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Homeschooling vs traditional schooling: what we’ve chosen and why

Homeschooling vs Traditional Schooling: What We Chose and Why via https://Christineknight.me

So one of the greatest ironies of mine and my husbands’ lives is that we’ve created the kind of life that we want as digital nomads, and yet we choose to live in Sydney, a crazy expensive place, and have chosen traditional school for our daughter instead of traveling and homeschooling as many digital nomad families do. This isn’t a blog post about the merits of homeschooling vs traditional schooling, but rather a look into why this family has chosen the path we have.

While I won’t get into why we decided to live in Sydney rather than elsewhere or to travel constantly, I did want to touch on why we have chosen the schooling that we have for Cheese.

The Rocks Discovery Museum, Sydney Australia

Traditional schooling vs homeschooling vs distance education

Traditional school

Enrolled in a public or private school.

Distance education 

“Distance education or long-distance learning is the education of students who may not always be physically present at a school. Traditionally, this usually involved correspondence courses wherein the student corresponded with the school via post.” (Wikipedia)

Homeschooling 

“Homeschooling, also known as home education, is the education of children inside the home. Home education is usually conducted by a parent or tutor. Many families use less formal ways of educating.” (Wikipedia)

If you’re interested in homeschooling or distance education, I suggest reading excellent this post by Ytravelblog.

Lonely Planet Books

Traditional schooling vs homeschooling: what we’ve chosen and why

We’ve chosen a traditional school path for Cheese for a number of reasons.

1. She thrives on stability

Cheese is the type of kid who loves having roots. She loves feeling like she belongs somewhere and for her that means the stability of having a permanent home and being entrenched in a community.

2. The quality of teachers

Yes I’ve looked into home schooling and distance education but when it comes down to it I’m not someone who is particularly good at teaching others and I’m not skilled in a lot of areas where she has interests. At her school she has teachers who are passionate about one thing – education – and she is receiving lessons from people who are experts in their fields as opposed to my delivering material I’m either not passionate about myself or have very little knowledge of. I found out this year that her homeroom teacher is a mathematician as well as well as her year 1 teacher so the education she is receiving is being delivered by top-notch professionals in their fields rather than my bumbling through it.

3. The breadth of education

At her school right now, Cheese has dedicated teachers from a variety of areas who teach her throughout the day. She receives 90 minutes of language lessons a day and will be fluent in a 2nd language by the time she’s finished primary school. A dedicated music teacher takes music lessons and a choir teacher prepares the kids to sing at the City of Sydney Eisteddfod.

A piano teacher takes her out of class during the day to teach her piano, and the school has dedicated staff who focus on STEAM programs for the kids to participate in. When she’s a bit older there are musicals she can participate in, school excursions to NASA and foreign exchanges on the cards. All I see when I look at what’s offered for her in the traditional system is incredible opportunity followed by an even more incredible opportunity.

4. I would be a rubbish teacher

Honestly, I would be a shocking teacher. I have zero patience at the best of times and it’s no wonder Cheese doesn’t listen to me when I try to tell her something!

5. Cheese doesn’t listen to me

When I try to help her practice the piano world war three sometimes breaks out! Despite the fact that I have had rudimentary piano training, enough to know the basics, when I try to show her the right note to start on it the right fingering for a piece, she’ll completely disagree. And that’s just piano practice!

6. She is highly engaged at school

I’ve had the privilege of assisting her class a few times and I love being a sticky beak and peeking into the class before the session to see how she behaves. What I’ve witnessed at school is she is an absolute angel for her teacher. She sits up the front and watches her with rapt adoration, and is even attentive and receptive with me when I’m volunteering. It must be something about the class environment that she loves? She participates. She listens. She is a leader. She’s learning responsibility and working with a team.

7. I need to follow my own path too

This is a big one as I feel like in order to take on the role of educating Cheese myself it would mean giving up my own career even more so than I’ve already done. I gave up my full time job when she was born and decided not to return to a regular job afterwards as I wanted to enjoy her childhood rather than place her in full time care, or take a part time role that was too junior for me, which has been all I’ve managed to find available that’s not full-time.

As she has gotten older and been to preschool and now big school, I’ve had more and more time to work on my own career again and I’ve been loving getting my writing business off the ground and doing something that I’m very passionate about.

I think it’s healthier for me to be focusing on myself as well as on the family quite frankly, and I also think it’s good for Cheese to have parents who are hard working role models.

8. She craves community

As an only child, Cheese gets very bored with just me and hubby. She is always desperate for the company of other kids. Being at school means she is forming friendships with kids not just of her own age but also with her buddies in other years and kids who are in her choir and chess club.

Being with these kids day in and day out over the years gives her the stability and community she craves and it also forces her to learn to deal with other people and learn to compromise, work through arguments and learn to face mistakes.

9. The little things that make school fun

I made a rookie error last year and took Cheese out of school over special days that I didn’t think would matter, but I failed to realize that they would matter to her. She missed the school book parade and hasn’t let me live it down. She missed her dance school presentation day where she missed being given an award, as well as her kindergarten speech day where she was meant to perform with her class. Things of great importance in the life of a small child that I had failed to recognize.

Lonely Planet Books

What will the future hold?

Will we always continue down this path of traditional schooling? Probably not to be honest. For for time being it’s an excellent choice for our family but in the future I foresee us doing a mix of the two, with longer travel over several months while we school Cheese on the road at an age where she is able to do work that is set for her, but then return to the environment she loves with her peers at the end of it.

I’m certainly not someone who is set on education in its current form as being a perfect institution, so I am extremely open to other ways to educate her as her needs change.

The Rocks Discovery Museum, Sydney Australia

What I don’t like about traditional schooling 

1. I miss her

This is the biggest thing of all! I really miss her when she’s at school all day and I badly want her to be with me instead.

2. Letting go of control

I have to trust in the school that we’ve chosen and her teachers to make good decisions and treat her with respect and kindness. It’s hard to hear stories of unfair treatment or when things go awry at school and know there’s nothing I can do about it!

3. The school routine

We all find it so tiring. For digital nomads to be getting up early every day and working around school runs is pretty crazy in some ways.

4. Travelling in school holidays

While we will take time off here and there is better for her if we stick to the school holidays which makes for expensive and short travel. I really miss travelling for longer periods in cheaper times, but honestly we all start to miss home after about 6 weeks anyway and long for our simple little home.

5. The education system is archaic

From what I’ve read, the whole education system as we know it was designed during the industrial era. High school (well my experience of it anyway!) is about rote learning, with the designed outcome being a score at the end of year 12 that will get you a spot in the course you want at university. It’s certainly not designed to encourage free thinking and in a lot of ways crushes creativity.

Since we are a very liberally minded family who loves the arts, we will certainly consider other schooling options for Cheese if we find her passions lie in a direction that isn’t assisted by traditional schooling.

What are your thoughts on education for your kids? I’d love to know what you’ve chosen and why. Homeschooling vs traditional schooling: what are your thoughts?

Read more about how I balance being a mum and a freelance career here.
Read about the school run blogging rut here. 

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Vaucluse House Egg-cellent Easter Trail

Vaucluse House Egg-cellent Easter Trail via christineknight.me
This year we spent Easter Sunday at the beautiful, historic Vaucluse House, taking part in their Egg-cellent Easter Trail. The event is held on Easter Sunday each year, towards the back of the estate, on one of their huge lawn areas.

Vaucluse House Egg-cellent Easter Trail via christineknight.me

$17 per child gets you a trail map, four activities, and an Easter treat at the end. The activities are geared towards slightly older children than the Centennial Park Egg Hunt: a Hen Hunt (find the picture of the breed of chicken on the map and write it down), egg-rolling, which was kind of like egg croquet, an egg-and-spoon race with wooden spoons, and the hot cross bun station, where kids were given all the ingredients of a traditional hot cross bun to explore, and then write them down in the correct spot in the recipe in their book.

Vaucluse House Egg-cellent Easter Trail via christineknight.me

The Egg-cellent Easter Trail has three timed entries and the activities can be done in any order. There are only three timed groups, and each one has an hour to complete the activities before the next one begins. It’s more than enough time – but also really great to not have to rush, particularly with little kids.

Vaucluse House Egg-cellent Easter Trail via christineknight.me

This is an all-weather event – so bring gum boots, rain coat and umbrella if the forecast looks grim. It rained during our session which inspired us to do all the activities pretty quickly, but didn’t take away from the enjoyment.

Vaucluse House Egg-cellent Easter Trail via christineknight.me

As well as the Egg-cellent Easter Trail activities, Vaucluse House puts on free Easter colouring in near the animals, and also free traditional games on the front lawn for everyone to enjoy.

Vaucluse House Egg-cellent Easter Trail via christineknight.me

Vaucluse House Egg-cellent Easter Trail via christineknight.me

We all had a turn at croquet, quoits, skittles and hula hoops.

Vaucluse House Egg-cellent Easter Trail via christineknight.me Vaucluse House Egg-cellent Easter Trail via christineknight.me Vaucluse House Egg-cellent Easter Trail via christineknight.me Vaucluse House Egg-cellent Easter Trail via christineknight.me

The Tea Room at Vaucluse House is open Easter Sunday, so we reserved a table in advance (a must as they are always booked out on special days), and enjoyed high teas, fish and chips and other such delights. For a full review of their high tea, check out this post.

Vaucluse House Egg-cellent Easter Trail via christineknight.me Vaucluse House Egg-cellent Easter Trail via christineknight.me

Vaucluse House is holding a host of fun-looking events for kids over the upcoming school holidays, mostly geared towards older children.

The house is celebrating its centenary as a museum at the moment, so it’s a particularly great time to visit.

Vaucluse House Egg-cellent Easter Trail via christineknight.me Vaucluse House Egg-cellent Easter Trail via christineknight.me

Vaucluse House
69A Wentworth Rd,
Vaucluse NSW
(02) 9388 7922
Get Directions

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

The Great Centennial Park Easter Egg Hunt

The Great CP Easter Egg Hunt via christineknight.me

Ahhhhh Easter, the chocolate holiday is here again! In our household, we like to celebrate chocolate over the Easter long weekend, as well as spending as much time as we can with family and friends.

The Great CP Easter Egg Hunt via christineknight.me

This year we finally made it to the Great Centennial Park Easter Egg Hunt. It’s a great, active day out for families in Sydney, and at $17 per participating child, it’s an affordable outing, too. That’s right, no fee for adults, or age requirements, just a $17 fee per child who wishes to have a map and collect chocolate eggs along the way.

The Great CP Easter Egg Hunt via christineknight.me

The egg hunt is suitable for kids of all ages. More than an egg hunt, it’s a multi-stop engaging quest to follow the map along a specially designed course to it’s fabulous conclusion – the Easter bunny (and bilby!) and chocolate, of course!

The Great CP Easter Egg Hunt via christineknight.me

To take part in the Easter egg hunt, you’ll need to choose your start time, 9am and 3pm, and buy tickets accordingly. Entry to the course is timed in 15 minutes increments to ensure that it’s never too crowded.

The Great CP Easter Egg Hunt via christineknight.me

Registration for the course is at the start point, the Learning Centre, Education Precinct, Dickens Drive. Arrive right at the beginning of your time slot – you amy only collect your map and begin the course during your 15 minute time slot. You may, however, take all the time you need along the course to get to the end.

The Great CP Easter Egg Hunt via christineknight.me

The course consists of five station, with an egg and spoon race (don’t worry, it’s a rubber egg!), hop scotch activity, ring toss and egg hunt for kids to complete at each station before the final stop, where they get a photo with the Easter bunny and bilby and collect their big chocolate prize.

The Great CP Easter Egg Hunt via christineknight.me
Upon completing each station along the way, kids are given a stamp on their map and a little chocolate egg. The completed map must be presented at the last stop to receive the big chocolate prize – which, this year, was from sponsor Darrell Lea.

The Great CP Easter Egg Hunt via christineknight.me
The information on the website suggests that the course will take between 30-45 minutes to complete. It took our kids a lot less time to finish, but they had a fantastic time. Each activity was very well suited to our group, with kids aged 2, 4 and 6.

The Great CP Easter Egg Hunt via christineknight.me

At the beginning of the course, in the Learning Centre, was a large room with tables and chairs, and bilby colouring in sheets plus crayons for families to take a break out of the heat. Nearby, a Combi Van food truck was parked to provide refreshments, and public toilets just beyond.

The Great CP Easter Egg Hunt via christineknight.me

I would suggest planning to make a big morning or afternoon of the event, by bringing a picnic lunch, bread to feed the ducks (watching the docks, eels, fish and turtles in the lake entertained our lot for minutes! Lots of them!), and anything else your family needs to spend a few hours enjoying the gorgeous Centennial Park.

The Great CP Easter Egg Hunt via christineknight.me

The Great Centennial Park Easter Egg Hunt is held yearly in Sydney over Easter weekend.

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Little Passports: The Best Subscription Boxes For Kids

Little Passports: The Best Subscription Boxes For Kids via christineknight.me

Is there anything more fun than getting letters and packages in the mail? I thought not. While we love travel, we are not one of those nomadic families who travel year-round. We spend most of our year in Sydney, loving our life here but also dreaming of seeing every country under the sun.

Little Passports: The Best Subscription Boxes For Kids via christineknight.me

Little Passports is a fantastic new find I made recently that fits perfectly into our lifestyle. It’s a monthly subscription box for kids designed to encourage a love of travel and teach them about the world.

The way it works is simple. Choose the monthly adventure best suited to your family, select your subscription plan, and then watch your kids’ faces light up when they receive their monthly packages filled with letters, souvenirs, activities & more.

Little Passports: The Best Subscription Boxes For Kids via christineknight.me

There are three age brackets, or “adventures” to choose from – which means the packages delivered are very tailored to each age range.

Little Passports: The Best Subscription Boxes For Kids via christineknight.me

Early Explorers for 3-5 year olds
Explore a new world theme each month, like music, oceans and dinosaurs.

World Edition for 6-10 year olds
Discover a new country each month, with souvenirs and hands-on activities.

USA Edition for 7-12 year olds
Learn about two new states each month, with activity-packed State Journals.

We selected the Early Explorers for ages 3-5.

Little Passports: The Best Subscription Boxes For Kids via christineknight.me

Next, choose your plan. Each plan includes the Traveler Kit and subsequent monthly world theme kits. Note: prices are in US Dollars (USD). These prices are for the Early Explorers boxes.

12 Month
$13.95/month
One time payment of $167.40 USD
+ $36 shipping to USA/ $66 USD shipping to Australia
Auto renews after 12 months
Cancel renewal anytime

6 Month
$15.95/month
One time payment of $95.70 USD
+ $18 shipping to USA/$33 USD shipping to Australia
Auto renews after 6 months
Cancel renewal anytime

Monthly
$15.95/month
$15.95 + $3 shipping
to USA/$5.50 USD shipping
to Australia, billed monthly
Auto renews each month
Cancel renewal anytime

Little Passports: The Best Subscription Boxes For Kids via christineknight.me

First Month: The Traveler Kit
The first month you will receive:

  • A fun orange suitcase
  • Wall-sized World Map
  • 20-page activity booklet
  • Luggage Tag
  • Stickers and photo
Little Passports: The Best Subscription Boxes For Kids via christineknight.me
“Landmarks” themed kit

Every month following, the kits will have a different world theme. Each kit will include:

20-page activity booklet
Fun Souvenirs
Flashlight Adventures
Trading Cards
Letters, photos, stickers and luggage tags

Little Passports: The Best Subscription Boxes For Kids via christineknight.me

What I love about Little Passports:

The characters:
Little Passports has created three adorable characters called Max, Mia and their dog Toby, to guide children on their adventures. The characters are very age appropriate and super cute. Having characters make the adventures more relatable for little preschoolers, and each month when the kit arrives, kids can look forward to an update from Max, Mia and Toby’s new adventures like they are getting care packages from a friend.

Little Passports: The Best Subscription Boxes For Kids via christineknight.me

The variety of themes:
There are so many! Rather than focusing on one location, the broader theme of “music” or “art” lends itself to different types of conversation, as well as being easier for a preschooler to grasp the concept of. Locations, distance, space – these concepts are tough for little kids to understand, so the themes encompassing a feature that numerous locations have in common makes learning easier for this age group. Cheese is able to tell me, for example, that the Eiffel Tower is in Paris, but she has no idea where Paris is.

Themes that the kits encompass:

Landmarks
Music
Animals
Food
Art
Natural Wonders
Oceans
World Coins
Space
World Discoveries
Dinosaurs
Science
Celebrations
Habitats
Transportation
Insects
Sports

Little Passports: The Best Subscription Boxes For Kids via christineknight.me

The activities
Each kit has activities that kids can do on their own, like stickers, and adult-participation, like the activity books. This mix works well as we have items that Cheese can get out and enjoy on her own, but also ones that we can do together, leading to further discussions. There is a lot of detail in each pack with interesting facts about the world, so when we go through these pack together, I read the information to Cheese, then we chat about what it means, and what she thinks about it.

When I first opened the activity books I wasn’t sure how Cheese would go as she is typically more into physical games than those on paper. I was really surprised however, as she was really happy to sit and work through the whole book in one sitting. I did need to read the instructions to her, but she was then able to perform each activity entirely on her own (note: she is 4.5 yrs old).

Little Passports: The Best Subscription Boxes For Kids via christineknight.me

They’re educational
I’m a big fan of learning through play, and these kits enable kids to do just that. The landmarks kit we received had the cutest mini figures of famous landmarks around the world like the Sphynx and Great Wall of China. After their introduction to Cheese, they are now being used in imaginary play with her other toys, and she’s dreaming up new and exciting geographic locations for her games. These kits, with bite-sized information and games that teach about the world, are an easy way for kids to absorb knowledge while playing.

Little Passports: The Best Subscription Boxes For Kids via christineknight.me

We now have the world map on the wall of Cheese’s bedroom and talk about the different continents, what landmarks are on them, where we live, where we used to live in New York, and so on. I plan to write on the cities soon, where we have been and where we are going, so she can get a good picture of the world and dream up her own big adventures.

Little Passports: The Best Subscription Boxes For Kids via christineknight.me
“Music” themed kit


Thank you to
 Little Passports for sending us these kits to check out. All opinions are my own.

This post contains affiliate links. This means if you buy a kit from Little Passports using these links I will receive a very small commission from the sale. Thank you for supporting me and my blog.

 

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Disney Summer Frozen Garden Party

Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me

A few months ago, I entered a competition to win tickets to a Disney Summer Frozen Garden Party in Sydney. I didn’t think much of it again, until, amazingly, I received an email letting me know that I’d won two tickets to the party. What good luck!

Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me

Cheese chose her Anna Frozen Fever outfit after I persuaded her that it was too hot for anything else and promised I’d even do her hair like Anna’s. One YouTube tutorial later and a hairdo that kind-of passed for Anna’s we were walking into Kurzon Hall with the blaring Frozen soundtrack welcoming us.

Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me

Kurzon Hall in Sydney, where the party was held, kind of resembles a castle, making it the perfect choice for a royal garden party. While summer in Sydney can be anywhere from around 20 degree days to 40, the party day was a particularly scorchingly one, with temps of almost 40dC. It was one of the hottest summer days we’d had – quite ironic to be going a Frozen party in such mad heat!

Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me

Thankfully the Disney team were well prepared for the heat, with parasols at the entrance, umbrellas covering most of the seating, paper fans dispersed to guests, and free gelato.

Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me

As we chose a table for our special afternoon tea, a hostess greeted us and brought us a giant picnic basket full of delicious goodies. The generous serving could have fed another two of us! We received a vegetarian basket, with quiches, a wrap, a vege roll, brownies, fairy bread, a Frozen cupcake, blue lollies, juices, apples and bananas.

Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me

The party had a tight schedule of events that kids could choose to participate in: face painting, horse and carriage ride and meeting Anna, Elsa and Kristoff. In between these events the kids were free to play a variety of old fashioned games like giant naughts and crosses, Jenga and Connect Four. I have to say here, a huge props to the very professional Frozen crew who were decked out in winter costumes and barely looked like they were sweating.

Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me

I had thought the highlight event would be meeting the Frozen crew, who looked almost identical to the cast from the movie but then I looked down at the schedule of events and saw that the gorgeous Aussie singer, Ricki-Lee was scheduled to sing a selection of Disney songs. WHAAAAAAAT?!

Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me

Sure enough, Ricki-Lee turned up and, in sweltering conditions, put on an amazing show. She really has such a gorgeous voice, but, even more than that, she looked like she truly loved the songs, and engaging with the kids. The kids – oh my, they were in heaven. It was like a real life princess from a Disney movie was singing to them. They just couldn’t believe their eyes.

Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me

Ricki-Lee sang a few Frozen faves (Do You Want To Build A Snowman? and Let It Go) as well as other well-loved Disney songs, such as Beauty And The Beast, Part Of Your World and A Whole New World. Without a doubt, she made Cheese’s day by putting the microphone in front of her during one song so they could sing the song together. For a kid whose dream right now is to be a performer like Katy Perry, it was the most amazing gift to be given.

Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me

Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me Disney Frozen Garden Party via christineknight.me

At the end of the party, we were sent home with a gorgeous present – a Disney snowflake necklace – as if all the amazing entertainment wasn’t enough of a gift! A huge thank you to Disney for putting on the Frozen Summer Garden Party. We really had the best afternoon – one that I don’t think my daughter and I are likely to ever forget.

I highly suggest keeping your eye out for future competitions like this, as, you never know, you might win tickets to the next one!

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Quay Restaurant: 6th Anniversary Dinner

Quay Restaurant #Sydney via christineknight.me
For our 6th wedding anniversary, Alec and I dined at Quay Restaurant – Australia’s most awarded restaurant, and one of two Australian restaurants on the prestigious S. Pellegrino World’s Top 50 List. The menu, created by chef Peter Gilmore, is modern Australian with Japanese and Chinese influence.

Quay Restaurant #Sydney via christineknight.me

Starters (same for both menus)
Quay Restaurant #Sydney via christineknight.me

Goats curd with frozen sorrel and green tea.
Quay Restaurant #Sydney via christineknight.me

Salad of summer squash, sheep’s milk feta, lemon jam, young almonds

Regular Tasting Menu
Quay Restaurant #Sydney via christineknight.me

Raw smoked Blackmore wagyu,
horseradish soured cream,
fermented rye crisps,
raw funghi

Quay Restaurant #Sydney via christineknight.me

Southern uni, koshihikari rice,
salted yolk, maw, sweet prawn,
caterpillar mushrooms, umami broth

Quay Restaurant #Sydney via christineknight.me

Slow cooked abalone,
smoked confit pig jowl,
fermented shiitake chawanmushi,
bamboo, koji cultured grains

Quay Restaurant #Sydney via christineknight.me

Crayfish, XO sauce, organic radishes

Quay Restaurant #Sydney via christineknight.me

Roast masterstock duck,
scorched pickled cucumber,
sorrel, iceplant, agretti, karkalla

Vegetarian Tasting Menu

Quay Restaurant #Sydney via christineknight.me

Eggplant tartare, horseradish soured cream,
fermented rye crisps, raw funghi

Quay Restaurant #Sydney via christineknight.me

Green asparagus congee, egg yolk emulsion

Quay Restaurant #Sydney via christineknight.me

Fermented shiitake chawanmushi,
hen of the woods mushrooms, bamboo,
koji cultured grains

Quay Restaurant #Sydney via christineknight.me

Silken tofu, XO sauce, organic radishes

Quay Restaurant #Sydney via christineknight.me

Stone pot organic green rice, mountain spinach,
spring cabbage stems, seaweed

Quay Restaurant #Sydney via christineknight.me

Optional cheese course $25
Ours was an amazing swiss cheese cut into a flower shape, on top of a bed of grains and quince.

Desserts – same for both menus.

Quay Restaurant #Sydney via christineknight.me

Snow Egg

Quay Restaurant #Sydney via christineknight.me

Cream, honey, almonds,
muscovado, oloroso caramel, prune

Quay Restaurant #Sydney via christineknight.me

Coffee, Tea and Quay Petits Fours

Quay Restaurant #Sydney via christineknight.me Quay Restaurant #Sydney via christineknight.me

The staff surprised us with an adorable bonus cupcake to celebrate our anniversary.

Quay Restaurant #Sydney via christineknight.me

The view! Doesn’t get any better than this.

Quay Restaurant #Sydney via christineknight.me

Gorgeous cocktails with a stunning outlook.

Quay Restaurant #Sydney via christineknight.me

Even my bag was well taken care of with a Quay branded purse holder.

Quay Restaurant #Sydney via christineknight.me

We had such a wonderful evening at Quay. From the kind, thoughtful and efficient staff, to the amazingly created food and the snow egg dessert that was well and truly the best dessert either of us has ever tasted, Quay went above and beyond to deliver a dining experience that we will never forget. What a wonderful way to celebrate our anniversary.

Quay Restaurant #Sydney via christineknight.me

Quay Tasting Menu is $235 pp 8 course degustation

Quay Restaurant
3, Overseas Passenger Terminal, George St & Argyle Street, The Rocks NSW 2000
Reservations
Get Directions

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

The Best of San Francisco For Kids: Children’s Creativity Museum

 

Children's Creative Museum via chistineknight.me

Children’s Creativity Museum is a hands-on, multimedia arts and technology museum for kids of all ages. It’s the kind of place that kids never want to leave as it’s full of open ended play opportunities that will literally keep them occupied for the entire day. The biggest challenge you’ll have is removing the kids to grab lunch when you’re desperate for a snack yourself.

San Francisco with Kids via christineknight.me

The museum is broken up into several different levels and labs. Some of the areas, such as the Animation Studio, were best suited to older kids than our preschoolers, but we were still able to find more than enough to entertain two three year olds for an entire day.

  • Animation Studio
    Geared towards older kids, children will learn the basics of stop motion animation by creating their own clay characters and bringing them to life on screen.
  • Community Lab
    Until Jan 3 the Community Lab will feature Brain Teasers 2, an interactive exhibit featuring 21 hands-on puzzles.Children's Creative Museum via chistineknight.me
  • Imagination Lab
    The area where we spent the majority of our time at the museum, the Imagination Lab is a hands-on environment encouraging building and creating with materials like blocks, Magna Tiles and craft. The dress up and puppet theatre was particularly popular with the preschoolers. 
  • Innovation Lab
    Kids are given the Mystery Box Challenge – a box filled with materials and a brief to create an object using only those materials. It was a lot of fun for the kids to think about basic design concepts as well as letting their creativity reign.Children's Creative Museum via chistineknight.me
  • Music Studio
    The girls’ favourite part of museum, no surprise. Pick a song from a selection of over 2,000 to sing in front of a green screen. The girls chose “Let It Go” (no surprises there) and sang it against an icy background reminiscent of Arendelle. They were in heaven.
  • Tech Lab
    A fun way to introduce kids to coding. A bit too old for our kids, I’d love to return another time to try this lab.

Children's Creative Museum via chistineknight.me

Before leaving the museum, take a spin on the hand-carved wooden carousel out the front. It’s the oldest operating carousel in San Francisco with a whimsical menagerie of animals to ride on. Be warned, it’s extremely fast!

Children's Creative Museum via chistineknight.me

Children’s Creativity Museum
221 Fourth St. San Francisco, CA
Price: General admission $12. Kids under 2 free.

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Christmas 2015

Christmas is all about family for us (and present opening if you’re the little Cheese!;)). We had such a lovely day together. A quiet morning at home opening a few gifts with my parents, including Cheese’s first bike, and then a drive up north to a restaurant called Estuary, on the water in Brooklyn, where we had lunch with Alec’s dad and step mum.

After lunch we strolled along the water front, and found an injured duckling. After calling around and getting advice from vets, the duckling went home with my father-in-law. Another reason why I love my family – it was all hands on deck to help a sad little duck. Couldn’t think of a better way to spend the day.

Christmas 2015 christineknight.me

Christmas 2015 christineknight.me

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Christmas 2015 christineknight.me

Christmas 2015 christineknight.me

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Christmas 2015 christineknight.me

Christmas 2015 christineknight.me

Christmas 2015 christineknight.me

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Christmas 2015 christineknight.me

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Christmas 2015 christineknight.me

Christmas 2015 christineknight.me

Christmas 2015 christineknight.me

Christmas 2015 christineknight.me

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Christmas in Sydney 2015

Christmas in Australia via christineknight.me

Christmas in the Southern Hermisphere is a funny time of year. It’s gets crazy hot, and we have wintery decorations popping up all over the place. It never feels as festive as it did when we were living in New York, but it certainly has its own charm that I love.

In Sydney, this is what Christmas looks like around the city:

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David Jones shop windows are usually a festive highlight. They were a bit of a let down this year however, so fingers crossed for a better display next time.

Christmas in Australia via christineknight.me

The Swarovski tree in the Queen Victoria Building is one of the most beautiful trees I have ever seen.


Christmas in Australia via christineknight.me Christmas in Australia via christineknight.me Christmas in Australia via christineknight.me

Post a letter to Santa on the top floor – he actually writes back, too!

Christmas in Australia via christineknight.me

The best Santa photo in Sydney in the Queen Victoria Building.

Christmas in Australia via christineknight.me

The free Christmas kick off concert in Hyde Park. The City of Sydney has a whole series of these free concerts at the beginning of the season. Despite the rain we had a wonderful time singing Christmas carols and dancing with friends.

Christmas in Australia via christineknight.meLife-sized gingerbread House at the Shangri La Hotel by master pastry chef Anna Polyviou.

Christmas in Australia via christineknight.meThe Christmas Tree in Martin Place runs digital messages all over it, so you can SMS a personal message to loved ones and see it on the tree.

Christmas in Australia via christineknight.meCircular Quay Customs House tree is a tree with an amazing view of Sydney Harbour.

Christmas in Australia via christineknight.me

Merry Christmas friends! What does Christmas look like in your city?

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Storytime Ballet: The Sleeping Beauty

The Sleeping Beauty Storytime Ballet via christineknight.me

The last of our wonderful theatre outings for the year was the brand new Storytime Ballet The Sleeping Beauty by The Australian Ballet.

The Storytime Ballets are a new initiative born out of a growing demand for ballets suitable for children to enjoy from an early age. According to The Australian Ballet’s Executive Director Libby Christie, over 420,000 children participate in dance activities across Australia every week (including little Cheese!). Designed for children aged three and up, the Storytime Ballet has been created from start to finish with young theatre-goers in mind.

The Sleeping Beauty Storytime Ballet via christineknight.me

Last week we were lucky enough to see another version of The Sleeping Beauty, the Once Upon A Time version also by The Australian Ballet. I wasn’t sure how the two performances would differ, and was really happy to see that this brand new Storytime Ballet show was actually a completely different performance in every way. Unlike the Once Upon A Time ballets, which are almost the same as the original performances with a few tweaks, the Storytime Ballets are built from scratch to engage children with an interactive performance.

The Sleeping Beauty Storytime Ballet via christineknight.me

It’s really the perfect way to introduce very young children to the ballet. A narrator, who is also part of the cast of characters, talks through the performance as it is happening to make it easier for little kids to understand the story (I get it, ballet mime can take a bit of getting used to!). The kids felt like part of the show instead of just observers thanks to interactive moments where they were asked to use their magic to drive the story forward. I particularly appreciated the acknowledgment of parents too, when it was suggested that, instead of magic, we “use the force”.

The Sleeping Beauty Storytime Ballet via christineknight.me

A smaller cast and set allows the show to travel nationally – and also made the show a lot less overwhelming for children. It’s much easier to focus on what’s happening when there is less to take in. I did notice that the kids, even little toddlers who looked to be under the recommended age of 3, were highly engaged throughout the show, and I think that this, as well as the addition of the narrator, certainly helped to make this ballet a success. At just under an hour, the ballet is also the perfect length to entertain kids before they lose attention.

The Sleeping Beauty Storytime Ballet via christineknight.me

In the foyer outside the Drama Theatre are a range of free activities for kids to enjoy before and after the show. iPads set up with ballet-themed drawing activities that can be sent to parents’ phones, there are ballet costumes for kids to dress up in and also an irresistible store stocked with ballet-themed gifts such as clothes, wands, tiaras and The Sleeping Beauty music on CD. The proceeds from sales all to back to The Australian Ballet and supporting their amazing work.

The Sleeping Beauty Storytime Ballet via christineknight.me

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The Sleeping Beauty Storytime Ballet via christineknight.me

The Sleeping Beauty Storytime Ballet via christineknight.me

The Sleeping Beauty Storytime Ballet via christineknight.me

While we saw The Sleeping Beauty at the Sydney Opera House, kids around the country will be able to enjoy the same show as it tours nationally over the summer.

STORYTIME BALLET: The Sleeping Beauty tour dates

Arts Centre Melbourne 16 – 20 December 2015
Sydney Opera House 23 – 27 December 2015
The Concourse Chatswood, Sydney, 30 December 2015 – 3 January 2016
The Illawarra Performing Arts Centre, Wollongong, 7 – 9 January 2016
Evan Theatre Penrith, Sydney, 12 – 16 January 2016
The Playhouse Canberra, 20 – 23 January 2016
The Arts Centre Gold Coast, 29 – 30 March 2016
Brisbane Powerhouse, 1 – 2 April 2016
Further dates and venues will be announced early in 2016.

Christine Knight

Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!