June News- Weathering the Changes

On Wednesday the 1st, if you’re on our mailing list, you received our June Newsletter in your inbox and the snail mail ones were mailed out on May 31st.  I almost never send out a newsletter right at the beginning of the month but we have some great news to share.  And no, I’m not pregnant.  I still feel like I need to make this disclaimer every time I talk about “having news to share” with someone.  So I guess the time I write…we have some news to share… and don’t make the disclaimer, you’ll all know the newsletter content already:-)2016 June-online.jpgBut anyway, for those of your who have not read our news already, you can read it by clicking on the picture above or on our website under the About tab.  We share the great and the not so great and there are some cute picture of us too, if I do say so myself.

I will almost always post our newsletters to the blog but if you want to receive them first, let me know and I will add you to our mailing list.  Happy reading!

 

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State Capitol Tour Part 1

It started with a random afternoon free in Sacramento.  Ryan said, “Let’s go see the capitol building.”

And now we’ve toured a few capitols on the west coast and visited a few more on this trip.  We have another couple capitol buildings on the list during this road trip because if we’re in the area, we will at least stop for a capitol selfie.  Can you name these capitols?

Tim Tam Slams

Tam Tam slams are one of our favorite things to introduce to family and friends.  They tend to go over a bit better than vegemite.  Although it is widely known that I enjoy vegemite on toast and I wish more people shared in my love for this tasty, salty treat.  But this post isn’t about vegemite so back to the delicious Tim Tam.  Monday I posted about the Tim Tam Taste Test.  And after the taste test we, of course, had to celebrate by experiencing the Tim Tam Slam.Explain It WellThe Tim Tam Slam is done by using a Tim Tam as a straw to drink hot chocolate (or your other hot beverage of choice) and the liquid makes the biscuit deliciously melty and gooey.  Ryan has his directions down pat and always cracks me up when he uses the words “structural integrity”.  I’ve documented the process below for your future Tim Tam Slam enjoyment.Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 9.36.44 AM1. Hold the Tim Tam and take small bites out of opposite corners.

Slam 12. Put one bitten end of the Tim Tam in the hot chocolate and suck the liquid in through the other end.Slam 23. Once you feel the structural integrity of the biscuit start to collapse then “slam” the biscuit into your mouth.  Slam 34. Enjoy!  These Tim Tam Slams have made such fun memories on many of our stops.  I’m glad that Tim Tam Slams have made their way into a few homes as a favorite dessert treat. Ryan and I will continue sharing the love until our box of Australian Tim Tams is empty.

 

 

Nephew Time at Garden of the Gods

Ryan and I are here in Colorado working towards getting to Australia but one of the perks of our travel schedule is time with family.  We are thankful that we can celebrate Ryan’s brother’s birthday today.  May the 4th be with you!  But having yesterday with our nephews while their parents were working was extra special.  We did a few fun things (like take the lizard to the pet store to confirm that she was indeed a she) but my highlight was the Garden of the Gods.PanoramicClimbingThis beautiful park is free and open to the public like it has been since the land was bought in the 1870s by a man named Charles Elliot Perkins.  And it’s been called Garden of the Gods even longer because when these large sandstone formations were seen back in the 1850s, one man remarked that it would be a “capital place for a beer garden” to which another responded, “Beer Garden! Why it is a fit place for the Gods to assemble. We will call it the Garden of the Gods.”  This place is indeed a beautiful example of God’s creation.JoyandRyanThese incredible rock formations definitely make you feel small.  Yesterday was a beautiful day to explore, climb and enjoy.  We stayed on the path when we had to but the nephews really enjoyed the places where we were able to make our way up and down the rocks themselves.  Ryan and I also took the opportunity to use a nephew’s photography skills to capture just the two of us together.PhotobombAnd of course a day like this isn’t complete without a little photobombing.  Even the most basic backdrop at Garden of the Gods was lovely.  The bright white clouds and blue sky contrasted beautifully with the red sandstone.RyanNephewsRyan already has lots of great uncle memories with these guys but it doesn’t hurt to make a few more.  I love the fact that the memories we are making now will actually have a chance of sticking with them.  Having the boys say that they want us to stay longer and visit more often is a compliment but it’s also one of the many things that makes it emotionally difficult to think of the reality of our move to Australia.JoyandNephewsUnlike Ryan, I have only had a handful of times with these guys.  And despite the wind, I was happy to have this day to get to know them better and hopefully we will have many more special days in the future too.PikesPeakIf you’re in the Colorado Springs area, Garden of the Gods is a definite must see.  It’s easy hiking and the views are spectacular.  Each different angle of Pikes Peak provides another viewing treat as you walk through these amazing sandstone formations.  I’m so glad that I was able to explore this place with Ryan and our nephews.

Tim Tam Taste Test

Tim TamsTim Tams are delicious Australian biscuits (cookies) made by the Arnotts company.  I was first introduced to these in Papua New Guinea by Australians who love them.  And then coming back to the US I found that you could buy Tim Tams here.  While they use to have only a limited distribution, these yummy cookies can now be bought at World Market, Target and Walmart.  They are made by Pepperidge Farms (an Arnotts sister company) and the question was raised whether or not the US version was as good as the Australian version.  Could we even tell the difference?Tim Tam ComparisonRyan brought back boxes of Tim Tams from his last Australia trip (it was a good use of his second free checked bag:-) so all we had to do was buy a pack here in America.  The Australian biscuit is pictured on the left and the US version on the right.  They look very similar, have similar ingredients (although the US version has a little more sugar) and on first examination, we didn’t know if anyone would even be able to tell the difference.Testing 123So the idea was to try a quarter of each cookie without knowing if you were eating the US or Australian version.  6 of us did the test.  And the final results were two of the testers (the youngest two) chose the American version while the other 4 all chose the Australian biscuit.  There was a lot of thinking as well as discussion afterwards on what differences we could or couldn’t taste.  One tester could taste the difference in sugar content.  Another thought they tasted pretty much the same.  I personally think the chocolate was very similar but the texture of the cookie insides were what made the difference for me.  I found the US inside wafers were a little more porous and flaky while the Australian version was just a touch denser.  Enough to taste a difference.ThinkingThe final result is that the original from Australia are indeed better.  If you were offered a choice, the Australian version should be your pick.  However, the US version does a passably good job if you can’t make it to Australia and they will still make a delicious Tim Tam Slam (pictures and directions coming soon!).  This was a fun test and I would be happy to add some more tests to our data set in the future.  However, I am convinced that the Australian Tim Tams would continue to win.

The Cold Part

snowdrivingIt’s the last day of April and I drove today through the snow.  Maybe I’ve done a little snow driving before in California but nothing that I can really remember and definitely not in April.  I can now say that I’ve driven through the Rockies in falling, blowing snow.  The coldest it got was 25 degrees according to the temperature gauge on our car.  But it was a beautiful drive (at least what I could see when I wasn’t needing to focus solely on seeing out the front windshield) and the light flocking of snow made everything look lovely.therockiesWe’re hoping that this is the coldest it will be on our road trip so it can only warm up from here.  There is snow on the ground in front of Ryan’s brother’s home but it didn’t stop us from having a great evening with some of Ryan’s old friends here in Colorado.  It was a night for Rook and catching up.  We’re thankful to have arrived safely and are looking forward to a lot of work this week mixed with good family time.