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Tuesday 29 January 2013

Two Sparkly Ears... Finally!

Yesterday Ava finally got the courage to do something she has been wanting to do for almost two years - she got her other ear pierced! That's right, her other ear.

One newly pierced ear

Monday 28 January 2013

Sparkly Crystal Pendants

Remember those Borax Crystal Snowflakes we made last week?

Well, while we were making them I started thinking about other ideas that the crystals could be used for as well as snow flake decorations. The girls loved how much the crystal sparkled so I thought they might like to have a little bit of sparkle to wear rather than just admire in a window.

Sparkly borax crystal pendant

Friday 25 January 2013

My Littlest Mermaid

Lola has recently graduated from the "Mummy & Me" swimming class to the "Big Girl" swimming class. The thought of her taking swimming lessons without me in the pool was a little daunting at first but I knew she was ready for it, her teacher knew she was ready for it, and she knew herself that she was ready for it. In fact, once she discovered that she could float on her back unsupported (if only for a few brief seconds) she told her teacher "I can float on my back. I don't need swimming lessons anymore"!

We had a little break from swimming over Christmas and New Year and a few weeks ago we got back into it with the start of Lola's new lessons.

Lesson 1 wasn't that successful. Lola sat on the steps, water up to her shoulders, crying for half the class. Towards the end of the class she had calmed down and I could tell that she wanted to join in but she was lacking the confidence.

Lesson 2 there was a miraculous turn around. She didn't cry once and she did absolutely everything her teacher asked. Success! She still sat on the steps for most of the class but seeing as she can't yet reach the bottom of the pool with her head above water she'll be sitting there for a while!

Today was Lesson 3. Once again Lola enjoyed her swimming lesson, didn't cry at all (well, not until she hit her head on the hand rail getting out at the end) and did everything her teacher asked. She has so much more confidence than she did only two weeks ago and is really excited about her swimming lessons now.

I took my camera along to Lola's lesson today so I thought I'd share some photos. I must point out that most of the photos were taken from the hallway outside the pool room and the windows aren't the clearest. So apologies for a little blurriness ;)

Ready for the class to start

Thursday 24 January 2013

Bay Area Discovery Museum

This past weekend the Bay Area was blessed with absolutely beautiful weather so we decided to make the most of it and get out and about.

Our destination on Sunday was the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito. Now I know what you're thinking, why would we spend a beautiful day indoors at a museum? Well, that's just it. Much of this particular museum is outdoors. And those parts of the museum that are housed indoors are filled with the most wonderfully fun activities that you don't mind that you're missing out on the beautiful day outdoors.

So what makes the Bay Area Discovery Museum such a great place? Well, first off you could not ask for a more picturesque location. The museum is located at Fort Baker right near the northern end of the Golden Gate Bridge. The museum, surrounding picnic area and even the car park award stunning views over San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Lookout Cove - a playground with a view

But it's not just the fantastic views that make the Bay Area Discovery Museum special. The hands on exhibits capture the imagination of young visitors who learn about the biodiversity of the Bay Area. Ava and Lola had fun playing with all sorts of exhibits including making boats and watching them float, checking out sea creatures such as starfish and sea urchins up close, creating artistic masterpieces, pretending to be fisherman on a wharf, building with foam blocks and lots and lots of playing.

Friday 18 January 2013

Borax Crystal Snowflakes

I recently came across a fabulous winter project: Borax crystal snowflakes.

Have you made them before? Part craft, part science, they're incredibly simple to make using only a few ingredients and look stunning when they're done.

Borax crystal snowflakes

Another birthday coming up...

Ava's 6th birthday is just around the corner. In fact, it's only a few weeks away. Time to get cracking on the party preparations.

Inspired by her best friend's birthday party last year, Ava has decided that rainbows and colours will be the theme of the day. Unfortunately Ava was not able to make it to her best friend's birthday party last year as we live on opposite sides of the world. She has, however, seen lots of photos and is desperate to recreate almost every moment!

While we will be "stealing" some ideas from her best friend's party I figured that I should really come up with a few of my own.

First up are the invitations. I've been working on them tonight so Ava can hand them out at school tomorrow. Here's a little sneak peek...

A snippet of Ava's party invitations

More birthday party projects will be coming soon as we work on them. In the meantime you might want to check out Ava's first five birthday parties...

Wednesday 16 January 2013

Half Moon Bay

On Sunday we headed down south for Ava's cheerleading competition. Seeing as she was finished around 11:00am and we had a Zipcar for the whole day we decided to head to the coast and play tourist for the afternoon. Our destination: the lovely beachside town of Half Moon Bay.

Half Moon Bay

Monday 14 January 2013

You wish you were a Berkeley Star

While we're living in America I want Ava and Lola to try out things they wouldn't be able to do at home. So when the opportunity came up for Ava to take cheerleading classes after school we jumped at the chance. Bring it on!

Ava has been taking cheerleading classes since September and she loves it. She takes pride in the fact that she knows all her arm movements and has been working hard at perfecting her jumps. Admittedly, all of her various jumps end up looking pretty much the same but she's getting there. She's quite dedicated to getting everything perfect and practises her cheer so much at home that even Lola knows all of the words!

Our little cheerleader

Friday 11 January 2013

Bye Bye Christmas Tree

Bye bye Christmas tree.

Thanks for bringing us Christmas cheer over the last few weeks.

We'll miss you...

Thursday 10 January 2013

Hello Mr Bumble Bee

Walking home from school today we came across a strange, and quite large bug.

Hello little critter. What are you?

Wednesday 9 January 2013

Super Bouncy Fun

Ava and Lola love super bounce balls. In fact Ava loves them so much they made it onto her Christmas wish list last year. As much fun as super bounce balls are I wasn't really keen on buying her a box of them for Christmas. I just knew that I had to come up with something a little more creative than that. Imagine my delight when I came across The Bouncing Ball Factory kit a few months back. It was absolutely perfect!

Home made super bounce balls

Tuesday 8 January 2013

Little Projects: 2012 Recap

A few days ago we had a look back at all of the Little Adventures that kept us busy over 2012. Now let's have a look at the Little Projects and Little Crafts that filled in the rest of our free time...

Valentine's Day
For Valentine's Day we baked little heart shaped sugar cookies for Ava's friends at pre-school. We packaged them up in little bags with a picture of Ava the baker on the label. The label read "Sweet Hearts for my Sweetheart". Ava thought that this was absolutely hilarious. I think that it was just the right amount of cheesiness for Valentine's Day!
You can see more here.

Sweethearts for my Sweetheart

Saturday 5 January 2013

Little Adventures: 2012 Recap

It's the start of a new year and that means it's time to look back on what the last year held.

2012 was quite a busy year for us with so many new things and lots of adventures. Most of those adventures were small ones around the Bay Area and a few saw us heading further afield.

Let's have a look back at the Little Adventures that kept us busy at Little Hiccups over the last 12 months...


We started off 2012 with a day trip to nearby Limantour Beach on New Year's Day. A trip to the beach in January for us would usually mean a day of swimming, body boarding and hiding from the sweltering heat under some form of shade. Of course, here in America it's Winter in January so this trip to the beach was very different from what we're accustomed to. No swimming, no body boarding, no sweltering heat. I must say I'm happy about that last bit! I'm not a fan of hot weather.

Cheesy family shot at Limantour Beach

Thursday 3 January 2013

Yo ho ho... We're hunting for treasure!

Ahoy there mateys! 

Today we be pirates searching for hidden treasure! We found a treasure map that lead us all around our courtyard to a treasure chest full of gold doubloons. Pirate booty for sure!

Yo ho ho, treasure hunting we will go!

Here's a look at our search for the pirate treasure...

Tuesday 1 January 2013

USS Hornet Museum

Time for a little more exploring around the Bay Area with the kids...

On Saturday we visited the USS Hornet Museum on Alameda Island. If you're not familiar with the Bay Area, Alameda is where much of the tv show Myth Busters is filmed. It sits in the Bay just off Oakland and boasts some pretty spectacular views over San Francisco. No myth busting for us on this visit but we did have a fun time.

Now I'm not going to claim to be an expert about, well... anything when it comes to ships. And I certainly know nothing about planes and helicopters. Or the armed forces. But I do know that when you add all of those things together you get a decommissioned aircraft carrier that makes for an interesting day out.

USS Hornet (CVS-12)

Snow and Reindeer in San Francisco

Christmas may be over for another year (in fact, it's already new year!) but our advent calendar still had one more activity for the girls. Some time in the week before Christmas the advent calendar's activity for the day was "Visit the reindeer at California Academy of Science". Unfortunately we were a little busy with Christmas preparations so we had to put our visit off until the end of last week. On Friday we made the most of our annual membership and visited the Academy one last time for the year.

That place has got to be one of our favourite destinations for an afternoon of exploration - especially during the holiday season. Snow flurries in the Piazza and live reindeer in the East Garden are just a part of the 'Tis the Season for Science exhibit - our favourite parts no less!

The girls were enchanted by the snow flurries in the Piazza. Ava worked out pretty quickly that the "snow" was really just some sort of soap foam (shampoo according to her) but she still enjoyed it none the less - although she refused to try and catch it on her tongue like Lola and their friend Solly!

Here's a look at the kids enjoying the flurries...

Ava, Lola and Solly in a flurry of snow

Happy New Year

It's officially 2013!

All day I've been seeing photos appear on Facebook of my friends ringing in the new year back home in Australia and I felt a little like I was living in the past. Well, for about half a day we were in different years!

A few hours ago it was finally our turn here in California. San Francisco celebrated the start of the new year with a spectacular fireworks display. The roof top garden of our apartment in Berkeley was the perfect viewing spot for said fireworks and, just like last New Year's Eve, I discovered that hardly anyone in our building was home to make use of it! Apart from a handful of revellers taking in the fireworks I pretty much had the roof to myself as I snapped away with my camera. Fourth of July had been a different story with the roof completely packed for the fireworks display so I was glad that this New Year's Eve was the same as the last.

Fireworks over San Francisco
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