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

Friday, December 7, 2012

Review: Little Red Riding Hood Christmas Pantomime



My daughter and I were treated to unexpected laughter last night while attending the Little Red Riding Hood Christmas pantomine at the Subiaco Arts Centre.  It was our first pantomime, so we didn't quite know what to expect.


The performance began with Little Red Riding Hood's mother "setting the stage" for the evening.  A cross dresser, she had us laughing and participating from the very beginning, and gave the audience the task of looking for her "huge undies".

Next, we were introduced to Hugh, the heart-struck woodcutter's son, who led us to the forest where we eventually met Little Red Riding Hood, the cunning wolf, and his silly side kicks.  Little Red Riding Hood was not her usual sweet self, but a more adventurous  rebellious version.  Her non-interest in mathes and school may have allowed the sneaky wolf to outsmart her.

Two especially enjoyable characters were the "Bobbies" who were on the lookout for "suspicious suspects".  Their corny jokes, misuse of words, and funny song had us smiling from ear to ear.

Perhaps the most memorable song of the performance was the one sung by the Big, Bad, Wolf and his sidekicks, Slobber and Drool.  I noticed many kids in the audience hiding their eyes with fear, mixed with delight.  The lyrics about eating children were frightening, yet humorous.

The cast of four were amazing and pulled off at least 9 different characters without a hitch.  I hadn't even realized some were playing double parts until the end.

Last night after arriving home, I googled "pantomime" to find out a little about the origin.  Since moving to Australia, I've heard many people talk about pantomimes, or "pantos", especially around Christmastime.  What I found was the panto has been around since the 1800s, and is a "Christmas tradition in London; as much a part of Christmas as decorating the Christmas tree, Christmas shopping, and turkey!" Interested in what pantos are playing in London this Christmas?  Click here.

Pantos are generally based on traditional children's fairy tales and usually contain song, dance, comedy, cross dressing, innuendo riddled word play, and most importantly, audience participation.

Now I understand why Little Red Riding Hood was advertised as a "Christmas pantomime for the whole family", although it only contained one Christmas song at the end.  "We Wish You a Merry Christmas"  with a twist, including "Gangnam Style" dancing, was a terrific way for this uplifting hour of comedy to end.



Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Shutterfly Photo Book for Hagen

I made this photo book as a birthday gift for Hagen.  It includes all the highlights from his first three years...

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Stirling Miniature Railway



The Stirling Miniature Railway is a well hidden treasure located on Vasto Place in Balcata.  I had passed the park many times driving my daughter to her soccer games, and never even knew it was there!


The non-profit Northern Districts Model Engineering Society, or NDMES, opens the park to the public and runs the trains on the last Sunday of every month from 10am -2 pm.  

The cost for a family (up to 6 people) is just $30, or $8 per individual. If you reserve tables for a party and leave a list at the door with your guest's names, the cost is only $5 per guest.  There is no extra cost to book a party... what a deal! 


 The charming park was the perfect setting for a birthday party. We recently celebrated Hagen's third birthday there, and it was a hit! Plenty of tables, shade, and unlimited train rides for the guests.  


The train theme was easy to pull off...
everything from table decorations to party bags were a breeze!

Reserve the gazebo for your group, just $20.

Tables and chairs were reserved in our name with plenty of shade for our guests.
Waiting in line for the train wasn't bad.  The "station" was shade covered, and it was fun to watch all the trains pass by.  My kids rode every single train several times.  Their favorite was the one with the yellow boxcars.  

The miniature railway was fun for all ages, boys and girls, moms and dads.  I highly recommend putting it on your list of activities.


Things to know:Everyone must wear covered footwear to enter the park.
There are free gas BBQ facilities available.
There is a small Kiosk that serves limited snacks, drinks and ice cream.



Saturday, December 1, 2012

Christmastime Down Under


I overheard an Australian friend talking to another Aussie about the excitement she feels when the weather starts getting warmer.  She said it feels like "Christmas is in the air".  Sunshine, the salty sea breeze, seafood, and long summer days trigger the feeling of Christmas for her.  

This will be our second Christmas in Australia, and here are some of the things we discovered about Christmas Traditions Down Under:

Rather than a turkey dinner, the traditional Christmas meal is seafood.  


We still have Christmas trees, stockings, and candy canes.  
Round Christmas tree ball ornaments are called "baubles".

School children exchange Christmas cards, small gifts, and candy with one another,
similar to the way Valentine's Day cards are exchanged in America.

The shopping center is decorated with Christmas trees, lights, and Baby Jesus.  
Santa is there too.

Pretzels are easier to find at Christmastime, and are considered a Christmastime snack, 
as well as sweet, multi-colored popcorn. Yummy!
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We have found, no matter where we are, Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus.  It is a special time for us to celebrate with family and friends.