Sunday, December 30, 2012

Bacon & Beer Chili

For Christmas Eve each year, my family has chili for dinner. This year I was put in charge of the dinner. I found a really yummy recipe but wouldn't you know it, my camera was dead so I couldn't capture the pictures on the initial try of the recipe.

With the weather being a bit on the chilly side this week, I decided to try and make it again. It turned out much better the second time around.

Ingredients include: ground beef (or turkey), bacon, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, onion, beer, garlic, beer, and worchestire sauce, and pinto beans.

Chop up the bacon and cook. Once crisp, add in the onion and garlic.

Once the onions are transparent, add in the ground beef and brown up. Once browned up, add the spices to test.

At this point, I transfer the contents to a pot and add all the wet ingredients.

Let simmer and then enjoy!

Here's the original recipe.

While I was doing this, my husband was attempting to remove a popcorn ceiling in the garage.

Yes, that's a litter box.


Friday, December 28, 2012

Hubby Lifting: Part 1

Now that I'm a married woman, Adam and I has delegated out duties between the two of us. I'm in charge of all decorating and Adam is in charge of the electronics and heavy lifting (aka Hubby Lifting). Where the two meet (like a media center), we have to work together to agree.

While Adam is waiting for the US Government to allow him to legally work, I've provided him with a list of honey-do items. I've got to keep him busy!

One of those items was to hang the didgeridoo that I got for my birthday from the Watts family. Adam tasked me with figuring out how to hang a didgeridoo. After much trolling of the web, I found two options - a purpose made hanger that cost a lot of money and gets sent from Switzerland (really-weird!) or as suggested on a DIY site, use a towel holder. I opted for the towel holder. So off we went to Lowe's. I couldn't really find anything I liked but then Adam found pull-backs for curtains and we thought "why not?"

After some discussion, we finally decided where to hang it and now we have a beautiful didgeridoo to remind me of my time in Australia.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012


This year we were supposed to spend Christmas in Australia but the US Immigration had other ideas.

To help Adam feel a bit more at home we try to incorporate some Australian traditions. We have champagne while we open the presents. We bought him some shrimp (not quite the same as prawns and Morton Bay bugs, but it'll do). We also buy bon-bons to open before dinner.

But this year my mom out did herself - she bought Adam a beach cricket set. Of course we couldn't just let it sit unused but we don't have a beach so the snow will have to do. Adam has spent the evening teaching the family all about cricket. This included hands on learning and the lessons were caught on camera.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Little Girl Brooks

Last year I did a blog about the Brooks family with some of the pregnant pictures I took of Mommy Brooks. This year, I was lucky enough to be able to take some pictures of their beautiful and smart daughter before her 1 year birthday.

I met Gabby over Christmas last year for the first time.  She was two months old and a very easy baby to like.  I then got to meet her again in April when I came home for a visit.  She was older and more interactive but still very easy to like (except for when she threw up on me!).  Now that I'm home, I get to see her nearly every weekend and she continues to be very easy to be around.

Momma Brooks asked me to do these pictures and I had never really done pictures of a 1 yr old so I was had no idea what to expect.  We setup an area in a park using some of the fall decorations that are going to be used for Gabby's birthday.  We must have looked crazy - fall decorations when it was still 90 degrees outside??

Anyhow, Gabby was a pleasure to work with.  Mama and Dad Brooks kept her entertained so I could focus on the pictures and I think they came out fantastic with the color combination!  What do you think?

Maybe we'll keep this a tradition - new pictures of Gabby every year!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Right Side Up

Well, it's done!  I'm back in the United States for good.  That's right - back on home soil.  

It has been fantastic being home.  I'm in love with nesting at the moment.  I've turned into a serious homebody.  

I'm travelling to PA every week for work so I just get a few days at home each week.  When I'm home, all I want to do is be home.  I'm a completely different girl than who I was in Oz.  No more late nights with the boys drinking lots of beers.  Now, its the couch and the TV for me - and I'm ok with that!

First order of business was to redecorate the bedroom.  I had been wanting to do that before I left but felt it best to wait.  I had a beautiful golden brown bedroom set but I was ready for something new.  Something lighter and more versatile.

Old Bedroom:
Old Bedroom

New Bedroom:
New Bedroom
I'm not done yet - I need to find some artwork for the walls, put up the new curtains, and new lamps for the bedside tables.

So excited to be home!!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The city that never sleeps

The week before Christmas, HA and I decided to go to New York. It was a fantastic trip and we'd like to go back. We did all the normal touristy stuff - the Empire State building, a show on broadway, and the Rockettes.

We had brilliant food. You could spend a whole vacation just eating all day and never doing anything else. We had two really beautiful dinners while we were there but one in particular was fantastic. Adam took me to The Palace for dinner. The food was beyond good and the atmosphere had a very trendy vibe. We needed up making friends with the bartender and having drinks with him that night.

These were my favorite Christmas decorations in the city.

We found these on the Brooklyn Bridge and thought they were very cool. I couldn't help myself in photographing them.
I took this picture from the top of the Rockafeller Center right before Adam asked me a very important question....

Of course I said yes! He did a fantastic job designing the ring (yes, he designed it himself). Now we just need to finish all the wedding planning!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Screen Printing for Dummies

* This post has been sitting in draft for almost a year.  I thought I should post it.

HA has always had this idea of making tshirts.  After our project earlier this year of making the picture for Gravity, we thought they would make a great tshirt.

DM, in his thoughtfulness, brought back HA a t-shirt making kit on one of his trips back to the US.

So the boys set aside a weekend to make tshirts.  The first step was to find the tshirts.  It's hard to find good quality, inexpensive tshirts in Australia but the boys found them.  The next step was to decide on what went on the tshirt.  HA had one particular quote he wanted on it so that was the first tshirt.  Then we have a friend that was leaving Canberra to move to Brisbane, so they decided to make a tshirt for him.

I had no idea screen printing was such a time consuming job.

The ingredients

The saying is printed onto a wire screen

The screen is placed on top of the tshirt and the paint is run over it.  This part was a three person job.

The final product.  We had to redo DM's b/c the paint was too thin. But we thought it would be funny to switch out the tshirts late into the night so that people wouldn't be sure if the shirt was fuzzy or if their vision was fuzzy.

The final product that the boys wore out in Sydney!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Red Center

I've always had a bucket list of things I'd like to do before I leave Australia.  One of those things is visiting Uluru or better known as "The Rock".  My friend DM is also moving back to the US in May and he also had this trip on his bucket, we decided to do a quick weekend.  Everyone I know that's visited Uluru have said that you don't need more than two days there - so we decided to do the trip in a long weekend.

We got to Uluru at around noon on Saturday and drove directly to the resort.  There is only one resort in Uluru so there aren't alot of choices.  It is literally in the middle of nowhere.

There wasn't much to do at the resort so we headed out to the rock.  When it came right down to it, we were not prepared.  None of us had sunscreen. I was wearing flip flops.  And we had no water.  Completely unprepared.

It was worth it though.  The Rock is beautiful and much bigger than you'd expect.  But, I'd like to confirm, you really don't need more than a day in Uluru.  We went out to the Helga's and hiked around a bit.  Then we drove to The Rock and hiked just a little bit and drove around the entire thing in about an hour.  We choose not to climb to the top b/c it's not respectful to the natives.

The Helga's - There was way more vegetation than I expected.

Hiking the Helga's

What I imagine Mars to look like

Always alot of love between HA and DM

What the boys did while I took pictures


We ended up having dinner at the resort and having a few beers but there wasn't much else to do so we were in bed fairly early.  The next day, we decided we didn't need to see the rock at sun rise so we started our road trip to Alice Springs.  It was quite a long drive.
Came across this tire tree on the way to Alice Springs

We failed to realize that we weren't getting to Alice Springs until late afternoon on a Sunday.  This meant that nothing was open.  So, we made the best of it and found a pub and drank beer all afternoon and then had dinner at a pub.  I don't really have anything to post about Alice.  I wouldn't suggest visiting.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Safety first...comfort second

I was reminded today about the real role of a steward/stewardess on an air flight.  

This morning, on my 6:30 am flight from Canberra to Brisbane, a passenger had a heart attack.  Almost immediately after take off, the gentlemen approached the stewardesses and told them he wasn't feeling well.  They sat him in the first seat so he could catch his breathe and then escorted him to the toilet when he looked ill.

The passenger passed out in the toilet and the stewardesses discreetly and calmly enlisted the help of two passengers to pull him out of the restroom and lay him on the floor.  For the next 30+ minutes, until we could land, the stewardesses took turns performing CPR to help try and keep him alive.  The pilot very quickly diverted to Sydney where they cleared the runway for us and had an ambulance waiting.

I am in awe of how well the ladies of DJ1207 handled the situation.  They were calm and never hesitated to do what they thought needed to be done. I'm not sure I could have handled myself so well.

Unfortunately, I don't believe the gentleman survived but I can't be sure.  My thoughts are with him and his family.

Next time you're on a plane, please remember that the stewardess and stewards of the flight are there primarily for your safety.  In any situations while in the air, they will be your champions and your rescuers.  Give them the consideration and respect that comes with that role.