Tanunda Day Out

I love the Barossa Valley but not so much for the fancy wine and diverse local produce. The Barossa does hold a special place in my heart as hubby and I spent our wedding night out at the Novotel Barossa. We cruised into the place in our bright orange car, with the windscreen smeared with lipstick messages written by some of our friends and relatives. I think we had in room dining for dinner, which wasn’t too impressive, but nevertheless it was awesome that we could just stay in and relax after a big day.

We also stayed out there for our Babymoon i.e. our little getaway just before Jacob was born. Here I am at 37 weeks, chilling out right after I finished up at my previous workplace. Yet again, we enjoyed the same beautiful views of the rolling hills and picturesque vineyards.

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We’ve also stayed up in Tanunda previously for Big Camp – it’s a church camp run by the Seventh-day Adventist Church Conference of South Australia, and it’s usually held on the grounds of a school up there. Two years ago, we camped there with Jacob – look how small he was then (and what a happy camper he was)

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Big Camp is running again right now but we opted not to camp as we weren’t sure it would be the best idea with an 8 week old baby (though Jared is such a calm baby that we probably would have survived). There is an option to watch some of the programs via Livestream, which is very handy for families like us who have kids who make too much noise to be in the main program -here is the Livestream link just for interest sake.

We made a couple of trips up there as I was helping with the music for the kids program. There are programs for kids of all ages, but I was particularly impressed by the Beginners program (which is what I was helping with, and is for kids from 0-5). The camp’s general theme is Going Home – the Beginners team took the approach of telling stories of people in the Bible who were displaced of their homes and then were given a promise of home.

To visit these people in the stories, they constructed a Time Machine. They made a big grandfather’s clock with a timeline where they turned the dial back to the time of the story, and then the kids stepped through the time machine, which was in the form of a Narnia-themed wardrobe. The wardrobe led through a dark tunnel with fairy lights that took them to a tent where the Bible character was waiting for them to tell them the story. I love the effort they put in for this and I know the kids really enjoyed the whole experience. I was going to take photos but it’s hard to get photos of things when you have two kids on your hands!

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However, I did get to take photos of food -we went for brunch at a cafe called Red Door Espresso. Initially I wasn’t too impressed as nobody seemed to pay us any attention at all (I literally was saying “Excuse me!” rather loudly to some staff behind the counter who was just staring off into space and munching on something?). But the girl at the cashier (who was busy at that time) was prompt to make up for that once she had finished with her customers, and set us up at a nice table outdoors.

It was a lovely day out but not too hot for a couple of hot drinks! Daniel ordered something called the Ultimate Hot Chocolate? Or something like that anyway, I forgot. I’m not cut out to be a food blogger, but the hot chocolate was sure awesome! He basically had to pour pure chocolate out of a bottle into his cup and then mix in cream to his liking. Beautiful and not too sweet! Here he is constructing it, as Jacob enjoys his babycino.

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And our food arrived – we ordered some all day breakfast options, because we are huge hot brekky fans! Yet again, I have forgotten the names of the dishes but on the left is something like crushed avocado and garlic mushrooms while mine was the duck and veal sausage with tomatoes, poached eggs, rocket, etc. Delicious!! We ordered hash browns for Jacob and just shared some bits and pieces with him – he’s more of a grazer anyway.

But another thing that made this place pretty awesome was the little corner that it had for the little people, and a whole bucket of chalk. No, Jacob didn’t draw all those things but he did have fun scribbling all over what was there. The only bad part was probably the parting – we had a bit of a screaming match when we tried to get him to leave.

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Anyway, if you’re ever up in the Barossa (and you’re not already lunching at Maggie Beer’s Farm, which is like the classic tourist destination), check out Red Door Espresso cafe. A nice touch in the heart of the little country town.

Auf Wiedersehen bis bald!

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Big Camp! (Part 1)

So, last week we were away on a church camp where Jacob had his first taste of living in a tent! Our church conference organises an annual camp which goes for a whole week (due to popular request) in the first week of the school holidays. I was intent on going so I volunteered myself to help out in some areas there (though in retrospect, I would have loved to see more programs too!).

ImageHere we are, all set up! Dan and I had the tent while my parents-in-law were cosy in their caravan. We had power in the daytime (hence the yellow cables) but it was turned off at night, so no heaters at night *sob*. It was quite nice and warm in the sun but it did get a bit cold at night. Jacob refused to sleep in his portacot (even with a nice furry sheepskin blankie) so he hopped into bed a.k.a. air mattress with us, which was nice because he’s like a hot water bottle anyway.

We were actually camping on a school oval, not out in the bush, but it did get cold anyway. It’s a big Lutheran school up in the Barossa and has a wonderful campus with lots and lots of space. They even have a Jesus Walk, which is a little woodland area set up with some visuals and little devotional readings to contemplate Jesus’ death and resurrection.

ImageOne of the areas I was helping out in was the Beginners/Kinder division, which is for kids 0-6. The room was transformed into a little jungle, which set the mood well for the week (and the kids had an awesome time!). The theme song for the week was “Who’s the King of the Jungle” which I had never heard before, but now I can’t get it out of my head!

ImageJacob thinks he’s king of the jungle. Lots and lots of soft toys to play with!! We brought along his little jungle tunnel for the little babies to play in (and also for any of the older kids who wanted to show how quickly they could crawl through the tunnel). There was also an outdoor area where kids could play on the slide, build houses with some huge lego blocks, sit in the ball pit, etc. It was amazing to see the dynamics of the little kids, especially since there was such a huge range of ages and abilities. Jacob was one of the littlest ones there and it was great conditioning for him to, to get used to bigger kids.

ImageI also helped out with Women’s Ministries (and no, it’s not just because they had such an awesome high tea spread)! The whole camp’s theme was on being Set Free, so we talked a bit about freedom and how to be set free, not just in physical terms but emotionally and spiritually too. I had to miss a few programs there as they clashed with the Children’s programs, but it was a great journey of discovery and I look forward to delving deeper into the subject. I can’t say I am truly free yet because there are chains that I still have yet to break, but I know that in due time, they will be broken!

ImageA beautiful view of the sunset over the oval, and the moon’s out too! 🙂 I think that the sky is just more beautiful up in the Barossa, but maybe that’s just me. It was interesting roughing it out (a bit) but after a long day or a busy play session, anywhere’s about good enough for a nice sleep.

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Also, Jacob turned 8 months yesterday! How time flies! 🙂 I won’t do a full monthly update for him, though I must say he’s grown in leaps and bounds in the recent weeks – not so much in size, but in intellect and ability. Jacob, you continue to light up my life! 🙂