Life Without Bisquick

One of the many things we are not able to get here in Oz is Bisquick. We all know in the USA that Bisquick is the “quick” and easy way to pancakes, waffles, biscuits, etc. Well this is a country of very little processed food so I am learning to cook from scratch. Yep, you read that right. I am becoming good friends with baking powder, bi-carb soda, flour, eggs, oil and more! This morning I successfully made pancakes for M from scratch. The first one came out of the pan looking fabulous! I put it on a plate, poured another into the pan and went to butter the first one. No I don’t have a griddle (yet) so I am using the non stick frying pan. Anyway, I began to spread the butter on the pancake and the whole top layer “slid off” with shiny dough underneath. Yeah, well, it looked great on the outside but guess I didn’t leave it long enough for the inside. After the first one, the next 8 came out beautifully! M and I enjoyed some pancakes and maple syrup on this beautiful Sunday morning down under.
Toodles and peace to you and yours!

Wish I could post sounds this morning

Woke up 4:30am, couldn’t sleep so am doing work in my home office.  Now it’s almost 6am and even though it’s dark outside the sounds of birds are the darndest thing you ever heard.  Their crows sound nothing like the ones in the USA.  They’ve been moaning for an hour now, interrupted briefly by kookaburras making an ungodly racket with their jungle-like calls.  MBW and MBD are fast asleep through it all.  Guess that’s why they use their Sound Machines to produce white noise while they sleep! 

No, a dingo didn’t take my baby…

I originally wrote this post on 22 December and didn’t finish. I’m posting it so I can get on with my blog without it sitting on my shoulder going, “Finish me, please finish me!” Enjoy. More this afternoon…

Yes, we are still here and doing well. It has been one of those crazy weeks where you know you are living life but you have no idea which way is up.

Here is a Reader’s Digest version of what has happened in the 8 days since my last post: (sounds vaguely familiar from grade school: “Father, it has been 8 days since my last confession…..see, the good little Baptist girl DID listen!)

  1. We successfully moved into our new home. What a difference it is from the previous place! We have wall to wall windows, TONS of light, beautiful greenery in the back yard, and lots of different birds. We have seen the Australian version of the pigeon (which are everywhere!,) Lorikeets and lots and lots of Kookaburras. Here is a fabulous audio file of the Laughing Kookaburra: LaughingKookaburra Now, put about 5 of those together and you have the sounds of our backyard. Truthfully, sometimes we feel like we are in a Planet Of The Apes movie. But SO fascinating to learn about new animals. These guys are meat-eaters!
  2. We arrived at the new house around 5:00pm Friday, 16 December. Once we got everything unloaded, we headed to the local shopping center which is 3 blocks away for some dishes, silverware, sheets, blankets and pillows. Well, guess what? The local trading hours are 9:00am to 5:30pm. Go figure – and that is EVERYWHERE, including malls! The kitchen store was just pulling in their racks when we stopped by to see if we could do some quick shopping. “Come right on in,” said the sweet store clerk. Well, $500 and 15 minutes later we had dishes for 4 place settings, 56 pieces of silverware, 12 glasses, a totally cool Cuisinart toaster  ,  and a awesome Cuisinart kettle . Sad to say, we are actually getting used to the instant coffee. Needless to say, there was not an open linen store in sight!


Yep, we found our home in Australia! WhooHoo! It is located in Balgowlah in northern Sydney.Here is a picture of the backyard of the property and a description from the website.

   This amazing tri level townhouse is peacefully placed at the rear of the block yet ideally situated only footsteps to Balgowlah shops and the stockland shopping complex. Only 5 years old, it offers spacious outdoor entertaining areas ideal for summer, complete with inground spa.

  • Open plan living and dining, open out to rear deck
  • Caesarstone kitchen, gas cooking, dishwasher, intergrated fridge
  • Main bedroom with ensuite, balcony and walk in robe
  • Spacious second bedroom with additional loft level
  • Third bedroom or nursery also with built-ins
  • Sleek main bathroom with separate shower and bath
  • Abundance of storage space on lower level, reverse cycle a/c
  • Internal access from carpark, double undercover car space
  • Big internal laundry room with additional toilet
  • Stunning outdoor entertainers space with inground spa

OMG, it is BEE-UTE-TEE-FULL! The house is 3/4 furnished with great den and diningroom furniture, cool barstools, 2 beds (AUK & Q,) with FABULOUS patio furniture, hot tub and a bad ass barbie! It was a whirlwind of a day. Their rental market availability here is 1/2 of 1%! SNAP! The process starts with viewings which last 15 minutes only and then you are off to the next. We had an incredible consultant named Susan Brown who drove us all over northern Sydney. She is a mum of 4 children ranging in age from 9 to 21. She was so much fun, extremely knowledgeable and someone who understood the Smith Family dry humor. Go figure. It was very important for us NOT to say anything bad about the homes while we in them lest we ruin the relationship she has with the agent. Obviously this is not a consumer’s market here. The agent is “doing us a favor” by opening up the homes so we can see them. We mustn’t be late and if we were running behind, it was imperative that we call the next agent and explain our situation. The upside to this is the agents did the same for us if they were running late. Such a polite and entitlement free country!

This home was number 3 out of 8 we were to see today. After lunch and the 5th house, Susan cancelled the remaining 3 showings. We had found our home, it was available now, there were no pending applications and the value for the money was A-MAY-ZING! It already has a microwave and refrigerator, in fact it has TWO refrigerators! One is downstairs in the storage area before you get to the car park underneath. Once you find what you want, you must go for it. So we went to the agency, filled out the application, added MWH’s offer letter with salary, his boss’s info in order to confirm the offer and salary, 2 references, a copy of our current mortgage, a copy of MWH’s passport and driver’s license, and our first and only born child. Or at least it felt like it! Of course by that time of the day (15:00 after leaving the apt at 09:30,) they could have any child they wanted, mine or one of the ones across the street at recess in the local school. Our consultant feels we should have no problem getting the home (I think I promised my kid and at least 2 others of their choosing to unsure this.) The next major step is to get the lease signed by MWH next week while he is in Melbourne. Well all-righty then…do you think if I offered 2 more heathens, they would let me forge his signature? No worries. They’ll email it to him, he signs it and emails it back. Please do remember that I am a financial nobody over here and my signature is worthless in Australia.

When Susan receives the final lease, hopefully no later than Tuesday or Wednesday, we will head over to the local school and fill out an application for MBD to attend school AND another application with the Australian Government to ALLOW her to attend public school. Oh, forgot….the government also wants $4,500 because she is an international student wanting to attend their public schools. Once again, go figure. These applications must be completed and turned in no later than Friday week, 16 December. Why, you ask? School is out for summer holidays and they shut those schools down tight for six weeks. They won’t step foot back in them until the Friday before school starts on Monday. The country celebrates Australia Day with a national holiday on 26 January, administration returns to school 27 January and the kids return on 31 January.

Wish us luck with our endeavors! Or at least remember that Santa Claus wears shorts in Australia!


The permanent address will be posted on my profile on Facebook and we hope to be in the new house next weekend.