Sunday, December 18, 2016

Charlie's Winter Production at school

I think it was actually the first time Charlie's school year (FS2) had some sort of music production.  It was great!  There were so many songs - it is amazing how the kids remembered all of them!

Here is the set.  Looks like a lot of work has been put into it!
I think it is funny how the school has come to putting up ropes to keep the parents away from the stage area!
Here is the official invitation for the production. Too cool!
We weren't allowed to take any photos or videos during the play so it was only after the show was over, I was able to take a quick photo of Charlie.  Our giraffe is very cute, perhaps a little shy at this point with all the cameras aiming their way!
Happier behind the bush outside!
A little more time on the playground before going home.
Charlie really enjoyed singing and dancing!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Busy weekend

The weather has been so nice lately that we have been trying to do more things outdoors.  That means going to the park!

Charlie loves to climb:
The scooter is finally back outside instead of going on it around and around the dining table!
More climbing on the monkey bars for Charlie.  Yeah, he is doing it!
Nah... just kidding. He is still needing quite a bit of help :-)
Mommy tried to go up to the next higher bar.  Nope... didn't quite get to it!
I think I'd rather just send text messages under the shade on the picnic mat :-)
We also have a bicycle which I converted into a balance bike.  I am glad that Graham is finally getting the hang of it!  Starting slow from one slope:
Here goes!
Charlie was slowly getting it too, off a smaller slope:
I think he still likes going down the slope on his scooter instead.  Just glad these boys are not complaining about keeping their helmets on!
It was non-stop for Graham mostly.  After a while, he was just trying to get higher so he could keep on going on his balance bike longer:
Once the boys were tired with that, it was time to pounce on Daddy!  HAHA!
The next day, it was the pool.  Graham and Charlie were so excited to see the bouncy house! Although not really in the shape of a house. What would you call it then? Just bouncy???
Thankfully the temperature of the water is still somewhat manageable for the boys.  I, on the other hand just wanted to finish my book:
I have been picking up random books from the Ladies locker room at the club.  This one was quite an emotional one:
After finishing it, I looked at the back cover and noticed the first comment from the writer John Boyne.  Crazy enough, the book "The boy in the Striped Pyjamas" was the previous book that I had just finished! What a weird coincidence and what an ending that book was!!!
Okay, last video of Graham swimming.  He is using his snorkels here. Eventually, he will learn how to take a breath!
The boys are growing up so fast!

Almost Christmas!

We went to visit a Swiss Market recently at a hotel.  It's sort of an open market with various stalls. I am not sure how it is Swiss as most of the items sold were not particularly from Switzerland!

Anyhow, we did get to pose in front of the very large Christmas tree inside the lobby of the hotel!
Just the boys:
And an awesome looking train made out of gingerbread. Woah!!!
We didn't buy too much from the market.  Just a few souvenirs and then, lunch at the Italian restaurant.  I saw the chef and I said "Buongiorno!".  I think it took him by surprise a bit :-)

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

F1H2O in Abu Dhabi

Last weekend, we got to check off another thing on our list of "Things to do in Abu Dhabi".  It's the Formula 1 but H20 style - power boats racing out on the water at the Corniche.

We missed the start of the race.  It got quite loud and made the boys really excited while we were walking towards the beach viewing area.  Actually, the main spectator area and kids area were on the other side of the beach.  Oops!  And unfortunately, I forgot the regular camera so bear with me posting images from my phone:
It was quite something watching these boats go around and around, but hmm... how many laps??? I had lost count after a while. And the boys got down to digging up sand pretty quickly and peeking at the race occasionally:
Graham and Charlie just doesn't get enough of the sand. It's a good thing we live in a place with lots of it!
A cloudy day:
And super windy too!  Family photo!
There were a few stoppages during the race - "drama-filled" according to the official F1H20 website!  I don't think the boys really noticed:
It's a good thing they were only trying to bury their feet:
Hmm... Daddy being anti-social?
They are obviously trained to not get their clothes dirty ;-)
Here's a better look at the boat. It can reach up to speeds of 250km/hr or 155mph.
After about 45 minutes, the race was over.  Okay... time to go home!
We decide to try out this Vietnamese restaurant located in the city.  I miss these noodles (Pho) so much, and unfortunately as good as this looked, it did NOT hit the spot!
Here's Charlie trying to twirl up his noodle with his fork:
Graham didn't like the noodles too much, so he was mostly just drinking his soup and thankfully the meatballs were decent:
Daddy/Bobby being very dramatic, as usual :-P
Lots of fancy light fixtures along the way home:
And traffic!
Here are some UAE national colors displayed on some buildings.  Fancy!
A fun day out when both boys are passed out by the time we come home:
Most of the time, Graham will wake up by the time we get upstairs.  But Charlie will almost always continue snoozing!  The "Lee" genes are stronger in this one than the "Pridgen" genes ;-)
Stay tuned to more on our list of "Things to do in Abu Dhabi"!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

First attempt at Tiramisu

I have been taking some Italian classes at school this term.  A mom has been volunteering her time to teach - which is so great!  We have had classes for about a couple of months now.  During the last class, she shared an authentic Tiramisu recipe.  It was a lot easier than I had expected! Although I did not realize that the cream is actually raw eggs.  Blahhh!!!  But so YUMMY!!! :-)

First, beat the 3 egg whites until it doesn't fall out when the bowl is tipped over.  Yes, those were the actual instructions!
Then, beat the 3 yolks with 1/4 cup of sugar and 250g of mascapone cheese.  And slowly mix the egg whites into the cream,  with a spoon. Once it is all mixed up, let it set in the fridge for about 15 min.  After that, let the production line begin!  I figured it was best to put the tiramisu into little individual cups. I had prepared the coffee earlier so it would cool.  Soak the ladyfingers/biscotti in the coffee and place it in a row, in the tray or in this instance, a cup. Add a layer of cream on top and then, just repeat. Simple!
Looking good!
And finally, the cocoa (bitter) powder.  I may have skimped on this so will have to put more next time. I wish I had a sifter but the cheese grater worked quite well too :-)
Let it set in the fridge for at least 6 hours:
By the way, did I say YUM yet???  Delizioso!!!  Even my teacher was impressed and she's from Italy :-)  But like I said, I still can't get over the fact that we are using raw eggs in this recipe.  I was so careful to be sure that the Tiramisu stayed cold during the trip to school.  I am guessing no one got sick after.  Phew!  I am definitely a Tiramisu snob now with this authentic recipe.  Thanks again to my Italian teacher for sharing. Grazie!!!

Random photos of the week

We are back to having foggy mornings here in Abu Dhabi.  It still amazes me how thick the fog can be.  And it normally clears up around 9:30am or so.
The view from our apartment:
And here is something you don't see every day. Well, at least not for me!  I don't think I have ever seen a corn that has its kernels lined up diagonally!  Australian corn but I have friends from different parts of the world saying that this is quite normal??!
Anyway...  in other news: Since my bonsai has "moved on", I decided to just "borrow" some new plants.  I am not sure what this one is called but it seems to grow really easily around here - almost like ground cover. The golfers call it "cabbage" on the golf course as it is super thick and you can pretty much just give up finding your ball if it goes into it!  Well, the roots grow really quickly in just a few days by putting the stem into water.  The pretty pink little flowers are a bonus!
And I took my chance with a bouganvillea plant that I also "borrowed".  You can just stick the stem cutting into the soil and it will sprout roots. Well, one stem cutting didn't make it but this one did.  Look! A new leave!!! I am quite proud of myself :-)
Speaking of proud, I woke up this morning and look at what Charlie had done!  It's amazing how he is so patient lining up these little plastic beads (that you can later melt with an iron to form the final product).  If only he was so patient with other things in his daily routine!
And speaking of another proud moment, Graham can swim!  He still needs to learn how to take a breath between strokes but what a great thing to see.  So proud of him!  Guess those school fees are paying off :-)
Oh, by the way, this video file was too big to email from my phone to the computer so I downloaded it to my computer via Bluetooth technology.  Transferring files via radio waves.  Look ma, no wires! What a crazy idea! And it actually worked!!!  What else will these people come up with next??!!

Here are a couple other photos.  The boys with a super cool Formula 1 race car at the mall:
And my two favorite monkeys - on their way to school for National Day a couple of weeks ago.  Charlie was making a letter "Y" for some reason. I don't remember why now:
Our adventures continue here in Abu Dhabi. Gosh... almost 2 1/2 years later!