Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Day 2008

Christmas day came and went like a flash. The wife and I didn't stay up too late the night before simply because we knew that the kids would be up and early just begging to open the presents. We even got to see the remnants of the milk and cookies they left out from Santa. Turns out that Santa is a messy eater, just like our little girl! :)

The kids wasted no time in unwrapping the gifts and I got to say, nothing really beats the smiles of kids on Christmas morning. The kids must have been good throughout the year cause they did get what they asked for from Santa, and much more besides because they also got presents from both sets of grandaparents!

The boy and girl spent the morning playing with their new toys while the wife and I spent the morning getting ready for Christmas lunch. As what's fast becoming our family tradition, we hosted Christmas lunch at our home again this year. This time it was just us and our close family friends. It was a simple lunch of prawns, a roast strip loin of beef and roast pork and potatoes and a salad with a cheescake and ice cream for dessert.

It was good to be with friends on Christmas day, and as it turned out, the lunch soon stretched into dinner with lots of laughing and singing(!) and eating along the way. We watched a DVD and ended up playing Singstar until evening. A full Christmas day if you ask me.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas 2008!

Thought that the above photo was too formal. Here's what we're really like!

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

It's Christmas Eve again!

I had the day off today while my wife had to to go to work at least for a half day to attend Christmas function. The kids and I still had to wake up early as there was still some last minute Christmas food shopping to do. We went out early this morning to the fish market to grab some prawns for Christmas. Being in Australia, prawns during Christmas lunch has always been traditional and because we had friends coming over tomorrow, the lunch just wouldn't be complete without the prawns.

The fishmarket was quite packed with people trying to buy their seafood. I had to drag the kids into the crowds, making sure they didn't get trampled on. Good thing that they really did what I told them and stayed in a corner just looking at the live fish in the market's tanks. Good thing too that we came in early as we were in and out in under 20 minutes.

Next we went over to they city where the wife was having another Christmas picnic at one of the city parks. The kids and I stayed at a nearby playground until they convinced me to rent a rowboat and go around the nearby lake! We actually did end up rowing and I can honestly say it was harder than it looked! At any rate, we went around the lake a couple of times before we finished and picked their mom up from her picnic around lunch time.

On the way back we stopped at bakery to have some delicious meat pies for lunch. The kids ended up getting milk shakes as well so they had a full on meal. In the afternoon we got the kids to go down for a nap because we planned on going to church in the evening. We got to the 6:30PM mass early and we were glad we did. The church got real crowded real fast which was a good sight to see. We finished around 7:30 and we still had time to come home, cook a simple barbecue dinner and got the kids washed up and in bed by 10PM.

Not before having them put something out for Santa and his reindeer though, a couple of cookies, a glass of milk and a carrot!

Anyway, the kids have been really good this year and I can safely say that Santa doesn't need the added incentive to get them what they want for Christmas. ;) So, to coin a phrase, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

24-hour ban on electronic games

Now that the kids are on school holidays, I could not help but notice that they seem to spending most of the time at home doing one form of video game or another. Its either an internet game, a computer game, a game from the video console (playstation or wii). And when daddy comes home from work, they rush to greet him at the door, only to grab his IPhone for more games! We hear it on the news all the time, kids becoming obese due to these video games keeping them on the couch. Although the kids are far from that, even considered underweight, I did not want them to become couch potatoes.

So I had an idea last night, I dared them not to play any of these electronic games (or what the kids call 'screen games') for the next 24 hours. It started at 7pm, just before bedtime. We started just talking in the living room, singing christmas carols. Then, at bedtime, we proceeded to make up stories until about 9pm.

The next day, they were staying home with me. In the morning, I got them involved in baking, by mashing up the biscuits for the cheesecake crust. That was a very loud, yet fun activity for them. After that, i put on a DVD of a movie they wanted to watch while I baked the cheesecake. After that, we had lunch and they started making christmas crafts. The boy even made a gift for all of us, behind closed doors as he wanted it to be a surprise! The girl also spent some time getting all our pillows on her bed, and just read a couple of comic books.

In the afternoon, they brought out the LEGO and we all started to work together to build up this vehicle. We took turns, 10 minutes each, to complete the task. I even gave them a deadline to work with, like by the time daddy gets home. After about 30 mins, we noticed that some of the pieces we missing. Too bad, we could not make the car as specified on the manual. But they did come up with another design using their imagination. We also had time to play outside while I took out the laundry. that was really great!

It was about 5pm when daddy did come home, they took a bath while i prepared dinner. By the time we finished dinner, it was nearly 7pm and they could not wait any longer. We got them to clean up the living room a bit more, and then we did our countdown .... 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 ..... its video game time! its 730pm now and all my 3 kids (including hubby) are in front of the TV again, playing video games as usual.

It was fun family experiment, glad to know the kids can survive without electronic games if needed. I'm happy to know they are not as addicted to electronic games as I expected. The only downside to it was that more mess was made by baking and crafts, meaning more cleaning up to do. Still, for me, a good outcome. Maybe I should try this 24-hr ban on electronic games again, say on a monthly basis?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

'Twas The Weekend Before Christmas

And we all got sick. Not really, just myself and my wife. Good thing we recovered right away because Christmas is just around the corner.  Can't believe it's been a year already and we're celebrating Christmas all over again.

The kids are now on school holidays and are enjoying the break. Next year they will move up a grade level. The girl will be Year 3 already and the boy is raring to go to step up to Year 1. They go their end of year school reports the other week and they got really good remarks from their teachers. We're so proud of them of course ( and I have to write that because the girl is sitting next to me reading every word I type!)

Seriously though, we are so very proud of them and quite happy to know that they are still enjoying school. Although right now, they seem quite content to be on School Holiday mode.

Because we got sick we didn't do much this weekend, trying to recover and store up energy for the Christmas week. We are inviting our friends over for Christmas lunch and it is now becoming an almost tradition with us. We're still fretting over our menu this close to Christmas. But, not only do we have to plan Christmas, the girl is also being makulit and we have to plan for her birthday as well!!

( Not True! :) - B )
-->( Yes True! :) -N )

Although we didn't do much, we did do some things. We actually bought a Wii a while back. Now, all of us are enjoying this early Christmas present. We even bought a Wii Fit, which is actually being put to good use. Not that we're seeing any results yet but having a video game that gets you up and about and sweating is a huge step up for all of us.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Hasselback Potatoes

Hasselback Potatoes
Originally uploaded by chazzvid
I've seen this recipe for Hasselback Potatoes done on TV a few times before and I decided to try out for Sunday dinner. The wife bought a cut of beef for roasting and we served it with these potatoes and some veggies. We found a recipe for roast beef served with garlic mayonnaise.

The beef turned out quite well although a bit on the dry side. The garlic mayonnaise really went well with it. For a test run, it wasn't too bad. We wanted to try it out the recipes first because we wanted to serve this during our Christmas lunch with friends. Maybe next time we'll get a better cut of beef too.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Christmas Picnic

We spent the morning at my wife's office Family Christmas Picnic. It was good to be out and about on such a nice day. The kids were quite happy to play around the park and we caught up with some of my wife's friend and officemates for a typical Aussie barbie.

The kids had fun playing frisbee and badminton and got acquainted with a few kids of my wife's officemates. They even got to play Twister outdoors!

At any rate, it was a good time. We actually stayed to the very end and were one of the last people to have left. After all that activity the kids would be semi-tired and resting by now. No such luck, they're still up and about and being as kulit as usual!

Anyway, here's a couple of shots when we visited the Magic Cave a couple of weeks ago. We actually went to the Magic Cave three years ago and I took a couple of photos. We can't believe how much they've grown!

In fact, I was digitizing a lot of old videos recently and we could see a few videos from when the kids were still small. It's amazing to us how we can still remember them so tiny in the videos and we can't imagine how they could have grown up so fast.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Newest Vidal

Welcoming my nephew, the newest Vidal. No name yet, hope my brother names him soon. I don't want to call him baby boy Vidal all the time... :)

Welcome Paolo Nero C. Vidal!!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Goofing Around

Goofing Around
Originally uploaded by chazzvid
Just a random shot of the kids goofing around. They're eating a chocolate sundae from Mcdonald's and were showing their chocolate covered smiles. :)