Thursday, October 9, 2008

See's Candies Peanut Brittle YUM!

I was just a couple months away from total annihilation!

I'm not much of a sweets person, I usually pass on dessert. However, I just love peanut brittle. We had never heard of See's till my sister-in-law brought some in from the west coast.

My friends, run, don't walk to your nearest See's outlet and buy heaps. This peanut brittle is incredible. Incredibly crunchy yet melts in your mouth soft, lovely sweet peanuts...

See's never opened up an outlet near us in MD. I guess it was good for me in a way. I would have likely gained 450lbs, lost all my teeth to decay, and spiraled into a diabetic coma.

Heaven in a box

Please send me a box, alas we're See's-less in Melbourne.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

1000 Steps (MEL)

Welcome Gate

The 1000 Steps (Kokoda Track Memorial Walk) is a walk through dense cool temperature rainforest that's not to be missed. It was created to memorialize the original Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea which is most famous as the location of the World War II battle between Japanese and Australian forces in 1942.

Historical Overview

As if by design, the hike starts up on a gently rising trail allowing you time to get your hiking legs in gear.

Gentle warmup

Out of nowhere, you are then faced with the steps. They can be a little slippery when wet.

Here come the steps

When the say 1000 steps, they mean it (800+ I lose count after a while). There are a few benches to rest along the way, so keep going!

Are we there yet?

The numerous plaques along the way prove educational, and allow you to sneak in a breather whilst pretending to read cross-eyed and doubled-over.

Informational plaques

The 1000 steps is a great place to bird watch. Listening to the calls and trying to spot the birds help me forget my lungs are about to burst. The Superb Lyrebird is the most famous bird in the area - it figures that the one time I've managed to spot one just metres off the steps, is the one time that the batteries in the camera were flat. I apologize for the picture quality below, the camera needs a better photographer...

Great birdwatching

The giant playground at the start of the trail is a great place to let the kids run off a little more steam.

Giant playground

Currently closed for work, it should re-open sometime in August 2008. Visit Parks Victoria's page for more information. The park is very popular, even on weekdays be prepared to drive up to a full car park. After the walk, it's a short drive up to Olinda to reward yourself with some tea and scones.

Friday, July 4, 2008

K-mart Toy Sale

If you don't know about the K-mart toy sale, starting 03/07, which planet are you from? K-mart open its doors at 12:01am to all those crazy, bargain-hunting moms. As for me, I was not that insane to line up at 12:00am just to save a few dollars. However, I did drive to K-mart first thing in the morning with my 2 boys to pick up a few items. My son was looking at the online catalog the day before to pick out his toys, mainly Lego and Lego and more Lego.

When I arrived at the store, there was quite a few people with shopping carts. wasn't as bad as I expected. We walked through the aisles lined with toys up to the ceiling. I was careful not to bump into any would have been an ugly sight with the boxes of toys falling on us. Of course Andrew wanted something exorbitant in price but we managed to do some compromising and came to an agreement as to which Lego to purchase. The boys were really good about what to buy considering the temptation of toys galore on the floor.

Just an hour in the store, I was ready to head home. The store was crowding up. There were moms with carts full of toys to the brim. Wherever we turned a corner, we came up to more moms, carts, and kids. I didn't know everything was free in the store! :) It was funny to hear a child exclaimed to his mom "Mom this is ONLY $80" and the Mom replied "Do you have $80?"

Big W is also having its Toy Sale this week. Target will be starting their toy sale soon. I must say I'm impressed with Melbourne's toy sale because one can really get some good bargains. This is my first time experiencing a big toy sale in Melbourne and it won't be my last!

To check out K-mart's online catalog, go to Kmart's website.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Glen Waverley - Darling Steam Shuttle

On typical windy Wintry Sunday morning, the Liau family experienced a rare treat of train ride at the Glen Waverley train station operated by Steamrail Victoria, Inc. Barely 5 minutes after arriving at the platform, we spied the steam engine chugging down the train line. At the sight of the black engine, children and adults alike cheered and clapped with anticipation. Andrew was intrigued by the thick black smoke escaping from the chimney and the abundant of coal. As the steam engine comes to a halt, it was neat to see the old engine on one side of the tracks and the modern commuter train on the other.

K190 pulling into Glen Waverley

Alvin stormed through the doors of one of the coaches, hoping he was quick enough to get a booth to ourselves. We had underestimated the number of people who came to the ride. Most of the coaches were full, primarily with wide-eyed children, their parents and train enthusiasts. Lady Luck was on our side as we managed to secure one. Andrew immediately stuck his head out the window. "This is so cool," exclaimed Andrew.

Enjoying the view

However, Alex was intimidated by the black steam engine and stayed close to Alvin. As the train moved out of the station, Andrew's excitement was further heightened. He stuck his head even further out of the window and waved at the spectators. Alex remained close to his Daddy.

Steam and Electric side by side

Throughout the ride, we kept the windows open so that we can feel the cool breeze on our faces and smell the black soot! Andrew was insistent on keeping his head out the window for the whole ride. The ride to Darling was about 20 minutes. At Darling, the train switched tracks, picked up passengers and turned back towards Glen Waverley. On the way back, Alex could at least stand near the window and look out cautiously. Andrew proudly gave our tickets to the conductor when he stopped by. We will definitely ride this train again when they operate it next year.

Passengers waiting at Darling Station

Steamrail is a not-for-profit group dedicated to the restoration and operation of historic locomotives and rolling stock. They run numerous exciting tours guaranteed to excite railfans of all ages. Destinations include Geelong, Seymour, Maldon and Bacchus Marsh. Trip information and further details are available at Steamrail's website.