Tag: Marissa

Bribie Island Hire Hut and Tours was fantastic to rent from and the staff is entertaining… thankfully that was not an extra charge! We enjoyed paddle boats and zegways (sometimes even hands free). If you are ever on Bribie Island you have to stop by and tell them ‘Traveling U’ sent you.
Dale has been the only one to ride a Zegway previously, so the girls pretty much squashed his entertainment by not doing anything too crazy. He was sure we would get super scared so he filmed us in hopes of having a great YouTube video… but life sadly does not work as planned sometimes. Lucky for the girls.


Does Marissa look scared? Too much fun is more like it!
We couldn’t help but laugh out loud. Was 1993 really that long ago?


Who wouldn’t like a little friend like that on your shoulder?
A few days later the weather was so warm and inviting we decided to canoe out in front of our Brisbane house. It was just shy of an hour when we finally decided to come in because we kept getting high-centered on the sand banks. Marissa decided to just get out and play, why not? She kept us laughing for quite a while……Free entertainment.


Marissa having a Yoga moment (literally).
This weekend market “Eat Street Markets” had wonderful nibblies, treats, crafts, and very innovative foods for sale. Dale found one thing he had to try.


This “Croi-muffin” was half muffin and half croissant rolled in chocolate accompanied by a syringe filled with more chocolate (Nutella no less) that you inject into the decadently sinful dessert. Important:  You must love chocolate to eat  this! 
Travel Saving Tips:
1- We always look for local outdoor markets to join in a little fun without spending a wad, unless YOU find lots to buy when you attend.  
2- We found the Bribie Island Hire Hut and Tours just by driving to the Island and seeing a spot that we thought would be perfect to explore, talked to the tour company, and they were able to get a great deal on our activities – their prices seemed much less then other tours we had seen.
3- Never be afraid to ask the locals for ideas on the best places to go and how to get the most for your money.


Business friends who have quickly been added to our list of friends invited us to dinner. This was Marissa’s first time meeting them…. she was soon drawn in with Helen’s stories and delightful talk along with Peter and his quick humor. Helen and Peter might want to watch out as Marissa could easily ‘adopt’ them!
As we were just getting ready to leave the table next to us was served this Gigantic Goliath plate of seafood. As I was talking with them in taking the photo, I told them I would come back next week to see if they had finally finished (notice that all their phones were out taking photos of this onsite delight) or stomachache hangover.
Brunch with our new friends, Summer and Cherry was delightful. Of course, I am always thrilled to receive beautiful flowers which adorned our apartment for days along with some yummy juice to accompany our Brunch Spread. Breakfast is one of my favorite meals of the day, although most of the time now I do a green smoothie as no one at my house really eats breakfast, so it is nice to have others over so I have an excuse to cook and EAT a big breakfast.
That evening we walked down to Coogee Beach for a little father daughter swim and snorkel, I was just getting over a bit of a cold so I bravely volunteered to take the photos…
…while Dale checked out the available fish.
Marissa braving the semi-cold water to check out the underwater wonders with her Dad. 
Gladly she did not see any sharks which can sometimes be seen here but they are the more calm and docile type but you definitely do not want to touch the Blue-Ringed Octopus which often hide in the rocks as their bite can be fatal. Who knew you might need to worry more about an octopus then a shark?
Marissa has cooked for a few times each week for us. Tonight she chose to make ‘Kung Pao Chicken’.
We are not just bragging because we can but this was much more flavorful and delicious the the Chinese restaurant we ate at (SHHH… don’t let them know). We tried to see if we could pass on the recipe, and she was happy to as she found it on Pinterest. You can check Marissa’s Pinterest or TravelingU Pinterest:
Servings: makes 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

  • 1 pound chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Chinkiang (Chinese black vinegar) or balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chicken broth or water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 10 dried red chilies
  • 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns, toasted*
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, grated
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  1. Mix the soy sauces, Chinkiang, broth, sugar and corn starch and set aside.
  2. Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a pan over medium-high heat, add the chicken and saute until just about cooked and set aside.
  3. Heat the remaining oil in a pan over medium-high heat, add the chilies and peppercorns and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
  4. Add the garlic and ginger and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
  5. Add the sauce mixture, bring to a boil, add the chicken, green onions and peanuts, remove from heat and stir in the sesame oil.

* If you are new to Sichuan peppercorns you might want to start with 1 teaspoon and build up to the full tablespoon that I go with.

Travel Saving Tips:
1- Cooking at home can save you a tremendous amount of money. Marissa made this Kung Pao Chicken which was delicious and cost much less then going out for dinner (although it is nice having someone else to do the dishes).
2- We often try to find activities that won’t cost us anything… or maybe a small amount, if needed. We brought our snorkel gear with us to Australia because we knew that we would have many opportunities to use them, and we have. Marissa and Dale took the evening to snorkel around a little cove off the beach by our home in Sydney. Cost? $0 – This is our favorite word – FREE!
There is magic in the number 18. 
Especially when it is your Birthday and you are officially an adult. Marissa has been waiting for this day for an extended amount of time. Most of us who have passed this threshold probably remember what we did (or possibly didn’t do) on that day. Marissa likes the idea of being older so she can finally ‘look’ older, we try to remind her that one day she will be thrilled to look younger then her peers but that doesn’t seem to matter today.
Because she was away from her family and friends back home we wanted to make it special. Although she adores her parents (we took liberty with that, although we are sure it is totally accurate:), it is nice having her friends to celebrate with also.
She had made friends with a local Aussie, Brendan, who decided to organize a party for her. We were thrilled that she would have a few others to celebrate with for this big day!
Her first birthday melody came from Elvis!
We told her that we would be taking her to lunch (because dinner and afterwards was a surprise) she was to decide what restaurant she wanted to enjoy from all the ethnic and culinary food wizards in So. Yarra.  Would you be shocked that she picked an American Icon, 50’s diner, ‘Soda Rock Diner‘. And all because of the barbecue sauce. We do not know where this girl really came from as she could eat BBQ sauce on almost everything, possibly even ice cream. She must have been missing it!
Your food is delivered by a skating waitress who is then proceeds to do a whirl or two leaving your table. Impressive!
Following her total barbecue indulgence (you can even see the extra bowl next to her plate), we headed off to the ‘Australian Grand Prix’. We couldn’t miss this opportunity since we were already this close, right? 
Brendan met us there and the three of us ‘competed’ for the win. But of course, it was Marissa’s birthday, so we let her think she was the campion. What else could we do?


Dale was super hyped to see a ‘Formula 1’ car but while he was looking around, I decided to just ask a few questions (I know, I am super shy that way:). Would they allow Marissa to sit in the ‘Formula 4’ for just a few photos because it WAS her birthday, after all? The guy in charge said that they don’t ever let anyone sit in the cars BUT he would make an exception. This is her lucky day!
The young single adults in the area surprised her with flowers to start off the night, what more does a girl need? Along with a full Aussie Barbecue with a little bit of an american twist, a artfully decadent cake from a celebrated bakery, “Le Bon“, and games. She seemed elated by the friendship that was shown to someone not only new to the area but leaving the next morning.


Here is a special tribute by her dad:

Today in Australia, tomorrow in the US, is this beautiful girls birthday. What an incredible 18 years it has been, from the time we brought you home from the hospital at just under 5 LBS to now, a beautiful healthy young woman. Thanks for letting us drag you all over the world! I’m not sure there are many 18 year olds that can say they have had their birthday on four continents! I hope today is as special as you are and that there are even more adventures to come. Love you Marissa!
The next morning a few Melbourne friends came to say ‘Bon Voyage’. We will miss our newfound home.
Farewell Melbourne!
Dale needed to fly to Perth on business so what are us girls to do?
First, the least amount of cooking possible, right? We ate at a fun little vietnamese place which had a yummy noodles dish. This of course made Marissa happy, she LOVES her noodles. 
Second, go to a movie!
Marissa and I thought we would have the theater to ourselves -YAY….until the last minute when a few people came in. 
The comfy seats in this theater rivals anything you would find in a home theater… WOW! But for the price they charge you for the tickets ($20 AUD) they better be amazing (at least better then chocolate- and that is hard to do). We actually bought cheap phones just to use here but that company offers a discount so we were able to get the tickets for $11 AUD.  I just googled discounts for that particular theater and up it came.
Third, serve and get to know the locals.
We spent a few days working at the Sacred Mission Opt shop which has been a blessing to do together and in meeting new people. 


Fourth, eat out some more!
We spent our last night forcing ourselves to eat out again (just to try something new of course) and we found the most incredible steamed dumplings. Pure yumminess….. we enjoyed them so much we had to order two plates!
Fifth, relax!
We spent the last night watching a show together at our apartment while painting up a few ‘masterpieces’. Even though I am the one that owned a decorative painting business for years, Marissa’s playful art was much better then mine and you can tell her I said that.
Saturday night while we were gone to ‘White Night’ we had accidentally left the gas stove on (we didn’t notice because the flame had gone out but the gas was still going on high). Once we returned home ….snacked…. showered we went to bed, around midnight Marissa came down and said that she had an extreme headache and stomachache. She proceeded to let us know that she looked around and noticed that the stove was still on so she turned it off. YIKES! How could we have done that?! We opened windows, turned on a fan, and made her come downstairs as her room was upstairs by the kitchen. She woke up not feeling great (of course) but as the day went on she got worse and worse.  We were very concerned, made a few calls to find other ideas for help and took her for a walk for more fresh air.
Monday was like magic…after she had a long night but she was at least a bit more herself. It is Friday now and she is still fighting the headaches and stomachaches but nothing like the first day or so. 


Here are the beautiful Royal Botanical Gardens. We made her take a walk in the fresh air… she could barely make the short walk.
Have you ever had a scary life changing experience and you know that there must of been some heavenly intervention, divine inspiration, or whatever you want to call it? We sure feel like this was one of those times. We feel blessed!!
Dale and I had a great ‘date night’ out this week at the LDS Melbourne Temple.
 We are settling in quite nicely along with a ‘few bumps in the road’ but isn’t that life wherever you live?