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Sydney school holiday activities for kids

14 Apr

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There are so many things to do in Sydney these April school holidays that we are spoiled for choice.

Even though we are born and bred Sydneysiders we love playing tourist and head into town most weekends to get a dose of colour, culture, food and fun.

Here’s some of the activities the Hungry Family have been up to lately. Some are just on during the school holidays while others are on year-round.

Elizabeth Bay House

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Many moons ago I used to live in Elizabeth Bay, a posh harbourside village in Sydney and used to pass Elizabeth Bay House frequently. Just seeing this stunning mansion, with its multi-million dollar view of the harbour, is enough to take your breath away.

In 1835 the colonial secretary Alexander Macleay was determined to build an iconic splendid home. That he did but there is more to this mansion than just another Sydney-real-estate-is-crazy-expensive story.

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On our recent visit we were extremely lucky to be taken on a behind-the-scenes tour of the place by a guide. She even took us up the ‘servants stairs’ into the attic where staff used to sleep – an area that is usually off limits.

As part of school holidays activities there was a free craft table with a butterfly focus for kids to get creative – score!

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http://sydneylivingmuseums.com.au/elizabeth-bay-house

MCA

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The Museum of Contemporary Art at Circular Quay has free entry, with the exception of special exhibits. We visited a few days ago, stopping first on level four to eat at the wonderful MCA Cafe. With a view over to the Harbour Bridge and Opera House it is a great pace to sit and soak up the environs on Sydney Harbour. Find a table – you can sit indoors or outside – then line up to order. Service is relaxed and friendly and you can order a glass of wine or coffee, too.

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After we were satiated – I highly recommend the avocado and tomato cottage loaf – we headed downstairs to the children’s art trail. The gals were given a clipboard, worksheet and pencil and told which art woks to look at it. After they had finished their assignments they were grated access to an amazing room where they made collages. This room had a jaw-dropping view over the harbour, but the little people were so occupied with cutting, gluing and creating that I doubt they noticed.

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www.mca.com.au

The Australian Museum

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This place has long held a special place in our hearts and we have been so many times to ‘the dinosaur museum’ (as Miss8 has dubbed it) that it feels like a second home.

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The recently opened Trailblazers exhibit is a round up of some of Australia’s best and bravest pioneers. The feats these people have undertaken is nothing short of inspirational – in fact, you find yourself wondering what you’re doing with your time when you see what these amazing people have achieved.

Trailblazers

This is a hands-on exhibit that even includes a mini rock-climbing wall. My gals LOVE rock climbing so they were thrilled to have a go – and The Hungry Dad joined them 🙂

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Kids have free entry into Trailblazers on weekends. See http://australianmuseum.net.au/trailblazers-australias-50-greatest-explorers

Other activities:

The Sydney Opera House always has a free creative play event in The Western Foyer during school holidays. The activity changes each hols and some are more engaging than others. We always check it out, even if we aren’t headed there to see a show. www.sydneyoperahouse.com

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We visited the Sydney Harbour Icons Lego exhibition late last year and had a blast, though I have no idea what happened to the many photos I took! I suggest booking online and reserving an early morning spot. Get inspired by the Opera House and Luna Park models, then have a go making your own creation with the umpteen Lego bricks.

http://sydneylivingmuseums.com.au/exhibitions/sydney-harbour-with-lego-bricks

Speaking of… Luna Park has been thrilling youngsters for generations. It is free to walk through the gates but you will need to buy a pass to go on rides. To be honest, a couple of hours is enough here. I suggest either taking your own food – there are picnic tables on the harbour foreshore – or heading into Kirribilli to eat. Food here is expensive, carnival clichéd, and options are limited. Your best bet is to walk under the Harbour Bridge to the other side of Kirribilli for food.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cinnamon star Christmas cookies (Zimtsterne)

19 Dec

lotsofStars

If, like me, you associate Christmas with baking, stars and cinnamon, you are going to love his recipe. Continue reading

Cheat’s salted caramel pecan pie cookies

23 Nov

salted caramel pecan pie cookies

These salted caramel pecan pie cookies are so easy and so delicious! I made them on the weekend for a dear family member’s birthday party. Tom, the birthday boy, thought they were one of the yummiest things he has ever eaten and as this man has a sweet tooth I take that as high praise.

They have the taste and look of pecan pies but in cookie form – how great is that?

Continue reading

Sydney school holiday idea for kids: Australian National Maritime Museum

7 Apr

maritime1 School holidays in my opinion are a delicate line between ‘yay, a chance to spend some time with the kids without stress’ to ‘what on earth are we going to do all day every day?’ Continue reading

Easy ice cream Christmas pudding [and simple home made Christmas chocolates]

17 Dec

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Firstly – an apology for the lack of photos with this post. I’ve been baking like a mad woman in the last few weeks for various Christmas-related events and even though I intend to photograph as I go for my blog it hasn’t turned out this way.

Sigh.

First up, a super easy Christmas ice cream pudding that I’ve been making for many, many years. I have no idea where the original recipe comes from but it is embarrassingly easy.

This is so simple and a perfect dessert for Christmas Day in Sydney, which is, without fail, a squillion degrees. I made nine desserts for my mother-in-law’s Christmas lunch on the weekend and this was the first thing to vanish.

GATHER:

2 litres best quality vanilla ice cream, softened

1 cup mixture of sultanas, currants and raisins

Good splash of rum

¼ cup glace cherries, chopped

2 tablespoons cinnamon

LET’S GET TO IT:

Soak the dried fruit [but not the glace cherries] in rum and leave overnight.

Line a 2-litre pudding basin with cling wrap, leaving overhang.

Working quickly tip the softened ice cream into a large bowl and stir in rum-soaked fruit, cinnamon and cherries.

If desired place some home-made chocolates [see below] in the base of the pudding basin, then add ice cream. Smooth the top then fold over the overhanging cling wrap. Wrap in foil and freeze overnight.

Home made Christmas chocolates

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I found a similar idea for these little chocs online and Christmas-afied them using red and green Christmas sprinkles from a baking store. Simply line two mini muffin pans with mini liners. Place 150g your choice of chocolate with a splash of canola oil in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir until melted and glossy. Pour chocolate into mini pans until bottom is covered and then a bit more. Sprinkle over Christmas sprinkles and place in fridge for a few hours until firm. Remove and discard wrappers.

Miss 7 and I made these for her to hand out to her class. We bundled a few up in cellophane bags for all of her classmates. I should have taken a photo…