Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
We brought the tree home, got it right up and it was awesome! I love the smell of pine trees. It took us a few days to find a tree skirt and stockings but after some lights, candy canes and the few Hallmark ornaments my mom gives us year after year for our birthdays and Christmas, our tree is as complete as it's going to be. We won't have a star or angel this year but you can't have it all your first year, eh?
My favorite sister in the whole entire world decided to spend a day cooking with me. I figured that now I am married and have responsibilities, I need to learn to make some of the holiday treats my mom did so I had a few neighbor gifts to give away. We made white chocolate Oreo crunch, chocolate peanut butter fudge, Russian tea cookies (or as I call them, Mexican wedding cookies), and toffee. Toffee is by far the hardest one to make and then the one that falls apart the fastest. I now know why my mom hates making it, although it's one of my favorites!!! Thanks Shani for all of your help. And to those of you who think my sister is really ADD, she is a great cook and spent about two and a half hours with me cooking. Love you Shan!!!
Friday, December 4, 2009
Saturday we went and walked through a few rain forest. My sister would be pleased to see how beautiful and preserved the rain forest were. Later that day we had tickets to do a cave tour in 300 million year old caves. After being able to repel down into the cave, we spent about an hour and a half in the caves, squeezing through the smallest holes. I didn't take my camera down because I didn't want to lose of scratch it but Gary took his. We will post all of our many pictures on facebook if anyone wants to see more. It was awesome though.
Sunday we went to a church in a small branch in an office building. Sacrament meeting was great, the Spirit was so strong. I love going to church outside of Utah. There were a lot of investigators and missionaries in the branch. The talks were so good and we really enjoyed it. After church we went to the most famous beach in Australia, Bondi beach. I didn't like it at all. Way too crowded!!! The water was cold in Sydney so I would only get in once to get wet, then I would lay out to enjoy the sun that we had for 8 days!!!
Monday we got on a plane and left for Cairns. That was my most favorite place on our whole trip. The hills were green with lush trees and rain forests. I thought it looked a lot like the movie Jurassic Park. Gorgeous!!! We rented a car (an Audi convertible no less) and drove to Josephine Falls and Boulders. I would get goose bumps just looking at the scenery. It was peaceful and calm. I can't rant and rave enough about it.
Tuesday was our big excursion to the Great Barrier Reef. We got on this huge boat and took a almost 2 hour boat ride to the reef. Gary opted to scuba dive with a certified diver and I just snorkled. It was so pretty, and yes, I did see a shark...2 of them! I was freaked out but we had been assured over and over that they wouldn't attack humans. Right. Didn't stop me from hyperventilating. I saw so many Nemo's and the coral was so pretty. We made three different stops. It was an all day excursion and they fed us a not so good lunch on the boat. Which brings me to my least favorite thing about Australia. The FOOD! It is disgusting. Not joking. Unless you are a seafood lover, which I don't touch, the food is horrendous. Gary thinks I exaggerate. I admit, I'm a picky eater but come on. You can't get a good steak for the life of you! Every fillet we tried tasted like old meat. Just not appetizing. Here is what I ate. Subway (their mayonnaise tastes like Miracle Whip, maybe worse), Hungary Jacks (aka, Burger King...good thing the fries tasted okay although the ketchup tasted sweet), Outback Steak House (this was the closest to American food we had), Lone Star (not a thing like America), Hard Rock Cafe, and McDonalds. Yes, it's sad, but true. I found some mashed potatoes I liked at one restaurant. I craved ranch dressing (if you could even find ranch, it was sour and strong and NOT ranch!) and milk. How hard is it to make milk? Our cows must be very different. The after taste was so nasty, plus the milk was thick. Okay, I'm done complaining about the food. We obviously didn't starve but it was the most disappointing part of the trip. Good thing for Baskin Robbins ice cream which we had twice. Not quite the same, but close.
Wednesday we got on another plane to go to Brisbane. It was the only day it rained for a bit but only for about 30 minutes. It smelled so fresh. We rented a car and drove to the Brisbane temple which was on the corner of a busy intersection. In fact, we almost passed it. It was closed when we got there so we couldn't go inside but just walking around the temple grounds had a spirit about it. We drove a little over an hour up the coast to Gold Coast. Fun Gold Coast. Too bad it was so dang crowded with "Schoolies." What are Schoolies you ask? Schoolies are high school graduates who come from all over Australia and stay for a week or two in Gold Coast. It happens every year...and it's CRAZY! These young kids drink and smoke and every other word is the "f" word. I started wondering if it's even considered a bad word there. The whole atmosphere kind of made me uncomfortable and each night on the news, it showed how many "Schoolies" had gotten arrested for being drunk and causing a scene. There were policemen every where. So I hated down town Gold Coast but Thursday we drove up the coast to an awesome Light House. The beach Surfer's Paradise was just that. It was a 7 mile beach and when we stopped at some of the non-crowded area's, it was great! The water is a lot warmer in Gold's Coast and with a slight breeze, it was heaven. Gary and I loved laying in the warm sand, listening to the waves crash and reading. Loved it!
Friday (Thanksgiving here in Utah) we went to a water park called Wet N' Wild. Once again I never got my camera out because it was low on battery. It was a pretty neat water park with some rides we had never seen or been on before. After a perfect day of sun and water, we went to a wild life park that night. We were starving and we had signed up 6 months in advance for a buffet then a night tour of the animals. We showed up at 7pm seeing that's what the confirmation paper in Gary's hand said. Well, come to find out, the buffet had started at 5pm. So we did not get any food but the animals we saw were cool. I had wanted to see a wild Kangaroo the whole trip and never got to see one. But don't worry, we got to feed hundreds of them at the park. It was a top highlight of mine. We sure missed Thanksgiving though and being with our families. It was hard to be away from home for this holiday but we loved our whole trip. The airplane ride home was even worse than the one out there but we are home safe and sound and I don't want to go on a plane for a long, long time. We have such great memories of Australia and I sure hope that one day I will have the chance to go back some day.
The Sydney Opera House. View from our ferry to Manly beach
Thursday, November 12, 2009
And of course you can't go to New York without eating some fabulous food. We had some delicious breakfast at Sarabeth's, New York's famous pizza, and ice cream at Serendipity's. We tried an Italian restaurant that was suggested by the bus driver of a city tour Gary's mom and aunt went on. It was a major hit and the pumpkin ravioli I had was INCREDIBLE!!!
New York wouldn't be New York without seeing Broadway shows. I have seen many of the big ones that are out right now so I saw Mary Poppins, In the Heights, and Bye Bye Birdie. I was pretty disappointed in Mary Poppins. It is now my least favorite show I have ever seen on Broadway. I saw Bye Bye Birdie strictly to see John Stamos (Uncle Jesse on Full House) but it also wasn't that great. I doubt it will be open for long. I did really like In the Heights though. I didn't know anything about it before I went but so glad I saw it. It had some awesome voices and well worth the money. Despite not loving the majority of the shows I saw, we all had a pretty good time and made some great memories. I loved getting to get to know Gary's family better because we don't get to see them often.
And if you are ever in the mood for an interesting experience in New York, try pushing a wheelchair around the city that is so crowded and not very wheelchair accessible. Aunt Kathy was a trooper, despite almost being launched from her wheelchair hundreds of times going off and on curbs!!! I'm sure we would all agree, if you are going to take a wheelchair to New York, make sure you don't rent one that only costs $25 for the whole week. You will get what you paid for...! I love my trips to New York but usually can't wait to get home. I don't love crowds and walking constantly in cigarette smoke about puts me over the edge! We decided we are going to continue these "girl" trips every year and try some place new. I can't wait!!!
The show I liked the best
Central Park in the fall
More Central Park. The New York Marathon was ran through here that Sunday.
The crew at Sarabeth's. This was after a red-eye flight and getting in at 6:30am. I purposely didn't include myself in this picture
MMMM! My lemon-ricotta pancakes