Monday, August 27, 2012

A Peek Into My Diary

Was wanting to share a peek into my art journal with you all today.  I love catching glimpses of other's art journals because it inspires prompts for my own.  Here are the prompts I used for my own art journal that you can now use in your own!

Today: Write a few sentences about what made this day unique. (image 1, 2 & 3)

Habits: What is a new habit you have recently formed.  It could be good or bad, but we are always forming new habits. (image 4)

Thankful: Make a list of all the things you are thankful for today.  It will truly make your heart swell. (image 5)

Color Story:  Put together a bunch of colors that you are loving right now.  I went through my washi tape and picked some favorites, but you can use magazines, paint samples, or even fingernail polish to put together your own color story. (image 6)

Love List: Make a list of the things you love.  I tried to include things that are unique to this stage in my life like going to the city and grandpa sweaters but had to include things I will love forever and ever like Dr. Pepper.  This page is part of the online journaling class I am taking through Elsie & Rachel.  You can sign up for the class as well, just click here. (image 7)

Calendar: I have been creating a cute calendar in my journal each month.  I use it to map out my blog posts and mark down ideas.  Aren't you just loving the floral print.  For those of you who don't recognize it, it is from my favorite Aussie magazine, Frankie.  Yes, I will be subscribing to it when I move back to the USA as well, even though it will probably cost me double, it is worth it!  (image 8)

Explore Your City:  Find a favorite spot in your city and document it.  Include what you like about it, favorite cafes, shops, scenic views, whatever.  My current favorite spot in Sydney is Newtown.  I love the shops that exist there and one day want to own one very similar.

Thats enough peeking for now.  I hope I've inspired you to get out the scissors and glue and start creating!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Adventures In...Gardening!

I have a new love in my life.  I really should have seen it coming, I mean it has surrounded me my entire life.  I married a man who's family has always been a part of it, and I have always been drawn to the smell of it.  Gardening.  (And yes, I do believe it has a certain lovely, earthy smell).

The past couple of weeks the temperatures have been warming up and I have been spending more and more time in our backyard.  Pruning rose bushes, tilling the soil with my little hand shovel (the dirt smells so good!!!), transplanting plants, creating little vignettes with flower pots.  And this week, I made a purchase at the markets, my first Australian seedling, a mint plant (above).  I have heard that mint is one of the easiest herbs to grow, and I figured, why not pay $3.00 for a plant instead of $2.50 for a few sprigs each week.  I can't wait for it get larger.  I love fresh mint in cous cous, tea, lemonade, and tall glasses of ice water in the summertime.

As spring approaches, I can't help but long to plant a full garden, but we are planning on moving from this location in January, so for now, I will settle for a pot garden so it can be "transplanted" with us.

I am keeping lists of things to have in my future dream garden:

Lots of flowers so my home can be filled with their beautiful colors and fresh scents. (source)

Herbs in cute little pots.  I think this would be an adorable way to do an herb garden.  I just love cooking with fresh herbs.  (Little known fact, in Australia, they pronounce the "h" sound in the word herb, I'm starting to pick up on it.  Aussie accent here I come!)  While on the topic of herbs, here is a great little reference to all you need to know about herbs.  And it is cute! (source)

Fresh fruits and vegetables for enjoying and canning.  I plan on planting tomatoes, onions, cucumbers (they have recently became Dane's favorite), a few sweet corn plants (I'm not as cool as my dad), peppers, lettuce, spinach, lemon tree, apple tree, strawberries, and maybe even a peach tree.  Wow, looks like I'm going to need a pretty big plot of land to pull this one off.  As for canning.  I have never done this on my own, but I have helped my mama, both my grandmas did it, and I have a distant cousin who always takes first place at the county fair with her canned goods.  I reckon it is in my blood people! (source)

I would love a place to sit in the middle of my garden to enjoy it all, and of course there will be a form of lighting.  I'm just a little addicted to perfect mood lighting.  (source)

As I wait to be in the perfect location to have my dream garden, I am saving up inspiration via a garden crush board on pinterest.    I still have a lot to learn, but I know I have two families who have a lot of gardening wisdom to offer me.

What about you?  Do you have any new adventures you are taking on during this season of life?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Kids Down Under Enjoy Lucky Charms

For those of you who think life here is glamorous and amazing, well we have decided to start doing some video posts of what life is truly like here for us.  We hope you enjoy our dinner conversation this evening!

xoxo The Kids Down Under

Monday, August 20, 2012

Happy Birthday Lil' Brother

A special happy birthday goes out to my brother Brock today!  You are such a wonderful brother and friend!  I am so thankful to have you in my life!

I just had to put this picture up.  It is one of our favorite memories!

Happy Birthday Brock!  We love you!
The Kids Down Under

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Go Swans!

This weekend Dane and I enjoyed our very first Australian Football League game.  By default, we have become Sydney Swans fans, and let me be honest, thats the team I would have picked anyway.  I mean where else are you going to find an amazing mascot like a swan that rides a scooter around the field and shakes his tail feathers?

Something you might not know, AFL is played on an oval field.  The game involves moving the ball down the field by throwing it, like you would throw a rugby ball and kicking it.  If you can kick the ball through the middle posts you get six points.  If it goes through the outer you get one.  The Swans played the Magpies.  A little Aussie bird knowledge for you all, the magpie is also a bird, a very territorial bird.  Speaking of magpies, I think they knew I cheered for the Swans this weekend because twice now this week I have been attacked by one on the way to work.  It is currently building its nest right outside our house, and I am told it wants my hair to use as nest builder.  I am the ONLY person in the house who has been attacked.  Tomorrow morning, it is ON bird.  Ok, moving on with our story.

Here are the Sydney Swans warming up.  I titled this picture "let's go girls."  I think only Brock will get that joke, but it certainly made me smile.

We went with our amazing a beautiful friend Amelia and the night was full of firsts.

We had our first meat pie.  Wow, they are good.  Flakey pastry crust with a hearty beef center.  So yum!

And for the first time ever, we saw the Olympic torch.  But not only was it the torch, it was actually lit. I didn't realize this, but all Olympic sites around the world light their torch during every Olympic games.  We just happened to be at Sydney Olympic Park and snagged a couple pictures.  It really was quite impressive to see.

As for the game, the the swans lost, but it went all the way down to the end.  As for me vs the magpie, well its 0-2, but tomorrow morning that is all going to change!

Love you all,
the kids down under

Monday, August 13, 2012

what's for dinner: fish tacos

 It has come to my attention that there Mexican is something that Australia doesn't really know how to do, and it is no secret to anyone else, Dane and I love our Mexican food!  We love it so much we served it at our wedding.  Classy I know right?  Oh those of you who were there know you loved it!

We love Mexican food so much, we usually have some form of it one night a week.  From tacos, taco salads, southwest chicken salads to fish tacos.

Fish tacos you say?  Yes, fish tacos. Started in Baja California, they have become quite popular around the states and in my heart.

Today I want to share with you, my own fish taco recipe, adapted from several friends recipes.  My good friend Sherry, who shared this recipe with me about two years ago, my friend Don, and most recently, my Swedish friends.

First off, you have to get your fish.  Now you can go to the work of beer battering your own fish, it really is ideal and delicious, but Dane and I don't have a frier, which is probably a good thing really and often we are pressed for time.  So my good friend Don taught me a little fish tacos secret him and his wife use.  Fish sticks.  Whoa, I know many of you just put the brakes on and stopped reading.  If you are like me, your only experience with fish sticks was some crazy persons combination of dinosaur shapes that tasted like fish served up on your school lunch tray.  But my mama has recently introduced me to the wonderful world of frozen fish sticks.  There really are some quality products out there.  Just remember, you get what you pay for, so don't skimp on this part.  I live in the land of fish n' chip shops currently, so the next time I make fish tacos, I will just stop by a fish shop and pick up a fresh batch of battered and fried fish.  Oh the beauties of living in a city on a coast.

Now the most important part of your fish tacos in the sauce.  I follow the recipe above for the most part, but have made a few adaptations to tone down the spice level for Dane and I.  Here is my fish tacos sauce recipe:

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon minced capers
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

  • Now for the toppings.  Traditionally, fish tacos are topped with shredded cabbage, but this is something Dane and I don't have around the house often, so we opt for shredded lettuce, freshly diced tomatoes, and the latest addition, cucumbers.  Just trust me, the Swedes knew what they were doing when they decided to combine cucumbers with Mexican food.  

  • Now to build that delicious masterpiece.  Grab your soft shell, spread some sauce on it, top with a couple fish sticks and the veges.  Now fold and enjoy. 


  • They are so delicious!  Dane and I celebrated our 10 month anniversary with fish tacos, followed by a bike ride into the night to our local grocery store for ice cream.  Belgium chocolate for him, chocolate chip cookie dough for me.  Trust me, this is a big deal, you can't find chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream ANYWHERE in Australia.


  • I know, I know, some of you are thinking, seriously, you celebrate 10 months.  Dane and I celebrate each month in some little way.  Being married has been such a blessing to us, and life needs more celebrations.


  • love y'all
  • the kids down under 

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Gift Of Joy

Somedays home seems so so far away, and then a little reminder is sent your way, that this world really isn't that big in the grand scheme of things, this is a season in your life, and God has you here for a purpose, it will all be ok.

While sitting outside this morning eating breakfast, I looked up just in time to see a Monarch enjoying the plants that grow along our fence.  I got really excited because I have never seen a Monarch in Australia before.  I didn't even know they lived here.  Thankfully my camera was next to me, so I snagged a quick picture than ran inside to do some research.

My first google search, "Monarch in Australia" lead me to a list of kings and queens, which made me giggle.  After adding the word butterfly to my search I learned that Monarchs exist in North America and Australia, this fact alone made me so happy, just makes our continents feel a little closer.  But what made this butterfly very special, is that Monarchs should not be spotted in New South Wales until late September.  It is way too cold for these beauties to be flying around Sydney right now, but yet, here was one, in my backyard.

Truly a gift of joy from above.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Welcome to a new little feature on my blog titled "adventures in."  A chance for me to try new things and share the experience with those of you in the blog world.  Several years ago, my friend Brady first took me on a sushi adventure.  We traveled to the Sushi House in Kansas City, where we dined on rolls and sashimi.  Since then, my sushi tastes have changed a bit, but I have always wanted to learn how to make this delicious dish at home.

Tonight was my first adventure, alone, without my friend Yuriko from Japan doing all of the rolling for me.  Some lessons I learned:

* Buy sushi rice.  Don't try and make sushi with the long grain rice you have in the pantry, go out and spend a bit extra for some sushi rice.  It is worth it.  Follow the directions on the package exactly.

* A little bit of rice goes a long long way.  It is really important not to over stuff the rolls.  This is one of the biggest problems people have when making sushi.  Spread the rice thin on the nori, put a row of each filling you are adding, then roll.  I had to giggle because I made heaps of rice and didn't want to overstuff the rolls so Dane and I had 64 pieces of sushi to eat.  Yeah, we didn't conquer it all, but almost.

* After rolling your rolls let them sit a bit before slicing.

* Sticky rice is sticky.  Use wet hands, a wet spoon, and a wet knife when working with the rolls.

* Don't be afraid to mess up.  Do your best and have fun.

Dane and I stuck with vegetable sushi tonight.  Sweet potato rolls, cucumber cream cheese avocado rolls, and avocado rolls.

We were pretty excited with how it all turned out.  The flavors were super yummy.  We are excited to try new flavor combinations next time we go on a sushi making adventure.