Luna Park




We spent the day at Luna Park to celebrate my firstborn’s 13th birthday. This birthday was unique not only because it was his first day as a teenager, but also because it was the first time for his October birthday to occur in spring.

Luna Park is a 1935 amusement park located on the north side of Sydney Harbour and set against a backdrop of the Harbour Bridge. It is small and old-fashioned with a fun, Art Deco style.

We finished the day with hamburgers at home and a peanut butter cup cheesecake, per the birthday boy’s request.


Fire Up the Barbie


Today I picked up a free, promotional magazine from an Australian supermarket chain. I was intrigued by the subheading: 85 fun things to throw on the barbie (#UpYourFlameGame.) Sounds good, yes? But wait! Before you start throwing things you should know that this might have been a little… ambitious. In fact, 85 maybe have been approximately 77 things too many.

First of all, do you have beer cans? It’s a barbecue. Of course you do. Let’s see, how can we combine beer cans and barbecues?

What you see here is exactly what it looks like. A beer can shoved into the backside of a cabbage.


We are informed that the same technique may be used with chicken. Voila! Beer-can chicken. Sadly, no pictures. Note the encouraging “Yes You Can!” message on the side. For those thinking, “I couldn’t possibly do that with a cabbage and a beer can!” Yes You Can!

Do you know what else you can do with beer cans? Smoosh them into your meat to make beer-can burgers. In case you were wondering how on earth you could make beer-can sized indentations in your patties. Ready? Go!


Speaking of burgers, the old meat and bun thing is old news. Why not make them far more labor-intensive by creating ramen-bunned burgers? With a little extra effort, you can pretend your noodles are bread. This makes it a “Japanese Mash-Up.” Which is fun.


In conclusion, I will not be upping my flame game at this time. Unless circumstances change, my flame game will remain in its original, downward facing position.

* Let me know if you want the recipes! I’ll send them to you.

More Australian to American Translations (food edition)

Entree=Appetizer (smaller than a main dish)

Rice Bubbles=Rice Krispies

Hedgehog slice= An uncooked flat, square or bar-shaped chocolate snack/ dessert (I haven’t tried this but it sounds promising)

Vanilla slice= A vanilla custard cake. Sometimes called a snot block (sorry)

Anzac biscuit= A hard cookie made with oats, golden syrup and shredded coconut

Pikelets= A thin crumpet (looks like a pancake)

Copha=A brand of vegetable fat shortening made from hydrogenated coconut oil (produced only in Australia)

Damper= A traditional Australian soda bread, often seems to be served with soup

Dog On The Move


We spent the past two weeks on term break. Today the kids (reluctantly) trudged back to school in their new summer uniforms. In accordance, it is indeed feeling summery, or at least springy. The temperatures are up and the flowers are blooming. I even have my first Australian sunburn.

We spent the end of the break traveling to Melbourne and back to pick up our dog from quarantine. We flew to Melbourne, spent about a day and a half there, rented a car and drove home with the dog.The quarantine center was interesting and very prison-like. The dog and kids were so happy to be reunited.

The drive from Melbourne back to Sydney was around 9 hours, so we broke up the trip with a night at a dog-allowing Airbnb cottage on a farm. The countryside was beautiful. It was very green with grassy, rocky, rolling hills. It looked a lot like the English country side, except for the site and sounds of tropical boards. The home owner told us that in a couple months the hills will be brown, so I’m glad we caught it when we did.




Observations After 3 Months

We are now three months into our year in Australia. It’s hard to believe it has already been that long. At this point, I feel like we are finally feeling settled and comfortable. Navigating our environment and figuring out the tasks of daily life have become much easier.

I am way behind on sharing photos, so I will put that on my to-do list. The kids have finished their first school term in Australia and are currently on a 2 week term break. We have had some good times, including a wonderful visit from the grandparents and an amazing trip to a fringe island of the Great Barrier Reef.

In the meantime, here are a few observations, in no particular order, about our time so far in Australia:

  1. People sometimes find it difficult to understand our accents.
  2. Many people eat kangaroo meat.
  3. kangabanga The pharmacies have an alarming selection of over-the-counter “travel worming” medications.
  4. travelwormingCockatoos are pretty but make a horrible screeching sound.
  5. cockatoo.jpgThe U.S. and Australia both use daylight savings time, but have different start and end dates. This means that the time difference between Sydney and Central Texas is either 15, 16, or 17 hours depending on the time of year.
  6. Texans tend to be friendlier to other pedestrians when passing someone on the street.
  7. Security (at the airport, at the public schools) is much more relaxed in Australia. Australians seem to feel safe.
  8. Australians love pumpkin, but it is impossible to find canned pumpkin. Or “tinned” as they call it. On the one occasion I saw Libby’s pumpkin pie filling, it was $11.99 a can.
  9. We are reminded of our mortality. There are funeral homes everywhere. On one nearby street corner, there are two funeral homes on opposite sides of the street. A nearby cemetery is also home to a playground. The “cemetery playground” is a popular spot for birthday parties.
  10. Australian Target stores use the same name and logo, but are completely different.