Sunday, January 24, 2010

Jumping Castles and Balloons

I had the privilege of being invited to a very special event on Saturday: Tanesha's 5th birthday party! I was so excited, because I love Tanesha. She reminds me a little bit of myself at 5: fabulous and maybe a little bit of a diva. Saturday was forecast to be 40 degrees Celcius (that's about 104 degress Farenheit for all you non-metric users). So, instead of the party being at the Krause's house, it was at the Ministry Centre. The place was decked out with tons of balloons, streamers, and food! Outside there was a jumping castle, or a bounce house, for all the kids to play on in the boiling heat. The grown-ups were nice and cool, sitting inside with the air conditioning. Tanesha opened her presents as soon as people got there with them--she just couldn't wait! After about two hours of running, screaming, jumping, eating, chatting, and playing, everyone was ready go home for a nap, including me!

Three of the four Krause kids: Jacques (10), Sebastian (6), and Tanesha (5).

The Birthday Girl and Me

Caitlin and Tanesha making funny faces

Already best friends

Brother and Sister

Monday, January 18, 2010


This past Saturday, we celebrated my friend, Corrin's birthday by going to the drive-in. Corrin is a friend I met through the Brown family. She has done youth work in Australia and the U.K. and just moved to the Central Coast about a month after I did. To properly commemorate the day she was born, we crammed 17 people into three cars with an esky (Australian for cooler) full of cokes and snacks, chairs, and blankets and headed north. After about an hour of driving, we arrived at Heddon Greta 15 minutes before the first movie started. We had just enough time to pop open our tailgates, lay out our blanket, tune our radio to the right station, and get situated before "Alvin and Chipmunks--The Squeakuel" started rolling. The second movie that was shown that night was "Sherlock Holmes," starting at 10:30 pm. Confession time: I was most excited about seeing the Chipmunks! I love their Christmas songs! Between the two movies, we sang happy birthday to Corrin. Nobody remembered the candles for the cake, so we had to use Dan's iTouch lighter application instead. Despite the light drizzle, lack of warm clothes, late hour, and the mosquitoes (I think I got about 15 new bites), we had a fabulous time. I can't wait to go to the Drive In again!

Fun Australian Fact: After you sing "Happy Birthday" to someone, you give them three cheers. One person says, "Hip, Hip..." And, everyone else says, "HOORAY!" Then we do it again two more times.

Trying to stay dry and warm at the drive-in.
We were towards the back of the parking lot, but could see perfect. Before each movie, they had the old snack commericals with the dancing ice cream bars and jumping hot dogs.
Corrin blowing out the candles, I mean the iTouch.

The birthday girl, Corrin.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Annoying American Tourists

That's us! Between Christmas and New Years, I got to do a lot of the touristy things in Sydney and along the Central Coast that I have been dying to do, but didn't have an excuse. But, since Alex was here, I finally had a reason.
We spent 2 days in Sydney seeing all the sights. One day we went to the city with Dan and Mel Mowday and Laura and Cristiaen van der Meulen to go to the aquarium. The Sydney Aquarium is so cool because it is located right in Darling Harbor. We saw tons of fish native to Australia, got to walk through a shark tunnel, and even got to touch different kinds of coral. After the aquarium, our group walked to Circular Quay to see the Opera House and the botancial gardens. We finished up the day with dinner at Pancakes on the Rocks, and then caught the train back home.
The second day Alex and I went to Sydney, we caught the train down to see a matinee performance of the musical, Mama Mia. It was a wonderful two hours of ABBA and tons of laughs. (If you have the chance to see this musical any time, I would definitley recommend it!) While in the city, we also went to Patty's Market and rode the ferry to Manly Beach. After two days of walking all over Sydney, we were exhausted!
On New Year's Eve. A big group of people from church went to watch the Central Coast Mariners (our professional soccer team) play a game in Gosford. Their stadium is located right on the waterfront. Sadly, they lost, but the game was definitely still fun. We sat right beside the "Marinators," who are the crazy fans that lead all the chants and songs. It was crazy! Following the game, we walked down to the water and watched fireworks.
The last touristy thing we did was go to the Australian Reptile Park. This park is like a zoo with mostly Australian animals, but so much better. We saw alligators, crocodiles, dingoes, giant tortoises, snakes, insects, and birds. In the picnic area, there are wallaby, kangaroos, and emus just walking around that you can feed and take pictures with. We even got to pet a koala!

Our whole group at the aquarium (Alex, Me, Laura, Cristian, Mel, and Dan).

Laura and I with Sydney Harbor in the background.

The Opera House.

The Mariners game against Wellington.

Koalas from the Reptile Park.

Alex and the kangaroos.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I'm Dreaming of a not so white Christmas!

I am so sorry it has taken me so long to update my blog! Once the holidays started, it was a lost cause. Then, I went straight to church camp at the start of the New Year. So, I'm finally back in Gosford and hoping to get back on schedule!
I experienced my first Aussie Christmas this year and I loved it! It was definitley not white or cold, but I still got in the holiday spirit. I set up my own Christmas tree with a star on top, featuring Alex Vogt (my roommate of 4ish years), and did a lot of baking! Of course, I had to make white chocolate covered pretzels! Interesting fact, pretzel are not that popular in Australia and therefore hard to find.
I had my first visitor over the holidays, my boyfriend, Alex Jones. He arrived on Christmas Eve and stayed until January 2nd. He also brought with him a suitcase full of presents and goodies from my family (Thanks, Mom, Dad, and Ally). The night Alex got here, we went Christmas light looking with a big group of young adults from church. Putting up Christmas lights is becoming popular on the Central Coast, but it's still not very widespread. In most neighborhoods, there are only a few house that actually decorate at all. So, we drove all over town looking for the "good houses." We found a few, and even one with a Santa Clause outside!
We spent Christmas Day with 2 families from church. We started off with the Mowday family in the morning. It was a great day of presents, food, kids, toys, dessert, Christmas crackers, and watching “The Muppet Christmas Carol.” I even made my Aunt Mary Jo's famous chocolate-layer dessert to add to the spread at lunch! We ended the day with the Gritten family. We stopped by for supper and to chat, and ended up playing games for 2 hours!
The day after Christmas, Boxing Day, is considered a holiday in Australia as well. We spent Boxing Day with the Brown family. We had a nice meal, opened a few presents, and played Wii. The main event of evening was the Gingerbread Decorating contest. We put everyone’s name in a hat, and then every person drew out a name. You had a decorate a gingerbread to look like the person whose name you drew out of the hat. At the end, everyone had to guess who had which name based on what the gingerbread looked like.
Despite the differences in temperature and tradition, I still had an wonderful Christmas holiday because I was surrounded by friends and family who love me!

My beautiful Christmas tree, featuring Alex Vogt.

Taking our picture with Santa while Christmas Light looking on Christmas Eve.

Whole Mowday family at Christmas Day lunch. We are all wearing our paper crowns from our crackers.

My friend Laura van der Meulen (formerly Mowday) got to come home for the holidays. Laura came and stayed with me for a week or so in 2007 when she was visiting the States.
Getting ready to start the gingerbread decorating contest on Boxing Day!

My gingerbread version of Deb.