Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Busy Month

April is here and with it comes a month filled with activities. First off, Amber, Jenny, Dan and I went down to Sydney for an Essendon Bombers vs. Sydney Swans AFL game. The Bombers are Amber's favorite team, so it was a special treat for her. The Swans ended up winning, but it was a close game! I couldn't get over how big the field was! 18 players are on the field during AFL (Australian-Rules Football League) games!

This past Saturday, we had what Evan called a "Nerf 'n Turf." We went out to a park and had a big nerf gun war. We played games with our nerf guns like Capture the Flag and Freeze Tag (or Stuck in the Mud, as Aussies call it). Then, we had a sausage sizzle. There were about 20 or so of us there! As you can see below, some of us didn't have the artillery to really make a difference in the game. It was crazy!

This week, we had a Holiday Bible School (or VBS). We had around 12-15 kids each day from our congregation and the community. I was in charge of the skit centre. We also had a craft centre, class and snack centre. I am proud to say that one of the kid's favorite things was the time machine that I made for the skits. I would start out each day in "present day" then I would go into the time machine and come out in "Bible times" for the skits. The kids were fascinated and didn't seem to mind that it was just a refrigerator box!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Girl's Night

Last night a few of us had a girl's night over at Jenny's house. All of the boys are out hiking, so we got together for dinner and a movie. Fun times! We ate tacos (always a favorite) and watched Sister Act 2. Watching the movie brought back some fun memories of high school and doing "Joyful, Joyful" in Buhler Singers. It was hard for me to not get up and do the dance along with the movie! Also, Jenny's apartment is covered with wedding magazines, since she is getting married in October. We had fun looking through the magazines and checking out what we all liked, even though Jenny is the only one getting married!

This weekend, Tiffany Buck and her two boys are coming up to hang out since Joe is hiking with the rest of the boys. I'm excited! I think we're going to go to the beach on Saturday, if the weather is nice enough. I need another good beach day before the summer is over!

Another exciting thing (to me, at least) is that my cousin, Ashley sent me a new picture of my baby cousins! There are three now-Elijah is 3, Andrew is 2 and Micah is a month and a half old! I was so excited to get a new picture, because I hadn't seen any new ones with all three of them. Check out the cuteness:

That's about it for now. Just a little update!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Well, it's March, so it's time for a new blog post. Things have been going really well lately. I've started taking an art class at the local community college once a week. I've never really been much of an artist, so this is a challenge for me. All of the other ladies in my class roll in their massive "art" suitcases and I just bring in 2 pencils, some paper, an eraser and a pencil sharpener. I'm obviously not a professional...yet. Ha! Another exciting thing is that I've begun to volunteer at the Cancer Council once a week. Today, I went in and organized a packet to send out to a woman who wants to put on a lunch to raise money for breast cancer. What a great thing! Also, I've been helping work on some things for upcoming Relay for Life's in the Sydney area. Cancer research is very important to me, so I'm blessed to get to help out in Australia!
In February, I went to my first Australian wedding. My friends, Kim and Jonno, got married! The wedding was outside overlooking the ocean, which was great, I just wish it hadn't of been so hot! The reception was wonderful! We had a sit down dinner for about 200 people! It was so fun to get to be part of their special day and also catch up with some many friends from around Australia who had come in for the wedding!

Overall, some great things are happening in Australia and I'm lucky to be a part of them! :-)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

January Visit

As most of you know, in January my parents came over to Australia for a visit! It was a great trip and we all survived! We were able to do so much sight-seeing and visiting with people on the Central Coast. I think one of my parents favorite things was getting to meet the members of the Gosford congregation and spending time with them. We had an invitation to dinner almost every night we were in town! Here is a list of what we did during the two weeks...

Day 1: Mom and Dad arrived at the airport around 8 am. Chris Payne came with me to the airport, where we picked up mom and dad and she drove us to downtown Sydney to drop us off. We decided right away that we better do the Harbour Bridge Climb, or we may not do it! Here is a picture of the Harbour Bridge to show you how high we climbed:

Day 2: We went to church and class in Gosford and then we went over to the Lawrie's house for Sara Moad's baptism. It was great! Then, we went to Terrigal with Amber and Jenny to have some great fish and chips. We sat right by the ocean! On Sunday evening, we went to the Central Coast Mariner's soccer game. Although it isn't American football, I have really enjoyed the Mariner's games this season and wanted mom and dad to come to a game with me.

Day 3: Sallie-Anne Moad took us on a driving tour around the Central Coast and then we went back to the Moad's for dinner. Mom and Dad loved the tour and they got to spend some time on the beach and just see the area where I live. We went to a beautiful lighthouse and saw a great view from the top of Killcare Hill. We also saw the pelican feeding at The Entrance.

Day 4: Off to Nelson Bay at Port Stephens for a dolphin cruise around the harbour. It was very relaxing and we saw tons of dolphins! That evening, we went to Ray and Lynn Gritten's house for dinner and to talk about our trip to the Blue Mountains the next week.

Day 5: Australia Day! After stopping by the shops for some lunch to go, we headed out to the beach for a picnic with members of the church. It was great to spend more time with people and mom and dad loved walking down to the beach where they got in the water for the first time! For dinner, we had a cook-out at David and Joy Mowday's house with their family. The Mowday's got dad an Australian apron for him to grill with at home.

Days 6-8: We flew up to Cairns, in northern Australia, for a holiday at the Great Barrier Reef. On the first day, we took the Skyrail up to Kuranda in the rainforest. Mom and I weren't too sure about the Skyrail, but the town of Kuranda was very nice. Mom and Dad bought several souveniers and then realized that we only brought carry-on luggage! Oops! Everything made it back fine, though. On Friday, we went on a full day tour of the Great Barrier Reef. Dad got to go scuba diving and mom and I snorkelled, all seeing some amazing things. We had a perfect day and all got a little too much sun. For our last day up north, we went on a crocodile farm tour and walked through the botanical gardens. It was busy, but we had a great time!

Day 9: Off to church again at Gosford where Dad led singing and we had a church fellowship luncheon. That evening, we headed over to the Brown's house for dinner and good conversation. The Brown's are so much fun to spend time with!

Day 10: We toyed with heading into Sydney for the day, but decided to spend a day in Gosford. We went to the Ken Duncan gallery. Ken Duncan is a famous Australian photographer. He takes wonderful photos. We bought a few souveniers and then headed to the mall for lunch and a few odds and ends. Then, we went to the Stone's house for dinner. We let dad drive, which mom didn't think was a very good idea...

Days 11 & 12: We travelled to the Blue Mountains with Ray and Lynn Gritten. It was a great trip! We had perfect weather and made a lot of really great memories. Mom and Dad loved spending time with the Gritten's on this trip. I think they made friends for life! We did a bit of hiking as well. Overall, it was a fun trip. We also stopped by the Featherdale Wildlife Park on the way back, so mom and dad could pet and feed some kangaroos and koalas. When we got back on Wednesday, we hurried over for dinner at Stuart and Lyn Penhall's. Then, we went to class at church that night and then to Macca's afterwards! Busy, busy, busy!

Day 13: We finished up running some errands in the Gosford area. We went out to the beach one last time, which was nice, but super hot! We reached temperatures of over 100 degrees this day! Also, we have a Scholastic factory here, so we went to the factory store so Mom could get some "Aussie" books for pre-school. On Thursday evening, we went to the Lawrie's for dinner. Evan and Graham cooked up some fabulous kangaroo, lamb, pork and steak for us! Dad enjoyed the exotic meat, but Mom stuck with pork and steak. It's hard to eat kangaroo when you just finished petting one the day before!

Day 14: Taronga Zoo day with the Buck family! We met Joe, Tiffany and the boys in Sydney on Friday, then went out to the zoo for the day. We saw tons of different animals, but my favorite by far was the baby elephants! It was so fun to go to a zoo with Jude and Pax because they really enjoyed all the animals. After taking a picture by a statue of a rhino, Jude kept asking us when we could see the "moving" rhinos. It was so cute! We ate dinner at our favorite pizza place in Sydney, then headed on home.

Day 15: We woke up, packed up, and went to breakfast at the Payne's house on our way to the airport. We had a great breakfast and even were entertained when a goana (sp?) appeared on their back porch! It was a huge lizard! Then, I took mom and dad to the airport!
Overall, we had such a great time during the 2 weeks they were here. Hopefully, I can talk my brother and sister into making a trip sometime next year. Anyone is welcome to come visit! :-)

Friday, December 10, 2010

It's that Time...Christmas Time is Here...

It's beginning to feel a lot like....Summer! We've had steady 90 degree days lately here in Australia, so it certainly doesn't feel like the typical cold December that I'm used to! I'm still getting used to the fact that my apartment does not have air conditioning. I have a couple of fans, but it is definitely not cool inside! I did decorate my little Christmas tree and hang the stocking that my mom sent me to get in the Christmas spirit. I think I'm channeling my Aunt Martha and Uncle Steve, because I already have all of my Christmas shopping done! Here are some fun pics from this month so far:

The "rat-tail" is alive and well in Australia. Just ask Evan. (our youth minister)

Claire, Jenny, Me and Laura with the decorated Christmas tree at the Community Centre. (we decorated it for them)

I could've sworn that Clark Griswald was American???

Hannah, me and Jenny at the STAMP graduation.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pac Rim Weekend

This past weekend, the Pac Rim group from Oklahoma Christian was here on the coast. We had such a great time! We picked them up from the airport on Thursday night and then headed back to Gosford. We woke up to a rainy and cold Friday, but we still were able to go to the Australian Reptile Park near Gosford. It was fun to watch all of the students experience kangaroos and koalas and a few creepy, crawly creatures as well. (Ok, I was excited too.) We watched a show where one of the park employees "milked" a poisonous snake right in front of us! I hate snakes! (Milking a snake is when they get the snake to bite on a jar to extract some of its venom in order to make anti-venom. It saves lives!)

On Saturday, we had my first real beach day here in Australia! We took the Pac Rim group to Pearl Beach where we sun-tanned (or burned), had a barbeque and played ultimate frisbee. We were there for several hours, so we all got pretty fried. After the beach, everyone went back to Kev and Deb Brown's house for dinner and a devotional. The singing was so great! I loved it!

We rounded out the weekend with a sausage sizzle on Sunday and then most of the students came to a Central Coast Mariner's soccer game with us on Sunday afternoon. It was a very busy weekend, but I loved getting to hang out with the students from OC. I felt so old, though! Ha. A few of them knew of my brother, Ben, and several were friends with my cousin, Todd, who is a sophomore at OC.

"Milking" the snake!

Me feeding a kangaroo!

Me and Steven (Pac Rim) at the soccer game.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween 2010

Although Halloween is not a typical holiday here in Australia, we were able to have an Area-Wide Young Adult's Halloween party this year. It was a blast! Everyone came dressed in a costume and we ate pizza, carved pumpkins, played Halloween bingo and had a costume contest. Some people had never carved a pumpkin before! The Americans will be shocked at this, but I paid $56 for 4 pumpkins to carve!! Aussies enjoy pumpkin, but it is a different kind of pumpkin. Mostly, they use pumpkin as a vegetable. You can have roast pumpkin or even pumpkin soup! I actually really enjoy it.

This year, Jenny, Amber, Amanda and I went dressed as the ninja turtles. (I've been trying to get someone to be a ninja turtle with me for years.) We had a Queen of Hearts, Aladdin and Jasmine, Gene Simmons (KISS), and a multitude of others! We had about 20 people total, so it was a great success!

For a pumpkin soup recipe, go here: http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/5175/pumpkin+soup