Sunday, May 27, 2012

what's for dinner: chicken and vege gnocchi soup

 It is officially soup weather here in Australia.  I say that because I sat in the living room with three of my housemates tonight, all of us with our hands in our sleeves, covering our noses, trying make our world's just a bit warmer.

One of the great things about living in a house with people from all over the world is they introduce many new flavors into your world.  My housemate Van made amazing chicken and rice soup the other night, which included fresh ginger.  Fresh ginger is something that I have never cooked with, but after a few tips from Van and Mel, I made my best attempt at my own version of chicken and vegetable soup.

2 chicken breasts
1 bag gnocchi noodles
Chicken Stock
1 Parsnip
1 Carrot
3 Potatoes
1 Onion
2 TB fresh minced garlic
1 TB fresh ginger

The How To:

1. Chop your potatoes, parsnip, and carrot
2. Boil them in a pot of water until they are done.  Drain off about 1/2 the liquid.  Leave the rest to use as part of your stock

3. Chop your onion and dice your ginger root (Van also taught me to smash the root a bit to get maximum flavors).  The ginger adds such a nice kick to the soup.
4. Place this amazing flavor combination of onion, ginger and garlic in a skillet and cook.
5. Chop chicken and add to the skillet with the onion, garlic, and ginger root.  Cook until chicken is done.
6. Add the chicken stock to your vege broth mixtre.
7. Add the cooked chicken, with all the yummy spices and juices to the chicken stock and vege broth pot.
8.  Let it all cook together for about 5 minutes, then simply dump in the gnocchi noodles in.  Allow them about 5 minutes to cook through.  
9. Dish up and enjoy.  It is the perfect treat on a cold autumn night.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


I always enjoy a good sing along, don't you?  Takes me back to my childhood at Bebermeyer Christmas and scenes from "You've Got Mail," and "Must Love Dogs."  Ok, getting really off topic there.

In case you haven't heard of this guy yet, I would love to introduce you to one of my favorite worship leaders, Phil Wickham.  Phil and I first crossed paths in the fall of 2008 when he came to Manhattan, KS with the David Crowder Band as part of the Remedy Club Tour.  This was the first time I had ever seen worship lead by a one man band, just Phil and his acoustic guitar.  It was one of the most incredible worship experiences I have ever had.  Ever since then, I have been a fan of Phil and his work.

I got home from the concert that night and looked up Phil's website.  I found he was giving away a recording of his concert called Singalong.  It was very similar to the worship experience I had just had, Phil, his guitar, and a crowd of people singing their lungs out for Jesus.  A mixture of hymns, choruses and Phil's songs.  This quickly became one of my favorite worship albums and inspired me.  At that point and time, it was just my brother and I and our acoustic guitars, leading worship at church.  Phil had proven to me, that it didn't take a fancy band to help people connect to Jesus through song.

And here we are in 2012.  I am pumped to let you know, that Phil has done it again.  Singalong 2.  It just makes me giddy!

(photo courtesy of

Yes, you can get your own copy, for free, and enjoy an incredible worship experience.  Thanks to Phil for producing wonderful albums, sharing your music, your heart, and your love for connecting people to Jesus through music.  To receive your copy just visit and follow the instructions on the page.

Join me, on the other side of the world, in a singalong.

Friday, May 25, 2012

✳ thankful ✳

Life in Australia isn't always easy.  Many people tell me all of the time, "you are living the dream," or "you are on the adventure of a lifetime."  But all of that doesn't come without sacrifice.  Often life gets hard, being away from friends, family, familiarity.  When I find myself struggling, I often make a list of things that I am thankful for and today I wanted to share my latest list with you.

* Arnott's Chocolate Mint Slice
* Dr. Pepper, and the nine cans I still have in my secret stash that I will happily enjoy.
* Skype, Voxer, TextPlus, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Email, and the occasional overseas phone calls that keep me in contact with friends and family back at home.
* A husband who loves me, supports me, sacrifices for me, and doesn't get annoyed that I cuddle close to him to stay warm on cold Aussie nights.
* Chick Flicks
* Nights at home with nothing to do
* Provision
* Hillsong church
* My connect group
* Coffee
* Internet
* My new Aussie friends
* Bikes
* Uggs
* Mail
* Laughter
* Leaves changing colors
* Sweet moments with Jesus
* My camera
* Aussie TV started playing the most recent Survivor (shhhh don't tell me anything)
* Dane's parents arrive in eight short days
* Tickets to Hillsong Conference this July
* A new Killer's album coming out in 2012
* Late night cups of tea
* Hot showers
* Popcorn and friends who love popcorn
* Parklea Market
* Roses growing in our backyard
* Avocados
* Avocados that are on sale
* Bright fingernail polish colors
* Wonderful housemates
* Strawberry Zappos
* Warm fluffy slippers
* A working cellphone
* Instagram for droid
* Sleep in days

Friends, there is always something to be thankful for.  Go ahead, make your list.  Include anything that comes to mind, big or small.  Then, sit back and reflect on how full your life truly is.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

falling in love with the blue mountains

We had the joy of visiting the blue mountains last week with two of our great friends Grant and Jaz.  Grant and Jaz grew up in the mountains, so they knew all of the best spots to take us.  

We made it to the crest of the mountain at sunset, which made the view absolutely breathtaking.  

My favorite place we stopped was called Kings Table.  I believe everyday we should try to do something that scares us, and on that day, I did something and was excited that Jaz captured that moment  on film.

A great thing about the Blue Mountains is that it has amazing shops all the way up to the top.  This is one of my favorites that we stopped to check out.

And of course we stopped at one of the most famous landmarks of the Blue Mountains, the Three Sisters.  

Our lovely adventure ended in Katoomba, where we heard Grant's band play.  Such a fun evening of music, friends, and amazing Thai food.

Blue mountains, we will be back very soon!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

adventures in the outback

Dane and I made this little video for our friend Caley's classroom.  We thought we would share it with you all for some good laughs.

And some of the kiddos first responses:

* His beard is awesome!!!

* My sister's name is Brooke!

* I couldn't go up in that thing that spins because I would throw up!

* I couldn't because I'm afraid of heights!

* Is that your husband? How did you meet them if they live in Australia?

* Hey, that's my question!

Thanks for watching. What was your first response?

Love and hugs from the kids down under.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

cafe ♥: campos coffee

On my birthday, Daniel suggested I try out Campos Coffee in Newtown.  He said it has one of the best cups of coffee in Sydney. My drink of choice for the day was a mocha, and I must say, it was the best mocha I have tried in my life.  This cafe is known for producing a fine cup.  They do the best latte art I have seen in real life.  The cafe is locted in a cozy corner building in the center of Newtown and the decor revolves around all things coffee.  Grinders, roasters, mugs, drip pots.  A must stop for any coffee lover.

Monday, May 21, 2012


What do I want for my birthday?  For those of you who know me, know that thrift store shopping is a love of mine.  It is inspirational, fun, cheap, adventurous and exciting.  You never know what treasure or laughable item you might find!  And that is all I wanted for my birthday, to go thrift store shopping.  Dane planned a fun day of surprises for myself and a bunch of my friends, all revolving around Newtown.  

Newtown would best be described as the "hipster" part of Sydney.  Filled with second hand stores, antiques, wonderful cafes, and fun little shops.  I loved it!  I hope you enjoy this adventure through pictures.

After our adventures in Newtown we returned home to more confetti, a house full of friends, that this amazing owl cookie cake that Jessica made.  This girl is talented.  Love ya honey!

One more suprise wrapped up my thirtieth year celebration.  A box of goodies arrived from the great USA, love my family and friends.   Look at all the great loot they sent.

(An extra special thanks to Mike and Pam for sponsoring the postage on this box of goodness.  Please know, it is much appreciated.)

So that was 30.  It has been pretty grand so far.  Thanks to everyone for the kind birthday wishes in person, on facebook, cards, and phone calls.  It made the day so special.  Love you all.