Posted by: Kim | August 30, 2013

C’est La Vie

Wow! Where in the world have I been? Allow me to explain…

If you happen to follow this blog, or you have simply happened upon this blog randomly, and you’ve been wondering if I might have dropped off the face of the Earth… This post is to let you know that I’m alive and well. I guess I feel like I should write one more time, as a sort of summary, a fill-in-the-blanks wrap-up of the last several months of my life here in Australia.


I can hardly believe that it has been nearly nine months since I posted anything here. Then again, that does not surprise me at all, considering what an incredible journey I have been on during that time.

Mainly, I have just been living a simple life, alongside my wonderful partner, Glen. We have been settling into our days, happy to be together. That is nothing new, I know. What else can I say? C’est la vie.


To explain further…

Life is brilliant. It has a way of shaping itself around you, forming threads and connections between people, creating new possibilities, spurring us on to new paths. Somehow, we find our way forward.

As of January, Glen and I have been embarking upon a wonderful–and slightly terrifying–new path. We are expecting a child. This is such a huge shift for us, and we couldn’t be happier. “Baking a baby”, as one friend of mine put it, has been a pretty awesome experience, for me. I don’t want to ramble on and on about it, because that’s not really my style. Suffice it to say that being pregnant, and getting ready for such a big life change, has truly been amazing–and I’m sure that this amazement is just the beginning of many more amazing moments in life.

I wish my family could be here, when the baby comes. I miss them all so much. Times like this remind me of just how far away they are, back in Ohio, and make me wish that visiting each other was easier and less expensive. At least we can all keep in touch via webcam, email, phone calls, and photos.


So, you see, I do have a good excuse for not writing. Not only have I been lucky enough to find the love of my life, and for us to be creating a good life together. Now I can say that we are lucky enough to have created a new little being to share this life with.


Quite a lot of wonderfulness going on…

During the last several months, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know a few incredibly lovely women, who have become dear friends. They are like my sisters now. Knowing them has really made me feel like I belong here. I feel more connected, more loved. Also, these fantastic women have really helped me to get used to the idea of becoming a mum. We have lunch together every week, and they are even throwing a baby shower for me, in a few days. I love them all.

As for becoming a resident here, well, that is still an ongoing process. Lots of paperwork has been done. Lots of waiting, waiting, waiting. I just have to get some medical tests done, after the baby arrives. Then, if all goes well, I will finally (FINALLY!) be a resident of Australia.

One last thing, I’m really enjoying doing my style blog, lamb & blonde. It is such a great creative outlet, the thing I do almost every day which makes me smile and feel like I’ve made a small effort to bring a little beauty to the world. I’m not sure if I will do an online shop, in connection with the blog, as I had previously planned to do. That idea is on the back burner, while Glen and I focus on our family life together. We’ll see. I would still love to do something like that, though, if all of the pieces would fall into place at the right time.


I hope you’ll understand if this happens to be my last post here.

My adventure isn’t ending–far from it. I’m here to stay, and I’m loving my life.



{Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6}

Posted by: Kim | December 17, 2012

Are you shouting?


Apparently, I’m still learning the Aussie lingo. Just when I think I have finally learned most of the quirky phrases used here in the land down under, my boyfriend hits me with a new one.

We were in a two dollar shop the other day, eyeing up some cheap treats, mainly of the Cadbury variety. I chose one, and then said to Glen, “Why don’t you pick one, too?”

“Are you shouting?” he asked me.

This little question immediately turned the conversation’s direction from a simple offer of candy-buying into me questioning my own sanity.

“Was I?” I asked, looking around the store, nervously.

“Well, I thought you were.” he replied, looking rather confused and put-out.

“I didn’t think I was talking loudly–was I? Oh my God.” I felt like a crazy person, at this point, and I was getting sort of embarrassed.

You see, I have a very quiet speaking voice, most of the time. But, hey, we were talking about chocolate, so I figured it was entirely possible that I got a bit more excited about this topic than necessary.

“Wait…” he paused. “You weren’t yelling.”

“Are we talking about the same thing?” I asked. Then it all clicked. No, of course not. –I mean, we were discussing the same thing, but using slightly different languages.

Then Glen explained to me that “Are you shouting?” is slang for “Are you paying for it?” or “Is it your treat?” For example, he said, someone might say “I’ll shout you a beer.” when offering to buy a mate a bottle at a pub.

Just when I thought I was losing my mind, I realized that I only needed to learn another Australian phrase. Then I bought my man a bar of Cherry Ripe, and a Crunchy bar for myself, and all was well in our little universe, once again.

Posted by: Kim | September 21, 2012

A visit from a Beardie Weirdy

We had a very unusual visitor at our place today. After we had our morning tea, I was tidying up in the kitchen when I heard my boyfriend Glen call out to me “Quick! Quick! QUICK! QUICK! QUICK!” which I took to mean I’d better run into the lounge to see something before it got away.

A rather large lizard was pacing back and forth and hitting his paw against our front window. He was sitting on the outside window ledge, and frantically banging against the glass, for some strange reason. Glen and I were amazed to see such a creature in our midst, and we were even more amazed to see how frantic he seemed. I quickly grabbed my camera and took a few shots of the scaly critter. This was definitely a memorable “You know you’re in Australia when…” moment!


The lizard puffed his neck up when he saw us lift the curtain to take some photos of him. Then he sat still for a couple of minutes, and checked us out, as we did the same from behind the glass. After that, he calmed down and sunned himself for a bit. But then he started to pace again, and paw at the window.


Glen and I began to wonder what kind of lizard we had on our hands, and why he was behaving so frantically. We did a Google search to answer our questions, and found out that our new friend was most likely a bearded dragon of some sort, which would be native to this area. (See links at the bottom of the post for more info on bearded dragons.)

Then we started wondering if the lizard might be someone’s lost pet. After debating our options for finding out about that possibility (like, put him in a box and ask around the neighborhood, to see if he belongs to anyone), we decided that the fact that these lizards are native to the area was a good indication that he was simply lost, not a lost pet.


We still didn’t know why he was madly pacing back and forth and banging on the window. A little more researching online told us that these lizards will often attack their own reflection (much like our former pets, budgies Alex and Rosina, would do while looking into the tiny mirror hanging in their cage). We figured we should go outside and test this theory out. Yes, indeed, the lizard could clearly see his own reflection in the window. Case closed.


The beardie weirdy must have had quite a battle going on with himself there on the windowsill. Eventually, he slipped away, after the stand-off with his reflection came to a draw.

We may not be allowed to have pets in our rental unit, but we certainly are not lacking in wildlife to keep us company!

That reminds me, I haven’t even told you about the deadly brown snake I found coiled up in the garden hose one evening. Let’s just say that the phrase “Back away slowly” never seemed more timely.

{Sources links: 1, 2, 3, 4}

Posted by: Kim | September 14, 2012

Foods that make you go Hmmm…

Ok, folks, I know I haven’t been posting much on this blog during the last few months (jeez, when did I last post here? I don’t even know). But that isn’t because life in Oz is so gosh darn boring that I have nothing to write about. Nope. It’s just becoming normal for me. I’m settling in, making myself at home, and probably taking for granted this amazing adventure I’m having, being here with the love of my life. In other words, life is good, and I don’t really stop to write about it so much anymore. That’s all.

I do stop to think about food, though. A lot. You could even say that I am obsessed with food. I have been cooking and baking more in the last several months than I ever had before in my life. I’m all about trying new recipes every week. My Pinterest food board has morphed into several food categories, including desserts, brunch, cookies, ice cream, slow cooking, and cake. Almost every day, I hunt for new foods and recipes to try. Let me tell you, Glen and I are well-fed these days.

Since food is my new obsession, and I figure most of you like food, too (you eat, right? you may as well love doing it), I thought I should tell y’all about some foods that are a little different here in Australia from the familiar ones back home in the U.S.A.

This list of 10 foods are just a few examples, which I happened to jot down. There are loads more differences in foods, from their names, to the ways they look and taste, to their methods of preparation. I’m still learning such things, and I’m guessing I have a lot more to learn about Aussie foods.


1. Bacon

I bet you thought those pretty red and white stripes on your American bacon were put there by Mother Nature, didn’t you? Well, I’m sorry to have to tell you that those tasty-looking stripes are actually fake. Bacon seems to be dyed a deeper shade of red in the U.S., probably to make the meat look like what someone decided bacon should look like, back when coloured advertisements first began to be printed. That’s just my guess, anyway. (Note: I have not found any real evidence about bacon being dyed, only lots and lots of websites devoted to the love of bacon. I haven’t found any explaining how bacon is made in the U.S. This hypothesis on bacon colouring is purely from my own, and Glen’s, observations. In other words, we could be totally wrong about it being dyed. The most informative resource I have found is the Wikipedia page on bacon, found here.) Apparently, the favoured bacon cut in America is streaky, whereas Australians prefer middle rashers and short cuts of bacon.

Here in Australia, bacon is a light pink colour, in other words, the natural colour of the little piggy it came from. You see, Aussies don’t really like food colouring, or flavours which seem fake or overly saturated. They tend to go for foods which are au natural, not dyed or full of flavour additives, preservatives, and the like.


2. Cheddar Cheese

Along that theme, we have the subject of cheddar cheese. You know, that bright orange stuff we like to put on everything from sandwiches to baked potatoes to broccoli? Do you think that cheddar is meant to be that flaming colour? Nope. That orange hue is added to cheddar in the U.S., probably to distinguish the cheese from other types which would normally be the same pale yellow shade which it originally was made.

In the land of Oz, cheddar cheese is also called Tasty cheese (or Extra Tasty, for sharp cheddar). It is pale yellow in colour. However, we do have a few American snacks, like Doritos, in that familiar rusty shade, for those moments when I’m missing home.


3. Lemonade

America is home to the real deal, in my opinion, when it comes to lemonade. I mean, the drink is called lemonade for a reason, right? It should have lemon juice in it. And sugar, of course. Make it as tart or as sweet as you like, but, basically you should make it with water, lemon juice, and sugar or simple syrup. That is true lemonade.

It’s not the same down under. Here, lemonade is a fizzy drink with a slightly acidic citrus-y after-taste. Basically, it’s a lemon-lime flavoured soda, like Sprite. There is no lemon juice in it. None. Seriously.


4. Jello vs. Jelly

Americans all know what Jello is. That squiggly stuff, in bright colours, often featuring canned fruit and Kool Whip (I miss Kool Whip!). Many an American family gathering, from the 1950s through the 1980s, displayed a bounty of Jello desserts.

Here in Oz, that jiggly treat is known as jelly, not jello. Some people make it themselves, I’ve heard. I guess they must buy the gelatine and–well, honestly, I have no idea what you do with it. But it turns out like Jello.

chicken burger

5. Sandwich vs. Burger

This terminology has been the subject of much debate in our household. You see, I think of a burger as being, normally, made of beef. That’s not to say that I have never enjoyed burgers made of other things, like turkey, chicken, salmon, and black beans (oh, how I miss black beans!). But, those burgers were made with ground meats, other than the veggie kind, obviously. Sandwiches, on the other hand, by my reckoning, can be hot or cold, and they include breaded and fried chicken breast as a possibility.

Aussies call that fried chicken sandwich a chicken burger. Not a chicken sandwich. It took me ages to remember the difference. Here, a sandwich is on bread, not on a burger bun or roll. That seems to be the distinction, as far as I can tell.


6. Lasagna

Last week, I made lasagna for the first time in my life. I know what you’re thinking. Lasagna is so delicious and so easy to make, why didn’t you ever make it before, Kim? One simple reason: cheese. You need lots of it, and it can get expensive. But I’m a frugalista now, so I budget for such things. I made the lasagna for my boyfriend Glen and his daughters, at Glen’s request, to celebrate Father’s Day. We also had strawberry sundaes for dessert–the American way.

The difference between American style lasagna and the Aussie style is in the white part of the filling. American lasagna (and, by this, I mean the traditional bolognaise sauce kind, not white or veggie, etc.) has a filling layer usually made with ricotta cheese. Sometimes, it has Parmesan, feta, cottage cheese, or other additional cheeses. Basically, it is a thick fluffy layer of ricotta-based filling.

In Australia, that white layer is a sauce instead of cheese. It’s a gooey white sauce, called a bechamel sauce. In fact, the entire lasagna (which is called lasagne here, by the way) is very gooey, in my opinion. Needless to say, when I made lasagna, I made it in the American style. In fact, I used a fabulous Martha Stewart recipe, which you can find here.

margherita pizza

7. Margherita Pizza

This is one of my favourite foods. At least, it was a favourite when I was back home, where it was made with tomatoes and basil. Here in Oz, a margherita pizza is just a plain cheese pizza. Good to know.


8. Pumpkin

This is a food which is not so much different in the way it looks or tastes, but in the way it is viewed and prepared. By viewed, I mean what people consider the ideal use of the food, or what people crave when they think of that food.

Americans primarily think of pumpkin as something which makes a great pie at Thanksgiving. We also enjoy having our fair share of other pumpkin treats, like pumpkin roll, pumpkin spice donuts, and pumpkin cookies. We like our pumpkin sweet, with a bit of spice.

In Australia, pumpkin is not seen as a treat. It is seen as a vegetable. Here, pumpkin is prepared mainly as a savoury food, from pumpkin soup to roast pumpkin as a side dish. You will not find pumpkin pie here. I haven’t been able to find pumpkin puree here, either. So, I think I will have to roast some pumpkin, when I want to make pumpkin pie, etc. That is what I intend to do in a couple of months, when I will be celebrating Thanksgiving for the first time here.

peanut butter

9. Peanut Butter

Similarly, peanut butter is not seen as a treat by Australians. It is thought of as a sandwich spread, and that’s about it. Hey, it sure beats Vegemite any day.

In the U.S., peanut butter is a beloved ingredient of many a sweet treat. From the classic cookies, with the little fork pattern, to Reese’s cups, to my grandma’s peanut butter pie (a treasured family recipe, which will forever be debated among those of us who have our own handwritten copy of her recipe, none of which matches), peanut butter is made into a plethora of goodies. My grandma even blended peanut butter with margarine and maple syrup to make a sweet creamy sandwich spread, for me and my brother, when she babysat us. I love peanut butter. Glen might not crave it as a treat, like I do, but he sure did appreciate the cookies I baked a couple of months ago, and I’m hoping he will enjoy many more such confections in the future.


10. Marshmallows

Last but not least, we come to marshmallows. This is one goodie which is actually sweeter and more fake-tasting here in Australia than in the States, in my opinion. American marshmallows have a light powdery sweetness, whereas Australian marshmallows have more of a pronounced sweetness. I can’t quite describe the taste of them. I think they have some kind of flavouring additive which is unfamiliar to me. I have also noticed the same flavour in some brands of vanilla ice cream I’ve had here.

Another difference is that, here in Oz, marshmallows are made in a couple of flavours which you don’t find in the U.S. Musk-flavoured marshmallows are very popular. The typical bag of marshmallows has the plain white kind mixed with musk, which are pale pink. I only tried a musk marshmallow once, and I don’t remember the taste of it very well. I just found it odd. Another interesting marshmallow flavour is honeycomb, which, of course, tastes like honey. In fact, you can always find honeycomb treats, from chocolate-covered honeycomb candies (aka lollies), to honeycomb ice cream (which is really yummy!). I’ve also been seeing caramel-flavoured marshmallows lately, which I’d like to try.

There you go… Some foods to make you go “Hmmm….” when you think of Australia.

On that note, I’m going to finish making a pizza, because my belly is rumbling, after writing about all that food!


P.S. Here is a picture of a classic American treat, a banana split, just because the photo is making me smile.

Posted by: Kim | June 22, 2012

Appliance Lust

I’ve got a case of appliance lust–or, I did, until last week, when my deep desire for a new washing machine and clothes dryer was sated.

If you have been reading this blog  for a while (I know this only applies to my boyfriend, Glen, and my Aunt Marj–hi guys! love you!), then you may recall my post about doing laundry old-school style, when I whined a bit about having to adopt the Australian practice of hanging the laundry out on the line to dry. Since then, I’ve gotten much more used to drying laundry outside, and figuring out how to dry it in various ways indoors, when necessary. (Notice, I did not say that I’ve been enjoying this practice, only getting used to it.)

I understand how great it is to save water, electricity, and money (especially that last one), but, honestly, sometimes I just want to have the convenience of throwing my laundry in the machine, whenever I feel like it, knowing that it will turn out all right. Modern American life has spoiled me, I know. I’m not the kinda gal who enjoys planning her entire day around doing laundry. Call me crazy, but that is just not my style. Planning my whole day around food–now that is another story! Oh, don’t get me started on food… I love food (who doesn’t, right?). I can often be found obsessively collecting recipes on Pinterest, and plotting my next attempt at a new dish, with varying results, of course.

Anyway, back to my new-found desires… Last winter was when my appliance lust kicked in full-force. Rainy cold days inspired a longing in me to have a clothes dryer, to put an end to hanging damp clothes and towels all over the house, to never set foot in a laundromat again. The fact that our old washing machine took two-and-a-half hours to complete the wash cycle did not help matters. I dreaded each day’s weather report, calling for cooler temps and longer rainy spells. Every time I took a chance and hung my laundry outside, it seems, Mother Nature laughed in my face, pouring down rain, ruining a hard day’s work. (Cue overly-dramatic music…) How I longed to be free from the tyranny of laundry!

Finally, my longing has abated. Last week, we got a new washer and dryer, thanks to a great sale at Harvey Norman. The day those machines were delivered into our little laundry room was one of the happiest in recent memory. Now, when I look outside and see it is pouring rain, I just smile a serene smile, knowing my laundry will be safe and warm inside. What a glorious feeling! I am free at last.

Just so you know, I do plan to hang the laundry outside as often as possible. I may adore our new washer and dryer, but I’m not going to rack up sky-high electricity bills, just for the pleasure of convenience. I’m simply glad to have the option, when I need it, of drying laundry inside. Nothing compares to the freshness of sheets hung outside in the sunshine.

Another plus to getting new machines is that we are saving water and electricity, because the washer and dryer we chose have pretty good eco-efficiency ratings. I’m even saving more by doing all the dishes by hand, since there is no longer enough space for the dishwasher to be in the laundry room. (Win some, lose some, I guess.) Last but not least, we have switched to laundry detergent that is phosphate and cruelty free. It feels good…  as good as warm clothes straight from the dryer!

Now, if only washers and dryers could come in pink, blue, aqua, and yellow, like in these vintage 1950s ads. I’d have a pink set, along with a matching pink floral apron. Wow, all of this talk of laundry is working up my appetite! I think I’ll go bake a batch of cookies.


P.S. I just thought I’d mention a few little differences in laundry-doing that I’ve noticed here in the land of Oz. First of all, dryer sheets are unheard of here. Instead, liquid fabric softener is used to combat stiff and static-ridden laundry. Secondly, dryers do not vent to the outside of the house, therefore one must open a window in the laundry room to let the steam out. The condensation still covers the walls and everything, which I’m finding a wee bit annoying. I’m kind of wishing that we’d sprung for a condenser dryer. Oh well. Thirdly, most laundry rooms allow just enough space for one machine, not two (since many people here do not use dryers). Luckily, we were able to stack our machines, since they are front-loading styles.

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