Friday, September 28, 2007

Getting creative on the food front...

So, as you all know, I'm not supposed to eat wheat, dairy, soy or nuts. I have to say that I have been cheating on occasion lately, and I think it's really catching up to me. I've been feeling really run down again and having belly aches. I guess even the occasional cheat is enough to set me back. Therefore, I've decided to go hardcore for the next 3 months...absolutely no cheating in hopes of feeling really good for our cruise at Christmas. This new found motivation has required me to find some new yummy recipes, so I don't feel the need to cheat. I think I was getting tired of all the same stuff and began wanting the stuff I can't have. Some normal recipes turn out quite good if you just substitute regular flour with gluten free flour or rice milk for regular milk, but other recipes don't allow for substitutions! I tried making my Mom's famous biscuits the other day. I substituted the milk and flour for rice milk and gluten free flour and instead of shortening, I used oil, because I can't have butter. I think they might of been okay if I had had shortening. However, you can't buy shortening in Australia! They have never even heard of it! Anyone know a good substitute for shortening because olive oil definitely isn't it...

They actually don't look that bad, but they were horrible!

I did find a fantastic recipe for carrot cake that is wheat and dairy free. I think I'll make some tomorrow! I'm really needing to get creative! I'm learning little tricks as I go, like...coconut milk works great in soup recipes that call for milk and buckwheat pancakes turn out sooooo much better if you cook them in rice bran oil. If you have any good recipes that don't call for wheat or dairy (not just baking...meal ideas too!), feel free to send them my way! I can use all the help I can get!

Finally some posts!

Okay, so I am playing serious catch up! Here's a bit of what we've been up to...well, at least the highlights of it! Last weekend, we went back to Byron Bay, this time with Jeff and Vic. Steve and I rented bodyboards for the first time. We had SO much fun! Not really thinking that we mastered it as a skill but had a blast trying! We also checked out the lighthouse that's in Byron Bay. It's the most easterly point on the Australian Mainland and the views from the top, where the lighthouse is, are terrific! I still like Byron Bay just as much as ever and we're hoping that maybe we can do a romantic weekend away there soon! Enjoy the pics!
Living on the edge...literally! This is the take off ledge for the paragliders. I can't imagine the first time you take off. It's pretty high! You have to wonder if it's going to work! There were a couple of paragliders about, but by the time we stopped and I had my camera, they were gone.

What a hottie!

The guys played a bit of football on the beach. I don't think people knew what they were doing! Everything football related here is rugby!

Waiting to catch a wave...

Fun, fun!

I really want to buy a bodyboard. I think I'd also like to try a surf lesson.
Me in my wetsuit. I'm such a wimp!

There were only about 2 people on this beach! I want to go to this one next time!
The car we rented was very....purple! Steve and I are now preferred Avis customers, so on slow days, they upgrade your car for the same price as the cheap one. We asked for a corolla level car and got this purple thing instead. I was actually embarrassed thinking that someone would think we bought a car this color! At the beach, one guy yelled..."Nice color mate!", as we drove past!

Byron bay lighthouse.

Jeff turns a year older...

Last Thursday, we all went out to celebrate Jeff's birthday. It was weird because it felt like we had just celebrated his birthday in Montreal and here we were in Brisbane together, blowing out the birthday candles! Amazing how fast time is going and yet, how much has changed in one year! Anyway, we met up at a pub called the QA (Queen's Arms) for a couple of drinks before heading to the Purple Olive for dinner.... . It was BYO (Bring Your Own), so there was plenty of wine! Dinner was nice (I'm always impressed if there is stuff on the menu I can eat!), wine was good and company entertaining. It was a quiet Thursday night around Brisbane, but we still enjoyed drinks at a bar called the Fringe, before heading home. Hopefully Jeff enjoyed himself and that his 28th year will be bring him lots of exciting adventures!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Where art thou?

Hi Everyone...
I heard it through the grape vine that some of our loyal readers (Hi Connie!) were wondering what the heck was up with us Dickinsons. I have to admit, I haven't really had the energy to post lately. I haven't been feeling very well for the last couple of weeks, but hopefully I'm starting to come around a bit! I have lots to share and pictures to post, so the goal is either tomorrow or Saturday. So, don't give up on us...we'll be back soon with some updates! ;) Stay tuned...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Congratulations... my Mom and Wilfie, who got married!!! I just love the pictures (thanks Aunt Gen!). They look SO happy and I couldn't be happier for them!

I wish I could be there to celebrate this special time with you guys! You both look just wonderful. All the best to the happy couple! Love you Mama!

Byron Bay

Oh my gosh, we had the greatest day! Steve and I woke up early and headed off to Byron Bay. It's about a 2 hour drive from Brisbane, just outside Queensland (the state where we live), in New South Wales. Steve heard about a dive/snorkle place that takes you to an area called Julian Rocks, which is basically big rocks in the ocean. The diving and snorkling there is supposed to be among the best. It was pretty cool! This is where we met up with the group...

We all piled into this 4 wheel drive and headed to the beach...
From the beach, we all piled in this boat and headed out about 2 km offshore to Julian Rocks. On the boat ride there (which was so much fun!), we saw dolphins and a HUGE humpback whale! It was pretty amazing. They stopped the boat and we just sat in the ocean watching the whale come up for air. You could hear it breathing and splashing in the water. It was really close to the boat! I loved it. Very cool. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures because we couldn't take our camera on the boat (it was too wet). We need a waterproof camera! As for snorkling, we saw 2 sea turtles (which look SO peaceful in the water!), a GIANT jellyfish (and by giant I mean about 2 feet wide!) and lots of very colorful and interesting fish...some quite large! Here's a link to some of the creatures you can see at Julian Rocks. We saw quite a few of them! Steve even saw the huge rays! It was absolutely terrific! We'd like to do it again sometime. The price was great too. $50 to be taken to the beach, taken on the boat and for all your equipment if you need it. We used our new dive stuff and everything worked great! Snorkling today really made me look forward to diving!

Snorkling worked up a pretty good appetite and we found a great little fish and chips place. The town of Byron Bay is sooooo cute. Exactly what you would imagine a surfer town right on the beach to be like. I loved the energy there! Everyone walking around town in swimsuits and flip flops! Very laid back.
The above pic is of Steve waiting for lunch.

We plopped in the grass to eat and before long, we made a new friend...
Man, the birds were pushy! They were really fighting for any scraps but this guy patiently waited and would only take food if we laid it in the grass for him. We had to sneak it to him when no other birds were around or they would have attacked him for it!

After lunch, we hung at the beach, did some swimming and even watched a wedding that was happening on the beach!
This is Julian Rocks, where we snorkled.
The beaches in Byron Bay are really beautiful.

I know I said this before but I really am soooo grateful for our opportunity to live here! I'm having such an amazing time! Nothing gets old to me...I still marvel at every lizard I see and enjoy every beach we visit! Today was just particularly great!