Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Connie!

It's my sister Connie's birthday today. I miss her a lot, especially since I came back from Canada last December. I had such a great time with her when I was home, being silly and hanging out. I hope she knows how much I think of her and miss her everyday! Happy Birthday Connie! Hope it's a good one! Love ya! xoxo

Redback Spider!

I just killed a Redback Spider on my kitchen counter while doing dishes. I was too scared to take it's picture before bravely squishing it with my shoe! I've never actually seen a Redback Spider before, except in an aquarium at the zoo, but there was NO mistaking the big red mark on this all black spider. It looked just like this. I'm completely freaked out. They are quite dangerous. I think it's time to move back to Canada!

PS. I'm home sick today with the stomach flu, so needless to say I haven't felt up to sorting through and posting our Sydney pics. I will soon though... promise!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Back in Melbourne!

We're back! We had a fabulous weekend in Sydney with the MacPurdys. It's sad to see them leave Australia but I'm sure their new adventure will bring them great things! I have lots of pictures to post but I'm just too sleepy. Be back tomorrow:)

Friday, April 23, 2010


I didn't have a great day today. Work was long and exhausting. I ate way to much unhealthy food and felt sick because of it. Then I came home looking forward to a much needed snuggle from Jesse, only to get home and remember that Steve dropped him off at the kennel today because we leave tomorrow morning bright and early for Sydney. I know it sounds lame but the house just felt really damp and empty without his wagging tail and smelly breath meeting me at the door! There is one big thing cheering me up at the moment...Rain. It's pouring down rain outside and sounds amazing hitting our roof. It's the only thing helping to motivate me to pack, clean and organize, all in hopes of getting it done and dusted, so I can snuggle into bed early and fall asleep listening to the rain pitter patter outside my window. I need a good night's sleep. Actually I need about a month's worth of them!
You won't hear from us for a few days because we're away until Monday, but just before I go... I want to say how thankful I am to all of you who leave me comments. I truly appreciate it! It's so nice to hear from you and it really does make my day to read what you have to say. So, thanks again for taking the time out of your little corner of the world, to post in mine. xoxo

PS. I'm way behind on email and facebook messages, so if I owe you one, I'll try to catch up soon!

Imagine found here.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Totally confused!

So just so you know, I've been a day ahead all week. Like yesterday, totally thought it was Thursday. Totally. It was only Wednesday. I even prepared for Earth Day on what I thought was Wednesday night (really Tuesday night) and only realized Wednesday morning that it wasn't yet Thursday. Did that even make sense? I'm pretty tired! So, the Earth balls I made had to wait until today...the real Thursday and the real Earth Day! Okay, now I'm just confusing myself. Seriously though, do you know how long a week feels when you're always thinking it's a day closer to the weekend than it really is?? Man.Longest.Week.EVER. Thankfully, tomorrow is finally Friday (this time I'm sure of it!) and we're heading off to Sydney to see the Purdys one last time before they move back to Canada. Looking forward to it and (bonus!) it's a long weekend to boot!:)

Image found here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Help please!

Can anyone share a really good salsa recipe pretty please? I just tried making one I found on the internet and it's total crap and I'm dying to find a good one. I don't know what it is lately but I'm craving Mexican food all.the.time. I've had tacos 3 times in the last week, restaurant nachos and now all I can think about is homemade salsa! So, seriously, pleeeeeease send me your recipes!:)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Earth Day buzz...

Tomorrow is Earth Day and so, in preparation for the day, I've been talking about our planet with my kindergarten kids for a couple of days now. We've discussed how we can do our part to help keep our earth healthy, made earth related crafts and marked the day on the classroom calendar. I'm just not sure that the kids know what to really expect on Earth Day. They seem a little too...excited. One little girl said to me today with wide excited eyes, "I told my mom last night before I went to sleep that Earth Day is only 2 more sleeps away!!!" I'm starting to fear they expect an Earth Day Santa Claus who brings lots of presents made of recycled material or worse yet, an Earth Day kinder party with lots of cake and blue and green balloons. Yikes. In hopes of offering some sort of special treat to mark the day, and save ruining the hopes of all upcoming holidays in each of their 4 year old hearts forever, I made Earth shaped Rice Bubble (sorry, that's what they're called in Aus!) balls. It was an experiment but with the help of my handy hubby and lots of butter on our hands, we rolled those babies up in no time! I figure it's the least I can do considering I was the one to first mention this oh so very exciting day;)

Monday, April 19, 2010

The funny thing about homesickness...

Saturday when Steve and I stumbled upon the exciting imported goodies, I decided to pick myself up a Duncan Hines cupcake mix. It was expensive (think $10ish for one box) but it was one of those rainbow mixes that has the colorful bits of who-knows-what-they-are throughout it. You can't get those in Australia, in fact, it's only been recently that you can actually even buy mixes for cupcakes. I know, that's just crazy but totally true. So, I decided to make the cupcakes as a little treat for the girls at work tomorrow and BAM! right in the middle of making those cupcakes, I got incredibly homesick. It was just so comforting to read instructions that said to bake in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven, not a 200 degree Celsius one. To read instructions in cups and tablespoons, not grams. I didn't have to google a single quantity in one of those online measurement converter things!
Everything just felt so...familiar.
Not to mention, I had forgotten what the cupcake mixes at home are like. Seriously, these are the fluffiest, lightest, most tastiest cupcakes I've eaten in over 3 years! AND they had confetti bits, or rainbow bits, as I like to call them:)
Just look how perfectly raised and rounded each one is. How beautifully golden they are, with the pretty little crack over the tops. AND they made a perfect 12 cupcakes, unlike Aussie mixes that make an awkward amount, requiring you to bake 2 batches. Sigh. Seriously, the more I marveled, the more homesick I felt.
It's funny you know, birthdays can come and go, holidays, you name it and I'm fine. I accept that it's all just a part of choosing to live far away. But, you give me a $10 cupcake mix from North America and I'm wanting to call my Mom and chat for hours. I'm daydreaming of baking cupcakes in a cozy kitchen on a freezing cold snowy day in Canada.
Crazy, eh? But seriously, I'm tellin' ya...they are some darn good cupcakes!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A short story...

Once upon a time the was a girl from Canada, who lived on the other side of the world in a far, far away place called Australia. Now this girl loved to bake and had a very large collection of yummy recipes. Sadly, however the girl was not able to make many of her delicious recipes since moving to the land of Aus because many of the magical ingredients needed to perfect these special concoctions were not available in the shops. Magical ingredients such as butterscotch chips, graham crackers, shortening or canned pumpkin. Yes, there were ingredients that could be used instead but they never left the cookies, or cake or pie or bread tasting just right. Until one day, something wonderful happened. Something that made the girl shriek in delight and jump up and down, right in the middle of the department store. Something that made the girl's husband stare at her like she was indeed from the planet of mars and he was from jupiter...For there on the shelf in an Australian shop stood two of the most missed magical ingredients of all time. Two ingredients that the girl had not baked with in three long years. Shortening and canned pumpkin. The girl was so happy, she did not even care about the $9.95 price tag attached to the one can of pumpkin or the $9.95 price tag attached to the one 16 oz tub of shortening. The girl took as much as she could carry in her two hands, made her way to the checkout and rushed home to make pumpkin loaf. A scrumptious bread that requires both shortening and canned pumpkin and hadn't been tasted in her home since living in Canada...
And the girl made that pumpkin loaf and ate that pumpkin loaf and shared that pumpkin loaf with her hubby (and dog) and together, they lived just a little happier from that day forward.

The end.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Let's get to know each other a little better!

I saw this on this lovely blog and thought it would be a fun way to get to know each other a little better. If you do it on your blog, leave me a comment so I know to check it out. If you don't have a blog, feel free to answer the questions in the comments!:)

1. When do you feel happiest? When I'm at home with Steve and Jesse, putting around the house, baking, crafting, etc... Basically when I'm just being me at my most relaxed, no stress, no worries. Free and creative.

2. How do you take care of yourself? I try to eat well, avoiding wheat and dairy whenever I can. I drink LOTS of water, take LOTS of vitamins, see a chiropractor once a week and walk my dog, although not nearly as much as I should. I try to make time for just me stuff as often as possible, even if it just means taking an extra few minutes to pluck my eyebrows or paint my toe nails. I really want to get back into yoga and think I might give this place a try.

3. Are you internally (by yourself) or externally (by others) motivated? Definitely motivated by others. I'm pretty crap actually at motivating myself. I really need to find a workout buddy!

4. What do you do for fun? I love eating out at restaurants, going out for drinks around the city, shopping in quaint little shops that inspire me, including thrift shopping, where I can dig for treasure, hanging with Steve and Jesse and friends. I have lots of fun at work being a kid all over again and laughing at silly random things, like today when I told one of the boys in my class he was a "Mr. Clever Pants" and he and another boy chuckled so hard at it that they had me in stitches!

5. What intimidates you? Mean people. Snobby rich people. And if I'm being honest, some of the parents of the kids at work. Oh and exercise. Definitely intimidated by exercise.

6. What is something you're proud of? I'm pretty proud of my marriage actually. Steve and I will be married 5 years next month and I think we're doing a pretty good job of it. Relationships are work and I'm proud of both of us for finding it in our hearts to compromise, forgive and love each other, even when the other person is driving us nutty!

7. Finish this sentence. I never put shoes on the table. Terrible, terrible bad luck. I truly believe that doing that is like asking for lightning to strike me dead. It actually horrifies me if I see anyone do it and Steve has learned he is NEVER to do it in our home. I actually have the kids at school not doing it!

8. Favorite vacation spot. Hmmm...this is tough. I have truly loved everywhere that I've ever been on vacation. I'm a big believer in the idea that you make your own fun, and so I've always had a terrific time where ever I have visited.

9. Today is a (rate from 1 - 10). 7. Extra points because it's Friday!!!

10. Finish this sentence. If you knew me really well you'd know I have serious baby fever! I realized the other day that I'm becoming one of those crazy ladies who stare unknowingly at women playing with their babies and kids in shopping centres. It's amazing how your baby clucking gene seems to kick in around this time, completely out of your control!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Amazing Grace

Steve and I watched the movie Amazing Grace tonight. Have you ever seen it? It's a 2006 film about the campaign against slave trade in Britain in the 1700s. Our neighbors loaned us the DVD after we went over for dinner and ended up singing the song "Amazing Grace" on their karaoke machine from the Philippines. Cause you know, that happens all the time, right? We sang it for our neighbor's elderly mother who was visiting and loves that song, right after a lovely rendition of "Achy Breaky Heart". I have to say, it's one of my favorite hymns too and learning the origin of the song makes it even nicer. They explain it in the movie but you can read more about it here. It really has left me feeling inspired. Do you ever sometimes feel like you're meant to be doing something...more? I feel that way a lot, I just have no idea what it is I should be doing. It would be incredibly helpful if I could just work that wee bit of a detail out, don't you reckon?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Kid sitting!

I've been baby, well more like kid sitting (she's 4) since Sunday and haven't had much time for anything other than playing at the park, baking cookies, dancing in the living room, reading books and playing games such as "I spy" or "I'm thinking of something that starts with letter...". One of the Moms of a little girl in my kindergarten class needed to go away for work and asked if I could watch her daughter. It's actually been a lot of fun. It's been really cute watching Jesse with a kid in the house. He's so gentle and loving. He's been snoozing on her bed and getting lots of cuddles. I'm picking up lots of extra babysitting on the side over the next few months to make some extra money, so I can be sure to go home to Canada in September for my niece's wedding. I'm a bit tired of missing all the weddings, and I refuse to miss yet another! I really love living in Melbourne, but if I'm staying put for awhile yet, I'm definitely making it my priority to not go another 3 years without visiting home! The picture is of my niece, Melissa and her fiance, Sean. Oh and Tucker, a very snuggly puppy dog!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sydney Day Trip

I went with mom and Aunt Linda to Sydney for the day, we flew up in the morning spent the day and then flew back to Melbourne that evening.... Tiger Airways = cheap tickets..... ($265 total for the 3 of us to fly up and back, can't beat that!)Here are some random pics taken from the day, I can't be arsed to write anything more so enjoy the pictures.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

So I made red velvet cupcakes...

...except instead of making this recipe, I made this recipe. I figured you can't go wrong with a cupcake recipe from New York's Magnolia Bakery. Except, I've never been there, so really, I have no idea, but I have heard it's amazing. Anyone been? Anyhoo, so I made the recipe and it was red and a wee bit strange. Lots of mixing 2 random ingredients together (like mixing the salt with the milk) and then adding it to the batch and mixing again, sometimes for a long time, sometimes for a short time.
And, as it turns out, they're not really that good. I think they baked okay, I just didn't really like them. I thought I would, but I don't and now have 24 red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese icing that I don't really love. Oh well, now I know and it did help to pass a very relaxing Saturday evening.

Hope you're having a lovely weekend! xo

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Can't ya just taste it???

I'm definitely back on track with my eating this week and feeling much better because of it. However, I really, really, really want to make this, only I want to make it as cupcakes with lots of cream cheese icing. Then I want to eat about 3 of them while watching My Sister's Keeper, which I had Steve download for me, even though I know it's probably going to leave me an emotional basket case. I can think of at least a dozen special ladies that I'd love to have join me for such a girls night and I miss every single one of them insanely at this moment. Why oh why do we all have to live so far apart? Cause, let's be honest, sometimes, like right now, that just stinks. Missing you. xoxo

Pass the tissues, please.

I'm home sick again today, with a medical certificate from my doctor saying I'm too sick to work and because I don't have the energy to do much more than lay in bed, I just finished reading this book. Um, can I just say that crying your eyes out for 5 chapters in a row is not a very helpful way to get over a sinus infection. My goodness. Has anyone been brave enough to watch the movie? I'd like to see it but I seriously don't know if I can emotionally handle it! That's some seriously sad stuff. I think I'll go recover with a nice long nap...

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


Is this not the cutest photo that you ever did see? I found it here, where another blogger, who I like to read is feeling the way I do.
I had to take today off work because well, I feel like poo. I went to the doctor and it turns out I have another sinus infection. That's 2 in about 5 weeks. I was off at the beginning of March for the same thing. I'm on antibiotics and he gave me a prescription nasal spray that I have to use every night for 3 months. It's to help prevent the sinus infections from coming back. I can honestly say, the only other time I have ever been this sick, this much, in my whole life was the year I worked at another child care centre. Those kiddies, they look sweet but they are dangerous! Everyone, including the doctor today, tells me it's normal to catch anything and everything your first year in a new centre, but I've had just about enough. I'm begging my immune system to step up and do it's job. Pleeeeease. Pretty please. With cherries on top? I'm just plain ole sick of being sick!

That was a bit of a grumbly post, wasn't it? My apologies, I'll be back soon with something much more positive:)

Tuesday, April 06, 2010


While Steve's Mom and Aunt were here, we ate out a lot. Lots of meals that looked just like this. Lots of fish and chips. Lots of food. Then Easter came and well, we ate a lot. Lots of carrot cake. Lots of chocolate. Lots of food. So, now it's time to get back on track. I've just finished making a huge pot of chicken rice soup, filled to the brim with veggies. I've also bought enough fruit to keep a small village fed and lots of vegetables for healthy salads. The next 7 days will be nothing but soup, salads, fruit and water. As a treat, I baked low fat apple bran muffins. My poor body is craving a balanced diet again. I've come down with another cold and I've pretty much had a tummy ache for about 2 weeks now. Not to mention the weight Steve and I have both gained in a month. Eek! It was fun while it lasted, but it's definitely time to treat our bodies to a little TLC!

Brighton Beach - Bathing Boxes

Just before Debbie and Linda left to head back to chilly Canada, we headed to the beach. It was an overcast day but still really beautiful. We had a really nice walk. The beach boxes add a lot of color and character to the beach.
We didn't make this but whoever did, they did a great job!

Steve had fun playing with the camera. He really does have an eye for taking pictures!

Phillip Island

These are the last of our photos from our trip to Phillip Island. We truly have the kindest neighbors in the whole wide world and they offered us the keys to their cottage for 4 days. It was an adorable little spot with lots of character, only a 2 minute walk through the woods to the beach. We had the most amazing time and we all agreed, it was by far the highlight of Steve's Mom and Aunt's trip.
Aunt Linda taking it easy.
Me reading by the fire.
All the ladies (and Jesse) chillin' out.
It was nice to be able to take Jesse with us. Usually places are not dog friendly, so he gets stuck in the kennel. Not that he minds but I'm sure if he could choose, he'd definitely prefer to hang with us. I mean, who wouldn't, right?;)

We really loved Phillip Island. It's the first place we have ever visited that Steve and I both agreed we'd love to own a property someday. Too bad Australian real estate is through the roof these days! Ah well, a girl can dream:)

Monday, April 05, 2010


We have a lot of leftovers from the Easter dinner we had yesterday. I can't believe I actually worried that we wouldn't have enough food! We decided to make an old fashioned favorite...hash, as my Mom calls it, for dinner tonight. I remember that my Mom used to make it with leftovers when I was a kid but I wasn't quite sure how to do it. So, I googled "hash recipe". Would you believe that a leftovers fry up of veggies wasn't the first recipe that came up?;)
Anyway, once I rummaged through the many recipes for illegal drugs, I found this helpful recipe, although, you really don't need a recipe. Steve cooked some fresh onion in olive oil, threw in some diced up leftover vegetables (potato, green beans and carrot), and ham and cooked until hot. Then he sprinkled in some fresh black pepper, salt and a little chilli spice to give it some kick. It was yummy! And now I won't need to feel guilty about wasting half a bag of carrot, potato and beans!

Easter ears...

So after not much consideration and review, I have made an executive decision. Easter ears will be required at all future Dickinson Easter dinners, starting next year, so you may want to save yourself a few pennies and purchase some on sale this year. I've decided our dinner guests were just too cute to not wear them! See for yourself...
Okay, Amy was by far feeling the Easter ears spirit the most! Look at those little bunny paws!
Followed closely by Dan, who sported those blue ears like a champ!
I believe Rowan takes the prize for coolest bunny on the block.
Definitely the most adorable bunny award!
Ah...don't be shy little bunny!
You KNOW you love them! Oh yeah.
Ahhhhhhh bunnies in love.
Yes, a pair of Easter ears are most definitely going to be a dress requirement for next year. If you'd like, you can even wear 2 pairs, like the lovely Geoff has chosen to do in this photo.
Sorry Jesse, the ears are hanging around, but don't worry next year you'll have lots of company:)