Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Tambua Sands Weekend

What's the expression....while the cat's away the mice will play.....so Richard had a 2 week training in DC at the end of October/beginning of November, with travel time he ended up being gone about 2.5 weeks. Of the three weekends he was gone, logistically the last one worked out best for the kids and I to head to a resort for a little get-away with a spa and kids club since we be tired of so much alone time with one another. So by the time I decided which weekend to head of town, when I started contacting resorts, a lot had no availability....oops. Eventually I did find a resort I've heard a number of people have gone to with availability....weekend saved (but oops no spa or kids club)! As soon as the kids got off the bus, I had them changed clothes and off we headed. We managed to beat most of the evening/get out of town traffic and arrived at Tambua Sands Beach Resort in about 2 hours. We got checked in and they helped us get our bags to our bure. We dropped everything and ran out the front door to enjoy the sunset!


Note: The 'Fiji Filter' that makes everything look beautiful.....even bickering siblings.....


Someone really wanted to go swimming in the ocean....but we needed to get some dinner first....


Someone else was happy to have the hammock back to themselves....


I do wonder if pink clouds is where purple rain comes from....


After dinner we hung out and played some ping pong while waiting for the every exciting crab races. The kids did decorate the 'race track' too.


Then Mason played a game of pool with the activities guy, Tui (who was soon to become Clarissa's new bestie).


Mason's crab, Hillary, won the race and he got a bowl of ice cream for the prize. Clarissa hung out at the bar waiting for the ice cream.... We headed back to our room to listen to the ocean as we drifted off to sleep.


Saturday morning was the last morning before daylight savings began, so the sun rose around 5 am....so when you sleep with the windows open to keep you cool at night (yeah, Richard would have been miserable with no AC) the morning sun woke Princess Early Riser (Mason on the other hand happily slept in). So Clarissa and I went out to explore. Right outside our bure, we found these fluffy flowers all over the ground....so soft and fluffy!


Scattered everywhere....(it is from the Sea Poison Tree or Fish Poison Tree (Barringtonia asiatica) the seeds can be ground up and used to stun fish).


So pretty!


The other day, I showed you Clarissa and I were the only ones up this early enjoying the rising sun. It was very peaceful as we looked for shells the tide had brought in.


Great start to the day. 


Afterwards, we headed to the breakfast. The kids wore their swimsuits so they could immediately partake in the pool waters.


After swimming/enjoying the view we got cleaned up and headed to the Kula Eco Park. Mason had been here on a field trip, but Clarissa and I hadn't gone yet. I was excited to see the Fiji Banded Iguana, though Clarissa was not going to look nor touch any snakes. We arrived just in time for the sea turtle hatchling feeding.




We not only found the Fijian Banded Iguana, we got to hold them!



 Also got to hold a snake!


Clarissa decided to look at the snake....


Then, she not only touched the snake, she held the snake! We think this was the Fiji burrowing snake (Ogmodon vitianus), or locally known as the Bolo.


We then walked around and checked out all the birds (and the only mammal indigenous to the Fiji Islands) on the property.


Fruit bats....those indigenous mammals.


We stalked this peacock for a long time and told him what a sexy beast he was....but apparently that wasn't enough to get him to strut his stuff and show us his plumage in its full glory!


After circumnavigating the park, we headed to the little gift shop. Clarissa had some tooth fairy money burning a hole in her little purse. She bought a cute necklace with a sea horse pendant carved out of a shell. As we were leaving it started to pour down rain....good timing!! We headed to a lunch spot we had heard great things about Eco Cafe....we heard they have a tasty wood fire oven cooked pizza. So we tried it out.....the rain stopped after we ordered. The view was amazing and the pizza yummy! We will be going again (in fact we have since taken Richard).


We headed back to Tambua Sands. High tide was mid-day so we attempted to snorkel, but the tide was already heading out again and the water got shallow pretty quickly so we gave up on that and headed to the pool again. Afterwards, we got cleaned up for dinner. I put some flowers in Clarissa's hair....because I could!


Before dinnertime (they had set hours), we watched the sunset....it was a beautiful one....with lots of selfies. 


Sunset!


After the sunset.....it looks like the sun is actually in the water.....


I practiced some free range parenting and allowed Clarissa to hang out at the bar with her buddy Tui....


After dinner, the kids went on a frog hunt (technically a cane toad hunt, but I didn't want to be the annoying biologist correcting people)! Clarissa caught 8 frogs and Mason caught only 1....that's my girl! They then raced the frogs. Another little boy from Germany picked one of Clarissa's to race. That frog won, but since Clarissa won the frog catching portion they both got a bowl of ice cream! 


We crashed hard that night! Daylight savings kicked in and we sprung ahead at 2:00 am, so the sunrise was at a much more reasonable 6:00 am on Sunday..... After breakfast, Clarissa sadly said goodbye to her bestie Tui....Mason and I are still amazed how much she quickly she befriended him. She's normally super shy around strangers. She wanted me to take a picture for her iPad to remember him (even though both kids want to come back and stay in the honeymoon suite which has a private jacuzzi/mini pool.....). The resort had lots of cute, witty signs....I think one was my fave that summarizes our weekend. 



Saturday, November 5, 2016

That one Halloween

That one Halloween......I made the kids Halloween costumes! Yep...(just don't look too close, they aren't perfect). As I mentioned in the Hawai'i posts, we picked up portions of Mason's costumes and fabric for Clarissa and her gang's costumes.

Clarissa decided she wanted to be Bubbles from the PowerPuff Girls. She's been a fan since before the reboot (thanks Boomerang!). When Clarissa first tried on her costume, she looked at me and said 'I can't really fly?!?'....so I walked around as the Professor with a bottle of 'Chemical X' to explain why they couldn't fly yet...lol.


Given the PPG are Kindergarten-aged....which so is Clarissa....it would be perfect (and insanely adorable) to recruit two other friends to dress up. So she found two other friends to be Blossom and Buttercup! It was like wrangling cats to get a photo of the three of them.....and then they heard music and started dancing...so this is as good as I got! Then they were off to gather candy.


Mason is re-reading the Harry Potter Series for the second time (he read them back in 4th grade). He has gone onto Pottermore and was sorted in Hufflepuff. So he wanted to be a Hogwarts student (especially given he is the age that kids typically get their Hogwarts Acceptance Letters) and therefore, needed his house uniform.


Hufflepuff Student casting spells.


Given we live in Fiji, we had to modify it a bit or he might have a heat stroke! So in Hawai'i, we found a white (short sleeve) button down shirt and a blue and yellow tie (apparently the thick/vs thin stripes are opposite of what they "should" be). He also made gold and black flip flops. At the fabric shop we found the clasp for his robe. Here in Fiji, I found some black and gold fabric to make his robe, which was relatively easy. I ordered his Hufflepuff patch and the yarn for his scarf (that was the only the thing I couldn't talk him out of). He also agreed to wear some gray shorts he already had and viola.....


We had multiple events to go to (one Clarissa was sick for and we didn't end up making it to) and she was fine using other dress up things she has to wear to it. There was also one street made up a few Americans and Australians that will give out candy for Trick or Treaters. So we went over there on Halloween. Given we don't live there, I brought some candy to give out too (some Mom's got some nice chocolate to hide from their kids/I was a mobile "house"...lol). Mason wore his Hufflepuff uniform again. Clarissa wore a vampire dress she had found at the Goodwill store in Hawai'i. She did all her own make-up.....I'm not quite sure where she learned about vampire blood running down their chins....but kuddos to her handiwork!


Actual Halloween!


Unfortunately, the kids did not get a chance to dress up for a school day. Diwali falls on the darkest night (so new moon, therefore it changes year to year) and fell same as Halloween week this year. So the Friday before Diwali/Halloween weekend, for mufti day the kids could wear Indian clothing. So I picked Clarissa up a pretty sparkly dress. It's been torturing her hanging in the closet not being able to be worn yet. So she was quite exited to put it on that morning (I even let her put on some lipstick for school!).


And when she got home, she told me her good friend was wearing the same dress, just in a different color and that made her day! Her friend's mom was kind enough to send me the picture (you may recognize her friend as Blossom from the PPG!).


Anyway, hopefully I haven't set the bar too high this year in regards to Halloween costumes....

Sewing Details:
For PPGs, I found a tank dress that Clarissa had in size 6-8y and just traced it to make a pattern. I then made the PPG dresses in the same fabric just different colors. I did scan the pattern before making the first dress in case I messed up cutting with the rotary cutter so that would all be close to identical. If you would like the pdf, drop me an email.

For the Robe, I followed this tutorial and on a tip I found somewhere else, I traced a sweatshirt hood to make a pattern and used that for the robe hood.