A Family Recipe

We’ve been back in the States these last two weeks visiting family and friends. I will update in the next few weeks on those adventures.

Since I’m home this week I have a special family recipe to share with everyone. We make this cake every July for my Uncle Dave’s birthday. It is a family favorite! We call this cake an “Aunt Opal” cake which is a sheet cake that is rich and fudgy. It needs to be stored in the fridge.

Ingredients:

2 Cups Sugar

2 Cups Flour

1/3 Cup Oil

1/2 Cup Milk

1/2 Cocoa

2 Eggs

2 tsp. Baking Soda

1/2 Cup Boiling Water

Mix all of the above ingredients together. photo1

Pour into a greased rectangular pan.

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Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes.

Cool cake. Then, using a fork pork holes in the top of the cake across the whole thing.

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Topping Ingredients:

1 Cup Sugar

1/4 Cup Cocoa

1/2 Cup Milk

1/4 Cup Butter

Dash of Salt

photo5Cook the topping on the stove until thick on spoon.

Pour the hot topping over the cake with holes poked in it. Put the cake in the fridge to cool.

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Eat and enjoy!

(p.s. my favorite part of the cake is the center where all the extra fudge sauce rolls to!)

Transportation in Singapore

Singapore is a very easy city to get from one destination to another. We are very lucky that it is a small island and will only have to travel shorter distances. We don’t foresee any long road trips in our future! In Singapore the main modes of transportation are walking, the MRT(train), buses, taxis and if your lucky like we are, our own personal vehicle. Other than having a personal vehicle, all of these choices are easily accessible and relatively inexpensive.

Walking: We do just as much walking in Singapore as we did while living in Washington, D.C. There are sidewalks and crosswalks throughout the city which make it easy and safe. One downfall of walking in Singapore is the heat! You can easily get a nice little sweat going! One way that walking is different than in the states, you really need to pay attention to what direction cars are coming from! I look left, right, in front, in back, pretty much every direction before I cross anywhere because I am still not used to cars driving on the other side of the road. I still have not figured out which side of the sidewalk to walk on when there are a little of people. My instinct is to treat it like a street and walk on the same side the cars are on and going. Here I’ve noticed its pretty much a free for all and all humble jumbled. I guess you just go with the flow!

MRT(train): A station can easily be found in most neighborhoods. There are currently four main lines that run through Singapore that have some smaller lines off shooting farther away from the city center and a new line currently being built. The MRT is one of the cleanest, easiest to understand and efficient train systems that I have seen. It is always busy, but not packed because trains run very often.

Here is a picture of the train system. Notice how clean and organized it is with the arrows on the ground so it’s not a free for all getting on and off. IMG_1240

Buses: We have not rode on a bus yet, but I’m sure we will. Stations are everywhere and it  is another easy method from what we hear.

Taxis: Compared to any city I’ve ever visited, taxis are dirt cheap here. For example, we took a 24km(15 miles) ride home from the Singapore American School for the 4th of July festivities, in DC that would have costs us about $40 or $50 here is cost us s$22 or about $17usd. Taxis are easy to come by and you can flag one down in most areas, wait at a taxi que, or use your smart phone to get one to your location in a jiffy. One surprise though, not many drivers know the city that well. We always have our google maps going.  Our temporary housing gave us a business card with a map on it. That has been helpful to give to drivers so they can bring us home.

Personal Vehicle: We have a new car! It’s a 2013 Toyota Corolla and we are very fortunate to have one while living in Singapore. Here it is:IMG_1158 IMG_1157

It is slightly weird only being a one-car family and having to relay on other forms of transportation, but in ways I don’t mind because driving here  is interesting. In Singapore, you drive on the other side of the road and the other side of the car than you do in the States. It’s been hard enough trying to know where you have to look when you are walking and crossing the street, imagine driving. Taylor has had practice at this from when he spent time living in the UK, me not so much. I have driven, I didn’t hurt anyone, the car, and we arrived at our destination safely. Not only will driving take some getting used to, but being a passenger also. Sitting on the other side of the car is just weird!

The cost of owning a vehicle in Singapore is very expensive, much more than in the States. Our car is leased and a large portion of the car payment is paid by Taylor’s company. The cost of our car is $125,000, much more than $18,000 it might cost us back home. The high cost is partially due to the government discouraging personal driving, importing cars, etc.  From what I understand,  to even think about buying a car in Singapore you need to purchase a special “ticket” from the government for $10,000 and they only distribute so many a year. This gives you the right to be able to purchase a car. Then you need to spend the money to actually buy the car and lastly pay the fees/ taxes for registering the car another $10,000. The kicker of it all, you can only own your car for 10 years. The government puts regulations on this and after 10 years you have to go through the whole process again. There are definitely pros and cons to this crazy process!

Here’s us driving.photo (38) photo (37)

Who would you want driving you around Singapore?!?

Celebrating Our First Anniversary in Singapore

It’s amazing how time flies! A year ago we were getting married at Purdue University among our family and friends. It was a super hot day, topping out at 104 degrees, but made the most of it and had a blast!

After one year of wedded bliss…

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To celebrate our anniversary, we went to the “vintage” champagne brunch at Greenhouse in the Ritz-Carlton Singapore. Brunch is huge in Singapore! This was definitely a special occasion so we went top notch with the champagne brunch to celebrate. It was all you can eat and drink. I would reccomned this brunch for anyone celebrating a special occasion or if you have special guests in town. I called a few days ahead of time and got a reservation. The Sunday Champagne brunch runs from 12:00 to 3:30 and costs about S$160 per person, while this is pricey, you can easily spend this much on the alcohol alone. We had reservations right at noon and were there until 3:30.

It was a nice and relaxing atmposphere and our glasses were never empty as there were endless pours of Moet champagne! We enjoyed the selection of food. There was a lot of seafood(I tried, Taylor is not a fan of, but I know we have a lot of family out there that would have loved this!), meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, and desserts.

Here are our pictures from our day! Starting off are some pictures of the food stations.

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We tried a little bit of everything on our plates. I even went outside my comfort zone a bit with the seafood. 
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Our drinks! Champagne, mojitos and a strawberry daiquiri type drink. IMG_1271 - CopyIMG_1293 - CopyIMG_1302

They gave us a cute little dessert. The candle is kind of funny, it felt more like a birthday treat than an anniversary, but still was a kind gesture. 
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And lastly, instead of keeping the top layer of cake on our wedding night(how would we even gotten that back to DC or to Singapore?!?!) we purchased a bottle of Hawaiian pineapple champagne on our honeymoon. This bottle has traveled a far distance! Since we have had so much champagne at brunch we will be saving this for celebrating in our new home here. That bottle will hopefully be popped in a few short weeks! Woohoo!

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Here are some of our favorite pictures from the day: 079 100 126 196 159 209 352 393 454

Happy 4th of July!

Even though we’re living in Singapore, we were able to have a little Independence day celebration! Last week we became members of the American Association of Singapore. We joined this organization for networking opportunities and to meet fellow Americans. Little did we know when we joined that we would have our  first outing with the organization. They held a 4th of July celebration this past Saturday evening. We took the MRT(train, more to come on this in the coming weeks!) to the Singapore American School where a big fair/bazaar was set up in the athletic fields. They had food tents, fair games for kids, and bounce houses set up for kids, and a large stage with bands playing music. Everyone was decked out in red, white and blue!

The field space

The field space

We grabbed ourselves some burgers, had a margarita and found a spot to relax and listen to the music. The organization put on a fireworks display which was really nice. Overall, the evening made us feel like we were in the States, not half way across the world. It felt just like we were at home with everyone “oohing” and “ahhing”

P.S. Please forgive the poor photo quality, we think our camera chargers got packed in our sea shipment that won’t be here until the end of July.  We’re having to use our old iphone cameras(ie. the original iphone and an iphone 3, gasp!)

Burgers for dinner!

Burgers for dinner!

The stage.

The stage.

Happy 4th!

Happy 4th!

Fireworks!

Fireworks!

photo (31)photo (26)photo (28)What did youl do for the 4th of July?