Our Home in Singapore

After two and a half months we are finally settling into our home in Singapore. Upon our arrival we quickly started our home search. We looked at about 25 different places spread out among the central and western parts of the island. Our final pick ended up being the first place that we looked at. We are located near the hustle and bustle of the city, but have found a quiet nook to live in. We are close to a MRT station, walking distance to grocery stores, a bus line runs a short block away and for right now it is a fairly easy commute for Taylor to get to his office.

It took about 2 months for our sea shipment to arrive. That was a long two months! At that point unpacking felt like Christmas, being reunited with our belongings was wonderful. We have loved being able to sleep in our own bed,sit on our own couch, and easily cook our own food. Here is our sea shipment container, it was parked outside for about two days until they brought things up. We only had a few casualties in the move which included our tv stand, a couple of picture frames and a glass pitcher. All in all I was impressed!IMG_8828

We have had a few bumps in the road with our housing choice that we wished could have been prevented/fixed before we moved in. The renting process is much different here than in the States. To communicate our issues we first have to tell our agent who then tells the owner’s agent, then the owners agent tells the owner. Getting issues fixed has been beyond frustrating with this type of communication. In all we have had issues with a moldy washing machine, a dishwasher that didn’t work(just fixed yesterday!), the internet system not installed properly(won’t be fixed for another week!), buzzing lights, a smelly guest bath, the hot water heater in the kitchen leaking from the ceiling, and the freezer having a slight power issue. Surprisingly our apartment is only 2-3 years old and still has had all of these issues. We can’t wait for them all to be resolved!

We are still in the process of making our house a home, but with out further delay here is a brief sneak peak. You’ll have to come visit to see everything!

First up, our outdoor space. We have a lovely space that runs across the whole side of our unit. We were so glad that we were able to use the grill that we brought with. On some evenings will sit outside at our table for dinner. The doors that open from the living/dinning area and the bedrooms completely open so on a nice day with a breeze you can open everything up. This has not happened yet, its been too hot!IMG_8893IMG_8896

Next up, our living and dinning rooms.IMG_8892IMG_8900

Our kitchen spaces are next. In Singapore we have a dry and wet kitchen. The wet kitchen can be separated off from the rest of the space. It’s where you’re suppose to cook stinky food and you can close the air conditioning from going back there. In the wet kitchen we also have our laundry space along with the “maids quarters.” We do not have a maid so it is our extra storage space. IMG_8904

Then down this hall you have our bedrooms and bathrooms. You’ll have to come visit for the full tour!

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Who’s booking their vacation?

One final thing!

I almost forgot!

We celebrated Taylor’s birthday this past weekend. Here is a picture of his cake! I was nervous baking here in Singapore with our oven and the weather, but it turned out perfect! It was a chocolate cake with mint frosting and topped with a chocolate gnache.

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Summer Camping with the Family!

The last weekend I was home we went on a family camping trip to Raccoon Lake. Taylor had already headed back to Singapore to get back to work so he missed out on all of the fun.  It was a great weekend playing in the water, relaxing and eating camp fire food.

Our trip started a tad rocky. Everyone but my mom and I left for the trip Thursday morning. We left later in the afternoon pulling the boat. It is about a 3 hour drive to the campground and about an hour away the boat trailer tire  busted. Just imagine what we looked like on the side of the road! Unfortunately, all of the gear to use to change the tire was with the camper and the other truck that my dad pulled down earlier. We were pretty useless to solve our problem.  Good thing my mom’s phone worked, we called my dad and we found a service that had the heavy duty equipment for the trailer. IMG_1508The poor tire!
IMG_1509After sitting on the side of the road for at least an hour the tire was fixed and we were on our way!(Yes, we got the lawn chairs out to sit on and thankfully it was only in the 70s!) After making it to the campground we had a late dinner and relaxed around the fire.

Here is our picture of our camping compound. We had the pop-up camper and two tents for all of us on 2 nice sites.

IMG_1559We spent the whole day on Saturday on the water. We had two lovely boats that we relaxed and played on. We spent time laying around, eating, swimming, tubing, water skiing, and fishing.

The PontoonIMG_1523The Parents

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IMG_1536IMG_1534IMG_1530We took the water ski’s out for a spin. I’m going to guess it’s been a good five years since I went out for a whirl and to my surprise I got up on the first time! We had some lessons and had some quick learners too!

P1000617The tube got some action too!IMG_1532

I’m nominating myself for the best fisher woman for the weekend. On Friday, the first cast I had I landed this fish. Let’s just say,  I did not make some little boys happy on how easily  I did that. Then, Saturday afternoon as we were fishing the same thing happened. First cast off the boat and what do you know, I had another fish.  I then retired from fishing so that others could try to catch some! 🙂 IMG_1512

Each night we had a nice campfire and had some pretty funny entertainers amusing us too. We also had some lovely s’mores cooked to perfection!

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Some of my favorite things about camping is the food!. We had eggs, bacon, pancakes for breakfast. Yum! For dinner one night my dad made his famous ribs. I was so happy to get some of those this summer!

Breakfast Being CookedIMG_1558

Our Rib Dinner Night-Ribs, Corn and PotatoesIMG_1554

What is your favorite camping food?

I think mine might be S’mores!

Nantucket 2013: Part 2

This post is all about the food! During our week of vacation we ate some great food. One of the many highlights of our week in Nantucket is our lobster dinner/seersucker night. Although we lacked a tad this year in the seersucker department(ours was somewhere at sea riding in a container to Singapore!), it was still a fun evening with great company and wonderful food. Just looking at all of these pictures again makes me hungry!

First up, our wine for the week! This was all consumed plus some! We have some great mixologists within our group and had a nightly cocktail special.

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Our first dinner in Nantucket was just an appetizers or pupus(the Hawaiian word). Here is what our first night spread looked like. IMG_1315

Each morning we had a yummy breakfast. I made eggs, bacon, lots of fruit salad, cinnamon buns, pancakes, and an apple fritta one morning. I love breakfast food!
IMG_1325 IMG_1324 IMG_1323 IMG_1322One highlight of breakfast in Nantucket is Downy Flake donuts. It’s a vacation staple! You get two choices of cake donuts, I personally prefer the chocolate ones. IMG_1316IMG_1318 IMG_1317Swordfish and Steak Night
IMG_1425Pizza Night101

Lobster Dinner, which also included steak for friends like me who don’t eat lobsters. It is the most entertaining dinners we have!

IMG_1409Corn on the grill was one of our side dishes . Everybody helped out in the shucking process, there might also have been a communal pass that cobb around for a taste test. IMG_1374IMG_1403

Yummies!

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The lobster lights come out on this night and we always try to take some fun pictures!IMG_1401 IMG_1400 IMG_1383 IMG_1380

Until next time, Nantucket!

Nantucket 2013: Part 1

We had many hours off flying to start of our summer vacation: Singapore to Tokyo, Tokyo to Newark, Newark to Boston, over night in Boston and finally Boston to Nantucket. Whew, I’m tired just writing that!

This July we returned to Nantucket for a family vacation with Taylor’s parents, brother and family friends. We rented a large house together near Surfside Beach, this year there were a total of 12 of us throughout the week. It was so much fun and it was great to be back after a year off(we didn’t go last year because we got married.)

We went a week later than we have in the past and it was surprisingly much warmer. We had great beach days with no rain, temperatures in the 80s with a slight breeze, and no fog.

Here is our week of activity in pictures!

We played and relaxed at the beach. First up, we attempted to ride the waves!P1000581P1000596 Smiles!P1000505 Taylor practiced some handstands. P1000486We had our daily compound of chairs, towels, and music for relaxing. 
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We rented paddle boards. P1000544 P1000551

Back at the house we would relax and eat. Next week’s post will be all about the yummy food we ate.

I read a lot. IMG_1373We lounged around with some drinks.IMG_1365We played a new game, polish or beersbee. It involved throwing and catching a Frisbee and trying to knock a bottle off of a pole, while holding a drink in your hand. It was right up or alley for entertainment. IMG_1331IMG_1375IMG_1448 IMG_1443 IMG_1428IMG_1354 IMG_1353

One night we went to Madaket Beach to see the sunset. We saw a little bit more that the sunset, there were tons of wildlife. Lots of birds, crabs on the beach, and about 8 seals swimming in the water!

IMG_1501IMG_1502IMG_1504Here’s a picture of one of the seals. His head is just popped out of the water. IMG_1507

Next week I’ll recap all the delicious food we ate!

Eating at Hawker Food Centers

**Special Note: I promise next weeks post will be about our trip back to the States! I just arrived back to Singapore after a 22 hour flight and we are in the process of moving into our new place. Our sea shipment should be here tomorrow! WOOHOO! Lots of love-Mary**

A common and very popular eating venue in Singapore is Hawker Centers. In many neighborhoods around the city you will see these centers, its an important place in the community. It is very inexpensive to eat Hawker food which makes it a popular destination throughout the day. Some stalls cater to only certain meals of the day-breakfast, lunch or dinner and all of the dishes are cultural Asian dishes that we have seen.

On our first visit, the second day we arrived in Singapore, we visited the Newton Hawker Centre and tried our first dishes of chicken and rice and some spring rolls. I had a terrible time eating with chop sticks! Our second visit was to to Wharmpoa Market with family friend, Colin. He has been living in Singapore for the last few years. It was super helpful to have him go around to the stalls with us and show us some of his favorite dishes and explain what some of the dishes were actually.

Here is a picture of some of the stalls at a Hawker Center, our friend Colin is in the back ground. Sorry again for the poor pictures, we had to use our iphones since the camera batteries are dead. (Poor planning on our part!)photo (32)

It will be a few rows like this and tables set around the outside. Some of the tables are covered by an awning, some are not. At some stalls you wait and carry your own food back to your table, others they bring it to you. Each table has a number on it and at most places(i think…) you are suppose to find your table and save it. From what we hear, the custom way to  save a table by placing a napkin or small kleenx packet on the table. We haven’t had to do this yet because we have not gone at very busy times.

This next dish is another example of a chicken and rice dish. It is served with the chicken, rice, chili sauce and soy sauce to dip with and a broth soup. This is what Taylor ate and it cost about S$4.50. When he was getting his tray, the stall owner kindly pointed out the fork and spoon for him, knives we are noticing are hard to come by. We are not sure why. photo (36)

The next dishes are called carrot cake and it is what Colin and I had for lunch. He had the white version(top picture) and I had the black(bottom picture) with a little bit extra of the white that the stall owner gave me to try. This dish is called carrot cake, but it does not contain carrots nor is it a cake. The cost for one plate with five prawns is S$5.  According to my handy dandy travel book(Living in Singapore-highly recommend for anyone moving here!) carrot cake is made with white radishes mixed with rice flour and steamed to form a “cake” which is then broken into chunks and fried in a wok with eggs, spring onion, pickled radish and prawns(shrimp). To make the black version, sweet black soy sauce is added.

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My chopstick skills are getting much better! I’ve got a better idea of how to hold them in my hand and can get them not to cross in the back(I hear that is the key.) During this meal I didn’t put the sticks down because I did not want to lose how I was holding them! It’s still a work in progress, but I got way more food from my plate to my mouth in this meal than the last one!

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Of these dishes, what would you try?