Featured – Dads in the Limelight

dog bath

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by Chris from Dad of Divas . He had found my ramblings through one of the social media platforms Down Under Dad uses (shameless plug incoming) like Twitter @DownUnderDadbg , Facebook Down Under Dad Blog , or Instagram @downunderdadblog. While it often doesn’t feel like it, its always nice to know someone is reading my work.

family roadtrip

He asked if I was interested in being Featured on his reoccurring Segment – Dads in the Limelight. In which each time he features a new Dad he has discovered and asks him a series of questions as a way to get to know him for his readers.

Of course my first thoughts were selfish like “What a great opportunity for some exposure”. You should know by now I like to be honest. Just check out Shopping for Kids Toys – With Kids and you will get a fair idea.

sick toddler

The more I thought about it, the more I liked what he was doing and read about other featured Dads. Its refreshing as a Dad to see how others have answered the questions, What Drives them? What do they see as challenges? and What advice they would give to others?

Anyway if you want to know more about what I’m talking about you can check out the post here Dads in the Limelight – Down Under Dad

If you have time I really encourage you to check out some more of Chris’s work over at Dad of Divas and I want to thank him for giving me the opportunity to be featured.

 

25/7/18 – Dad Joke of the Day

Dad Joke of the day

So there was this man in Bulgaria who drove trains for a living.

He loved his job. Driving a train had been his dream ever since he was a child. He loved to make the train go as fast as possible. Unfortunately, one day he was a little too reckless and caused a crash. He made it out, but a single person died.

Well, needless to say, he went to court over this incident. He was found guilty, and was sentenced to death by electrocution. When the day of the execution came, he requested a single banana as his last meal.

After eating the banana, he was strapped into the electric chair. The switch was flown, sparks flew, and smoke filled the air – but nothing happened. The man was perfectly fine.
Well, at the time, there was an old Bulgarian law that said a failed execution was a sign of divine intervention, so the man was allowed to go free. Somehow, he managed to get his old job back driving the train. Having not learned his lesson at all, he went right back to driving the train with reckless abandon. Once again, he caused a train to crash, this time killing two people.

The trial went much the same as the first, resulting in a sentence of execution. For his final meal, the man requested two bananas. After eating the bananas, he was strapped into the electric chair. The switch was thrown, sparks flew, smoke filled the room – and the man was once again unharmed.
Well, this of course meant that he was free to go. And once again, he somehow managed to get his old job back. To what should have been the surprise of no one, he crashed yet another train and killed three people. And so he once again found himself being sentenced to death. On the day of his execution, he requested his final meal: three bananas.
“You know what? No,” said the executioner. “I’ve had it with you and your stupid bananas and walking out of here unharmed. I’m not giving you a thing to eat; we’re strapping you in and doing this now.” Well, it was against protocol, but the man was strapped in to the electric chair without a last meal. The switch was pulled, sparks flew, smoke filled the room – and the man was still unharmed. The executioner was speechless.
The man looked at the executioner and said, “Oh, the bananas had nothing to do with it. I’m just a bad conductor.”

See more Daily Dad Jokes here: Dad Joke of the Day

Dad Joke of the day

Our Quick Escape – Part 3

quick escape hunter valley

Our third and final day of our 3 Day Hunter Valley Escape wasn’t as jam packed as the previous 2, however that didn’t stop us making the most of our time in the Hunter Valley.

While it was only a 3 day break, our little holiday was the perfect way to spend some quality time as a family of 3 before things get a whole lot busier When 3 become 4. . . It also happened to line up with the 2nd birthday of our little guy so it was a great way to celebrate it as a family.

If you can’t tell by the title this is actually the third and final part of our adventure. I encourage you to check out our experiences on Day 1 Our Quick Escape – Part 1 , as well as our adventures with Snow (in this part of the country?) on Day 2 Our Quick Escape – Part 2.

All caught up now? Here we go. . .

Day 3

After being so excited the day before that we got up at 2am (can you feel the enthusiasm?) , Day 3 started a little slower. We knew we had until 11am to be out of the hotel (thank you late checkout), but we also didn’t want to start our day too late.

After our little guy felt the need to open the door to the balcony and proclaim to everyone “ooo its cold” over and over it wasn’t long before we were out of bed. After packing our bags, double checking under the beds, triple checking the cupboards, and quadruple checking the bathroom (I know it was only 2 days but when you have a toddler you will find things in the most surprising of places), we decided we needed breakfast.

We had avoided breakfast at the hotel buffet so far as the price was a little steep for us, but being the last day we also thought it would be convenient. Walking past the buffet and seeing the lineup snake its way throughout the lobby of the hotel cemented our decision to find food elsewhere.

taste of the country

If you read Our Quick Escape – Part 1 you will know that on the first day we found a great little cafe that did All Day Breakfast – not that it was late, just we already knew they did good breakfasts.

Breakfast was fairly uneventful, the real run began when we got to the Zoo

Hunter Valley Zoo

The Zoo had been one of our main reasons for coming to the Hunter Valley. Our little guy had always been fascinated by different animals in books and on the TV, so we thought he would be impressed to see them up close.

A short drive away, a handy voucher giving us discounted entry, and we were ready to go.

After we paid our entry fee and purchased our bag of ‘animal food’, we headed in. We immediately heard over the PA system that there was going to be a ‘Lion Talk’ starting in 10 minutes. Anyone with a toddler knows their attention spans can be short, and standing in a crowd listening to someone talk through a speaker is not going to bode well.

It also meant that the walk-in area where you can feed to kangaroos had next to no one in it so it made for the perfect first stop.

Hunter Valley Zoo

Kangaroo Joey

While I understand why they do it, its safe to say just about everyone who comes to the Zoo buys some animal food as the kangaroos were pretty well fed. Upon realising this the little guy decided that the ducks on the other side of the fence were more deserving of his attention, as well as his food.

feed kangaroo

After getting bored of feeding the kangaroos, ducks, and the odd Llama, we decided to keep moving. Next stop were the Monkeys. Kangaroos, ducks, and even Llamas were something Ollie had seen outside before, so the Monkeys were the first animals he had only ever seen in a book. You could tell he was impressed, until we moved on the only words out of his mouth were “Eee Eee Eee” – in case you couldn’t tell that’s the sound a Monkey makes.

monkeys

As we continued through the first half of the Zoo, the animals were more suited to older kids. What do I mean by that? A toddler isn’t exactly interested in birds, or any animal that’s smaller then they are, especially when they aren’t moving much.

We then moved towards the larger animal enclosures, walking past a number of Crocodiles. Again no matter how much enthusiasm Mum and Dad showed towards them, Ollie wasn’t interested unless they were moving.

Beyond the Crocodiles were the Lions – thankfully by the time we got there the crowd had already dispersed. Unfortunately that also meant the Lions were using this time to rest and weren’t being overly active.

note, I’m not 100% sure if the Lions were actually more active during the talk, however with never seeing a Lion in the wild, I’m not sure how active they are.

As we checked out the other large enclosures we noticed an Emu had come over to the fence and a couple of people were feeding it. I used this opportunity to get rid of the last of our animal food that we had been carrying around and allow Ollie to see it up close. That was were it wrong. . .

Now just to clarify nothing bad as such happened here and no one was ever in danger

With child in one arm and food in the other I reached out to the emu – with the food, not the child (I shouldn’t feel the need to clarify that), and the Emu promptly snatched the food out of my hand. While some of us thought this was funny, the look on the little guy’s face was one of shock and horror.

Let’s just say we moved away from the Emu pretty quickly. Fortunately the scare from the Emu was quickly forgotten about when the Lions decided to use that time to be more active.

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To paint a picture for you there are two Lion enclosures with a high wall between them, they each hold a different type of Lion, a male and female of each.

When the first one decided to open its lungs and Roar, the other 3 did the same. What followed was a ten minute symphony of loud roars that would have woken anyone up.

The rest of the visit was rather uneventful compared to the Emu’s and Lions.

Time to head Home

While no one was ready to hop back in the car, all good things must come to an end.

As I mentioned in Our Quick Escape – Part 1 we were lucky that our Destination in the Hunter Valley was only a short drive from our home of Newcastle . While it was only a short drive, 3 big days had obviously warn the little guy out as he was fast asleep as soon as we pulled out of the driveway from the Zoo.

quick escape hunter valley

That marked the End of Our Hunter Valley Escape. However the busy week didn’t finish there, Day 3 of our Holiday was also the day Ollie turned 2, you can read more about it in 2 Years of Parenthood .

 

 

 

Weekly Wrap Up – Sunday 22nd July 2018

weekly wrap up

The weekend is Over, you have done what preparation you could for the week ahead and now its time to sit down and get that final bit of relaxation time in before heading to bed to start the week.

This is the perfect time to catch up on the week that was, especially if your like me and have been slacking off, too busy, or just focused on other things, that’s fine, I understand, this post is made for you, a summary of the last week, or so.

Disclaimer, this is actually a two week summary as I missed last weeks. Sorry to mislead you but Weekly Fortnight Wrap Up just didn’t have the same ring to it.

Our Quick Escape

I told you I have been busy, our little family went away for 3 days to the beautiful Hunter Valley.

The first day was really a half day by the time we arrived. A filling lunch at a nice little cafe, a play in the park, and exploring the hotel rounded out the day, check it out here – Our Quick Escape – Part 1

quick escape hunter valley

The second day was fully packed from the time it started (around 2am). There was plenty of good food, we found some snow (in this part of the country??), and enjoyed some hot coffee. Some more fun back at the hotel and the day was over. Find out more Our Quick Escape – Part 2

I also told you I have been slacking off, so much that I still haven’t finished Part 3 – Coming Soon.

The Little Guy Turns 2

I’ve been blogging now for a few months and I just realised I never actually mention our little guys name. Oliver has finally turned 2 and Mr and Mrs Down Under are celebrating, not just his birthday but making it through 2 Years of Parenthood .

There was a wild party at the local pub to celebrate (as wild as it gets for a 2 year old), and plenty of new toys to keep Ollie occupied for at least a couple of days.

car

Twitter Mention

So it turns out that something Mrs Down Under stumbled upon on Youtube – Super Simple Songs is pretty well known. They should really teach you this stuff before you become a parent.

All I did was tweet something that my child did and tagged the artist and it went viral, well as viral as someone with 170 followers on Twitter can go.

baby shark

If you want to stay up to date and hear even more bad dad jokes (only the best ones make the blog), then give me a follow @DownUnderDadbg

Bucket List Contribution

A few weeks ago I came across a post from Wendy at Travel Drink Dine , asking for submissions for an Australian Bucket List. What better way to highlight the great city Down Under Dad comes from then by contributing a section for my hometown of Newcastle. You can find the full list here by following the link Reblog – The Ultimate Australian Bucket List – Travel Drink Dine

Random Facts about Newcastle

The contribution to the bucket list was only short and was more touristy then anything, sure it might interest you if you were travelling around Australia, it didn’t really give you much information.

After reading The Cole Campfire’s Top 10 Random Facts about Oregon I decided to make a similar list.

If you want to know more about where Down Under Dad comes from, check out Top 10 Random Facts about Newcastle . While it doesn’t neccesarily sum up the best things about Newcastle, it certainly has some interesting facts that not even the people who live here might know.

Nobbys Beach Newcastle

Dad Joke

Have you been paying attention? I told you only the Best Dad Jokes make it to my Blog. 2 Dad Jokes made it to the hall of fame that is the Down Under Dad Blog this week.

You can read the one about the Surgeon and his Patient here 14/7/18 – Dad Joke of the Day

Or if the Pope is more your style check out 21/7/18 – Dad Joke of the Day

dad joke

As I said at the start this wasn’t so much a weekly wrap up but a fortnightly wrap up as I’ve been a combination of Slack and Busy. This week should see a change in that.

Hope you’ve had a Great Week! Enjoy the week ahead. If your still awake and feel like some more light reading, you can check out the previous Weekly Wrap Up here – Weekly Wrap Up – Sunday 8th July 2018.

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2 Years of Parenthood

birthday party

When you were young, 2 years seemed like a long time, now as adults 2 years can go by pretty quickly.

This Dad is proud to say the Down Under Family has made it through 2 years of parenthood, that’s right our little guy has just turned 2 years old.

There has been plenty of good memories made from the last 2 years, there was also plenty of tough days. As always though the good ones will always outnumber the bad.

“The next time you think you are struggling with parenthood, just remember the duck that let all 5 of her ducklings go away before going looking for them”

But that’s not what this post is about, this is about our little guy turning 2.

kangaroo

His Birthday

As part of his birthday celebrations we went on a short break into the Hunter Valley which you can read about here – Our Quick Escape – Part 1

The last day of that break matched up with his actual birthday and we started the day off by going to the Zoo! You can read a lot more detail about that in the final part of that series.

Oliver got to see many of the animals he had only ever seen in books or on TV up close and even got to feed some kangaroos. While he did get freaked out by Dad feeding an Emu, he was amazed when the lions decided to roar at each other for a good 5 minutes non stop.

To summarise though at the age of 2 no matter how many times we told him it was his birthday, it didn’t really click until later on in the day.

When we got home we wasted no time in giving him his birthday presents from us. If you read Vocabulary of a almost 2 Year Old you probably have a fair idea of what we were getting him.

car

That’s right, his presents were themed from his 2 favorite things, Cars (not just any cars, has to be the licensed stuff), and Dinosaurs.

Awhile ago I wrote a piece on Kids Toys – Kids Toys . In this you can read my thoughts on how strict parents should be with the age guidelines on toys. Given the size of one of his dinosaurs, lets just say we still don’t follow these strictly.

His Party

I never wrote about the party we held for his 1st birthday as this blog wasn’t around. To get you up to speed, it was in our backyard (our small backyard), we did all the food ourselves (with a little help from our family), and Mrs Down Under made a multi-layer cake herself (with many practice runs). While it ran smoothly and the weather was great, it was also a lot of work, something we didn’t really want to do this year.

Fortunately we had found a great venue to have it. A local pub that has recently undergone renovations has built an indoors playground next to a large beer garden area. We booked the tables closest to the only entry point to the playground so the kids could play as they pleased and the adults could relax – as much as possible at a kids party.

birthday party

After a couple hours of playing, snacking, and a couple of drinks it was time for cake

“A Party without Cake is just a Meeting”

A simple ice cream cake with his favorite car on top was certainly a hit. So much that when the car was taken off a few of the toddlers wanted to ‘share’ the car. I say ‘share’ because we know how good toddlers can be at sharing.

Most of the attendees at the party were actually friends that the little guy made before he was even born. My wife’s mum’s group became friends before any of their kids were born and are still good friends 2 years down the track. What does this mean? it means that 12 months ago there was a party every weekend for close to 2 months. It also means that this is the first 2nd birthday party of many in the coming weeks. Stay Tuned!

21/7/18 – Dad Joke of the Day

dad joke of they day

So the Pope is SUPER early for his flight.

He asks his driver on his way to the airport if he could drive around for a while because they have time to kill and he hasn’t driven a car since becoming the pope.

Naturally, he’s a bit rusty, so he’s driving poorly, when suddenly he sees police lights behind him. He pulls over and when the officer comes up to the window his eyes go wide. He says to the pope “Hold on for a minute,” and goes back to his car to radio the chief.

Cop: “Chief we have a situation. I’ve pulled over an important figure.”

Chief: “How important? A governor or something?”

Cop: “No sir. He’s bigger.”

Chief: “So, what? a celebrity or something?”

Cop: “More important, sir.”

Chief: “A major politician?”

Cop: “No sir, he’s much more important.”

Chief: “WELL WHO IS IT!?”

Cop: “Well actually I’m not sure. But the pope’s his driver.”

dad joke of they day

Top 10 Random Facts about Newcastle

toddler beach

With a name like ‘Down Under Dad’, its pretty easier to pick where the writer of this blog comes from. However Australia is a diverse country with many different places and lifestyles scattered throughout an area larger then Europe and close to equal that of the United States.

One such place is my hometown of Newcastle. Want to know more? Here’s 10 random facts that you may not already know.

1. Newcastle is Australia’s second Oldest City. Settled in 1804 by convicts that were rebelled in Sydney.

2. The Bogey Hole was actually carved out of rock by Convicts for the governor’s personal swimming pool. Still a great place for a swim on the coast, just keep an eye out for the waves.

bogey hole

 

3. The Hunter Valley is Australia’s Oldest Wine Region. OK so not technically a part of Newcastle the city, but it is right outside.

4. Newcastle’s Fort Scratchley is the only coastal fort in Australia to return fire
at an enemy vessel during a time of war. During WW2 a Japanese Submarine shelled Newcastle targeting the steelworks, while they weren’t successful, Fort Scratchley did return fire.

5. Nobbys Lighthouse used to be on an island. Until the break wall was built to protect the entrance to the harbor and created one of Newcastle’s classic beaches.

6. A 225m long Bulk Carrier almost called Nobby’s Beach Home. After getting beached during wild storms, it lived there for almost 2 months.

pasha bulker

7. Sand from Stockton beach is exported to Hawaii.  We really do have some of the best beaches in the world.

stockon beach

8. Newcastle is home to the largest Coal exporting port in the world. Always fun for the kids to watch the big ships coming in and out of the harbor daily.

9. Newcastle shares its airport with the Australian Air Force. Its not uncommon to see the fighter jets practicing maneuvers over the beach. Although if you wait until you hear them its normally too late.

10. One of the most well known landmarks is shaped like a giant, uh. . . Remind me again why we are proud of it.

queens wharf tower

 

This post was inspired by a blog that started around the same time mine did. The Cole Campfire Blog recently posted Top 10 Random Facts about Oregon . I actually learnt some interesting facts from it which made me think not all of my readers would know where i’m from let alone where I got the name Down Under Dad.

Hope you enjoyed it and maybe even learnt something. I’d love for you to share some interesting facts about where your from. You can leave them below or link back to my blog.

Reblog – The Ultimate Australian Bucket List – Travel Drink Dine

Nobbys Beach Newcastle

Reblog from Travel Drink Dine

Want to know more about the Land Down Under? Check out this bucket list of Australian Destinations from Travel Drink Dine.

Want to know more about where Down Under Dad comes from? Check out my submission under NSW – Newcastle

Are you travelling to Australia? This list has been created with a number of travel experts to become your resource for the ultimate Australian bucket list.

Source: The Ultimate Australian Bucket List – Travel Drink Dine

Our Quick Escape – Part 2

quick escape hunter valley

While Day 1 was only really a half day, it was still a long one and had taken it out of all of us. Day 2 started a little earlier then we would have hoped, but that’s the life of a parent.

A quick escape into the Hunter Valley was the perfect way to not only celebrate our little guy turning 2 (and us surviving 2 years of parenthood), but it was also the last chance before our little family becomes bigger – When 3 become 4. . .

If this is your first stop and you have just read that this is ‘Part 2’ then you probably should check out Our Quick Escape – Part 1 first. Don’t worry ill wait for you. . . OK your back? Let’s move on. . .

Day 2 – Early Rise

Yesterday was a long day that ended up with the family in bed by 8pm, the next day started however with the family awake at 2am. Whether it was Toddler Sleep Regressions , a sick child, sleeping in a foreign environment, or simply our toddler deciding that Mum and Dad were not getting a good night sleep. We aren’t sure why the little guy decided to wake up and not go back to sleep for 2 and half hours. Fortunately once he did fall back to sleep he didn’t wake up until around 9am.

So what started as an early rise, ended up being a late one with us not leaving the hotel until close to 10am.

Breakfast

On holidays its important to not only enjoy the time with each other and the places you go, but also the food you eat. Keeping this in mind we found another cafe advertising that not only were they open for breakfast, but they had Coffee – Habit or Necessity – Definitely a Necessity at this point.

The place we found was “Oscar’s Hunter Valley”.

Note, I must be honest with you, it wasn’t so much that we ‘found’ the place, we had been given some vouchers for various places around the Hunter Valley by our family, 25% off of the total bill was reason enough to go searching.

Hunter Valley Breakfast

Was the food as good as it looks? Absolutely!

Was the experience as smooth as the Coffee? Not exactly

As I mentioned earlier, the little guy didn’t sleep the best the night before. As any parent would tell you, a tired toddler who at this stage we actually think is teething (when does it end?), doesn’t mix well with waiting for breakfast. Not that we had to wait that long, again the service was pretty good.  However as soon as our food came out, our toddler decided that something else needed to come out too and Dad and Son went searching for a more appropriate place to clean up.

Snow? In this part of the Country?

One of the reasons we decided to visit the Hunter Valley for our Quick Escape was that the Hunter Valley Gardens were running their annual “Snowtime in the Hunter” event.

What? Snow? I thought Australia was warm and sunny, not cold and snowy. Well that’s true most of the time however like the rest of the world we still have a winter. Although in our part of the country, snow is almost unheard of. Normally if we wanted to enjoy it, it would mean a 7 hour drive. While it isn’t the same, its still a good bit of fun for kids.

snowtime in the hunter While it wasn’t much, the little guy had a bit of fun playing in the snow. There was also a ice skating rink setup, however given the extra cost involved and our toddler’s mixed emotional state, we gave that a miss.

We did however try out the toboggan slide, and while the time to line up was longer then the experience itself it was still fun, at least for Dad, there was no way the little guy was having another go.

As day wore on, more and more people arrived, given the relatively small area that had ‘snow’ we didn’t hang around there too much longer.

snowtime in the hunter

We did manage to build this little snowman though – you can tell we don’t see snow often.

Ride and Slide

Outside of the ‘snow’ area had a few rides and food places setup. Our little guy was fascinated watching some of the rides as they activated, unfortunately for him but fortunately for our wallets, at the age of 2 he is still too small to ride them.

Thankfully they did have an area setup for kids in this situation – an inflatable fun zone! Of course our child being the child he is wasn’t content with simply climbing and sliding on the areas he could do himself. He needed Dad to help him climb up the biggest and slide down with him – over and over again.

slide

When we eventually were able to drag our toddler away from the inflatable fun, we did so by taking him on the merry-go-round. This was a ride the entire family could go on. While it was short lived, we did manage to get a few smiles from the little guy.

A couple of hours in the sun meant it was time for a cold drink, and? you guessed it, fresh coffee. Coffee for Dad, Hot Chocolate for Mum, and a Baby-cino for the little guy.

While enjoying our drinks we also noticed a stall selling various balloons. Now you probably know by now that our toddler is obsessed with dinosaurs. He also knows a few different animals like cows and dogs.

Afternoon Exploring

One place we had driven past a few times but not stopped at was the Hunter Valley Chocolate Company. A small cafe with a chocolate shop attached where they make there own fudge onsite. If you like your sweet stuff then it is definitely a place to visit. While Mum was having a look around it was time for another energy boost.

coffee

As we still had some daylight hours left we decided to pop into shop that advertised a huge selection of beers from around the world, along with a range of local wines, and tastings on them everyday.

This stop was purely for Dad as none of this interests a 2 year old, and as you know Down Under Mum is pregnant. This allowed me to sample a couple of Hunter Red Wines. At least that way we could say we tasted some wines while staying in the heart of the Hunter Valley Wine Region.

Nighttime Adventures

When we returned to the hotel we noticed a sign saying every night at 6pm (just after dark) the dancing fountain light show was on. Given this was our last night and we were free we thought we should check it out.

 

[wpvideo lERur8MI]

While relatively short lived, it did hold the attention of our toddler until we decided the cold was too much.

It was then time for dinner, which after the previous nights attempt we were a little nervous about. It did go off without a hitch though! Turns out we must have got there just at the right time as our food came out relatively quick, and when we went back to order some dessert, there was a wait time of over an hour – so we skipped dessert and ordered it from room service instead.

As it was still early at this stage and we had now eaten we decided the little guy could have another go at driving the arcade games since he enjoyed it so much the night before. I think we underestimated how much he enjoyed them because we were there for awhile – again not actually playing them, just pretending (although he didn’t know that).

Eventually it was time for bed, and while he wasn’t overly impressed at leaving them, he was too tired to fight it.

Day 2 was a full day, but it wasn’t the end of our escape into the Hunter Valley. Stay tuned for Part 3.

Our Quick Escape – Part 1

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14/7/18 – Dad Joke of the Day

dad joke

Scalpel. . .

Just as a surgeon was finishing up an operation and was about to close, the patient awakes, sits up, and demands to know what is going on.

“I’m about to close,’ the surgeon says.

The patient grabs the surgeon’s hand and says, “I’m not going to let you do that! I’ll close my own incision!”

The doctor hands him the thread and says, “Go ahead…Suture self”!

dad joke

For more Dad Jokes:

Daily Dad Jokes