01 02 03 Kangaroo Spotting: December 2015 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 24 21 24 21 24 21 24 21 24 21 24 21 24 25 26 27 28 29

Kangaroo Spotting

30 31 32 36 32 36 32 36 32 36 32 36 32 36 32 36 37 38 Kangaroo Spotting: December 2015

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Most Popular Posts of 2015: Kangaroo Spotting

First of all, Thank You. 

This has been an incredible year of growth both for myself and for this little blog of mine.

It started out as an ex-pat blog about 'life as an American settling in Melbourne' (thus the clever name) but at the time I was unsure how to write without a filter it all felt forced. I lost interest, Kangaroo Spotting sat neglected that is, until my daughter was born....

....which happened to be when my world turned upside. The blog became a place where I could sort out my feelings on the keyboard. I could have done this in a journal, yes, but I needed accountability. I put it alllllll out there, skeletons and granny panties and all. 

I completely lost what I thought of as dignity but really it was just a wall (a flimsy one at that). So there I was not only upside down but inside out as well.

And what did that mean? Time to rebuild. 

 You know what gave me the strength to do so? You.

I’ve had incredible messages of support from so many of you since my very first REAL post. And even if you haven't reached out with a note I know you're there (Google Analytics tells me so) in silent support! 
As a bonus I’ve even made NEW incredible friends, readers, bloggers, artists and writers who continue to inspire and keep me company in my virtual world (and in real life.)

So thank you. Thank you for taking the time to connect with me (sorry about all the sap I just had to get it out) now let's go have a Chardonnay. 

Wishes of Love, Authenticity and Joy for you in 2016.


Here's the list- see if you are as surprised as I am at the results.

Kangaroo Spotting's Top Ten Posts of 2016

1. I'm Breaking Up with my Bump 
I'm shocked this was number one...maybe people thought I was getting divorced? No way Jose.

2. How to Support Someone who Lost a Child when you Haven't  
This piece was extremely personal and I'm glad it got exposure.

3. Chosing a Baby Name Can be a Royal Pain 
A really fun(ny) one.

4. Laila & Spot 
I can't say enough about how awesome this company is!

5. What's your Mom Style
Everyone loves a makeover...at least I do.

6. How I'm starting to feel better
An early post about how I started progressing through post natal depression.

7.  1 + 4 = Life: Change
Heavy and personal, about loss. A little bit poetic.

8. I went on a Trip without my Daughter and didn't Miss Her
Three nights in Nashville!

9. How to Prepare for an International Flight with a Toddler
Everyone knows someone who needs these sanity saving tips!

10. 1 + 4 = Life: Homeward 
Feeling like myself again, I got to visit home.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Be Awesome But Remember Self Care

Need more of this in my life
I went to my GP yesterday and got a surprising suggestion.

"You need to make more time for yourself."

Who Me? The thing I preach about constantly to my other Mom-friends?

Self care is essential. Your cup needs to be full in order to help others or even just to survive in the parenting world. Why is this so much easier in theory than in practice?

I think for me, it's because my work does not really feel like work anymore. I've started so many projects and they are zapping up every moment of my spare time. Still so much to learn that I don't want to waste one second.

In the past I was gagging to have a break from work and these days I think I'm going to have to start reminding myself to do so. What a huge mental shift.

My new little business is in the construction phase. There is so much more happening behind the scenes (and not enough time) so many more things I want to share (but need to be completed)!

Know how experts say that you can't wait until you 'have more time' to start something because it never actually happens that way? (I swear I read that somewhere and it's true). You know, just that magic time in your life when the calendar clears simultaneously, the chorus of muses sing, motivation is off the chain and your energy set to a constant 'first cup of coffee' level...Obviously this is why those experts say you need to start now...because that will never happen.

Once I made the decision to ignore my fear (as if it were a whining toddler) and follow my passion everything keeps building. 

To anyone out there thinking about starting their own thing or even just exploring a new interest I say:

No time like the present!

Where would you be in one year if you started today?

Do it, do it, do it.

Best. Thing. Ever.

(But just remember to take care of yourself along the way)
I want to inspire other people to do this!
The holiday break is almost here. After today Matt will home for almost three weeks. I'm already fantasizing about a Hemmingway-esque writing retreat in the woods...only mine would have to be on the beach...which would mean hardly any writing would get done. Because beach.

Okay Doc. I'll take your suggestion and also self-prescribe a Corona and a good book.

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Monday, December 21, 2015

How To Make A Holiday Party Emergency Kit: Last Minute Gift Idea!

Make a new BFF in the bathroom or save your own life with this Holiday Emergency kit.

This is easy, inexpensive, useful and chances are you already have many of the items you need.

The Holiday party season has been raging and chances are we all have a few more events before the dust and tinsel settles (bust one of these out on NYE!)
So when your mascara smudges, wine spills on your dress, put a run in your stockings or when your bra strap snaps...you will be fully prepared.

Scoop up some of those cosmetic bags you have laying around (you know the ones you get at department stores or Sephora) and fill them up with first aid.
I bought something similar a few years ago from a company called Pinch Provisions (excellent, products- I wish they had them in Australia) which is where I got the idea to make these at home.

Here is a list of item ideas which you can personalize. Obviously try to get the smallest travel size you can in order to fit more into your bag. A girl scout is always prepared!

Bobby pin
Safety Pin
Sewing Kit
Clear Nailpolish
Nail File
Blotting Papers
Stain Remover

Put it all together with a cute little note and viola! An awesome, affordable, practical last-minute gift.

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Banana Maple Coconut Chia Pudding

I haven't done a lot of food posts of late and now I'm spamming you with them, sorry. Perhaps it's because my enthusiasm for cooking has been sputtering. Probably because I've been putting my passion into other projects.

But it's all good! This recipe is awesome for summer, and can be spiced up with some cinnamon for those of you who are in winter (sorry fellow Americans, this is the one time of year I get to gloat about Australian weather).

Bonus: You can get rid of those icky brown bananas.

Maple Banana Chia Coconut Pudding

  • 2 Ripe Bananas mashed or blended
  • 2 Cups Coconut Milk
  • 6 Tbsp Chia Seeds
  • 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup (if desired)
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
You can throw this all together however you want but I'll tell you how I made it.

Cooking Directions
  1. Blend bananas, syrup and vanilla with a stick mixer or blender. Obvs I used my Kambrook because *Love* 
  2. Add coconut milk and mix well
  3. Slowly add chia seeds, stirring as you go
  4. Place in coldest spot in the fridge (the back) until set.
  5. If you want to make extra sure your seeds get an even blend, stir after 15 minutes of being in the fridge then leave alone for an hour or so.
Eat up! (if you don't it will start to turn brown) Yummo!

Seriously though- my toddler asked for more 'and a big spoon' after she finished.


Monday, December 14, 2015

A Post About Nothing

(I wrote this post a few days ago so it’s a touch outdated but I’m just going to give myself a pass. It's December- I think we all have our undies hanging out a little).

Today is Lavinia’s last childcare session of 2015. Then we have like 6 weeks without it (note to self: don't panic).

Last night I packed her lunch and my yoga bag- intent on making the last day count however my beauty sleep was interrupted by some snoring (it's one of his very few faults so what can you do?)

When the alarm went off I snoozed which meant we would be running late. Which meant no yoga. I would have to be productive in other ways.

On the entire drive to daycare I tried to think of things I could do to make the most of my time and in what order (for maximum multi-taskimum). I usually try to do things that I can't do with a kid, or do things that are made infinitely easier unencumbered by diaper bags, car seats and arguments about holding hands in the parking lot.

After stopping back home for coffee and breakfast I caught myself walking in circles. I grabbed the car keys and told myself to get in the car and drive...anywhere (and I did). Only, I felt weird because I realized that there were a million things I wanted to be doing AT HOME. I busted a U turn and went back to the house. 

So much for strategy. I wasted precious minutes. And acted crazy.

Turns out, sitting at the kitchen table with my laptop was exactly where I needed to be. And you know what? I gave myself permission to be okay with that. Sometimes you just need to clear out your dang inbox.
Oh! And I also hung a picture frame after watching a video- I used tools and everything! Next thing you know I will be conquering the universe with video instructions I found on Youtube. If you ever need to hang a frame or if you just want to hear a classic Aussie accent this vid is for you!
I donated this one to a fundraiser and needed to make it hangable.
Technically I still multitasked- doing dishes while listening to podcasts counts! And technically this is something I could not do with my daughter hanging around. So what if I broke my rule of no housework during daycare days? I'll give myself another pass (gee, I'm nice).

Have you ever listened to On Being with Krista Tippett? There was this one about how environmental factors (like trauma) can actually modify our genes (kind of like a mutation) and we pass those modified genes down to our children (which can actually make them more resilient). And this one about the evolution of medicine and how we can use food to heal our bodies. 

I would have loved a million more hours to patter around doing these little things because I felt productive. My day was the perfect example of how sometimes what feels like nothing, definitely amounts to something.

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Monday, December 7, 2015

Healthy Veggie Lasagne

Fact: Any dinner with melted cheese on it is immediately satisfying and delicious.

Before I dazzle you with this veggie-licious lasagne let me tell you about my latest favorite kitchen appliance. My Kambrook Mix and Store Stick Mixer.

Kambrook was generous enough to hand out these nifty little bad boys out to every blogger at an event I went to (no strings! how nice!) and I'm in love with it so Imma tell you about it.  (Also happens to have been the same day I ended up on TV NBD. #whataham).

Long Story: I recently mangled my Breville Stab mixer in my rushed attempt to blitz up my own mayo for the first time (brave, I know) but the dang thing would not fit into the mouth of a mason jar it was far too wide, so I transferred my egg/ oil mixture to a bowl where half of it splattered upon first whirr. Finally I tried using the chopping bowl the mixer actually came with but unfortunately that was designed for the chopping blade hence the little metal part on the bottom of the bowl. Crrrrrrunch it went on the metal knob. 

Short Story: I broke my Breville mixer because I’m an idiot.

Would you look at this!!  The Kambrook one not only fits nicely into a Mason jar it’s even dishwasher friendly. (My previous one was not). Yus!
I love this thang.
Get to the point: So why in the world do I need a stab mixer to make lasagne? Because I upped the healthy factor with a layer of homemade pumpkin puree instead of a layer of cheese. It’s so easy you won’t even believe it. 

Seriously, it’s going to take me longer to type out the instructions than it will for you to make this meal.

Here’s the story behind my recipe for a healthy veggie lasagne with hidden pumpkin puree.

It’s always a race against time to use my organic veggies from Aussie Farmers Direct before they wilt into oblivion.

I thought a lazy nice way to utilize a bunch of them without being too hippy-ish would be to layer them in a lasagne (the Italian in me always comes out in a pinch). I had a large organic eggplant and a half of a pumpkin sitting around but I didn’t want to go through all the work of slicing and roasting and peeling for my 'sagne so here’s the deal with the prep:

All you have to do is place the pumpkin in about a baking tray with about an inch of water, pulp side down, and bake at 175C for 45 minutes to an hour (I don’t even worry about pre-heating just shove it all in the oven as soon as you turn it on). When the pumpkin is done (test by sticking a fork in the thickest part), scoop out the insides and blend with a fab stab mixer while it’s still warm. Give it up for the Kambrook ya’ll! Sorry I do love it. The fact that it was free kinda makes me want to marry it but I'm #taken.

Slice the eggplant, skin on, and layer them with salt in a colander to drain out some of the liquid. You can totally skip this step if you don't have time.

Puree done and eggplant salting I sliced up a few organic tomatoes, grabbed my favorite go-to jar of canned tomato sauce, some instant lasagne sheets and and some shredded mozzarella cheese and got ready to chuck down all the layers.

Easy. Healthy. Naughty-tasting. The kids will eat it.

Slightly Healthy Veggie Lasagne with Pumpkin Puree


  • 1 jar Your favorite tomato sauce
  • 1/4 Cooking Pumpkin or Butternut Squash
  • 1 Large Eggplant (or zucchini)
  • 1 box Instant Lasagne Sheets
  • 1-2 Cups Mozarella Cheese (depending on how cheesy you feel that day).
  • 2-3 Tomatos Sliced
  • A few pinches Salt & Pepper

Cooking Directions

Pumpkin Puree
  1. Place pumpkin skin up, in a baking tray. Fill with water until the pumpkin is about 1/2-1 inch submerged.
  2. Bake at 175C for 45-50 minutes or until a fork slides through middle easily.

Prep the Eggplant

  1. Slice into rounds. 
  2. Layer Eggplant and salt in a colander and allow water to bead out onto the eggplant. 
  3. Dry/ wipe excess salt and water off the eggplant rounds and you are ready to layer.    
  4. Lightly coat the bottom of your baking dish with a spoonful or two of sauce and build the layers from there.

Layer the Lasagne: This is the order I used.

  1. Instant lasagne sheets
  2. Sliced tomatoes sprinkled with S&P
  3. Instant Lasagne Sheets
  4. Pumpkin puree
  5. Eggplant
  6. Tomato sauce
  7. Instant Lasagne Sheets
  8. Rest of the tomato sauce
  9. Cheese- as much or as little as you like. (You can exclude it completely if you are non-dairy or have super willpower.)
  10. Cover with foil and bake for an hour at 175C.
  11. Remove foil and grill/broil for about 3 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly.
Could not even wait to get a good pic before digging in.  Mmmmmm.


Thursday, December 3, 2015

An Evening with Oprah in Melbourne

Last night I went to go see Oprah in Melbourne. My lovely girlfriend had tickets through work. We had no idea what was all going to be about but I didn’t care. I loved her. Oprah. And my friend too.

I’ve been a fan of Oprah for many years. I even met her once thanks to my lovely boss-at-the-time, Patti Novak, who was a guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show. I jokingly describe that moment backstage as ‘Oprah looked through my eyes and into my soul’ but seriously- when she shook my hand (I can't even remember what she said) it was not some obligatory PR moment. She was present. She looked AT me. Something about her is so authentic, so powerful and so purposeful. (I'm not being objective here, I already told you I love her.)
She loves Australia

And look, she’s just a human being like you or me but she’s lived an incredible life. From a dirt road in Mississippi to friggin' OPRAH Winfrey, billionaire. Last night she shared with us just HOW she was able to do that. A lot of it came back to how she paid attention to all the people she's met over the years...which is what I felt when she met me! (Unfortunately at the time as a 26-year-old matchmakers apprentice I did not have much to offer).

In all her glorious unicorn wisdom, these were a few golden droplets I wrote down. Initially I intended on keeping them to myself but in the spirit of Oprah’s message last night- I think it’s better to share.

Look, it was a little bit self-help guru, a little bit spiritual, a whole-lotta-Oprah and it was riveting. Some people may have been rolling eyes but I was taking notes. If she starts a cult- sign me up. I drank the Kool-Aid. I'm in.

Honor the curiosity
She was talking about how to find your purpose- how to find happiness in your life. She said your curiosity will take you there. Do the things you are curious about whether it’s how to take a good photograph, to how to write a novel to how to start a business.

Your calling is your offering to the world
If you start thinking about how to offer your calling or purpose to the world, it will completely change your approach. She said that our calling is not something we are meant to keep to ourselves.

You can only do that if you are listing to spirit
This is a big one. You have to get in touch with your inner voice. Call it God, the Universe, Spirit, whatever- it’s the thing that guides us and we can only hear it when we are still.

You can’t hear your spirit if the voices of the world are drowning it out
I love this one. She used the example of when you’re sure of something- no one can tell you otherwise. But when we are unsure of something we tend to ask anyone for an opinion. Better to get in touch with yourself for guidance. Which brings me to the next point.

When you don’t know what to do, get still, until you do
Oprah goes into her yard, under her trees (that she once paid someone to count because when she was little trees represented wealth) and she meditates. She gets as quiet as possible so she can hear her inner voice.

Use your personality to serve your soul
If you are using your personality to serve your soul’s desire, no one can touch you because you are the definition of authenticity. 

The whole point of having a purpose is to service other people
She spoke of Dr. Martin Luther Kind Jr when he said Not everyone can be famous but everyone can have greatness through service. How true is that?

Effect follows intention
Intention is a big one she said. Every decision we make, every moment of every day is filled with intention. We must be conscious of it.

Say no
This is a big one I am starting to work on. It’s important to say no at the right times.

And Parents: You are only able to manage your children for a short while, then you are merely a consultant. 
I agree with this one completely.

Failure is a detour on the road to success. 
A nice way to look at it don’t you think?

So yeah. These are the things I jotted down while the rest of me intentionally stayed present. I left inspired and even had my first test of my new resolve the moment I got into a cab to head home.

The driver started playing Adele from a playlist (it got my attention) then he asked me what I did for a living (the test). I almost passed when I said, "an artist and a writer," so far so good but then added the self-conscious, "well, at least I'm trying to be." He sounded impressed which surprised me.

We ended up having the most incredible, honest conversation. About travel, life, being an ex-pat, getting a masters degree, relationships, risk and sacrifice. Pretty heavy for a 30 minute ride huh? It was past my bedtime but I was brimming with Oprah wisdom!

I am an incredibly fortunate person and for that my gratitude abounds. And just like Oprah, like you, like anyone; I am the master of my fate. And I am ready to take-on that responsibility.

Did you see the show? Would you want to?

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