Monday, April 29, 2013

Dinner with the girls

So since getting here, I've made quite a few friends.  There are a ton of places to eat around town, and I have what they call an "entertainment book" that has coupons for restaurants around town.  Every couple of weeks, I get together with some of the girls from church.  
We went to Lychee, which is Chinese and it was very good!  Here I am with Kania and Jo.   
And I was having a bit of trouble with my new camera.  Here's proof!  The girls wouldn't let me delete it...they thought it was funny.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Are Hostess cupcakes back?!?!?!

If you look at the pictures below, you'd think that Hostess cupcakes were back in production.  However, they are not, sad to say.  But that doesn't stop us from learning the secrets and attempting to recreate a childhood classic.
I am following a cooking blogger on Facebook and they shared this recipe.  When I saw it, I just knew that I had to make it and see how mine would compare! ;-)  I think that mine look very much like the original...I haven't tasted them just yet, I made them for FHE tomorrow night, but I'm SURE they are just as good as the original.  The chocolate frosting tastes JUST like the original! 

Veggies from my garden

I love veggetables and they are kind of expensive here.  And I always try to grow a garden so I wanted to try again.  Luckily, it is quite easy to grow things here.
So I planted a garden in my backyard.  Tomaotes, hot peppers, and bell peppers (known as capiscum here).  This is the second batch of tomatoes that I've harvested.  Here is the next batch.  I made a batch of salsa from the first set of tomatoes.  From this batch of bell peppers, I made my favorite dish: Chilean chicken.  It is always good, but it seemed especially good since I grew my own veggies. There are still tomatoes growing and a few more bell peppers.  Next year, if I am still here, I will grow even more! 

Great Forest 1/2 Marathon

Shortly after I got to Wellington, Angie Toler and her family moved here to work at the embassy.  She enjoys running so we've started running together.  A few of the other ladies from church have also joined running with us on Saturday mornings.  And we decided to sign up for the Great Forest 1/2 Marathon. 
Here I am with Emily, Anita, Angie, Sarah and Ly Thach (one of the Marines here at post) 
Us all excited before the race starts acting a little silly.
My friend Karin catching me just before the finish line.  Great action shot, and I'm even smiling after running 13.1 miles! 
Here is my finisher medal.  
Now I have one from two of the three countries I've lived in.  Unfortunately the races I ran in Iraq didn't have medals, but I did both a triathalon and a 1/2 marathon! 
And I must be crazy, because I'm already signed up for the Rotorua 1/2 marathon.  Angie, Sarah, Anita, and Andrew have signed up for the marathon.  I'm just not quite crazy enough to run a marathon...although my friend Erica wants me to sign up for the Wellington Marathon...Let's see if she can convince me to be crazy enough to run a marathon!

Rugby and the girls

Last weekend, some of my girlfriends and I went out dancing on Friday night.  We ended up running into a girl named Erica Yager from New York.  She is nice, visiting New Zealand for 5 months and she likes to run, dance and explore.  So we invited her to the rugby game that we were going to attend on Friday.  Erica took this photo of me, Gillian, Natalie, and Karin.
After the game, we went to Foxglove.  I went home before all the girls so that I could go to church.  Apparently, they had fun after I left, including "playing" with the animals on the wall.   
Overall, it was a fun weekend.  And I'm slowly learning more and more about rugby the more I watch!  Lol.  Apparently we are going again this coming Friday now that Sophia is back.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Wellington Zoo

My friend Jo works for the City of Wellington and they had an appreciation day at the zoo so she invited me to go with her.  I hadn't been to the zoo yet and I always enjoy visiting zoos.
Here I am posing on a tiger...hehe...I had to jump in when I could because there were quite a few kiddos also trying to get their photos taken.

Then we went and saw the girrafes.  It was cool because they had a built up standing platform so you are actually quite close to them.  I could actually reached out and touch them...but I didn't know if that would be smart.  But they are so cool.  It's amazing how tall they are!  And there were some ostriches in the compound as well.  And Jo and I were talking to them, and they were quite responsive.  It's kind of fun to chat with animals and think that they can kind of understand us.

Just like other zoos, they have interactive exhibits.  I thought this one was particularly awesome.  It looks like a robot playing the drum.  Jo took her hand at being a drummer.  I must say, she was pretty good for a novice! :-D

I know it is kind of silly...but I love statues and posing with them.  This is a sun bear and I couldn't resist sitting in it's arms! :-)

Here is a live sun bear. They were so cute to watch and their paws are pointed in, so they are quite cute when they walk.  I couldn't take a good photo, because all I have is the camera on my Blackberry, which I was happy to have or I wouldn't have photos at all!  But I wish I had a proper camera so that I could capture just how cute they are.

This is a photo of a Kiwi bird.  They are nocturnal, and very difficult to find in the wild, so if one is lucky enough to see a Kiwi bird, they are more than likely going to be in captivity.  This poor bird is called Tahi, which means "one" because he had an accident and now only has one leg.  I had to take the photo without a flash so it is a little hard to see him really good, but it was really cool to finally get to see one.  Now I've seen all the types of Kiwis that there are! ;-)

Another cool display by the lions.  Rocks shaped into a paw.  Jo sat on one of them to give "perspective" of how big it is.  I must admit, I love the cheesi-ness of it!
And the last but not least is the meerkat.  They are funny little creatures.  We also saw pigmy marmosets, which are the smallest monkies!  The adults are only about five inches in height!  We saw a one month old baby and it is only about 2 inches!   They are so tiny and so cute!  You just want to pick them up and pinch them! 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Brisbane Australia

Easter weekend is a four-day holiday from work, so I decided that I wanted to go explore somewhere new.  So I did some research and decided on Brisbane, Australia!
There is a river that runs through Brisbane, and there are lots of bridges.  This is the first night that I arrived, and the city was SO beautiful with all the lights reflecting on the water.

The next day, I got up early and went and did a session at the temple.  It is designed a lot like the Snowflake, Arizona temple and it was amazing to get to visit another temple.

I took a river cruise to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.  A great way to see the city.  And because I travel alone, like always, I meet some of the nicest people.  I met a lovely lady by the name of Lisa during the tour of the sanctuary.  She took my photo with the koala and we chatted all the way back to Brisbane.  She is a jazz singer, which I think is really awesome, and I just love the fact that I meet so many nice people when I travel!

Here I am after the cruise, koala sanctuary, underneath one of the many bridges that span the river.  I thought this was a great photo op, with the old wood of a bridge that is no longer in service.
The following day, I went to Nudgee Beach which is a place where birds come, from all over the world to nest.

Then I continued onto the Gold Coast.  It is a town called Surfer's Paradise and the reason is because the waves are incredible!  Here I am with my feet in the ocean.  The sand is so small and fine. I can see why people want to be beach bums!  Lol

Here is the can almost see the waves...but pictures don't do the waves justice!  And if you don't pay attention, the waves can come up on you quickly!  It happened to me!  I was taking a photo, and got knocked over by a wave!  It ruined my camera and I lost the rental car key...a crazy end to my adventure in Brisbane!