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We're an American family living in Australia, where everything seems a little bit turned-upside-down.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Variety Place on Saw Avenue, King's Park is Now Open! Newly Renovated!

The long awaited park renovation is complete at King's Park on Saw Avenue.  The new park is named "Variety Place" and it is gorgeous!

 The natural design beautifully incorporates the bush, wood, rock and other pieces of nature.  The previous park at Saw Avenue also used natural materials, and was enjoyed by Perth patrons for three generations!

I love educating myself and the kids while we play!  Signs like these are scattered around the park.

Hagen happily balanced across a jarrah log.

The famous swing has had an upgrade, and it's a blast!

Climbing nets will keep kids busy and active!
The park has many opportunities for climbing, including several stairways cut from timber logs.

Lots of tunnels!

 Kids love tunnels!  And this play park is full of them!  They are cut right into the rocks... you can run over, under, and through them!

 Hagen loved running through this metal textile maze!  

 And then there was this cage... Oh, the endless opportunities this cage will inspire for imaginative play!

Hagen spent his time crossing, climbing, balancing, and running through tunnels!

I was impressed with the wood carvings and the unique picnic tables.
Drinking fountains available at the park.
BBQs available.
Several picnic tables and shade trees for family gatherings.
Toilets available on site.

A beautiful Perth afternoon at King's Park


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Visiting Kinderdental: A Paediatric Dental Specialist in Perth

Today Hagen had an appointment at the newly opened Paediatric Dental practice, Kinderdental, located in Claremont.  Dr. Justin Wong specialises in Paediatric Dentistry, which means he is like a paediatrician for kid's teeth.  In addition to his 5 year general dental degree, Dr. Justin has completed 3 years of post-graduate specialist training focused solely on the treatment of children.

Kinderdental specializes in paediatric patients from 0-18, as well as special needs children and adults, and no referral is necessary.

Hagen had been to the dentist once before about a year ago, and let's just say it didn't go too well.  He was resistant, and would not open his mouth.  The dentist was kind enough, but I quickly realized that working with children was not her specialty.  Hagen requires coaxing for anything new.  Getting a haircut puts him over the edge... and for whatever reason, so does going to the dentist.

The days leading up to the appointment at Kinderdental, I didn't mention the word "dentist" or "teeth" or anything of the sort. I simply told him we were going to Kinderdental to see Dr. Justin's fish tank.  I think it really helped to focus on something fun and interesting, and it took the anxiety out of the situation for Hagen.

A day before the appointment, the Kinderdental office called to remind us of our appointment time, which is always a good thing when you have three kid's busy schedules to keep track of.

The office was easy to find, and there was ample parking in the front and the rear of the building, where you will find the entrance. 
When we arrived at the office, Hagen walked happily through the automatic glass sliding doors.  The reception area was inviting, and Hagen was instantly drawn to the fish tank.

I filled out the patient information sheet while Hagen comfortably played with the toys and watched a show on the large flat screen television.  I was so relieved that he didn't seem anxious, and he was actually excited to see what was going to happen next.

Dr. Justin Wong greeted us, and we walked through another sliding glass door to the examination rooms. Hagen warmed up to the dental nurse, Chloe, right away when she handed him a dental mirror all of his own. The dentist asked Hagen to count his own teeth with the mirror while he asked me some basic questions.

Hagen was quite reluctant at first, but it didn't take too much coaxing to get him into the dental chair once he saw the television screen up on the ceiling.

Dr. Justin was extremely flexible, and never forced Hagen to do anything.  It was very clear to me that he wanted this to be a positive experience.  

Hagen was most comfortable lying on my lap in the chair, so that's what we did. Dr. Justin asked Hagen to open wide like a crocodile and he used "sunshine" to look into Hagen's mouth.  The dentist and nurse really worked as a team to make Hagen feel comfortable, and to make the examination not only possible, but pleasant as well.

Hagen was the commander of the dental chair and got to move it up and down by pressing the buttons. He was most amused!  He was also thrilled with the toy skateboard he was awarded for allowing the dentist to count his teeth and take a look in his mouth.

It is apparent that quality of care is very important at Kinderdental,  After Hagen's examination, Dr. Justin showed me around his office.  It was not only aesthetically appealing, but it was state of the art as far as technology and design.  I was especially impressed by the processes used to ensure clean instruments, proper air flow, and filtered water.  Not something I thought a lot about before, but so very important in a dental office.

Upon leaving the appointment, I asked Hagen if he'd like to visit Kinderdental again sometime so we could get some pictures of his teeth.  "Yes please!" was his answer.  I'd say we hit the jackpot, and the dentist visit was a huge success.  I highly recommend Dr. Justin Wong and his staff.  I'll be making appointments for my other two children in the very near future!

Kinderdental is located at 263 Stirling Hwy,
Claremont, WA  6010

Call to book an appointment: 08 9384 8800

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Little Prince at The Spare Parts Puppet Theatre

The Little Prince was playing at The Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, and my 11 year old son, Everest, and I were excited to attend.  It was our third time to a Spare Parts production, so we knew to expect a captivating hour of interesting props, performers, and puppets.  This time we chose a spot in the very front row.

As we waited for the show to start, all that was on stage was a big, wooden box that looked like a packing crate.  Just a box in the center of the stage invited curiosity and anticipation for us as we wondered what could be inside.

The show began with the two performers, a man and a woman, moving more boxes onto the stage. This created even more curiosity as the audience wanted to know what was inside. Coincidentally, so did the two characters that moved the boxes in. Especially the woman.  She couldn't help herself, and opened one of the boxes.  Inside, she found the Little Prince!

The scenes flip flopped between the two characters moving the boxes, and the story of The Little Prince. Each time the movers moved a crate and opened it, another scene from the story unfolded.

The way the scenes popped out of the moving crates was absolutely amazing!  The boxes transformed into the different scenes as the Little Prince journeyed through the Sahara searching for the meaning of true friendship and matters of the heart.

Among the characters The Little Prince met on his journey were a stranded pilot, a quirky king, a playful fox, and a deadly snake. The Little Prince learned a little knowledge from each of them, although not all of them gave the best advice. The grown-ups especially had some pretty silly ideas about what really mattered in life.

The story of The Little Prince has been around for more than 70 years, and has quite a deep meaning.  I'm not positive my son grasped the underlying theme of the story, but it surely gave us something to discuss and ponder.  Certainly one of the reasons I bring him to the theatre in the first place... to give him a meaningful experience that will stay in his mind perhaps forever.

The Little Prince is playing at The Spare Parts Puppet Theatre July 5-19.  The theatre is located at 1 Short Street, Fremantle, just opposite the train station.

Bookings are essential by visiting or telephone 9335 5044.

Suitable for all ages, but perfect for ages 4-12.

10am & 1pm daily
Evening performance at 6:30, July 18.
No performances on Sundays or public holidays.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Discovering Fire & Emergncy Safety in Perth at the Education and Heritage Centre Fire Station

The kids and I love venturing into Perth CBD to discover new things, so when we heard about The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) Education and Heritage Centre for children and families, we were excited to check it out.

Parking is never easy in the city, so we rode the train in and caught the Red Cat to the Royal Perth Hospital stop.  My youngest son loves riding the train and the bus, so this in itself was part of the adventure!  The Education and Heritage Centre is located near Royal Perth Hospital on the corner of Murray and Irwin Streets.

The FESA is nestled right across the street from another heritage spot in Perth.  This part of the city is rich in culture, and the tree lined street has a sort of charm from years past.

We entered the center and were immediately drawn to the old time fire engines and heritage displays showing the progress of fire fighting through the years. I especially appreciated this part of the museum... looking at old leather fire hoses, firefighter uniforms, and equipment.

The heritage center is an actual fire station from the past.  The old engines are parked in the firehouse garage. It was fun showing the kids how the firefighters used to slide down the pole from the second story to race into their gear and onto the truck.

In the back corner of the fire station, there was a mirror and box of dress up for the kids.  They could become firefighters themselves by dressing in hats and big yellow jackets!  Even my thirteen year old got into the the dress up fun!

Upstairs in the heritage center was a whole floor of interactive safety exhibits with hands on demonstrations and models.

After climbing the stairs, you will see a section with computer kiosks and information pamphlets about possible disasters and their safety procedures. But it was the next room that got my 4 year old son's attention. It had child sized tables and chairs, puzzles, coloring in sheets, crayons, and loads of books to read about fire safety.

The last room brought us through several modules about emergency situations and safety.  Including: water/marine safety, fire safety, safety in the bush/wilderness, earthquakes, hurricanes, and mountain terrain safety.  The categories all relate to Wind, Earth, Water, & Fire.


What we liked best about the heritage center was the hands on aspect.  It was a museum where discovering and learning through touch and interaction was encouraged.  The best part of all... the whole experience was FREE!


The Education and Heritage Centre is open 10 am - 4pm Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday, and admission is free.