markets before but never quite this latey. We first had dinner at our favourite Chinese restaurant which has this chicken dish that I should really write up about one of these days. After dinner the kids had some ice cream while the wife and I got some coffee. We browsed around the markets for a bit and did a little bit of food shopping. We should come to the markets late more often because the kids were lucky enough to score some free stuff. They got free marshmallows from the lady at the coffee place and the florist even gave them a rose each. Lucky them, I wish I scored free danish pastries from the bakery but no such luck.

Tomorrow we're having lunch at our friends' place and spend some time with them. We were tempted to cook up something to bring but I think they have it everything well in hand. Anyway, we don't have much planned for Easter break, I guess we'll see if our spontaneity kicks in.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Hot Picnic Birthday

Birthday boy woke up early today to wake us up in our beds. He was especially excited and quite the proud little man knowing that it was his birthday. We prepared a quick breakfast before going on down to the nearby park where we planned on a picnic with a few friends. We first wanted the picnic somewhere else but with the heat wave we decided on having the picnic in one of the parks closer to home.

We started early and because of the heat, made sure that we had plenty of ice. The kids had some time playing in the playground while the wife and I prepared some of the food. Nothing fancy, just sandwiches and pork barbecue. And spaghetti of course. It's not a party without spaghetti, we always say.

At any rate, our friends soon arrived. We all had a quick snack and sang Happy Birthday before having some of the chocolate cupcakes. The boy then excitedly unwrapped some of his presents and was delighted with each one. The kids then had a turn at the piñata that we brought and were happy to pick up all the lollies and surprises that burst out. We hoped that the kids could spend more time biking around and playing tennis in the park but the heat soon became too much and we moved the party back into the house.

At home the kids spent the afternoon playing with toys and video games indoors while the grownups had some coffee and more snacks. All in all a good day although we could have done without the heat. All that matters though is that the boy was happy to have his party.

Happy Birthday, little man.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Chocolate Cupcates Redux

Chocolate Cupcates Redux
Originally uploaded by chazzvid
When it comes to cooking, the wife and I have come to a sort of an arrangement. She does the sweet stuff, like cakes and desserts, while I take on the savoury foods.

Case in point, these yummy chocolate cupcakes she's baked for the boy's party. Thanks to Thess for the recipe. My wife already tried this for the girl's party the last time and it was a great hit. This time the chocolate icing gives it that extra bit of chocolatey goodness.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Praying for Cool Weather

With the heat wave bearing down on Adelaide, the wife and I thought it might be a good idea to postpone the picnic plans we had for the boy's birthday. We talked to him the other day about moving his birthday party to some another date because of the heat and he wasn't really happy about it to say the least. He had this look on his face that was as sad a look as any little boy could muster. Then he turned around and began to pray.

"Please God," he said, "Please make it cooler on my birthday because my Dad wants to move my party." It was so touching and almost heartbreaking that we didn't have the heart to move his party. Yeah, we're suckers for this kind of thing.

So, come the day, I just hope we pack enough ice and cool drinks to keep him and the guests comfortable.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Still Hot in Adelaide

It's well into the night but it's still a warm 29ºC outside. Everyone's still talking about the extreme weather we're having in Adelaide. We've reached some sort of record, about the 9th or 10th straight day of over 35ºC temperatures. Apparently this never happened before, ever. The most that was on record was 8 straight days of extreme temperatures. Just going out in the sun even for a minute or two feels like your skin is burning. I guess we're lucky that we're keeping cool in air conditioned offices and the kids are in school.

I can't help but really feel that global warming is not just talk every time I step out into the city sidewalks these past few days. Funny thing is, the rest of the country has had a fair share of rain and stormy weather. It's just good old South Australia that's experiencing this hot and dry spell.

It's looking to be very hot over the weekend as well. We were planning an early picnic with friends to celebrate the boy's birthday. I just hope it's not too hot for everyone. Just in case, we're planning lots of cold water and ice but we might have to move the party indoors if it gets too uncomfortable. Sigh, that's Adelaide weather for you...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Monday Dinner

Monday Dinner
Originally uploaded by chazzvid
It's steak diane, peas, onion fries and mashed potatoes. Today was a holiday Monday so we had time to prepare a proper dinner. While the wife and girl prepared the mashed potatoes, I got the steaks and onion fries going.

I found the recipe for the onion fries from a TV show and the steak diane from one of our old cookbooks. The peas were just the frozen kind just cooked in the microwave. I didn't think I got the sauce quite right but I think I'm getting the hang of cooking steaks with just the right amount of pink in the middle.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

IKEA Swedish Meatballs

One of the things that keep us coming back to IKEA is the cheap food. We've come to love the Swedish meatballs served with gravy and Ligonberry jam. When we found out that they sold frozen ones to take home, we make sure that we always have a bag as a mainstay in our kitchen freezer.

It's amusing how most everything in IKEA comes with some assembly required. So we go from this:

to this in under 30 minutes which makes for a very quick and convenient lunch.

Of course, this is usually served in the IKEA restaurant with chips ( fries ) or vegetables. Being the Pinoys that we are, we just have to have them with plain white rice. :)

Another Heat Wave

It's a long weekend and Adelaide's in another heat wave. Temperatures have been above 35ºC for the past 3 or 4 days. It's going to be the same all the way up to next weekend. It's supposed to be the start of autumn but March is also when Adelaide experiences some of its hottest days.

At any rate, yesterday, we decided to escape the heat by going to IKEA! We stayed the whole afternoon so it was surprising we didn't spend all that much. Just a few things for projects around the house. Today it's going to be a 40ºC day and we're wondering where we can cool off this time.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Prospect Estate Park

We got a little spontaneous again last weekend. Because the wife and I had a hankering for some fish, we decided to drive down to the fishmonger's and grab some fresh seafood. We decided to have an impromptu picnic and we picked up up some fish and chips on the way back and have lunch at a local park that I found one day while driving around.

Prospect Estate Park is not your typical Adelaide park. It's actually set on an incline off the main road. What's interesting about this place is that there's actually a man made creek that winds along the length of the park. It was a real creek with little ponds and bridges that criss-crossed the flowing water.

We had a little lunch of take-away fish and chips from a corner store and some cold prawns bought at the fishmonger's. The kids couldn't wait to finish their food before going off and exploring the little water ponds in the park. They loved playing with the water and looking at the little tadpoles that were swimming there. Predictably, they did get their feet wet but because it was a hot day it didn't really matter.

There wasn't much in terms of a playground, just a couple of swings, the kids just spent the time just playing near the water's edge. With it's flowing water and tall trees, the park felt like a secret oasis just off a busy street. The park sure felt like a hidden garden of sorts as there were hardly any people around on a nice Sunday afternoon. Normally, you'd see parks like these filled with families just enjoying the outdoors on a nice weekend.

At any rate, we could have stayed longer but we still had errands to run. Definitely, will find time to come back again. Hopefully, Prospect Estate park would still be a well kept secret then...

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Fringe Weekend

This weekend we went to some of the family activities of the Fringe Family Weekend. The Adelaide Fringe Festival only happens once every 2 years and like last time, we went to some of the free activities the Festival organised for families. We drove down to the city and expecting that the parking would be filled up, we parked in Central market and took the bus to Rymil Park where everything was set up.

When we arrived, things were already in full swing. We met up with our good friends and wandered around the park area enjoying the various things. The Fringe Family weekend really consisted of family friendly festival acts, a concert stage, some art installations and an eclectic mix of art and workshops. The kids and I got to see a breakdancing exhibition, a few carnival style acts and the girl even got to create a puppet which might get her ( and a million others ) into the Guinness Book of Records!

We had lunch in front of the concert stage. We intended to rest a little bit after walking around but the kids had other ideas as they were determined to see every bit that was on offer. The girl even ended up on a Ferris wheel! Although the boy did say he didn't want to go, the moment he saw her sister way up high he quickly changed his mind. Unfortunately, it was too late then so we had to pacify him with ice cream until his sister got back down.

We caught a few more acts at the iconic Fringe venue, the Garden of Unearthly Delights, before we said our goodbyes and made our way home.

The Family Weekend was an opportunity for many of the family oriented Fringe acts get to advertise to their target audience. I have to admit, I think most of what's on for the Fringe Festival are targeted for the older market but I'm glad to see more and more family friendly Fringe acts coming out.

The Adelaide Fringe festival is just one of the few festivals coming to the city this time of year. There's even a whole new event this time around with the Assitej Performing Arts Festival in May with lots of performances targeted to children and young people. I'm hoping that we could catch a few performances with the kids that time as well.

More photos here at our Flickr page.