Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Wow, a year rolls around very quickly! This time last year, Spanky was just about to head over to Fiji for a bit of R&R while she could still comfortably get on an aeroplane.
One year ago!

Our little family will shortly head off on our first overseas holiday as a trio.
As we are creatures of habit, we are again heading off to Fiji. This time last year, Spanky went there with The Zookeeper, while Bubbles was over in Europe on a work trip.

We will be spending a week at Mana Island Resort, followed by two nights at The Terrace Apartments on Denarau, then a week at a private Villa at Musket Cove Resort, then one more night back at the Terrace Apartments before we come home.

This holiday is going to be special, and not just because its the Spudlet's first O/S trip, but because its going to be a BIG family gathering.

How Big you ask?

The President & First Lady (Spanky's parents) will be with us for the while trip, while Lucille (Spanky's brother) will be doing his own thing for the first week, then joining back up with us at the Apartment for the second 1.5wk.
The First Lady & President with The Spudlet


If that wasn't good enough, Patrice and Lady L will be coming over from Perth and joining us in staying at the Villa!

Patrice & Lady L
Still not enough you say?? Well, it get BIGGER! We have 5 of our family friends coming to also join us from America!

So, there will be 12 Adults, and the Spudlet!

This should be a fantastic holiday!!!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Friday, May 31, 2013

Ivanhoe Grammar - Makers Market

This Sunday, we are 'Off to Market'!
We will be having a stall at the Alumni & Community Makers Market at Ivanhoe Grammar School, Ridgeway Campus.

We have a close association with Ivanhoe Grammar, as Lucille was a student there, and was in fact School Captain while he was in Year 12 (in 2009).
So, if you happen to be in the area on Sunday, pop in and say hello and check out the wonderful stalls that will be there!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Its been a busy last 7 months!

We have been a little busy of late.

We welcomed the newest addition to our family on the 28th of September, 2012 - Yes, she is now 7mths old!!

Meet 'The Spudlet', otherwise known as Audrey Paige.

She spent 2 days in an Special Care Nursery as she needed
antibiotics and some oxygen

It has been very event filled last 7 months.

We already have a crawling baby......and standing every chance she gets....and walking around the furniture

Enjoying swimming lessons!


Miss Maggie has been great with Audrey, now she knows not to turn her back to the baby or some little hands will maybe grab her fur. Other wise, they get on really well.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Spanky & The Zookeeper go to Fiji!

One count down over, another starting.

Its been two weeks since The Zookeeper and I returned home from our Fiji trip. We had such a good time. We did everything we wanted to do (rest, read, swim, rest, eat, rest).

This was about my 8th time to Fiji, while it was The Zookeepers first.

We took the Saturday midnight flight out of Melbourne, which left about an hour late, so we where both very tired by the time we boarded the plane, and promptly slept the whole flight (4hrs).

We arrived in Nadi somewhat refreshed and happy to be in warm weather (25deg at 7am rather than the chilly 5deg it was back in Melbourne!). We took a taxi to the marina, had breakfast, looked around at the shops and brought a few food things from the small supermarket. Then it was a 45min boat trip out to Musket Cove Island Resort.
Beach at Musket Cove Island Resort
Sitting by the pool
 It was so nice to arrive at the island, you instantly felt like “this is real, we are really on holidays”. We where shown around the resort and taken to our room. We where in a ‘Hotel room’ which is the top floor of a house (bottom floor is now office space), and there is only 6 ‘Hotel rooms’. The rooms where large with plenty of space for the two of us (even if there had been 3 people it would have been fine). We had deck space as well with table and chairs. It was a short walk to the restaurant and pool area and for the price we paid we where happy with it.
Musket Cove Island Resort, Hotel Room - Ours was the corner right one
Inside the Hotel Room
 We really did spend our days doing very little.

We walked a lot of the island.    

 Snorkelled out at the sand bar.

Resting after snorkelling

Enjoying the 'Snorkel' trip

Did a dolphin trip, saw dolphins & snorkelled/ swam some more.
The Zookeeper snorkelling

 Swam in the pool.
Enjoying cooling off while having an internal heater of a baby
 Ate at each of the restaurant/cafĂ© options the resort offers.  
Swam in the ocean. 
Sat by the pool. 
Sat by the ocean.
Doing a good whale impersonation
The Zookeeper also made a very good dent in the cocktail bar drinks menu.

Not all cocktail drinks that where drunk where captured in photo......

After 8 nights at Musket Cove Resort, we packed our bags, enjoyed a last dip in the ocean and took the boat back to the main land.

We spent the next 3 nights at the Terrace Apartments on Denarau.  I chose this place to stay at because it was a short walk across the car park at the marina which gave us lots of option for meals and would be a bit quieter than some of the larger resorts nearby.
Pool area at the Terrace Apartments 
After hopping off the boat and collecting our bags, we just walked over to the apartments. Check in was easy and although our room wasn’t ready yet, we where fine with that as we where happy just heading back over to the marina to get some lunch.

Our room was a nice one bedroom apartment, on the ground floor and at the end of the complex. The pool was a nice size, and there was generally enough lounge chairs around it for everyone.

On one of our days, we took the Bula bus ($8Fjd) around Denarau to check out all the resorts. It was nice to get an idea of what they all look like, checking out their pools and restaurants and shops. It was a good way to spend a couple of hours.

We really enjoyed having the marina such a short walk away. We went over for lunch and dinner every day. For our lunches we ate them all at Lulus, as there was a nice variety and the price was good. For dinners we ate at Indigo’s (Indian) twice as it was just so yummy! We also had a dinner meal at Condos, which offered typical bistro type meals.

While staying at the apartments, we made use of the Spa facilities. We got pedicures and on the travel home day we got shoulder, neck & head massages after checking out of our room – just to keep us in the relaxed mode as long as possible!

We enjoyed a few hours in the warmth of Nadi International Airport before boarding our flight home, where The Zookeeper realised that although our flight over was a lovely 4hrs, it was going to be 5.5hrs going back home.......

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Brownie crunch

For Granddads birthday party, I decided to make some brownies.

I love brownies. I love them a lot.
I can not eat nuts, so I like it when I find a good brownie recipe that doesn't require nuts in it (most of them end up really good because they always have good amount of chocolate in them).

For the birthday party, I decided to experiment and combine two of my favourite foods - brownies and choc chip cookies.

I made two types. I tried brownie on bottom, cookie on top and the opposite (cookie bottom, brownie top).

Almost everyone at the party tried both, and the general opinion was that the brownie on the bottom, cookie top worked best (although all where happy to eat it the other way around!). It was just that with the cookie on top, it baked a bit better and had a better 'crunch' to it.
Cookie on bottom, brownie top

Brownie bottom, cookie top

So, here is my recipe for a Brownie Crunch (brownie bottom, cookie top):

Brownie Part:
- 90g Butter
- 80g Dark Chocolate
- 1cup caster sugar
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 1/2teaspoon Vanilla Essence
- 1/3 cup Plain flour
- 1 tablespoon Self Raising Flour
- 2 tablespoons Cocca Powder
- 30g Dark Chocolate, chopped, extra

Cookie Part:
- 70g Butter
- 1/4cup Caster Sugar
- 1 Egg (an extra egg may be needed if they are small)
- 1cup sifted Self Raising Flour
- Choc Bits (up to you how much you use & what type)

What to do:
- Turn Oven on slow (about 160deg C).
- Line a slice tin (approx 20x30cm) (I just use baking paper).
- Make Brownies part - Melt butter & chocolate in saucepan until smooth (don't boil!). Cool 'til just warm. Stir in sugar, Eggs, Vanilla, Flours, Cocoa. Add extra chocolate.
- Spread Brownie mix into tin.
- Make Cookie part- Cream Butter & Sugar together. Add egg & flour, mix. Add Choc bits.
- Either spread Cookie mix over top of Brownie mix, or roll into balls and place them over brownie mix (this allows the brownie mix to break to the top in areas).
- Put into oven for around 50min, or until firm on top.
- Cool in pan, then cut.

I love my brownies to go in the fridge after I've made them (or even the freezer) as I just like the way it makes them taste - makes them a bit firmer. I'd like to say it helps them last longer, but we wouldn't know that, because they get eaten so quickly (even with 50% of people in the household being diabetic - strange that!).

Most people have a 'fave' choc chip cookie recipe - this is just one of the few that I have in my recipe book and I choose it because I felt it would make just the right amount of cookie.
The Brownie recipe is just half the amount that I would use normally to make a normal brownie mix.

All this is making me hungry.....

(note: all measurements are in Australian Cups/spoons)