Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Chocolate and Snow, What More Could a Kid Ask For?

Christmas in July is a very big thing around this area.  The boy's school is having a Christmas dinner as a fund raiser, local stores are selling Christmas items, many places are having major sales, and the Hunter Valley Gardens is having snow.  I had already decided to take the kids to see the snow while they were on holiday, but when we discovered it coincided with the Chocolate Festival, Brian decided he wanted to go as well.  So off we went last Saturday.

It was a beautiful day out - mostly sunny and 19 C (or 66 F), so apparently everyone in the region decided to show up as well!  We waited for quite a bit to just get in the gate.  Luckily for the boys, and for us, they behaved incredibly well.  Once we were actually in the gates the crowd spread out fairly decently - except for the snow events. 

The first place we headed into was where chefs (artists?) were making beautiful sculptures out of chocolate.  It felt like that dessert competition they show on TLC.  I can't imagine the patience and steady hand it takes to make these works of art!  Even the boys were interested in what they were making.  Plus, they liked the fact that it smelled like a fondue pot - yum!

The boys were hungry - probably from the smells - so we decided to have afternoon tea instead of lunch.  Seemed like a very wise decision, since the line to the cafe was huge and there was a large tent filled with chocolate vendors.  Off we went, almost all to the same stand.  Will was the only dissenter - he had seen a stand with beautifully decorated cupcakes and there was no talking him out of one.  I was surprised he didn't want the TimTam one, but he was dead set on the Rocky Road Cupcake.  It was massive and he only ate about half of it.  So we wrapped it up for later, knowing you can't keep a growing boy filled for long!

Almost as big as his head, which is saying a lot!

So off we went in search of snow.  It wasn't hard to find, just look for most of the crowd!  The boys decided they wanted to go sled riding first.  After - you guessed it - standing in line for some time they were ready to go!

You can't tell here, but Brian and I were seriously amused watching people that weren't used to snow trying to walk on it.  In their defense it was more like ice, but I'm not sure that made it any less funny to us.  I believe we managed to not laugh out loud, although I did have to chuckle at the people wearing ski pants, mittens, and beanies!


Complete joy

Off we went to the snowball fight that was set up over a volleyball net.  That didn't last very long!  Like I previously said, it was more snow than ice.  They both got hit once and decided that was enough.  Smart kiddos!

We had some time to kill before the appointed hour for the boys to ice skate, so off we went to explore a bit.  I love wandering around gardens and made the kids wait while I set up some photos, which they did very well.

See, some leaves do change color here

Orange trees bearing fruit while there was snow around
Why, yes indeed!
View from the lookout
I'm a sucker for a purple rose

The boys both very much wanted to have a go at ice skating, something they've never tried before.  Ice skating always hurt my ankles pre-arthritis, so Brian was going to wrangle the boys by himself.  I was happy enough to take pictures, but was praying there wouldn't be a major catastrophe.  After all, I do know my Wills fairly well, and the kid trips over air on a regular basis!  Nathan doesn't seem particularly inclined to sports, so we figured they'd both take a tumble and be done.  Boy, were we wrong!  Nath took off like a duck to water!

I promise, this was at the beginning of the session

Will, however, spent most of his time like this:

When he wasn't on his bum
I think this next photo series sums the entire ice skating experience up.  The announcement had just come on that their session was over.  Brian is trying to get the kids off the ice quickly - Nathan, because he's having to good of a time to leave and for Will, well, I do believe this is a case of a picture being worth a thousand words!




and both gone!

To both their credit, whenever they fell they just got back up and kept going.  In the above pictures, Will was giggling the entire way.  Also, they were on an ice-like substance.  I don't think a parent skated by without uttering "Boy, there's no grip on this" or "It's horribly slippery and harder to skate out there."

We stayed at the Gardens a bit longer, then packed it in and called it a day.  Everyone was tired and hungry by the time we got home, so we just headed out to the local RSL club for dinner.

We were thankful for such a lovely time together as a family and happy that the next day brought good weather as well.  That meant the sparklers were finally a go...

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