2018 Highlights week #22: Jude and Melissa make terrariums

Jude’s birthday present this year was going to a terrarium making class together. It also featured champagne and cupcakes – Jude was keen on the cupcakes and I liked both.

We got taken through the steps of terrarium making them were let loose on our own.

Jude was very happy with his red panda in the forest look.

I went full unicorn fantasy garden.

Lots of fun and a cool take home!

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2018 highlights week #21: busy weekend

Saturday was…

road trip in the fog to Sydney for 5×5. We won and I got to eat a cupcake.

Sunday was…

gym then out to the country

to see Zac perform cello.

2018 Highlights Week #20: The McEwen Family Goes To Rarotonga

So here we are gathered at Sydney airport ready to head to the Cook Islands. This year mum and dad both turn 70 and it is their 50th wedding anniversary so our collective present/celebration was to spend a week together on Rarotonga.

We stayed together in separate villas at Manea Villas at Muri Lagoon. This is the view from Lucy et al’s beachside villa. It was a bit rainy when we woke on the morning of our first day after arriving in the middle of the night.

Weather did not daunt us – not when there was kayaking, swimming and exploring to be done.

There were also many terrible photos to be taken, especially of this pair.

See what I mean?

Scarlett takes much more glamorous photos though.

And there are lots of selfies.

We went to the markets and spent more time at the beach.

And more time in kayaks. Being out in the mild drizzle was fun because one wpuld generally have the lagoon to oneself.

You have to love a plan tree and a stormy sky.

We got all dressed up one night for a fancy dinner. It didn’t all go totally smoothly due to the restaurant not being quite as organised as we had hoped, and we got a little wet from the gale driven rain through the plastic window covers, but it was all an adventure.

Then it got lovely and sunny.

More lagoon adventures.

More bad photos of this one

There was time for reading under the palms.

And ice creams

Gratuitous palm trees.

We found a nice cafe for breakfast.

It, like most of the island, had resident chooks.

Guess what? More kayak time.

The sunshine also made it perfect for stand up paddle board adventures.

We also went snorkelling and drank cocktails afterwards.

We watched the sun go down…

And Zacky and I got up early one morning to watch the sun rise from kayaks.

The grown ups tried the local craft beer.

And almost everyone tried their hand at mini golf.

There were more ice creams.

And we met some local pigs.

This was the day that people decided to walk across the island. It is 5.6 km, but about 2 km is almost completely vertical. I hiked in a kilometre or so, looked at the vertical climb and then volunteered to drive around to the other side of the island to pick them up.

The waterfall at the other end was nice.

We had more nice breakfast.

And more beach time. There were a lot of dogs too.

We checked out the port.

Saw the mountain and some clouds.

And had a final dinner after a beautiful sunset.

And then it was time to fly home.

That took quite a while as we ended up having 8 hours or so at Auckland Airport, starting at about 4am body clock time.

It wasn’t an ideal end, but it didn’t spoil a lovely holiday. You never quite know how a holiday with the whole family is going to go, but it was all good. We got to do the things we wanted to do and had a nice balance if doing our thing, and doing everyone’s thing. I met my kayaking/snorkelling/reading KPIs. And Rarotonga lived up to expectations. Hurrah for holidays.

2018 Highlights Week #19: earrings and other gems

Sometime in the process if packing up our house and going to Adelaide and coming back and unpacking our stuff, all my favourite jewellery disappeared. Not sure if it was stolen or lost, and I guess I will never know. Since then I have slowly built up a new collection, but was still feeling that I lacked earrings. Fortunately Zachary can be convinced to whip me up a few – so now I don’t have to feel like I am wearing the same ones every day.

2018 Highlights Week 18: poke bowls

Sebastian having school holidays is a great bonus to the rest of the family as it means he does more cooking. Here is the fabulous poke bowl he whipped up one night.

2018 Highlights Week 17: fermenting fun

Sebastian decided to try his hand at fermenting these school holidays.

I was at work in a teleconference when I received a text message from Sebastian – he has burned his foot by pouring boiling water on it and needed to go to the hospital…

Apparently, all had been going well until Sebastian decided to sterilize the glass jar by pouring boiling hot water into the room temperature jar. Surprise! It cracked, covering Seb’s foot with water.

Family legend will now never let us forget how Zac played his cello while Seb’s friend Martin struggled to clean. Or how Zac, discovering Seb soaking his foot in cold water in the bath, complained that he was planning to clean his euphonium. Or the number of times Jude texted “fuck” when he finally got my messages an hour or so later.

James took Sebastian to the hospital where the plastic surgeon commended him for having immediately put his foot in cold water and stopped it burning further. He has significant burns, but they were all superficial.

So the next day he finished off his fermenting and we just all had to await the results!

2018 Highlights Week 16: high tea

For Jude’s family birthday celebration this year, he choose high tea at the Hyatt.

So the boys all got dressed up and we were fortunate to be joined by Jasmin.

There was lots to choose from.

And a lot got eaten.