Saturday, May 29, 2010

A kalaidoscope of fun ....

I've always thought Ipswich (the Queensland, Australia version), gets a bad rap.
There are gorgeous stately houses, just aching to be renovated; incredible unique homes, which have already been lovingly updated; plus parks and shopping to boot.
Queens Park, in particular, is a family favourite. It's a fairly quick drive from suburban Brisbane, you can usually park quite close (even during holidays), and the park itself is awesome. Plus, there's a free mini-zoo for the kids. (Okay and the adults as well).
But on this occasion, and with an extra child in tow, I thought we were due some culture, and we decided to check out the Ipswich Art Gallery instead.
Now, let's be honest: It's not as big as Brisbane's, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. We parked close by, and cheaply; and found our way there easily. There were a couple of girls on the front desk who were friendly and smiley, and who didn't seem to mind at all that we were focussed on getting to the exhibition for kids, rather than the high-brow stuff in-between.
And here's the thing: Ipswich Art Gallery is the first in Australia to have a gallery purely dedicated for kids. Where they can enjoy, play and discover art on their own, or with a little help from parents or staff.
Even better? It's free.
On this occasion, the exhibition was called The Real Thing: Interactive Kaleidoscope Fun For Kids.
The brainchild of new media artist Jordana Maisie, the gallery featured optical illusions, and other hands-on events. 
Did I mention it was free? And even better, if there was a high-priced gift shop or cafe on the way out, we didn't see it. 
The exhibition is on until July 11, by which time I'm sure it will be replaced by something equally as awesome. 
My kids-plus-one had a ball, and I highly recommend it.
If you look closely, this is actually Mr 9's face in the kalaidoscope
Miss 7 creates a masterpiece using the computer as a medium
The finished design...
A touch of Alice-through-the-looking-glass here
New media artists at work
It's shagadelic, baby!
Creating mini-kalaidoscopes

Thursday, May 20, 2010

We made history!

Watching the news recently, Mr 9 was particularly taken with one particular story.
"Mum, I want to make history," he said. Don't we all?
In C's case, he was really keen to walk the Second Gateway Bridge on the only day it would be open to the public.
We live quite a long way from the bridge, so made an early start to get there before opening. Even so, the crowds were insane. (We found out later, some 175,000 had joined us on the walk across the river).
I would have loved to have linger at the fish and chips stalls, and to make the most of the views and entertainment, but our trip was cut short when Mr 9 had a dizzy spell. Turned out he had low blood pressure, and he needed some time out in the first aid before we could continue.
He'd eaten a huge meal, and had plenty of drink, so we don't really know what caused it - possibly the crowds, the long walk, and the excitement.
Anyway, even though we only made it partway across the bridge, the kids were still chuffed to have been part of Brisbane history.

Miss 7, aka Little Red Riding Hood, begins the trek across the bridge

Time for a snack ... the Great Aussie sausage in bread, with mustard and tomato sauce
Brisbane's longest seafood feast

Mmm ... what to choose?

$10 fish,chips, lemon and tartare sauce from one of the stalls.

Mr 9 puts his feet up at the first aid tent

From Brisbane, with love...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

I love you too - seriously!

Anyone who knows me, knows I love a good Freebie.
I blame the Marquardt gene ... it's a quirk of nature where we are born unable to resist a bargain.
Like my parents, I religiously enter competitions, though my biggest win so far has been a Vegemite hamper (and I had to give half of that away, as it included peanut butter and Toblerone .... Mr 9 has a life-threatening allergy to nuts).
Still, I can do stuff for free with the kids, and to my relief, they love it.
Picnics in the park - any park will do; feeding the ducks/eels/fish at our local creek; spending time with family and friends; even pottering around in the garden.

Here we are doing the DIY Day spa at home. Miss 7 enjoys a bubble bath, complete with face and hair mask. We followed that up with a massage, hair-styling and manicure session.
We love Ipswich's Queens Park, and during our last visit, there was a jazz music festival too. The kids weren't that keen on the jazz (sorry performers, because you were truly awesome), but they did love the carnival atmosphere.)

Mr 9 loved the jumping castle

Wheeeee! A fearless Miss 7

Hmm ... I wonder when I should put the balls in (Note to Miss 7: It doesn't really matter, the prizes are always crap!)

Can I get one of these signs for the kids?

A swan at the free mini-zoo. There were babies this time, but we didn't see any.

The flying fox

Miss 7's turn
Ipswich's Queens Park is usually free, though on this occasion we did have to pay for rides. Queens Park is one of Queensland's oldest, and boast 22 hectares or so of huge trees, grassy areas, a fab playground, and a miniature zoo and nature park.
MEANWHILE, I recently won a double pass to see Aussie comedian/writer Peter Helliar's new movie I Love You Too at Indooroopilly's BCC for TONIGHT. I can't go, because I am on Mummy Duty tonight, so if you'd like to go, leave me a comment with your favourite Brisbane freebie. Make sure you include your email addy so I can send you the pass!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Marvellous Maleny

One of the Sunshine Coast's worst-kept secret is the hinterland. Towns like Maleny, Montville, and their nearby lookouts and national parks are just gorgeous, and all within an hours' drive of Brisbane (give or take, depending on where you live).
We used to spend loads of time there many years ago, when my lovely brother S. and his family lived there.
So when they visited recently, we couldn't resist the chance to meet up at Maleny for old times' sake.

A delicious Mochacino

Miss 7 chose a meat pie with a cow pastry on top!

Mr 9 opted for a 'second-breakfast' three-egg ham and cheese omelette. He's a growing boy.

Ah, so true. A sign in the main street.

Now these are mice I wouldn't mind finding in my kitchen!

Assorted deliciousness!

Old-fashioned sweet shop

We ended the day with a swim in our cousins' pool ...they are lucky enough to live on the coast!