Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Dino Fever

We’re a little bit crazy about dinosaurs here at the moment.

Back at the start of June, I set up the playroom with some dinosaur-themed activities and I have a two-and-a-half year old who has been captivated ever since. So much so we've left these activities out for a second month.

It was a bit fortuitous that the Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory happened to have a Dinosaurs Alive! display happening at the same time.

The kids and I went during the school holidays. Now, as a bit of a dinosaur fan myself I've seen my fair share of dinosaur exhibits and I found this one a little disappointing with its plastic and hessian covered, temporary fencing - but the kids loved it!

They had seven different robotic dinosaurs including my favourite, Triceratops...

and an Apatosaurus..
Random fact: Did you know that flying reptiles, like Pterosaur, aren't technically dinosaurs?

They also had a few other activities set up under a tent. Digging for fossils in sand...

Dinosaur puzzles...

and colouring over raised dinosaur templates...
You could even compare foot-size with a T-Rex...

Hamish and Rohan dressed the part.  I'm sure they can’t see anything through those binoculars, but they sure tried!

The highlight for all of us was Mr T-Rex.
He roared, blinked, moved his head and swished that big ol' tail from side to side.

Important life lesson – never expect a two year old to smile for the camera when there’s a giant Tyrannosaurus behind him.
If you're in Darwin and interested in heading along to the Museum, the Dinosaurs Alive! exhibit is only on until the fourth of August. Tickets can be purchased online through the entertainment centre.

So, tell me- What's your favourite dinosaur and why?

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

A cruel and heartless world

I've starting writing a number of blog posts in the last two weeks.

Posts about school holiday fun, the dinosaurs at the museum, the boat trip we went on with Grandma.

And, then, when I'm part way through - or ready to post - I find myself wondering if it's appropriate to do so.

Is it insensitive to post about our how much we enjoyed the T-Rex on the same day that the father of three little girls is convicted of killing their mother?

Is it acceptable to post about delicious muffins we made when there are so many cases of child abuse and neglect?

Is it inconsiderate to want to share our cruise on the harbour when there is continued war, wars starting up again, poverty and aeroplanes being shot out of the sky?!?

I started wondering if my posts were trivial.  Inconsequential fluff in this cruel and heartless world.

Did that make my days trivial too?  This work that I do everyday to make my children's world loving, nurturing and maybe just a little bit magical.

Then I remembered this quote...
That's my job.

That's what I do. 


That's what I'm sharing with you.

I hope you're here because you see the value in it too.

(Sending a lot of love and sympathy into the world right now xx)

Thursday, 10 July 2014

World Cup Fever!

If you follow Stay at Home Territory on Facebook, you'll know that we've been enjoying a few International Food Nights to help celebrate the Soccer World Cup.

I wrote about how International Food Night started - coincidentally with another Soccer World Cup - in this post here.

So far we've "visited" the countries that the Socceroos have faced in the pool matches.

After the match against Chile, we made a traditional stew called Cazuela...

Messy looking, but delicious, warming comfort food. You can find the recipe here.

We followed it up with some Cocadas.  These are like coconut macaroons with a caramel twists and were so delicious I didn't even get a chance to take a photo! The recipe is here.

Next, we visited the Netherlands. We followed a previous favourite recipe for Draadjesvlees - a Traditional Dutch Slow-Braised Beef.  We served with a traditional vegetable mash called Knolselderijstamppot (Celeriac Mash). In the past we have also served it with Rode Kool Met Appeltjes (Red cabbage with apples) and cinnamon glazed carrots. Did you know that carrots were originally purple?  It was the Dutch that bred an orange version in honor of their national colour.

Then, we went to Spain. I read some great tips on how to make the perfect paella here and we headed out to the barbeque to fire things up. Hamish was a great helper...

We decided to do a dessert at the last minute and I found this recipe for Polvorones - a traditional, crumbly, almond biscuit that converted to gluten free pretty well.
With the semi-finals now over, excitement is mounting for the Grand Final and third place playoffs. Why not get in on the act with an International Food Night of your own?

Will you choose to cheer on the Netherlands or Brazil for third place?  If you'd like to put your support behind the host nation, you can see our Brazilian International Food night here.

We celebrated Argentina not long ago when they played the All Blacks, so will probably buy some Knackwurst and serve it with Sauerkraut and throw our support behind Germany. The boys will most likely talk me into a Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte too!

If you'd like to support Argentina, comment below and I'll send you all the amazing recipes we used for a traditional, multiple course Asado (barbeque) with a Tres Leches (Three Milk) Cake for dessert - Yum!  

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Fourth of July

Our school holidays are turning out to be very low key.

I had a whole swag of awesome, themed play-dates with friends and excursions galore planned and it's ended up being just me and the kids chillin' in the comfort and warmth that is home. 

We've had some jam-packed weekends full of crowded parties and big adventures and I think we're all finding it necessary to stick close to home.  Just us and the occasional themed activity!

We combined a few fun things with some red, white and blue Americana on the fourth of July. Kind of like an all-day International Food Night.

We dressed appropriately...
Played some ball...
Had Hotdogs for lunch...
...and Hamburgers for dinner.  Pickles, mayo and ketchup essential.
 There were build your own red, white and blue parfaits for dessert...
They went down a treat...
Hope our friends in America had an awesome fourth x

Friday, 4 July 2014

A Fifth Birthday Ninja Party

There were a lot of ninjas sneaking about the George Brown Botanical Gardens last April.

If you're a long-term reader of the blog you may recall from my party sneak peak post that Hamish chose a Ninja theme this year. I had so much fun putting together all of my favourite ideas for this one and I'm SO thrilled to be finally sharing it with you.

We chose to have the party in the Botanical Gardens because of their amazing Children's Garden.  Along with a mini-maze, mosaics and fossils, it has this incredible tree-house which I knew would look great decorated with birthday banners and paper lanterns...

It also has this spot, on a raised boardwalk, which was perfect for the eating part of the party.
Between the tree-house and the boardwalk is a bamboo forest just perfect for little ninjas to hide in...

We set up a Japanese-style low table with cushions to sit on. This is actually three coffee table rather wonkily joined together and covered with one long roll of plastic tablecloth.

The place settings were one of my favourite things.
Each of our ninjas were presented with a special training headband. Looking back I wish I'd sewn the hems, but these are just strips of calico with the Japanese characters for ninja and a ninja star drawn on with a couple of Sharpies.

Just after we had completed the setting up of all the decorations, and all of our ninja trainees had arrived and each had been adorned with their ninja training headbands and started to play- it rained.

It rained a lot. 

Unless you live - or have lived - in The Territory, I don't think you can fully understand just how much rain can fall in a fifteen minute period.   

We got a bit wet, realised it was going to be one of those monsoonal downpours, then covered the table with some extra table cloth (I'm SO glad I decided to order the really long roll instead of two smaller tablecloths!) We then headed for the nearest shelter.  

The kids LOVED it.  I only snapped this one blurry shot on my phone, as I packed the camera away when the rain hit.  Fortunately, it only lasted those 15 minutes and it sure helped to cool us all down. April is still steamy up here.
After the rain cleared, we had afternoon tea.  

I kept it simple with three savory and three sweet options. (Excuse the dreadful photography - I was more worried about how soggy everything was!) We had Sushi rolls and Teriyaki Chicken Skewers...
"Ninja Star" Ham and Cheese Sandwiches.

Cupcakes (the origami ninja stars - along with my beautiful place settings - got destroyed in the rain).
Hamish's favourite was the sweet sushi - LCMs, jelly fish that I made and a strip of Roll-up to hold them together. (And a few "sushi" rolls with the off-cuts!)
And my personal favourite - Ninjabread Men...
Lots of contended ninjas...
The kids had a lot of fun running around crazy and getting mucky. Liam kindly let himself be the "bad" ninja that the little ones got to chase!

Fortunately, the cake survived being hastily covered in the rain...
Happy birthday, my sweet ninja xx

I love this shot! They are so keen to get a bit of cake, I was worried about fingers.  Rohan's got his tongue hanging out ready. Eyes on the prize!
Our very soggy guests went home with some takeaway bags.

They were filled with bubbles, Hello Panda biscuits (yum!), lucky candy, Chicos and Raspberries.

In the end, the rain didn't put a dampener on our ninja's spirits- it made it all the more fun.

I think this may be even be my favourite party yet!