Merry Christmas!

We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! This is our first experience with Christmas away from our families and will be missing many of family and holiday traditions. So we hope that you everyone celebrates a little bit more and enjoy some of favorite things in our absence! Just think of us when you have some of our favorite holiday treats like peanut blossom cookies or Fannie May mints(especially the green ones!)IMG_4741-2We are spending this Christmas in Lombok, Indonesia. We can’t wait to share next week about our holiday!

Christmas in Singapore

It’s hard to believe that it’s Christmas already!  With the lack of cold weather and no snow in sight the holiday season has snuck up on us.  It’s been a balmy 85-88 degrees lately with some afternoon rain most days, not what most of you are experiencing back home. Even though we are not coming home this Christmas, we are still celebrating as best we can. We’ve decorated our home, I’m cooking some of our favorite treats and then we are going to take off to the beach for a few days.

Oh, Christmas Tree!IMG_5695

 

Our Christmas tree is from Ikea and it’ s real. We pretty much buy everything at Ikea, it’s totally become the closet thing we have to a Target or Walmart for go to home items.  It’s totally a Charlie Brown tree, but I’m OK with that. We did not bring any of our ornaments over with us since we did not know what our space would be like. I picked up some at Ikea and stores in “Little India”. There was a mall that the whole floor was Christmas decor. I bought a mixture of colorful cheap plastic ornaments. The shocker decorating our tree was the cost of lights. If you have seen pictures of my trees in the past years, you know that I like lights(think 10 plus strands on an average size tree.) Not here when they cost $25 for a strand of 100! Needless to say, I only have 3 stands on this years tree and one of those strands is whacked out. The lights have 8 settings(don’t ask) and I only want it on the solid one, 1 stand only will cycle through all the cycles so it blinks randomly. Our tree is just special.

Gingerbread House

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I was bored one weekend. Here’s my creation of a gingerbread house. I had to get creative with the candy because, its not cheap here!

Toffee Ingredients

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IMG_5548Yum!
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I was sure to make us some special holiday treats this year. I started with making my family famous toffee. This was actually the first time I have ever made this not at my parents house. I finally have a heavy pan and a gas stove! It was yummy!

Peanut Blossom Cookies

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This are by far Taylor’s favorite holiday cookies. It was an adventure finding the Hershey kisses for them.

Aunt Lucy BreadIMG_5636IMG_5642IMG_5656IMG_5660

Starting November 1st, Singapore started to decorate for the holiday season. There are holiday decorations everywhere, some nice, some tacky. I’ve been trying to take some pictures it gets ready to rain or we have to be some place. If I get a chance in the next few days I’ll update this post!

What are you doing for Christmas?

Emerald Hill Photography Tour

IMG_4495Emerald Hill is a small old neighborhood set back from the hustle and bustle of Orchard Road(busy shopping area.) It looks vastly different than its neighboring surroundings. For the longest time I had no idea this area existed so near to us. It is older Chinese architecture and many of these homes were also shophouses.

Here are the pictures from my walk with the photography group. The details in the architecture are pretty amazing. Enjoy!

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Australia Part 3: Sydney

Our last part of our Australia trip was spent sight seeing in Singapore. We had some rainy weather which slowed us down a bit, but it is a great city to explore! We explored the Opera House, Botanic Gardens, Sydney Harbor, Darling Harbor, and the Rocks Market. We stayed at the Westin which was great location to everything. Sydney was a great destination for us to play around with our camera. We took tons of pictures. These are just a few around the city.

Sydney HarborIMG_5044 Opera HouseIMG_5053IMG_5077IMG_5074IMG_5093 The Rocks MarketIMG_5116IMG_5137 IMG_5162 Relaxing Before it RainedIMG_5183 Views From the Botanic GardenIMG_5190An Interesting Bird on our WalkIMG_5204IMG_5215Ferry Ride IMG_5260IMG_5284 IMG_5304Night Time PicturesIMG_5326-2 IMG_5339 IMG_5342 IMG_5347 IMG_5355

IMG_5357This last pictures creeped Taylor out. It was the entrance to a small amusement park at the foot of the bridge. It was pretty busy!

We took tons of pictures not only in Sydney, but throughout the entire trip. If you’d like to see them all. Please leave a comment below and I will send you a link to more pictures.

Australia Part 2: Hunter Valley

Leaving Port Douglas early Tuesday morning we drove south to Cairns to catch our flight back to Sydney for the next part of our adventure. From Sydney, we rented a car and drove about 2.5 hours north to the Hunter Valley Wine Region. We had a scenic and relaxing drive as we made our way through the region.

Part of our Drivephoto (2)

During our three day stay in Hunter Valley we stayed at Deja Vu Estate. It was an amazing villa that we had to our self. It was such a relaxing and elegant setting. Upon our arrival we had a bottle of sparkling wine waiting for us, which was needed after our busy day of travel. Each morning we had a stocked fridge and pantry included in our stay to cook breakfast the next morning. We had eggs, bacon, muffins, mushrooms, juices, sour dough bread. This was so nice that we didn’t have to grocery shop or eat out for every meal. On our last night we were left a nice dessert wine and chocolates. If we ever visit Hunter Valley again, we will sure be staying at Deja Vu!

Indoor Space

IMG_4807 IMG_4808 IMG_4809 IMG_4810 IMG_4811 IMG_4812 IMG_4813Outdoor Space

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BreakfastIMG_4837

DrinksIMG_4932 IMG_5032

We choose to visit Hunter Valley not only for the relaxation, but it is also a wine region. The prodominent wines produced in Hunter are Semillion and Shiraz, but others are also grown. We packed a lot of winery visits in the three days we were there and also ate some tasty food! I’m going to list off and share pictures of our stops in region!

Tuesday

Winery Visits: Keith Tulloch Wine

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Dinner: Brokeback Bar, this was a quick and easy stop for a tasty sandwich and fries

Wednesday

Wineries: Mistletoe Winery, McWilliam’s Mout Pleasant, Tulloch Wines, Brokenwood Wines, Tyrrell’s Wines, Leogate Estate, De Iulis

Mistletoe Sculpture Garden

IMG_4883A View of Hunter Valley from Mountain Overlook

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Lunch: Tuk Tuk Burgers

The Triple Pork Burger(Ground Pork, Pulled Pork and Bacon)

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Dinner: Home! We loved that Deja Vu had a grill. After some relaxation with some local cheese we headed to the nearest town(Braxton) and picked up some groceries at an IGA and steaks from the cute little meat market. The guy was so nice he even added some sausages to our bag free of charge because it was a specialty.

The Meat Store

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Thursday

Wineries: Scarborough, Pepper Tree, Tower Estate, Lake’s Folly Vineyard, Hungerford Hills, First Creek WInes, Tintilla Estate Vineyard, Audrey Wilkinson

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Snack: Hunter Valley Chocolate Company

Lunch: Cafe 1843 at Lindeman’s

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Dinner: Emerson’s

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Kangaroos

Seeing kangaroo was super exciting in Hunter Valley. Deja Vu was settled back into the woods and we would see kangroo throughout the day. They would be roaming in packs and often we saw little joeys also. Super cute!

IMG_4871 IMG_4874 IMG_4952IMG_4934Our Take Home

IMG_5035Needless to say, we left Hunter Valley with a few souvenirs. Next up, Sydney!