Wednesday, 11 April 2012

An attempt to make Paska...

All photos: Life in Oz

Being from a Ukrainan background, one of the biggest celebrations is Easter, also known as Pascha! Since we go by the Julian calender, our Easter will be this Sunday April 15. In preparation for this wonderful celebration I have decided to attempt to make the famous Ukrainian Easter bread, called Paska.

The only other Ukrainian food I have made is perogies, or perohy as we say it, so this was an adventure! I got the recipe off of my aunt, who is one of the best cooks I know and who makes the best Paska by far (sorry Baba :S). At first when I made the dough it wasn't rising, but a quick phone call to my mamma fixed that! In order for it to rise, the yeast needs heat so I put it on my bed which has a heating blanket. That didn't work, so I decided to bake some cookies and while they were in the oven I placed the bowl of dough on top and before I knew it I had double the dough!

Not rising :(

Aesthetically it turned out nowhere near as pretty as my babas' or aunt's, but for the first time it's not so bad! I hope I cooked it long enough, it's hard to tell when it's finished. Apparently if you tap the pan it should sound hollow, but I don't know the difference so this is strictly trial and error! I attempted to make an Orthodox cross to put on top of the round loaf, can you tell what it is?!

I look forward to the day when we have a family to share this feast with, where I can cook the full Easter meal. For now, Damien will have to be my test subject -- let's just hope he enjoys Ukie food!

We had a wonderful "Gregorian" Easter with my inlaws and family members. My brother in law was able to come down from Canberra to celebrate with us which is always a hoot. I did my first Stations of the Cross, in which we joined over 2000 people at the seminary where we were married. It was a moving and beautiful event to see all of those people praying and being there for Christ. On Sunday we went to morning Mass and then had a phenominal Easter lunch with the fam! Truth be told it felt more like Thanksgiving with the cool, Autumn weather and the scrumptious roast lamb, pork and veggies! It is strange celebrating Easter in the Fall when I am so used to having it in Spring but it was a different and nice change. It's always a great time with the Keady family :)

I did it!!
There will be more to come on the Ukrainian Easter events soon! Sending lots of love and Easter blessings to you all!


Tuesday, 6 March 2012


Photos: Life in Oz
I feel like it's been ages since I've sat down to blog, and it feels nice to finally do so. Like January, February has been one busy month! We left for Tassie the first week of Feb until the 17th. Originally we were supposed to come back on the 19th, but much to my surprise during our vacation I found out I got a new job which started on the 20th! So lot's of excitement has been going on here.

Tasmania was breathtaking - it is such a beautiful, diverse and natural part of the world with so much of it being untouched and undiscovered. We had an amazing time, with plenty of adventure stories as souvenirs! We flew into Launceston and stayed with cousins of Damiens, who generously lent us their 1976 Datsun E20 campervan. We had a rocky start with it, but thankfully I had a confident and competent driver next to me who handled the tricky stick shift like a pro (with the help of a few 'Hail Mary's'!). We journeyed from Launceston to the northeast and up the coast to the the Bay of Fires which were stunning. I have never seen a more beautiful beach with its orange-dusted rocks and crystal blue waters. The contrast was amazing.



From there we travelled down to Wine Glass Bay in Freycinet NP. We hiked all the way up the mountain, and down, back up and down again to catch a view of this beautiful bay. We ventured down to Maria Island the next day which became my favourite spot in Tassie. Now a National Park, it once was a convict island (like so many others in Tassie). There are no residents living on the island except for the wildlife, which was rich in abundance. To get to it we took the ferry from the mainland, rented some bikes and toured around the island for the day. Thankfully we were prepared for any weather, as we got down pours, heat, wind, and humidity throughout the day. Within the first 5 minutes of our ride our path was blocked by half a dozen wallaby who were not shy at all! The island is also full of old ruins from convict buildings, homes, and even an old hotel. Besides that there were also stunning cliff and rock faces. This island was so diverse and stunning in so many ways, and although there were others touring the island, you felt like the only ones there.
Wineglass Bay

Maria Island


After Maria Island we headed down to the infamous Port Arthur, one of Australias most significant convict settlements. Repeat offenders were sent to Port Arthur from England, Ireland and the East Indies. It is a natural prison, being surrounded by dense bush, shark-infested waters, with only a tiny neck of land joining it to the mainland which was guarded by a chain of vicious guard dogs. We spent a day touring around the old buildings and ruins of this place, and truth be told there were times I felt ill at ease going through some of them. To top it off we did a ghost tour that night, just to help my nerves even more. We ended up having one of the best tour guides we've ever had on a ghost tour, who made us laugh and gave us a good old fashioned scare. Now, I'm not sure what I saw that night, but I did catch a glimpse of something eerie - as we were passing one of the most haunted homes in Australia I saw a tall, greyish figure running into the backyard........... Needless to say, it took me quite a while to fall asleep that night.
Port Arthur ruins

The guard dog line

After Port Arthur we spent some quality time in Launceston with the family relaxing and catching up on rest. From there we headed north west along the coast to Stanley. We dropped into some quaint little seaside towns and stopped into a beautiful beach to take a swim - we finally had some warm sunny weather! While we were at the beach we found these little blue creatures floating in the water which we steered clear of. We asked a local what they were and they said they had never seen them in their 40 years of going there! I did some research and they happened to be a "by-the-wind-sailor"(Velella) which is a relative of the jellyfish but harmless to humans. Check them out:
By-the-wind sailor
We arrived in Stanley that same day where Tassie's infamous "Nut" lies. The Nut is an ancient volcanic formation which tourists can climb --- and guess who wanted to climb it?! I changed my mind as we got half way up it -- it was the steepest path I have ever climbed and let me tell you, my legs were burning. Thankfully we had a lovely pub next to our caravan park which was well recommended. We had our Valentines day dinner at the Stanley Pub where they served fresh seafood, caught in the harbour down the road and local Tassie brews. I had THE best seafood chowder EVER, just thinking about it again makes me hungry! It's so nice to eat fresh, locally caught seafood -- if we ate what was locally caught back home in Lake Ontario, we would be growing a third eye!

The "Nut"
The next day we had planned to travel down to Cradle Mountain, yet as we were driving through some very windy roads through a pine plantation we broke down. Yup, we blew a head gasket in the middle of nowhere on Valentines Day, our first as a married couple. Thankfully we were able to coast into a rest stop where there were a few caravans parked. I began praying for someone who had mechanic skills to help us out, because as well as us breaking down, both of our phones had died and we had no power in sight. We started asking people to borrow their cell phones, and no one had this point I was beginning to panic, but we serve a good God who hears our prayers, and within minutes he led us to a beautiful couple, Warren and Barbara, who not only had power in their self-contained Winebago, but also came equipped with tools, coveralls and 20 plus years of diesel mechanic experience! Talk about Providence! Damien had to hitch hike to the nearest town to grab a pay phone to call his uncle in Launceston, who thankfully was home and left to buy the part we needed and meet us as soon as he hung up. When Damien was looking for a ride home he found a couple of Belgian tourists who were looking to stop where we were broken down! While Damien was away, Barbara who just so happened to be a pub cook, cooked me the best fish I have ever eaten in my life. They took good care of me while he was gone, and I will never forget their generosity and kindness. When Damien returned, they served him lunch and then Warren and him took apart the engine so it would be ready when his uncle came. Thankfully his uncle made it before dusk and they put the van together just before nightfall. By that point I realized we would have to stay the night, and start cooking a proper camp meal. So, feeling like a warrior woman, I gathered firewood and started cooking what I thought would turn out disasterous, but ended up being an incredible meal! We fed Damien's uncle before he left for Launceston and had a great meal together. Later that night at the bonfire we were joined by our neighbors as well as Barbara and Warren, and ended up having one of the best days on our trip. It just proves that we can make all the plans we want, but God makes the best ones!

Yup, broken down...
Historic Hobart
Oldest bridge in Oz

THE Tassie Devil!
From there we ventured to Hobart and enjoyed the beautiful historic city it was. We stayed for two nights and then headed home. Our trip was filled with so much and we were so grateful to see this beautiful part of the world. We hope to go back and see more, because although it's a tiny island there is so much to see and do. I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as we enjoyed taking them. For the full lot, check out the Photobucket link below. Happy browsing!

Monday, 30 January 2012

What's been happening in January

Hello family & friends!

I hope you have had a wonderful January! Mine has been a busy one! The first week of January we had visitors from Canada over - Raquel and Karina! They stayed with us during their trip and bravely beared the intense heat we had. The first couple days they were here we had 40 degree days! It only went down to about 30 degrees at night, and let me tell ya, 4 people in a small flat with no A/C was quite an adventure, but we all survived and were troopers! The weather did a 20 degree drop the next few days, which was great for our outings, but intense nonetheless. They got a true taste of the weather extremeties in Melbourne!

We were able to see a lot while they were here -- including places I have never been before! We ventured to the Healesville Sanctuary where we fed a  baby wallaby named 'Waffles' who ate half his corn and was not shy at all! It's amazing how animals have such personalities --- this one was quite amusing. The next day we roadtripped out to the famous Twelve Apostles (which are now only 7!), walked along the major surf beach - Bells Beach, visited the penguins at night on the pier, and toured around the city. Check out some pics below:

All photos: Life in Oz

Meet Waffles!
Raquel with our little friend

He loved the sweet potatoes!

He didn't even reach our knees!

My Dami searching for sea creatures in the rocks!

The Twelve Apostles
Karina, Raquel, Me and Damien

The girls have since travelled to Adelaide for a wedding and to Sydney to explore the city. Damien left a week after to help faciliate a youth camp up in Healesville for just under a week. Youth camp is where he comes alive in faith and in leadership, a place where he can use his gifts and be a light for the youth. He is an amazing man and I love seeing him shine for God in his passions! We also found out that instead of the Diploma of Education he thought he applied for, he accidentally applied for his Masters of Teaching! We think it was a blessing in disguise because if we ever want to go back to Canada to live, he will be far more employable with a Masters, considering now they don't even look at you for teaching jobs unless you have a Masters. He's excited for this new step and to get back into study! I'm excited that he will be engaged in doing something he is so passionate about.

I've been keeping busy by searching for jobs and it hasn't been an easy ride. I struggle to not get discouraged at times and I remind myself that something will come along very soon, at the right and perfect time. At this point I've been applying anywhere and everywhere. I know something will come up soon, it's just a matter of trust and patience! (Something I think I will never master!)

Photo credit:

On a very exciting note, we are leaving in less than a week for our official honeymoon trip to Tasmania!!! Damien's cousin is lending us her campervan and we are taking a two week roadtrip around the island! We can't wait, I literally feel like a kid again getting excited for a trip -- it's such a good feeling :) I am looking forward to having quality time with my man, with no distractions, no phones and no agenda. We have a rough plan of places we'd like to go and things to see, but if we don't get to them, no worries, the most important thing is that we enjoy each day and really wind down. We're also looking forward to getting back to nature and letting our souls open up! We love hiking and canoeing and camping, and thankfully there are plenty of mountains and waterways in Tassie. A few of the things we hope to do are:

- Check out Cradle Mountain
- Kayak the D'Entrecasteux Channel
- Visit the Port Arthur Penal Colony & do the ghost tour at night
- Hike the Wineglass Bay route
- Climb The Nut
- Hire bikes and tour around Maria Island
- Explore the historical city of Hobart
- Delight in the Tamar Valley wineries
- Laze around on the beautiful East coast beaches
- Do the Tahune Forest Airwalk
- Visit the many charming and historial villages scattered around the island
- Tour inside King Soloman's caves
- Hopefully spot a Tassie devil & a sea eagle!
- And tons more!

We will be returning on February 19th and I can't wait to post some pictures for you -- I will probably be taking hundreds of them!

See you when we get back! Sending lots of love and hugs,