Sunday, May 11, 2014

Perhaps a not-so-happy Mother's Day

Mother's Day isn't as easy for some as it is for others.  For many years I struggled with it, while we struggled to get pregnant.  Now that I'm a mum, it doesn't fill me with such dread, but I am acutely aware that this day will not be quite the celebration for everyone.

To the woman whose deepest desire is to be a mother, but can not fall pregnant;

To the mother who has a child who she had to say goodbye to too early;

To the child who has lost their mother;

To the mother who is separated from their child;

I know that there are no words to comfort you during this time, but I pray that you do find the peace you need today.

To the woman whose deepest desire is to be a mother, but can not fall pregnant, I pray that God grants you the desires of your heart and fills your womb with a baby.  If this is not God's will for your life, I pray that God gives you peace and comforts your heart.

To the mother who has a child who she had to say goodbye to too early, I pray that you are surrounded by people who understand your pain, who know that your beautiful child will always be in your heart and that your child can never be replaced.

To the child who has lost their mother, I pray that you find peace in your heart.  I pray especially to the child who's dealing with their first Mother's Day without their mother.

To the mother who is separated from their child I pray that whatever it is that is keeping you from your child, that God would work a miracle so you can see your child or at least be able to be in contact with them.

I know that I have not covered all scenarios that cause Mother's Day to be not so joyous for people, but you are still in my prayers.  I can not fully know how you must be feeling, and will not pretend to understand.  But I can and do pray for you; for those of you who I know, and for those of you who I do not know.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me  all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Monday, May 5, 2014

2014 Girls' Weekend in Sydney Day 2

We all woke up on Day 2 with an adventure in mind... we were heading up to Channel 7 to look in on Sunrise being filmed live, with a hope to meeting the crew like we did last year.  We even had brought some gifts for them... a couple of souveniers from Cairns and framed limericks for each of them.  And we did get to meet them and present them with their gifts...

After Sunrise, we were then able to meet the lovely hosts of the Morning Show.  Larry and Kylie are always so friendly, but Kylie really made such a big fuss over the gifts and it just made us fall in love with her just that little bit more!  Don't worry, Larry was still his very charming self!

We then took advantage of our time in the city and did some shopping and lots of walking.  It was then time to get back to the hotel and prepare for the start of Colour 2014.  We had something very special organised for the first night!  Last year, we allocated colours to ourselves and used that as a bit of a theme and we decided to continue that again this year, but taking it up a notch!  One of our rooms became a hairdressing salon as we set up a process for colouring our hair!  The effect was pretty good, although I think my hair turned out more yellow than green!

These were our allocated seats for the night.  Unfortunately a little disappointing, being so very high up and right to the side, but we tried to make the most of it and decided to try our luck at the 'public' seating at the next session.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

2014 Girls' Weekend in Sydney Day 1

Last year 4 friends and I headed down to Sydney for the Hillsong Colour Conference, plus other adventures on a girls' weekend.  We had so much fun, that we decided to do it again, adding one more lady to our group!

Once again it was an amazing trip, which I can't wait to share with you here.  So, without further ado...

We excitedly set off on our big city adventure and were greeted by this limo for our transfer to the hotel:

We got dressed up for a lovely dinner out:

Following dinner was the highlight of the evening... off to see The Lion King stage show.  Here's what I wrote on FaceBook regarding that amazing evening...

Oh. My. Goodness! How am I ever going to get to sleep tonight? I'm on such a buzz from the Lion King. A-maz-ing. Like a childhood dream come true. Crying at the beginning in awe of the costumes and squealing with delight that where we were sitting (box seats!), is where the show started... One of the characters stood right beside us while the spotlight shone on him/us while they sang the opening 'credits'! A truly wonderful night that I will never ever forget. 
 An inundation of photos to follow, but I can't help it!  It was a magical night that I will never forget!

An unexpected surprise as part of the Box Seat seat experience!

An amazing view from our Box Seats!

I can't believe that one of my friends was actually able to capture this moment.  A little naughty, but I'm so grateful she got this picture!  This shows the very beginning of the show, with the character right there beside us (that's my head to the right!)

Some fun after the show... the Rafiki character is from the Madame Tussauds exhibit, not the real thing!

And that was the end of Day One in Sydney.  To start off on such a high, it was going to be hard to top that!

Stay tuned for further posts on our adventures in Sydney!

Scammer Warning 01

When I get scam emails, I get so angry.  Firstly, because they're actually trying to get my information illegally, to rip me off.  Secondly, and this is the worst, because someone innocent is going to fall for the scheme and have their identity and/or money stolen and that really gets me mad. So, I thought I would do something new on my blog and start to update you on scams I get, and point out why they are scams, to try and educate people and stop these scammers from succeeding in their shady business.

I have to say, these scammers are getting clever in their schemes.  Yesterday I received the following email (click on it to enlarge):

It looks pretty legitimate and I had to do a double-take when I first looked at it.  However, there were a number of things about this email that started to ring alarm bells in my head:

1. I never ordered either of these products.
2. The price for these products was too high to seem to be actual purchases.
3. I've never noticed the line on iTunes receipt before, talking about my account being hijacked.
4. No legitimate business ever asks you for financial data in an email.

So, instead of clicking on any of their links, I went to my online bank statement to see if any money had been taken from my account, supposedly to buy these products under my iTunes account.  The receipt date was 28th April, so there should have been an amount on my online statement within 2-3 days of this transaction.  There was none, so I was able to breathe easy knowing that no one had hacked into my iTunes account.

My next train of thought was getting angry with these people trying to scam innocent people.  This receipt looked like the real thing and it would be easy and understandable for people to fall for this.  I want to protect people from getting scammed, so please spread this post to everyone, to ensure they are aware.  Below is a legitimate email receipt from iTunes, with a "spot the difference" explanation underneath (again, click on it to enlarge it).

i. = iTunes
s. = scammer email

1. (not shown here).  The email address that sent the email:
  • i. was sent from an '' email address
  • s. was sent from a random email address (which I didn't think to get a copy of as an example before permanently deleting the email like I do for all scam emails)
2. Order number:
  • i. is different from the receipt number (in the subject line) and contains numbers and letters
  • s. is the same as the receipt number and does not contain letters
3. Billed To (1) (Address):
  • i. states my email address and current postal address
  • s. only states my email address
4. Date:
  • i. Titled: "Issue Date" and only has the date stated DD/MM/YY
  • s. Titled: "Receipt Date" and has the date stated MM/DD/YYYY and the time
5. Billed To (2) (Payment Type):
  • i. States the type of card used (i.e. MasterCard, Visa, AMEX) etc. with the last four digits of the card
  • s. States my email address
6. Heading:
  • i. "Tax Invoice"
  • s. "Receipt"
7. Headings of items purchased:
  • i. "Item" "Seller" "Type" "Unit Price"
  • s. "Item Number"  Description" "Unit Price"
8. End notes:
  • i. Does not not mention if your account has been hijacked and does not ask for personal/financial information
  • s. Gives a link to go to if you suspect your account has been hijacked and advises "you will be asked some specific questions about you and your financial data to prove you actually owned the account".  This line out of everything should set off the BIGGEST alarm bells.
There are some other differences at the bottom of the email, but the ones stated above are the major ones to look out for.

NB: Regarding number 4. and 6. The differences could be partly to do with whether you purchase in Australia or the USA.  The scammers will have used an American email to make up the receipt, so the title "Receipt" might be legitimate there and the date format used by them is in the American format.

Please pass this information around, especially to friends and family who are more vulnerable to these sorts of scams, who aren't very internet savvy.  Stop the scammers from succeeding!

Unfortunately this post is showing the scammers how to improve their emails in future, which I am sorry about doing.  However, if it stunts their success even a little in the meantime, then I feel I've done my job educating everyone on these scams.  Each time I get a scam email, I will be posting an update here on my blog.

Friday, April 25, 2014

History Lesson

Today is ANZAC day** in Australia.  A tradition for Australians is to make ANZAC for/on ANZAC Day.  So far as I remember (correct me if I'm wrong, Mum), I've never made ANZAC biscuits on ANZAC Day.  I've made plenty of the biscuits, but just never for or on the special day.  Today I decided to change all that.  I thought it would be lovely to start making these each year with Little Spring.  She's always loved helping me in the kitchen and I thought this would be a perfect opportunity, seeing as how easy the biscuits are to make.

As I hadn't planned to make them, I hoped that I would have all of the ingredients in the house.  I was pretty sure I would as the ingredients are all basic/common ones in Australian households.  My heart soared each time I found the next ingredient, until I'd found them all!

While the butter softened, I decided to research the history behind the biscuit.  All I knew of the biscuit is that it was name after our Australian and New Zealand soldiers from WWI.  But why?  I was curious and I love my history! (side note: I hated history in high school; I was never any good at it and it just didn't grab my attention.  I'm sad that I didn't like it because now I just love learning about history!)

Thanks to the trusty internet, I was able to discover the story behind the ANZAC biscuit...

So, apparently the army issued the soldiers of WWI with biscuits called ANZAC tiles or ANZAC wafers.  They were a version of "hard tack" which is a bread substitute that has a long shelf life, and as the name suggests, very hard.  These are not to be confused with the ANZAC biscuits that have become a household name in Australia!

These  hard tack biscuits were so hard and durable, that the soldiers found uses for them aside from actually eating them (I don't blame them... they sound pretty unappetising!).  The soldiers wrote messages on the biscuits and sent them to family and friends!  They were also known to use them as a paint canvas, creatively decorated to become photo frames and even became Christmas cards!

So, with a not-so-appealing- option for the soldiers, the wives back home came up with the ANZAC biscuit.  The ingredients were chosen as they don't spoil easy (hence why there are no eggs in the biscuit) and therefore travelled well on the Naval transport, which was long and had only limited refrigeration.

In typical Australian/New Zealand style, the Aussies and Kiwis (New Zealanders) still disagree as to who actually came up with the recipe.  It joins all good arguments between the countries (for example: who invented pavlova, who can claim Phar Lap and Russell Crowe (although, depending on who you talk to about the latter, I don't think either want to claim him!).  At the end of the day, who cares?  It's a delicious treat and whether the recipe came from Australia or NZ, I don't think the soldiers eating them cared too much either!

And that is the history of the ANZAC biscuit.  As Little Spring and I made them today, I felt a connection with history.  I'm glad to know the story and will always remember this whenever I am making them.

(sources: Wikipedia, Australia War Memorial)

For those of you who are keen to make them, here is my Nana's recipe, which appears to be the most common/popular version (today's ones turned out chewy... another big Australian debate - do you prefer your ANZAC biscuits chewy or hard?!):


1 cup plain flour
1 cup raw sugar
1 cup rolled oats
¾ cup coconut
½ cup butter/margarine
2 Tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp water


1. Mix together flour, sugar, oats and coconut

2. Melt in saucepan butter and syrup
3. Mix together soda and water.  Add to saucepan.
(The baking soda must have been a bit old... it didn't all fizz up like it normally does (my favourite part!)

4. Pour saucepan contents into dry ingredients and mix together.

5. Drop teaspoons of mixture on to greased tray, allowing room to spread.
(I actually rolled the mixture into balls as the consistency wasn't right for 'dropping')

6.  Bake in 180oC oven until firm.

** If you were interested in continuing the history lesson, read on to find out what ANZAC day is (I put this information in here for any non-Australians/New Zealanders reading this as I would hope that the Aussies and Kiwis will already know this important part of our history!).

ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.  ANZAC day commemorates the 25th April 1915, when the Australian and NZ forces landed on Gallipoli during WWI.  They were there for months and many lives were lost and 25th April became an important date in history, being remembered each year from 1916.  ANZAC day has since come to mark a day for remembering all of our soldiers who have fought/are fighting, not just for the ANZACs in 1915.  If you would like to read further, I suggest heading over the the Australian War Memorial website.  Even I discovered some things I didn't know! 

 (Source: unknown)

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Lest we forget.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Coming Up This Year...

I'm always trying to cut back on what I'm doing, but always manage to find new and exciting things to cram into my life!  This year I'll be (in no particular order):

1. Obtaining a Certificate IV in Business Administration via an online course.

2. Completing the Old Testament Syllabus of The Bethel Series.

3. Losing approximately 10kg so I can get my hands on my new Nikon Coolpix P520.

4. Getting my hearing back in my right ear.  Disclaimer: there's no guarantee that this will happen, but I'm being optimistic!*

5. Heading down to Sydney for Hillsong's Colour Conference and girl's weekend once again (Day 1, Day 2, Days 3-5).  We had a blast last year, and I can't wait to do it all over again. This year we are heading to The Lion King and it feels like a childhood/teenager dream come true!

6. Break in our new (secondhand) Prado along the Bloomfield track (north of Cape Tribulation - the northern most point of Far North QLD you can drive, before needing a 4WD to go further) during the July school holidays.

7. At the end of the year, organising a school uniform for my little girl who will be entering Prep next year!  I can't believe Little Spring will be going to school next year!  Being in pre-school this year, she's one of the older kids and absolutely loving it!

Hopefully I'll be able to spare a little time to keep you posted here on how things are going!

*regarding my ear, I had operation in January to fix another perforation of my eardrum... however, my specialist up here, sent me down to a specialist in Brisbane (apparently the best in Australia - yay!), who was able to perform a bone reconstruction as well as fix the perforation in the hopes that will fix my hearing.  You can now call me the bionic woman... I now have a titanium bone in my ear!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Hey! Hey you!

Yep, I know... it's been quite a while, indeed.  It will be a year at the end of next month!  I'm making no promises to post regularly, but I do hope to start blogging again!  There's so much to catch up on!